It is pretty standard knowledge amongst Christians: sow into the deeds of the flesh and reap of the flesh; sow into the Spirit and reap the fruits of the Spirit. Unfortunately the words “If I had known then what I know now” don’t help much once certain actions have come full circle. Such was the case of my journey into fatherhood. I was not a Christian when I met my daughter’s mom and through a relationship based strictly on the flesh, my daughter was born out of wedlock. Her mom and I never gained a stable relationship and things only grew worse between us as time went on.
Today I still live with some of the consequences from the decisions I made back then. Please don’t get me wrong: my daughter’s birth is one of the greatest moments of my life and she and I have a wonderful relationship; though I often have to endure some of the pain from not having her within the protection of marriage. This includes:
- Not being able to see or call my daughter whenever I want
- Difficulties because I am not able to co-parent effectively with her mom
- All of the dynamics that come with my daughter having a stepfather
- Trying to parent from a distance, often having to jump through hoops to stay involved with school and doctor’s appointments
- Having to say goodbye to her after a concert or game as she goes one way with her mom and stepdad and I go the other way
And so on…
However, I can also make a very strong case that things may not be what they are today if God had not walked me through these trials like He has. After giving my life to Christ when my daughter was very young, I now sow into His Kingdom instead of my own. A few of those fruits being reaped are:
- Not taking my time with her for granted
- Learning to forgive myself AND her mother…sometimes on a daily basis
- Blessing and praying for her mom and stepdad- especially when I don’t want to or when I feel they don’t deserve it
- Being more intentional about her schooling and interests
- And most importantly: bringing her up in Christ. Generational curses have now become generational blessings. God has poured abundant grace over my family, as my daughter gave her life to Jesus a few years ago!
Yes, it still hurts sometimes to go through the things I do; but it also keeps me from becoming complacent in my walk and to continue to rely on God above everything else for the sake of my family.
Sow with a view to righteousness,
reap in accordance to kindness;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12 NASB
Are you allowing past mistakes to dictate your family’s current path; or are you sowing new seeds of righteousness instead?
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy, Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers,
Co-author of The Daddy Gap