The Blessing

I carry the blessing in my writing journal, tucked inside the front cover like a hidden treasure map. 

My father penned the blessing and gave it to me at a time, unbeknownst to him, when I really needed encouragement. I was struggling with what my life’s purpose was all about when his blessing came:

“Hi JoDee,

Thanks for thanking me for my text to you today.

I then had my little quiet time and read the encouragement of the day, and I thought that it really describes you (a true Barnabas). 

  1. Encourager
  2. Guide
  3. Coach
  4. Healer

That’s where your heart is.

Love Dad.”

*Barnabas means son of encouragement

When I turned over the paper he’d written the blessing on, I discovered words he’d highlighted written by Kristen Holmberg:

“We may not yet fully understand why or even how much wisdom and encouragement bring strength and healing to our daily lives. Yet the cheers and guidance of our parents, coaches, and colleagues seem to help us endure difficulty and steer us toward success.”

The featured scripture was Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Dad was proud of me, saw the work God had done in my life, and watched how I’d tried to encourage others. More than that, he noted the attributes I’d tried so hard to emulate, the kind of person I wanted to become, and he wanted me to know that it hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Recently, I couldn’t find the blessing.

Panic set in. 

What on earth could I have done with it? My mind raced. 

I always keep it in the front of my journal, I argued with myself.

Where could it have gone?

I felt like a part of me was missing, never to return unless I could find the blessing

The person my father saw through his eyes meant the world to me. 

She was the person I’d hope to become!

I searched high and low, in every nook and cranny. I’d gone through a particularly difficult time, having lost my youngest grandson, then two weeks of illness and isolation from Covid, followed by another two weeks of isolation from another illness. 

I’d suffered from depression like I’d never experienced before. My soul was as sick as my body. 

My mind tormented.

My faith tested.

My creativity cowered in the corner.

Inspiration seemed like a distant friend, and I wondered what it would feel like if it ever returned. My husband was away caring for his aging father, so the isolation was intense.

During these dark days, I was sustained by the blessing freely given from my husband, parents, children, family, and friends. Comforting words, encouraging texts, Facetime interactions, meals delivered from my children and their spouses, and even flowers delivered from my daughter-in-law while I was on the phone talking to her. 

They encouraged me.

Guided me.

Coached me.

Slowly, the blessing found its way into my soul and healed my bones. 

In the Old Testament, a father’s blessing meant everything to his child. The blessing affirmed character traits God had built into the person’s life, which the father acknowledged. The blessing prophesied of future events and sealed the child’s inheritance. 

Brothers battled over the blessing, like in the story of Jacob and Esau where Jacob stole his brother’s blessing (Genesis 27-29).

In the book of Genesis, one of my favorite biblical characters receives an amazing blessing from his father: 

““Joseph is a fruitful vine,
    a fruitful vine near a spring,
    whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
    they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
    his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
    because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
    blessings of the deep springs below,
    blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
    than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
    than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among his brothers.” Genesis 49:22-26

We all need our father’s blessing; his affirmation, his assurance that we are becoming the person God intended for us to be. 

If we don’t have an earthly father to give us the blessing, we have a Heavenly Father who longs to bestow the blessing on us:

   “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’ Numbers 6: 24-26

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the Father’s blessing:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7: 9-11 

My brother, Frank, and Dad

So, as we celebrate Father’s Day, let’s remember how desperately we need the blessing from our earthly fathers and from our Heavenly Father. 

And if you are a father, pull your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren close and give them the blessing

My sister, Gina, Dad, and her granddaughter

Thanks, Dad, for giving me the blessing! My life will forever be changed because you took the time to pen my purpose! Happy Father’s Day!

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