I will forever be grateful for the ministry of Redeemer Fellowship in Kansas City. They have articulated the good news of Jesus Christ with clarity for me. Alongside there faithfulness to the Scriptures they have increased my desire to be a present dad. April 2nd 2017 they brought in a guest speaker to discuss father wounds. This sermon was transformative to me as I look ahead as a dad. All of the notes below are reflections from this talk.
1) Fathers: Be Present
Jeff describes the absence of fathers as a tsunami sweeping through a child’s heart. The well used phrase that “kid’s are resilient”, is not as true as we might think. Take note of Proverbs 17:6 “The glory of sons is their fathers” . Jeff goes on to say “we often think the glory of the father is his children” It seems the weight here is put on the presence of the father. Robert Black said this glory “is food that a man feeds his children, its a nourishment that given to a child that child receives a sense of stability through life, a weightiness, a sense of who he or she is or what there supposed to be. A food that if not given to a child often leads to a gnawing sense of inadequacy that results in over compensating, wandering, left to figure out life with a dad sized hole in your chest.”
From age 1 to 5 every child is asking this question, what am I? From 6 to 8 the question moves from what am I to what do I want to be? From 9 to 12 how do I act? From 12 to marriage how am I doing? In all of these questions the Father is seen as the standard “At each stage for both girls and boys use there fathers as the primary yard stick by which to define themselves.”
Fathers have proven to fail at this over and over and over again. “Maybe every-time you saw your dad he was leaving. Maybe you have a dad who had favorites, maybe your dad was passive, a drink in one hand and a channel changer, all you knew was that whatever was on the screen was a lot more important then your life. Maybe your dad was physically there, but he was still gone. Your dad was like a hologram, physical presence that moved in and out of your house, but when your hand reached to touch him your hand went right through him, somehow you knew there was nothing concrete in your chest that connected to him and in his chest that connected to you because emotionally he was not connected. He provided for you, he put a shelter over your head, but you know what, that’s what they do in Russian orphanages.”
Jeff pushes the point “be present” because if you don’t your kids will be weightless, they will be like blind men with no direction, wandering and responding without knowing who they really are or should be.
“The absence of a father results in toxic shame, insecurity, bitterness, resentment, co dependence, addiction to alcohol, gambling, eating, drugs, pornography, sex, even work, medicating the exhaustion of our co dependence.”
2) Fathers: Be Dependent
Did Jesus ever say “Blessed are those who survive and don’t need anyone or anything, blessed are those who are independent, self sufficient, who’s life is fine” No. He said things like “Blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who thirst for they shall be satisfied.”
God does not call us to be self sufficient, He calls us to depend on Him to be for us what we cannot be for ourselves. Jeff goes on to say “We don’t need to be a super dad, rather we need to be a clumsy dad. On your best day your a giraffe on ice. Don’t wait to have your act together before throwing yourself on the ice. Clumsy human dad’s we are, and in need.” Jeff gives an example of his 17 year old saying “Dad you don’t know anything about being 17, son, I know what it’s like to be lonely, I know what it’s like to be afraid, I know what its like to be sad, hurt and angry.” We lead and point them to the heavenly father by being honest about our own neediness, not pretending we have things together.
Jeff says “my parenting will be your reasoning to need God, on my best day I will point you to Him and on my worst day you will go to Him”
3) Fathers: Listen to Your Heavenly Father
God answers questions He knew we would ask, like “God will you ever leave me?” Hebrews 13 “I will never leave you nor forsake you” “Why does God tell us this, because He knows I am always wondering “when are you gonna leave me and when are you gonna forsake me?” His answer is never.
Our imperfect fathers are to lead us to love and enjoy our heavenly father, and our kids need to know that we merely point to His perfections. We need to constantly press into the love of our perfect heavenly father, the beauty of our imperfections only expose the and point to the perfections of His love.
Ultimately we see the concrete love of the Father at the cross. The fact that He was to abandon His own Son for the sake of His children only displays His love for us. We have been adopted as children into God’s family through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All quotes have been taken from Jeff Schulte’s sermon on “father wounds” and can be found here http://redeemerkansascity.org/sermons#d/message/2987/rd