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A Fatherís Love
By Tammie Smith

Excitedly opening the gift, I take off the bow and unwrap the paper. I remove the box top and find the prettiest blue silk nightgown I had ever seen. Being five years old, a silky nightgown was special. The box also held an adorable stuffed raccoon and a box of candies. This was a present from the man my mother was going to marry in a few short months. I didn't know what this meant, but I knew I was getting a daddy.

I was the flower girl at the wedding and I don't remember much from that day. I have been told that all during the ceremony I kept pulling on my future daddy's sleeve saying, "Can I call you daddy now?" According to my mother, before the preacher said, "I now pronounce you husband and wife," my new daddy bent down and told me I could now call him Daddy.

You see, I had a real father but at that time I didn't know him. I had lived with my mom and my grandparents for most of my short life. So, I really wanted a daddy of my own. My cousin had a daddy, and I thought I needed one too. Although at first I didn't have his name, he was my daddy from the moment he said, "I do." He eventually adopted me and I took his name.

When I was young, he was always there with a gentle hug or knee to sit on if I was feeling sad. He was there to kiss away my hurts and listen to my cries. As I grew older, he listened to my endless chatter about school, friends and boys. He was always there for the big and small moments of my life. He taught me how to iron a shirt, drive a car and be a compassionate parent. He was always there to encourage me, help me and just be there for me, no matter what the situation. He loved me, even when I disappointed both him and myself. He was there with fatherly advice when my own kids were born.

He was there during what I thought was the worst time of my life, when my mother passed away. A girl really needs her mother, especially when she is twenty. There was so much I didn't know and I felt lost without her. My dad continued to do the same things he had always done. I don't think I could have made it through this time without his love.

Now that I live so far away, I miss being able to see my dad when I want to, but I know that he is only a phone call away. I am thankful for everything he has done for me over the years, but I am most thankful for his love. It is easy for me to imagine what God is like as a Father because of my earthly father.

I imagine that God, the Father, is a loving, compassionate and considerate parent. He can be very gently, yet he can be tough if needed. He loves each and every one of his children the same. He shows the way we should go, but he doesn't force us. If we falter, He still loves us and is always ready to give a comforting hug.

It is evident to me that my earthly father will always be with me in my thoughts and actions. My Heavenly Father is not any different; He never leaves my side and is just a call away whenever I need guidance, love and support.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving me a wonderful example of an earthly parent, to show me an example of Yourself. Father, help me to use this example in raising my own children so that I may also be an example of Your love. Amen
Tammie Smith is a US army wife, mother, and writer living in Germany. She is a member of European Protestant Women of the Chapel and a member of Christian Writer's Guild. She can be contacted at tammiekiren@yahoo.com.
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Photography by Stephanie Summerfield.