Today is my first Father’s Day. Our Lord has blessed me with the most incredible child in the world or at least, it sure feels that way every time I think of my daughter Grace.
More than a small bundle of joy, Gracie is the fruit of my loins. She is the result of 10 months of daily love, affection and even a few power struggles. The road through early fatherhood has been phenomenal but the reality is, my little angel didn’t come with an instruction manual. I’ve had to make a few guesses along the way, so far so good.
As she begins to discover the wonders of mobility through crawling and soon walking, she will inevitably become more and more independent. Already she is much less interested in being held versus chasing after the cat’s tail in her nursery….
I think my wife Elizabeth also feels odd watching our little girl grow so quickly; wishing we could stop time and keep our baby from growing into adolescence, and then into the challenging teenage years. How can we possibly take on the monumental task of raising a child to be a loving, productive member of society and part of God’s family? I suppose by raising them in God’s light…
Since personal experiences are at the root of many of my messages, I feel compelled to share an extraordinary parenting situation with you all.
Judith and Tom are good friends of mine and former members of our small group at FBC St. Pete (for the sake of privacy I took the liberty of changing their names). Tom, a soft spoken U.S. Marines colonel and man of God has become my much loved brother in Christ. Judith is solid rock dressed in elegant sophistication, a generous, purpose driven source of inspiration to all those who come across her path. Together, they embody Christianity.
They both recovered from a failed marriage and challenging parenting. Judith single-handedly raised her daughter. Tom’s divorce forces a hands off approach which is resulting in his four daughters choosing a life without God’s light. This, I believe is at the root of teen hatred toward Judith and almost caused separation earlier this week.
“There is only so much a man can do when he only has two weeks with his girls each year” says Tom. Understanding remote parenting can be difficult, Tom made his bed long ago and is now facing the consequences of his actions. Divorcing his first wife has come back to bite him one more time.
Caught in the middle of all this, Judith can’t help but bleed from the inside out. Tom’s girls hate her and hate the God she and Tom worship. What’s worse is that she is now realizing that she married into parenting tribulation and faces what seems to be troubled waters for years to come. I keep asking myself “How can such a strong woman be shaken by disrespectful teenagers?”
This reminds me of scripture describing Jesus’ disciples as they went out on the Sea of Galilee after Jesus fed the multitude and performed a most magnificent miracle. They too were doubtful when surrounded by crashing waves and a stormy sky. (See Mark Chapter 6)
I believe Tom’s geographical inability to guide his four daughter to Jesus could have been avoided. I preach a straight-up “no-divorce” message each chance I get. The word of God is quite specific when it comes to divorce…
Matthew 5:32 reads “But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
And 1 Corinthians 7:12-13 commands “To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.”
No matter what people tell you, divorce is a sin and a violation of God’s commands. With this in mind and the fact divorce rates in America continue to grow, it’s no secret God’s wrath grows exponentially. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6)
Are you struggling to keep a marriage afloat? Are the waves crashing, the winds blowing against you? Is your spouse not living in God’s light? Are your children rebelling against your beliefs? Are you about to give up?
Don’t give up! Or give in!
Stay true to the king of kings and continue to seek Him. Let your marriage be strengthened by the word. Allow your parenting opportunity to inspire rather than suffocate. All this can be achieved through Jesus Christ.
Remember divorce is not an option, it’s an excuse that will keep coming back to haunt you and all those involved. Divorce is a decision that involved ripples in the waters that will continue far beyond your own life, specially when children get caught amidst our own disobedience.
Tom and Judith should be fine. Tom’s girls may not.
Let’s pray for them!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives
For the challenges you set before us
And for the opportunities you allow us
To shine through and rise up.
Lord we pray you will continue to guide us
And inspire us to seek and trust you,
To live by your word and your commands
As we obey and serve you each day.
Father we thank you for looking after us,
After our families, our friends
And ask you to strengthen our relationships
Like only you can.
God we love you and thank you for all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre