JT B., husband of our contributor Kristin B., has written this post to share his perspective on fatherhood. Thanks, JT!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? If you’d asked me that as a recent college grad, I would have given a big bold answer about changing the world and solving huge problems. Back then, I believed I would be in another country, on another continent, living another life. I didn’t know just how powerful God’s plan was for the coming years of my life. I couldn’t foresee the impact my now wife and her story would have on my life. And I didn’t yet realize that I wanted to be a father.
If you ask me that same question today, my answer remains crystal clear. In ten years, I see myself serving my family as a husband and father. The best way I can describe my journey to fatherhood is to walk you through the three “F’s” that got me here: Fear, Failure, Faith.
Fear is something that I’ve always struggled with. Fear of not fitting in, fear of not living up to my potential, fear of not being good enough. However, my fear of becoming a father stems from something relatively new.
Almost four years ago, I lost my dad in a sudden cardiac event. As much as I try, I can’t remember our last conversation or the last time I saw him in person. My dad was everyone’s best friend, including mine, and I cherished his deep love, wisdom, and joy for life.
My wife also lost a parent (her mother) 10 years prior, and together, we worked through what this meant for us as a couple. We realized we wanted to start having kids, because every day that passed by was one less day we would be able to spend with our children.
A few short months after my dad passed away, I came home to a sign on the door that said “Welcome Home, Dad, We love you!” and a positive pregnancy test. We were having a baby. It was one of the most joyful days of my life! But over the months that followed that joyful day, a creeping fear started to enter my mind: I couldn’t do this without my dad.
I started to process what it meant to become a father without the wisdom and support of my own father. It was hard to accept that my son would never meet my dad. I had to face a difficult truth: I would have to do this without my dad. And that truth hurt.
The fear of being a fatherless father created another insecurity in me: failure. As with many new parents, I began questioning my ability to care for and raise another human being. My life was suddenly flashing before me, and I could almost touch my past experiences and the mistakes I’d made. I didn’t want those for my son.
Naturally, I assumed that I wasn’t going to be a good dad or husband in this new role. I began to fear these areas of my life where I thought I would fail. These moments made me crave a conversation with my dad. Given the chance, I would ask him one billion questions about how to avoid mistakes, love wisely, and teach my son how to live a God-centered life. The absence of my own father made me feel like I would be that much more of a failure.
While feeling bombarded by my fears of failure and inadequacy, the Lord began to open my eyes and heart. God started painting this beautiful picture for me. He had carried my wife and me through loss and trials in order to bring us to a place of dependency on Him.
In this place of dependency, I couldn’t rely on my dad’s wisdom or a fear of failure to make me a good father. In this place, I had to cling to faith, knowing God was my provider, and he would give me the tools necessary to love my family well. He unveiled a truth that I’d been missing and that I couldn’t fully understand until I became a father myself. God is a good father, and He wants to love on His children … you and me.
God used my trials, my doubt, and my fear to grow me into a better husband and better father so that I can better serve my family. My fears and failures have taught me how much more I need the Lord.
The same fears and failures that made me uneasy about becoming a father were used by God to sweetly guide me back to His loving kindness. He reminded me that being faithful to Him, our true Father, was the key to becoming a great father myself.
Being a father is the greatest blessing I could pray for any man. It is frightening, humbling, and beautiful. This story is a testament to that.