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Sour Turned Sweet: Learning to Love Father’s Day

by Christina Stolaas

[photo credit]

I am widely known for my sweet tooth and my lack of self-control when it comes to eating– thus my love for kids candy should not comes as a surprise to anyone. One candy I love is sour patch kids. Sour. Sweet. Chewy. Uniquely shaped. Delicious!

This post isn’t about candy though. It is, however, about something sour.

Fathers Day is one of my least favorite days on the calendar! This year, I hate it unequivalently. This year June 17th is a reminder of a painful year and a future lined with uncertainty. All of the constant announcements that I see about Father’s Day upcoming sometimes makes me want to just close my eyes and hit the fast forward button. Literally, I started to feel a mixture of anger, frustration and sheer annoyance from it being everywhere. Pop-up ads and banners online. Store aisles filled with cards and little girls and young women lining the aisle carefully examining each for the perfect words. Father’s Day is a sour and loathsome day for me!

I’m unfortuanently a product of severe family dysfunction. This past year, the chaos came to an explosion that left me for all practical purposes estranged from my dad. Without going into explicit details, I can say that the distance is sadly a necessity for now at least, maybe permanently.

With Father’s Day approaching, I began to sulk in this pit of self-pity. After sloshing in my pit of woes, I was reminded about Sour Patch Kids. The best thing about this fun candy is that what was at first distasteful and sour becomes addictingly sweet. I asked God if he could help turn Father’s Day into Sour Patch Kids for me. I think He has, and I’d like to share what this process looks like in my life. Perhaps it will be a blessing to someone else who is struggling this week because of an absent, abusive or just foolish father.

First, I believe as a Christian—regardless of what your relationship with your earthly dad looks like—God is ready, willing and able to lavish the ultimate love of a Father upon you! Sometimes the wounds caused by our dads and/or other men make it difficult for us to accept this passionate, “birth-right” love. The truth is, our Heavenly Father loves us with an infinite love that is not performance driven or earned. He loves you and I simply because we are His children! (1 John 3:1) In our human minds we can’t even come close to comprehending the love Papa God has for us (Psalms 139:17-18), but the first step in turning the day around is clinging to the truth about the beauty of the love of God the Father. Throughout the month of June I have regularly said out loud this handy statement,

“Trashed by my dad, but Treasured by my FATHER!” (see Exodus 19:5)

Second, since I do not have the capability, desire or reason to “honor” my earthly dad this year—I have made it a point to lovingly honor my Heavenly Father. As I contemplated what honoring God as a response to Father’s Day would look like, this is what I came up with: Be a child that is a reflection of Him. My practical way to prepare a gift for Papa God is to be Jesus-like in a tangible, hands-on and relevant way for a few people God has laid on my heart. I’m uber excited about sharing the love of Father God by reflecting His goodness in my life. What an easy and meaningful way for me to show my appreciation, love and thankfulness to the Ultimate PERFECT Father! (Matthew 5:48)

Lastly, if you are married with kids, remember to honor and be mindful of your husband. I pray for mine as he strives to be a good Godly father to my kids, and I thank God earnestly that my children will not grow up with the same dad wounds that I did! If you aren’t married, pray for the man you may someday marry and the kids you may someday have. If you have no desire for kids, pray for a Godly father you know via your church, workplace or other surroundings. Being a dad is tough business, and their job in being the first impression children see of God is an ultimately important responsibility not just for the lives of their children but also for the whole well-being of society.

Father’s Day doesn’t forever have to be sour. If you struggle with this week as I do, make some deliberate actions to turn that sour candy into a uniquely special treat. I’ll finish with this thought: The thing that makes the sweet on Sour Patch kids so savory is the simple fact that they are sour first. Without the sour coating, they would be as ordinary and unoriginal as any other gummy.

What does Father’s Day mean to you? Is it sour, sweet, or a little of both?

Christina is an energetic mom to four adorable young kids. In her free time she enjoys writing, training for roads races, and passionately pursuing a deeper walk with Jesus. Through a rough childhood she has learned to earnestly trust in the Sovereignty of God and seek to be “fruitful in suffering” as God continues to mold her to His likeness and bring beauty for ashes! (Isaiah 61:3)

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