I knew Father’s Day was going to be hard for me this year. I spent weeks going back and forth about how I should spend it and changing plans with friends and family because I didn’t know if I wanted us to be alone or with other people. I debated letting the day pass by without acknowledgment at all (like I tried to do with Mother’s Day this year) so that I wouldn’t cause my children unnecessary sadness or pain either.
The Bible tells us over and over that God will be “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.” (Psalm 68:5). Psalm 146:9 says he “sustains the fatherless and the widow.”
One of Ben’s greatest desires in life was to be a dad. After years of trying to get pregnant, I was ready to give up on becoming parents the “traditional” route, but he never was. He believed that God would give us the desires of our heart, even when I doubted it. The birth of our children, albeit challenging (emergency c-sections, NICU babies, and a medically induced coma), were some of the highlights of our married life.
There was nothing he loved more than being a husband and a father to our children. One of my greatest regrets about our short marriage is that we weren’t able to have children sooner and we never achieved our goal of adopting and having a family as large as we wanted together! Anyone who knew him knew how much he loved our kids. He made sure that everyone knew how much he loved being a dad. Even when he was sick, he took time every day to curl up on the couch and watch a show with them, reading to them and letting them read to him.
It’s easy for me to get caught up in the emotion of seeing them with other fathers and with their uncles and think, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. They were supposed to grow up with their own dad. They were supposed to know him, not just hear about him from his friends and family. Instead, they will grow up with pictures and shared memories and very little about him that they remember for themselves, other than seizures and sickness.
Ben had a heart for the fatherless and orphans. He wanted nothing more than for us to continue to grow our family through taking in foster children and adopting those who needed the love of two parents. Never did we ever imagine that he would not be around to raise the ones that we already had.
I have turned to the scripture a lot for guidance in the past few months, as I struggle with the how and why of them being “fatherless.” I can’t imagine not growing up with a dad. I love my dad and still turn to him when I need guidance and a shoulder to cry on. My children never got that opportunity.
If there is anything I know about Ben it is that he would have never wanted his children (or anyone else’s) to grow up without an earthly father. For now, I have to be satisfied with knowing that they have a heavenly father who is looking out for them and is there to provide guidance and direction for each of us as we continue to navigate life without Ben.
John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” The Lord is the father to the fatherless and the defender of widows. He alone can be trusted with my little ones hearts and their sadness at not having an earthly father right now. I can trust that in his timing, He will heal every bit of pain and sorrow that comes from the loss of their dad at such a young age. It’s something that only He can do.
***I am incredibly thankful for the earthly fathers who have embraced and loved on my children over the past ten months without their dad. And I am thankful that they will always know the love of a heavenly father as they navigate life without their earthly dad. And one day if the Lord wills it, I hope that they once again know the love of a father the way I was able to growing up.***