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Father’s Day: Single Dad Style

Father’s Day: Single Dad Style

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11 NKJV).

I can still remember my first Father’s Day. My daughter was a little more than a month old. It was the first time I ever saw her smile, and her mom and I were on our way to church to have her dedicated to the Lord. The service went great and there were lots of amenities to spoil us dads along the way. But somewhere between leaving church and hitting the driveway at her mom’s house things went south between her mother and I. Although I do not remember what exactly started the argument, all I remember is my daughter being carried off by her mom back into the house,  bawling her brains out as they disappeared from my sight.

Not exactly the way I wanted my first Father’s Day to end.

I remember leaving there so upset and confused, burning with anger towards her mom as I drove off.

“She’s ruined my first Father’s Day,” I said to myself, “I will never be able to get this back!”

All I wanted was to be a dad and be able to pour into my daughter more than I had ever received from my own parents. Now that moment was stolen from me. Obviously, my daughter’s mother and I were not on the best of terms. We were never married and it was a very intense situation. Even though we had just come from church, I was not a true believer in Jesus Christ at this point in my life. I did not yet have the foundation or wisdom I would need along the way to not only endue future trials, but to be a great dad and give my daughter my absolute best. Praise God that His plan had been written long before this ever happened, as I came to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior later on that winter.

This coming Father’s Day will be seven years since the events above occurred. Although I still experience many of the same trials that single parents face on a regular basis, I now have that foundation of Rock to stand on and enjoy not only this holiday with my daughter, but every single moment we get to be together.

Dads, no matter what type of circumstance you are facing this weekend, I am here to give you hope and encouragement of just how important and impacting you already are as Christian men in your children’s lives. You may have full or partial custody of your kids; or perhaps this is your first Father’s Day as a single father, due to a divorce or as a widower. You possibly have the entire weekend to spend with your son or daughter, or maybe you will not be able to see them at all for whatever reason. Regardless of your situation this coming Sunday (or any other day for that matter), you have several opportunities to fulfill your role as a godly father.

Pray for your children

The Bible is very clear as to a father’s authority over his children. We are their spiritual leaders (1 Thess 2:11-12) and they will model what they see and learn from us (Prov 13:1, 23:24, Eph 6:4). Use every opportunity you have to pray with and for your kids. Be authentic and transparent, allowing them to see the gospel being lived out in your life.

Cherish these times

Maria Edgeworth once said, "If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” Time is an incredible gift from God - one we often take for granted on a regular basis. Dads, we only get one shot to pour into our children in this life, don’t waste it. Yes, we may screw up majorly along the way, but always remember, it is not how you start out in life- but how you finish. Father’s Day is a wonderful reminder we get every year of just how special we are to our children.

Create a legacy built on Christ

Our faithfulness to the Lord now will continue on through the generations after we are gone (Deut 7:9). Take a self examination of where you truly stand in your relationship with Jesus by applying your life to God’s Word. If need be, make the necessary changes to align your heart with His and then model the same to your kids. It’s never too late to begin.

So what does all of this really have to do with Father’s Day? Simple: Yes, this is “our day” to relax, grill, golf, and to celebrate being a dad. However, it ultimately comes down to our significance and importance as a father and leading our kids in Christ. We don’t get a day off from this, and single dads are by no means exempt from God’s calling. Enjoy this weekend with your kids, dad. Just remember to keep our Father in the center and give Him the glory in your own life for the amazing gift of fatherhood!

Matt Haviland is the founder of "A Father’s Walk” single dad ministry and the author of the book, A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resources for Single Fathers. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, is the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Single Parenting Expo, and is a single dad to a beautiful little girl himself. For more information on the ministry, please visit  

Publication date: June 13, 2013