As I meditate His word for tomorrow’s presentation — I am reminded of times when I was asked to speak into the lives of men … as they navigated the labyrinth that is fatherhood. You see fatherhood isn’t something that is done in a vacuum. A father requires a cherished woman … a mother … a partner … a friend … and in this case — a co-creator.
Fathering doesn’t begin as the child gasps for air on birthing day. Fathering begins with the mother. And it is here that I begin my meditation. A good Father protects not only the mother but the love between the mother and the father. Protects the honor of the mother of his children. A good Father is affectionate, reminding the mother of how she is and will always be his object of affection. A good Father is trustworthy – creating security. A good Father encourages and is patient to listen to the mother and in due season to the children. He provides the necessities of life as the mother gives birth to the very life that they co-created. A good Father shows the mother respect and spending time with Dad is fun for Mom. Dad is a good teacher, ever learning — and bringing the new things learned home to Mom.
Deuteronomy teaches us and I paraphrase — we are teaching when we are speaking and when we are silent. We teach while we are awake and while we sleep. It is not just when we are purposing to teach that we teach.
Children see how Dads treat Mom and they learn.
As a young Dad, the Holy Spirit reminded me as I prayed for help. I prayed “Dear Lord, protect Danielle and Annie while I am away.” It was as if I heard him catch his breath, holding back a chuckle … He responded. “Oh Danny, who do you think takes care of them while you’re home?”
Also, as a young Dad … I heard him whisper to me … “do you want to know what to say to Danielle to guide her for the rest of her life?” I said, “Of course, Lord.” As I was watching her in her crib — she was looking up at me and playing with her feet, he said. “Tell her you trust her and that you always will. And then tell her that she makes good decisions.” I thought about this … I continued to pray … and I obeyed. I looked down at my three month old Danielle and I whispered. “I trust you, Danielle and I always will. You make good decisions.” There hasn’t been a month past where I won’t say this to Danielle. At every step of the way, when decision time came — where to go to school, who to date, where to vacation, which party to attend, what profession — etc. She’d ask me “Dad what do you think?” I would share my thoughts, but then I ‘d look at her and she’d say … “I know, I know. You trust me and I make good decisions.”
Teachers teach. Fathers teach, love and stay. Fathering begins early. I never had the joy of a son of my very own, but I have had the joy of being with men while they were learning to Father.
One young man came to me with such joy. He and his beautiful wife were expecting a baby. A few months past and the two of them were on the phone with me … “The doctor tells us that there is so much wrong with our child. They are advising termination.” I listened and I heard them. They were confused. They were unsure as to what to do. I whispered … “Your Heavenly Father can make a way. He can heal your daughter right there in the womb. Still, I trust you. You make good decisions.” They decided to go through the pregnancy and give their daughter a chance at life.
On the night of the pregnancy the young man called me again. He was concerned and frightened and exhausted. He said, “Pastor, I am so tired. What do I do if the baby is not healthy? What do I do? I am physically, mentally and emotionally drained.” I had to hold back a chuckle — just like the Lord does for me and I said – “My friend … this is one of the most important nights of your young life. You can either be a goat or a hero. You aren’t 5% as tired as your beautiful wife is. You aren’t half as worried as she is. And you aren’t running the negative scenarios in your mind the way that she is. Hold up … just go in there and tell her how amazing she is. Tell her how beautiful she is and how happy she makes you and how blessed you feel to be sharing this experience with her. Now buck up boy. Let me hear you say it. I’m not tired. I’m not tired. I’m not scared. I’m here for you, baby.”
The baby was born without one issue. She is alive and smart and beautiful and blessed and this couple now has another child – a boy. And my guess is, that they aren’t done yet.
Fathering begins much earlier than you think.