A long time ago, my father made a commitment to himself that when he got married and had children, he would never break the promise he made to his family. He vowed to my mother and to himself, that he would be the father he grew up wanting to have and he would be the kind of husband to his wife, that his mother deserved.
It chokes me up just thinking about that as I type this. The weight of pain he felt without his dad in his life and the weight of the pain he saw in his sisters and his mother as they all persevered as best they could without the man who should have had the strength and conviction to carry out his duties, is heavy. It made my father who he is. He is strong and determined. He’s always known what his job as a man is and done exactly what needed to be done. If there were people in his life that may jeopardize the life of his family, he quietly stepped away. The love he has for his family is evident on his face when he looks at us after we accomplish something he had no idea we could do, when he watches my sister and I as mothers interacting with our children in loving ways and when he proudly shows up for important events in our lives because he wants to celebrate WITH us. He’s the kind of father who gets teary-eyed with love for us and lets us see that. He says, “I love you.” every time we get together and at some point during every phone call and he doesn’t say it in a gruff, dismissive way I’ve heard some men use. His heart is always in it.
Though, there was pain in his life early on, he allowed that pain to mold him into a better person. He took it in as a lesson on who he wanted to be and who he did not. He learned how he would do things differently and he followed through. It wasn’t just a fleeting thought or great idea that later got tossed out in the trash because it wasn’t convenient. And my sister & I were not always easy as teenagers. We were as stubborn and head-strong as him with a strong sense of what’s right & what’s wrong. (laughing)
It was said to me once, about 8 years ago, that if marriage didn’t work out, my daughter should live with me because daughters need their mothers more. That is the farthest thing from the truth because my father has made a lasting impression on my life. Good fathers out there are all molding their daughters into great people just as well as their mothers.
Dads who are reading this, you are so valuable in your children’s lives. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you are not. Do not make excuses by thinking, “I haven’t seen my daughter/son in a long time. Well, I won’t dwell on it because I have no control over that.” You do have a say in the matter. There are always things you can do if you don’t allow yourself to get into the habit of ignoring the problem. You can initiate a visit yourself. You can call. Don’t let yourself be overcome by self-pity if you’ve made some mistakes. God gives you the opportunity to be a new man, a better man everyday and there’s always hope to make things right. It will bless you. It will bless your child or children. It will bless the mother of your child if forgiveness has taken place in her heart and if her child is safe. It will dissolve that pain of rejection a kid feels when their father walks away and views them like an acquaintance.
Fathers, you are just as important as a mother. A mother and father’s role in their children’s lives have similarities and differences that are all extremely essential to human development. Don’t forget how important you are.
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
1 Corinthians 16:13
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.