Father’s Day: An Earthly Glimpse of Heavenly Love

Daddy was the first. The first one I loved unconditionally. I first one I loved unselfishly.

Other loves came and went. Some even came and stayed, like the precious love of my dear husband. But my love for Daddy was the first that was totally pure—void of bias and ulterior motive.

Every encounter, every memory of my daddy was one of tenderness and gentility. Even as a child, I was enraptured by his words, captivated by his laugh, and thrilled by his presence. And although I gave him many opportunities to be angry, I never felt his anger. I felt his hurt instead. I could see the disappointment in his eyes…and it broke my heart.

Daddy didn’t have to use anger to rule me. He had my devotion; and devotion was a much greater incentive to obey.

I know my daddy made many mistakes, some of which were life-changing for those around him. But he succeeded in one area of his life that was most important to him. I never questioned his love.

It was only after his death that I realized the purity, the simplicity, the uniqueness of that love. No angles, no checks and balances, no give and take…just give. And that’s what he did. He sacrificially gave his approval, his comfort, his encouragement, his love.

He’s been gone 18 years, yet his wise words still speak to me everyday. “Your husband is a rock, lean on him.” “Your children are your legacy, build them.” “Your grandmother was a saint, and you’re just like her.”

Daddy was wrong about one thing—I’m not a saint. But because of him, I am striving to reflect the love and gentleness of my Heavenly Father, the One Who loves me unconditionally, void of bias and ulterior motive. And even though He has a right to be angry with my sin and disobedience, He loves me with a pure and simple love. No angles, no checks and balances, no give and take…just give. And that’s what He did—His life for my sin.

I’ll never be able to fully understand the depth of God’s love for me, but because of Daddy, I’ve had an earthly glimpse into the nature of my Heavenly Father. I can believe He loves me beyond measure. I can believe He would take me in His arms and comfort me. I can believe He would die for me, because I know real daddies die for their children.

My daddy wasn’t perfect, I know that. But his unconditional love and sacrificial life pointed me to the One Who was and is exactly that…perfect. Because of my earthly daddy, I will never question my Heavenly Father’s love.

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

Vonda Skelton

Vonda is a speaker, writer, and motivational humorist who is thankful God can take her messes and use them for His glory. She's the author of four books, owner of The Christian Writer's Den blog, and founder of Christian Communicators, an organization to help educate, validate, and launch women in their speaking ministries. Vonda and her husband have been married all their lives--and they're still happy about it! www.VondaSkelton.com

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24 comments

  1. A very touching tribute to your earthly father, Vonda. Oh, the blessing of having an earthly father who reflects the heavenly Father’s love to his children. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Vonda, how blessed you are that your Dad was a little taste of Heaven in a world were so many women are not similarly situated. I hope the Lord will enable you to use your gifts to communicate that truth to women who have a hard time trusting men because their fathers were not trustworthy!

  3. I didn’t have such a father, but I did have a god-father in my life who was much like your daddy.

    The worst thing in the world to me was to hear him say “Oh, daughter…” with that note of hurt disappointment in his voice. His love and admonition formed a great part of who I am today.

    We have been blessed to have these special men in our lives. He has been gone for 55 years, and I still miss him.

    1. Yes, we have been blessed, Judith. My mother was the disciplinarian in our family and she was quite stern. When I would do something wrong, she’d sometimes give me the choice between a spanking or a “talking-to” from my daddy. I’d take the spanking anytime. It hurt much less than my daddy’s words of disappointment. That’s quite an incentive!

  4. What a wonderful tribute to your daddy, and what a legacy he gave you. Reading this caused me to reflect on the difference between my stern rigid provider, my Dad and how different his love was but also how similar to God’s love for me. I may have questioned his approval, but never his love. Thank you!

    1. Tina, yes, he did leave a blessed legacy. During my own parenting years that I’d often hear his words and try to elicit the same response from my kids. Sadly, it rarely worked on them like it did on me!

  5. Vonda,
    What a beautiful post and tribute to your dad! What stood out to me the most is how you never saw anger in his eyes, only disappointment. What a perspective of godly parenting! Thank you for sharing. I now have a new outlook on how to correct my children in love…

    1. With tears pooling in his big ol’ brown eyes, he’d tenderly say, “Vonda, I can’t believe you did that…” and I’d fall apart! A spanking did nothing!

  6. Sheesh, Vonda! I’m practically a puddle here. He must have been so proud of you. Thank you for sharing. This makes me so thankful for my sweet daddy too. He and my mother will celebrate their 50th next year! Love that earthly picture of heavenly love.

    1. Goodness, reading your post made me a puddle. I miss him so much! He would be thrilled to see what I’m doing now. But he knew…and was so proud. I wrote that first horribly-written book in 1993 and for Christmas that year, I printed it out, put it in a binder, and gave it to my parents for Christmas. You should have seen him! He acted as if I had written a Pulitzer Prize-winnning novel! Introduced me to all his friends as his daughter, the writer.

      Little did he know how prophetic that would be! Well, not the Pulitzer Prize-winning part… 🙂

  7. Reminds me of my daddy.
    🙂 Bet my daddy could beat your daddy! 🙂
    We were blessed!!
    I grieve for those who had dead beat daddy’s.

  8. Vonda, what a wonderful tribute to your father. Those of us who were blessed to have such loving fathers can more readily grasp the concept of a heavenly father who loves us. I am thankful I had such a daddy too. Unfortunately, when I got married the first time, I thought all men were like my daddy. I was terribly disappointed to find out I was wrong, and my children did not get the godly father I had. I just hope and pray they will see that example in their stepfather, who displays godly acceptance. Thank you for sharing your father with us and for reminding us of the unconditional love our heavely Father has for us.

  9. Wonderful words of encouragement. As a father, it’s my desire to make my children feel loved and through our relationship, learn to trust the Heavenly Father.

  10. Vonda, thank you for sharing your love for your father. i am blessed with a wonderful father as well. He is the one person who as been my biggest fan all of my life,. There is no one quite like him and he taught me about the love of God and I owe who I am today because of who is was and continues to be to me.

    1. Pam, I’m sorry I missed your comment earlier. Your dad sounds just like mine. My daddy truly was my biggest fan. You and I were both so blessed.

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