4 Dangerously Negative Effects Of Divorce On Children (And What You Can Do About It)

DIVORCE

As I’ve worked with children for over twenty years, I’ve repeatedly seen how news of their parents’ divorce shatters their world.  I wasn’t ready to deal with it as an adult (my parents divorced when I was 25), and I’m sure it’s even more difficult for a child to process this world-changing information.  Everything they know, everything they depend on for emotional stability, is lost in an instant.  They may have detected major issues in the parents’ relationship for years, or perhaps one parent was suddenly shocked to discover a history of infidelity for the other.  Whether the decision to divorce is immediate or drawn out, it devastates everyone involved.  Quite often the parents are so traumatized they don’t know how to help their children cope.  It’s always a tragedy, no matter how amicably the split happens.

A recent study shows that in the broader American culture, 43 percent of marriages end in divorce, and depending on the state, between 26 and 47 percent of children live in single-parent homes.[1] More than 2,000 blended families are formed every day, but more than two-thirds of those fail within six years.[2]

By studying God’s Word, we can all agree that divorce is never God’s plan. I don’t think it’s ever anyone’s plan. Nobody gets married thinking, “I sure can’t wait to divorce this person one day.” God’s desire is that marriages thrive and last “until death do us part.” Unfortunately, divorce happens. When it does, it affects everyone involved. Often, it disproportionately affects the children in an extremely negative way.

I’ve seen the devastation of divorce in the faces of parents and their kids.  Confusion, resentment, discouragement, and depression are common results.  If those emotions aren’t resolved with love, honesty, and time, it deeply affects future relationships.  Hurt people hurt people, and they often don’t even know why they have difficulties in relationships.  In the lives of children, a few of the most common results of divorce include:

1) Increased stress

No matter what age children are when their parents announce the breakup of their home, kids are never emotionally prepared for the shock. Stress shows up in many different ways. Relationally, kids may become defiant, or they may withdraw. Emotionally, they may become hardened and defiant, or they may regularly burst into tears. Physically, the stress often finds the weakest part of the person’s body; headaches, stomachaches, and other gastrointestinal problems are common. Even the most mundane, everyday decisions can become difficult.

2) Lack of stability

When parents split up, the most secure point in the child’s universe is shaken and destroyed.  God has made us to be relational beings, and the home is the first and foremost place of rest, comfort, and security.  When that’s disrupted, the child naturally questions the validity and reliability of everything and everyone.  In addition, the child is suddenly forced to move back and forth from mom’s house to dad’s house, finding it difficult to ever feel settled and often feeling like a pawn in their blame game.

3) Eroded or shattered trust

When their security crumbles, children may put up walls and refuse to trust anyone, even those who are the most stable, loving people in their lives.  Or in contrast, they may trust too much, putting their faith in untrustworthy people in the hope that trusting someone will make them feel safe again.

4) Irresponsibility or hyper-responsibility

Everything the kids have known has been turned upside down.  The parents have been trying to teach their kids to be responsible, but now the children wonder, What’s the use?  They may neglect homework, cleaning their rooms, taking showers, and doing the normal things they’ve been doing for years.  Or they may react in the opposite way, trying to earn their parents’ love by being overly responsible.  Some kids use their exemplary behavior as a bargaining chip in an attempt to get their parents to reconcile.  It’s magical thinking, but it shows the desperation of the child to restore a happy home.

Grandparents and other extended family members can provide much-needed stability and support during the confusing and painful time before, during, and after the divorce, but be careful.  Some extended family members become furious at “that man” or “that woman” for hurting their beloved son or daughter, sister or brother.  Extended family members may be a great source of wisdom, insight, and hope, or they can throw more gasoline on the fire of resentment!

So, as Kids Pastors, what can WE do?  

  • PRAY!  Pray that God will be the Lord of every home.  Pray that parents will see Divorce as an absolute LAST resort.
  • TRAIN!  Train parents what the Bible teaches about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family.  Help them see the effects of a future divorce on their children.
  • ENCOURAGE!  Encourage parents to seek wise counsel when dealing with marital issues.  Encourage them to see a Christian marriage counselor.  Normalize counseling as a means to “allow someone else to speak into the issues from a fresh perspective.”  Marriage and Family Counseling have received an unfair stigma. Counselors are there to help lead through life’s toughest issues when our emotions and judgement are cloudy.

