I always knew I was different than the rest of my family, that somehow I didn’t belong. I used to tell people I was adopted, much to my mother’s consternation!
The first man I called Father was an alcoholic, a gambler, abusive and often absent. I was unaware of most of this as I was quite young when he left. Still he was the only man I knew as Father at the time and so mourned the loss in my 4 year old way. But when I was 13 years old it all blew open in a very heartbreaking and disturbing way.
The next father figure in my life, I didn’t call Father or Dad, he was John. He was a 36 year old bachelor who took on 7 children, had 3 more of his own, was very eccentric and became volatile and verbally and emotionally abusive over the years. He meant well but he was out of his depth. In many ways I am grateful for him though.
When I was 18 years old I was told that neither of these men were my biological father. He was a close family friend who I had always known and loved. He was a wonderful man who loved his children and us.
I was glad to know I had a different heritage yet felt so alone. I had a father who said he had always loved and wanted me but I had doubts. Why had he not told me, why had he not wanted me with him, did he really love me or was it just guilt or an obligation he felt? Nothing had really changed in my heart. I still felt unloved and unwanted. More alone than ever.
Fast forward numerous years until I was in my forties with 3 children of my own. My Dad had come to visit as he had off and on over the years. We were outside chatting. I don’t remember the conversation but near the end he came over, cupped my face in his hands and said in his Newfie accent, “I loves you!” and gave me a big kiss! I was stunned. For the first time in my life I truly believed him. It still makes me cry.
However, as wonderful and meaningful as that was, I had already discovered who my true Father was when I was 32. The Father who had always loved me from before I was born and who would never leave me. The Father who knew me better than I knew myself and loved me anyway, warts and all. The Father who sent a part of Himself, His son Jesus Christ, to earth to die so I could be with Him forever! This was the Father who had filled the hole and ache in my heart with Himself.
Psalm 27:10 “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” NIV
Psalm 68:5 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” NIV
So on this Father’s Day, whether you have a wonderful father, a lukewarm father, an abusive father or an absent father, I want to tell you there is a Father who loves you and who longs for you to turn to Him for all your needs. This is the Father to truly celebrate. The only One who is worthy of all our love and adoration!
2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” NKJV
Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba*, Father.” NKJV
So I pray you can celebrate Father’s Day in a new way and with a new heart this year, knowing Abba* Father!
*Abba is the Aramaic word for father that has an intimate meaning of “Daddy” behind it, as from a child to his father.