I attended the father and daughters seminar on Sunday. I walked out being pretty glad I’m not a parent let alone a father!!
I have the book, ‘Strong Father, Strong Daughters’ sat next to me, asking to be read. What’s holding me back? I pick it up, flick through it, and put it down… several times.
I’m scared. Maybe you are too…
“The toxicity of our culture – and we’re to keep them pure?
She needs a hero – and I’m supposed to be one?
Protect and defend her – I feel so inadequate, at a loss.
Be the man you want her to marry – eek no thanks.
I don’t really want to sacrifice myself for anybody… let alone have daddy and daughter dates talking about clothes and body image *shudder*.
And above all this I’m supposed to gently lead her into a relationship with God?!
… boys are so much easier!!”
How can we be strong fathers and mothers to our daughters?! By doing what it says in this book? I can try. It has some really helpful advice and wisdom. But I’ll fail, feel guilty, a lost case.
However if we take a look at the ‘hero’ parents from the Bible… they didn’t do too great a job either….
Adam brought sin into the world, and his firstborn killed his brother. Noah’s kids sexually abused him. Abraham got so desperate for a kid he slept with his wife’s slave, he was then an old man Dad. Isaac blessed the wrong son, giving away his inheritance. Jacob married a woman who had ‘weak eyes’ and another whose name means ‘female sheep’ – they had 12 sons (must have been tough at bath time!). Moses married a foreigner. Shepherd boy King David slept with another man’s wife, killed the man, and proclaimed that his new son the King. That son, Solomon had over 700 wives and 300 concubines…! Isaiah named his son ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’ (!). The prophet Hosea was told to marry a prostitute, their daughter was called ‘not loved’. Jesus’ Father Joseph wasn’t even his real Dad.
Well this has been a depressing read so far… sorry!
The good news is that we have been given a wonderful example of a father’s love… in God the Father himself. The disciple John says,
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1
Throughout the whole of humanity’s story here on earth, God has lavished his love on his undeserving children. He’s the hero, the perfect provider and protector. He even sacrificed HIMSELF for his sons and daughters. It is God we can lean on. God we can trust and rely on. God who’ll give us the strength when we can no longer carry on… because it’s God’s power that ‘is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9).
This Sunday reminded me once more of the blessing my own father is, and has been to me. From making us m&m sandwiches whenever mum was away… not often (!), burping loudly down the phone – which descended us all into fits of giggles (!), to sitting us on his knee when we’d be in floods on tears (a practice I still do to this day)! My dad is a rock in my family, through times of joy and sorrow he is there, gently leading and showing us Christ. It’s actually in the times of sorrow that I learn most from my dad… to know he’s not perfect, but to see him and my mum, in their weakness lean upon God’s sustaining strength and grace.
So fathers – let’s step it up and take the lead, in his grace – be the fathers God planned for you to be. Mothers – let’s gracefully give them the space in which to do it, be their helper not their guilt tripper.
We are, and will be, weak fathers and mothers, but we have a strong God ‘whose power is made perfect in weakness’! We can be strong in his strength, with his courage and wisdom that is at work in us.
Finally, a song I love back home in England…
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom