The Present but Absent Father

It’s hard work being a provider to your family! It comes at a great cost at times which leaves you working while your family misses you as they stare at your empty seat at the dinner table.

20120612-225729.jpg Maybe you have even caught yourself getting home early only to find your mind still focused on the office or business. You daydream through ways to fix an issue at work while snapping and being short to your wife and children. You continually stare at your smart phone, and check your email as though you are going to miss a life and death message. Your children are calling, “daddy! daddy! daddy!”, and you don’t even acknowledge their presence.

What has happened to you daddy? How did it ever come to this? It’s as though your electronics and work have immobilized your kindness, caring, and compassionate qualities. The bigger issue is that you have no idea how to restore the qualities you are missing.

What are some ideas that you can share to this present but absent father? I encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas on this common and pressing topic.


It has been an incredible week in Orlando as we promoted my book “Marriage Triage“. It as given me time to compare and take notes from some of the most gifted authors in the Christian community through the use of spotlight promotions and exclusive book signings. Authors such as Lysa TerkHeurst, and Oxford professors such as OS Guinness were in attendance. I even got to be around Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, and actors such as Roma Downey, and Corbin Bernsen. My kids favorite song in the world is “My God’s Not Dead”, and I had a chance to see the Newsboys live at a small scale concert just for show attendees.

All of this adds up to “bucket list” material, and yet I would constantly catch myself staring into nothingness and wishing for something so simple, and so elementary. Even at the moment that I am writing this article I am 30,000 feet in the sky surrounded by beautiful cloud formations and landscapes that just scream of the greatness of God, and I cannot focus for more than a moment from this feeling of longing that comes over me. It’s the very thing that I can be critical with others over if I am not careful, almost shaming them for not wanting to get out of their comfort zone. What one thing could distract me at such moments when I am away from home, and in the presence of famous people and unlimited opportunities? The answer is that I am homesick.


I love my wife April, and our children, Savannah and Noah. As busy as I may be, it is my desire to spend time with them and be there for all their special life events. I get frustrated that I cannot spend more unfettered time at home and I dream of my family being able to travel and enjoy these life happenings with me. I don’t want to miss a single moment of their life, and yet my words don’t always match my actions. Even as a Christian marriage and family author I sometimes struggle with spending time with family even when I am in their very presence. Distractions such as electronics, Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media can interfere and begin to take hold of precious moments they deserve.

Homesick for God

In our Christian walk, how many times do we get that homesick feeling to be in God’s presence? I know what some may say in the form of hollow cliches, but at the heart of your relationship with Christ, what are your actions showing? Are you paying lip-service to what should be an overriding need in every part of your life. Let’s face it! Jesus Christ is the only sole love of your life who will never look at you one day and say, “You are just too needy!” Jesus desires to have our craving and neediness because it points to a commitment you made to Him when you surrendered your life to Christ.

Now. Back to the times you feel homesick. The next time you are at a great and wonderful, “once in a lifetime”, “may never have another chance”, location or event I want you to do something. I want you to intentionally pause and begin to think about all that Christ has done for you, and how worthy He is of your life. Pray that God would give you a longing to be in God’s presence that would pre-occupy you even in those bucket list moments. Let it then cascade to your family and all the things that should be a priority in your life.

May God give us all the attitude of the Apostle Paul when he said,

But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again. (Philippians 1:23-26 ASV)