Is there any greater feeling than your young daughter running outside to greet you after a long day saying, “Up-hug Daddy, up-hug!”? Or being challenged to a wrestling match by your boys immediately upon walking through the door? These are what I call glimpses of God’s glory in this life, the blessing of children, of marriage and family.
The glimpses can get lost in the burden of raising children. The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s latest annual “Cost of Raising a Child” report documented the average cost to be $245K for the middle-income American family. That is approximately $14,000 per child per year. The top three costs are housing (30%), childcare & education (18%) and food (16%). The numbers do not include the cost of college, pregnancy or other expenses after 18 years of age. The burden can overwhelm the blessing by pushing both parents to work outside the home or worse, to pull away from the responsibility of marriage and family all together.
“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23. The icon for Faithful Fathering is a smaller cross overshadowed by a larger glorious cross. The smaller cross represents the one each of us pick up every day as men of God navigating through the burdens of this world. The larger glorious cross is Christ who equips us to blast through the burdens as we learn to walk as He walked, love as He loved and lead as He led. It is a blessing to be able to take up our cross daily and face burdens that are part of life. But burdens can overwhelm and the glimpses of His glory, the blessings along the journey can be missed.
The journey of a father includes that miracle of birth, holding her so Mom can get some rest, those first words, the first steps. Then there is the first day of school, the first challenge of your authority and the decision to accept Christ as Savior and Lord. Next there is the first driving lesson, her first date and the realization that she is becoming a young lady. High school graduation, college graduation and walking her down the aisle are the toughest parts of the journey as dad learns to let go. The many firsts and all the points in between are glimpses of His glory on the journey. Blessings are embraced as the burdens are faced responsibly.
Prayer guide: Lord, Thank You for the blessing of marriage and family. Too often I have allowed the burdens of this world to distract me, particularly as I strive to provide for my family. Life balance has been elusive. Now I hear You. Life is not about balance. Life is about following You. I confess I have followed after my own goals, chasing success while missing glimpses of Your glory. Equip me to deny myself and take up my cross in this world, to step up as the man, husband and father You call me to be, the faithful father my family needs. Amen.
A faithful father embraces blessings as he faces burdens responsibly.