Pastor and former NFL player Ed Tandy McGlasson offers advice on finding healing from the emotional and psychological wounds you may have suffered as a child from your father. (Part 2 of 2)
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Ed McGlasson: I'm walkin' back to the dorm, and I'm cryin', and God is, you know, after my heart. 'Cause I never experienced forgiveness. And I also never experienced the love of God before. Everything I got was because of what I did and performed, but I never got to experience how God loved me.
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John Fuller: Well, that's Ed Tandy McGlasson sharing very candidly last time on our radio broadcast about the wounds that he suffered, the emotional wounds that he suffered from and struggled with for many, many years. And ultimately, it ends with hope. It's a story of hope on today's "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller and we're so glad to have you listening today.
Jim Daly: Last time, John, we talked at a very heart level about the scar that exists in the hearts of many, many men and women, boys and girls, where dad doesn't exist or if he did, he didn't provide kind of the godly love that a child needs, and it leaves a scar. I mean, we are tryin' to figure out who we are so often because dad never told us who we are or he gave us a false hope in something that was frivolous—performance, whatever it may have been.
And we continue in our lives to try to meet that expectation. I've met so many people, again, men and women, who are trying to meet the expectation of their father or stepfather, whatever it might be. And we talked with our guest last time about that and how it impacted his life and eventually prepared the ground for the Lord to be presented to him, and He accepted Christ.
If you didn't hear it last time, pick it up. Go to the website. Get the download. Do what you need to do to hear that, because I felt it was a very powerful and emotional explanation of what it means to be in relationship with Jesus Christ.
Today, we're gonna pick it up and talk about how God begins to shape you and mold you in His ways, and that has a pain of its own. But let's start with welcoming back Ed McGlasson. Good to see you.
Ed: Hey, great to be here again, guys.
Jim: Now we joked last time, I mean, about your football experience and it's fun. I mean—
Ed: Oh yeah.
Jim: --you were driven in that direction. You talked about that last time with your stepdad as a little boy, runnin' five miles every morning before school started—
Jim:--with ankle weights on, because he thought you could be a football player.
Jim: And at one point, you were bench pressing 605 pounds. I mean, that—
Ed: Yeah, that was--
Jim: --most guys would say, what? You got a number wrong there, 605!
Ed: --yeah, 6-O-5, you know.
Jim: That's crazy.
Ed: It was.
Jim: That's like half a Volkswagen.
Ed: Well, I sort of cheated in the back room. No one had ever lifted that much weight at that time in NFL history and so, I was in the back room. I had just read this Scripture about Samson and they kept asking him, "What is the secret of your strength?" Now wait a minute. You don't ask somebody who looks like Arnold in his heyday, what's the secret of your strength? You ask Barney Fife, who can't find his bullets. (Laughter)
And so, I figured I think Samson was more like Barney, okay. And so, I said, "Lord, if You'll just anoint me, just with the same Holy Spirit you put on Samson, I'll glorify You." And we had, you know, NBC there and all the cameras and went out there and had a FCA T-shirt on.
Jim: Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Ed: Grabbed it and went down, paused, put it [on] and I mean to tell you. I don't even remember the lift. It was the Lord. And then I jumped off the bench in the camera and went, "Jesus!" You know, and they're like, not sure how to produce that out now (Laughter), because it's almost part of the lift.
Jim: That was the declaration you promised Him.
Ed: Oh, so, I'd promised him, you know. And so, and you know, even all those moments of, you know, doin' stuff, you still don't arrive--
Ed: --'cause your scoreboard's still there.
Jim: So, for those that didn't hear last time. You're in college. You rip your knee up. A pastor comes to you that night in your dorm room and says, "What you need is Jesus."
Jim: And you said yes. He prayed over your knee. The next day you go in for surgery and the doctor says, "Wait a minute; your ligaments are healed." Now let's pick up the story there and how that journey begins to progress. You gotta be goin', oh, my goodness, who is this God?
Ed: Well, I have no grid, right?
Jim: (Laughing) Right.
Ed: See, I wasn't raised in the church. I mean, I loved The Ten Commandments as a movie as a kid. And it was because God was cool and Moses seemed to be like this cool dude. We know in Scripture he was a stutterer, so—
Jim: Right, he wasn't CharltonHeston.
