I grew up a daddy’s girl.
He could do anything, be anything and could say no wrong. We have home videos, pictures and loads of memories that confirm his superhero-ness, in case you have any doubts. I hung onto every word he said (probably to a fault) and thought he was the wisest man I would ever know.
When I think back to our growing up years, one specific phrase my dad used to say to us comes to mind. I heard it the most during my high school years and probably for good reason. Before we would leave for school, our family would gather around the breakfast table while dad prayed for the day. As we walked out the door, we would usually hear him say, “Remember who you are, and whose you are.”
Today is that superhero’s birthday and he is turning fifty-nine years old. This past weekend, the “original six” went out for dinner to celebrate. We all piled into my parent’s car, and to be honest, I think it was a little strange for everyone at first. We couldn’t remember the last time we were all together without spouses or grandkids.
We got to the restaurant and the waitress took us to our table. We all sat down in the same order we had sat in for years growing up: boys on one side of the table, girls on the other, the parents on the ends. Once everyone was in their place, things seem to kick off in the most natural, seamless way.
We shared memories, laughed at the great ones (and some of the bad), ate a delicious meal, and ended the dinner by giving dad his birthday cards. We closed the night down in the most classic way and took an Overlien selfie. As we drove home, the night felt a little Cinderella-ish. Our time with the “original six” was coming to a close. At the restaurant, I felt like I was back in high school: the familiar faces around the table, the laughing, the silly arguing, making fun of each other like we used to, one of the parents scolding my brother Sam.
As we got closer to mom and dad’s, those feelings started to fade as we returned to reality. My siblings went to be with their spouses and kids, I drove back to Madison to continue my grown up life, and mom and dad added the titles “Opa” and “Nonnie” to who they were once again.
On the way home, I was flooded with the memories we had talked about at dinner, along with some that had not been mentioned in years. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that I had grown up with a dad that loved us more than ministry, believed in us, gave us so much grace and constantly reminded us that our identity wasn’t in the fact that we were pastor’s kids, but that we belonged to Jesus. I can’t imagine a better gift to give a child than the confidence of being a child of God.
Dad, I am so proud to call you my father. You have given me an imperfect yet beautiful picture of the love I have from my Father God and have taught me that my Father is good. Today we celebrate you and our Father God who thought you up. Today we honor the way you have served so many people, shared Jesus with the least of these, as well as led and loved our family so well. I will always remember who I am and whose I am.
I am Blake Overlien’s eldest daughter.