Long before I became part of a blended family, my goal was to be a single mom. Yep, you read that right. Not a single mom by divorce or death, but to start off my family with just me and a ragamuffin band of adopted or foster kids. Though my intentions seemed to be in line with that of Mother Theresa, my actual reasoning was less than honorable. I think the best way I could sum up my feelings towards marriage and being a wife was as follows, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
I knew how I wanted to live my life, and I had spent my teenage years immersing myself in different family dynamics, so I thought I knew exactly how I wanted to parent. No man was going to mess that up.
This idea was challenged by my church family and frowned upon by my parents, but I honestly couldn’t figure out why. Dads in movies and on tv were oafs, dads in the news were abusive and absent, and a lot of the dads I observed were disengaged. Moms rule the world, so why not go it alone?
After high school, I moved to Australia for almost four years- talk about a culture shock. They do family entirely different. Their culture was much more home-centered, and the church was much more men empowering. During my time abroad, God began to change my views towards single parenthood and the role a father could have in his family. A few years after I moved back to the states, I met my husband. A man who adopted a child, fathered two more, and was trying to move heaven and earth to have his children in his life. Odd! I never knew a man like this existed stateside!
As he recovered from his divorce and began his custody battle, my life took a very interesting turn. I went from never wanting a dad in the picture, to fighting alongside a desperate dad who was very involved in the lives of his children and wanted his love to extend far past a child support check. He was everything I thought didn’t exist in our culture- a hard worker who left work at work. A 6’1” giant who could still fit through the kiddie slide at the playground while throwing a football and who woke up at the crack of dawn and remained awake well after the sunset.
Could he be the Proverbs 31 man?!
I hadn’t realized I joined our culture’s anti-dad movement. The slow progression that took dad from the driver’s seat and placed him as a hitchhiker on the side of the high way. The truth is that he has not only been the butt of many jokes, he’s also completely emasculated and often sentenced to a life of lesser value than his female counterpart in regards to a relationship with his children. Satan saw a golden opportunity during the feminist movement and took what could have been a liberation for both genders and flipped our culture on its head.
But, just as women are to look to Proverbs 31 for their benchmarks of womanhood, the New Testament provides a hefty list of qualities godly men should possess:
“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.”
1 Timothy 3:1-4 NIV
Here’s the catch 22, I could follow a man like that and God knew that when he led my husband to me!
Though responsibility for character squarely rests on an individual’s shoulders, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to achieve greatness when you are expected to fail consistently. It is possible to be a feminist, a progressive thinker, an independent and powerful woman, all while honoring the men in your life, namely your husband. It is possible to encourage, empower, and respect men that are less than perfect. Though we live in a fallen world, there are still men out there who would love to shatter our culture’s view of dads and rise far above the expectation of disengaged, uninvolved, workaholic or deadbeat.
Join me as I leave the anti-dad movement behind and seek to empower the men in my world- namely my husband and father of our family- to be a shining example of Christ’s leadership and God’s fatherhood.
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