For more on this subject, you can pick up a copy of my book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics.”  There is an entire chapter on “How To Talk To Kids About Divorce.”  I believe every parent should read this chapter.  Whether it is YOUR family or one that is close to you, Divorce hits us all.  We must be prepared to help mitigate these negative effects that Divorce has on our children.

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[1] Statistics: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrosstates/Rankings.aspx?ind=100

[2] American Blended Family Association, www.usabfa.org/Default.aspx?pageld=188238

 

How To Talk To Kids About Life’s Toughest Topics

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Children today are being bombarded by messages that are contrary to what the Bible teaches.  As I talk to parents and grandparents, they feel completely overwhelmed as they try to navigate the difficult waters of conversation with their kids about very difficult topics like:

  • God & Spirituality
  • SEX
  • Self-Image
  • Bullying
  • Divorce
  • Death & Tragedy
  • Money
  • Making Wise Choices
  • Friendships
  • Forgiveness

That’s why I am so excited about my brand new book, “Talk Now And Later: How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics.”  You don’t have to GUESS how to communicate with your kids about these subjects.  I have taken my 23 years as a Children’s Pastor and my experience as a Father of two and put it in this book to help you.  I firmly believe it is going to be a GAME-CHANGER for Christian Parents.

The book already reached #1 on Amazon in the New Releases Christian Family category.  I think every Christian Parent, Grandparent, Kids Pastor, and Children’s Ministry Leader needs to have this book as a resource for the many difficult conversations that are going to happen among the children that God has blessed you with.  The question is not WILL these difficult topics come up.  The question is will you be PREPARED when they do come up?

So, get your copy of “Talk Now And Later” HERE and start learning how to lead the kids in your life in meaningful spiritual conversations about life’s toughest topics. You’ll be glad you did.

Want a FREE sample chapter from “Talk Now And Later” – well just visit this link:  briandollar.com/talknowandlater

Are you a church or group that wants to purchase a BULK amount of books at a steep discount?  Visit this link to receive a 40% discount on ALL orders of 10 or more books.

I can’t wait to hear the stories of what God is going to do as you “Talk Now AND Later!”

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Last Chance To Get Autographed Copy of “Talk Now And Later”

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I am so excited about the upcoming release of my brand new book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics” on September 1, 2015.  It’s a book I wrote to help parents, grandparents, and anyone who is a spiritual influence in the life of a child to help them navigate the tough conversations about today’s “taboo” subjects such as sex, bullying, money, divorce, self-image, and more.

I have talked to a lot of people who have read Talk Now and Later.  Many of them expressed feeling encouraged and equipped to guide their child through tough conversations.

It makes my heart jump when I hear those testimonial stories.  This is the very reason why I wrote the book, created my video series and why I blog about parenting so much.  I simply love to help equip you to talk to your kids about difficult stuff.

Tonight at midnight (August 15, 2015), the discounted offer for an autographed copy of Talk Now and Later is going away.  Obviously, the book will still be for sale through Amazon and other retail outlets, but I won’t be signing copies anymore.

I want you to consider something:

1.) If you have read the book and it positively impacted you, please consider purchasing a copy for others that may benefit from it.

At this time you can still benefit from an (up to) 40% discount on bulk orders.  And yes, these will also be signed by me!

2.)  If you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to consider getting one now.  I confidently believe that it will bless you tremendously and that the practical information as shared in the book will fuel memorable conversations with you and your children. 

If you’d like to get an autographed copy at a discounted price, then now is your chance to get one.  CLICK HERE to order your autographed copy!

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[VIDEO] The Two Most Important Words A Parent Can Say

Two most important words

Words have power!  They can either lift up or they can tear down!  They can either raise our child’s self-esteem or they can destroy it.

There are a LOT of words we use as a parent.  Five words I find myself uttering often are, “Go Clean Your Room, Now!”  Three words my kids need to hear every day are, “I Love You!”

But, did you know that there are TWO WORDS that, when strung together in a sentence, can create a powerful bond between parent and child?  In fact, these two words are SO powerful that those who refuse to say these two words place a huge divide between themselves and their children.

What are these two words?  In this video, I share these two words with you and how you can use them to spark incredible conversation – DEEP conversation – with your children.  Using these two words will create an atmosphere where real bonding and healing can take place.  I pray that you take the few minutes and watch this video.  It might save your family!

