"Be that as it may, my Father knows best, and I'm confident that He has placed me here; my task is to labor quietly until the pillar cloud removes and leads farther, working out God's purposes in God's time." -Jim Elliot


Father of the Fatherless

Father's Day always evokes a range of emotions in my heart. My first eighteen years of life were filled with a confusing and hurtful gap between my biological father and I. I never knew what to expect or who I was going to get with him. He was in and out of our lives, sometimes I would see him every other weekend, and sometimes six months would pass without hearing from him. He seemed to really wrestle internally with being a parent. He did not seem to enjoy my visits, but on rare occasion I would sense that he was close to letting his guard down. A small smile or possibly an ice cream cone treat when he would buy one for me and not just himself. Those moments were few and far between, but I like to think that somewhere deep within him there was love. But for the most part, my memories of my father are not my fondest. My upbringing was laced with a deep hole in my heart that I now know only God could fill.  Every daughter without a father knows what this sense of deficiency feels like.

Shortly following the last conversation I had with my father during the week before my high school graduation, I began to sense that there was hope. That somehow all of this would be made right. That redemption really did exist. And it was within the next few months that I met my Father. A Father who sacrificed His Son to close the gap between us. (John 3:16) My Father who is always with me, whose ears are always open and inclined to my heart. (Psalm 34:17-18) A Father who never changes but remains the same. (James 1:17) My Father who not only enjoys being my Parent, but desires to give me good things to show me His great love and kindness. (Psalm 27:10, Matt. 7:11) My Father whose love I never need to doubt or question. (1 John 3:1) This is who my Father is.  I am His child, and I rest in His covering of unconditional love and grace that still is so far beyond my comprehension.

In my past experiences as a child, God manifested the scripture that what the enemy intended for evil in my childhood, God intended for good (Genesis 50:20) in using the gap my earthly father left in my life to fuel an insatiable hunger to know my heavenly Daddy. What is undoubtedly my deepest childhood wound is also my greatest blessing. The absence and indifference of my dad was what Charles Spurgeon calls "the wave" in his renowned quote: "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages." My earthly father's lack of love has flung me into the arms of Christ's unconditional love. My dad's absence has been the catalyst to usher me into the presence of God forever.  That wave hurt, you betcha. But what better place to be flung? What softer place to fall than into the arms of grace?  I can truly say that I would go through it all over again to know my Abba Father, my Daddy, my All.  And I can also wholeheartedly say that I forgive my earthly father.  Not only do I forgive him, but I love him and am so thankful for him that it was through our relationship that I realized my unmet needs could only be met by Jesus.

This Father's Day, my heart truly aches for Selah. I long for her to know that although her earthly father is not with her, that she is loved, adored, and cherished by God and us! That she will soon be with a family who longs for her heart to learn how to trust, and to grieve, and to find hope. God has promised us that in Isaiah 45:3, "I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name." He gives us the treasure of Himself in the dark places that threaten to take us out.  He is our Rock of Ages, the cleft in the rock in which we can hide. His great love endures forever.  "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." (2 Cor. 4:7-10)  Our pain has purpose, our mourning has mission.  Nothing is wasted.  He also promises to work all things for the good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28) My prayer is that Selah may also see her need for her heavenly Father in the midst of the absence of her earthly one. That He would work all things for the good in her heart. That what the enemy intended for evil, He intended for good.  And I pray too that my incredible husband and father to our three beautiful children will be the healing salve that points her to the One and only Father of the fatherless. (Psalm 68:5)  Ben has truly been the closest picture to me of selfless love that I have ever experienced in a relationship on this earth.  He is without doubt my greatest gift after Jesus.

In many ways, this Father's Day, I thank God too for my experiences as a child because of how this will help me to understand the pain of relinquishment that our daughter will feel.  My earthly father walked away from our relationship sixteen years ago, and I have not heard from him since.  And yet those sixteen years have been filled with the love of my sweet Savior, Jesus Christ.  No greater love will I ever know.  What a gift today, to know that He loves Selah as Daddy.  That He can not only close the gap, but that He can fill the hole in her heart one day as He has mine.  I am so thankful that He is the Father of the fatherless, and He always will be.  This song, "It Is Well" by Kristene DeMarco beautifully describes the peace I have in my heart on this Father's Day...looking to my Daddy's face and resting in His arms.

(For mobile devices, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI )

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