The writing of The Invisible Father could not be considered complete if I did not devote at least one chapter to the plight of our women as it pertains to the affect that IFS has had on them. One does not have to navigate too deeply into the labyrinthine corridors of our social infrastructure to observe the cataclysmic effect of IFS on our women. We can see it in a cascade of social issues; issues such as teen pregnancy and STD contractions, the profound affect of IFS. We can see it in the elevated high school dropout rate. It can be observed in the highly dysfunctional relationships that seem to be the norm in contemporary culture. Most of all it can be discovered in the epidemic of women with dwindling self-worth. Let me be clear, this article is not an attack on our women, it is written to encourage and inspire them to overcome all that they are dealing with as a result of IFS. With that in mind we must examine the current state of our women in this country.
Although I am a stat junkie I will not force my love for numerical facts upon you in abundance, but I would like to share a few things with you concerning teen pregnancy. Many studies are showing that since 1990 there has been a decline in the number of teenage pregnancies in the United States. However, here are the current numbers which are quite disparaging to say the least.
Every year around 750,000 teenagers will get pregnant.
Depending on the state, teenage birth rates are incredibly different. Nevada has the highest rate: 113 per 1000 and North Dakota the lowest 42 per 1000.
Unmarried teenagers having children account for 24 percent of all unmarried expectant mothers.
More than 2/3 of all teenagers who have a baby will not graduate from high school, hence the correlation with teenage pregnancy and education.
Billions of dollars are spent taking care of teenage mothers and their children and they are more likely to be in the poverty bracket. On the flip side, millions of dollars are spent in prevention programs.
As you can see, although the rate has dropped over the last 20 years with the highest teenage pregnancy rate being in 1988, mostly due to awareness programs, we are still dealing with an alarming number of teens that are having children when they are ill equipped to handle the responsibility. There are a number of experts that have weighed in on the matter as to why there seems to be such a high number, as well as why the concentration seems to be in the southern states. I have read everything from the failing economy to higher learning as having an impact on this social enigma.
It is my belief that we can trace the majority of these pregnancies back to one particular area: The role that the father played in the life of the young lady that is now pregnant. Clearly this book deals with the devastating force of IFS (absentee fatherhood), however, we must grasp with a level of certainty that presence alone does constitute fatherhood in the manner that it was designed to be. The manner in which a father engages his children in the home is just as important as him being there. There are actually some fathers that are in the home and are more absent than the fathers that are not in the home. In fact, there are fathers that are not physically in the home, but are very present in the lives of their children and I definitely want to recognize those men who have made the best out of an extremely difficult situation. We still must acknowledge the fact that there are many fathers in the home that have abandoned their responsibilities as fathers without ever setting a foot outside the door.
I have worked with several church youth groups over the past year and I have literally seen situations where kids with both parents in the home are coming to programs looking for the support they should be getting at home. The thing that stands out to me the most is that the parents in almost every case were heavily involved in the church. Talking about having your priorities out of order; the church is designed for the family not the family for the church. One should never sidestep their responsibilities in the home in lieu of fulfilling responsibilities in the church.
When a father is not present in the home or fails to function in his ordain role in the home, it carries a lasting effect on his children. It has a particularly unique effect on the female child. The father is the parent that provides identity and self-worth for his daughter. When I speak of self-worth, I mean that from birth the father should be building value in his daughter. He does this by the things he says and especially by the things he does. A father should be constantly confirming and affirming who his daughter is with his words. We know that from the Bible that our words have an unbelievable impact on our lives.
”But I tell you, on the Day of Judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.
“For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving…It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. ” (Eph. 5:3-4, 12 NIV)
“And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.” (Col. 3:17 AMP)
“This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
“…for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20 NASB)
“NOT MANY [of you] should become teachers (self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].
For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.
If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about.
Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines.
Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze!
And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man’s nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna).
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature).
But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness!
Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so.
Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter?
Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water. (James 3:1-12)
These are just a few scriptures that speak of the influence and lasting effects of spoken words. Some of the things that fathers say to their children are totally baffling. Most of these men don’t even realize the negative impact that their words have on these young lives they have been entrusted with. We have to understand that as primary label givers (those that have the greatest influence on a child’s self-image); we must be deliberate in the manner we engage our children.
In dealing with the issue of absentee fathers we seem eager to delve into the issues of the children and the failures of the men, but unfortunately there is a major issue that we either fail to see or just plain refuse to deal with. In all of this madness that has been brought on by irresponsible men, we have lost sight of the women that have been left behind to manage the mess that we have made.
For every home in which a man has fathered a child and left, there is a woman who is left to pick up the pieces. Who is this woman that is left holding the proverbial bag? Let’s take a quick snapshot to see who she is:
She is a Mother:
Approximately 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
16% of custodial parents are fathers
She is Divorced or Separated:
Of the mothers who are custodial parents:
45% are currently divorced or separated
34.2% have never been married
19% are married (In most cases, these numbers represent women who have remarried.)
1.7% are widows
We can see from the above information that there are some other spiritual issues at work here. The large majority of these single parent situations are because the parents split in either, divorce, separation, or they were never married in the first place. As much as I would like to, I will not address this matter in detail; it would take me to far off course. I do address it in great detail in my book “When Your House is Not a Home”. There was a time that the greatest cause for a single parent household would be the death of one of the parents. As you can see here, that is the least of all contributors.
What else do we know about this woman who seems to be carrying a disproportionate part of the burden?
She is Employed:
79.5% of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed
49.8% work full time, year round
29.7% work part-time or part-year
90% of custodial single fathers are gainfully employed
71.7% work full time, year round
18.4% work part-time or part-year
She and Her Children Do Not Live in Poverty:
27% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty
12.9% of custodial single fathers and their children live in poverty
She Does Not Receive Public Assistance:
Among custodial single mothers:
22% receive Medicaid
23.5% receive food stamps
12% receive some form of public housing or rent subsidy
5% receive receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
She is 40 Years Old or Older:
39.1% of custodial single mothers are 40 years old or older
She is Raising One Child:
54% of custodial mothers are raising one child from the absent parent
46% have two or more children living with them
United States. Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. By Timothy S. Grall. Census, 2009. 26 Feb. 2010 [http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf].
First, let me take my hat off to this woman, because despite the odds being stacked against her, she has fared quite well, at least from a secular perspective. She has persevered and progressed and she has remained faithful to her children. As far as she is concerned, I have great respect for her determination and resolve.
I remember a situation as a youth in which I was at a friend’s house and his mother was crying profusely because his father had left her for another woman. This was not an uncommon thing I am sad to say, so no one that I grew up with will know who I am speaking of. What stood out about this situation was my friend, who was no more than 10 or 11 years old at the time, attempting to console his mother. The words “Mama Don’t Cry” continue to sound off in my mind some 30 years later. A young boy who is not yet a man attempting to rectify a situation he did not create and just by the gravity & force of the situation would almost certainly perpetrate the very same crime on another woman.
When I look at the situation from a mature and educated mindset, I see the inner workings of the enemy. I can see Satan emoting because there is one more home destroyed and rendered dysfunctional. I can see the selfishness that was the source of the negative action perpetrated at that time. More importantly I understand the gravity and the long term implication of such inexcusable behavior. Lives were eternally altered. Society was impacted as yet one more dysfunctional and crippled home was added to the lot.
Here she is, this woman of fortitude and determination. She took the best shot that the enemy could throw at her and she pressed forward. At first glance one might say that the woman simply adapted to her new environment and has totally acclimated to her new role. I do not concur. The woman has accomplished much in the way of advancement and success; however, just as the man has left a void for her to fill, her moving into that void left a void yet still.
