My dad died when I was 18. Prior to that, we had a complicated and confusing relationship.
Every year since then, these honoring holidays are troublesome for me. Once I had kids, they became about celebrating my husband for Father’s Day, or me for Mother’s Day. Some of the sting was removed.
But once in a while, that longing for a father in my own life would surface.
I had a fabulous father-in-law for many years. He was quiet and strong and I loved him well. As much as he blessed me, he was not my own father.
So I struggled with this a lot. For most of my adulthood, I have been both fatherless and motherless.
Much like a boat without it’s bearings. No anchor to hold me, it seems. Drifting and seeking were my lot.
Until I really encountered the Lord.
I don’t have one of those singular salvation stories. I used to be jealous when I would hear people talk about “being saved” at summer camp, or “coming forward” at a crusade.
Not so simple for me. It was a slow surrender, questioning and bucking up against the goads all the way.
I remember clearly the day when it all clicked. I had been attending a good church for a while and soaking up teachings about the lavishness of the love and grace of God. Pastor Lou Diaz, now of http://efcchico.org preached this particular Sunday about how God was a father to the fatherless. The passage was Psalm 68:5 which describes God as “Afather to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
It was like a jolt to my brain. All I had missed and felt deprived of was there for me to grab onto. All I needed and longed for was available to lavish on me without boundary or limit. From that time on, I never felt that huge empty hole of want in my soul.
Of course, I have thought of how cool it would be to have a father to bounce ideas off of, to tell me he was proud of me, and to love me unconditionally. But I only know the reality of those things from movies and television. I never really had them up close and personal in my life.
But yet I had them all along.
No wanting, no wondering, no longing, no hungering.
It’s all there for us to take and bask in.
It’s there for you and it’s there for me.
So today, are you feeling some father longing on this Father’s Day? Enjoy the time with your family, honor the father of your children, but don’t forget that there is a Father available to each of us who is waiting patiently for us to come to Him – to bring our sorrows as well as our joys. He welcomes us no matter how we may have dismissed Him in the past. He is always there patiently waiting to show us His love and care. His love for us is not complicated or confusing. It’s pure and holy. And it’s there for you and for me.
Will you welcome it today?