I may not have had the best male role models growing up but God certainly inserted one of the best I’ve ever met into my life when I was just 18. He was my Basic Training cadre instructor at West Point Military Academy and I met him when I was at my very worst.
For heaven’s sake, they had just dry-cut my hair! THINK: butcher with scissors grabs a bunch of your hair while it’s still dry and SCHOOMP! cuts it down to the scalp! They had taken away my makeup and put me in short shorts with tall socks and dress shoes!
TWO WORDS: Total Humiliation. I was afraid and young and in the process of being broken down completely to become not-yet-an-officer-but-right-now-a-plebe.
I was not in the place to be anything close to pretty or affable or attractive in any way. God and the U. S. Army made that clear.
But this guy laughed. Often. So much so we thought he was crazy because he wasn’t yelling at us and hustling us around the barracks.
This guy had incredible character, one that made our entire squad willing to do whatever he told us to do just to make him happy. And when you’re in the military, that means that he inspired us to obey for the greater good of our squad, even if it were to mean our death.
He was in the pit with me when I threw my first grenade. He helped me qualify on my M-16 by correcting my scope sights when the sergeant messed them up on purpose because he didn’t want the likes of me, a woman, there at the academy.
God somehow made this guy my husband and now he is the best father to our kids.
His daddy is pretty amazing (praise God for you, Jack Mackenzie!) and I am ever thankful for the role my father-in-law has played in my life as a stand-in dad. What a man of God he is–uncompromising, above reproach, truthful, kind and compassionate. Christopher is a chip off the old block.
My father-in-law, the legendary Coach Jack Mackenzie, with our little Isabella. He was explaining something profound to her…
Sometimes we may not have what everyone else seems to have. That’s okay. It creates a longing and emptiness inside and when the right thing comes along–what God has for us–all becomes right in the world.
I am so happy for everyone else who had great, strong father figures inside their homes all along as they grew up–every child needs that! Thankfully, I had teachers, coaches and an amazing uncle (and his family that I used to visit many summers) who filled that void for me as a child. As an adult, I have had incredible managers and bosses who also bridged the gap, showing me how a real man acts and treats ladies and how in turn, I could respect myself and others more. And I cannot discount my wonderful pastors and Bible teachers–they are the ones who have shown me Who my beloved Father is.
We can complain all day long about what we didn’t get and how life has let us down, but I just wanted to shout out to every man who lives out his life as God would have him do. Gentlemen, you impact others without knowing it. You help parent the fatherless and the orphans. You are necessary simply because you ARE a man and act like it.
In the indomitable words of A. W. Tozer:
“The most critical need of the church at this moment is men, bold men, free men. The church must seek, in prayer and much humility, the coming again of men made of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made.”
My husband, Christopher, truly who is the father to the fatherless and a helper to orphans and widows…and is a great shot with an M-16.