“To remain little is to recognize one’s nothingness, to expect everything from God, as a little child expects everything from his father; it is to be disturbed about nothing, not to earn a fortune.” – St Therese of Lisieux
Today the Church celebrates the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, the “Little Flower.” As a little girl, Therese had big dreams. She desired to spend a long life serving as a missionary in foreign lands, she longed to do big things for God. Despite her lofty goals and her zeal to bring the Gospel to far off countries, Therese never made it out of the convent and died of tuberculosis at 24. Yet in the midst of her suffering, her failed plans, and her hidden life, her journal entries have influenced millions and Pope Saint John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church for her spiritual insights. So, what unique perspective did Saint Therese offer the Church? What was so profound about her understanding of God?
Simply put, Therese was thoroughly convinced that she was immensely and totally loved by God the Father. She was so sure of God’s love for her that she was unafraid of her weaknesses and shortcomings. Saint Therese of Lisieux prayed and lived as if God really was a loving Father who desired to provide for her every need.
As an adult concerned with bills to pay, I used to struggle in even imagining what childlike dependency looks like. Then I became a dad. Every day, multiple times a day, I’m given a glimpse into what neediness and dependency look like. My kids don’t hesitate to ask us for stuff, because they’re certain that we’ll give them whatever we can. But our children still have their moments when they forget who I am, when they grab for things I’ve told them not to take and they’re inexplicably certain that my wife and I are set on ruining their lives with our oppressive rules.
After six years of arguing with toddlers and failing to convince babies to go to sleep, I decided to write a book. Even in the midst of my impatience, my moods, my issues, and my imperfections, I know that my kids will never realize just how loved they are. This experience has pointed me to the reality that my love for my kids is only a faint shadow of God’s perfect love for me.
Best Dad Ever is the story, made up of a bunch of shorter stories, of how my kids introduced me to God the Father. Each chapter focuses on a lesson I’ve learned about the Father’s love through my own imperfect and broken attempts to love and provide for my kids. It’s not a manual for parenting or a list of my credentials. It’s just example after example of an incredibly undeserving dad experiencing glimpses of God the Father’s perfect love as I try to figure out how to keep my kids alive. This book is available free of charge, both as an eBook, an Audiobook Download and as a series of podcasts (launching soon).