The problem is when a woman takes on the responsibility that the man was intended to carry it creates an imbalance socially, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. There is a particular design in God’s plan for mankind. God designed male and female.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27 AMP)
When God designed and created male and female, each were designed with a particular purpose in mind. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically men and women differ. Their uniqueness and distinction from one another are not without precise purpose. Men were created to protect and provide and women to nurture. Each has a particular function in which they are naturally equipped to perform. When a woman is forced out of what is natural for her the system through which we are to function becomes imbalanced and that imbalance slowly creates a shift in direction and productivity. Whenever you take anything and use it contrary to its design, two things happen: First, it does not function optimally in that function it was not designed to do. It may very well get the job done, but nowhere as efficiently as the tool that was designed for that specific task. Second, it no longer functions optimally in what it was designed to do, because it has been altered by misuse.
The single mother has done an outstanding job in attempting to hold things together; the problem is that her apparent success has come at a price. In so many cases the women has become bitter and callused toward men and many times life in general. Because she has had to be the nurturer and the disciplinarian, her ability to nurture has dissipated. Her areas of strength are no longer prevalent because she has not the time to master them. She is spread too thin on too many fronts.
She has also become extremely career minded. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way saying that a woman can’t have a career, but I am saying that when a career affects her biblical role and her children and society as a whole suffers from it, it has become a problem.
One the greatest problems that has risen from the pits of this horrible mess I have dubbed IFS is the “I Don’t Need A Man Syndrome”. This is a phenomenon that is growing almost exponentially. Women have become disenfranchised with men and they have decided that they can do this thing all by themselves. I’m not talking about women living single in the traditional sense. I’m talking about women who have decided to purposely create single family homes with no intention of being with the father. In some cases they are using sperm banks and have no idea who the father is. Because secular philosophies and paradigms run rampant through the corridors of Christianity, it is easy to see how even Christian women find this to be an acceptable practice. The problem is that it does not fit the Biblical model for family life and it does not take into consideration the fact that there are certain functions that the woman was simply not designed to perform.
We are witnessing the unraveling of the moral fiber of this country at a rate that is mind boggling. Some will say that I am simply left behind in time. For those that feel that way, I would like to remind you that cultural metamorphosis and progression does not in any way negate or transcend God’s design and plan for mankind. The family is the nucleus of the nation and when its true design is spurned by enough people you will find anarchy, moral decay, and pure antinomianism. The family has to be restored to its true design and purpose. This begins with men reclaiming what they have to this point abdicated, their God ordained roles as leader, providers and coverers. We as men have gone so long out of position that this will not be an easy task. We have walked in the arena of irresponsibility with virtually no accountability so long that some will literally have to be dragged back kicking and screaming.
With the same emphasis, women will have to relinquish some of the territory they have claimed over this period of anarchy. They will have to assume their God ordained roles as well. This will not be easy especially; reason being that there is no trust. When men vacated their roles and positions they left scarred, hurt and disappointed women in their wake. These women have experienced nothing but excuses and total disregard for so long that trust will have to be earned. Men will have to slowly work back into their roles. The tendency will be to power their way back in, but that will not prove effective. This can only be accomplished through the workings of the Holy Spirit. When the Christian nucleus of the nation begins to walk in complete surrender to the Holy Spirit we will see awesome results. We will begin to see the mending of broken hearts and the restoration of the family as God intended. There is no other way.
The question now is: Where do we go from here. We have established the fact that we have made quite a mess of things. We have faltered in an assignment and placed ourselves out of the will of God. Subsequently, we have suffered the repercussion of our waywardness. We find ourselves in a situation where it seems that all hope is lost. As we glance into the heart of the matter all we see is destruction, hurt, distrust, and bitterness. We see a world that has lost its way and doesn’t seem to have a clue of how to right the ship. Yet, I am here to tell you that there is hope. We belong to a God that is capable and faithful. He is not only able to reverse this mess we have placed ourselves in, but he is willing.
