Father Son Relationships – Another Try
In my job, I was responsible for preparing myself and other Marines for war. But in my home, I was already in a major battle -- and losing ground. Eventually the hurt and anger from the affair was too much for me and out of spite, I had an affair with my wife’s best friend. A few months later, while I was still deployed, my wife notified me she was filing for divorce. I was devastated and felt worthless again. Because of our lack of family morals, values, and love my son would not grow up with his natural daddy and his heritage would be broken. I was not going to be able to be the man in his life to establish the foundation he needed.
Even though I was still married, I started a relationship with another woman. We decided to marry only five months after my divorce was final. I was very determined to make this marriage work. Our family began to grow and we soon had two sons. I was an extremely proud father. This was yet another chance for me to be a good father, role model, and the one who could establish the foundation of love and responsibility.
For a little over six years of marriage, my family life was normal and everything was going well. I had established a great relationship with my children and my wife’s family. For the first time, I honestly felt that I would be able to succeed as a husband and father. But, I was soon caught off guard, blind-sided, when my wife suddenly became involved and infatuated with a godless religious sect. This religion infiltrated our daily lives and had a great impact on my wife, our sons, and her immediate family -- so much so that they disregarded any loyalty as a family. I was losing yet another battle.
After seven years of marriage, my wife filed for divorce. I was ashamed and shocked. How could I let my children down? I reviewed my life over and over again to see where I went wrong, until I started blaming myself for everything that had happened. Everything was my fault. God was not part of my life. I just sat back and watched it all unfold right before my eyes. I didn’t fight for my family. I did not know how. I felt hopeless, useless, and unworthy! The enemy had me right where he wanted me. He was playing tricks on my mind. He made me feel guilty and kept condemning me. The battlefield of my soul became clouded and I could not think straight. I kept telling myself that I was a good husband and father, yet I was losing my family! Despite all my efforts, I was defeated once again. I lost the battle. The divorce was final and my children and their mother left. I have not seen my sons since. I will never know my children’s hopes, dreams, or wishes just like my father did not know mine. The consequences of poor decisions by my wife and I were affecting not only us, but our children as well. Now what heritage could I build upon?
I remained overseas after the divorce. I was hoping that if I stayed there then I would be able to find my children. I tried to stay busy by working part time at nights. I struggled tremendously at work even though I had to remain focused and be professional. I had built up a lot of emotions -- I felt lonely, rejected, and ashamed. It became very difficult just to get through each day. I soon had thoughts of suicide, but something inside of me made it very clear that I would survive. I needed help and needed someone to talk to. I talked with my mother on the phone a lot and I knew that she was still worried about me through out all these years. I wondered how this was affecting her life as well. I was sure she was praying for me.
Father Son Relationships – Would God Accept Me?
Soon, some close friends wanted to introduce me to a very strong and devoted Christian woman. She had also gone through a divorce and had a daughter. We met several times over a number of weeks and I began to share with her all my brokenness and the emotions that I had bottled up inside of me. She started teaching me the Bible and the true meaning of God’s Word and His love. Because of her influence, I visited her church. Here I was, a 20-year Marine, schooled in the art of pride, honor, and war, but I began to crumble as I stepped closer into God’s presence. I started weeping during the worship service and by the end of the sermon I was on my way toward the altar. It seemed as if I was running, my heart was racing and pounding. I was crying as I fell to my knees at the altar and I gave my life to Jesus. I will never forget the serenity and peace I felt at that moment. That day there was restoration in my relationship with the Father, a repairing of the damaged foundations I had lived with all my life, and a rebuilding of my real heritage. “Be strong, all of you people in the land,' announces the Lord. ‘Start rebuilding. I am with you,' announces the Lord who rules over all.”
Father Son Relationships – My Heavenly Father
Being a Marine, surrender was not in my vocabulary, but I surrendered everything to Jesus. Now I was enlisted in His service and committed to fight for Him. A new heritage had begun!
Psalm 119:111 says, “Your statutes are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart.” I became very focused and hungry for the word. I was constantly reading the Bible and praying. The first book of the Bible that I was led to read was Job, who was an upright and faithful man. His first priority, after his personal relationship with God, was his family. He rose "early in the morning" and brought his ten children before the Lord. Job modeled for his family the importance of a spiritual life and how to maintain that relationship with the Lord. And he did it on a regular basis. I wanted to do the same thing, but I needed to make a change that would significantly impact my family and begin building a strong Christian heritage.
My girlfriend's daughter was 11 years old and would not accept me. She was angry toward me and totally ignored me; she actually hated me! This familiar rejection made me angry toward her and my girlfriend realized that our relationship was not going to work unless both her daughter and I were willing to change. Through divine intervention, my girlfriend's wisdom, and prayer, the relationship between her daughter and I was healed. My girlfriend agreed to marry me! Within a year, my relationship with her daughter had grown so much, she agreed to let me adopt her and to take my last name.
The Marine Corps instills leadership traits and qualities that help establish a foundation of individual moral character, self-discipline, and responsibility. Being able to identify who you are and to take responsibility for your actions is the inner most witness to those around us. Because I was dealing with a lot of anger issues, I needed to find the courage to stand up and fight the inner battle raging inside of me. James 1:19-20 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” As a Marine, I was trained to overcome any challenge by my own strength, but I realized that I needed to change by His strength. I immediately sought God, through prayer and His Word and He began teaching me how to overcome every battle, whether it is a challenge in life or an inner battle against myself. By His strength I was finally learning how to fight for myself and my family.
Father Son Relationships – Mending My Past
Unfortunately, I have to deal with my past decisions. There are generations today that are still dealing with the consequences of my sin. My first son has made poor decisions and the consequences reflect those of his own father’s. He fathered baby out of wedlock. My father-son relationship with him is still building and because of what God has established in my life, I can now be the Godly role model he needs and hopefully be there to teach and inspire him. I know that he has his own war to wage and peace to make. He will make his own decisions and live by them. I pray for him daily and I know that someday he’ll come around.
My other two sons are also part of my everyday prayer life and for now, I may not know their dreams or hopes, but I can assure you that God has promised to restore our relationship. I hope and pray that someday all my children will forgive me for bad decisions that affected them and are still affecting them to this day. As for my father, Jesus helped me to forgive him. I love my father very much and even though I never had a relationship with him, my heavenly Father was always there watching over me and waiting for me.
I am writing this because of God’s love, mercy, and grace. Let’s fight for our families! Let’s put on the whole armor of God and prepare for battle! Nehemiah 4:14 tells us to “Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
Build a Godly foundation that will leave a strong godly heritage for generations to come. I can not stress enough how families, especially how fathers provide the godly example or ungodly foundation -- a godly heritage or ungodly heritage. A father’s relationship with his children is the key to a strong foundation. Their growth will depend on your growth! A father surrendered to God with love, honor, and integrity will fight the good fight. He will be the spiritual leader that he is called to be. Some of you may not have children, but I know all of you have a circle of influence that you can impact!