The Gap

I was raised in a home without a full-time father figure. My parents were never married and a variety of outside circumstances prevented me from developing the solid and secure relationship a young man needs and desires with his father. Although we were provided for extremely well financially, all of the “stuff” I was given could never fill the father void I had in my life. Thus, as the teen and college years arrived, I fell into the typical traps so many fatherless children do. The next decade would be heavily plagued with drug and alcohol addiction, sexual immorality, depression, a feeling of worthlessness, and self-hatred. I held down a few good jobs during this time; and although I did have regular contact with my dad- his physical and especially emotional absence in my life still blacked out anything good that seemed to be happening around me. I eventually hit rock bottom from my addiction- which included two overdoses, a near-fatal car accident, and having a child out of wedlock.

 On top of not having my own life together, I had just been blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I was a mess inside and out, how could I even begin to learn how to be a great dad…especially since I didn’t have the best role model to go off of? Through God’s miraculous leading, I came into my Christian faith in 2007. I now had a personal relationship with my heavenly Father, which would lead me to healing the relationship with my earthly dad. It took some time, but as I grew in my faith I was able to sit down with my dad (on two separate occasions) and tell him that I love him and that I forgave him. The freedom and weight that was lifted from me after these talks is indescribable! Although our relationship is still far from perfect, I have a new desire to “honor my father” no matter what and to love him where he’s at.

 In 2014 I coauthored a book entitled The Daddy Gap, which mostly addresses single moms raising fatherless children. While we were writing the book I realized how God has helped to fill my own “daddy gap” over the years. I have been blessed with an amazing mentor and have surrounded myself with other older Christian men who invest in me on a daily basis. Not only does this help to keep me on the straight and narrow, but I now have a much more secure foundation to love and pour into my own family and a men’s small group I lead. My daughter and I have a wonderful relationship and I am so blessed to say I’ve been there since day 1 on her life. This past summer I married the love of my life. You want to know something really cool? My father-in-law has told me he loves me more in the past few months than my own dad has said in 39 years. For all the ways my earthly father may have let me down, my heavenly Father has rescued me from a life of destruction, surrounded me with other father figures, and taught me how to love my own family in ways I may have never known. I have seen generational curses from my family lineage drop like chains and become generational blessings in my wife and daughter. I am confident that the same is available to anyone who calls on the Lord to fill that “gap” in their own life and in the lives of their children.

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Matt Haviland

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