This post is not something I typically share. I’m not a big heart sharer. It’s just not comfortable for me. But as I have talked with friends over the years, they have told me sometimes these things are not just for me, but God can use them to help others. So it has become a yearly post that I share as a means to call awareness to the importance of a father in the life of a daughter. Mine has been gone 13 years ago today after a battle with cancer. It’s sometimes a messy time for me to reflect on that relationship. Without going into details I’ll sum it up briefly, it was a damaging and discouraging relationship , but as I grow more distant from the day I said goodbye to him, I find that it is important to give thanks that Christ speaks to that hurt in my life and to honor the dark days just as much as the beautiful days. As it is in those dark days that I found comfort, wisdom, and strength through my Savior that I would not have known without choosing to walk that moment with Him. So today I post a draft I wrote in 2007 to quietly honor my dad—as messy as he was—and to call attention to words that your girls need to hear from fathers and spiritual fathers. I truly hope for those that work with teen girls, that you will take some of the ideas I post and get them in the hands of the fathers and spiritual fathers in your church. I say spiritual fathers, because I am a living testimony of men that took some of the role my father abdicated and spoke into my life. Fathers are extremely important to girls ministry, and my prayer is that we—myself included—continue to elevate this relationship as we minister to girls and their families.
missing words that cause holes…a draft post from my personal blog in 2007
There is an honesty that comes when you look at the gunk in your heart isn’t there? There are times when I realize that I crave words to be said from my father—things that most daughters hear on a regular basis and probably take for granted. Things that I will never hear because my father is not here anymore. This “need” and “hurt” stunned me so much the other day that I truly caught myself wishing my dad were here to say “I’m proud of you”. It came from out of the blue. I realized this need oddly when I heard the words said to me by my older brother. It caught me off guard and emotions came alive that I had stuffed inside of me for over 20 years. I gave up on hearing those words from my dad, but there was a hole that still wants to hear that apparently. How sad and messy it is to have to live in a fallen world that words from fathers or missing words from fathers have power to imprison us. I share this only to show that when I become aware of the wounds left from living in a fallen world, that i don’t have to stay that way. I will never hear those words from my dad. But Christ is faithful to remind me that no person can give or take worth from me. Christ has already told me how much I mean to Him by what He has accomplished on the cross. Christ is healing me—I hope the same is true for you today. I hope that Christ is repairing…remaking…replacing…refocusing..and creating new things within you. I hope that whatever the cry of your heart is today…that you do not attempt to fill it with people/places/or things but simply show Christ what you are dealing with and ask for Him to do what He does best—give Life to the dead places we hang onto. Below is a song that I meditate on in the car—or while I run and it is a prayer that I sing as often as I can. Download the song from Starfield because it is amazingly beautiful.
“Cry In My Heart” by Starfield
There’s a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For Your presence to fill up my senses
There’s a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper
Could You take me beyond?
Could You carry me through?
If I open my heart?
Could I go there with You?
(For I’ve been here before But I know there’s still more Oh, Lord, I need to know You)
For what do I have If I don’t have You, Jesus?
What in this life Could mean any more?
You are my rock
You are my glory
You are the lifter Of my head
Lifter of this head
A WORD TO FATHERS:
Fathers, my pastor has repeatedly said during baby dedications at our church that you are the first example of a boyfriend/husband your daughter will ever see. You set the bar for how she expects men to treat her. My advice is along those same lines, but with some definitive suggestions of how to be that example.
My word to you is the following:
Begin showing your daughter how men should treat women by taking her on a date night where it’s just you and her.
Find out what she has to say—she wants to know she has a voice with you.
Be present with her on daddy daughter dates. (leave the cell phone in the glove compartment)
Ask her about her dreams.
Call out things in her that you see that God has specially placed within her. Encourage her—meaning fill her with courage through the things you say to her.
Redefine beauty for her by calling out things other than her fashion that you find beautiful.
Take off from work and go have lunch with her at school—but bring something in from fast food land for her and all her friends! BONUS POINTS!
Look her in the eyes and tell her how proud you are to be her father.
Write her a physical note before she goes on a big events to remind her that you are praying for her.
Pray with her before she goes to bed at night. Talk about her to God in front of her.
Tell her you love her and give her hugs/kisses often. Especially as she transitions from 6th-8th grade. Fathers often distance themselves during this time as their daughter starts looking like a young woman but don’t leave her. She needs you more than ever during this time.
These are just some starters…