To Be A Father

Father’s Day.  Home-made cards.  Tacky neck ties.  Burnt toast served in bed.  The day when dads are honored for their provision, their playfulness, their guidance and their love.  I wish I knew what that felt like.

Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up.  For little boys, a fireman or a policeman often tops the list.  Hockey player and astronaut are popular picks too.  But those weren’t the first things to cross my mind when I was first asked what I dreamed of becoming.  When my parents inquired as to what I wanted to be, the first thing out of my mouth was ‘a daddy’.

The dream did not fade.  I love children.  When I get in a room full of people, I’d often rather hang out with the kids than the adults.  For reasons beyond our control, Lisa and I are unable to have children.

It hurts.  I will never know the life-altering experience of witnessing the birth of my child.  I will never know the joy of teaching my son to ride a bike.  I will never experience the bitter-sweet thrill of walking my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.  There will be no potty training; no scaring away potential boyfriends; no teaching about the birds and the bees.  I will never hear the word ‘daddy’ and know that it was meant for me.  And when I am old, there will be no visits from my children or grandchildren.  We will always be somebody else’s guests for Christmas.

I have struggled for a long time with the pain of my unfulfilled dream.  I have cried many bitter tears.  I have questioned God.  My sorrow culminated a couple of years ago when I found myself in an empty playground pushing an empty swing.  I bawled my eyes out.

Please do not misinterpret my intentions in sharing this part of my journey.  I do not want your pity, nor would it be helpful.  I do not want to be treated any differently by those who rub shoulders with me.  The reason I feel compelled to speak about this is simple.  Nobody else does.

Why is it that nobody wants to talk about crushed dreams?  For many, it is a fact of life.  A thirty-something ‘still single’ woman wonders if she will ever find true love.  An ex-husband looks back and wonders what went wrong.  A family cannot figure out what good could possibly come from the accident that crippled their child.  The list goes on.

It is easy to become jaded when life’s greatest dreams are crushed.  When God doesn’t come through the way we think He should, the answerless questions begin to pile up.  Doesn’t He care?  What’s wrong with my dream?  Don’t I matter to Him?  Is He cruel?

The last thing I want to do is give pat answers to questions like these.  I have asked those questions myself, and a glib response from a well-meaning friend is of little use.  I don’t entirely know why good dreams get crushed.  I can’t properly explain to you why Lisa and I are unable to bear a child.  But I can tell you that it is not because of a lack of love from my King.  I have seen Him bring beauty from ashes too many times to conclude that I know better than He does.  He has a plan.  I know that can sound cheap when you are holding the shattered pieces of your dream, but with all of my heart I believe that it is true.

Joseph (the son of Israel) knew what it was to have his dreams crushed.  Repeatedly.  The life of favor that he enjoyed in his father’s household was stripped from him as he was sold into slavery by his own brothers.  Yet out of his place of slavery, God raised him up to a place of blessing and influence.  This too was stripped from him as he was falsely accused of rape and thrown in prison.  But once again, God’s plan proved to be a loving one and Joseph was raised up to a place of even greater power.  In the end, Joseph’s crushed dream led him down a path that he never could have imagined.  Because he submitted to the unexplainable purposes of his Lord, Joseph was used of God to save nations and saw his family restored in the process.  Beauty from ashes.

I may not know much of God’s purpose behind my broken dream, but I do know part of it.  Out of the ashes of my childlessness, God has raised up a heightened sense of what it is to be an uncle.  I have the honor of being involved in the lives of many children, and I am able to pour into the lives of those precious kids in a way that people with children of their own cannot.  In a way, I have more kids than I could ever have borne in the natural.

Traditionally, Father’s Day has been a very difficult day for me, and that pain will probably always be with me to some degree.  But it doesn’t have to cripple me.  I do not have to spend the third Sunday of every June wallowing in self-pity.  I can submit my crushed dream to my heavenly Father and let Him turn it into something beautiful.

For me, Father’s Day has taken on new significance and I embrace it with purpose.  Each year on this day I will choose.  I choose to take the time to recognize and express appreciation for the amazing fathers that I have the privilege of knowing.  I choose to commit myself to investing as deeply as I can in the children (and others younger than myself) that God has put in my life.  I choose to express appreciation to my heavenly Father for the undeniable, unexplainable, unreasonable love that He shows me every minute of my life.

In the end, my crushed dream doesn’t have to cripple me.  If I will place my broken pieces in the loving hands of God, He will take my meager offering and make something beautiful out of it.  That’s what a Father does.

 

Comments

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Dad

So profound! Well said, son. I, like most men, have a tendancy to try to ‘fix’ things. But this time I can’t. Only God can bring “beauty from ashes”. But I can tell you one thing; no father has ever been more proud of his son than I am of you! I love you, Tim.

