Why I Always Say Goodnight

A little less than a week ago, my 16 year old daughter, Abigail was in a car accident. She left the road, flipped her car twice and was extremely fortunate not to be seriously injured. She walked away with a few scratches and a chipped tooth.

If you’re a parent, you know the anxiety that comes with letting your kids go and wander into the world.

Abigail’s accident was terrible. The accident was scary. It happened on the same road where my mother died eight years ago. When a bystander called to tell me, my heart sank so low that I couldn’t breathe.

When she left the road, the car went airborne briefly then ran into a fence. Two posts from board2that fence blasted their way into the driver’s side of the car. One of them missed her by inches. As you can see by the picture, the fence post has a piece of her shirt on it. Another inch to the right and the circumstances of this week would have been very different.

The other fence post, according to the Sheriff, went into the windshield, braced its way between the floor and the roof in the milliseconds before the car flipped and actually kept the car from crushing. Thank God for that fence post. Thank God for His mercy.

I mostly write here about fallen pastors and churches and the impact of sin. I try to be as transparent as possible, but in doing so, I don’t often share much about my daily life. But I want to today.

When I chose to commit adultery six years ago and divorced my wife at the time, I put a lot of people in a bad situation, including my kids. But they were resilient. They were 6 and 9 at the time. As I shared in my book, they were the first ones to forgive me of my awful transgression.

After I told them why I had to leave home and that I would need their forgiveness someday, it was Abigail who said, “Of course we forgive you, you’re our daddy!

Friends, one of the consequences of adultery is the separation from your family. I’m happy to tell you that my children live with me now, but that wasn’t always the case. I went through years of separation from them because of my sin. I chose sin over my kids and it was difficult.

But one thing I always did was call them every day and tell them goodnight and that I loved them.

I’ve always worked two jobs. I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me or if it’s an income issue, but that’s just what I do. Regardless of where I am, what time zone I’m in or what I’m doing, I always make time to call my kids and tell them I love them and to tell them goodnight.

I had a college roommate die in a car accident. My mother died in a car accident. I’ve learned that we don’t have a promise of tomorrow. We like to think that the time we have is going to keep on forever, but we don’t know that.

Whether it’s your mom, dad, wife, husband, kids or other family member, please don’t let a single day pass without telling them you love them.

In my job as a paralegal, I see people having issues with their family on a daily basis. People argue and fight over some of the dumbest things. Things that aren’t eternal. Things that don’t last in this world.

My beautiful daughter, Abigail

I always tell all three of my girls, “There’s nothing in this world that could make me stop loving you.” I hope you can say that about any family member.

Sure, we get frustrated and upset with decisions people make. I spent most of my life angry with my father. We had just started a path of reconciliation before he died in an accident as well.

Over the past six years in this ministry, I’ve heard fallen pastors tell me how their children won’t speak to them because of the sin they committed. I’ve seen churches lash out at their pastors and banish them, never to forgive them. In life, I’ve seen families split over some of the most ridiculous and petty disagreements.

Please don’t let that be you. Hug your loved ones. Tell them every chance you get that you love them. Listen, love is the greatest thing in the world. It conquers all. Christ showed us that. If our love is great, it can overcome the worst feelings or circumstance.

Tomorrow is not a promise. For any of us. Love who God has placed in your life and love them well.


Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you. I have counseled over 500 pastors, church leaders, denomination leaders, pastor’s wives, “other women,” and more in the past six years. I will not judge you and I will keep all your information completely confidential.

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