I was faced with a new reality and consequence of this divorce last night; I won’t always be there when my kids need me. For me, this is like a kick to the stomach. Though I have failed my kids in many ways, I never wanted them to feel like they could never count on me to be there when they needed me most. How do I as a father, come to terms with the fact that I have failed my children in this way? What truth can be applied in this situation that will bring comfort?
While I was at the gym last night, I got a call from my nine year old, Abby. This is not out of the ordinary, because she often calls/texts at night to say goodnight. This time she was scared and needing to hear my voice. She needed to feel safe. Still, nothing out of the ordinary.
I talked with her a bit and prayed with her. Hoping to calm her nerves and help her get to bed. As we said our goodbye’s, I heard a slight whimper in her voice. Asking if she was okay, she stumbled to say through a wave of sadness and tears, “Daddy, I want to be with you!”
My heart sank. My sweet little girl was feeling the effects of this divorce and I was helpless to be there for her. She was needing comfort, safety, and security. All I could give her was the sound of my voice over a telephone. A wave of emotions from anger, frustration, and sorrow hit me like waves crashing on a cliff side.
All I could respond with was an apology. An apology?!?!? My baby girl is broken and hurting and the best I had to offer was an apology… I couldn’t embrace her and hold her tightly. I couldn’t reassure her that I was there and that she can always count on me. Instead, she and I both were introduced to the reality that I won’t always be there.
Searching for Truth
I don’t know about you, but this kind of failure is crippling to me. I have spent most of my life feeling alone. I never felt that there was someone there willing to fight for me. Sure, I had my Mom, who was always there to encourage me and show me an unconditional love. However, she just wasn’t able to provide that sense of safety and security that only a Dad can give. As a result, I felt abandoned to fight my own battles alone.
When I became a Dad, I vowed that my kids would never grow up feeling abandoned to fight the darkness and evils of this world. I knew that there would be things and moments that would be out of my control, but I expected them to happen much later in there lives.
God is Our Strong Tower
As I prayed face down last night, God comforted me and reminded me that as I was growing up, I was never alone. I may have felt that way, but He was with me every step of the way. He was fighting for me. In His sovereignty, He protected me from situations that would have hindered His plan, and allowed situations that would help shape me and make me the person He needed me to become. In His ever so tender and loving way, He reassured me that Abby wasn’t alone and that I could trust Him to do for her what He did for me.
He also rebuked me for trying to be something that I could never be, God. It is an unrealistic desire to think that I could always be there for my kids when they are needing safety and security. He showed me how I was trying to play His role in my kids life. Showing me how in these moments where my humanity limits me from being the ultimate protector, I need to be pointing my babies to Him.
Chasing the Monsters Away
You won’t always be there to protect your kids, but God makes the same promises to your kids that He does to you. When the monsters of this dark and evil world come against you or your kids, you will not stand against them alone. He will not abandon them, He will never leave them or forsake them. What you as a parent need to come to terms with, is trusting that God is an ever present help in their time of need even when they are not delivered from pain and struggle.
Enduring hardship produces character and God is more concerned about our character than He is about our comfort and security. It is our jobs as parents to continually be pointing our little ones to Him and helping them see His goodness in the midst of suffering. We need to help them see that though we as parents will fail in many ways, God will never fail them.
My challenge for you today is to wrap your kids in your arms and let them know how much you love them. Then remind them how much more God loves them. Reassure them that even when they feel alone and abandoned, God will always be by their side. That’s the truth!