Last weekend was Father’s Day and my kids and I went to church in Eastern Washington to visit a church affiliated with our home church, Gold Creek, on our way to Lake Chelan. The kids area did not have a “bouncy house” like Gold Creek does and because it is smaller than Gold Creek, the “tweens” (5th and 6th graders) are in with the younger kids. My son, a tween, was not excited about this so he opted to sit in the service with me.
The last couple of years I have really tried to make Father’s Day light-hearted and about my dad for my kiddos since their own father is not in the picture. I try to keep it as happy and fun as possible to minimize any sadness and feelings of anger and bitterness that sometimes presents on days like this. I was a bit apprehensive as I sat there with my son, suddenly realizing that, ‘oh yeah, it’s a Father’s Day sermon.’
My son is smart and attentive and I knew he was taking it all in. How was he handling this? Was he ok? Was he sad? Should I do something? I have to be careful here because my son is 11 now and it is not cool for your mom to hug you or put her arm around you in public. I wouldn’t want to embarrass him.
One of the hardest things I have had to learn to accept is that I cannot change my son’s reality. I can’t change the truth. I can’t undo it and I can’t box it up and make it pretty. And I can’t control his feelings and emotions around it. But whatI realized in that service is that my job is to raise this boy to be a great father. It is my job to lead him to his Heavenly Father and give him all the resources and tools and experiences that can form him into a godly man and someday husband and father.
My son has a Father. He has a Father who will love him each moment of each day, unconditionally. He has a Father who will always be there, who will be at every basketball game, every rocket launch, every school performance. He has a Father who will never be too busy working or out of town. And it is my duty to encourage this spiritual relationship for my son. It is my not just my duty, but my privilege, to teach him that he can be the amazing man and someday husband and father that God has created him to be.
I can never be a father to my son. I’m not a man, I’m not a dad. I’m his mother. But as his mother I have the ability to lead him in the direction of his Heavenly Father and surround him with godly men who are living a Christ-cenetered life. I have the ability to surround him with men who are godly husbands and fathers to their own families. It can be difficult to acknowledge our own limitations, but if I don’t provide my son with the spiritual resources, teachings and mentors, he will be lacking the tools he needs to become the kind of man I know God wants him to be.
This Father’s Day I realized that I am not just helping my children to break a generations-old cycle…because that’s not enough in and of itself. I realize that it is my duty and responsibility to make sure they have all the opportunities to do it differently than the generations before. I am raising my son to be the dad he never had. I am raising my son to be a strong, protective father, who will give his children the emotional and spiritual support that he never received from his own biological father.
God has given me a great responsibility as my son’s mother. I am honored. I am privileged. I will not let Him down.
Be on guard. Stand firm in faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13