Ed: --yeah, he was stam[mering] and just … see … the … the … the glory. Aaron! You know, so (Laughter) I mean, Moses struggled, right? God came in and empowered him. And so, I was so excited. I ended up getting in my car, drivin' over to Bill's house, 'cause Bill didn't know I'd been healed.
Jim: This is that pastor.
Ed: This is a pastor. And so, I walk in, knock on the door. "Hey, Bill. Guess what?" I go. He said, "What?" I said, "I got healed." He goes, "What are you doin' here, Ed." I go, "My knee's healed. You prayed for it." "Donna, Donna"--his wife--"come over here," right and "Eddy's healed". I mean, we were just excited. I go, "Now what do I do?"
Jim: So, they were as shocked as you were.
Ed: They were as shocked as I was. He goes, "Well, go into the quad at the university and lead someone to Christ." I went, "Okay. I don't have a Bible. What do I do?" He goes, "Well, take Bill Bright's book[let], the "Four Spiritual Laws" and go read it."
So, I was a good soldier. I'm a football player. Coach says, "Run a mile," I run a mile. So, I walk into the quad. There's a Hardy's restaurant and there's a really pretty girl from my physics class. And I walked over to her and I said, "Hey, have you heard of the 'Four Spiritual Laws?'" She's studying physics. She goes, "No, what are those?"
I figure that's my open door. I read this book[let]. I am so nervous that if she asks me a single thing, I'm just completely stumped. I am learning. I have not even read this yet. I am learning about the Gospel, reading Bill Bright's book[let].
Jim: As you're leading someone to the Lord. (Chuckling)
Ed: To Christ, seriously. And I get to the end and it says, "Dear Jesus" and I hear, "Dear Jesus" and I look up and she's weeping. And I went, oh, my gosh. "Come into my heart," you know and I'm praying the prayer with her and she's cryin' and I got so excited, I jumped up and went, "Cool!" And I ran to the phone to call Bill.
So, I said, "Bill." "Eddie, what's up?" "I got one." "What'd you get?" "A girl," "No, no, no, you're not supposed to be getting' a girl right now." I said, "No, no, the Jesus thing, you know, the 'Four Spiritual Laws.'" "You led someone to Christ?" I said, "Well, you told me to." (Laughter) "I thought that was my job as a Christian." (Laughter) And so, that year, I had 125 kids—
Ed: --I read that to, they gave their life to Christ.
Jim: Why did you have such great success in doing that?
Ed: 'Cause I thought I was supposed to.
Jim: So, you just went out and did it.
Ed: Yeah, I mean.
Jim: And people were open.
Ed: Yeah, I didn't go to Evangelism 101 class and say, okay, here's all the ways you talk to people. I was so excited about what Jesus did for me. And so, [I] went there, ended up being drafted in the National Football League. Got married, started havin' kids. And then I told you earlier in the last show, I was faced by the fact that I didn't know how to be a father.
Ed: I'm kinda failing as a dad. I'm really struggling. My wife and I are struggling, because I can't stop making it about me.
Jim: And at this point, you're out of the NFL?
Ed: No, I'm still playin'.
Ed: I'm still playin' in the NFL. Then I had some opportunities. I ended up leaving the NFL and you know, married now, raising my kids, struggling, traveling, preaching, doing evangelistic crusades. And so, I still have the same taskmaster in my heart. Right, I gotta perform to get God to really love me.
And it came from a moment in a football game, my senior year in college. I was Most Valuable Player on my football team and we crushed this team and my stepdad runs out, has my jersey on and he said, "You know, son, if you would've got that one block, you would've scored one more touchdown."
Jim: Oh, my goodness.
Ed: Our score was like 76 to somethin'.
Ed: We crushed them, right. And I remember at that moment, that's where I got my name from my stepdad. You missed it by that much.
Jim: That's what you think of yourself.
Ed: It didn't matter what I did and so, I carried that. And so, I drove my kids and didn't mean to. I loved them to death, but it was always conversation about performance. And so, I am really struggling as a dad and my wife tells me that our youth leader in our church—I was 40-years-old—is sick and I needed to go, you know, step in. So, I grabbed my Bible``, got in a car, and I'm thinkin', what am I gonna teach 'em?" So, I'm gonna teach 'em about Peter walkin' on the water when he got out of the boat.
