Father's Day used to be hard for me. Before my husband and I had children, it served only to remind me of my fractured relationship with my dad and the inability to reconcile since he'd died while we were estranged. I knew the boundaries I'd set had been necessary and that it wasn't my fault he'd chosen to remain at odds with me until his sudden death. But I still felt alternately bitter and numb during Father's Day recognition services at church. I scoffed internally when a pastor said, "And for the fatherless, remember that God is your Abba Father. He's all you need." "Easy for him to say," I'd retort to myself. "He probably has a good father."
When our girls were born, my focus shifted to my husband - my daughters' dad - as I found ways to celebrate his sweet relationship with them. So my heart softened toward the day because I could focus on something positive. And along the way my desire to see myself as God's daughter increased.
I still struggle a bit with not having an earthly dad to celebrate. God, of course, loves me far more than even the healthiest, most loving earthly father ever could - but He is Spirit, not here physically and not the subject of the same kinds of concrete childhood memories my husband, daughters, and friends have of their dads. So it's hard at times to find solace in a “mere” spiritual Father.
The difference for me now, though, is that I'm willing to open myself up to Him in that role. Instead of scoffing at a pastor's attempt to comfort, I now long to embrace the amazing truth that God is, indeed, everything I've ever wanted in a dad...and then some. I have to consciously make the choice, but now I at least want to do so. And one day I'll see Him face to face and know His deep, abiding love in every fiber of my being.
When I was little, I made up a story. I told myself I didn't really belong to the parents with whom I lived; instead, my real father was “out there” looking for me and would someday come for me. And he was a king. So when he found me he'd swoop me up and set me in the most ornate carriage anyone had ever seen, whisking me away to his magnificent castle on a majestic hill.
I've known for a long time that the Lord put that vision in my mind to give me hope in my painful childhood situation. And He, of course, is my Real Father - the King of kings who has been preparing a mansion for me since Jesus returned to Him. So I work to keep my focus there, knowing that one day I’ll have the most marvelous Father's Day celebration ever – one that will last for eternity.
Photo Credit: Solipsism Prism