Happy Birthday to the most influential man in my life…my dad.

Happy Birthday 14502825_10157635763740235_991680982520088658_nDad!

Simply put…he’s my hero. He’s spent his entire life sacrificing for others. Put his dreams on hold and put his family first.
My dad’s faith is amazing. His knowledge of scripture is unreal. His wisdom is off the charts. He loves Jesus with his entire heart.
My dad’s love for his family is amazing. I love that my mom and dad are best friends. I Love that they love spending time together. I love that they’ve been in love since they were 17. I love that his boys adore him. I love that his daughters-n-law love him. I love that his grand kids love him. Everyone loves my dad! He’s a great guy!
My dad’s GRIT is off the charts. He has worked, and worked hard since he was 13. His worth ethic is killer. When I was a kid I loved shaking my dads hands. I would look at his hands and realize that he could do anything with those hands. They were rough and I saw him fix and build whatever he put his mind too.  I’ve seen him learn wood working and he built the crib that 4 of the Raitz kids slept in. A house fire couldn’t even ruin it. He did all that with a limited budget. He’s just worked hard.
My dad’s patience is head scratching. When he taught me how to change spark plugs when I was 12, he turned his back for a second and I stupidly did the exact opposite that he told me to do I broke it off in the engine. Did he yell at me? Did he tell how stupid I was? Did he say mean things to me? Did he tell me to leave? Nope! He looked at me with these eyes of pure concern and said, ok, now we’re going to learn how to fix this. And, he didn’t have the right part, so he walked a few miles in the cold to buy it and walked home. Did he throw that in my face? Never, not once.
My dad’s Love for His Church is Incredible. He and my mom sold their house. Moved 2.5 hours away from where they lived their entire lives. They found new work. They found a new home. Why? Because God called him to plant a Church with his son. Who does that? My dad and mom do! That’s faith! When young men find reasons to skip church, skip helping set up and tear down, skip giving…my dad doesn’t. My dad works 50 hours a week. His daily commute is 35 miles one way. You know how many Sunday’s he’s missed? Yup, less that I can count with both hands. He loves his church. He defends it. He prays for it. He doesn’t give up on it. Has it hurt him, has it let him down, absolutely. But, he just doesn’t give up.
My dad’s ability ‘to be there’ is inspiring. Even when he lived 2.5 hours away from us, he would leave work in the Detroit area and drive 2.5 hours up north. Why? So he could see his grand sons play baseball. He worked construction when I was a kid. He worked hard. Yet, there he was, playing catch with me after a long days work. He drove me to work, he drove me to my private school, he drove me orchestra practices. He was just there. Of course, my parents were a team and they both did it. But, how blessed was I that I had parents who were there for me?
My dad’s love for his mom is something that I will never forget. Honestly, I didn’t see my dad cry all that much as a kid. He was a man’s man. Tough. But, the day one of his best friends was killed in a car accident, he cried. I walked into our house and he was leaning up against the kitchen counter and I saw the tears. Why? His mom was killed earlier that day. I saw my dad carry his family during that season. I spent a lot of time with my dad and my grandma because they took turns with my mom, driving me to school. The banter he had with his mom was so much fun. Even as a teenager, I can remember thinking how cool it was that my dad loved his mom.
My dad’s love for prayer is something I want. My dad cries now. He typically does when he prays. I think that’s because he knows prayer is a holy moment. He’s talking with his Heavenly Father. He’s going to God on behalf of his family. I can remember as a kid looking in his prayer journal and seeing the prayers he would write out for people. What a great memory to have as a kid.
My dad’s leadership is influential. He’s not loud. He doesn’t push his way in. If anything, I think he’s not loud enough. People follow him. They want to be around him. They want him involved because they trust him. My dad is trust worthy. He’s honest. He’s a man of integrity. He’s a leader and he doesn’t have to tell you that he is. He doesn’t brag on facebook. He doesn’t push his way to the front.
My dad’s perservance is admirable. He hasn’t gotten many breaks in his life. If anything, I have wondered over the years…why do all the Jerks and Pricks get ahead, when guys like my dad seem to get shafted! Yet, he just keeps going.
He’s been there for me for 42 years. Through my terrible mistakes and my successful seasons. He’s helped me baptize 3 of my kids. He taught how to pray in Jesus name. He taught me how to worship by modeling it for me as a kid. He taught me to be kind to others. To be kind to my wife. To be kind to my kids.
I really do wish I was more like my dad. I wish I had his wisdom and his command of scripture. I wish I had his selflessness.
I really do wish I could spoil my dad with something huge for his birthday. It’s my dream to surprise him one day and take him to Cooperstown, New York to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m saving for that.
I really hope that he knows how much I love him. I owe him so much. He’s not perfect. I know this post kind of makes it seem that way. But, he’s my dad and I love him.
Happy Birthday Dad. Thank you for investing, pouring into and loving me so well all these years.
I love you.

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