Today is Father’s Day. I’m a bit late to the blogging game because I’ve been enjoying the day with my own wonderful dad. But from the very start of the day, although my heart was filled with gratitude for the incredible men in my life, it has also been filled with grief.
This morning, as I drove to church, something came over me and I wept. Not because of my wonderful father or the amazing man who is the father to my children. I wept because I couldn’t help but think of all of the women, young and old, who don’t have the blessing of being able to celebrate Father’s Day by reminiscing about childhood fishing trips and big bear hugs and family vacations with their dad. They aren’t able to post pictures of them sitting on their father’s lap as a child, walking down the aisle at their wedding, or even standing side by side with smiles on their faces.
It breaks my heart to know that so many of you, dear sisters, don’t have pleasant memories of your fathers to celebrate on this day. Scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook or Instagram probably grips your heart and stifles your breath as you try and fight back the emotions you are feeling. Well, I have a message for you today, friends. One that comes from the heavy heart of someone who may not have walked in your shoes, but who wants to offer you a bit of hope and honor on this especially difficult day.
To those who never knew their father
To those who are estranged from their fathers
To those who have suffered physical, verbal or mental harm at the hands of your father
To those who have lost their father to death or mental illness
To those mistreated and neglected by their father
To those who have never heard their father say “I love you”
I want you to know today that what you have experienced is not how it should be. Young women shouldn’t have to grow up without their daddy to protect, guide, love, and provide for them. Girls shouldn’t grow up feeling abandoned, neglected, hated or abused by the men that gave them life. It makes me heartsick to think of the pain, suffering and tragedy that so many precious sisters have endured because of their fathers. And although my words and sentiments could never change what you’ve been through or make your situation any different, I want you to know today that I acknowledge your pain, and I am so, so incredibly sorry.
I know, however, that women are amazing and resilient. I know that, despite what you may have lacked in having a positive relationship with your father, you have probably overcome insurmountable odds to be a strong, independent, loving, giving and wonderful person. You may even have married a man that has become to your children what you always wished you had in a father. I hope that you have been able to find healing in forgiveness, even where forgiveness wasn’t deserved.
But the reality is, when things aren’t as they should be and those foundational relationships to our lives are broken, there is hurt. Even when we choose to forgive, the hurt may never completely go away. And days like today can dig up some of those deep, difficult places in our hearts. Oh, dear friends, I wish I could hug you tight and cry with you and help you through these 24 hours of celebrating the one who may have hurt you deepest. But although I can’t, there is someone who can get you through this- and He has been there all along.
I hope you know today that, though your earthly father may have caused pain and hurt in your life, you have a Heavenly Father who has been there from your very first breath and has never left your side since. He has rejoiced over every accomplishment. He has cried with you every tear. He has sung over you and laughed with you and cheered you on when no one else was there. You may not have always felt Him, but He’s been there. In your deepest, darkest hour, He has never forgotten you. All along, every step of the way, through every mountain and every valley, every heartache and every victory, He has been drawing you to Himself. He is a perfect Father- good, loving, kind, fair, gracious, faithful and strong. He longs to bring healing to those broken places in your heart that no one else sees. He wants you to know today that He is the father you always wished you had.
I hope that you know the love of God is real and true and makes right every wrong. If you haven’t allowed His love to take hold of your heart, there is no better day than today. Let this be your last father’s day without a father.
He is waiting with open arms, dear one. Just come home.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1