Sunday, March 31, 2013

As a Dad...

As a notice other kids your kids age, and you observe how this world is effecting them.
As a dad, you learn to spot hurting kids...especially the same age as your child. As a dad, you see headlines that tell of a world just waiting to devour our kids and you worry, you pray, you plan, you lose sleep, and you pray some more.
As a dad, you hurt for the hurting kids you come across. You hurt for the friends your child has who are in pain. You constantly reevaluate the job you are doing as a dad. You raise the bar daily...sometimes by the hour. As a dad, your every effort is for your kids, for their dreams..and in this day in which we live...for their safety and survival. As a dad, you cry, As a dad you worry. As a dad you learn, you educate yourself, you try to think three or four steps ahead of where they are now and what might be coming next. As a dad you worry if you're doing the job right. You pray that you are and you worry that you aren't.
As a dad, you feel the time racing past you like the wind. Slipping through your hands like sand. As a dad, you fault yourself for your failures and take precious little comfort in your successes.
My daughter will be 15 in little more than a month.
I remember the day she was born.  I can still smell the baby powder and how she felt asleep in my arms. I can still hear her singing in her car seat in the back of my car as we drove home for vacation. I can still hear her simple, poignant bedtime prayers.
As a dad, I grieve the time that flies by without regard for my futile grasp. As a dad I face each day desperately hoping to improve my lot for her sake.
As a dad I hurt when I see another dad on TV, broken-hearted over a tragedy that has wounded his child. As a dad I have no tolerance for dads who don't appreciate their children, don't take the time to be a dad, don't empty their souls into their kids each day, knowing that whatever they can pour into them will get them through, more than money or material ever can.
As a dad I am saddened by parents who see parenthood as anything but the greatest gift God gave anyone. Who set their clocks on "when these kids will be gone". As a dad I am brokenhearted over dads who never know their kids...never know their dreams...never work to see them come true.
Everything I do is measured by what I a dad.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Great article from another fatherhood blog

I follow several dad sites on the net. I like to post good material when I see it. This came in my email this morning. Good practical advice.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Have I done Everything?

Remember the movie "Rudy"? Sure you do. Remember the scene where Rudy has endured three semesters of Junior College, overcome a learning disability, slept in a store room, and worked three jobs just to stay there, and he still has been turned down for Notre Dame? He sits in the church sanctuary waiting for Father Cavanaugh. When the Father comes walking up the aisle with some other priests, he sees a despondent Rudy and stops to talk to him. After a few moments of conversation, Rudy asks Father Cavanaugh "Have I prayed enough?" To which Father Cavanaugh smilingly replies "I'm sure that's not the problem." Then Rudy desperately asks him "Have I done everything I could do?".  Father Cavanaugh's response, as I recall, was "I think that's a question only you can answer."
As a post-divorce dad I ask myself the same things constantly. "Have I prayed enough for my daughter? Have I poured out my heart to God on her behalf with the frequency, earnestness, sincerity, and desperation of a loving daddy who can't always be there to protect, defend, encourage, train, and love?" I know the answer is yes but I still struggle. I still wrestle in the days between visits and between interactions. I rely on the phone and the email and text to fill in the blank spots in my heart. It's seldom enough.
Almost daily I am introspective and ask myself  "Is there anything else I can do?" I suppose if Father Cavanaugh were here, his response would be the same..."Only you can answer that question."
I know there is little I can do beyond what I have done. But that is the problem.  I'm a dad. All the time. I shouldn't have to meter out my fatherhood in bits and pieces and moments. There is no natural ebb and flow to my time with my daughter. It is staccato, like a machine gun. Big bursts, followed by long silence. This is unnatural and painful. I am a "Full-Time Daddy in a Part-time world" and it hurts.
But I have done all I can and then some. So I rely on the One who loves my daughter even more than I do. When I miss her, long for her company, worry about her, or spend a little longer thinking about how it once was...I take comfort in prayer. I package up my hurts and the emptiness that I feel in between days with her and I drop them at the feet of the only One who loves her more.
After 13 years I have learned that He is always on the job and He truly wants what is best for her.
Dad's...ask yourself those two urgent questions; "Have I prayed enough?" and "Have I done everything I can do?" Answer them honestly, fix what needs fixing, and then trust that God will honor your heart and watch over your kids.
Your friend,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

One of those moments...

