SINGLE PARENTING FOR DADS
By Andy Sanford
I always wanted to be married and have a family from the
time I was a young teen. God finally opened the doors to allow me
this privilege and blessing at the age of 32. I married a
beautiful and fun woman whom I hoped to spend the rest of my life
with. About a year and a half after our wedding, God gave us a
beautiful little girl named Autumn.
Shortly after our daughter was born, my beautiful and fun
wife wasn't as much fun anymore. I prayed about it, and for a
while, it got a little better. We had financial struggles, and
about a year after our daughter was born, my wife began talking
about leaving me. I prayed about it and tried to find out why she
felt this way. After some time, I discovered that she had been
unfaithful, and even then I attempted to restore our marriage. I
sought godly counsel and followed their advice, molded around
Matthew 18:15-20, but my wife insisted on leaving me, and on
Thanksgiving Day 2002, she moved out and took our daughter with
her. We had been married for 3 years and 3 weeks, and now my
dreams of a family and a home were over. Now, I had to focus on
being a daddy to a little girl who needed an honest and loving
There are many reasons why a man can end up a single father,
death, divorce, or desertion top the list. When I became a single
father, I had the added responsibility of having to protect my
right to be a father, something that one doesn't have to do if he
loses a spouse to death or desertion. The first thing I did was
look to God's Word, and I found that the truth of God's Word was
the strength and encouragement for the battle to come.
I found that in 1 Timothy 5:S God plainly tells us, "But if
any (man) provide not for his own, and specially for those of his
own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an
infidel." So I labored to provide for my house, for my daughter.
My wife had chosen to leave and take herself out of the
protection of my household, but leaving was not my daughter's
choice and she had a right to the protection of my house. I also
determined from the godly counsel of friends and ministers in the
church and through Bible study that FATHERS ARE IMPORTANT,
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!! So I refused to become a part-time daddy.
In order to prevent this, I closed out my retirement
accounts and retained the services of a father's rights attorney.
Being a father was more important to me than my retirement or my
career goals. In the divorce and custody battle that ensued, I
was eventually granted 50% custody, and I now have my daughter
every other week.
God's Word teaches men, to rule over their households with
love, compassion and grace. Divorce is not an easy thing and is
very much a product of the sin in this world. God has always
hated sin and the results of sin, but there are principles in His
Word that He makes plain - one of those is the importance of
fathers. This also goes to the fathers who are still married to
their children's mothers.
I can find no excuse for fathers to be distant, abusive, or
otherwise uninvolved in the lives of their children. God's Word
teaches men, to rule over their households with love, compassion
and grace. We are to be intimately involved in the lives of our
children. Abraham knew this and was distraught about God telling
him to listen to Sarah and divorce Hagar (Genesis 21:11); Abraham
knew that he should be a father to Ishmael.
(But the fact is sometimes God does not allow a father to be a
father fully and completely. Hagar and Ishmael were to leave. God
works in ways that sometimes we cannot understand at the time, we
can only look through a glass darkly as Paul said. We sometimes
understand it all, later, and sometimes not till the resurrection
and Christ's return - Keith Hunt)
We must stand up for our households and care for our own.
Both married men and single fathers have a responsibility to
their children. It will not be easy, but doing God's will seldom
is. God never promised that following His will and His commands
would be easy, but He does promise in His Word that we will have
peace that passes all understanding and joy unspeakable if we
The last 4 years have not been easy. At first, I had diaper
changes and late nights with fevers. Because I had trouble
finding daycare, I had to miss work a few times because of my
commitment to the task of fathering. But, I have had good people
in God's church who have helped along the way. For the first 3
years I had the support of the Culver Road Church of God 7th Day,
in Battle Creek, Michigan and sisters Missy and Elsie Smith,
Darlene Graham, Marion, Bethany, Joanna, and Sarah Noble. Then
about a year ago I was called to serve God at Spring Vale
Academy, a Church of God (Seventh Day) boarding school for high
school students. At Springvale, I have had the help and support
of sisters Becki Fischer, Arlene Caswell, Pam and Amber Noble,
Lisa Hinds, Amy Scott, Melissa Pedersen and girls from the girl's
dorm who have all pitched in and helped me raise my little girl.
I am thankful for all their help and support, as well as the men
who have prayed with and encouraged me in this task.
I am thankful to God and His saints for making my task of
single parenting a little easier. Hillary Clinton is wrong. It
doesn't take a village to raise a kid; it takes parents and a
church. I would like to ask you to pray for my daughter Autumn,
and we covet your prayers.
Andy Sanford writes from Spring Vale Academy in Owosso, Michigan.
Andy is involved in evangelism throughout Michigan and the United
States. He also serves as the Vice-President of the Michigan
State Conference, of the Church of God 7th Day.
This article was taken from ACTS magazine, May 2007, a
publication of the General Council of the Churches of God, 7th
Day, Meridian, ID, USA