Father's Day approaches. For most it is a day of celebrating fathers and fatherhood. For some, it probably is not such a great day. It may be that their father has "gone on", like mine and like Sharon's, or it may be that their father has just always been "gone". For most it's "Dad's" Day! Pretty much everything is supposed to go his way on that day 'cause it's all about him. It should be a day also, though, when fathers think about the fathers that we are, or are not, as the case may be.
The approach of the day brings my children to mind. . . . That and they just left after spending a long weekend with us. Actually, they are always on my mind. The day designed to honor fathers causes me to think back to those short and few days when my girls were little babies and too soon in and through their child hood. I think of all I wanted for them, and I think of the father I wish they had, the father I could, no, should have been to them. I love my girls beyond love. And I don't think there was ever a moment in their lives when they doubted my love for them. Certainly, I made some mistakes. I always did my best. And that is the problem, I was only able to do my best.
Why I am writing this here, I don't know. Except for those who tell me, I have no idea of just who reads this blog. My readership is small - very small. And I do so appreciate each one of you. I am sure that most of those who read this will be be female, but I do have a few male readers. I don't know how this message will get out to those whom I would hope might be persuaded by it in some way, but, it will get written just the same.
Like I said, my daughters didn't get the father I wanted for them. It precedes that my wife did not get the husband I wanted for her either. It's a long story, and I won't subject you to that right now. The long and the short of it is that for the whole 22 years or so that I had at least one of my daughters under my roof I was lost. Jesus was not in my life, which means that the Holy Spirit did not live inside me, which means that our girls grew up with a father who could not lead in the light, the love, the wisdom, knowledge or power of God. Of all the things, wonderful and terrible, that my salvation at the age of 53 brought to light this is perhaps the most devastating of all. It is a regret that I cannot get past.
Not that I was a bad father in the sense that we might use the word "bad". And the whole time I considered myself, or convinced myself, that I was saved. So, in that sense, I thought I was raising them as a Christian father. They both found Jesus when they were young, and there can be no greater joy for a parent than to see their children come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. But, there I was, doing a poor job of leading them in the things of God, and not accepting the reason for it. I always jokingly, but with sincerity behind it, referred to myself as an example of what not to do rather than what to do. And I called myself a good father. (In case you didn't pick up on it, there is a lot of sarcasm in that last statement.)
That life for all of us would have been so much better with Jesus "at the wheel", I have no doubt. Jesus changes people, which changes the choices we make,.which changes the life we live. And then there is the power in the name of Jesus that is added to a person and their family. All that I wanted to do for them and couldn't, all that I wanted to give them and couldn't, all the places that I wanted to take them and couldn't . . . all that I wanted to be for them and wasn't. . . . It all would have been so much different. How much different and in what ways? I don't know . . . but, I do know it would have been so much better.
Life for anyone, saved or lost, has plenty of problems and struggles. Struggling with life under the guise of Christianity rather than under the guidance of Christ must be a confusing thing for a child to watch. Where is the example? Where are the victories?
Looking at Amy and Carrie now, what they are doing with their lives, what God is doing in their lives, I am so glad to say that they have turned out well. They were always good girls, good kids, impressive young adults and they are both fine young women. Different probably in more ways than they are alike, they each make Sharon and I so very proud. "So what's the big deal?" some may say.
The big deal is that God is a big deal. . . . The biggest! "No one comes to the Father except by Me. If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well," Jesus Himself said. I didn't really know Jesus in those days. It follows that I didn't know His father, God, either. Knowing about is not knowing. God blessed us, certainly. " . . . he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike." (And I know the difference between who I am and who I was.) But, the most important relationship a person can have was not there. The most important relationship I should have had did not exist. And that is due to me being stubborn and flippant and me failing to diligently seek my God. The single most important thing I should have done, been and given to my children - a family being led by a man being led by the Holy Spirit - I didn't. I have had a lot of failures in my life. This is my greatest.
The one thing I would most like to have done, I didn't, and I never will. I know I am repeating myself, but there is a point that I desperately want to get across.
This is not being written to cause anyone to feel sorry for me or my girls or anything of the sort. It is what it is. The truth is, though, that it did not have to be that way for me or them, and it does not have to be that way for anyone else. And children deserve a mother who has a relationship with Jesus Christ just like they deserve a father with that relationship. If this word reaches something inside of you, whoever you are, then take it for yourself, cry out to Jesus and let Him change your life and the lives of your children. If this seems to be a call for someone you know, then get the message to him or her. This is not the kind of thing that anyone wants to live with.
Will your children be better children and better adults because of this? Will life be all peaches and cream? Will all your decisions be THE right one? I can't answer that. I can only say that a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led parent has infinitely more to offer their child and their family. It is only when you know Jesus as Lord and Savior that you have everything within you to be all you can be. If I could go back, I would go back at least as far as 1979, and I would be all I could have been for my family. I can't. And God has blessed me so over these few years that I have known Him. Sure, I have regrets, but I do not live in despair. He will do the same for you or anyone you know. The past cannot be changed, but the future . . . that can be a different story entirely!
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
You can live these words!