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Posted 2018-06-17T04:17:43Z

A Father's Love

The real hero in Ben and our family’s journey is Matt- Ben and Luke’s dad.  This entry may sound like a ginormous brag about the guy I married, and I guess it kind of is.   As the primary witness of Matt’s tangible unfailing love and grace towards his boys and Ben in particular at this moment, I am taking the opportunity to brag.   
Several years ago, Matt- semi jokingly- took to calling himself the “Child Whisperer.”  If you’re imagining Cesar Millin with dogs or Robert Redford from the 90’s film The Horse Whisperer, you’re on the right track. These guys have mad skills in developing the very best in the creatures they work with.  A horse whisperer is someone who develops a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the horse they work with. Matt has, and has always had, this gift when it comes to being Ben’s dad.  You see, on one hand, Ben is tenacious, strong-willed, competitive and fierce (his name means mighty) and on the other he is exceedingly sensitive, compassionate and intuitive.  When others, including myself, thought the answer to guiding Ben was more structure, boundaries or routine, Matt has known that parenting Ben takes more of a willingness to go with the flow.  If Ben were a river, Matt would be his river bank—meandering, rising, narrowing, containing and guiding his precious son on adventures great and small, easy and difficult, over the last eight years and today.
And for Ben, the love he shares with his Dad is unmatched.  While we—his family and friends-- deeply love and are loved by Ben, the relationship he shares with his dad is something else entirely.  Whether skiing a slope, surfing a wave, sharing a snack or struggling through frustrating moments, Matt is all in—never flinching, attention never divided. And so, Ben experiences peace in his Dad’s presence.        
So clearly—in the profound way Matt loves Ben and in the way Ben receives his Dad’s love, I recognize how loved we are by God and how He is in the midst of this tragedy with us.  Waffling around in my faith is something I have done on and off for years for reasons that now seem so very insignificant.   Having faith in a life that has been pretty dreamy up until now isn’t always easy and often not even necessary… it’s been real but also peripheral.  But now, submerged into such darkness, I lean in to what I know is true… The love and goodness of God. 
Psalm 94:18 and 19 says, “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me,your consolation brought me joy.”  Ben’s feet are slipping but he finds consolation in his dad’s unfailing love and that brings him joy daily.  I’m so thankful for that!  Our feet are slipping too but we are learning and trusting in that very same unfailing love because, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed”(Psalm 34:18).
Thank-you Matt for being the dad you are to my two precious and beautiful boys.  I love you! 

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Comments (26)

  • Judy Loveall
    Judy Loveall

    Katie, your post is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your love for Matt and your boys and God with us. We are praying for you and crying with you as you continue this incredible journey with such amazing grace. ❤️Judy

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Elizabeth Morrow
    Elizabeth Morrow

    Katie, What a beautiful tribute to Matt as well as testimony of the walk you all are on. We pray for you daily.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mindy

    Katie, that is a beautiful description of A Father’s love, I love you all, my prayers and love are sent to you daily. Love Mindy

    4 years ago · Reply
  • michelle kinnaman
    michelle kinnaman

    Katie, as you honored Matt beautifully, I want to honor you. It takes more than any of us have as Mothers, to go thru this impossible journey. You are a hero to all of us, that are watching you. You don't have to be so strong that you don't show any pain, You show us what we all would be feeling, if we were you. I am so proud of the woman of God that you are. I know you may not see yourself that way, but I do. You are all teaching us so much, as we join your precious family on this journey. We are learning to trust at a deeper level, and use our faith when we cannot see... Life is so difficult at times, we can't believe we can make it thru another day. The faithfulness of God continues to get us thru.. My deepest prayer is not that you will all survive, but that you will thrive. Thrive in the knowledge of this incredible God who loves you all so much. You are God's example of how to walk in the darkness, holding onto Him when you can't see, the proof that he is there. May God give you daily, the peace that passes all understanding, and may you be able to minister to those God brings in your paths along the way.. Our love and prayers to you all, love Mikie Kinnaman

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Camie Johnson
    Camie Johnson

    What a beautiful and eloquent tribute to an exceptional father and husband by an equally exceptional mother and wife! You two are an inspiration....full of faith and love. Love to you all on this Fathers’ Day.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Helena Talman
    Helena Talman

    So beautiful written. God bless your whole family. Happy Father’s Day to Matt. ❤️

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Sue Gonyou
    Sue Gonyou

    Katie, what a wonderful and glorious tribute and reflection. I have so prayed and worried, knowing this journey is unthinkable but you are grounded in the only support that will make this life event livable. What a powerful example you provide for us weak folks among you!❤️🙏🏼Sue Gonyou

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Lora

    I have always thanked my brother Matt for giving me a thick skin in life due to all his teasing as we grew up together as siblings. ;) Now he has truly become my hero as I have watched him with Ben in this heart breaking, life changing time. I have never witnessed such patience and love from a Dad to his son. Thank you Matt for inspiring us all to be better parents and truly be with our children. I love you bro!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Brynda Searing
    Brynda Searing

