When Father’s Day approaches those of us without our biological fathers have the reminder that we are unclaimed, unwanted, uncared for, the unfit ones.
While none of this is actually true, particularly those of us of the female gender species suffer a great deal emotionally behind it and wrestle with the why’s, the anger, the upset, the overall feelings of not being worth the fight.
Whether the fight be with our mother, an addiction, immaturity, or a host of other reasons that men sometimes give as to why they didn’t or couldn’t, it still remains that it was a battle that they chose to either give up on or never even stand up to.
It’s not to say that our male counterparts are not left with emotional voids and presumed inadequacies as a result but that is a space that I, nor my friends who have joined me today, can speak from.
What we do know is the lessons that we have learned from the experiences with our own fathers and how they have made us feel, but ultimately how they have made us grow.
Father’s day is a great day for many and a hard day for others. For those of us that struggle, we have the reminder that while we don’t have the presence of our biological father, there is a father that is there for us and that had a plan even when his “earthly representatives” didn’t stand in his God-given position.
So we offer our stories, but even moreso, we offer encouragement and our own lessons on this father’s day to the girl who may have “Daddy Issues”.
This post is a round up of reflections from myself and two other young ladies on this Father’s Day. Use the Navigation buttons below to read each of them.
The Unseen, The Purpose & The Work of a Real Father
It’s said that there is purpose in all things and nothing happens without God knowing and seeing it.
Before I came to know and believe in the power, love and majesty of my heavenly father I always wondered when people would say that God knew and he let it happen, why God would let me feel such rejection, such an empty void, such a feeling of inadequacy.
I sometimes felt like he was just as wrong as my father that walked away for allowing him to do so.
The Unseen Daddy
I never really understood the dynamics of the relationship between me and my biological father, and at 34 years old I still don’t.
I have asked questions on occasion, but I get circles ran and explanations that make no sense at any age that I’ve tried to make sense of it. In fact the older I get, the less the excuses makes sense because the more I understand.
But what does make sense to me more and more is that God sees, God knows and it is working for his good!
I don’t know the exact reason that God let my father live right around the corner from me and still choose to not be in my life; what allowed him to pursue and keep a relationship with my brother, his only other child. I have no idea why he allowed him to occasionally show up and seem as though he cared, leaving me feeling like a kid with an open wound when I figured out he was still the same.
I don’t understand why my father is living, breathing and healthy, yet instead of him, his son escorted me down the aisle. I don’t understand why my son has never met his biological grandfather or even knows that he exists.
I don’t understand a lot of things, but age, reflection and faith are starting to open my eyes to a lot of things.
Daddy Gave Me Purpose
I truly believe that my own fathers absence has been a part of the reason I struggle so greatly with parenting. But my parenting struggles have connected me to a large piece of my purpose and one of my greatest growth opportunities.
God has given me a family that I am fully committed to. Relationships that I am fully utilizing to grow individually but also closer to the Lord and my savior through them.
The relationship he gave me in my marriage is a true gift and having a man who is a great husband and father is totally worth anything I lacked from my fathers absence. To give my children something that I didn’t have and to raise them in a way that is foreign to me is such a blessing.
To have a daughter, whom although it has been hard to parent her, seeing her grow and flourish with not one but two dads who love her more than words can express. While it has not been easy parenting with her father, the reminder of not having mine has helped me push through the process and intentionally work at that relationship too!
I have boys who sees a mother that is constantly working and changing and growing into a better version of herself. Who is fighting to live a life pleasing to the lord so that they may know how to do so too!
I have taken all of the bitterness, the promiscuity,the self-hate, the mistrust, and so much more and started to unpack it, sort it out and figure out how to get rid of those things altogether and be better than ever before.
For all those things I can credit no one other than my REAL FATHER, my heavenly father.
Working for My Real Daddy
My heavenly father knew who he would use to get me here, what their issues were, and even how they would affect me. He knew how he could use them to show me his power, but more importantly his love for me.
He knew just where to meet me at in them in order to let them not be my forever and to be able to use them to help someone else be pointed to him and change their lives too. In all of that he knew.
And so while some may say it’s not just that simple, it really is to me. When I look back over the love I thought I lost and missed out on, the space that wasn’t filled, the voids that developed I realize that in all of those things, my REAL FATHER is and always has been the answer.
Reflecting on The Good Ones
My parents divorced when I was 7.
It was an ugly divorce, something that I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. My sisters and I had to spend every other weekend with our father for years. They were, without a doubt, the worst weekends of our lives.
We’d cry and beg Momma to let us stay home. I remember being thrilled whenever I was sick because it meant I got to stay home. I’d like to say that back then, we at least had a good relationship with our dad. But we didn’t. He pushed us to be tomboys, to race go-karts. I hated that. I would much rather spend the day inside with a good book.
Sometimes he’d take us go-kart riding and drive faster and faster and I’d be screaming and crying for him to slow down but he’d just speed up. As we grew up, our already-strained relationship just got even worse. I actually can’t think of a single good memory with him. All I can remember is the few bits of bad parts– the parts I haven’t forced myself to forget, that is. Him yelling and screaming at us, cursing at us over trivial things.
