Twenty million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent—according to the National Center for Fathering. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.
"That's a sobering statistic," said Ed Tandy McGlasson, former NFL player and founder of The Blessing of The Father Ministries.
Ed continued, "Sadly, this problem isn't anything new. Over 25 hundred years ago Jeremiah the prophet saw what fatherlessness does to families and wrote, 'We have become orphans and fatherless; our mothers are like widows" (Lam. 5:3). Could that be the same song young people sing today without fathers in their lives? Could it be that underneath the discontent and protests we witness on the nightly news, stands a generation longing to be loved by a father?"
This isn't a problem to be taken lightly; the statistics surrounding fatherlessness are tragic:
Sixty-three percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes—five times the average (U.S. Dept. Of Health/Census).
Eighty-five percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes—20 times the average (Center for Disease Control).
Eighty percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes—four times the average (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26).
Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes—nine times the average (National Principals Association Report).
In a society where over 50 percent of U.S. children go to bed on any given night without the voice of a father in their home (U.S. Department of Census), Ed Tandy McGlasson makes a case for the irreplaceable role of a present, loving father, saying, "I've never met a man who didn't really love his children. Prisons are filled with men and women who love their kids. For most men, it's that they never had a present loving father themselves—someone who blessed them and spoke life into them and gave them a clear understanding of who they were and what there were made for. Without a loving father in our story, we tend to repeat the same patterns that were modeled for us, whether we realize it or not."
Ed encourages families through his message of hope and restoration: "No matter how broken your father-story is, no matter what false names define you and no matter how wide your family fault-line is, it is never too late to be blessed and see your family become everything the Father wants for you."
Ed believes it has been God's plan all along to be the Father who turns our stories around. As a matter of fact, Scripture recorded that promise in 2 Corinthians 6:18, "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Ed continued, "God is the only one who can turn fatherless boys into great dads, and unfathered daughters into amazing moms. It is never too late to be a great dad and to have the family you have always wanted!"
That's good news for fathers!
This former NFL giant has spent over 20 years incorporating his own life story of losing his biological father, a military hero, in a tragic Navy test pilot accident with the transformational message that God gave him to bring healing to fatherless men and women, to the hurting, showing them how they can find the Father they've always wanted and the healing they need for themselves and their families.
The brokenness of Ed's early family story set him on a course to transfer that same broken relationship to his kids until Ed had an encounter at 40 years old, which he describes in all three of his books, that changed not only the way he saw himself but also how he related to his kids. During this encounter with the heavenly Father, Ed, for the first time, understood what he had missed in losing his biological father before he was born and being raised by his stepfather, a man who did his best for Ed but dealt with some of the same father wounds that many others have.
Ed takes his own life experience and uses it as a metaphor for how we can succeed and be all that God created us to be if we can see ourselves beloved by the Father and living under His blessings and His smile—but not by what we have accomplished or done right in this life.
He continues, "No longer is life about winning according to the scoreboard of our culture; it's about knowing you are cheered on by the Father who created you and called beloved by our heavenly Father."
"God wants to be your Father and bring healing to your children. He sent His Son to heal us and adopt us as His children. He sent His Son to reveal the voice of the Father so we can speak with that voice to our children. He sent His Son to teach us how to love so that we can love our children. A relationship with God the Father is essential to being a good father and understanding who you were made to be!"
Ed shares that the experience of discovering the Father he always wanted began to change the story of his own family. "I have good news for you," Ed said. "at the core of the heavenly Father's heart is delight in each one of His children. Being perfect does not make us feel loved—being perfectly loved, and recognizing His love for us, sets us free to become a new kind of person who can live from the pleasure of God."
"If we don't do something in this generation, as parents, then we ultimately might live under the proclamation of Malachi—if fathers are not called back to God and to their children, then the result is that God Himself will strike the land with a curse." Ed believes that much of the curse that is talked about in the book of Malachi is also true of today with the protesting on the streets, the brokenness of families and the rate of divorce producing a culture that doesn't know what it feels like to be raised in a home of a loving dad.
