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This is Fatherhood.

This is Fatherhood.

We believe that fathers and father figures play such a vital role in our families and community as they lay down their lives, provide for, and love extravagantly like Jesus does. We are so grateful to have such incredible fathers laying a strong and healthy foundation in our faith community. We celebrate these men on Father’s Day and throughout the year.

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We celebrate the ways that fathers provide the security and comfort that becomes our safe haven of Home.

“One thing that stands out the most about Fatherhood to me is the feeling of home. Home for me has changed a lot in the past 15 years. Home used to be where I grew up with my Mom and Dad. It turned into my home with Alli, then very quickly turned into a refuge for hurting kids who needed more love than their bio parents or caregivers could give. Home was a chaotic mess of things to get done and social workers to see and be seen by. Fatherhood took on many different forms: Temporary, adoptive, foster long-term and short-term, late nights on the phone with police, and sitting in on counseling sessions. Then, more recently, home became what it is today, where my family is safe, and social workers don’t have to come by. It’s always crazy but there’s a peace.

As a foster/adoptive father I’m always having to redefine the image of what a father is in the minds of the kids or teens that come into our house. Many, if not all, foster kids have a terrible vision of what or who a father is supposed to be because of past hurts or abuse. Being a good father is not about how much you can buy for your kids or how many theme parks you can afford to take everyone, it’s about how much love you can dish out at any moment. Some moments are harder than others, but if it’s not love you’re giving it’s not worth the dust you came from. My kids and I don’t share any physical DNA, but if you ask them, they know who their real Father is and who they can turn to here on earth. I’m privileged to be the one here on earth who’s been gifted these kids.”

-Marco Rangel, Dad of 4, Former Foster Dad to 15

We celebrate dads who choose to be present in the lives of their kids everyday.

“Being present and in the moment with your kids is what defines Fatherhood to me. It allows you as a dad to make memories with your kids and for them to have those experiences which will have an impact for a lifetime. It’s not just the high moments (sports, vacation, Saturday activities, etc.). It’s being there for the practices, being there when homework is happening, and dinner is ready. It’s where life happens and the small experiences are shared and relationship is built. This value plays out differently in each season in the lives of our kids. Choose to be present and adjust to the change as you continue to be “in the moment” with your kids. Life is about shared experiences. It’s looking back and remembering the moments you were there. It’s the games you coached, the practices you were at, moments before bed to talk with your kids, dancing and goofing around, watching TV shows they are into and choosing to be into whatever they love. For me it’s getting into their world rather than having them come into mine.

Because I have chosen to be present, my kids and I have a real relationship. We want to be together. This has opened the door up for them to feel comfortable to talk with me about life. They know that I am there for them, their greatest fan, cheerleader, and coach. It’s not about being the cool dad, but about being the present dad who is there for them when they need me most.”

-Michael Unruh, Dad of 2

We celebrate dads who prayerfully entrust their kids and families into the faithful hands of God.

When I was a young father I had all kinds of ideas how to parent by controlling the environment, behavior and habits of my sons. What I found out is that as a father, I really have very little control. Did you ever wonder why each child in a household is so different?  What I discovered is that the only one who controls the outcomes of the universe, and the outcomes of the lives of my kids and grandkids, is The Lord. For me, prayer is the most effective tool I have. I have literally logged thousands of hours of prayer for my family and I trust God to deliver the answers that fit into His plan for me and my family.  Being a father is simple and yet complicated and I am so glad that my Heavenly Father has all of my family wrapped in His hands.”

-Dave Gobeille, Dad of 2, Grandpa to 3

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We celebrate dads who carry the responsibility of fatherhood with strength and humility.

“Fatherhood in a word means, ‘Responsibility.’ There is no substitution for the role a dad plays in the shaping and molding of a child. God created fathers to protect, teach, provide, guide, love and to lay down his life for them. My job is to model what it looks like to be a man in this world, how a husband should treat his wife in word and in deed, what a healthy relationship should look like, how to work with your hands, to problem solve, how to be vulnerable and humble, how to ask for forgiveness when I’m wrong, and how to live a life that honors God. How I live my life directly impacts my kids’ view of God and what it means to have a heavenly father. Geesh, No pressure! No one will have the impact in this short window of time that I will. This is both humbling and terrifying to think about, but it also is incredibly motivating.

It has driven me to be ruthless with my schedule and to make sure I am carving out time with my wife and kids. I help run our family business and play music year round so this is not easy. I have to really get to know my kids as individuals and find out what makes them tick if I’m going to speak into their lives in a language they can hear. They have to know that I see them and value them individually and not just as a pack of wild kids. My girls need to know that I love them unconditionally if they are to understand that kind of love from Jesus. I want them to know that their value does not come from what they do or don’t do, how they act, or how they look. They are valued because they are MINE! This is, of course, a daily fight with wins and losses. Some days I am a champion and others I am a total failure, but God has equipped me to be enough and he will fill in the blanks. No ‘Daddy Issues’ in the name of Jesus!”

– Michael Summers, Dad of 4 Girls

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We celebrate dads who sacrifice in so many ways for their families everyday.

“Fatherhood, to me, means sacrifice. I have always felt that the heart of Jesus is sacrifice for His children and I wanted to follow His example. When my oldest of four children was 12 years old, I realized that as a Christian Father, it was my responsibility to sacrifice whatever was necessary for the good of my family. I also knew that I needed to be intentional about it or it would never happen, as life is so busy. As my kids went through school, I began planning monthly “one-on-one” lunches with each of them (my kids still tell me this is one of their best childhood memories). I started volunteering to coach on their school athletic teams. I spoke words of encouragement wherever possible, and spent time praying for each of them as they walked through the triumphs and struggles of life. I made every effort to be present. I still do my very best to do all of the above for my children, who are now grown, and my grandchildren. I am not a perfect father by any means but when I fail, I get up, dust off, learn from my mistakes, and keep going. Today, I enjoy wonderful, deep, love-filled relationships with my kids. I live near my three girls and they bring my wife and I such joy. And now, I get to watch them bring up their own children with the same sacrificial love. I am a blessed father indeed.”

– Cliff Murray, Dad of 4, Grandpa to 15, & Great-grandpa to 2

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