Failure among God’s people is not a new concept. David failed, Elijah failed, Moses failed, All twelve of the disciples failed, Jonah failed and I could go on. The evidence of the failure of God’s people is overwhelming; however, just as equally overwhelming is the evidence that God is in the restoration business. As we progress through the Word of God, we see that even when God’s people are disobedient and find themselves in the product of their disobedience, God hears their cries of repentance and performs the unquestionable act of restoration. Yet in seeking this restoration we must gain a true understanding of what restoration is and what it requires.
“Restoration is more than mending broken hearts and bringing closure to sad chapters in life; it is refusing to surrender any of heaven’s own to hell’s work; it is redeploying wounded soldiers (restored) into constructive service for the glory of GOD. While certain area’s of service may be forfeited, depending upon the nature of the sin committed, we should remember that GOD controls the future and even HIS second best is usually pretty good.”Author Unknown
Restoration is not simply letting go and getting back that which was lost. It is a process that calls for sacrifice and commitment. We as soldiers cannot be satisfied with even one casualty. We cannot be content to sit idly by while the war rages before us. Restoration includes recovering from your wounds and getting back on the battlefield where you are needed. Restoration is assuming the task you were designed for no matter how late it the game.
Restoration begins with a veracious assessment of where we are in our walk and an acknowledgement of where we have failed; a searching out of God in all that we are and do. There is no greater example of that than David’s prayer to God after his sin with Beersheba which leads to him having her husband Uriah killed. Listen to what David says.
HAVE MERCY upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin!
3For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me.
4Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment.
5Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother w
as sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful].
6Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.
7Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean [ceremonially]; wash me, and I shall [in reality] be whiter than snow.
8Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness (Your rightness and Your justice).
15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16For You delight not in sacrifice, or else would I give it; You find no pleasure in burnt offering.
17My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.
18Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19Then will You delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, justice, and right, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then bullocks will be offered upon Your altar. (Psalm 51:1-19 AMP)
David acknowledges his sin. He does not make excuses for it. He does not attempt to rationalize it away. He does not use the wayward movement of others as justification. He simply mans up and says Lord I blew it; please forgive me and wash away the guilt so that I can continue on in this fight. This is what we have to do. We have to acknowledge that we have missed the mark and fell short of our purpose. We must stand before God and give an account and trust that in His grace he will fix what we can’t.
Then we must repent. This means turn away from the sinful behavior to walk in the manner we have been called to walk. To expect God to provide complete restoration while we are still displaying behavior that will only bring more destruction is simply foolish. There has to be a changing of our actions which begins with the transforming of our minds (Roman 12:1-2).
There must be restitution. Whenever it is possible we must make amends for the damage we have done. This does not mean that we place ourselves on the hook with an unforgiving person that has only the intentions of vengeance. We are never called to mortgage our future in order to pay for our past. Christ covered that for us on Calvary. We are, however, to make an honest attempt to make amends.
Lastly, we should begin to walk in the spirit of restoration. We should live our lives as if we have already been restored. This calls for preemptive praise. This is praise that takes place before the manifestation and keeps the enemy at bay while we wait on the Lord to perform his marvelous work.
For every woman out there that is raising a child on your own, to every woman that is bearing the scars of an abusive relationship (emotionally or physically), to every woman that has been cheated out of their innocence, I personally stand in the gap for the man that caused you your heartache and declare at this moment: this is your year of restoration. This is your year of fulfillment and joy. This is your year of coming out. You are coming out of the darkness of abandonment. You are coming out of the pit of loneliness. You are coming out of the valley of despair. Yes this is your year. Let go of the pain and bitterness so that you can receive what God has prepared for you. I have one last thing to say to each you as you read this:
MAMA DON’T CRY!
Bishop Rick Wallace
The Invisible Father: Reversing the Curse of a Fatherless Generation