The Best Gift We Can Offer Our Fathers
by Anita Agers Brooks
Father’s Day can be a tricky celebration for some of us.
Early into mid-life, a dramatic secret unraveled, forever changing me and transforming my perspective on Father’s Day. A series of events revealed a shocking discovery—my dad, the man who raised me from birth, is not my biological father. And as I soon learned, my birth father had no idea I even existed. After exhaustive efforts, I couldn’t find him.
Suddenly, everything I thought I knew about myself turned upside down. I felt all twisted up inside. And then I remembered a Bible verse I’d read many times, although now, it held a whole new meaning for me.
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalm 68:5 (NLT)
I needed this supernatural comfort as I wrestled through my emotions. Not only was I dealing with the information that half of what I believed about my existence was untrue, but old hurts bubbled up regarding my dad, the only man I’d ever known as a father.
It was a situation I knew I would never get over, but I knew I could get through it by going straight to the healing source. I crawled up into my heavenly daddy’s lap and gave myself permission to grieve.
So many questions peppered my brain, but in my private time, I prayed and opened my Bible. From the pages of God’s love letters, I found peace and began to unearth answers—not instantly, but over weeks and months of time.
I still battled my human feelings: confusion, fear, anxiety, sadness and occasional moments of anger. Especially when I watched movies or TV commercials showing fathers and children in loving embraces, or when I saw dads and kids laughing together in public. Their happiness and wholeness caused a little sting in my heart. But I imagined I wasn’t the only one.
During that period, I also began to think about the many ways and reasons other people face fatherless situations, especially as that first Father’s Day approached.
I thought about people estranged from their dads, maybe by choice, but especially those who wanted a closer relationship, but had experienced the cuts of rejected affection.
What of adult women and men who were distanced by miles and finances and wished for a Father’s Day reunion but didn’t have the resources to make it happen?
What about those who had felt the chronic hand of abuse from their fathers, feeling it unsafe to be in their presence now that they had a choice?
How many men and women did not know the identity of their fathers, or like me, how to find them if they had a name?
I reflected on people who had lost their daddies to death, living with the ache of loss, who could no longer experience their physical presence.
But as I mulled and meditated on the promises in Scripture, more and more, I realized how much I and others had to be grateful for. We had a choice. We could deny God’s faithful declaration to be “a father to the fatherless,” or we could embrace this powerful truth.
In my case, I had to move my mind up.
I accepted my circumstances. I’m an adult, I don’t need to cower before the fears, illusions and deceptions born from my conception. Bitterness and anger can only entangle me if I allow them room to grow. Through Jesus, the truth has set me free.
I began to practice godly self-care. I have a choice in how I proceed with my life—my past does not define me; however, my current decisions and faith in God will.
I focused on what I have and released resentment for what I don’t. I have the best Daddy, because God is my daddy. He holds me when I hurt, 24/7/365. He’s never too tired to let me crawl up into His lap and listen. He even celebrates my successes. Maybe I can’t physically wrap my arms around His neck, but I can feel His arms around me when I hurt. He also shows me tender affection by dropping daily gifts across my path, I only need open my eyes and recognize His signature. He will never leave me or reject me.
Today, I celebrate all three of my fathers who played an important role in making me who I am. Each of them has left a crucial and unique imprint on me, and Father’s Day is a great time to show them appreciation. But what do you give someone you can’t see?
Gratitude is the best gift we can offer any of our fathers.
For earthly dads who raised us the best they knew how, we can forgive them for their flaws, as we hope others will forgive us of ours. We can choose to love in words and actions, praying for them as if we’d never been hurt, even when we must do so from a distance.
For those of us with birth fathers we don’t know, we can pray for them and praise God for their DNA that helped make us one-of-a-kind.
When we miss our fathers, feeling the ache of separation by miles or death, we can live a positive, healthy and godly life in their honor.
For our heavenly Father, we can give Him the gift of quality time—thanking Him for His many blessings, as well as asking Him to meet our needs. (Loving daddies like to give to their children, so withholding our requests denies Him the pleasure of showering us with adoration.)
If you still have a healthy, vibrant relationship with your father, don’t feel guilty—feel grateful. And don’t let this Father’s Day pass without expressing your appreciation.
No matter what our father situation, nothing says, “I love you,” like thankfulness. It’s the priceless gift anyone can give and it especially blesses the giver.
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