Fathers: Feel the import of these words and let the glory of your calling be known to all! Don’t miss Justin Taylor’s post. Quoting from his quote (found at On the Square):

Most fathers-to-be suppose that their old ego-centered lives will continue more or less unabated after the child arrives. With the exception of a few more obstacles and demands on their time, their involvement with their children is envisioned as being something manageable and marginal. Nothing like a complete transformation—an abrupt end to their former life—really enters men’s minds.

But then the onslaught begins, and a man begins to realize that these people, his wife and children, are literally and perhaps even intentionally killing his old self. All around him everything is changing, without any signs of ever reverting back to the way they used to be. Into the indefinite future, nearly every hour of his days threatens to be filled with activities that, as a single-person or even a childless husband, he never would have chosen. Due to the continual interruptions of sleep, he is always mildly fatigued; due to long-term financial concerns, he is cautious in spending, forsaking old consumer habits and personal indulgences; he finds his wife equally exhausted and preoccupied with the children; connections with former friends start to slip away; traveling with his children is like traveling third class in Bulgaria, to quote H.L. Mencken; and the changes go on and on. In short, he discovers, in a terrifying realization, what Dostoevsky proclaimed long ago: “[A]ctive love is a harsh and fearful reality compared with love in dreams.” Fatherhood is just not what he bargained for.

Yet, through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier. What happens to his children now happens to him; his life, though awhirl with the trivial concerns of children, is more serious than it ever was before. Everything he does, from bringing home a paycheck to painting a bedroom, has a new end and, hence, a greater significance. The joys and sorrows of his children are now his joys and sorrows; the stakes of his life have risen. And if he is faithful to his calling, he might come to find that, against nearly all prior expectations, he never wants to return to the way things used to be.


  1. Yep. That’s about right! I can relate to this.

    Causes me to mourn over my ability (or actually inability!) to be the husband and father God designed and desired me to be. May the Lord mend all the locusts have eaten, and may I be proactive in my role in pursuit of such mending. I have no doubt with our second child (due date of October 3) I’ll be a bit more able… for her, as well as for my wife.

    Praise God for the growth and freedom I’m finding from a life far too focused on self! Goodbye self!! Hello to a life more closely aligned with the will of God, and not according to my own script. This is my prayer: Step out of my script, read God’s, and listen. To not be distracted with the temporary, and to focus on the eternal. To be more disciplined in doing so.

    Is there such a thing as being MORE disciplined? Or am I simply being disciplined or not?

    : )

    Love that Dostoevsky quote. So true.

  2. Indeed! Who among fathers, in their right civil mind, could not relate to this. As I read this, I could not help but move beyond and think redemptively.

    As is so eloquently said about fatherhood, how much more so are we called in salvation to a “greater significance” and “nobility” to carry the name of the crucified and risen Son of God, to “the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment” and to be motivated by “never wanting to return to the way things used to be” since we are eternally the Redeemed of God!!

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