With Regard to Father’s Day


BUILD THE KINGDOMI have a pretty hard time with all the familial holidays. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day…take your son/daughter to work day… big brother/sister day…hug your second cousin day. When you come from a family as ambiguously bound together as mine, the true importance of celebrating family members gets contorted and totally lost.

This holds particularly true for Father’s Day as I come from a matriarchal family where men were relegated to either coming home from work and sitting in a chair to watch TV with no intelligible conversation, or drinking themselves into a giddy stupor only to wake up angry at the world, or just coming around to be entertained only to disappear when the real work of being a dad was required. Entertaining a relationship with the fathers in my life proved to be a masochistic exercise in futility.

And (I suppose) that is where my perception of fatherhood would have remained had I not had an experience with God at the age of 12.
God took the time to gently reveal to me that my experience with fathers was not His desire for me and that He was not that kind of father. He patiently showed me that I should be grateful for all of the men in my life…even if all they served to show me was what a man and a father was NOT. (Sometimes it’s more important to be clear on what a thing is NOT to firmly define what a thing should be, am I right?)

He even took the time to show me poor examples of fatherhood in the Bible so that I was comforted in knowing that this was far from a modern phenomenon. And then He taught me about real love with 1 Corinthians 13 and how one of the best indicators of a good father is how a man accepts the role of “coverer”. Not just to cover a woman, but to cover his business or place of employ; how he covers his friends; how he covers his family…HIS mother and father and siblings. If a man is willing to cover ONE WOMAN and those with whom he surrounds himself properly in the exercise of COVENANT…not to stamp them into submission but to encourage them into God’s vision of FAMILY and PURPOSE, that man will be a GOOD FATHER.

My relationship with God as my Father has been the thing that redeemed my hope in the institution of Fatherhood. My hope for fathers been grounded and now flourishes because of the men of my church.

I am privileged to worship with a church heavily populated by REAL MEN. Men of a variety of races, denominations, backgrounds and financial statuses come together several times a week to pray and fellowship and worship with their families and each other. Fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, cousins, mentors and friends…they are all over the Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Alsip, IL. I have never known the kind of unconditional love and support that I have experienced there. I take immense pride in the relationships I have with these wonderful, imperfect-yet-always-striving COVERERS!

Now, I have fathers: Like my Senior Pastor, Dan Willis, who corrects and reproves me and tells me he loves me and encourages me in my calling, like Daddy Walt Otto, who comes into church in a white 10-gallon hat kisses me on my cheek and calls me “Young’un”. Like Rick Lett and Frank Cruz who encourage and pray for me.

I have brothers: like Jerome Lockett, whom I’ve known since I was a teen-ager and was the first man EVER in my life to say, “She knows what she’s doing, leave her alone and let her work!” Like Asanti Socrates, Cory Dortch and Gregory Johnson, whom I’ve known since they were teen-agers, sitting on my living-room floor, eating chili and watching movies. Like Chris Duffin and Ethan Noyes, with whom I can laugh and toast, who hear my tears and will sit with me without words until the tears dry. I have a host of sons beyond the two I bore…too many to count or name. All of them the products of ONE GOOD FATHER and they take His example and perpetuate it in our congregation and everywhere they go.

The bottom line, I have discovered is, if fatherhood was easy, every man would do it and the crime rate would be miniscule. But it CAN BE DONE…WELL.

And to those of you who understand what that means and are not afraid to go at it with the dedication and determination to really be fathers, I wish you a warm and grateful HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daddy Walt
    Jun 14, 2012 @ 16:42:32

    Way toooooooo go ‘young’ un”

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  2. keplay
    Jun 16, 2012 @ 21:29:18

    Well put Janeé. I KNEW my father but didn’t get to KNOW him later on in life b4 he passed away of multiple illnesses. Nevertheless God brought us closer together b4 his death. God always put people in our paths for growth. Some will come for a season & some will stay FOREVER! Bless you…….

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  3. Miranda
    Jun 17, 2012 @ 18:16:20

    This is beautifully written. you’re amazing.

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  4. matasha
    Jun 19, 2012 @ 09:58:41

    It is great to read your perspective and see your journey. I had a loving, encouraging, Christ-focused dad and I will never take that for granted and I don’t know where I would be if he had not been there to guide me. When I was 17 and he died I never had to worry because he already put in the best care, in God’s hands.More perspectives, it is enlightening!

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  5. Kaleidoscope Perspectives
    Jun 14, 2014 @ 14:07:41

    Reblogged this on Kaleidoscope Perspectives and commented:

    UPDATE: I would like to take this opportunity to include my good friend and ex-husband Tracy Smith, Sr. in the number of those to whom honor is due with regard to Father’s Day. At the time of this original post, we were in the middle of an 18 month period where we had no contact whatsoever. My heart was still very injured and I did not have the wherewithal to speak about him objectively.

    Today, we are amicably divorced and it has made room in our hearts to be more effective co-parents to our sons even as young adults. He has been more present for them (and me) than he had been in many, many years.

    He has always done his best to support his sons, even when he did not understand their vision and because of his presence in their lives they understand work ethic and have a strong sense of honor for obligation. I honor you, Tracy for everything you have been to your sons and would not trade our friendship for anything (not even to have our marriage back). God bless you, old friend.

    And, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to every dad, uncle, mentor, pastor…and even to the moms who have had to fill the void in some form or fashion.

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