I have had 5 step-dads in my life.
Only 1 of them has stuck around, and that’s a weird, undefined relationship.
I didn’t know my biological father until I was 29 years old (that’s a miraculous story that I will share a different day).
Father’s Day used to be such a painful holiday for me; a reminder to me that I was fatherless. I recall skipping church at least once in my adult life on Father’s Day just to avoid it altogether. And the Father-Daughter dance at my friends’ weddings…forget it. I cried every time, and usually not tears of joy.
I never was “daddy’s girl,” and there was always a painful whisper in my heart telling me that I never would be. I wasn’t worth sticking around for; I was abandoned…over, and over again.
My heart was broken.
When I chose to follow Jesus, I started studying the Bible to find answers to this question: who is this God? I have spent 13 years chasing after answers, and somewhere along the way the truth has healed my heart.
Oh, friend. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you don’t know your father, or maybe you’ve lost your father, or maybe you’ve had an abusive father. I don’t know your story, but you do. I want to tell you that God calls you “daughter.” He calls you His.
I know that can feel so unbelievable. The cynical side of your broken heart might be saying, “Yeah, whatever.” But beautiful one, you are treasured beyond compare…if only you knew.
Over and over again God has revealed Himself to us as “Father to the Fatherless, defender of the weak.” God cares about the role of dads, and He weeps with us when that relationship is broken.
One of the most healing verses of scripture that God has spoken over my heart is Psalm 68:6
God makes a home for the lonely.
Nothing can replace the role of a father in a daughter’s life. But for those of us whose dads are absent for whatever reason, God loves us and makes homes for us.
There are men worth admiring. There are men worth learning from, and allowing them in enough to show you the type of love that God has for you as a daughter.
We have to receive that. We have to be willing to let that kind of love in, and to look for the hidden treasure found in men that might not be our real dads, but who are worthy of paternal affection.
We must learn to recognize what a godly older man is, and celebrate that. No, they aren’t our real dads, but God shows us His love—what it looks like—through the lives of such men.
We should celebrate men who are dads by choice. And we should embrace that some of them want to love us as daughters. It is good to allow Godly men to love us like fathers—to offer wisdom, insight, and speak truth, value, and dignity to our hearts. It is good for us to admire, respect, trust, and love godly men like these.
There are these types of men in my own life; godly older men that have forever changed my life, and have been a part of God healing my fatherless heart. Men that didn’t have to be paternal figures, but chose to be anyway. Today, I want to celebrate them:
- My grandfather. My hero. He is the only man who has remained constant in his role in my life from the day I was born. He walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, and I love him as though he were really my dad.
- My uncle who adopted me when I was 10 years old. His own children were already grown, and yet he said “yes” to being a dad again.
- My father-in-laws (Adam’s dad and step dad) have taken me in as their own daughter, have prayed with me, cried with me, counseled me, and so much more.
- So many other men who love Jesus, and out of that love people. Men like my high school band director, former bosses, pastors, and others who have shown me through their lives what it means to love younger women as daughters, to protect them, give them dignity, give them value.
Sweet sister, God calls you His daughter.
I want to see your happily ever after; that you know in your heart that you matter; that you are royalty.
You. Are. A. Daughter. Of. A. King.
And one day the tears will be wiped away, and your heart will embrace fully the truth of that statement. Until then, let’s celebrate those men who show us the love of the God who made us—the God who says we belong. The God who calls us to life, to freedom, and to stand with heads held high.
May that God–my God, and yours–sing this song over your heart today:
Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word:
forget your country, put your home behind you.
Be here—the king is wild for you.
Since he’s your Lord, adore him.
Run Hard. Love Strong.