This is the second in a series of behind-the-scenes blog posts regarding the book, The Single Dad Detour.

At the start of Chapter 3, I mention a friend named “Rick.” A fake name for the book, but a real friend nonetheless. Rick and I were buddies from my days living in Polk County, FL. We went to church together and performed together in several drama productions at our church where I served as the Director of Theater Arts. 

On page 36, I mention how upset he was that the courts were expecting him to pay way more child support than he did before the divorce. I too, recall feeling victimized when I looked at the standard of living my kids had before the divorce and the much higher standard expected from me after the split. It was ludicrous.

But with Rick, who was now single again, it took him to some low places of depression and bad choices. In the book, I mention his descent into drinking and dropping out of community. He lost visitation rights with his daughter, then stopped his child support completely. But here’s the behind the scenes part or “the rest of the story” for Rick.

Rick and I slowly lost contact because we didn’t see eye-to-eye about things anymore. Eventually, I heard he started using drugs and had a run-in with local law enforcement. Then something awful happened. I never found out if the drugs were related to this but one day the news came that Rick had been killed in a car accident.

What a sad end to Rick’s life. His 13-year-old now had no dad and the only legacy he left behind was that of a dead-beat drug-addict. I loved Rick, even after he cut many of us out of his life.1111

Rick’s life stands as a warning to single dads. Don’t allow bitterness to have a foothold. Whether it’s toward your ex-spouse, the courts, or even a child who refuses to see you. Take the high road. Cling to Jesus and cast all your burdens upon the Lord.

He cares for you. He is your refuge–your strong tower.   

The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce released in February 2015 and became a work that is being utilized internationally to help dads all over the world. This humbles me and I’m so grateful for what God continues to do through the book. 

 

 

 

 

My 29-year-old son hasn’t spoken to us in almost four years.Prodigal-Son father

The last time he communicated he made it clear he didn’t want any of us (me, his step-mom, his little sisters, his uncles/aunt or cousins) in his life. I won’t go into the bad choices he’s made nor the consequences he’s suffered. All I know is my heart is broken and I’m hurt. Both by how he’s living and how he’s treated us. 

We were once so close. Now, for some reason (maybe shame?) he refuses to give a valid reason for breaking off this relationship. So how do you pray for a child who you no longer know? When you have no idea where he is, where he works, or if he’s even alive? 

I just pray. I pray in generalities–for his health, his mental state, his relationships, and most of all I pray for his spiritual life. I ask God to steer him back to Christ. I pray dangerous prayers like, “Whatever it takes God, bring my son back to you.”

That’s the desperate prayer of a father who longs above all else to see his son walk upright. I long to see him in a deep relationship with his Creator. That’s how I raised him. 

You might have a prodigal. A son or daughter who has drifted from or refused to take part in the godly inheritance meant for them. How do you pray when you’ve run out of words–run out of energy?

Here’s a few points to jump-start your prayer for him or her:

          Dear Heavenly Father,

  • God, transform me and my attitude. Take away any bitterness and grudges against my child so I can pray with a pure heart. Give me the strength to continue in this battle. When I’m tired and just plain sick of it, give me compassion and mercy. Not to be taken advantage of, but to mirror Christ’s love. Help me remember that speaking truth might be hard, but it doesn’t have to be harsh. 
  • Lord use my son or daughter’s friends. Use even his/her questionable friends to speak truth into their life. Bring godly people into their life. Surround them with loving community. 
  • Father if you must, let my child hit rock bottom. Cause them to see their desperate need for a Savior. Prevent people from enabling them or rescuing them too early. Allow my child to feel the reality of being at the end of the rope. 

Coming back to the Lord is a process, not an event. So don’t give up. Keep on praying. Keep believing. You never know what God will do. When you pray for a loved one who seems hardened against the Lord, or against you, pray that the eyes of their heart might be opened so that the light of God can come flooding in.

Do you have a prayer that has helped you cope as you await the return of your prodigal? Please share it with me. I need it this week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what’s it gonna be? What new leaf are you planning to turn over?

Mine is a manuscript. I want to finish my 4th book (working title…”Pre-Launching: How to Prepare Your Teen for Successful Adulting”)

My agent is anxious to see the first few chapters and that has me both excited and nervous. Afraid of failure or rejection.

What if this book isn’t good enough? What if my agent can’t find an interested publishing house when he tries to pitch the idea? B

It’s enough to make me give up. After all, I’m not a great parent. I fail all the time. What do I possibly have to offer? Add in another dozen or so self-defeating comments and I’m ready to call it a day.

Ever feel like that? Especially when it comes to New Year’s resolutions?

Our resolutions for parenting are the worst. I’m gonna be more understanding. I’m gonna yell less. I’m gonna be more involved at their school. Cook healthier dinners. Start a family Bible study. The list goes on.

We set so many high standards for ourselves, it’s pretty easy to fail.

It’s funny. I have no problem accepting grace from God when I need it (which is pretty often). But I can’t seem to give it to myself. Why is that?

I think it comes from a belief that people are bigger than they are. That somehow, what they think of me is so important that I forget to care what God thinks of me. In essence, people are big and God is small.

Yikes! Sorry, God.

In reality, if we are his children, He thinks you and I are pretty awesome. He views us through rose-colored glasses.

Does this mean we should stop trying to improve ourselves? Of course not, especially when it comes to walking closer to God.

But accepting who we are and how God made us is important. God created you to be the perfect parent for your child(ren). He paired you up with your kids because you’d be perfect together as a family. Sure we’re gonna fail as parents from time to time. Sure we could use a few New Year’s resolutions when it comes to parenting.

But I’m learning not to base my proposed improvements on what I think society wants me to be. Rather, I want to be all that God created me to be and desires of me. Flaws and all. AThere’s a lot of new pressure for a new year. But Philippians 3:12 reminds me, “I don’t mean to say I’m perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet. But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. ” (Living Bible)

How about you? What areas do you struggle with when it comes to other’s opinions of you as a parent? How do you navigate through that? Share with us in the comments.