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Perspective, Purpose, and Parenting

It's been months since my forefingers hovered over the "j" and "f" keys, my wrist relaxed, my posture erect, and my feet grounded like the coffee to my right. I think of the night that warring emotions and the spiritual weapon of anxiety took this idea hostage. When I was brought to tears, I knew I had a responsibility to slip from under the sheets and allow the rawness to coarse through my veins like oxygen in the blood. Although creativity desperately pulled at my soul and authenticity tingled the tips of my fingers, I rested in the moment.

The transparent expression would've forced me to watch the moon exchange with the sun if I hadn't. The day that dissolved into this particular night was the opposite. The sky burned beautifully as Amelia and Amara commented on the rays reflecting off the lake as we crossed the bridge. The three of us, along with my sister and brother-in-love, were headed home from Pittsburgh after surprising my father at his basketball nationals for the senior league which he's unabatedly dominated.

The desire to support stemmed from a whimsical comment my dad made in a passing conversation suggesting that we should come to watch him play. Subsequently, an impression of making plans immediately dropped into my heart. My mind ventured to the countless games where I witnessed my family walk through the turnstiles supporting the hard work that resulted in a Division I basketball scholarship. Regardless of our record, or if I played, his attendance never wavered. I remember conversations when he grievingly expressed that he wouldn't be able to make it. I can still hear the disappointment in his voice.

Considering his presence has been consistent since before my brain could signal to my body to dribble, it never bothered me. Oddly enough, his voice inflection and obvious willingness were as if he was in attendance, analyzing, encouraging, and giving instruction through basketball sign language.

To say that I feel indebted is a gross understatement. Just like with our Heavenly Father, there isn't an act or word that can suffice in gratitude for what has been poured into me since conception. The extent of our declaration is our expression of faith through obedience, holiness, and reverential fear which leads to righteousness. Similarly, the best way to affirm my dad's investment was to give back where it was given.

Displaying love and appreciation through sacrifice.

This acknowledgment brought about the heaviness I was currently breaking under, and what the Holy Spirit revealed to me. The correlation of an earthly father and Jesus Christ as the head of the church. The importance of a man bearing the image of the Son who laid the blueprint for the structure of the household through Paul's writings in Ephesians 6.

I thought about my father, the imperfect man perfected by grace, and wondered if I could ever become to my kids what he is to me. My composure dwindled in my attempts to control the sobs. My body convulsed as if my diaphragm was holding in a sneeze. I began to recognize the pressure of leading a family. The responsibility, the acumen, the prayers, and I couldn't escape the enveloping inadequacy. If I had to raise myself, I'm not sure if I would've turned out this way. I can't begin to fathom what the future holds for me as a parent.

The sun rose and fell day after day as weeks turned to months and I was presented with the opportunity to step into a role of fatherhood that seemed to only be a reality in my dreams. Circumstances allowed me to be a full-time dad to Amara! Ecstatic, expectant, and euphoric are adjectives that could attempt to describe my enraptured heart. The news was better than receiving my long-anticipated scholarship and captivating the attention of an unfamiliar audience with poetry at an open mic.

By God's grace, it didn't take long to find a daycare that lined up with my work schedule. By that same grace, I easily found a townhouse for us to reside in with ready finances. This same grace opened my eyes and mind to fully and confidently step into the responsibility I respectfully accepted. If it wasn't for His grace and favor holding me, I would still be working odd hours to make ends meet. When I put my trust in Him and the truth of my Lord and Savior being my provider and supplier of all my needs, His word came alive.

For years, I yearned to experience the simplicities of fatherhood such as picking up my kids from daycare or school. I've only envisioned myself on a routine that included my child. Preparing dinner or running bath water nightly. It's always been a foreign idea to be the dominant influence and the one in charge of learning outside of customary education. These concepts may be common to most, but for me, they've always been as far as our galaxy's supernovas. It's unsolvable what God can do walking in adverse seas versus what I can do rowing in my power.

Life events this past year have drawn me deeper into an intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father. I started reading the Bible myself to grasp who God truly is and was, not just from others' interpretations. The revelations, wisdom, and understanding the Holy Spirit has been imparting have my eyes bulging with insight at His Word. The fear of the Lord was the first topic I explored and walking reverentially has increased my love, respect, and obedience to the Lord. I spend time with Him daily, not out of religious obligation, but because I have a dire need to learn more about Him and His ways.

Renewing my mind as I become more of a doer and less of a fruitless hearer. The Word dissects between joints, marrow, soul, and spirit while detailing the laws that encourage me to do the things I hate. Wisdom, which is given generously, is what led me to read the Bible to my kids at night and pray over them. I look forward to hearing their underdeveloped voices acknowledge with an "Amen" as we touch and agree. Even if they fall asleep, I know their spirits are awake. Growing up I would've never thought that expressing the Word in faith to my kids would be as satisfying as successfully teaching them to ride bikes.

One thing I've come to realize about Christians, churches, and teachers of the Bible is that there are a lot of false or half doctrines floating around. To me, it seems as if God's sovereignty gets bypassed in sermons or minimized due to people believing Him to be reactive rather than all-knowing. How can you believe that He's sovereign but question His authority to predestine, yes, I'm including those with unfavorable afterlives. Is it too hard a concept to grasp that mercy and compassion only extend to some, and those without are still used for the glory of the Father?

After learning that I have a third child, one that I've seen consistently, given presents to, and asked about her day. Nyely, the daughter of the same mom as Amelia, a child I've unknowingly left behind in numerous exchanges. Once the shock and the fear of negligence as a father subsided, which had been overwhelming, I recognized God's sovereignty in His timing of unveiling the truth about Nyely. In previous seasons, if I had known, I promise I wouldn't be walking with the Lord nor would Amara be here.

God knew that He would've lost me, and I wouldn't fulfill the assignment He's chosen for me in His Kingdom. Isaiah writes that His word will not come back void and achieve the purpose for which it was sent. Jesus tells us that He chose us, that we didn't choose Him, and that we have to be enabled by the Father to be a true follower.

I questioned God what took Him so long to reveal her to me? My insufficiencies as a father resurfaced as I felt like I missed out on five years of my daughter's life. I prayed throughout the years asking if she was mine without any confirmation by the Spirit. I asked why he would bless me at all if I wasn't the best father that I could be. Although I was ignorant of my position in her life, it didn't ameliorate my sentiments. Then I was reminded of this scripture...

Romans 9:19-21 (NIV) "19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?"

Essentially, is God, not sovereign?! He does what he pleases and is not a respecter of persons, so why is He limited to who you think He should be? What if God in His sovereign will, permitted all the events in my fatherhood journey so that perseverance can be produced? That I may be mature and complete not lacking anything for the calling to men and fathers so that He may be glorified through my testimony that prayerfully is used to bring light in the darkness.

If this ideology is the antithesis of who you believe God to be, is it possible, that the Kingdom is misunderstood? Grossly misrepresented? Ask yourself, do you serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the god of your imagination?


-Image by Naomi Gerrard

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