Though You May Stumble: My Rough Road to Fatherhood

“God cannot tempt to virtue as we do to vice. He wants us to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with our stumbles.”

~ C.S. Lewis

The quote above gives me incredible hope for all of us. C.S. Lewis is saying that God doesn’t tempt us to good, to a virtue; He doesn’t work that way. He just desires for us to simply walk. So much so that He removes His hand, allowing us to walk on our own will. Consequently, He even finds joy when we stumble—not in the stumble itself, but in our reach for Him when we do.

As you walk your road to a rich life, you’ll certainly stumble, but just keep walking. It is a rough road that few will have the will to travel, often seeming impassable. Still, keep walking; you will discover clarity to your purpose as faith becomes sight.

Just this morning I thought back to my past and my search for clarity. Ironically, in looking back through my journal, I stumbled upon something that brought me to my knees…

My road to fatherhood wasn’t a smooth path. It began as a trek through a dark, dense forest full of struggles. It was a battle.

The forest of life

The forest of life

Liz and I tried to start a family for two and a half years. Anyone who has encountered that struggle knows it is a monthly repeat of a movie that nobody wants to watch. You hope that maybe this time the painful, hopeless ending will change, but as the movie comes to a close, it doesn’t. Yet, your own hope and desire cause you to rewind and start over.

I’ve thought for the longest time that this part of my story, our story, was far from the richness I have come to know. However, along the way I’ve learned that every intricate part of our story is purposefully orchestrated to bring us to where we are and lead us to where we are going. The stumbles, the heartache, the pain are all part of our own unique journeys.

As we go along, we only see the obstacles and feel the pain in the immediate moments surrounding us. However, when we emerge and look back, we see that we’ve blazed a path through the forest that only we could have walked. This clarity only comes through our perseverance to continue walking.

I found two journal entries tucked away on pages I haven’t read since I’d written them. They were on back-to-back pages despite being two weeks apart, reminding me that I hadn’t written anything in between.

October 25th, 2009

I was reading John 21 of Peter’s reinstatement by Jesus. A huge affirmation that God has and is redeeming us. He’s not concerned about where we’ve been, He’s concerned about where we’re going.  

I sat down to breakfast this morning and noticed a small black boy sitting with a white man. I overheard the young boy call him dad. I recognized a love in that exchange that had escaped me until now.  

The boy wasn’t born of that father, but it didn’t matter. Regardless of our situation with not being able to have a child, I need to lose my pride. God please honor this as I press toward that goal.

Two weeks later…

November 11th, 2009

There is truth in scripture that radiates peace and I cannot allow myself to fall away.  

We have been heavily involved in fertility treatments this week and we have seen progressive growth in one of Liz’s eggs. I know now that God is in full control over the whole situation.  

It’s amazing and so far out of my reach that I simply have to trust it. There is nothing I can do beyond trust Him. Today I learned how small I really am and it made me very thankful.


Through God’s amazing handiwork, that egg I wrote of is now my four-year-old little boy, Matthew. Humorously, a set of identical twins soon followed.

My boys

My boys

In the middle of that experience, there was an active battle going on for my soul. That battle continues daily for all of us. The battle is won already, but we still have to walk the road, even stumbling sometimes. And it’s not the outcome of the road that brings me joy; it’s the fact that in the midst of that journey, someone was walking with me. I didn’t walk alone.

You aren’t alone either.

The road you walk will at times seem unfamiliar and likely painful.

Just keep walking, even when you stumble.


QUESTION: How are you learning from your stumbles?

CHALLENGE: Who, in your life, is stumbling and needs your hand?

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14 Responses to Though You May Stumble: My Rough Road to Fatherhood

  1. Debbie Sheneman October 17, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Loved this. God had a plan!

  2. Sharon Brooks October 18, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Adored like I’m the only one
    He bends over and kisses me
    with a love like no other.

    Never a more intimate love known
    than a heart inflamed by God,
    and now to you alone do I belong.

    But when least expected…
    I’m passed a cup of the most
    bitter of wines again and again.

    This greatest of loves is also
    the bearer of deep torment,
    unbridled agony, along with
    hope, sent a drop at a time.
    Thank you for giving me
    a heart that loves you.

    Left wondering where you’re
    beloved is hiding, as
    you’re heart, mind and body
    are slammed against the
    shore with each incoming
    wave, that what once was
    is hardly recognizable anymore.
    Hanging on by a thread.
    Will you remember me?

    Madness engulfs the one
    dropped off at the farthest
    curb, with no memory of how
    to return home.
    Not for the weak of heart, nor
    the strongest.

    Life becomes a very bad joke
    as you watch the once shiny
    diamond polished by Him
    return to the lump of coal.
    Pleas for help, cries of despair
    go unanswered. With each
    passing day my heart grows
    colder, you’re warmth fainter
    and I find life not worth living.

    I’ll never settle for less than
    all of you.
    You’re shown me too much,
    loved me too deeply; I cannot
    will not go back.
    I must have you all for my own.

    Waiting for you to bring me
    back to life…
    my beautiful Puppet Master.

    • Matt Ham October 18, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      I don’t believe that God created lifeless puppets – Genesis says he created and formed us then filled us with His image – he created us, full of life to radiate His glory – struggles and adversity draw us to this recognition – waiting is an active and hopeful pursuit of His fullness

      • Sharon Brooks October 18, 2013 at 9:16 am #

        I agree. The words were figuratively used. Recognizing He is what gives me life… brings me to life, was more the point. * heart*

        • Matt Ham October 18, 2013 at 9:28 am #

          Ok, I see! Very beautifully and deeply written! Thanks Sharon!


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