Pastor’s Pen – September 2022

What Makes A Good Father?

What’s Your Lasting Legacy?

As a father myself, I have a desire to be a good one! I want to be the best father I can be for my children. I want to supply my children with the opportunities I never had and encourage them to learn what they need to learn to be a benefit to society holding tools to prosper in the opportunities they are presented with. I really want them to be the very best person they can be, achieving their goals and seeing these processes repeated through them while understanding and living to their maximum potential in life.

Fatherhood in my childhood was presented by my father being absent for a large portion of my life until he finally left in my teenage years. He did teach me a lot in my younger years so I need to reference credit where it is due. 

Later on and not long after I met a beautiful lady (my now wife), I wanted to get married, have children and spend the rest of our lives together but I was concerned that my example of fatherhood may have a negative impact in my role as a father to the life of my future children. Long story short, I found a way to fill the void that was absent within my own life. I got connected to a program at a local church that valued fathers and lifted up the importance of true fatherhood and manhood in its entirety.  

I would love to say that lessons learned came easy, but the truth was there was an inner-conflict in me where the truth was clashing with what I thought was right; the right image of manhood versus my distorted perspective of what I had created manhood to look like. When we are not instructed or don’t have a healthy image of something, we will fill in the gaps with what we perceive it to be. As unhealthy as it might be, we construct a complete image that is based on experience. This opens us up to living an unhealthy lifestyle which affects a wider circle than just ourselves. As men, where do we get a true image of manhood from?

The encountered clash for me was somewhere between the truth and my hurt. My anger and the only cause that would help sooth and allow necessary truth to take hold in me was forgiveness. I had harboured anger and hatred for actions made towards me. They had become a part of me, so much so that I didn’t know when the wound started and where I began. The affect was detrimental to who I wanted to be and had become the foundation of who I had become – it was unhealthy and I couldn’t see it. 

We often don’t understand the impact trauma can have in our lives. Wounds can be deep and we think because we can’t see them on the surface there isn’t anything there anymore. Sometimes what is needed is for us to be opened up to a raw state to begin a healing process. What we don’t release, we retain.

I quickly realised what I was carrying around I didn’t want to pass on to my children. What became the issue was my lack of ability to let go or release what I had been retaining. What I needed to do was seek guidance, direction and I needed to deal with my trauma. If I had a bad laceration on my leg where it was bleeding, I wouldn’t leave it but rather attend to it; but many of us don’t treat the wounds that are deep and instead we let them sit haemorrhaging simply because we can’t see them. The dilemma with that is we function from that position. Hurt people, hurt people.

Fathers who do not deal with past hurt will hurt their children greater than the hurt of dealing with the trauma, not to mention their partners. We pass on hurts to those we love; to those we should be an example too; to those we guide we leave lasting negative memories of who their father is. Hurt travels through our lineage until someone decides that it needs to stop. It can be generational!  

What’s your lasting legacy? If you died tomorrow, what would be the words and actions people would remember you by? Perhaps it’s not even what people say about you but rather what will others see in your children and your children’s children. That is your legacy!

I have this desire for my children to do great things that will impact this community and world in a positive way, but also that I would help guide my grandkids and they will do the same for every generation after them. That my lineage will begin to put back the positive pieces needed within society. That the fall out of the negative impact of an absent father will begin to be reversed. This is a big dream, but now I don’t know any other way to live.

The greatest impact in my life that changed my direction wasn’t a person I talked to but rather when I began to understand and follow my Heavenly Father. When I began to believe in God. I let Him impact my life and bring healing to my soul. It wasn’t an easy journey, I had a lot of ‘stuff’ to deal with and I would love to say that He has finished with me, but He isn’t and even though the process isn’t complete, I am still a work in progress, I am no longer the same person I once was. In fact, you wouldn’t even recognise the old me! 

He changed me because I let Him heal me. Change isn’t changed until it’s changed! My feelings toward my father no longer harbour resentment and hatred but show love and compassion and a desire to see my children walk in a legacy through the power of God.

If you would like to know more, or talk about your experiences, or would like to change your direction in life, I invite you to contact us. We are here for you. We are a community for our community.

Peter Hartley

Senior Pastor

Dunamis Church