Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Child's Love

As Father's Day approaches, I've been reflecting on how my two precious daughters (ages 2 and 4) fit into our story of recovery. They have been witnesses to our journey, for better or worse, and they love us immensely despite the turbulence we've faced. I suppose this re-examining has caused me to acknowledge how invaluable their presence  has been over the past two years.

So often, when marital strife arises, there is a notion which insists that couples should "stay together for the kids." I'm not here to debate the virtues or flaws in that logic, but I think that we often take for granted the fact that children play a tremendous role in a marriage's narrative. I have no doubt that our children have altered our trajectory, and not just because of some hollow desire to stay together for their benefit. Their love changes our marriage, period.

During our darkest moments, the embraces of our daughters have held us together. Their affections have warmed the coldest moments and strengthened us for the difficulties that come along with unfaithfulness. I cannot express how instrumental they have been in this area. No matter how challenging the day has been, I can find joy in their presence. No matter what's going wrong around me, I have my children, and that is a profound blessing.

Beyond simply doling out affection, they also motivate us to press on. Their faces give us hope each morning, when we may feel totally crushed by the weight of our baggage. Being a parent beckons us to a greater calling than simply serving our own interests. We have a responsibility to uphold, and it's not just to "stay together". We must portray the gospel story of love, especially during seasons of turmoil.

Christians are often urged to teach their children about grace.  In a beautiful and poetic twist, my children have been teaching me instead. Our daughters show Christ's love to me, when I need it the most and I deserve it the least. They exemplify the gospel by loving me when I can't love myself.

If you have children, you can relate to this. Sometimes our little ones have no idea how much we benefit from their presence. I wrote a song about this recently, and I'm sharing it with our church this Sunday. I hope to post it here as well, because some ideas are better expressed poetically. Someday, I'll thank my beautiful daughters for loving me and embracing me despite my flaws. Perhaps they don't fully understand it, but they have been so pivotal to our journey.

(Read my previous post about "a father's love" here!)

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about the Hartsfields and their road to recovery after unfaithfulness. Follow us on Facebook here or on Twitter here, and check out our new project -- The Marriage Mission!

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