The Friday before Father’s Day at school finally arrived. “Tell us about your dad, Christel” Mrs. Brown excitedly said. I remember standing before my 1st grade class with tears in my eyes. “Tell them about my dad? What was I going to say?” I stood quietly, hoping she would just skip me for not answering quickly enough. My clasped hands started to sweat as I shifted my weight from one foot to another. Softly, I said, “He is really nice.” I hurriedly sat down in my seat.
Father’s Day Without a Father
This Sunday, I will celebrate my 40th Fatherless Father’s Day. Four months before I was born, my father was killed in active duty in Germany, while my mother was pregnant with me. The darkness surrounding my entrance into the world was something that I felt for many years after I was born. There was always an unspoken void in our home that could not be filled by anyone. No matter how hard my mother and family tried, I always felt that I was missing something…someone.
I was always told stories about how amazing my father was, about his kindness, and how much I resembled him. The well-meaning sentiments of others did absolutely nothing to fill the emptiness that I faced on multiple occasions. Daddy Daughter Dances, being called Daddy’s Little Girl, the Father Daughter Dance at my wedding, and Father’s Day were always the most emotionally stressful times in my life.
The presence of a father is something that is critical to the natural development of a child. God’s perfect design for families ensures that children receive a delicate balance of nurturing from both a loving mother and a loving father. Fathers are innately designed to protect and cover their family.
Throughout my life, my longing to be loved and protected, caused me to make bad decisions and place myself in situations that left me feeling emptier than before. No matter how hard I tried to fill the void of my father, nothing worked. My search for love led me into abusive situations, suicidal tendencies, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
The Impact of Fathers
My life, as well as the lives of many children around the world, is a living testament to research conducted on Fatherless Children. According to a report in “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being”:
Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.
Don’t get me wrong! My mother was and is one of the best mothers in the world. Her ability to love me, mold me, and lead me is what, I believe, kept me in some of my darkest moments. However, she was unable to show me the love of a father. According to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 out of 4 children are being raised without a father. My heart breaks hearing those numbers because I know first hand what it feels like to be a Fatherless Child.
Over the years, Father’s Day was just another day for me. I had no reason to celebrate, make cute crafts, or find a tacky tie for my father. So, I acted like it was no big deal. I even tried sending my mother a Father’s Day card using the rationalization that she was both my father and mother. None of these things worked to fill my void.
Almost 4 years ago, I met an amazing man. He listened to all my stories, accepted my personal baggage, and loved me for who I was. I remember spending hours just talking with him. It was like I had known him all my life. After 37 years, I was finally, “Daddy’s Princess!”
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalm 68:5
Yes! I grew up knowing about this man, Jesus Christ, but I never really met him. I never realized how amazing it was to be loved by our heavenly Father. Everything that I was searching for all my life, was fulfilled in an instant. God’s love for me is so indescribable and unexplainable that I no longer feel empty inside. Although my dad was unable to be with me throughout my life, God was always there. Despite the circumstance that surrounds a child becoming fatherless, there are:
3 Keys to Supporting Fatherless Children:
Acknowledge and validate the void of the absence of a father in a child’s life.
No matter the age, a person who lost their father or never had a father feels the emptiness in even the smallest ways. Helping that person acknowledging and validating their feelings is important to helping them grieve their loss.
It’s okay to grieve.
Just because a person did not lose their father in a tragedy doesn’t mean they do not go through the 5 stages of grief (You can learn about those HERE). Some people say, “you can’t miss what you never had.” This is not true when it comes to the absence or loss of a father. Allow a person to move through the process. Seeking counseling from a professional is nothing to be ashamed of and may ultimately be what is needed to heal.
Meet Your Heavenly Father
God loves each and everyone of His children so much that he sent His only son to die on the cross so that we all could spend eternity with Him. By introducing your child (or even yourself) to God, you will find a relationship with a Father who loves you for who you are. It doesn’t matter what you have done or been through, He is waiting to love you with open arms.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
So, this Father’s Day, when everyone is posting on social media about their amazing dads, don’t feel left out. Tell them about your Father. Tell them He is with you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Let them know your Father hung the sun, moon, and the stars in the sky. Put a post online that you are the child of a King and “The earth and everything in it exists for the LORD the world and those who live in it. Indeed, he founded it upon the seas, he established it upon deep waters.” (Psalm 24:1-2). Lastly, share that your Father is the King of All Kings, the Beginning and the Ending, and the Alpha and Omega.
To those who feel that they are a Fatherless Child, Celebrate Father’s Day!
Your Daddy is the Best of them all!
Christel is a wife and mommy to 8 exceptional children When she isn’t busy with her squad, you can find her blogging at Perfectly Blended and Blessed or on Facebook. She spends her days homeschooling their youngest 6, running the families non-profit organization, Focusing on Families, Inc., working as an Educational Consultant, and finding ways to be the “Chaos Coordinator” in their ever so crazy and quirky blended family.