When I think of my dad, I think of his hands. Classic dad hands—slightly calloused, smell faintly like aftershave, usually holding some kind of barbecue utensil.

    Most of the key moments I remember about my dad from when I was younger somehow involve his hands—picking me up, carrying me, or wiping tears off my face.

    My dad tickled me endlessly as a kid. Many of my earliest memories include being tickled—my dad would do just about anything to make me laugh.

    I remember being miraculously transported to my bed from the couch after I fell asleep during a family movie night, courtesy of my dad carrying me. After I was far too old (and heavy) to be carried, I’d still pretend to be asleep so my dad would carry me to bed. I’m positive he knew I was awake, but he carried me anyway.

    Every Christmas morning, my dad would hold the family Bible and read Luke 2 before the celebrations began. He steered us back to Jesus in a season that begs for distraction, especially for kids eyeing their wrapped presents under the tree.

    As I wobbled on a training wheel-less bicycle, my dad held onto my bike handles, guiding me away from gravel and grass. He literally kept me on the right path.

    My dad taught me how to drive in the parking lot of a farm supply store in an old Buick, where his hands gripped the safety bar by the window as I took a turn too fast. He persevered through the craziness to help me grow.

    My dad shook hands with the first guy I dated. I probably thought it was a little too firm at the time, but now I wish he’d intimidated him a little more. He watched out for me while maintaining a respectful distance.

    Most importantly, thank you, Dad, for raising me to know the nail-pierced hands of my Savior. I know that, even in adulthood, you are still there to pick me up, carry me, or wipe tears off my face. I love you.

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