Below are just a few of the testimonials we received from our Play of the Day recipients on how they got through dark times to emerge better men and fathers:
Tim: “I lost a child six years ago and by God’s grace, He gave me the strength to keep our family together! My son, Tim, is a second year med student at a major university and my son, Joe, is in the NFL trying to make a team as a rookie.”
Adrian: “During my adolescent and teen years, I don’t remember very much interaction with my parents. They were very devoted to each other and to my sister and I, but there a void in my life wanting more interaction. My parents were from the European mold of ‘kids should be seen but not heard’. Occasionally my dad would take me to the public swimming pool on a weekend, but those trips were not as frequent as I would have liked. Seeing kids and their dads playing ball would kindle a fire of desire that would not be satisfied.
For a number of years after marrying my high school sweetheart (led by the Holy Spirit), I never really had a desire to have kids of my own, although there was a passion in my wife’s heart to have children. After a number of years of avoiding the decision, I released in my heart to fulfill my wife’s passion.
After a few years of trying to have children of our own unsuccessfully, we ended up adopting our first foster child, which we took in when she was just five months old.
Although there have been many trying times (as most parents would attest), the blessing of going through the day to day grind and the joys of interacting with our daughter, who is now six years old, has brought a satisfaction in my own life that I could not have imagined. She also seems to have a hot line direct to God, as many of her prayers are answered in very short order!”
Ted: “This has more to do with being a husband than a father, but ultimately the impact it had on our marriage has had a good effect on our family as a whole. We learned the power of prayer on our relationships within the first couple of years of our marriage. My wife and I discovered very early that we both have strong personalities that caused us to bang heads quite a bit. In the first three years it seemed like we did little else but fight. Not terrible or violent fighting, it just seemed that we were each frequently angry at the other for something. Eventually there was a depressing sense that all we could do was disappoint each other. It happened that at the same time (although certainly not a coincidence) we each independently decided to plan a time daily to read our Bible and pray. We had tried this together before and it didn’t work very well. But, we decided to try it together again anyway (both of us had little expectation for success). It turned out that praying together was exactly what we needed. Not only did the act of praying together change our relationship. It also forced us to deal with each other better. When we sat down to pray together we could not do it if there was a major problem between us (just try to pray while you’re angry once – you can’t do it). So before praying we had to deal with anything that was an issue between us. That meant some days we dealt with issues instead of praying. But, the next day the prayer time was even better. We are both still strong willed and our marriage is just as bumpy as it ever was. But, we each have a see it with a much more positive outlook because we now know that we can get along. After nine years of marriage, we have a relationship that has continued to strengthen (in spite of our personalities) over time. Spending regular time in prayer together has been the key to getting there.”
Dale: “In November of 1989 our second child was born, Elizabeth. I knew something was wrong the minute the doctor held her up. You could just read it in the faces of the doctor and the nurses.
Elizabeth was born with a condition called trisomey 13 – 3 number 13 chromosomes. This caused tremendous genetic damage.
Over the course of the next 24 hours we were given a crash course in the condition. We found out that most babies born with this condition don’t live past 48 hours, if they do live they have no suckling reflex and have to be feed with a tube that the parents have to insert into the babies mouth, down her throat, and into the stomach; that she is most likely deaf and blind. What a shock.
I wish I could tell you that we experienced a miracle on the scale of Moses parting the red sea or Jesus bringing Lazerus back to life. We didn’t experience that type of miracle, but we did see others. Elizabeth was able to learn how to suckle, so we coudld feed her with a bottle. While she was deaf and blind, she knew who her mother, father, brother were. And, we saw an outpouring of love and concern from our church and the community we lived in.
Elizabeth did die two months into her life. Through her my family experienced the love of God through this child. And that is fitting since Elizabeth means “”child of God.”” That’s where she is right now, with God.
Tony: “When my wife and I were first married, she had been told by her doctors that she could not ever have children. Soon afterwards, we bought a new home in a new suburban neighborhood. Three months after moving into the home, my wife became pregnant! However, we almost lost the baby on more than one occasion. We made it through the difficult first part. Then the doctors noticed that there was something “wrong”. One doctor even suggested that we may want to even consider if we want to keep the baby!
We were committed to our baby and had faith in our God. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the baby decided that he wanted to come into the world early. The doctors did all they could while my wife stayed in the hospital for three weeks. The beautiful baby boy came anyway. Although he was born with birth defects, he is a wonderful child. That was 6 years ago and he is now in Kindergarten.
There is more to the story. My wife and I waited until our son was born to name him. We wanted to see him and get a feel for who he is. After much debate and prayer, we chose a name that means “one that rules with a sword.” In this case, we were thinking of Ephesians 6:17 where the sword is the Word of God.