God's answer to this? He's turning the hearts of fathers back to their children! Jesus made reference to this in John 16:25 when he said, "I have told you these things in proverbs. But the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in proverbs, for I will speak to you plainly about the Father." Ed believes that we are in that day again in our history where more than 50 percent of all kids in our country live a fatherless life.
Ed believes that this is our moment as parents to rise up and become the kind of moms and dads this next generation is starving for so they can experience the love, healing and blessing of the Father for their own stories.
There is a movement of God the Father today as He is turning the hearts of fathers back to their children so families can experience the healing and blessing they need to be the kind of men, fathers and leaders that our culture is crying out for.
We used to be a world filled with founding fathers, but now it is hard to find them anywhere. We have been given an opportunity by God to combat this epidemic of fatherlessness that permeates our world, social media, school systems and every area of life. Ed said, "You can try to throw more money at schools and social systems to heal this problem—but the cure, the missing ingredient for all these social crisis is a present loving father."
Ed recalls a story:
There was a man in my church who hadn't seen his son in over 20 years. His attempts to reconnect were rejected. As he talked about his son, his eyes swelled with tears. His story is a common one: a bitter divorce, hurt and anger on both sides and his son taking a stand with Mom by telling his dad that he didn't want to talk to him ever again.
This experience left his father feeling hopeless and that he could never make a difference in his son's life. We joined hands that day and asked God to change his son's heart. I encouraged him to write his son a letter, telling him that he missed him and how much he wanted to reconnect. "I will try," he said, "but he will probably never respond."
His son called him the week he got the letter and said, "Dad, I didn't think you wanted me. When you divorced mom, I thought it was because you didn't want me, and your silence all these years further reinforced my assumptions about what you thought of me.'"
After a tearful talk on the phone, they made arrangements to meet. You should have been there when this restored father returned from his trip. 'We spent most of the time crying and asking each other for forgiveness," he told me. The crowning moment was when he held his grandchildren for the first time. It shattered that Papa! He told me that his own father was never able to mouth the words, "Son, I love you" or "I believe in you." He never had a role model to teach him how to be verbally and physically generous with his kids. His restoration with his son evoked all the emotional and physical responses he had always wanted to express. His heart had called him to action, and, in the end, love means little when it's not embedded in action.
This story and countless others go to show us that relationships with your children, no matter how broken, can be improved and healed.
So how does someone without a dad become a great dad? There are no magic words that you can say to your kids to change your family story unless those words come out of a place where you've heard them spoken over your own life from God. Ed teaches that the only blessing that transfers from father to son or father to daughter is an incarnational blessing: a blessing that you've first experienced and have lived out for yourself. Ed teaches in his conferences and through his ministry, The Blessing of The Father, ways for you as a dad to take steps in the healing of your own story so that the hurt you've experienced doesn't have to transfer to your kids.
His best-selling book The Difference a Father Makes, with over 215,000 sold, challenges fathers to excel in fatherhood by using the example of Jesus and God the Father. His message has been so effective over the last 20 years that, even while Ed has dual roles of being a local pastor as well as an author and national speaker, he has created a new resource for families, which releases in June 2017, to help them connect to the Father they've always wanted so that they can become the father or mother their kids need.
"The Blessing of the Father is that moment when Jesus connects us to the unconditional love, grace and favor of His Father, which empowers us to be the person God has called us to be and to live out the life He has made us for."
Instead of spending this weekend in your man-cave, come discover the relationship with your kids that God wants you to have. Ed brings hope to families with one of his favorite taglines: "It is never too late to be a great dad and have the family that God wants you to have. It is never too late for you to experience the healing power of the love of the Father that Jesus came to give us."
Ed Tandy McGlasson has been an effective conference speaker for the last 20 years on this subject. If you'd like to learn more about "The Blessing of the Father" or to hear about the new product, "The Blessing of the Father for Families," you can go to his website at blessingofthefather.org. We would love to serve you in your family's story.
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