A Father’s Mission: Speaking Identity Into Our Children
by Michael Desgrosseilliers (Elijah House Ministries)
This year, my wife, Marjorie, and I will have been married for 32 years. Though we very much wished to, we were not able to have children.
Ten years ago, we had the honor and the privilege of adopting a nine-and-a-half year-old girl from the foster system here in the United States.
Our little girl had been through probably every hard thing a little girl could. Our hearts opened wide to accept her into our family, but I knew we had to address some important questions in the process: was it too late for her to overcome the hurt and the pain she had suffered in her young life? And more importantly, how could I be the father that her broken and devastated heart so needed?
The answer lay clearly in loving her like our heavenly Father loved her.
The signature Bible verse that Elijah House ministers from is Malachi 4:5-6. The action part is verse 6a: “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (NKJV). But what did that mean…how was I to do that in my newly- (and proudly-) donned role of her father?
My mission, challenge, and privilege were to discover the gifts in my daughter and speak those into her identity!
When God created my daughter, He put together a unique and special recipe that included many beautiful gifts. Gifts that formed who she was and who she would become. Although the first half of her life involved so much pain and suffering, those beautiful gifts had not gone anywhere.
For instance, when our daughter came into our family, I immediately saw that she possessed profound gifts of honesty and integrity. I was and am absolutely convinced of those gifts in her! It didn’t mean that as a young girl and teenager she wouldn’t do things contrary to this gift (she did). But we all grow up into our gifts. As I spoke over her, I felt her spirit open up and begin to receive. Today, as a young adult and expectant mother, she is one of the most trustworthy people I know.
It is no different with the people I work with on a daily basis. As a father and prayer minister, I’ve learned that one of the most important parts of what I do is to see the good gifts that God has placed in the people I minister to. It is my desire to identify gifts in them that they may not have even been aware of. I ask Him what He has to say about them. And then I help them understand their gifts. With the help of Holy Spirit, I validate and praise those gifts.
Most adults have had very little – if any – of this type of speaking into their identity from their biological father. An unfulfilled need burns in in all our hearts to know who we really are. Speaking these things over and into our children is a God-given responsibility of every father. When we dads do this for our kids, our children will reciprocate by turning their hearts towards us, as Mal. 4:6(b) says: “and the children to their fathers…” If someone has been able to reciprocate to his or her earthly father, I have discovered that that person’s heart (no matter the age) has a much easier time connecting with God the Father in a deep and meaningful way.
So how does a father turn their kids’ hearts? By continually recognizing, validating, encouraging, and facilitating the gifts in his children. By telling them all about themselves as he sees them and as God shows him who they are. Every single day! This is not a “one and done” proposition. Though my daughter is married and has a family of her own, it’s still my job to speak into her who she is, so I continue to do it frequently. When I do, her spirit opens wide to receive my words. As a grandfather, I do that for my grandchildren, and even now for my unborn granddaughter!
A fathers’ blessing can be expressed in many ways. A letter can be a powerful gift your son or daughter will hold and treasure – even if it’s just a paragraph! Here is an example of a letter I recently wrote to my daughter:
You are such a gift to me as your father. I see and delight in the amazing person God has created you to be. I bless you and encourage you to be who you are. You are delightful in your beauty and the radiance of your personality. You have a tremendous sense of humor that brings me and those around you deep joy.
I bless your big spirit. When you enter into a room, your presence is felt! Your spirit – what exudes from you – grabs peoples’ attention. I see in you a profound integrity and desire for truth. You have a gift of discernment in which you clearly understand right from wrong – black from white.
You have a very deep sense of loyalty and faithfulness to those who you come into relationship with. You passionately defend those who are rejected and whom others find not acceptable…
As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, let’s reflect on the awesome and wonderful privilege it is to be a father.
Our mission as fathers – should we choose to accept it – is to begin moving in the powerful gift and authority God has given us men to bless and to call to life the children He brings into our lives!
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