Heart Condition

Photo of a daddy coloring with his daughter by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Heart Condition

Be the Dad

“It was normal”

I was raised in a regular, normal family, at least I thought so. Discipline was certainly a part of my life, but not a godly part of my life. My father would get drunk on a regular basis, assault my mother, and for me that was normal. My mother would take drugs to ease the emotional and physical pain on a regular basis, and for me that was normal.

I was just a boy of about 5-6 years old when I developed a heart condition. One night my father came home very late on a Saturday night after binge drinking for several hours with my mother. Both were drunk and fighting. He began to beat her and was being particularly abusive to her that night. This was regular and it was normal.

I recall my mother screaming for help. Crying out to her boys, “Help boys, help me, your father is going to kill me!” But my older brothers, they knew better, they did not move from their beds. But not me, I would rescue my mother! I would defend her from my father. So, I leapt from my bed and ran into the hallway to pull my father off my mother as he was assaulting her. I had seen the superheroes on TV do this so I was convinced that I could save her. This was not to be the case. I was just a boy and I was no match for my father’s strength. My father proceeded to cock back his fist and hit me square in the chest, knocking me out the doorway and into the hallway. That vicious hit caused my heart condition and left a God size hole in my heart that only God could heal.

Eph 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” My father’s anger and his harsh discipline created fear and anger in me and caused me to begin a relationship of avoidance with my father; I did not seek guidance from him nor did he offer it. I did my best to not be seen and to not be heard.

As I matured and became of age, I had entered adulthood wounded and broken and frankly unprepared to be a father. I was also discouraged that I would do the same to my own children. Col 3:21 says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

However, God had a plan for me!

My story, is a story of transformation and restoration. Christ came into my life and transformed me forever. What Satan had intended for evil, God was going to use for his Glory.

I recognized early in my adulthood that I had a very strong chance of becoming that which nearly destroyed me. I knew I had to break the cycle of abuse and become a loving father, a father that not only provides but one that protects. I was determined to not repeat the mistakes of my dad.
At 27 years old, I was saved by the Grace of God and that began my remarkable journey of restoration. I began to pursue God with a passion. The first thing He put on my heart was to make peace with my circumstance and eventually with my father. Psalm 147, tells us that God himself heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Add more about what God did here:

I was not a church kind of guy, but someone gave me a Bible and for 5 years I devoured it and during those precious years God remade me. He took my heart of stone and melted it. I began to feel his love and see him working in my life. He gave me a hope and a future and yes, I became a good father.

Today I am my daughter’s father; I am her provider and most of all I am her protector. Today, I am striving to be the Dad that God wants me to be. A loving father who cares and disciplines in a loving, nurturing manner!

Jim Leebens
Be The Dad Movement contributor

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Abiding Fathers is a Biblical fatherhood discipleship ministry committed to helping men be the dad…God wants them to be. It’s a movement of God that is “International-Relational-Generational”. Join with us. We need you!


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