I've been a little teary over the last few weeks. Mom and I were talking about it, as we come up on the fifth anniversary of my dad going to be with Jesus.
"It's not the anniversary that's getting to me," I said to her. "It's what I see happening in my own life."
My dad loved to delight people by surprising them with service or gifts. He was the man who went up to our family cabin early one December, just to put lights on the outside tree and surprise the grandkids by lighting the tree when it turned dark.
He was the man who referred to himself as the "gas fairy," as he often snuck to my car and unexpectedly filled the tank.
He was the man who drove 12 hours from Wyoming to visit us here in Montana, showed us a cooler full of elk meat, and asked if we had a place to store it. When we said no, he commanded Matt to hop in the truck. They drove straight to an appliance store and came back with an upright freezer.
Dad had crinkles at the corners of his eyes, and they crinkled most deeply when he was surprising someone with an unexpected gift or act of service. He seemed boyishly happy in those moments.
I might be getting some of those crinkles.
"I think I might be more and more like dad," I was telling Mom. Just this Saturday, I bought two pints of buttermilk and snuck them in the fridge for Aunt Noanie to enjoy. Just wanted to see her smile. Then this act made me cry, because I could see myself acting like my own father. That's a good thing. He was a generous, kind man, and I hope so much to be like him.
After buying buttermilk, I went to church that night, and the preacher talked about the incredible day when God formed the first people on this earth. He made them in his image, which I believe means their eyes crinkled for the same reasons His did.
Listen to these verses I discovered this morning:
[in Jesus] you put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph. 4:22-24).
We were created to be like God, but this was corrupted. Until Jesus came and offered restoration. As we learn to take on the attitude of Jesus in every aspect of our lives, we can regain our resemblance to the Creator.
I just turned 50, you know, and I can feel the slow decay of my body. But not my insides! My insides are getting newer and newer. I'm growing in self-discipline and in learning how to serve others. Still a long way to go, for sure, but I am growing. Some of the good qualities that were in my earthly father are coming to life in me. Doesn't that make sense? If sin had never entered the world, wouldn't generations of children have learned and inherited only beautiful qualities from their parents, qualities which were reflections of God's divine nature?
Oh, look at me tearing up again. Kleenex, please.
You guys, while our bodies are getting older, inwardly we can walk with God and see more and more of His characteristics shining out of our own lives. We are being made new, and maybe it's because our Father delights in surprising us with goodness.
This article originally appeared at christyfitzwater.com.
Christy Fitzwater is an author and pastor's wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the author of Blameless: Living A Life Free from Guilt And Shame and My Father's Hands: 52 Reasons to Trust God with Your Heart. Find her devotional writing at christyfitzwater.com.
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