Saturday, June 18, 2005

My Daddy: A Man After God's Own Heart

It is already early Saturday morning and I am just getting a chance to sit down to compose this for my daddy. I thought that since we will be in Eugene on Father's Day, I would go ahead and make this my gift to him. I cannot even begin to express the immeasurable blessing my daddy has been in my life. There are too many blessings that I have received from him to even begin to recount in the space given in this blog, however, I will share the three things about the most special man in my life, besides Jesus. These are the things I cherish most about the man I am honored to call my father.

The first and most beautiful thing about this man I love is the way that he loves the Lord. This love is by no means fake, it is 100% authentic and it is an all-encompassing force that seeps into every single aspect of his character and the way that he lives out his daily journey. Throughout Scripture, Jesus calls all of his disciples into relationship-- with him and especially with one another. It is the quality of these relationships that shows the world and other servants the degree of our commitment to the call of Christ. My daddy is a person who follows call for quality relationships very passionately. Second to investing himself in quality relationships, my daddy is a servant. He is a man who doesn't enjoy being in the limelight or in the center of attention in any way. I absolutely love the way that he uses humility to define every part of who he is. He is very often the one who would much rather wash dirty feet than to have his feet washed. My dad is a man who literally lives by the towel. I have been incredibly blessed to watch as my dad has lived out his faith, by word and deed. Daddy is a man of fervent prayer, mercy, grace, surrender, peace, and most of all love. The love he shares with others is a love that is abundant and very unconditional. It is a love that looks past station, race, and color. He proclaims a love that nourishes and revitalizes the soul. He is a man who the Lord knows intimately. My daddy is the most gentle, compassionate, merciful, humble, generous man I have known in all my life. He exemplifies the life of a favored disciple to me everyday, and for that I will never be the same.

The second most cherished thing about my daddy is the way he loves his church and the people who make up its Body. In addition to being an elder at Highland, my dad is a Huddle Leader for the sophomores in the fall and winter and he teaches in the sixth and seventh grade boys class in the summer. This is a man who is absolutely invested in people's lives. Kids flock to my dad. Age doesn't matter, I think one of the reasons is because he is genuinely interested in their lives and they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he cares what is going on. A Sunday doesn't pass that my dad isn't inendated with hugs, high-fives, and bright smiles. One run in with his firm, very warm, and very welcoming handshake and the gentle light in his eyes, and people are hooked, they know that he will never ever forget them. It is such an immense honor for me to be a part of a church that loves the leader of our family as lavishly as they love my daddy.

Finally, the third thing I cherish most about my dad is the way he leads our family. Beginning in the formative years of my faith and continuing to this day, my dad has made a point to allow the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit to be the central focal point of the home that he has established. He has provided for our family a haven of unwavering support, affirmation, gentleness, peace, spiritual richness, and grace, and prayer. The presence of the Holy Spirit has always been invited and embraced in our home. Evidence of my parents faith is around every corner of our house, through the form of scriptures, pictures, crosses, and reminders that this is not our home. The Cunningham family is one whose citizenship is in Heaven. The thing I am most thankful for about my dad is the fact that he has taught and encouraged Grant and I to place our confidence in the One who loves and knows us even better than him. My foundation is firm and it is unswervingly strong because it has been built upon a faith, hope, joy, and peace that cannot and will not ever be shaken. My parents have both tirelessly invested their lives to instill in me a pursuit of the Lord that will never be quenched. I pray that I will never get enough. Wearing the Cunningham name is such an honor and blessing. My daddy is what Isaiah describes as an oak of righteousness, a firm planting for the display of His splendor. Thank you Lord for choosing me as one of the witnesses to the life of this man, my dad. I love him more and more everyday that I grow older and wiser. He is yours now and always.


Rob Cunningham said...

Lauren...Of all the gifts I have ever recieved for Fathers Day....This is the best! WOW....Who is this man you are describing? As we begin our journey to Eugene to help the church there.....I am thankful for my daughter of faith. I love you with all my heart. Dad

judy thomas said...

You are right in all counts. I miss your dad.