This is PART 4 of a 4-part video series.  In case you missed the first three, here you go:

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

Every Conversation Is A Spiritual Conversation

spiritual conversations with our kids

 

In my twenty-three years as a kids’ pastor, I can’t tell you how many times a parent has walked up to me after church and asked, “My son was asking me questions about baptism last night.  Would you meet with him to explain what water baptism is all about?”  I’ve received countless emails that say something like, “My daughter asked me what it means to be saved.  I don’t want to confuse her, so can I set her up an appointment with you this week?  I’m sure you can explain it better than I can.”  Parents have asked me to talk to their kids about every conceivable spiritual question.

I’m happy to help, but when a parent asks ME to talk their kid about spiritual issues instead of them…my answer is always, “No.”  Now, before you decide I am the meanest Children’s Pastor on the planet, watch this video and you’ll understand where I am coming from.  In this video, I explain why I believe the primary sources of spiritual conversation for these kids should be their own parents.  Too often, parents and grandparents believe they aren’t qualified to impart spiritual wisdom to kids.

Take a few moments and watch what I share in this video.  I think it will cause you to have a seismic shift in your view of what “Spiritual Conversations” with your kids can look like.

This is the third in a series of videos taken from my new book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids In Life’s Tough Topics.”  If you missed the first two videos, you can find them here:

VIDEO #1:  “Are You A Proactive Or Reactive Parent?”

VIDEO #2:  “Don’t Miss The Cues”

My book releases on September 1, 2015.  For a limited time, you can purchase a pre-release autographed copy of the book HERE!

Don’t Miss The Cues (VIDEO)

dont miss the cues

 

Our kids WANT to talk.  Sometimes, the reason they don’t is because REAL conversation with Mom or Dad isn’t something that they do often.  But, it’s not always THEIR choice.   Too many parents don’t recognize the cues that their children give that are a clear declaration of, “I really want to talk.”

Many times our kids want to talk about things that haven’t crossed our minds. Instead of always being focused on the task in front of us or what’s on the radio while we’re driving, parents need to look for the open doors of conversation that their kids are presenting them dozens of times per day.  Parents need to be able to read their kids’ body language and tone of voice.

In this video, I share a personal story about my son and some insights on how you can always be ready when your child gives you the cue that “it’s time to talk.”  Believe me, you don’t want to miss those cues!

 

In case you missed Video #1 in this series, you can find it HERE!  It’s all about becoming a PROactive parent rather than a REactive parent!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT About My New Book

I have been working the last two years on my new book, Talk Now And Later: How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics.”  I firmly believe this book is going to be a GAME CHANGER for all Christian Parents!

Children today are being bombarded by messages that are contrary to what the Bible teaches. Parents (and grandparents who are now parenting their grandkids) feel completely overwhelmed as they try to navigate the difficult waters of conversation with their kids about very difficult topics.  That’s why I wrote this book!  To help parents and grandparents lead kids through topics like SEX, self-Image, death, bullying, divorce, and more.  You don’t have to GUESS how to communicate with your kids about these subjects.  I have taken my 23 years of Children’s Pastoring experience (and my experience as a father of two children) and put it in this book to help you.

Here is the basic message of the book:

  1. Parents need to understand that it is far better to be PROactive in having conversations about these tough topics than to simply be REactive when a crisis hits their family.
  2. The way to pave the way for those BIG conversations in the future is to have many many small conversations as your child grows (about these tough topics), giving them a little at a time and building the foundation for meaningful conversation later.
  3. Parents must have their radar on all the time, looking for open doors and cues that their children will give them that “now is the time to enter through the door and have a small, meaningful conversation.”  Seize that moment!
  4. Parents should realize that EVERY conversation can be a Spiritual conversation.  God can use every conversation to shape their child’s future.

I am so honored that Dr. Michelle Anthony wrote the Foreword for my book.  She is the best-selling author of “Spiritual Parenting” and “Becoming A Spiritually Healthy Family.”  I am very excited about this book becoming a resource for every Christian parent.

The book officially releases to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Retailers on September 1st. However, YOU get a chance to get it RIGHT NOW!  For a limited time, you can get an autographed copy of the book for only $15!  PLUS, you’ll receive it within the next couple of weeks…WAY before the rest of the world!

Want to download a FREE chapter of the book?  Click here!

You can order your copy HERE and have it before anyone else!

So, get your copy of “Talk Now And Later” today and start learning how to lead the kids in your life in meaningful spiritual conversations about life’s toughest topics.  You’ll be glad you did.  I can’t wait to hear the stories of what God is going to do as you “Talk Now AND Later!”

