I keep a couple pairs of my daddy’s cowboy boots in my entry way. They just sit there on a mat next to the closet door, to remind me. They remind me of the person I want to become, the person I think God needs me to become.
When I was little, from the moment I remember, I was obsessed with my father. I wanted to be near him, I wanted to be with him, I wanted to be like him.
As my siblings and I would scramble out to the car on a Sunday morning, I would hurry out so that I could sit between Mom and Dad, nestled between them in the big old Plymouth’s front seat.
At church, I’d hurry in, wearing my little brown dress with the orange flowered smocking at the top, white anklets with lace, and black patent leather shoes. I towed my Bible in my right hand, while my left hand held Daddy’s.
“What I want to be when I grow up is a pastor. I want to tell everyone about Jesus. That, and I want to be the lady with the big, tall hair who plays the piano.”
My daddy would smile and encourage me that until the day I was taken from this world, it was my job to let people know about Jesus. That was 50 years ago. In that time I have worked hard to teach people about a Savior and lead worship to six congregations.
As a child growing up, my father was present. He was there for piano recitals, band concerts, meetings with teachers, and meetings with pastors. He cheered me on when no one else did. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. And he loved me so genuinely that it taught me how to love. He prayed so tenaciously, that it taught me how to pray. He loved God and music so passionately, that it taught me to do the same.
When I went through difficult times, my dad prayed with me.
When I fell down, my dad would pick me up and ask me what I learned from the fall.
When people around me let me down, Dad would say it was a lesson on who to trust.
When I prayed and didn’t get an answer, Dad would encourage me that waiting was the answer.
And for the most part, whatever I didn’t know about life but thought I did, Dad helped me along the way.
He loved genuinely. He laughed heartily. He felt deeply. He appreciated greatly. He gave willingly. He acknowledged the broken and lifted them up.
He reminded me of someone. Someone who we read about, someone who we prayed to, someone who we believed died on a cross for our sins.
Yes, he was someone who I could only hope to emulate, because he strived to emulate the One we followed … the One I follow.
He was like Jesus.
And my hope is that when I see those boots on the mat, that every day that I walk out my front door and see those boots sitting there, I will be reminded that he was a wise and wonderful man who loved me and loved God.
I want to be like that for my husband, my children, my friends, my God, my world.
They are big boots to fill, but I’m trying, Daddy. I’m really trying.