It’s Father’s Day, and like most events that center around family, I have mixed feelings.
Obviously, I’m extremely blessed to be a father. Elizabeth is beautiful inside and out, the perfect combination of sweet and sassy. She’s smart and funny and knows how to have a good time. Ian is growing up so fast and brightens every room with his contagious smile and gentle spirit. I love his curiosity as he discovers a whole new world around him. My children are amazing, and I couldn’t be happier to be their daddy!
I’m also grateful for my own father, the man who raised me and taught me to have fun, to always do my best, and to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. My grandfather was also a loving and caring influence in my life, and I cherish the legacy he passed down to me. Clearly, Lord, you’ve shown me so much grace and mercy, and I am thankful.
I just wish my kids had their mom.
I wish Kristen were here to play with Elizabeth and Ian, to read to them, snuggle with them, and laugh with them. I wish she were here to help Elizabeth with homework and Ian with potty training. I wish she could see them grow, watch their spirits soar as they learn new things, cheer them on when they succeed, and kiss them when they need love and support.
I wish she were here.
I can’t be everything Elizabeth and Ian need. I can’t fill that hole in their lives that their mother left behind when she passed away. I’m too strict and impatient, too proud and quick to anger. I can’t give them the balance they would have received if they had both parents. I can’t even take a break. I have no one to tag in when I’ve reached my limit and can’t stands no more, as Popeye would say. Being a single parent is the most physically and emotionally draining journey I have ever been on, and there are times when I would like nothing more than to get off this path and find a different one, any one that doesn’t involve being a single dad.
Is that selfish?
Am I so focused on my own pain that I can’t see past it?
Should I stop thinking about what I don’t have and just be grateful for what I do have?
Maybe. I guess so. I don’t know.
There are just so many questions that have crossed my mind over these past two years. I’d be lying, Lord, if I said I’ve never wondered why I’m on this path, if I did something wrong to be where I am, or if you are simply testing me. The “Why?” question is always with me.
But I grew up in the church, so I know that in this life I will face many trials. I know sorrows and grief will come. I know I shouldn’t worry about anything, especially tomorrow, because I cannot control it.
So where does that leave me? I see only two options:
I can blame you for all my hardships. I can even hate you for what you’ve done, leave the church, become cold and bitter, and shake my fist at you in a final act of defiance. I can refuse to submit to you, O Lord, and instead say, “Not Thy will be done, but mine.”
I can trust you. Because you are God. Because you are infinite. Because you created something out of nothing. Because you are love. Because I am nothing if you’re not at the center of my life.
And if I really love my children and want what’s best for them, I’ll do everything I can to convince them that you need to be at the center of theirs.
Father’s Day reminds me of the incredible responsibility I face. I’m the only parent my kids have now, and it’s up to me to teach them to love you, Lord, with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s why I’m very thankful and excited that I was with Elizabeth on Memorial Day when she prayed to accept Jesus into her heart. I pray every night that you, O Lord, will continue to send loving people into her life to teach her about Jesus. I can’t do it all by myself, but I wouldn’t need you if I could.
Thank you, God, for providing my family with everything we have ever needed, for loving me when I didn’t deserve it, for never giving up on me, and for being my heavenly father and being a much better parent than I could ever be.
Happy Father’s Day!