When father wasn’t much of a dad

Everywhere you look its all about Fathers, Dads, men who are celebrated for having offspring and the children who are grateful for all their love and sacrifice. But for you, Father’s Day isn’t so good. Father’s Day is for daughters who actually have Dads, not simply a man who fathered them.

Everywhere YOU look there’s broken pieces of your life.

Dad didn’t seem to care. Dad wasn’t there. Dad was too busy. Dad wasn’t good to mom. Dad didn’t work. Dad wasn’t faithful. Dad was cruel. Dad was an addict. Dad wasn’t even aware of your existence.

Dad used you.

Abused.

Tormented.

Left.

Abandoned.

Father’s Day and all those Hallmark cards seem to ram that pain right down your throat. You’d really, really like to stand in the aisle opening card after card, searching for just the right one that speaks of all he was to you and all that he helped you get through…

but they don’t really make the kind of cards with the message your wounds would like to express. When father didn’t act much like the dad you longed for the message you might like to send is actually a plea, meant to melt the heart of stone.

If only you knew what that did to me!

At least you’d like to think that your tears and your heartbreak would finally cause the man that was supposed to show you what love looked like crumble into a broken heap on the floor. You’d like to think you’d hear words that sounded like “I’m sorry.” You’d like to think there would be remorse and regret.

You so wanted that daddy, that protector, that man you love to honor…

 

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Why did your dad have to be that way? Why couldn’t you have known the tenderness of a father who holds his daughter and takes her out on that first date to show her how a man should treat her? Why couldn’t you have known what it was to have friends over and not be embarrassed by his words or his actions? Why did you have to know fear and trembling rather than security and a quiet and calm home? Why does it seem he didn’t care and why did he always forget?

The wounds of an absent, struggling or harsh (even cruel) father leave scars that really never go away. They lighten and lessen. Others can’t always see them, but you feel the deep trench in your soul that they have left.

No. He should never have treated you that way. No. He should never have done that, said those words, left your mom and been so downright selfish.

But the sad reality is we live in a world that is fallen, tainted, bleak and blackened by sin. And the sad reality is …some men fail and that failing can lead to a cycle of failing and generation upon generation will be effected. You can’t choose your family. You can’t choose your father. You can’t choose if you have a dad who deposits a sense of protection over you or a dad you need to be protected from. Your biological father might not have even choose you at all…you don’t even know who he is…but I assure you, there is a Father in heaven who loves you and that love is not only affirming, it is perfect.

It might seem as if you cannot identify with a father image at all without feeling anything but sadness or even disgust. After-all, for all you know, every father is a liar, cheat and no-show. From the get-go, your experience with men has been one of great frustration and shame. So, how could you ever see a God as a Father?

For starters, He made you. He created you. Yes, it was your father’s sperm that met the egg of your mom, but it was God who designed you. It was God who knew of you before the ground work of the earth was laid out. He knew what color he wanted your hair to be, your eyes. He knew how tall – to the exact inch He wanted you to be. He wove you together with strengths and weaknesses and talents and inclinations. He even help to form your personality. You are unique not because a man and woman got together but because God designed you. After you, there will never and has never been anyone like you.

He’s watched you. Never, ever, ever has there been anything you’ve gone through or suffered through that God hasn’t seen. He wasn’t ignoring you. He wasn’t watching, sitting there idly, enjoying your grief. Every single tear you have cried. Every single mistake you have made, every word out of your mouth…you get the idea…everything about you…good, bad, indifferent…He knows. And He isn’t holding any of it against in you the way of His love. Those things – sin – that stand between you and Him, He’s made a way for that to be taken care of too.

He cares about your life and the things that you care about. You craved a father who would fix things for you (not just your bike or your car)…you craved a father who would mend your heart, who would listen to you, stroke your hair, kiss your forehead, tuck you in at night…hear your heart. God not only hears your heart, He formed it.

He wants to fix things in your life but mostly, He wants to fix you. You aren’t broken…a bad creation in need of remodeling, you are in need of having your BROKEN-NESS fixed.

You don’t have to pretty yourself up to come to Him. He already knows every flaw about you – and He loves you…just the way you are.

He sees the mess in your life. He sees your depression. He sees the flashbacks, the nightmares, the shame, the secrets, the incredible deep longing to belong to some man who thinks you are worth fighting for…

and He has fought for you.

He gave Himself for you.

Even if a man would give his life for you, he could not do what God has done. He could not redeem you. He might sacrifice for you but he could not exchange your sin for holiness. Most likely, not just any man would give up his life for you…he’d most likely know you or have feelings for you. But when you didn’t know God, as a matter-of-fact, when you were an enemy of God, He loved you and died for you. He was thinking of you all along. He was making a way for you all along.

Then why did you have to have the earthly father that you did?

I don’t know.

We can sort it out and unpack it all, we could see the patterns, the cycles, the struggles or addictions…and we can see all the human part of it. But why did it have to be you and your life?

I don’t know.

But I do know that I don’t have the answers to a lot in life…no one does.

I can trust a God who does know. I can trust that.

Even when I can trust no man, I can trust Him because He has always proven Himself trustworthy.

He’s who He says He is. He doesn’t lie.

HE AFFIRMS who you are.

Loves you perfectly.

Will never leave you or forsake you or use you.

He will protect you.

As for that earthly father of yours…God will deal with him. But in all honestly, your bitterness won’t help you. Your wounds are real. The loss and loss of time is real. It doesn’t mean you should forgive and forget, because you can’t forget, but you can choose to allow God to deal with him and that might look like the start of forgiveness. As much as you’d like to hang on to the rage inside, transferring it and all that has gone with it over to God will be freedom for you. That man and those memories don’t have to hold you prisoner any longer. You stand behind the hand of an all-power, holy God and He will defend and fight for you.

You don’t have to be ashamed anymore. God has covered your shame.

You don’t have to dread Father’s Day anymore, because you have a Father who loves you, perfectly.

Grieve what was lost. Take it out, examine it and don’t be afraid to stare it down again and then hand it over…

As for those mistakes and choices that you regret, take those out to and after you have grieved them…let them go. God is in the business of healing and restoration and reconciliation. When a physical restoration isn’t possible, there can still be healing and a letting go.

Maybe, just maybe the sin cycles will stop with you. Maybe your son will be the first to take a stand and stand up and fight. Maybe your daughters will know tenderness and love and what it is to be tucked in at night feeling like all is well with the world. Maybe you’ll get just how glorious the love of your Heavenly Father because you never had that fulfilled by an earthly father.

Maybe, the man that send arrows of pain your way will come to know Christ as His Savior. Maybe he would live out his days as a redeemed man…and that would mean blessing for you too. We cannot know the heart of man. We cannot know all the why’s and how-come’s as to their actions. We cannot know their guilt or deep sorrow either over things they wish they’d done differently. You can trust God to deal with those sins done to you. You can trust God with your wounds. You can trust Him with your heart. Maybe, your earthly father wasn’t much of a dad but your Heavenly Father is one who calls you:

Beloved.

Daughter.

Child.

Sealed with His blood.

Delight.

His.

Nothing, absolutely nothing can get between you and God’s love for you.

He knows how much you’ve gone through. He knows the depth of your losses and too-late regrets and sorrows. He knows this weekend is hard for you. He knows the anguish of your soul.

He isn’t ignoring it. He’s wooing you to Him.

He wants you to climb up, into His lap.

Cry if you want. Weep. Wail. Let it all out. Tell Him all about it…

and He will comfort your soul.

He is a FATHER to be celebrated.

Every single day of your life.

 

 

 

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May friendship, encouragement and grace abound!