Not Becoming the Father I Hated...

I never realized that my relationship with my dad would have such a HUGE impact on my relationship with my Heavenly Father, my wife, and my children. It affects the way I love my wife, children and church family. So the scripture in Proverbs is very influential in children’s lives from birth. Little did I know, five kids and a wife later, at age 38 that would I be fighting one of the greatest battles of my life, all based on the way I was trained.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) 

Right or wrong, we train our children. How they are trained will determine how they respond to life’s challenges.


I recently realized the deep wounds I carry from childhood have never been properly medicated so they could heal.

So infection sets in, causing me to respond to life’s challenges in an unhealthy way, damaging my wife and children. I did not know how my unhealthy responses were related to my 'training' as a child. Only through much prayer and studying has God revealed to me how my sins affect my family.

My Biggest Fear: That my children, when they set sail in life, won't have an adult relationship with me.

My Goal: To change the legacy of the Willard family

As a father, my desire is to see my family reach their destination. With that in mind the destination is heaven. I must plan carefully in order for them to reach that destination. It starts with ME…not my dad, nor anyone else.

I can’t change people. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could. I want a relationship with my dad. I want to hear the words “I’M PROUD OF YOU,” but I have to come to a place of understanding that I may never here those words. I can change ME through God's Word...I just have to MAN UP and STEP UP.

As a child

Raised in the Willard home, I used to hear things like this: SHUT UP! SIT DOWN! WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO OUTSIDE! But what I really heard was: I don’t have time for you, you are not important to me, you are getting on my nerves, I don’t want to even acknowledge that you exist. Talk about setting a course for your kids... WOW! I truly never knew the affect those words would have on me at 38 years old... but they do!!!

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. ~Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) 

Little did my father (or I!!) know that he was speaking death into me, his son. As I approached my teenage years, quickly learning to get my dad to acknowledge me by getting into trouble, being disrespectful to my mother, saying things that I knew he didn’t want me to say. When I did these things my dad would give me attention! It was not the attention I really wanted, but at least he took the time to acknowledge that I was alive.

Radical Transformation...yet so much work yet to be done...

Fast forward to October 24, 2001, the day I gave my life to the Lord, as He delivered from drug and alcohol abuse. I experienced a radical transformation that day, and filled with the excitement, I shared with my parents, not long after they gave their lives to the Lord.

A few months later, when God called me to be a preacher, I was eager to share with my parents (always seeking approval from them, especially my dad). When I shared, I had no idea the response would echo through my mind to this day: "A PREACHER? YOU? THAT’S FUNNY, GOD WOULD NEVER CALL YOU!" Little did I know the way I would view God would be the way I seen my earthy dad.

Recently in a personal bible study, I began to feel guilty about not having that relationship with my dad, still longing to hear the words: I'M PROUD OF YOU, SON. I began to wrestle with the idea of calling him and just telling him: you have got to tell me you’re proud of me, dad.

We can’t expect a father to give what he doesn't have.

One of the goals I set for myself was to have a man of God in my life on a weekly basis; I need that to get the proper healing for my wounds. I sought out a godly man and we met last week.  I have counseled people but had never been in the other seat. I recommend it to every man: seek out a godly man to help you STEP UP. This man, my friend, through the Word, inspired me to the next steps of my journey! Next week, I'll share about the prodigal...

Men, you were not created to live life in isolation. You were not created to be walking wounded. Seek out a godly man (or men!) and STEP UP! Want more information on HOW? Email

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