    Beautiful. ❤️

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Beth Dukleth
    Beth Dukleth

    Wow, Katie, so beautiful. Happy Father’s Day Matt! Love y’all ❤️

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Annie Munn
    Annie Munn

    Your words💛 My own father had no example because his father was not there for him... One of the reasons my faith is so strong in Christ is how Christ shaped my father’s life to be a”man after God’s heart”. It was a source of great power that I was blessed to live under as a child. Your beautiful children are truly blessed to have Matt and Katie as parents. They are also blessed to have a beautiful extended family and a network of amazing friends. “In this world , (Jesus made it clear to us) we will have trouble, but He also said that He has overcome this world.” He does that daily through you and Matt. We all benefit from your “Living” example of Christ in your walk as you. We love you all so very much.🙏🙏

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Michelle Aikin
    Michelle Aikin

    Love to you and Matt on this special Father's Day...what a wonderful post, Katie.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Lisa craner
    Lisa craner

    I’m just in awe of Matt and really learning so much about love, courage and grace as I watch you all go through this impossible journey. Thank you so much for letting us in. You are all in my thoughts daily and in my prayers. Happy Father’s Day Matt!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Karyn Taylor
    Karyn Taylor

    Katie, what a beautiful post. Happy Father's Day Matt!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Pam Head
    Pam Head

    Katie, your words moved me and brought me to tears. You have an amazing ability to express your feelings as you take this walk with Ben and your family. God knew that Ben would need a very special man in his life to help him with his journey. He provides. Love to all of you. Pam

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Cathy Nobles
    Cathy Nobles

    Katie, I love you and your description of Matt as Ben's father just deeply touched my heart. I feel like you helped me know him in a way that fits with who I have known you to be. .. what a beautiful couple you must be. I think that often our faith doesn't make sense when it is lived in the normalcy of American life but when we hit the hard issues of life that peels away the beauty we so easy take for granted suddenly He is with us in that pain like no one else can be. What you have written is the way of suffering and your love for God and your family shines through what you write. Lots of love

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Jane Lauer
    Jane Lauer

    I remember when Matt told me he is a child whisperer. I thought huh? Why not. Then he proceeded to show me with his words and actions with Ben. Wow! You are both strong and beautiful people. I love you so much and it is hard for me to figure out how I can support you and Matt. You are always in my prayers and thoughts. My beautiful sister keeps me updated in all happenings. Please know that I am here for you and my Mattthew. Much love 💗 to you on this Father’s Day . Love Aunt Janie

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Emily Biggins
    Emily Biggins

    Katie, this is so beautiful. What a gorgeous testament to the father that Matt is. I cannot imagine the path you as parents are walking with such grace. Thank you for letting us all walk alongside you and your beautiful family from both near and far. Our family is sending prayers and love from Oregon. -Emily Biggins (Swenke) (J.P.'s classmate at RHS)

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Carol Boke
    Carol Boke

    Wow, Katie! What insights you have and how blessed you two as a team are, at being what both Ben and Luke need in this hard valley that you are going through now. You are reflecting what the Lord calls hope love and faith in His sufficiency. We pray for His highest and best for your whole family.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Keri Maker
    Keri Maker

    Katie, you both are incredibly beautiful parents and God is smiling over you as well as crying with you. This is the perfect picture of our Father’s love for us. Thank you for sharing. Be blessed this week! With hugs, Keri

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Jonna AuCoin
    Jonna AuCoin

    Lovely and humbling❤️

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Stephanie Blume
    Stephanie Blume

    I was watching Matt with Ben at a recent BBQ you had and I was literally left speechless by his completely calm and graceful way with Ben. All the kids were running around, in and out of the house with water balloons and wet feet. Matt was steady like a strong river, flowing with it all and glued to Ben's side. We need more dad's in the world like Matt. Much love friends.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Nicolette Smith
    Nicolette Smith

    Oh my sweet friend. Sitting here with so many tears. We’ve spent so many years sharing, rejoicing, consoling, and laughing about our children. You’ve always been there for a hug, shoulder, and ear as I trudged through my never ending journey with Sam. Reading your words of love for Matt, and feeling your endless love for your darling boys reminds me of what we’ve discussed too many times. Finding the why, why has God tested us. Why has God forsaken us? A reminder that in our darkest hours, He is ALWAYS with us. He guides, loves, and carries us. I love you all so much! Nic

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mary Japel
    Mary Japel

    Love the way you compared Matt to a river bank. Your words are so beautiful, sharing the love and acceptance of each day, Katie. Love and Prayers, Mary Japel

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Gray Familiy
    Gray Familiy

    Katie, thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to Matt, to family, to love. We are keeping all of you in our prayers constantly! During these dark times, we hope you keep encountering light, solace and grace. Sending your family love.💕

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mary Japel
    Mary Japel

    Katie, your loving tribute to Matt shows the love and acceptance you all have among your family. 🍀🎶🌸❤️🙏😍Mary Japel

    4 years ago · Reply