I’m continuing the father theme posting today with a small section from my upcoming book (RETOOLED). I hope it encourages you and gives you yet another peek into my journey as a dad. Blessings, Jay
I had just arrived home late from work and was feeling sick and bone weary. My spirit was past spent and I wanted to plop down somewhere and ignore everything and everyone. But my day wasn’t through—I needed to make my “rounds,” checking in with my kids and asking how their day had gone. Sarah, my oldest daughter, had her feelings hurt at dance class earlier that afternoon, so she was first on my list. Walking into her room, I put my arms around her as she began to cry. In between sobs, she shared about how the other girls acted really mean towards her, and all she wanted was to be friends. My head was throbbing and my eyes were nearly shut by the pain, but I managed to listen closely to all the details. I can barely remember what advice I gave on how to handle disappointment, but as we prayed together, I felt some solace in knowing that she had been able to release her worries and sadness to God. After some prayer and “daddy” time, Sarah felt better, and I moved on to catch up with the rest of the crew. Dinnertime, story time, and then the kids’ bedtime came in rapid succession.
Afterwards, I went downstairs to the family room to channel surf myself numb. For weeks I had been feeling unworthy of the adoration I saw in my children’s eyes. Sitting alone now, doubts about my fathering skills kept nagging at me—the same doubts about the impact I was having on their young lives that had been keeping me awake lately. I worried that I wasn’t quite the hero my daughter had pictured in her mind, that I wasn’t the man my sons believed me to be. As I tried to lose myself in cable land, those uncertainties kept fighting for my attention—what makes you think you’re a good father? The lies kept coming, and my aching spirit felt worse than my throbbing head.
After a short while, my wife came in, hugged me from behind, and told me something that would lift my spirits and encourage my heart. As she was saying goodnight to my daughter, Sarah had told her, “Mom, Daddy is the one person that shows me Jesus the best.” How I needed to hear those words! They were the tonic I needed to ease the despair that was killing me. As my tears flowed, I realized that my daughter noticed that Daddy wasn’t feeling well, yet took the time to listen to her heart. She saw a picture of Christ’s character fleshed out in me when I was willing to put her needs above my own. The family resemblance displayed before her young eyes was that of the Heavenly Father, who enabled me to “look like Jesus” to my daughter. That, thanks to God, was kindness in action.
Men, I need to speak further about our daughters for a moment. Our relationship with our daughter is a tender and wonderful connection. You are the first man in your daughter’s life. All other male relationships are measured and compared against the one you share with her. You are the one she will look up to and catch a vision, through your character and kindness, of what Father God is like. Trust is a big ingredient for the feminine spirit; kindness fortifies trust deep down in your daughter’s life. It will speak loudly for generations.
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers toward their children, and the hearts of the children towards their fathers...” Malachi 4:6