Here’s a quick video to tell you more:

 

A Children’s Pastor’s Response To The Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

gay marriage

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that marriage between homosexual couples would be legally recognized in all fifty states. No doubt, our kids are hearing all about this topic both on the TV and, many times, on the playground.  It’s hard for any parent to control the context in which their child may have conversations regarding this important topic.

Many Christian parents have struggled with the question, “How do I talk to my kids about this?” Likewise, many Children’s Pastors have struggled with the question, “What is my responsibility in this? Should I discuss ‘Gay Marriage’ with the children in my Kids Church?”

Some thoughts for Children’s Pastors:

I think you have to be careful what issues you are addressing in Children’s Church “as a group.”  So many children are at different points in the journey regarding both mental and emotional maturity.  When you address something as weighty and serious as homosexuality and gay marriage to a large group of kids, it is very difficult to do so in a way that is appropriate for EVERY child.

In addition, many parents (as they should) want to be THE ones to discuss topics such as this with their kids.  I understand, many parents DON’T ever discuss it with their kids.  That’s unfortunate.  However, you don’t want to undercut parents by addressing it publicly in a large group of kids.  This should be something that parents include in their general talks about “Biblical Sexuality” with their kids.

Of course, if a child asks you a direct question about it – treat that just like you do any other question about sex or sexuality.  Answer with, “I would be happy to share my thoughts with you about this subject.  Let’s talk to Mom or Dad when they come to pick you up.  Perhaps together, we can answer your questions in a healthy way.”  Then, follow the cues of the parent.  If they do not wish to discuss it right then and there, follow their lead.  Allow them to do so on their own terms and in their own timing.

An alternative to discussing this with the large group is to offer a special class or “discussion” in which you allow parents to sign their kids up to attend.  Encourage parents to attend with their children.  Rather than coming at the topic in a negative manner (i.e. “We are AGAINST gay marriage”, etc.), discuss the topic within the overall umbrella of God’s plan for our sexuality (“God created male and female to complement one another.  Marriage is the life-long commitment between one man and one woman.”).

The topic of “gay marriage” and “homosexuality” is a difficult one for kids.  Yes, it is becoming much more commonplace and a topic that they are hearing more and more about, but it is also very polarizing.  While we don’t ever shy away from the Truth, we also must be wise and careful when dealing with the youngest among us.  We want clarity, not confusion.

Some thoughts for Christian Parents:

Depending on the age of your child, they may or may not be aware of the Supreme Court decision. They may or may not be aware of the subject of “Gay Marriage” at all.  Don’t feel pressure to bring the topic up to your child simply because it is in the news, all over Social Media, etc.  Your child may be too young to even consider the conversation.

If your child asks you a question about it, address it. However, if your child is in the 4th Grade or above – they are GOING to hear about it. Kids love to talk about things that seem “taboo,” so it is better for you to be the FIRST one to speak with your children about this issue. It’s a lot harder to deal with when you are having to UNDO the misinformation your child may have already received from friends or the media.

As you have this conversation, remember:

  • Don’t freak out! – Don’t overreact and freak out! I see too many parents flip out over things like this. Don’t go on a diatribe about the “liberal agenda” and the “LGBT Conspiracy.” Just calmly share with them how, although some people choose to live their lives in contradiction to what God planned and the Bible teaches – our goal should be to pray for them, show them God’s love, and display God’s character in everything we do. Don’t flip out! Children take their emotional cues from you, the parent. Although there is reason to be concerned about our nation and community regarding this issue, God is STILL on the throne. There is no need to panic!
  • Don’t only give PART of the story! – Don’t simply say, “We believe that Homosexuality is a sin.” Explain to them what “sin” really is – “CHOOSING to live outside of God’s plan and purpose for your life.” Sin is the willful choice to disobey God’s commands. Revisit the story of Adam and Eve and how sin and temptation has been a problem for human beings since the beginning of time. Remind them that, although people make choices that are the opposite of what God has commanded, Jesus came to die on the cross so that ALL sin can be forgiven. All we must do is admit our sin, receive forgiveness, and CHOOSE to follow Jesus every day!
  • Don’t focus on the DON’T! – More important than the fact that “We DON’T believe that ‘Gay Marriage’ is right,” children need to hear what we DO believe. They need to hear that God has a plan for marriage. He created male and female and desires that they come together for a life-long partnership with God as the Head. God wants to bless the family unit with His presence on a daily basis. It is a sacred institution, and no law, decree, or court can change what God has planned since the Creation of the human race.

