I really want to become a good father. In fact, this is one of the earliest desires that I’ve had. I did not have a good role model in my household; my father was selfish, angry, and abusive. I was five when we (my mother, three sisters, and I) ran away from him, so as I grew older, most of the concepts of what a good father is came from observations of godly men from my church. Seeing men love and affirm their children caused me to recognize the void in my life, and though I was in my adolescence, it created a desire in me to give to my future kids something I did not have: a good father.
I’ve written in other articles that I have viewed the Heavenly Father as my father since I was five years old. I believe He has taught me values much like a typical father would, but only through examples. There were times I would admire qualities in men, and the Heavenly Father caused my heart to take notice and value those qualities. He has done this consistently throughout my life and recently, has brought greater healing to my heart through this process.
A few weeks ago, my senior pastor spoke about grace and asked his daughter Ellie to the front of the stage to give us an intimate insight into their relationship. He told us how he and his wife Sandy consistently affirm their daughter. He proceeded to demonstrate how they do this by taking her hand, looking into her eyes, and speaking blessing over her life. He told her she was a world-changer, she was beautiful and smart, that she had a good heart, and many other things. This went on for nearly a minute as she sat staring back at him with love. It was obvious to all who saw this that he has done this many times and she was used to it, yet was also touched that he did this in front of everyone.
It sounded as if he was finished, but he then continued: “That’s what we told you until you were five, that’s when we added…” and continued to speak destiny into her little heart. As you could imagine, there wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation. He finished by saying, “But your daddy is flawed and broken, so at times, I make mistakes, and I have to asked for your forgiveness when this happens.” Suddenly, like lightening, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.
Recently, my wife and I have been talking about starting a family. In discussing our desire to become parents, we both confessed our fears of becoming a mother and father. My fear was wondering if I am a good enough person to become a good father. I brought up our senior Pastor Dave and his wife, Sandy, as examples of great parents. Their daughter Ellie is one of the sweetest souls you will ever meet. We both agreed it was a reflection of how well they have raised her.
This brings me back to the moment when Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. Many people after church conversed about the amazing things Pastor Dave and Sandy tell their daughter: however, the Lord was pointing out to me how Pastor Dave apologized for making mistakes. Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that it is impossible to be “a good enough person” to become a parent. Here was Pastor Dave, a man I greatly admire and wish I were more like, confessing to the entire congregation that he was flawed and broken.
While it is impossible to be good enough, if you love your kids and are willing to admit your shortcomings, it will allow the Heavenly Father to come and fill the need your child may have. It will also make it easier for them to not hold an offense toward you and look to the Heavenly Father instead of you for help.
Pastor Dave modeled what a great father is. He is loving, affirming, and kind and while he is imperfect, he is gracious enough to admit it and humble enough to ask forgiveness for it. Once again, my Father has “fathered” me through an example and speaking to my heart.