Someone once asked, “How were you comforted growing up? In what specific ways did you know and experience a sense being comforted?” Standing in my kitchen, tea mug in hand, I pondered it for a few seconds and realized it was an incredibly loaded question. What exactly does “comforted” look like? If you mean were my needs met, was I fed, clothed, and housed well then, yes. But if it meant more than that…if it meant a sense of being heard and understood, validated and affirmed, consoled during a difficult time, well then undeniably, sadly, no. I cast no blame on my parents, who with the understanding (or lack thereof) they had, were unable to give the emotional support this unexpected third child needed. I’ll refrain from going into the unnecessary details of my mom’s illnesses and the comfort a mother gives to a child in a less-than-perfect world.
For now, I want to focus on father.
The Daddy role appears to be fading away even as I type these words. You know the guy who worked a full-time job and brought home the bacon, wrestled the kids, drove the family car to the beach, kissed mom’s neck, led the hike, fired up the grill, and encouraged his offspring to pursue their dreams. Oh, you don’t know that one, either? How about the one who left your mama while pregnant with you, who had one too many at the local gin mill with his buddies, the one who forgot (yet again) that your birthday is at the beginning of June, not the end, or the one who said he loved your mom then proceeded to give her yet another bloody nose? Or is he the “nice guy” who shows up to help everyone else, while you need him to notice you and say, just once, how beautiful you are or a simple “I love you”? Is he the one who never seems to come up for air behind the newspaper or the internet he is hiding behind? Or is he the one who could tell you facts and statistics, politics and weather reports, but who has no foggy clue of the painful breakup you just struggled through?
I’m just old enough and young enough to remember the lyrics to a haunting song by the late George Michael…I feel it’s appropriate to paste a verse from Father Figure here, as it tells the story of the deep daddy desire (although this song can be taken in a multitude of ways, depending what your bent is):
“I will be your father figure
Put your tiny hand in mine
I will be your preacher teacher
Anything you have in mind
I will be your father figure
I have had enough of crime
I will be the one who loves you
Until the end of time… “(really??)
This song begs to answer the daddy dilemma in the most insidious way. Unfortunately, that is where most young women, devoid of the stability of the male parent, find themselves. Allowing their hearts to be stolen by empty moments of fleeting pleasure in the arms of men who inadvertently play the father role, they find themselves heart-bruised once again.
So, how exactly do you fill the daddy-void?
Here are some truths to ponder. I know many who read this are not always interested in being fed a bunch of bible verses. But the truth is, well, the Truth. And I could give you some fine sounding arguments on how God fulfills your emptiness and how human men are somewhat limited in the God-Father capacity (uh, yeah). I could tell you to get cognitive counseling until you’ve uncovered every painful patriarchal stone (been there, done that). I could tell you to write a letter to your living or deceased daddy expressing all that the eight year old child inside you felt (did that, too). But the most powerful God-given tool is just at our finger tips and when absorbed into the right-brain as we experience the One True Father Figure, you can be assured will fill those empty voids like no other.
Here’s a sampling of some papa-promising scripture you might want to consider:
“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” (Psalm 68:5-6)
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for
him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him…(Luke 15:20)
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, `Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)
Though we continue to live in a society that throws the father role under the bus and deems it unnecessary, even disdained, let’s not fall for the lie. We ALL need a Father…“a good, good Father”. We need a defender, a protector, an encourager, a provider, a teacher. From Harvard Extension to Psychology Today you can still find concrete evidence of the importance of a father in the healthy development of his offspring. There is just no denying it. Ponder God’s words to you. Allow this Daddy to be all the hero you need. Hear Him calling you His loving child as He unabashedly runs toward you lavishing you with loving kindness.
HE is really all the Daddy you have ever needed and HE will love you “until the end of time.”