Ten years ago today there was little question that I needed to change.
Ten years ago today, the cliche of “your life has changed forever” was repeated across the Maternity ward at Tamworth Base Hospital and across Facebook and over the phone as friends and family congratulated us.
Our first son Samuel was born.
Ten years ago today, the weight of change was upon me, my longing for a legacy was established and had I known the path ahead, fear and physiological overdrive would have overcome me.
The question that looped in an endless circle, failing to find rest in my head was,
“How am I supposed to raise this boy into a man, when I am so eternally broken and ashamed of the dark corners in my life?”
The dark corners were a constant unwelcomed intruder in my moments of joy, reminding me that I was “nothing”, “no one”, “never to be redeemed”, “never to be saved”, “always destined to struggle”.
My mother and father raised me well but I could never live off their faith and their deep love of God and his unfailing grace.
In that moment of intense joy, holding my 2.9kg bundle of Samuel, the weight upon my shoulders was heavy and almost unbearable.
I’d like to say I was happy, and I was, for the most part. But underlying Samuel’s birth and in the months previous, God had started to do his most profound work of pruning in my life.
Pruning is painful.
Pruning is what leads to growth.
Pruning can lead to a massive breakthrough.
Pruning draws you close to eternity and living selflessly.
Pruning was something that I had avoided, too ashamed and broken to believe that I could change.
I asked God:
“How could a man who struggled with pornography raise a boy to respect women?”
“How could a man who battled with anger raise a boy to be patient, kind and understanding?”
“How could a man who too was scared to make any move and controlled everything to an inch of its existence ever raise a boy to have faith and lead?”
Ten years ago today,
I was faced with two choices as I held my newborn son in my arms:
Life with complete honesty to my struggles, laying everything bare, to rest in God’s goodness, mercy and forgiveness
Life with dark corners, trying in myself to be better, but wearing the mask of Christian Atheism and still living with the shame of the past.
The one thing I know about living with dark corners in your life is that it becomes easier and easier to make bad decisions and to fall deeper into depravity.
I’ve also seen the dark corners of one’s life suddenly come to light, always ending in shocking reveals.
Ten years ago today, I chose honesty.
To live an open-book life.
Because I knew this:
If I couldn’t lead myself to a life of integrity and freedom, I stood little chance of leading my little boy.
The precious wobble of soft flesh, pink with life, helpless, but with the hope that the man holding him would fight for him with courage and lead him to become a man who would make a difference in the lives of many.
The significance of Samuel’s birthday marks 10 years of immense personal growth and change in my life.
This is because ten years ago, I learnt what it truly meant to love like a father.
When Samuel was born, I wanted to protect him, shower him with good gifts, bring him my best, give him all my love, open doors for him, take away his pain, fight for him and most of all, never let him go and never let him down.
This is the type of Father that God is.
When Samuel was born, I fell in love with him, he was the most perfect being that I had ever seen.
This is how God feels about you.
As I struggled with my sin in the pit of my brokenness and shame, I cried out to God, “Father help me, help me…”.
And he did.
In my pain and inadequacies, my heavenly Father put his hand on my shoulder as the God of all comfort and the Father of compassion.
Rest son, rest, he whispered.
When any of my sons are struggling, I comfort them and offer them the same compassion that my heavenly Father showed me.
He beckons me forward in faith.
He walks beside me as my comfort and strength.
He underlies everything with his unconditional love and acceptance.
He is the perfect Father.
Because of him, I live in freedom and love today.
Happy birthday Samuel, dad loves you…..and mum too.
Enjoy the awesome athletic and healthy body God has given you!
Dr. Jonathan Ramachenderan