He was supposed to pick us up one weekend in February, I think it was. But he never showed. In fact, I never heard from him again. It turns out, he voluntarily gave up his shared custody with us because he was just tired of being a father. He never understood what it meant to be a good parent, to put your kids before yourself. He didn’t even know me well enough to know I absolutely despise milk in my cereal; I eat it dry with a glass of milk to drink in between mouthfuls. Honestly, his decision to give up being in my life was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I was finally able to move on with my life and be a normal happy teenager.
I honestly rarely even thought about him.
He’d occasionally try to contact us, like when my Papaw died on my birthday or at the holidays. But what I never expected was him showing up to my high school graduation. I walked up to him, with a scowl on my face, and said “Why the he** are you here?” He didn’t deserve to celebrate my accomplishments. I earned my diploma without any help from him… or his latest wife, who claimed she was so proud of me. (I replied, “Who are you?!”) For someone who was so “proud” of me, he didn’t even clap as my sisters and I walked across the stage. I haven’t heard from him since that day, other than on my 18th birthday when he and his entire family posted a Happy Birthday message in the newspaper, as a big F-U since he no longer had to pay child support.
Supposedly he still tries to Facebook message my sister, but I’ve since blocked him and his entire family so I wouldn’t know. I have had other men in my life actually play the father role, like my great-uncle, a professor, and of course my Papaw. They’re the ones I think of on Father’s Day, not a deadbeat loser. And of course, my Heavenly Father.
On Father’s Day, those are the men I think of, not my biological father. Being with my now-husband has shown me what a father should be, as odd as that sounds. I just see so many characteristics in Andy that will make him a good father: kindness, patience, gentleness, enthusiasm for life, a love of the Lord. I can’t wait until Andy becomes a dad because I can already tell he will be so, so much better with our (future) children than my father was with me.
The Echoes of Fathers Day
We used to visit my Grandparents in the desert every summer. I remember one particular trip, stopping in the middle of the hot, rocky nothingness. We were anxious to get out of the car and follow Grandpa to see his surprise. The gold rush had left the desert pocked with mine shafts. You could easily fall into them if you weren’t looking for them. I imagined falling down the deep, cold, inescapable depths as he spoke to us.
We stopped at the edge of a large mine, undetectable from a few feet away, just a dark hole in the ground covered in chain link fence. We cautiously crawled out from the edge and peered into the utter darkness. I will never forget the sound of the stone I dropped that day. It hung in the air forever, anticipation building, waiting for the satisfying strike and splash followed by a series of echoes.The stone struck in my life when I was four. We were alone, Dad was gone. Ping.
I wasn’t sure what the sound meant but it echoed for years. Other men we loved came into our life and left. Ping. We moved across the country and lost touch with Grandpas, Uncles and Dad never wrote. He stopped calling. He made promises and never kept them. Ping.
I listened hard to what the sound of their leaving meant. Was I forgettable. Was I not worth finding or fighting for. Was I worthy of being rejected? Ping.
The echo filled up my head for many years as I tried to find out what was so wrong with me, that I was not worth being called someone’s own. From elementary school boyfriends to high school lovers, every break up sounded just like that first stones strike. They are gone and you are rejected. Unworthy. Unlovable. I learned to harden my heart to the sound of rejection. I paid deeply in heart and flesh. Ping. Ping. Ping.
When I believed it least, I heard about a God, who wanted me. I wanted to know more, but I could not make myself worthy. No matter how hard I tried I fell short. The only hope for the love I craved could not be had with human conditions. Yet, He longed for me still. He sent a man, who chose me. He taught me about unconditional love, because I did not know anything about it. I learned about God’s Son, through the love of a husband. There were times that he forgot my birthday. Ping.
The echo was so loud I could not tell that it was coming from so far away. We had a business that demanded long hours from my husband. Ping. We had a bunch of children and parenting stretched us at times. Ping. Fear crept into my soul. Was I still unworthy of love? Would I never feel secure in love? I buried this echoing fear. I was able to run from the knowledge that I was cast easily aside. I stood still one day. I stood before our newly remodeled home. Fifteen years of working, striving, saving and dreaming had brought us to this moment of achievement. I stood still and realized that I had no one to tell. All I felt was the rock-striking pain of rejection. I told God my secret. I had never given a hint of it. My father was not a good man, it made no sense to want him. I had never breathed a word of how much it hurt, to have no one to stand by my side and be a father to me. “God, I am alone, why am I rejected?”
In my words, I found profound grief. I filled a mine with my tears. I mourned as a child should have done. That day the Lord became Father to me.
Valentine’s Day came, we were busy with living. No gift, no dinner, no ping. When my husband is unhappy. No ping. When my stepsiblings enjoy their Father’s love.
No ping, because I am loved. I have been found and purchased by the Living God and He has found me acceptable. Not by my works, but because He created me. I am His. I am full. May you come to know the same this Father’s Day.
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