Every time I walk into the store at this time of year, I see all the Father’s Day cards for sale. Most of them say things like, “Thank you for being such an awesome dad!” “Thank you for being there for me when I hurt my knee,” or, “for taking me fishing.” “Dad, I’m so thankful for all the things you’ve done for me.” I’ve always gone through all the cards one at a time, yet none of them seemed to resonate with something I’d want to give my dad. We just didn’t have the kind of father-daughter relationship they write cards about. But I’m not a broken mess over it anymore. I’ve found healing and you can, too.
When I was three years old, my dad became an alcoholic. He was abusive to my mom. Eventually, he disappeared from our family. I would spend hours crying as a little girl, “I want my daddy. I want my daddy!” When I was about nine years old, I ran into a shell of a man I’ve never forgotten. He was drunk, filthy, and his teeth were completely rotted. I was frightened. I hid behind my grandma and asked her later, “Who was that scary man?” She said, “Sheri, that was your dad.” That was the picture of my dad from that point on. Whenever I was sad, lonely, and hurting, I longed for a daddy who loved me. I wanted a dad to push me in the swing, to guard my heart from boys, to help me fix things that were broken, but he was never there.
Later in my life, I came across this verse in the Bible.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12-13 NIV
I felt God reaching out directly to me through His Word. Suddenly, I realized that the dad who helped me be born was no longer the dad that I needed. I had the father I had always longed for—it was my Father God. I was no longer a decision that my dad and my mom made. I was much more than that. I had become a daughter of the King. Suddenly, that void, that longing that I had to know my dad, to be loved, comforted, and protected by him, had been miraculously met by my true creator, the Creator.
I am happy to report that as an adult, my dad and I have become friends. God also rescued his heart and because of that, he grew into a good man. Your dad may have hurt you. If your dad is still abusive, you may have to enforce healthy boundaries to protect your heart and your family’s heart. But you can still forgive. You can still pray for God to reach him the way He reached my dad. With God’s help, it’s possible you can become friends one day, too.
Maybe you had a great dad growing up, one who loved you radically. Maybe you’ve had an absent dad you’ve never known. Or maybe you’ve had a dad who hurt you and abused you. When you see all those Father’s Day cards, look at them and thank God that He is your true father. Put your hope in Him because He will never fail you. He is the dad you can always count on. He will fight your battles and be your protector. Your father-daughter relationship can be wonderful and eternal. Put your whole heart, faith, and hope in your heavenly Father, and you’ll find the healing you’ve been longing for, too.