Feeling like a failure doesn’t mean that you are

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In the row before me, a father, a mother, and three brown-haired girls. There’s a holy hush as the pastor gives the final prayer. Other heads are bowed, eyes are closed, but I–well, I am absorbing the tableau…

In a quiet sanctuary in our quiet hometown, I’m watching them. I should be nodding in agreement, beseeching the Almighty in tandem with the man up front, but my attention is caught by the sight right in front of me.

A bald, burly man’s wrapped one muscular arm around a daughter. Beside her stand her mother and two sisters. There’s been a certain amount of wriggling and youthful energy throughout the service, a reality of family life in pews (I sure know). But for a moment, there’s a hush, music plays, and a father snugs his girl up to him, tight.

She is turned toward him. Tucked securely against his side, I see the comfort, the ease, the familiarity, their bond. In a world of AWOL dads and single-parent homes, this picture’s full of ‘feels.’ Full of grace.

After the service, I spot him across the room. There comes that Hand on my back, and so I arise from my seat and approach him. “I was sitting behind you,” I say, “and I was watching how you hugged your daughter during prayer.”

He’s listening.

“Not everyone has had that.” That fatherly love and connection. The paternal comfort and care. In fact, I know a part of his story; I know that he, himself, did without. Dad gone missing, mom alone. Yet now, here he is with his girls and his wife.

“I just wanted to tell you that you are changing the course of future generations because of your fathering.” And now his eyes, they soften.

“I want to be a good parent,” he says.

“You’re doing it,” I say, for I’m watching it.

And then, there it comes. “Often, I feel like I’m failing.” Liquid longing and love cast a sheen in his eyes.

“It’s only a feeling,” I say. Just a feeling.

Somehow, I feel that today, someone else needs to hear this truth, that…

Feeling like a failure doesn’t mean that you are. It’s just a feeling; that’s all.

If the voice of Failure is whispering in your ear, you can tell it to get lost. I’m telling you what I told another brave father the other day, “It’s just a feeling, that’s all.”

You don’t have to get it perfect when you’ve got the perfect Parent. As He parents you, you’ll have what you need for your kids.

You’re doing better than you think. Your reward will be greater than you know.

Warmly,

The Curly Head

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