Twenty-four years ago, I had an intimate moment with God. It still amazes me to think about it. Sitting in the semi-darkness of my wife’s hospital room, I heard God whisper to me. I could almost feel the warmth of His breath on my ear, as tears filtered through my stubble in the wonderment of the moment.
Maybe I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a little bit to give you a better picture of my God moment. I suppose I should start with my father. As a young child, my father squandered money on booze, gambling and women. I don’t think the word ‘love’ ever left his lips in my presence.
Without sharing vivid details, it is pretty evident that my dad abused us in one way or another. My response to this? I left home at thirteen to find my own way in life.
Unfortunately, my way of life seemed to be just another path to my dad’s way of life. Something had to change. I began to search for answers that I knew couldn’t be found in drugs or alcohol.
Eventually, I found a better path in Christ. At seventeen, I had a new life very different from my dad’s life. I had changed so drastically, my parents were afraid I had joined a cult.
Then I met her. The one God had chosen for me. We fell passionately in love. I shake my head now, but I proposed to her three weeks before my eighteenth birthday. I couldn’t help it. I loved her that much and I knew we were meant to be together. It makes me smile now just to think about it.
Six months after our engagement, we were married. Eighteen looks a lot younger now than it did back then. I can’t help but laugh about it. No worries, we have no regrets.
I wanted to have children right away. I had this new found love bursting in me. The love of God and the love of my wife overwhelmed me at times. I longed to share that love with a child. My wife, on the other hand, argued that being a teenage bride was one thing, but she really didn’t like the teen mother idea. I realized that we needed to wait to have children, but I didn’t want to wait too long.
I remember the day we found out that we were going to be parents. I had a T-shirt made that proudly stated “I’m Gonna be a Daddy”. I wore it everywhere with great pride. Maybe twenty-one seems a bit young to become a daddy, but God had helped me a great deal in my four years as His child.
The nine month wait brought great excitement. My wife handled pregnancy wonderfully. I loved watching her belly grow. I would lay my head in her lap and rub her rounding tummy. She carried our child. This thought fascinated me.
When she went into labor, reality began to set in. I’m going to be a daddy…tonight. I couldn’t even imagine what kind of pain she felt during labor. I remember one moment when I tried to encourage her about our decision to have natural child birth. She hit me. The nurse asked me to step out of the room about then.
Soon they rushed her into the delivery room. The time had finally come. Our child would be born. I gained a great deal of respect for my wife during delivery. It stunned me to see what she could endure without medication.
Then the most amazing moment happened. Our baby girl was born and the doctor placed her in my arms. I wanted to weep. A healthy, beautiful baby girl. Later that night, it happened. I heard God whisper to me.
My wife slept as I held our baby girl. I loved looking at her fingers and toes. I would stroke her cheek gently as she slept. I began to pray. “God, I have no idea how to be a daddy. Now that I am faced with the task, I am a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t have a good example of fatherhood. What if I end up being like my dad?”
Then it happened…the warm whisper in my ear. My Abba Father spoke gently to me. “Raise her the same way I am raising you. I will be your daddy example.”
I held her close, and wept. God had whispered to me.
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