19 | Ryan Shaughnessy: Learning to Become a Father from Our Heavenly Father


I’ve always had dreams of being a father, so when I found out we were pregnant a couple of years ago, I was beyond excited! I couldn’t wait to be a Dad. I had a picture in my head of what my relationship with my daughter would look like, expectations for myself, and I was so looking forward to realizing all that with her once she was born.  

The first three months after her birth were nothing like I imagined.

Fathering a newborn was completely different than what I thought it would be, and I quickly found myself struggling with thoughts of inadequacy. I felt helpless, alone, and like I had nothing to offer my daughter or my wife. Anger sprang up from nowhere, I hated being at home, and I dealt with my stress by eating constantly and gaining 15 pounds in three months.

Worst of all, no one seemed to identify with my struggle. Every time I told someone how I felt and what I was going through, their response was the same: “It will get better.” I knew they meant well, but all this did was reinforce the lies I was believing about my inadequacy.

Ultimately, I took my frustrations to Jesus: the only one who could understand me completely. I had to grow in my knowledge of God through prayer and reading Scripture, understanding the parallels of my own relationship with The Father, and constantly living out these truths within our small group. During our “Unshaken” series that October, I was challenged and encouraged by memorizing 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Equipped with this command, I was able to battle the lies I had come to believe as a husband and father. I now live out my role as a father and a husband daily, though not through my own strength. Only because of my Heavenly Father through me.