When Father’s Day dawns on Sunday, many people will be finding special ways to honor the father(s) in their lives, while others will be remembering the fathers they have lost.

My dad was way too young when he lost his battle with cancer. For the past 38 years, my mom has had to be both mother and father to us girls. It hasn’t always been easy, but she is still taking care of us as much as she is able.

I only knew my father-in-law a few years before I lost him. One of my grandpas I never knew and the other died when I was in high school, just as I was really getting to know him.

For these fathers who touched my life in such a special way, there is nothing more I can do for them, except honor their names and the legacy they left for all of us.

There are many other fathers who have touched my life in one way or another – uncles, brothers-in-law, nephews, cousins, friends, even co-workers and acquaintances. Each one has had a lesson to teach. Sometimes I have seen what a father should be, and sometimes I have seen what a father should never be.

While my natural fathers are gone, there are still those I can honor on Father’s Day.

I have been blessed with a spiritual father who is more than willing to teach me – and anyone else who will listen – what is the truth according to God’s word. All of the lessons that he teaches are much the same as Dad tried to teach us when we were growing up, but from a little different perspective.

Not everyone considers their pastor to be their spiritual father, not realizing the responsibility he has accepted in becoming a pastor. Those whose have a pastor whose ministry is based solely on the word of God and not the words of man really do have a spiritual father.

And he is the one who will guide his “children” to know their real father, God, the creator of all things. He is the one worthy of all our praise, our thanksgiving, our everything. Without him we would have nothing, because God alone is the giver of life.

He is the example for all fathers to follow. God loves his children regardless of how they look, what their talents are, if learning comes easy or is difficult, if they are popular or not. God reminded one of his great prophets, Samuel, that he doesn’t look at the outside of a person; he sees what is on the inside.

Sadly, not all earthly fathers do that. Our dads have more of a tendency to see what is on the outside rather than what is on the inside. When a child fails to meet dad’s expectations, neither one is happy.

But when the relationship between father and child is based on mutual love, trust, understanding, respect and all those other good qualities, it only gets better as the years go by. Each day can be a treasured gift, and it doesn’t matter if it is shared with our natural father, our spiritual father or our heavenly father – or all three at once.

Father’s Day should be a time for children of all ages to thank God for the gift of the father(s) he has given them. In turn, the fathers should also be thanking God for the privilege of being a dad, a daddy, a pop, a pa, a grandpa, or whatever name makes them special and unique to their children.

Having a father who cares is a blessing, and having children to love is also a blessing.

To all the fathers, I hope your special day truly is a special day, filled with all the blessings your heart can hold.

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Thought for the week — “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

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