Happy Broken Father's Day

I love being a dad.  I love my kids unconditionally. I believe in them, support them, provide for them, take care of them, encourage them, and protect them. I am not sure what qualifies a dad to be a "great" father but I do what I can to try and be the dad my kids deserve. And guess what? I fall miserably short.

I am not a perfect father. I am a sinner. I make mistakes. I overreact. I lose my temper. I say things I should not. I am sure my decisions are not always the best ones.  In essence: I am broken.

Several years ago, I made the decision to walk away from a marriage. And as a result, the mother of my children divorced me. I guess it is fair to say I abandoned our marriage. I made choices that impacted my children in a deep and lasting way.  I never abandoned my kids (even though people love to throw around that phrase in situations like mine). As a matter of fact, I am probably more intentional with the time I spend with my children than I ever have been. But I did make a decision that altered the course of their lives.

That decision to change our family dynamic haunts me on days like Father's Day. It usually surfaces with this type of internal struggle: "If you are such a great dad, why did you choose to walk away from their mother? Why didn't you fight for your first marriage?"

How can I lead them when I failed them so deeply?
How can I teach them to be honest when I lived such a lie?
How can I show them how to love when I failed to love their own mother?
How can I be Jesus to them when I misrepresented Him so severely?

These type of questions can hinder a man from being the type of father God has called him to be. After all, how can a man who has made such a blatant and life-changing error still be the father he is supposed to be? 

The answer? The gospel

The gospel declares that Jesus is who I am not. He does what I cannot. He salvages what I destroy. He heals what I wound. He reconciles what I damage. 

I have learned (and continue to learn) that the only way that I can truly be the dad God intends is for me to point my kids to Jesus.

I failed them but He will never fail them.
I am broken but He is not.
I make mistakes as a parent and will let them down but Jesus will never disappoint them.

I believe my greatest contribution to the life of my children is to lead them to follow and trust their Heavenly Father who loves them in a way that is free from error. 

Like most parents, I believe my kids are as close to perfect as a child can be. But guess what? They are not. They are as broken as I am.  And the answer to their brokenness rests in the same Person who heals my sinful heart.

My children do not need a different or new father.  They have a father who loves them more than life. But what they do need is a father who recognizes his own brokenness, seeks forgiveness from his Heavenly Father, and seeks to follow his Father in a way that points his broken children to Jesus.

So to all my fellow dads out there: Happy Broken Father's Day!

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