Because of various circumstances of my childhood, one of the qualities I desired most in a future husband was a character that would translate into being a good father.
I even volunteered in the preschool ministry at church with the man who is now my husband because, although limited, our time there gave a good picture of how he would interact with children. At the time I saw Stephen as a man who was patient, kind, silly, gentle, teachable, caring, and yet scared enough to know that children were a huge responsibility. Knowing that God placed the responsibility of reflecting Him through fatherhood brought this sweet man to his knees. It was a weighty realization.
It was our journey through infertility, however, led me to see just how much my husband’s heart had grown into a father’s heart. God was teaching us and drawing us to Himself through those years, and it solidified the truth that we could love a person we didn’t even know.
The love of God compelled us to embrace the heart of the Father for His children.
I have often said that adoption is not for the faint of heart. It is a grueling process that will require every ounce of endurance and strength that God can give you. But, like other journeys of struggle, the adoption journey will give you a true picture of who you are, and I saw the dad come out fiercely in Stephen. He worked diligently for his child. And when we actually had a face and a name for our little boy, Stephen’s heart unapologetically longed to hold him and was tireless to bring him home—home, where he had a family; home, where he was no longer fatherless; home, where he was a son and not an orphan; home, where he would know the love of the Father.
On our adoption day, we stood before an official and committed to always love our son and raise him as our own.
There was no question in my mind that Stephen would strive to do that. Our son was our own; his DNA did not match ours, but God had grafted him into our family. It has not been easy, for sure. Falling in love can be a process, and it has been for our family. The thing that we never questioned, though, was our commitment to choose love even when we didn’t always feel the emotions. Stephen never let me give up, and he led me as we put in long hours and saw dark days. His patience was on display in mighty ways as we adjusted to being a new family. His gentleness was on display as he comforted our son at doctor’s visits. He played and hugged and rocked and fed with strong arms and gentle hands. I was and am a witness to the love of the Father through the actions of my husband. The truth that I am a blessed wife is not lost on me.
Although certainly not a perfect dad, Stephen knows that God has given him a responsibility to love and raise our son in a way that reflects the holy, loving, and righteous character of God.
So, when I think back to those days in the church preschool, I praise God that the man I wanted to marry is the man who is the father to our child. He understood the weight of fatherhood and ran toward it, despite the fear. He would be the first to tell you that we fail as parents every day. There are times when we put our son to bed and then discuss our shock that God allowed us to be parents at all. The sweet news is that God’s mercies are new every morning and His forgiveness runs deep (Lamentations 3:22-24).
A godly father is one that knows he can’t possibly do it apart from God’s incredible grace.
John tells us in 1 John 4:19 that “We love because He first loved us.” Never have I seen this truth more in action than when we adopted our son. Adoption is difficult and comes from a place of loss. But we obeyed God’s call on our family because we know that He is the God of redemption. His love through us and His work in us brings healing and a new hope and life to every member of our little family of three. We pray that our son comes to know the Father in a very personal way and that God uses our imperfect hearts to show this sweet boy the truth that God lavishes His love on us to the extent that He calls us His own children.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1
For more on our June focus of Father’s Day, visit our Monthly Focus Page HERE.