Our son is a very social boy that is very caring and smart. And he has a strong heart for God and already soaks up the Word of God and eagerly memorizes scripture.
As with many inspirational stories, there is more. The other side of the story is what was happening to us. We had bought a new home based on having no children and two incomes. Now we had one child and we were committed to my wife staying at home to care for our new son. In addition, the medical bills were tremendous. We had great faith that we were squarely in God’s will and following his lead. Cutting the tithe was not even an option. After a testing period, God greatly blessed us. He took care of the medical bills. AND through my current job, he put me in a position where my income more than doubled. We were now bringing home more money than we were when both of us were working!
Praise God! God is good…all the time!”
Scott: “My marriage recovered from what seemed like a certain death sentence. During our fifth year of marriage and my wife’s first pregnancy I entered into an affair with another woman. My wife found out about the affair one month before our son was born and our future seemed hopeless at best. She was crushed and angered and I was ready to check out of the relationship. The illusion of the happiness I thought a life with my mistress would bring me was powerful, but it would be months before I realized the lie I was living.
My wife and I agreed to seek counseling immediately to see if there was any hope for us. The first several sessions were brutal. Several past hurts and resentments were brought out and we found ourselves in this “”loveless”” partnership with our first baby on the way. A wise faith-based counselor helped us to begin to rekindle the emotional intimacy we so dearly needed. We met with another couple who had been through the exact same situation 10 years earlier and had endured. This gave us hope even though we were convinced we could never love each other again.
I ended the affair and we began to rebuild our marital foundation piece by piece. I began to realize the affair I was in did not represent reality and that my relationship with my mistress carried as much if not more baggage as my marriage. I had been living a total lie that seemed real. As the lines of communication and understanding began to open up between me and my wife, we began to rebuild trust in our relationship. We began to put a solid spiritual foundation in place.
Today, six years after our crisis, our marriage is stronger than ever and we have since had our second child. We now have a marital bond that can withstand just about anything.
It is a true miracle from God that we are still together. We are more in love that we ever have been and the emotional intimacy has returned to our relationship in spades. Our marriage has been blessed with forgiveness and understanding and is now set to stand the test of time.
Marriage is a marathon and introducing children into the formula only adds stress to a relationship. Almost every married man is faced with temptation that can destroy families and loved ones. If you have made a mistake and feel there is no hope, do not give up. If you and your wife were once in love, your relationship can be rekindled. Get into counseling and begin to rebuild. If you sense your marriage heading down that road, don’t do it. Nip it in the bud and get counseling from your pastor or a professional. Although it may seem hopeless, I am living proof that you and your wife and your family can experience more love and happiness than you ever imagined.”
Andersen: “I grew up in a family of 11 brothers and sisters and my dad had two wives.
Things were not in abundance especially money. I was a top student but did not have the finance to further my studies after high school.
Had to work my way from bottom starting with USD 80 per month and had to borrow from in-laws to get married at age of 27. Bought my 1st house at 29 in 88 and lost all my money in business in 98 and still pay my debts to the banks.
Having gone through all of that, I know that could never have made it till today without my Wife (whom I love dearly) and the inspiration of our lives (3 Girls age 16, 13 & 6) and a little boy age 5)
My message to all other dads is that I would not trade the love and bonding that I have with my family for all the money that I had lost or could have. If I had to live my life all over again, I would not want to change anything except for saving a little more money. Laughing out loud.”
John Morrison: As a Sailor in the United States Navy the hardest times for me as a Father and Husband have been the long separations from my Family (generally six to eight months). I was not able to be present for the birth of either of my two daughters and at the time of writing this I have never held my second daughter who is now 5 months old. My wife has to be one of the strongest women in the world to be able to handle the day to day tribulations of taking care of my 5 month and 17 month old daughters while also taking care of the day to day chores of running a household. I salute her as the Military wife and love her dearly for who she is and the sacrifices she too makes for our family. Not a day goes by while I am at sea that I don’t think of each and every one of them at home. The short time that I have while in liberty ports are spent with them on my mind and not what I can get in a foreign port for myself, but what I can get for my family to show that I am thinking of them. One of the best things I ever did was sign up for monthly floral gifts for my wife, so that even during times when I have no communication via e-mail or the internet, she will receive flowers on all special occasions and each month regardless of the occasion. Constant communication when possible and sharing photos via e-mail have also been a large part of sharing our ‘separated’ lives during my deployments. On occasion before I have left for deployment, I have purchased a card, filled it out with my thoughts and left it under her pillow so she will get it before going to bed hours after I have said goodbye. I will not be home for another seven weeks, already I have small tokens to present to each of my girls (my wife included) when I return, The greatest gift will be “”Daddy”” returning home of course, but the small token shows I was thinking of them. Again I salute my Wife who in my eyes is the strongest of the two of us.”