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This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of my dad and me. I look like I'm about two and he has that same patient, teaching look he always had with me.

My father's family was twice the size of mine, but unfortunately wasn't twice the fun. His father was an abusive alcoholic. Dad was sent to live with and work for an abusive uncle at the age of four. He quit school after the eighth grade to help support his family. At eighteen he was drafted and was sent to the German front lines in World War II. While there, his life was in constant jeopardy and he watched many of his friends die.

Dad came home to discover that his father had drunk up all the money he had sent home from the service. He eventually married twice and was left twice. When he married my mother and became a father to me in his early forties, he was ecstatic. I can't tell you that he was a perfect father. Years of trauma and mistreatment took its toll on my dad emotionally. But I can tell you that he wasn't an alcoholic, nor was he ever abusive to me. He told me he loved me and was proud of me all the time. He constantly made me laugh. He was one of the most humble men I've ever known. He taught me how to fish, fast pitch softball, and basic carpentry skills. He loved beating me in cribbage. When I was on my own, he bailed me out of several financial jams I got myself into and wrote me precious letters. In one letter he wrote, "I've been thinking of you all week, so I thought I'd better write."

My dad's parenting is a testimony of God's faithfulness in my life. He was the father I wish he had had.

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children… (Luke 1:17)

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