Fatherhood: For Everything There Is A Season
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Parenting brings challenges, but military life adds a few additional ones. One of which is long absences due to deployments and trainings. The spouse who stays home takes on the role of mother and father for a period of time, making it difficult for the soldier when he or she returns to resume the previous parenting role without upsetting the family’s new normal.
For the Military Spouse Dad
For the father who is the military spouse learning to allow mom to step in and help out, when you’ve been doing it all for the last year, can be difficult. However, your wife needs the opportunity to reconnect with the children and to feel useful to the family unit. Be aware of your wife’s new needs and the interactions she has with the children. Encourage them to spend time together and reconnect. Willingly step out of the picture and allow mom the opportunity to parent in both fun opportunities and disciplinary roles.
Your active role as father and husband is vital to the reintegration process for your wife. This is a new season for all of you. A time to heal from the wounds of war and a time to reconnect as a family. The love you show displays to them the love of our heavenly Father. Your children are watching as you navigate through this season of life. Show them how to love their mother. They are watching and will follow your lead.
2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV) declares that you are representative of Christ, a letter from Christ, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” Your family is your ministry. The actions you chose, and the life you model have a direct impact on the little hearts you have been entrusted with.
For the Soldier Dad
For the father who has been deployed returning home and reconnecting with your children and spouse can present new challenges. You’ve grown used to being on your own and having a clear mission. The mission of fatherhood seems to shift and change with each new day.
Finding your new place in their daily routine can be frustrating. While you were away you worked hard on staying connected, you prayed for them daily, you sent gifts and letters and called home whenever you could. And yet, you may still feel a disconnect. This is normal. It takes time to become reacquainted with one another.
Just as you set aside time to reconnect with your spouse you need to set aside time with your children. Let your children relearn who you are. Relearn who they are. Take the extra time off following deployments to invest in learning their new routines.
It can be tempting to isolate from the family who cannot begin to grasp what you have seen or where you have been. Just don’t. Your family is a gift from God. They eagerly awaited your return and want you to be a part of their lives. Learning together what that looks like requires honest conversations and dedicated time.
The Season of Fatherhood
The season of fatherhood last far beyond the eighteen years they stay under your roof. By developing a strong relationship with your children, modeling the love of God, and showing them that no amount of distance can take them from your thoughts and heart you are establishing a bond that will last far beyond their childhood.
There is a season for everything. When you are home the time for war has ceased and the time for peace and love takes center stage. The time you have together is precious. Spend it in laughter, dancing, embracing, and sharing your truths. Spend it loving one another and carrying your burdens together.