I was my daddy’s girl.
He had a way of making me feel special. My dad also had a way of teaching my siblings and I life skills without us knowing that’s what he was doing. He invited us into his projects. If he was painting the house or fixing holes in the wall, we were standing next to him holding tools and taking directions. Over the years, we picked rocks out of the pastures, painted the cabin, finished a basement, laid acres of fencing - the projects were countless and we kids were included for all of them.
When I bought my first car, he taught me how to change the tire AND the oil.
When I moved out on my own, he gave me a set of tools. I still have them.
He took care of me and made sure I knew how to take care of myself. (He also gave the best foot rubs ever.)
Relationships with family members can teach us how to respond to God. Children look to fathers to show them protection, to give them financial security, and to give them their identity. I always knew I was special to my dad, but… life happens.
My heart was torn right out of my chest when my parents announced they were divorcing and daddy would be the one to move out. I was 10 years old at the time and I didn’t understand what was happening.
My protector and sense of security were gone. It would be later in my teenage years when we regained our relationship.
Even in the best families, children can believe lies and draw wrong conclusions about themselves. I grew up in a traditional church but I had no relationship with God. My perception of God was that He was real but He was busy taking care of the world. He didn’t care about little me. He had more important things to do.
I lost my identity when my daddy left. I felt very vulnerable and unsafe. Insignificant and unimportant. On top of that, God didn’t care about me.
I didn’t know then, but here was the truth: God is the only perfect Father. Our earthly fathers will let us down at some point because they are human. It took me years to realize I had a thought patterns based on beliefs formed in childhood.
Based on lies.
The enemy wants us to believe lies. He is the master of lies. He doesn’t want us to see the truth about God and who He is. Even deeper…he doesn’t want us to see who we are in Christ. Our identity is in Christ.
Now, Christ is my comforter, my protector, and so much more.
How do we change the influence of the enemy’s lies in our lives? We call on our heavenly Daddy to reveal the lies to us. God is a great revealer of what’s happening in our hearts if we’re open to it. Seek Truth.
John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.God can reveal truth to us in many ways. Through dreams, through friends, through worship songs, through teachings and sermons, and especially through scriptures. We can spend time getting to know who He is by drinking deep of the well of His living water.
When we spend time with God, we learn to discern truth from lies. And something happens when the lies are brought to light: we don’t agree with them anymore. A shift takes place where we no longer look to our earthly father for our belonging and security: we look to our heavenly Father.
It’s funny how our view on the past changes when we look to Jesus. Maybe we have harbored hurts from our earthly fathers that were just miscommunications and now we need to forgive them. For example, there was a situation when I was younger where my dad spanked me and not the guilty party. I carried that hurt for years but when I saw the truth my heart softened and I forgave him. It was only then that I remembered my dad had cried later, when he found out I had not been the one who committed the punishable act. I first had to forgive him to remember this.
I want to end by saying I think it’s easy to give fathers a bad rap. Can we also remember the good things they do?
All the things I started with in this article are the very things I shared at my dad’s funeral. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he was MY dad.
This month, let’s celebrate fathers for the good they do! Your heavenly Father will be there too.