A reminder for us all:

Children are watching you during this critical time. In fact, THE WORLD is watching Christians during this time.  If they see you addressing this issue with anger, bitterness, or (God forbid) hatred in your words or tone of voice, that will send a confusing message to them.  After all, God is Love.  He created EVERY man, woman, boy, and girl.  He loves them ALL!

Remember that Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT) states, “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

That is our mandate as the Church….to speak God’s truth with love.  Just because the truth of God’s word is different from the beliefs of others or the ruling of a court doesn’t mean we should join with others who choose to resort to name-calling, picketing, belittling and hate. As children of God, we need to be careful that our speech, tweets and posts are speaking the truth in love. We need to T.H.I.N.K. before we tweet.

The Church should respond in the same way that God instructed the children of Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We can’t force others to be humble – but we can be humble.

We can’t make people pray and seek His face – but we can.

We can’t force people to turn from their wicked ways, but we can and should clean up our own lives.

When we do, God promises, He will hear from Heaven and heal our land.

The answer to this world’s problems and America’s problems is Jesus. Share Jesus. Share His love. Share the difference He has made in your life. Trust that when people encounter His grace – they, too, will be changed!

The Two Most Powerful Words A Parent Can Say

father says i am sorry

Parents mess up.  ALL parents mess up.  Even deeply committed Christian parents mess up.  But, not all parents are willing to admit it.  Two of the most wonderful words children of all ages can hear from parents are, “I’m sorry.”  These are also two of the most difficult words for parents to say.

Too often, we wrongly believe that in order to have the “upper hand” as a parent, we must be seen as infallible.  We must never admit our mistakes for fear it will show weakness to our children, and they will try to exploit it.  Parents who believe and practice this – do so at their own peril.  The truth is, the parents who are willing to say, “I’m sorry” actually RISE in their child’s esteem.  Those who refuse to say these two powerful words place a huge divide between themselves and their children.

Your kids aren’t stupid.  They know when you are wrong.  They know when you have made a mistake.  When you refuse to admit your mistakes, your children begin to see you as someone who cares more about BEING right than DOING right.  It’s hard to recover from that.

Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t only apply to the small things like being late to pick your child up from practice or forgetting to bring home ice cream like you promised.  “I’m sorry” are two words that need to be used for the BIG blunders as well.  Apologies are necessary for individual offenses, but parents also need to address prolonged, harmful patterns of communication—demanding too much, blaming, withdrawing, smothering, and so on.

Let’s face it, not every parent today grew up in a healthy home.  Often, you are doing your best to parent your own kids in spite of the negative, dysfunctional home you grew up in.  You want to be a good parent, but you are often guessing at HOW to do it well.  You didn’t have the best example placed before you growing up, so you struggle with communicating with your child in a healthy way.

In many cases, parents can and should explain how their own painful backgrounds have colored their perceptions and shaped their responses.  These stories help the rest of the family understand how they got this way, but they aren’t excuses for bad behavior.  The offending parent needs to own the offenses, apologize, repent, and begin to rebuild trust.  A full apology communicates, “I get it now.  I realize how I’ve hurt you, and I’m deeply sorry.  I want to open the lines of communication with you.  I’ll do my very best to do better, and I need your help.  Will you tell me when I mess up again?  I have a long way to go, but I’m stepping onto the road today.”

This isn’t just a theory.  I’ve had these conversations with my kids.  I have asked Ashton and Jordan to speak up anytime I become condescending or demanding, and I’ve promised that I’ll respect them when they have the courage to call me on my personal shortcomings.  That means I don’t get angry when they’re honest with me.  I don’t walk off in a huff, and I don’t look for some reason to blame them and turn the conversation around.  I take it like a man and thank them for their courage and love.

For instance, I get upset when mechanical things don’t work.  I won’t go into the deep, psychological reasons for my sense of electronic entitlement, but you can be sure that if a computer program or a television remote or a lamp doesn’t work the way I want it to work, my reaction isn’t pretty!  When my face gets red, I begin to growl, and it looks like I’m going to yank the cord out of the wall, Ashton and Jordan can say, “Calm down, Dad.  Have some patience.”  That’s enough to remind me of my commitment to them to maintain my cool.

When they speak up, I don’t bark, “You can’t tell me to be patient!  Can’t you see that this darn thing isn’t working?”  Instead, I thank them for their loving reminder.  My relationship with them is far more important than my desire to have electronic components run smoothly.  And because I have asked for their input, they are validated as valued, respected people.