Well, I'm not putting two and two together. Remember, I told you on the last show that the night before my father crashed his airplane in Monterey Bay, he circled the single word in a story. It was in that story of Jesus walking on the water.
And the story goes as Peter sees him walking. He says, "Command me to walk on the water with you, if You're really Jesus." And Jesus said, "Come." And my dad a 28-years-old the night before he died, he circled that word in his Bible with a red pen.
Ed: And I'm reading that to these kids and when I read that word "Come," all I can tell you , in that moment was the Father I always wanted, visited this broken orphan kid. 'Cause you know, Jesus made a promise in John. He said, "I won't leave you as orphans."
And the second thing He said to me was, "And that's what I've called your life for, to call people to come to Me." And then I heard these words and it just so rocked me. "From this moment on, your name is no longer about what you do for a livin'. You're not longer a football player or a pastor, but you're My beloved son." Those same words that rang over Jesus in that river, rang over me, and can tell you, and my wife, if she was sitting here, would say to you, I became a man that day for the first time.
Jim: Think of that.
Ed: I did manly things, but I had a boy heart. And I meet guys all the time who love their kids, but because they're in search of identity, they're tryin' to get it in their job, or their hobby, or their sports team, or somewhere else. And they got their kids around them who feel completely invisible, in their life. And somethin' happened in me, and I started dating my wife, for her sake.
And I started dating my daughters and taking them out and blessing them and spending time with my son. Something changed fundamentally. There was always there in the Gospel the adoption piece, where we … and this was what this book was about, we get to let our dad off the hook for who we are and we can get everything we need from the Father.
Jim: How do you do that, though? There [are] people, Ed, that have struggled to do that for years.
Jim: So, you know, people oftentimes will ask me, how did you not become bitter? How did you not hold onto those bad feelings, because of what happened to you? It's a hard question to answer, other than, you know, Jesus set me free--
Jim: --which you and I understand and many of our listeners are gonna understand. But speak to that person that doesn't quite connect the dots and says, "I don't get that. I still have that hole in my heart, and I still have bitterness in my heart for the way he treated me, or what he said to me or the fact I never felt love from him. How does a person let that go?
Ed: You know, for me, it happened at the moment where I let God become my dad. And it happened in front of those kids the first time, where I didn't know that it was a possibility for me to be somebody's son, without trying to earn it by my performance.
And I mean, I got this download of this place where Jesus talks about. You know, "Father, I pray for them, that they might be in the same," John 17, "might be in the same place where I am, and having seen My glory," and that they would be able to see My glory. And He talks about this sweet spot that He was in. And then He describes the glory of God, not this pixie dust. It's the eternal love that You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
See, when we get Christ, we get the Trinity in our story. We get the Father who can rename every false name and broken family, and come in and father us in a way that we've longed for. And we need it, I mean, when Jesus said, you know, I won't leave you as orphans, I mean, He's talkin' to a room filled with people that all had fathers.
So, He's talkin' about an orphanage in the Spirit that we're born into, where false names come from the father of lies, the devil, who's the headmaster, who's trying to name us by our brokenness. And if he can keep us there, we'll never discover what it's like to be a son, like Galatians talked about.
Jim: You know, Ed, the thing, though, and I so appreciate that, I think you're right. It's that freedom, and it is a moment where you acknowledge it, and it becomes part of who you are in Christ.
Jim: But again, there are so many people that struggle believing that who they are deep down inside could never be forgiven, could never be accepted, that God surely can't love me like that, because—
Ed: That's right.
Jim: --of who I am. How do they say okay? Okay, I'm startin' to get a picture there.
Jim: What is that next step? Speak to that person right now, that is struggling, the 30-something, the 50-something, who's never accepted the fact that in Christ, they are free.
Ed: I had a 95-year-old farmer come to one of my [events]--
Jim: There you go.
Ed: ----95-years-old. [His] father never told him one time he loved him. All he got was a work ethic. He was an elder in a church for 30 years, walks forward, sobbing uncontrollably at our event. He said, "My dad never told me he loved me. Would you pray for me to be blessed by the Father?"
Jim: Wow, 95.