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Crystal

So wonderful to hear you expressing yourself about this. It is true and sad that no one wants to discuss this type of issue as they see it as shameful or some sort of failure. I love your perspective! My children appreciate that you have this perspective. It is so amazing to see your journey through life and your willingness to share it. People will learn from it and hopefully find freedom to share their own journeys.

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Doug

Thank you. Plain and simple – thank you. We all have had experiences that have knocked us down and our lives, my life, has been so full of questions and raw debilitating feelings but to talk about it out loud… You are a man of God and a warrior for His kingdom. Did I say thank you?

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Larry Moore

Good word Tim. It’s one thing for someone to have a valid and deep life experience to share. The fact you have walked this way gives you credibility. But it’s another thing altogether to have the courage to actually talk about it. You, my friend, are that courageous one. Good job.

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Ryan McKenzie

Tim, the word that came to mind when I was halfway through your post was “Patriarch”. It’s not only a Dad who can change the course of someone’s life, or even a family’s life. With the love and passion that you have had placed in your heart by God you have been and continue to be a huge blessing to those around you. I really do wish that you guys still lived nearby, but that would only serve to leave a hole in many more people’s lives where you’re such a great friend.

I love you and am praying for you this weekend my friend.

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Ross Clark

Well-done.

I am a single Christian man, late forties, brought up to believe that the highest thing I could every aim for as a Christian man was a Family Man. Now that I haven’t got there, probably won’t … where do I fit, as far as the Body of Christ is concerned?

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Rae-Lynne

Hey Tim another great one. I do agree that this message for mom or dad is not spoken enough. Being that single 30 something girl who’s dream was to have a family. Being a aunt to my sisters kids but also to my friends kids may be the greatest blessing i can have or have found.

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Esther

Oh bro…. I’m sitting here at my computer weeping. So many times I have wished I could wave some wand or pray some prayer and you & Lisa would miraculously become parents. And while part of me still wishes I could do that, the other part realizes the pride & arrogance of that idea — that my ways are higher than His. They are not, and one glorious day we’ll finally know.

One theme I keep seeing reinforced lately in my life is that it always comes back to drawing my everything from God and not myself. He is the Giver of breath, faith, wisdom, strength and gifts, and both the Giver and Fulfiller (not really a word, but you know what I mean) of dreams. Whenever I fail to acknowledge that, my paltry human efforts show me just how much I really need Him. Ultimately, I am learning that though He slay me, yet I WILL trust Him.

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Alvin Woelfle

Hey Bru,
You are the one guy that can bring tears to my eyes on a regular basis with your wise and powerful words! Please keep sharing! You are touching more people then you know and God has Blessed you with many Talents and Gifts! Needless to say, I am so grateful to be part of your family and influence! You have given me Hope on many occasions to carry on, when I had no strength to! My prayer for you is that God heals this hurt and fills you with so much more contentment in all the other areas of your life! You deserve so much love in return!
And to Ross Clark, I say keep the Faith brother! Many years ago I joined a life group and I was the only single there amongst 3 other couples. I always thought I would be married in my early twenties and have 2 or 3 kids. I remember one Bible study when marriage came up and I shared with the group my hopes of family, I couldn’t help but to break down and feel disappointed. But in Gods time, I met the girl of my dreams (Tim’s sister, Esther) and we married just before my 40th birthday. And I became a father when I was 43. We now have a beautiful daughter that is turning 2 this month. Her name is Eliana, which means, “My God has Answered”. Ross, may our God Bless you, in his perfect time!

Posted On
Jun 18, 2011
Posted By
Nicole

Wow… once again you managed to bring me to tears, at work no less!!! Your words came to me at a time I needed them most. Sooo many times I complain how hard it is to be a parent. Why would God give me a child that is sooo difficult I often say. But, your words have brought me to a place of thanking God for what he has given me and to stop complaining. I am very blessed and I needed to be reminded of this. Thank you Tim. My prayer for you and Lisa is to feel completion and contentment where you are today. I am so proud of you for the man you are. You and Lisa have been bringing us along on your journey and it has changed me more then you could ever imagine. Thank you to you both.

Posted On
Jun 19, 2011
Posted By
Gina Kijewski

Tim,
A good friend sent this to me and my husband today. Like you and your wife, we too have found ourselves as uncle and auntie to everyone else’s kids and then going home to an empty house. We just had our 4th miscarriage in April and sadly, this loss has been the worse one yet. Our church is exploding with newborns; even the previously thought barren have ALL brought home new bundles of joy this year. We are absolutely thrilled being honorary auntie and uncle to the whole horde, yet I find this Father’s Day one I want to hide myself away from….

Thank you for reminding me that even in my extreme pain, we are being molded into God’s perfect plan for us. He knew from the beginning and He knows the outcome in the end…I just needed to be reminded of that fact, and to rely on Him for my daily strength….Thanks again.

Posted On
Jun 29, 2011
Posted By
Louis

It took tears out of my heart. I guest shattered dreams are inevitable to all. What I like is your attitude. You are a blessing to everybody.
God bless you Tim and your wife!

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