As I mentioned before, I was born with a perforated intestine and spent my first few months of life in the hospital going through multiple surgeries. My parents would take turns staying through the night with me and my dear wonderful daddy would stay up all night long holding me and brushing my little tufts of hair.
Dad had a tough life--with an alcoholic father his family was dirt-poor, but he didn't make excuses and always sought to be better. He worked hard from his early teens and went on to college where he got involved with Campus Crusade for Christ--and his life changed! Not only did he meet and fall in love with my gorgeous mom, but he also developed a passion for college ministry & spreading the gospel, which he has now been involved with for over 30 years!
dad & mom in the early days
snazzy in the 70s!
Dad and I had our hard times--mostly during those ridiculous teenage years when I made bad choices about boys--but I think I finally matured and really came to appreciate the amazing man that he is when I started college and got involved in Crusade at WKU as well. I got to see my Daddy through the eyes of a young college student looking for purpose and direction. I saw how my peers respected and admired him. Realized that for longer than I had been alive, he had been a mentor, a teacher, even sometimes a surrogate father for students who did not have relationships with their real dads. And above all, he always pointed others to Jesus. It is crazy to think of the tens of thousands of people--all across the world--that my dad has influenced, whether it be through hearing him speak, being in a Bible study or discipleship with him, or in one of the classes that he teaches. But guess what? None of them have the kind of relationship that I have with him--yep, I'm pretty special! I get to be Thomas Weakley's oldest daughter :).
giving the graduation red towel to WKU CRU students
in his element--providing for and ministering to a group of international students for their first American Thanksgiving at his house
Both of my parents were very intentional about how they would raise us kids. They constantly sought to teach us about having a personal relationship with God and did everything possible to model a godly marriage and create special family traditions (even when I--as an obnoxious teenager--would do everything possible to ruin those traditions for everyone else!) My dad really showed us unconditional love, and it's crazy to me because he did not have a model of what that is supposed to look like. My heart still breaks over a fight we had when I was in that obnoxious stage--I told him that he was a horrible dad and he had no idea how awful it was to have a dad like him. He quickly corrected me on that and reminded me of what he had to live with as a child--I would never understand what it was to have to pick up my passed-out drunk father or to have to support my mom & siblings. I'm so thankful that I have a dad who is a man of character and who truly loves us with all his heart!
Just over four years ago hubs and I got married, and my dear beloved Daddy performed the ceremony on the front porch of my parents' lovely house. It was so special to me to have our wedding there and to have him not only give me away, but to perform the ceremony and make our wedding one that was glorifying to God. I only hope that someday if we have children, that we will be even half the parents that my Mom & Daddy are.
Here are some of my favorite memories & things that my dad has taught me:
- When I first started school he would take me out for breakfast everyone once in a while for "Daddy dates." We would usually go to Burger King and he would get a bacon egg & cheese croissant and I would get French toast sticks-sometimes we would split them :).
- He would also take me (and each of us kids) out for a Daddy date on our birthday--he would check us out of school and take us to the restaurant of our choice for a special lunch.
- We would go fishing when I was little and sometimes used corn as the bait--my sister (and may me too?) would eat it out of the can before we could use it. I would also call the fish a la Ernie from Sesame Street: "HEERE FISHY FISHY FISHY!!
- We spent several childhood summers in Daytona, Florida on the beach while on summer assignments with Campus Crusade. Dad would always take us out to play in the ocean, and when I was really little he would stick his hand under the sand and make a "sand moh-moh" (i couldn't yet say "monster")
- When we would take long car trips to Colorado or Florida he would sometimes wrap hot dogs in tin foil, lay them on top of the car engine under the hood, and then after driving for an hour like that we would have yummy car-grilled hot dogs for lunch!
- Dad would take on on family bike rides down to a donut shop in the neighborhood
- You know how kids always think that their Dads can do anything? Well, mine can! He laid concrete floors in the basement of our childhood home, basically rebuilt and restored their current home (build in 1848), he can fix cars and grill like a champ, as well as illustrate the gospel and having a spirit filled life on a napkin ;)
the grilling champ--he can grill burgers and hot dogs for over 100 hungry college students!
teaching hubs the ins and outs of home ownership--on the roof of course!
There are so many other stories and things I am thankful for about my Daddy but I will have to stop myself here for now. Thank you for being an amazing Godly father--I love you! Happy Father's Day!