How about you?  Do your kids have permission to respectfully call you on it when you make a mistake?  Do you need to “man up” or “woman up” and bring yourself to say those two powerful words?  Do it now!  Get up from the computer, call your kids to the living room, turn off the TV, and say it.  “I’m sorry.”  They are two of the most powerful words you can say to your kids.  Speak those words – and watch the healing begin.

***Adapted from a chapter in my upcoming book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics” (coming September 1st)***

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How Do You Handle Father’s Day For The Kid Without A Dad?

 

As the father of two amazing kids, I love Father’s Day.  Being a father is one of the greatest and most rewarding things that I have ever experienced.  I love taking pictures with my kids, getting gifts and cards, and celebrating the father/child bond on that third Sunday in June.  It’s a special day for me and for countless others.

In recent years, however, I have become increasingly aware that a large number of children in my Kids Ministry do NOT look forward to Father’s Day.  For some, it is because they have lost their father to death.  I have several children whose father died of cancer or some other disease recently.  For others, it is because their Dad abandoned their family.  Dad left, and he hasn’t been in any regular contact with the children in years.  Still others have NEVER known their father.  They are the child of a single mother who is trying to raise them the best she can – on her own.

While I am a definite advocate of honoring Dads on Father’s Day, of celebrating those men who are faithful to their wives and children, and of heralding the uncles, cousins, and neighbors who serve as “Adopted Dad” for many of these children…I don’t want to allow Father’s Day to go by without remembering these hurting children need special ministry on this weekend.  As my friend, Linda Ranson Jacobs wrote in her recent article, “It’s hard to teach a little boy or girl to honor fathers when their father isn’t present, has deserted them or hurt them. So many church leaders will shy away from including these children. These are the very children that we need to concentrate on when Father’s Day rolls around.”

So, this Father’s Day as you give honor to fathers, remind the children who have no earthly father to honor and celebrate that they have a HEAVENLY FATHER that is worthy of honor and celebration.

Teach these children that:

God is a PERFECT FATHER…

Your Heavenly Father is the absolute PERFECT Father.  He will never break a promise.  He will never hurt you.  He will never treat you badly.  He will NEVER leave you (Hebrews 13:5).  He is absolutely PERFECT in every way.

God has a PERFECT LOVE…

Because God is your Perfect Father, He loves you with a perfect love.  He’s not like those who told you they loved you, but then when you did something they didn’t like, they withheld their love from you. God’s love is so much bigger and stronger than anything we have ever imagined.  The Bible says that “God IS love.” (1 John 4:8)  That means that He has so much perfect love for you that it’s as if LOVE is all that He is made of.  He IS love.  His love is perfect.

The best part is, no matter what you do, His love stays the same.  You might think, “Well, what if I let God down and make a mistake and sin?  Will He still love me then?”  The answer is, “YES!”  God’s perfect love never fails and it never stops.  No matter how much you ignore Him, disobey Him, or hurt Him – God still loves you with His perfect love.  That’s what makes Him such a PERFECT FATHER.

God has a PERFECT PLAN…

Not only is God a perfect Father who has a perfect love for you, but He has a perfect plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).  When you go to build a building, you don’t start without a plan.  If you do, your building will probably turn out looking pretty messed up.  You need to know exactly what you want it to be before you start, right?  Just like that, God had a plan for you before the world was created.  It’s true.

God had a perfect plan for you even before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5).  He knew who your friends would be, what you would grow up to become, and every little detail about you.  God’s perfect plan for you is what you need to follow.  If you want to know what His plan is for your life, just ask Him (James 1:5).  He speaks to you through the Bible and in your heart and thoughts.  He will help you make decisions.  He will help you do all the things that will help you become more of the person that He planned for you to be.

The best news of all?  There is nothing that anyone else can do to stop God’s plan for you.  The devil can’t stop it, people can’t stop it, nothing can stop it (Job 42:2).

I know that you may be in a home where you don’t have a Dad.  That can really be hard and painful.  But, NEVER FORGET that God is your perfect Heavenly Father who loves you with a perfect love and has a perfect plan for your life.  He will be there for you no matter what.  “He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

THAT is the message we ALL need to remember this Father’s Day.  Share that message with the children in your ministry who are living without a father.  Remind them that their Heavenly Father loves them this Father’s Day…and every single day of their lives!

Me with my wife, Cherith, and two amazing kids, Ashton (left) and Jordan (right)

Me with my wife, Cherith, and two amazing kids, Ashton (left) and Jordan (right)