Fathering and Being Fathered

Years ago I needed help in understanding how to raise my two sons. I desired a map to navigate my oldest son’s growing intensity and my youngest son’s special needs. I then remembered a book I read long before having kids. It was called “The Way of the Wild Heart: A Map for the Masculine Journey” by John Eldredge. It was later re-titled "Fathered by God.” I knew it contained some insight into the process of boys becoming men and the various stages of that journey. It also highlights how a man becomes a man.

As I read it, some pressure was taken off myself as I realized my kids were still in those first stages of life where not much is to be asked of them. It is where their world is mostly about being beloved sons, playing and learning in the safety of their home and yard, which to them, is a vast kingdom. I know this because I’ll never forget returning to my childhood home on one occasion and noticing how the yard was so…small. When I was younger, it felt the size of a football field where I had often pretended it was such. As we grow older, things that once seemed big become small in size, and sometimes we even realize we’re still pretending. What should never become small in size is the wonder we had beyond the physical dimensions of our property. That wonder is, even if now dormant, in the depths of our heart and longing for us to not pretend it is gone or too late to rediscover.

Now I do not know what came first, my realization of needing a map for my kids or hearing God speak to me, but the source for both comes back to the same place. One morning I woke up to the phrase of John’s retitled book, “Fathered by God” ringing throughout my spirit. When I say “throughout my spirit” I mean that it was not just a thought in my head, but a full resounding in my being. It was a deep knowing that what I was hearing had my full attention.

As I went to my office for my morning meditation, I looked at my shelf to see an old journal I had not written in for years. I opened it to see a bible verse written largely at the top of a page that read: John 6:45.

Below the verse I had written:

“You are taught by God. You hear and learn from the Father. We are continually Fathered by God. My heart matters to him.”

When “coincidences” like this happen, I get excited and have more questions. Questions like, How do I hear these three words upon awakening, “Fathered by God” and then grab a journal I have not looked at for three years only to read the exact theme? While I do not have all the answers I do know one reason is because this is the theme of our life. Whether we are parents or not and whether we know it or not, we are all being taught and fathered by God. If we slow down and look for the ways we are being Fathered, we will be surprised, especially those of you who grew up without a father, or if you had one who was physically present, but absent.

I recommend reading John’s book to get a fuller expression of what is available for us. It is especially helpful for men and parents of boys. Be encouraged today with the following verses that speak to us being Fathered by God.

"It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.'" - Jesus (John 6:45)

“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children." - Isaiah 54:13

Whether your children seem far off or just beginning, we ask God to reveal how he is fathering us all through and in everything.

With Heart,

Preston Hall

Fathers Day 2023

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