Ed: Ninety-five-years-old. We laid hands on him. He sobbed like a little boy, 'cause see, part of the way this gets out, God's design is that we as men, carry this in us to the world who doesn't have it, and we give it away, for the highest use of a man is not to climb a mountain or win a Super Bowl. The highest use of a man is to be a father, where we father our kids, and then we become spiritual fathers.
You know, Focus on the Family really, one of the incredible things you do is, that you're raising up just constantly the power, the way a family can be if it's in the order.
And so, part of that is, there's impartation that comes through moments of the Bible and it really comes at the hands of many times, a guy, a mentor in your life who stands in that place where a dad was, and says, "Let me tell you, you lack nothing. And from this moment on, I call you out. You're no longer named by the pain of your story, but by the blessing of the Father."
I have a group of daughters that God's added to me. They're some of the most extraordinary women I've met in America. They're 13 to 23. They all got pregnant in high school. They live in Southern California, with a ministry called Fristers, who we gets these girls together and we created … they created a space and I'm sorta like the evangelist guy who comes in.
And last year I wrote a program about how to father a girl with no dad, violent background, who sees nothing in her life, into a woman that's taken seriously. And I meet with these girls and the first week is, okay, let's see if you're real. Second week is, yeah, I'm hearin' ya. I took a step toward Jesus.
[The] third week, "Will you be my father?" See, the answer for our world is spiritual fathers. The ache of our world is Lamentations 5:3, "Orphans we are, not a father in sight. And our mothers are no better than widows."
It's our answer to reach Muslim people, 'cause where's a loving present dad in a Muslim faith? It's an answer in our country right now. Would we have a Founding Father raise up who speaks out of the wealth of what God has given him? Not for a political moment.
Jim: Yeah, you know, Ed, I think the bottom line is, how do we communicate that? Fathers feel inadequate.
Jim: And that's one of our big issues. Moms see it. Wives see it. And it's so critical as you've illustrated. It's so critical for your children to know that you are in their corner. Someone once said to me, "Go home tonight and say to your children, 'You're good enough.'"
Jim: And I remember doing that with Trent and Troy, and I didn't think it would register. I think they were only probably like 7 and 9. And I went home, and I tucked them into bed that night, and I remember Trent was on the top bunk, the oldest, 'cause—
Jim: --he's the oldest (Chuckling). And I'm lookin' him eyeball to eyeball, and I said, "Trent, I just want you to know, you're good enough." And the biggest smile broke out on his face. It kinda scared me, 'cause I didn't know. Man, it was like he got it. And he said, "Thanks, Dad." And I just remember thinkin', wow. The power of a few words, and what it means to a child's heart.
So, you 've gotta just, as a father, you keep doing those things to build in who they are in Christ, to counter those accusations that the enemy of our soul starts in at an early age, 3-, 4-years-old.
Ed: That's right.
Jim: They already know they're not measuring up. They're not good enough. They're caught lying or whatever it might be. And you have got to do so much to load into your child God's affirmation for them.
Ed: Right, 'cause here's the secret for me. I used to read the Bible as a Christian, till I met the Father for me. Now I read it as a son. And when you are a son as the man first, and you're somebody's son, and you're letting God really father you through the person of Christ that dwells in you, then you'll have all you need to get that family back.
It's never too late to be a great dad. It's like your words seem simple to you, but they were prophetic, because they raised the limitation of how they saw themselves.
Ed: When we write notes, you know, one of the things that I talk to dads about, when's the last time you told your daughters what you loved about 'em? And so, we would just go, well, you know, there's a lot of temptation out there. You know, daughters are, you know, if you have your daughter's heart, she won't give her gift away to a pretender. She won't. I mean, that's one of the things the Lord showed me being a dad, because I really struggled with my girls, not 'cause I didn't love 'em, but because I was tryin' to somehow get my name on this estrogen river, and I didn't know how to find it there. There was no fish for me to catch, right? It's like "help me."
And then when God began to show me that being a son, then I don't need to get my identity out of my wife. I need to just love her. I don't need to get it out of my daughters. I can just start dating them and speaking life into them.
And you know, after that moment at 40, I started this daddy date night with my daughters, alone, never together, 'cause there's the problem—
Jim: Yeah, right.
Ed: --these two daughters. And then I started spending time with my son, just saying, "I want you to know what I see in you, what I love about you." It's kinda like when you said that to your sons, it's kinda like going to a basketball court with no hoops. And when you affirm them, you show them how they can score.