For a long time now, I have questioned the validity and value of my own fatherhood. I have been so immersed in battling simply to survive, and I've lost so much, and that loss occurred during a critical time in my daughter's life. Now she is a teenager and I'm not nearly as cool as I used to be. I was homeless during the last of the days when she would have preferred to be with me.
This morning, I had picked her up from her friend's house and was taking her back to her mom's. We had the chance to talk about "stuff". The topic originated with the mom of a friend of hers who had passed away last year and who had been into some frightening occult practices. Ouija boards, crystals, etc. She was a self-described Wiccan. But at one point in her life, she had accepted Jesus as Savior and the change was tangible apparently. Morgan and I discussed whether she was in Heaven. (I believe in eternal security so I felt she was) The conversation moved to doctrine. Real doctrinal Theology stuff and I was amazed...blown the level of understanding my 14 year old daughter possesses. We talked about the two Judgment Thrones in Revelation and about the definition of Hell. Whether the imagery was symbolism or literal. We arrived at the conclusion that it is some of both.
We talked for a while about the horror of hell and how this horror ought to have the resulting effect of making us desperately want to share our faith with others. Then she asked me a question that gave me hope. Hope that, despite the time we've missed together physically because of my situation, the time we were spending was effective. She said "Would it a sin if I were a preacher?" I smiled and said "No way!" "The only restriction in the Bible is being a pastor. Paul is very clear about pastors and elders (deacons) but most other teaching options are open to women." The discussion ranged from whether Paul was misogynistic, to what it meant to "submit" to a husband. What the husband was supposed to act like in a submitted relationship, etc. Then she said..."You know that's why I want to be a missionary. I want to preach the Gospel to people. And I'd like to see foreign lands."
I was smiling of course. But I had to hide my tears too. For months...years even...I have been consumed with worry that my influence has not been substantial enough and I haven't had the spiritual effect on her I'd hoped. I haven't been able to take her to church like I used to. I haven't had nightly prayer times and Bible study with her like before. It's been so hard.
But I will tell you honestly...and at the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing...I have made up for the lack of influence, with my prayers for her. I have done battle for my daughter. I have stood my ground. I have covered her, by faith, in the blood of Jesus and asked that God's fiercest warrior angels be commissioned to her side for protection. I have asked God to do for her what my daddy's heart wants to do but can't. I have asked Him to keep her tender towards His promptings, to keep His voice clear in her ears and to guard her heart and let it be pure, and holy, and usable for His kingdom. I have asked this every single day, regardless of my situation. I asked Him to watch out for her. And He has.
My daughter has remained in love with Jesus. Beyond that, she has a working knowledge of the Word, and an understanding of the essentials of this Faith of ours.
God has granted my requests...thus far at least. I can't let up or relax, because the enemy of our souls will pounce. It brings me comfort to know God loves my daughter even more than I do.
Dads...the road is long for us. There are so many hours when we wrestle in the dark with foes our children don't even realize are waging war against them. The days seem endless between visits and we wonder if being there and being involved and remaining true was worth it. But remain vigilant. Stay strong. Do the work of a dad, on your knees, and in the loving words you speak into their hearts. Because you might be raising a missionary with a tremendous grasp of The Faith and you might not even realize it.
Phil 1:6 tells us- "Being confident of this...that He who began a good work in you will keep doing that work until the return of Jesus." (My paraphrase). That promise is for you and for your children and for your fatherhood. Keep doing the work. God will keep His end of the bargain.
Have a great week, dads.