I THINK back to the many many times, as a father, that I did not enjoy parenting… at all.
Baby stuff coming out of their bodies and splashing onto mine. Late nights, kids crying, homework undone, sweaters lost, the rebellious angry teen.
I wasn’t ready for any of it. Nobody taught me how.
So I did a lot of stuff that hurt. The kids I mean… and me too. Sometimes way too rigid, sometimes neglect. It got ugly sometimes. I must have read Hebrews 12 a thousand times.
Still, once in a while I nailed it. I got it right… and it felt great. It gave me just enough hope to keep going.
And I worked through long stretches of darkness and pain, my limits fully exposed. It challenged me to my core.
“What kind of man are you?” I asked myself. “What does authority mean to you?”
And the worst? The flat-out rejection of tenderness. A door slam in the face.
How far the world seems now… from tenderness. It’s a rare thing.
Yet still… I know it’s there.
The Bible says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Is it true?
When your kid lies to your face, and you know it… must I believe it? I wrestled with this verse for 10 years or more. Sometimes the pain was so deep. How much am I expected to put up with? For how long?
And they came at me later, older… accusation and blame. They had a right to.
My only defense?
I never gave up on them—me—us. I never gave up asking God to help me since I felt lost and helpless so many times. Sometimes all I could do late at night after a fight was to hold on tight… God help me.
But tenderness takes time.
It unfolds over a dozen years or more.
You learn to let God love you.
You learn to bear, believe, hope, and endure.
And love covers a multitude of sins.
It’s so true.
And tenderness returns.
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