Story - Jason G. - as told to Holly Poole
In anticipation of Father’s Day, I asked Jason Granger to share his experiences as a new father to his son Jack. Parenthood is a learning experience. You can read hundreds of thousands of books on the right and wrong ways to raise children. There are, of course, all of those “mommy-blogs” yelling in ALL CAPS that gluten will kill your children. But, at the end of the day, the most valuable lessons are the ones that come in the personal and intimate moments between you and your child. God designed it that way for a reason. In the same way an earthly father connects to his child, God has designed those intimate connections with Him that are far greater than anything we can learn from a book or sermon. Jason shows us how the experience of being a father has revealed aspects of his heavenly Father—a Father that longs for connection with His children.
Jason, tell me about life as a new father and how you have grown spiritually from this experience:
"With only 4 months under my belt as a father, I can’t say that I’ll have any deep insight for more experienced dads. God has taught me quite a few things, though. Usually, God speaks to me, gives me a gentle nudge of knowledge while something unpredictable is happening with Jack. Even on a schedule, there are a few of these moments. I’m sure many seasoned parents can attest to the same. Now, while I do receive encouragement and strength as a parent during my quiet moments of devotion and prayer, the wisdom that blows my mind usually comes during these explosive moments in life."
"The first thing I’ve learned, is that a teachable heart will get me through anything. It seems that once we graduate from school, the overwhelming sense of not knowing everything there is to know suddenly hits us. For me, the same has been true about parenting. Sure, we took classes during the pregnancy, and Sarah has read books, but for both of us, a teachable heart has kept us sane and hopeful. The perfect compliment to a teachable heart, though, must be the humility to accept the fact that we won’t face every situation perfectly. I’ll get a couple things wrong, but I’m here to learn and do my best according to God’s Word."
"I’m going to be frank for a moment. This is a bit more embarrassing for Jack than myself, I’m sure - unless I’ve reached that point of fatherhood in which I don’t embarrass as easily as I probably should. God has spoken to me quite a few times while I’m changing a screaming baby’s diaper. (Yep, that sounds crazy.) As I’m going through the process of calming Jack down during such an occasion, I find myself mildly reassuring him that I know what’s going on. I know what I’m doing. And I know this has to be done before I can hold him a little closer to reassure him or console him. On a few occasions, I’ve felt God reassuring me of the same truth concerning my own relationship with Him. He knows what He’s doing. He’s got me; He cares for me and loves me. But there’s always a process to life – even concerning spiritual matters."
"Last thing: and this one might be a little far-fetched, but I certainly connect to it. Jack hasn’t learned to speak yet. He doesn’t know language. He certainly knows the voice of his dad and mother, but words just aren’t his focus right now. And so, as I communicate with Jack – whether during moments in which I’m trying to console him or the silly moments of trying to make him smile – I’m mindful that he really doesn’t understand what I’m saying. He doesn’t know my words. All he knows is that his dad is paying attention to him. He feels rest assured in the fact that I’m here with him.
I don’t understand everything either. I feel as though there are words and concepts and wisdom concerning my life that I don’t even understand. Sometimes, God lets me in on these wonderful truths, especially when I give Him the time. However, the trick about this – the gift of His presence, His attention – is not to get caught up in trying to understand it all. If Jack were to get so frustrated with my words, my wisdom, my language and the fact that it’s all just a little above him, he wouldn’t get to experience the simple joy of my presence. As much as fathers are given the responsibility to discipline and teach, I connect to the fact that ultimately, I want Jack to enjoy me. I'd like to think God is the same."
This Father’s Day, we are celebrating not only our earthly fathers, but also our Father in heaven. As Fathers, remember that the relationship you have between you and your children is their first glimpse into what it looks like to have a relationship with their Father in heaven. As sons and daughters, this is an opportunity to show our love and gratitude towards our father on earth and the Father that he emulates. They both deserve more than a tie.