Daddy's Little Girl
written by Dave Peacock
Recently I was talking with a friend of mine who remarked that he couldn’t believe I was a Dad. We both laughed about it, but, as I smiled at the remark, I couldn’t help but share my friend’s disbelief. How did I, David Peacock, become responsible for a little person? I’m sure my friend and I are not the only ones who have asked this question.
It just feels like gradually adulthood has crept up on me. It all started when my Mum entrusted me with the house key, then all of a sudden here I am, a father responsible for raising my own child. How the heck did this happen?
I’ve had a few ‘game-changing’ moments in my life. I’d place becoming a father second in my list of all-time game-changing moments, behind becoming a Christian but in front of getting married, as at least when you’re married you know you’re going to get around 8 hours of sleep!
I can’t deny there was a good level of anxiety before Emily arrived. I like to think I’m a pretty good uncle, but the beauty of being an uncle is that when the kids cry, misbehave, or fill their nappy with some indescribable horror, I can just hand the kids back over to the parents. It’s a sweet deal. But when you’re a parent, there’s no one else. You can’t just take a cheeky nap when you feel like it. You nap when your baby lets you.....if they let you.
I was also anxious about not messing it up as a father. No parent is perfect, but I was painfully aware that the kind of parenting a child receives will have a dramatic impact on that child’s trajectory in life. That’s an enormous responsibility.
I remember praying a lot before Emily was born that God would help me to be a good role model and father. I felt completely inadequate and under prepared. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would fill me and that I would produce good fruit, that I would be a patient and kind father. I knew that without God, I was going to struggle.
God is more than capable of preparing us for things we feel are beyond us. Peter, the disciple, was not always the leader that we see in Acts. He showed a lack of faith when he went to join Jesus on the water and began to sink (Matthew 14: 22-33) and denied that he knew Jesus 3 times (John 18: 15-27), yet Jesus still chose and enabled Peter to lead the early Church. If God is capable of doing this for Peter, then why shouldn’t we expect him to do it for us?
God can prepare us for the challenges we face when we ask for His help. History is filled with people who faced seemingly insurmountable challenges but were able to overcome them with God by their side. We know Rosa Parks as the person who was asked to move from her bus seat due to the colour of her skin but refused to do so, thus helping to initiate the civil rights movement in the USA. When reflecting on this moment in 1995, she had this to say:
"I was fortunate God provided me with the strength I needed at the precise time when conditions were ripe for change. I am thankful to him every day that he gave me the strength not to move."
How different would this moment and the civil rights movement have been had Rosa Parks not carried God’s strength in her? I’m grateful that we don’t have to answer that question.
God has the power and will to strengthen and prepare you for any situation you face, regardless of how you feel, the odds stacked against you and whatever your failings may be. I’ve certainly found this to be the case with fatherhood. Although I make A LOT of mistakes and often find myself in a state of confusion, I’m amazed at how God has strengthened me when I’ve felt physically and mentally weak and how the Holy Spirit has guided me when I’ve felt utterly lost. I’m thankful for the bond that He has helped forge between Emily and I and would encourage anyone reading this to turn to him, regardless of what you are facing.