I thought over whether I should write two letters- -one for Father’s Day and one for your birthday, or just put them in one letter. And after some careful thirty second consideration, I went with one letter, because then it would be more special. Also because I was lazy and didn’t want to take the time to figure out which compliments and encouragements should be in the Father’s Day letter, or in your birthday letter. So all in all, consider this the ultra-special letter your eldest son wrote because he loves you.
Being the oldest in the family, I feel a sense of responsibility towards my siblings to protect them, take care of them, and love them. Sometimes I even think of them as practice dummies (not to be rude) for how I should act as a father. Especially when I’m babysitting, I try to do it the way you and Mom would do it. But though Mom certainly is a great example on how to be a great parent, most times I look up to you. I want to be just like you when I grow up. It’s true, and I’m not just saying that because it’s Father’s Day. I mean, sure, you’ve got your countless flaws, but that’s what makes you so relatable, and overall an incredible guy. The fact that you see your sins and are willing to face them shows the marks of a true man. The fact that you never talk highly about yourself but praise everyone else, especially God, tells a lot about who you are on the inside. You love over and over and over again, no matter what you’re going through. You have always had faith in God and have only made big choices if you’ve prayed over them for a long time. You know the Scriptures better than most people I know, and you are a wise Berean. And I couldn’t be prouder of what God has done in your life.
Being humble and kind is a fantastic trait, and I praise God for it. But though I don’t think many people have this problem, you are one of those few who can think too lowly of yourself and focus too much on how great everyone else is. You are a great encourager, especially toward Mom, but you don’t accept encouragement or praise if you can help it, which is not a good thing. Though it can be funny, it can also be annoying when we try to serve you and you don’t let us. You recognize your sin, but you need to start focusing more on the fact that Jesus forgave your sins. I know that sometimes you feel like a failure, like we don’t love you and you’re not good enough. Know this: under no circumstances has that ever been true. You are deeply loved by your wife, kids, and friends. In fact, your kids love you JUST as much as Mom, not less. And your wife is NOT disappointed in you. I know you joke about how we love to spend more time with Mom because she’s more fun and always says yes, but I know you think it’s true. It’s not. Mom is a people person who loves to say yes, therefore she is usually the person we go to when we are in search of a fun activity or we’re asking if we can do something. We naturally go to Mom for those things, but who do we go to when we need the name of Spock’s planet, or when a term in the Bible confuses us, or when we need someone to help us fix a toy? You. Not saying that Mom can’t do those things, but you can usually do it better. True, Mom is usually the yes person, and you are usually the no person, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the word no. The restriction in the word no is like a discipline, it may not seem fun at first, but there are always good reasons for it. If it weren’t for the many no’s you’ve given to us over the years, life wouldn’t go the way God wanted it to. Believe that.
Though I haven’t seen the majority of your life go by, I can tell you’ve grown massively in Spiritual fruits in the last few years. You’ve messed up countless times, and you will continue to do so until you die, but every time you mess up only gets you closer to the man God wants you to be. I can tell you that when your wife looks at you, she thinks, “I married this man, and I got no regrets!” And when we look at you, we think, “I got him as a Dad? Dang, we lucky!” Because we love you for who you are, not for who you wish you were. So Bill Bell, know that you are a great man because of Jesus, and continue to love and do what’s right.
Happy Father’s Day, and your Birthday,
Tears b/c I see Jesus in the story and all over the Family!
How very Liam-ish. Funny and poignant at the same time. He has a pretty good handle on his Dad. Glad both of them are part of our lives.