How can I reconnect with my children after divorcing their mother and abandoning them? I regret to say that I walked out on my wife and family several years ago. Since then, I've found the Lord and realized my mistake. Now I'd like to get back in touch with my kids, but they don't want anything to do with me. What should I do?
It's wonderful to hear that you've given your heart to Christ and put your life on a new footing. We want to encourage you to keep moving in that direction. You can strengthen your walk with God through prayer, serious study of the Scriptures, and regular involvement with a solid Bible-believing evangelical church. If you haven't yet found such a church, feel free to contact one of our counselors for practical help and guidance.
Where your children are concerned, it's vital that you proceed with caution. You need to be realistic. It's true that, in the spiritual realm, God has forgiven you in Jesus Christ. All your past mistakes have been taken away and removed from you as far as the east is from the west. Unfortunately, when it comes to human relationships, there's a very real sense in which you "reap what you sow."
There's a reason your kids don't want anything to do with you. You abandoned them. Now you're dealing with the fallout of your own irresponsibility and selfishness. Harsh as this sounds, it's the truth. At this point it's completely unrealistic to expect your children to welcome you back with open arms. Your interest in reestablishing a relationship with them is understandable and commendable. But you're going to have to earn the right to make that dream come true. This will require patience, humility, and a lot of time.
Before doing anything else, it might be worth your while to ask yourself some tough questions. What exactly is behind your desire to reconnect with your kids? Do you really have their best interests at heart? Or are you simply trying to get rid of your own feelings of guilt? Scripture says that there is a big difference between selfish guilt and "godly sorrow." The one produces only death. The other inspires genuine remorse and repentance and leads to reconciliation (see 2 Corinthians 7:10).
Your kids need time and space to reconnect with you. If you sincerely want what's best for them, you should make sure they get it. Let them move toward you at their own pace, which may be cautious and slow. Don't expect to start with personal visits or phone conversations. It would be much better to apologize and ask their forgiveness through letters or e-mail.
Let them know that you understand how much pain and anger they're feeling. Tell them that you will respect their wishes regarding reconciliation. If and when they decide that they're ready to get together with you, you'd be wise to arrange a meeting with the help of an experienced family therapist. Call our Counseling department for referrals to licensed professional in your area.