For the past four years I’ve been a stay-at-home dad. Sure, I’ve written a couple of books, done some freelance stuff, etc – but basically my day-to-day has been looking after my beautiful daughter – which I guess is never going to change. Except that in a few weeks from now she will be in school full time and like many a parent who have looked after a child during their pre-school years, I will feel bereft, but I will also have a sense of freedom – what am I going to do with all that time?
That’s a good question. Part of me senses a whole world of opportunity is about to open up for me, while the more pessimistic (and dominant) side of my personality fears that I will atrophy – I’ll become a dad who does lunch, or a dishy daddy (the male form of the yummy mummy) who fills his days with consuming daytime telly, window shopping and worrying about whether my daughter is developing an nut allergy simply because I will have nothing else to fill the void where once once Hama Beads and Play Dough, trips to the zoo and days in the park.
Like everyone, I have dreams and I want to succeed and feel that I’m contributing something worthwhile. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something and I’ve carried for years a very clear word that I am to be like Joshua, to be strong and courageous and to enter the promises God has for me. And yet most of the time I really feel like the spies who saw the giants in the land and turned back, never to see what amazing things God could do if only they would trust him.
Being of northern working class stock, my default is to go for what I think I ought to do – take any job going, however soul destroying, as we need the money and it’s a father’s job to provide. But my soul cries out within me, that’s not the path God has called you to. If you believe the father’s job is to provide, then let your Father in Heaven be a father to you and trust him.
I don’t mind admitting that wrestling with all this has been tough for me. And neither do I mind saying that at 7.45 am this morning I was in tears in my kitchen listening to thought for the day on radio Bristol. At the end of her piece, the women speaking quoted some words of Maggie Dawn, which I’ve found on her blog:
“Regardless of what is sensible, and regardless of what you think you “ought” to do, which of the courses ahead of you makes you feel alive, makes your heart open wider, makes you feel hopeful and as if the future is opening up not closing down? That is the route you should go.”
I think God is trying to tell me something.