Sunday, June 19, 2011


As I write this, we're about three hours into Father's Day 2011 and already it's been my best ever.  For sure it's been quite a journey as a father these last twenty years.  I've made tons of mistakes along this "learning process" way, but here's one I won't make any more.  I'll no longer think of it as "my day.  It's my son's day for all practical purposes.

Best ever?  Here's why.  For the first time, I'm not thinking about what surprise might come my way.  I could really care less if I even get a present.  What I desire is for my sons to know me better, how much I love them, what my hopes and dreams are for their futures and why God is so important in their lives.  That's it.

Last night my middle son Jonathan texted me a Happy Father's Day.  Hours before the day, mind you.  His message was littered with words that I'd been hoping to hear from him for years.  Without question, this has been a transformation on his part but it's taken the two of us to change our ways.  Thankfully we're both alive to see this about-face.  Some aren't so fortunate.

Sons and Daughters Praying to A Father

Today, I think of all the thousands of soldiers who are away from family....and those that are dads and those that are sons and daughters.  For the first time ever, I won't have all my sons with me on this day.  I KNOW the heartache you're going through.  I miss my oldest son, Kristopher, who is stationed in Afghanistan immensely.  He has less than a week before he leaves his Forward Operating Base to head back to the States.  Think our family isn't anxious?  Think panic isn't about to set in, if it hasn't already?   Here are the simple answers, yes on the first count and no on the second.

Of course we're anxious, we want Kris home safe and sound, but we're not panicky. In fact, I hadn't even thought about that part of it until yesterday.  Pastor Michael Hurst of Elim Christian Church in Des Moines delivered a wonderful sermon in regards to the storms in our lives and how faith is our answer.  Perhaps these verses (Matthew 8:23-27) can help provide an image:
"Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.   The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"   He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

Obey.  A short four letter word that means to carry out or fulfill the command.  It means being faithful and staying the course.  It means looking past your present situation and focusing on God to calm your storms, ....whatever they might be.  "Is your problem bigger than God",  Pastor Hurst questioned.

Is your problem you've lost connection with your teen-age daughter who seeks her peers acceptance rather than listening to you?  Are you and your father arguing over some senseless "prideful" hurt neither one of you wants to give into?  Did your father pass away without you ever telling him how much he meant to you?  Did your son commit suicide and are you blaming yourself for not being a better father?  If any of these situations fit you or something with a familiar ring to it, don't panic.  Rest in God's assurance of your faith that he will provide the proper direction.

We're another hour into Father's  Day 2011.  My youngest son, Jordan, just walked in the back door.  He spent part of the night at a friends house after a late night of work at a local grocery store.  Was I anxious he wasn't home?  Sure.  But was I panicky?  No.  Because this is what I need to do as a Father.  I have to help calm the storms rather than fan the winds.  I need to offer encouragement when it appears none is present.  And I need to listen when it's time to soothe an attitude.  More than anything, I've come to realize that I don't need to have all the answers.  Because when I don't.....God will.        




  1. Have a blessed Father's Day John Kelling. This is a powerful message. You're a wonderful role model to your sons.
    Ephesians 6:4
    Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.


  2. Happy Father's Day to all our brave fathers who have sons and daughters in the military. Thanks John for being a support for your boys and other troups!

    -Kim Coulter

  3., thanks so much. How the heck are you???