Alcoholism can take its toll on a father/child relationship. It leaves the relationship broken and causes pain in the hearts of both the father and the child. Sometimes, the damage is so intense that it never gets mended. But sometimes…a man opens his heart to God and lets the healing begin. When that happens, anything is possible.
My husband suffered from alcoholism for many years before I met him. His long, broken journey ended him in a Christian men’s rehabilitation program. It was there that he opened his heart to Jesus. It was there that God gave him the victory over addiction in his life. It was there that he was given new life, and release from the bondage of guilt and shame. And it was there that I met him.
I never knew him in his previous life of drinking. I have only known him as the Godly man that I am spending my life with. He has told me stories of the past and I have seen first-hand the strained relationships it has caused with his three children. When we married, he also took on my four children. As time has gone by, I have had the pleasure of watching his relationship with my children grow into something beautiful, something that I know he places great value on. Also, during this time, I have seen him work hard to restore the relationships with his own kids. It has been a struggle. Each child has their own particular pains and feelings, and he has had to work towards getting all that out in the open. While none of those relationships are perfect yet, and might never be, I have seen great strides being made. We have had opportunities to create memories with all of our children, and we have even been blessed with some grandchildren in the process.
Through all this, God has given my husband another wonderful blessing. You see, no matter how much restoration happens, nothing can make up for those years when he missed out on, the “young years” with his children. Once you lose those years, you can’t get them back. You miss out on those experiences of baseball games, Halloween carnivals, Christmases with Santa, birthday parties, story time, prayers, and just so much more. You don’t get those sweet little arms wrapped around you saying, “Good night Daddy, I love you.”
God gave my husband an opportunity to experience all those things he missed when He brought us three little siblings to foster, and then to adopt. He entrusted this man who had overcome his addiction with the lives of three young, vulnerable children. He gave my husband an opportunity to raise up those kids in a way that teaches them about Jesus and give glory to our Father in heaven. My husband got a second chance at fatherhood. Just like Job, who lost so much, he was given back so much more than he lost.
I thank God that He is a God of restoration. I am thankful that He is a God of second chances. I am thankful that His grace and mercy are unending. And I am ever so thankful to be on this journey with the man I love.