Here is an announcement I wrote for my Facebook Cause “Dads Protecting Daughters”):
In creating this cause (Dads Protecting Daughters) to protect my daughters (and son), I thought of it as primarily addressing the threats from the outside- the political/cultural/economic ones. But recently I had a skin cancer scare (should be ok- surgery is June 17 appreciate your prayers).
Suddenly I was forced to consider some very scary “what ifs?”. I had just assumed I would be around to ground my daughters with a father’s affections and wisdom. That I would be the one who would meet and speak with their potential suitors. That I would be a primary force in their tender years, taking on the world for their sake. I would be there to help my wife in all the work that it takes to raise and tend to three dynamic little ones and future teens. But the initial cancer diagnosis hit me totally off guard. I thought I was spiritually prepared for anything but the loss of one of my children- I don’t believe I could ever be “ready” for that.
With my complete faith in Christ, I don’t have a lot of fear of death for myself, but when I thought I may be dying suddenly I felt the possible impact on my wife and children. We are a really tight knit family, I call us a little tribe. What would happen if papa went on his way to heaven?
Well, papa learned that he has to work harder to prepare everyone for the realities of death separation- it is always painful to separate- I miss my family every day when I am off to work for only 8 hours- so imagine what it feels like to consider being physically apart for long decades? It hurts big-time. But it is never too early to start the communication and education about the tough parts of the faith. We already have one child in heaven- we named her Talitha- she was miscarried very early during my wife’s third pregnancy. My girls pray for her and ask for her prayers every night, they draw pictures of her, we talk casually about her, and sometimes we get sad- and it is all ok. Blessed are those who mourn.
Heaven is an absolutely great deal, but there is a painful process of dying and separating that must be faced. And we don’t always get a lot of notice for these big events. So my advice is to help protect your daughters by talking more, not less about death and how your faith relates to this inevitability. Also try to grow in your humility and gratitude for God, for Jesus Christ, for your family, your little ones in particular. Be even more patient and kind, and be more open about your faith. We all hope and pray for long and holy lives for ourselves and for our loved ones. But all we can know for sure is that everything works to the good for those who believe. So pray for Christ to increase your faith. Open your arms, your minds, and your hearts wider still for the Holy Spirit to come in and fill more and more of your being.
And on a practical note- be aware of your physical health- if it is time for a check-up- get going! Are you genetically susceptible to some disease or condition? Get tested. I am a fair-haired, fair-skinned middle-aged man living in Florida- skin cancer is a real possibility for me, how about you? Treat your temple of the Holy Spirit- your body- well. Exercise, eat healthy- don’t throw years away for no good reason. Some will die as martyrs for great causes- longevity is not the greatest good. But for many of us, our mission in life may be just to take great care of our kids, deliver them over to their adult selves, safe, sound, and spiritually prepared. And most of all, knowing that they are Loved- loved by you, and Loved even more by God. Faith and loving works are the greatest ways to protect your daughters, with your life witness as your truest and greatest legacy. I pray all of us with children will live abundant and healthy lives, holy witnesses who will witness the marriages and the grandchildren of those we are pouring ourselves out for today. I love my children and my wife- it doesn’t hurt to remind them of this- maybe 20 times a day until they are sick of hearing it- believe me my daughters act like they are sick of my constant “love talk”, but I know it makes a very nice impression on their souls. I love life, I look forward to an eternal life devoted to Love. Thanks for supporting this cause with your own prayers and good will.