I grew up in the 60’s and it was a great time to grow up. We played outside endlessly. My father worked afternoons and with school all day I didn’t see him a whole lot. There were six of us kids and my mom worked tirelessly to take care of us and always gave us tremendous love. Alcoholism in our family was a dirty secret that our family lived with for a long time. My father was not only a casual drinker but also a binge drinker. As children we witnessed our father many times slapping and hitting my mom until she was bloody. It forever affected all of us profoundly.
For many years as a young adult I too was a binge drinker and an angry drunk. It didn’t take long after my first drink that I wanted to fight someone and usually it was for no reason. Although I had a hatred for anyone raising a hand against a woman I took my anger out on men. Bar fights, road rage, you name it I probably did it.
In my late 20’s my son was born and when he was 1-1/2 years old I took custody of him and began raising him as a single father. I wanted to love my son in a way that my father never loved me. I wanted to be there for every school event, sports game, and protect him from the world. I became obsessed and over protective in such a way that he was not being allowed to actually be in control of his own life. I was also still having anger issues and had become a “my way or the highway” type of parent. We need to find a balance in everything we do. I don’t believe that my dad set out to be the father that he became nor did I. But, my behavior towards my son was destructive in its own way.
Then one day my son, a college freshman, disappeared. We had no idea where he was and why he had left. My father had died a few years earlier and it was very hard. The thought of losing a child is indescribable. It is a parent’s worst nightmare. Had the sins of my father turned me into a father that had caused this? And what of my own sins? Can I blame them on my father and not accept responsibility for them?
After a cross-country search for my son without any success I came to the end of myself and cried out to God for help. God gave me a miracle. He came into my heart and saved me. A wave of forgiveness and love poured over me that you cannot understand unless you have experienced it. I asked God to forgive everyone that had ever hurt me including my father. I asked God to forgive me for everyone that I had ever hurt. God through revelation and His word began to teach me how to be a better father and a better man. I am still not the man I want to be but thank God I am not the man I used to be. What I also realized through my surrender was that not only was I looking for my son to come home but God was looking for me to come home too.
My father and mother both received the free gift of salvation through Christ before they died as has my whole family. Jesus died that the sins of a father and everyone else can be forgiven by simply asking Him and accepting Him as our Savior. Christ gives me love, hope, and direction. Not only can I not live without Him, I will not die without Him either.
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