Father’s Day always brings about a strange array of emotions for me. On one hand, I’m incredibly touched when I hear sons and daughters sharing expressions of love, adoration, respect and gratitude for their fathers and daddies. On the other hand, these expressions are frankly, well, a bit irritating.
While I, of course, have a ‘Father’, I’ve never had a ‘Daddy’. Ever. Not in my forty-eight years. At least I didn’t think I did.
My parents divorced when I was just two years of age and I have no recollection of any time spent with my father except for four specific instances at ages four, five, sixteen and twenty-one. That’s it.
Interestingly, during my adolescent and teen years, instead of feeling angry or bitter as one might expect, I was simply more befuddled by the relationships my friends had with their fathers. I remember my friend Shelly telling me one evening that she couldn’t hang out with me until after 8pm because she and her dad were going to dinner. My first thought was, “WHY in the world would you go to dinner with your dad? HOW AWKWARD!” It just didn’t register that for Shelly, it was normal, comfortable and fun.
My mom remarried several times and technically, I got a father out of the deal, but he was never a daddy to me.
In a previous life, I was married twice. I have two sons from my first husband, and unfortunately, I didn’t feel he was particularly supportive or participatory in the boys’ lives, nor did I believe they could depend on him. I didn’t see him as their daddy.
My second husband, the boys’ first step-father (Okay, just the difficulty in keeping all of these ex’s straight is reason enough to never get divorced!), never really bonded with the boys, so consequently, he didn’t provide a true daddy role either.
Is it any wonder why this whole Father’s Day thing can be irritating to me?
I didn’t realize, though, until much later what I was missing. It wasn’t as if I’d had a daddy and he was taken away. I never had one to begin with, so the void wasn’t so obvious. Furthermore, I would rationalize, I didn’t really have a dad and I turned out just fine. Right? Who needs a dad?
Enter my husband, Lindon.
When we met five years ago, the LAST THING I was looking for was a father for my sons. Ryan and Devin were twenty-one and nineteen respectively, independent guys in their own right, and well on their way to carving out their future. I completely underestimated the value Lindon would bring to the dad table.
The first time I walked into Lindon’s apartment, I was immediately struck by the pictures of his kids on his wall. The place was otherwise almost barren, but there were pictures of Trent and Sarah proudly displayed. I will never forget the lump in my throat when I saw them.
Lindon has taught me what it means to be a father and the value of having one. I’ve also witnessed what it means to both his kids and mine. Lindon doesn’t always get everything right, and the daddy road hasn’t been without major challenges, but in spite of it all, he loves and cares for all of our kids, and always tries to be the best dad he can.
I finally understood the value.
This understanding, though, completely shattered my naiveté. The weight of what I had missed, and what my boys had gone without, was now crystal clear. Now it hurt.
Help came from one of my best friends, Stacy. A few years back she talked to me about seeing Jesus as my ‘daddy’. Huh? What? I know he’s my Heavenly Father, but my Daddy? It was a very unsettling thought. Just the word daddy alone is just plain weird, in and of itself, but using it to refer to Jesus? Let’s just say I’m still getting used to the terminology. Thank God she was relentless.
She spoke to me about releasing any pain I may be harboring from not having an earthly daddy and trying to focus on seeing Jesus AS my daddy. WOW. What a concept. Stacy reminded me that I’m able to have conversations with Jesus. He comforts me. He always has my best interests at heart and gives me great advice. He cherishes me. He’ll never leave me. Jesus is a daddy I can count on to meet all my little AND big girl needs, and he will never, ever let me down. Fascinating. Novel. Amazing.
I now know Jesus is my Abba Father; my Daddy.
Some years ago, my father and I reconnected. He may not have been my daddy when I was young, but I am content to know I can pick up the phone now, say hi and have a sincere voice greet me on the other end.
My step-father passed away almost two years ago. And while he wasn’t my daddy either, and we didn’t have a typical father – daughter relationship, he was part of my world growing up and I can look back and remember the good times.
But Jesus? He’s my Father, my Pops, my Dad, my Daddy, my everything – today, tomorrow and forever. I rest fully in the reassurance that I can turn to him for anything, at any time, and he’ll always be there for me. I trust him completely, adore him with all my heart and am so grateful and blessed to be his daughter.
As I write this blog, I’ve just come up with a promise to myself for Father’s Day 2015. When I read all those sappy daddy tributes and cavity causing accolades, I plan to smile big and bright and share in the warm fuzzies because I, too, have a daddy that I genuinely feel the same way about! I’ve not been overlooked or left out. Hallelujah!
And you know what? Neither have you!
Can you relate? Have you had daddy disappointments or confusion? Felt anger, hurt or bitterness? Does thinking of Jesus as your daddy seem a bit odd? Or perhaps, does it bring a new level of peace and comfort? I’d love to hear your heart and your story.Don’t forget to sign up for weekly blog updates in the box to the top right. Thanks!