Single parenting can change us as dads. For me, it's been a while since those days when I was going it alone, but it made me the person I am today.
In Disney Pixar’s movie Finding Nemo, Marlin is a clownfish and single dad who coddles his only child.
When Nemo is captured by some divers, Marlin crosses oceans searching for his lost son. As the fame of his heroic undertaking reaches his son in Sydney, Nemo finds the news astonishing and uncharacteristic of his dad. In the end he’s reunited with a parent who has changed entirely. The crisis has transformed Marlin, making him a better father.
Trials have a way of reshaping all of us. In the midst of my own divorce no one could have convinced me that some good would have come out of that mess. If you’re in that place currently, chances are you aren’t ready to hear that, so I hesitated to say it. But it’s true. Each of us must wait for that period when God in his mercy reveals it to us—and he will.
Good will rise from this tragedy, but you won’t see it until, like Marlin, you reach your own Sydney. After you’ve made it through all the jellyfish, sharks, deep sea creatures, whales, and nets—then you’ll be able to look back over that ocean of trouble and see how the Lord has sustained and changed you.
It happens in small increments, too tiny to notice. Adjustments here and modifications there. My friend Ernesto was fifty-one when he and his three teens found themselves in a broken home. As he adjusted to life apart from his children, he often panicked when he discovered special moments were occurring without his presence.
“I had to learn to focus on the big picture, not think about the small stuff,” Ernesto admits. “My teens
also had to develop a big-picture mentality.”
Sometimes God tweaks you like he did Ernesto, so slightly you don’t notice until years down the
road. Other times he makes huge, uncomfortable adjustments in a short amount of time, like Marlin
may not yet see the big picture, but rest in the understanding that God has
When it was all said and done, Ernesto came out the other side a more godly
man, a guy who hopes
in Christ more now, because the Lord adjusted his worry and changed it to trust.
What about you? How have you experienced change as a single dad?