But fathers, I mean, we have that ability to raise up the game of our daughters and our sons, so when they're in the world away from us, they're chooser comes from the influence of God in their life and not necessarily from culture.
Jim: Yeah, that's good stuff. Ed McGlasson, author of the book, The Father You've Always Wanted, I mean, these are good things for us to think about, especially as dads. And if your husband wasn't able to hear this, I would encourage you to get the download, get the CD. John, you'll have all that information, but these are the things that we need to be reminded of as men, and not to take this job, the most important job, as you said, Ed, being a dad, not to take it too lightly.
Ed: And see, there's a lot of guilt flyin' around about guys, even guys within this show. And I gotta tell you somethin'. It's never too late to be a great dad. I had a father write me not too long ago and said, "Would you ever call me?" And I called him on the phone. When I called him, he was weeping. His daughter of over 20-some years refused to ever talk to him. And he said, "I don't know what to do."
I said, "I'll tell you what. We're gonna pray together and I want you to write a letter and put this question in the very top, 'Help me understand how much I hurt you as a dad.'" He wrote that letter, sent it off. A week later I get a phone call. He's sobbing. She wants to meet me. She said she has a question to ask me.
So, he flies to Cincinnati. His ex was in Cincinnati. They met at a restaurant. He's there early. He said, he waited across the room and then he saw her come in. He thinks it's her. It's been 20-some years. And he walks in over to the table and she says, "Before you say anything, I got a question. Was I that ugly?"
I said, "Wow." Was I that ugly? And he goes, "What?" "Daddy, you never hugged me. You never loved me. You never told me what you loved about me. And I figured I was so ugly you divorced mom, and you really didn't want me."
And he just broke and he said, "No, baby, I was such a broken dad. I was addicted to pornography in my life, and I ruined the marriage, and I was so afraid I might somehow pollute you, that I stayed away from you, and I am so sorry. Will you forgive me?"
And this girl, you know, 30-some-year-old girl just jumps across the table and goes, "Daddy! Daddy! I've waited all my life for you." And then she looks at him, and he's speaking life into her. And she goes, "I have a gift for you. I've waited for all these years to give you this to you." And he goes, "What is it?" "Just come to my house."
And he goes to the house in a gravel road and walks up on the porch and he hears, "He's here." And two grandchildren that he hadn't known about run out. "Grandpa, Grandpa, Grandpa!"
Ed: And I think, you know, before the great and coming Day of the Lord, Malachi said, "I am gonna turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children."
Jim: Oh and Ed, man I feel your heart right there and I share it as a boy who didn't have a dad and now as a man who's trying to be a good dad. I hear what you're saying. Maybe you're living in that place right now. Maybe this program has touched your heart. If you're feeling that hole in your heart that Ed has described, call us. You will not surprise us. You won't take us off guard. No matter what you're doin' in your life right now, we are here for you.
And we have caring Christian counselors to talk with you and we have resources and tools to help you. And most of all, we want to talk to you about a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is the ground floor of what Ed has been expressing here. So, do it. Don't hold back. Don't say, "I'll do it tomorrow." Do it now.
And for those who are in a good place, can I lean on you to help us financially and to pray for us? Today people will call and they'll ask about a relationship with Jesus Christ or they'll ask us for tools and resources to help them get into a better place. That's why we're here together, but we need to hear from you. We need your help. And when you send a gift, for any amount, we'll send you a copy of Ed's book, The Father You've Always Wanted as our way of saying thank you for standing with us. And Ed, let me say, thank you again, for being here and sharing from your pain and your passion.
Ed: Ah, it's an honor.
John: Yeah, to donate to this ministry or to get Ed's book or a CD or download of this conversation, stop by www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And today when you give to Focus on the Family, your gift will be doubled because some generous friends of this ministry have offered a matching gift. And that's a limited time opportunity, so we'll encourage you to generously donate today. Again, 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. I'm John Fuller, inviting you back as we talk with Dr. Tim and Kathy Keller about the true meaning of marriage.
Dr. Tim Keller: They're so idealistic about what marriage oughta be, [to] solve everything, that they find fault in everybody, 'cause everybody does have a flaw and there is no perfect person out there.
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John: Dr. Tim and Kathy Keller join us next time on "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly, as we once again, help you thrive.
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