"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
Father is the new F word ... Does this mean more prayers answered!
Father's Day is just around the corner, yet I still find it ironic that I should come upon a linky dedicated to Fathers because I typically miss the link up / blog hop reminders. Plus, my Grandmother and I were discussing Fathers just the day before, so I feel a little emotional and want to share with you.
Over the years the word Father became the most painful and then beautifully significant word to me ... It is not that I did not have a father ... I have always had my Father in heaven as well as my paternal father, grandfather and eventually a step father while growing up. My grandfather has always been the best to me; it was my relationship with my biological father that was damaged over the years and made me very bitter in my younger years. As a result, I did not find value in my older sons having a father in their lives. I figured if he did not want to step up and be the man / father that God said he should be, then there was no place in my sons lives for him, as I could be a mommy-daddy. I learned to prefer this independence and had very little respect for the role that a father places in a childs life.
Little did I know - just as I felt being a girl abandoned by my mother - my boys felt the same without a father in their life. Despite how hard I tried to comfort and replace this emptiness in their hearts, I could NEVER be a father to my sons because I was the mother. Consequently, no other man in our family could replace that longing in my sons lives because only a father could be that person to them. They used to tell me to marry Adam Sandler (their ideal of a great father from movies) and I would tell them that I did not want to get married ever again. That I did not need a husband and they should be happy for me to be an independent woman. Meanwhile, as much as I was oblivious to the fact that I could not carry the roles of both mother and father, I was clueless to the reality that my sons were really longing for a father more than a husband for me. They were acknowledging that they missed having a father in their lives to let them know they are wanted and maybe even loved regardless of the character of the father. I did try to connect each with their father, but the relationships were short lived over the years. I guess the original fact that I was not willing to mold from the beginning was disappointing to all. I say this because I have seen some women keep the father of their children in the home no matter how much they had to deal with because they felt it best for their children. I did not and am still torn by those situations, though now understand the faithfulness and obedience it takes to hang on per the word of God, and our children.
My grandmother caught me out of the blue the other day ...
Grandma said, "Do you know about the new F word?".
I was really taken aback when she said that because I have actually never heard my grandmother say nor refer to the "F word", so I held my breath (keeping in mind that she just turned 85 and anything is bound to come out of her mouth). I held my breath and wondering what would come next --- LOL :)
Grandma said, "FATHER is the new F word, Lea."
My grandmother proceeded to explain how she heard this on a talk show and how much she loved hearing it. Not just because she has witnessed a shift from so many fatherless families in the community; tenants, neighbors, church members, etc. over the generations, but also how happy she was that my husband is being the father she prayed he would be to my children. I would like to say that "this is a given" for my youngest child as this is his biological father, but single parenthood has taught me that there is no "given" when it comes to fatherhood and family structure in my and younger generations. I have had a lot of friends and associates that still are / were single mothers, too. Being and having a father in the home is not a given these days; yet, God's word, grace and blessings are for his children.
So, the fact that my husband is a present and excellent father to his own 2 year old son, as well as my 14 year old son, is not a given. Yet, my husband is that present and excellent father to both boys. In fact, he was father to the older child first as he came into my life with a promise that no matter whether we came together in a Godly union or never made it past "just friends", he would be a mentor to this child. I did not ask that of him, he just understood what I was going through with my oldest son and that my middle child could very well follow suite. Although my husband did not have the perfect upbringing and teen years, his heart felt compelled to be this person for my son. It took me years to believe, not live with a skeptical spirit and "exhale", per say, about this situation. This is why I quote Proverbs 3:5-6 and encourage everyone who struggles to give God the control to read Proverbs 3 in general. I struggled for years with that, especially when it came to my single parent role and my children. Despite my not knowing what was best, God made sure this valuable person - FATHER - was there for my children. My husband gets all of the good and bad just the same the same as me. Now that our son is a teenager, I tease my husband by reminding him not to take offense "he hates us both the same right now and will be back in 5 minutes like nothing happened", and that is what happens.
The point being that my son - which my husband calls "our son" - loves him for being the father that his biological chose not to be. I know because I asked him when he was 10 and then a few times over the years. His replies went from a "he's an ok guy" to "I don't know" to a sheepish "I guess" to a sarcastic "well yeah!!!". My husband can no sooner get to the door without him being there saying, "can I go, too" and it has been like that for years. Although my teen has somewhat outgrown the desire to go fishing (not so much his cup of tea), he still eagerly jumps up to go when my husband decides to fish. I guess he just likes to hang out and do "his thing" while my husband fishes. He is also outgrowing the need for my husband to be there at his activities (cause there are girls there he likes to impress), yet he never tells him not to come with him and my husband normally just waits and proudly takes pictures of him when our teen is not looking. They sometimes have conflicts over our teen trying to stay up all night or doing his chores ... He is a real and loving father no matter what!
It is just as beautiful to see this son's love for his father as it is for me to see my husband feel comfortable taking that position because it took me quite some time to "let go" and let him be that father my son needed. It was at that time I realized that not just BOYS, but all children really do need two parents in the home. My husband is extremely patient and loves these sons of his. I am grateful that God did this for us because I know I am not worthy of all of these blessings especially this, but our children are to Him.
Most importantly, during this process, our teen accepted Christ again and was baptised last year; he possesses a genuine love for the Lord with all of his being and tries his hardest to live by the word (sometimes quoting to us how we should be as parents as we remind him of Exodus 20:12 and more --- I am sure parents of teens will understand what I mean). We all do our best to acknowledge God's Word as the family he has made us to be.
"FATHER is the new F word" said Grandma as she exclaimed how happy she is for my family.
Not only is this her testimony of prayers answered; it is mine for a plea that God take me back to the person that I used to be. I am still a work in progress, but the hurt and resentment towards my own father went away when my husband became the father that I could not be.
Please make sure to share this heartfelt blog post. Maybe this testimony will help a single mom that could benefit from my experiences.
In motherly love,