3 Reasons Why Women Need to Talk About Being Fatherless
My announcement triggered women to speak words they’d been waiting to say. “I’m going to write a blog for fatherless daughters,” I said. Instantly, their body language responded before their mouths ever did.
Whether I was in the salon, on a play-date with my kids, or at work, women had something to say about their father daughter relationships (or lack thereof). Without hesitation they spoke, recounting memories and words (often painful) of their biological fathers.
“I just met my dad two weeks ago.”
“I don’t know who my father is.”
“My daddy was an alcoholic.”
“I heard my father call my mother a heifer.”
“My dad introduced me as his son.”
Unfortunately, their experiences tilted the scale towards the negative, thus confirming the need for a conversation. Whether fatherless due to death, abandonment, abuse, divorce, or an emotionally absent dad, many women carry a wound that demands attention. I know this first hand and have spent more than a decade addressing this issue in my own life. What I found can be summed up in 3 reasons why we need to talk about being fatherless.
Reason 1: Our Formative Years Impact Our Behavior
Behavior is shaped by the relationships, events, and experiences of our beginning years. To ignore these imprints would be like pretending we magically dropped on the planet when we turned 18. We may not want to admit it, but in many cases those influences (good or bad) consciously and subconsciously shape who we are. For this reason a woman’s behavior is dramatically impacted by the absence of her father.
In his book, Always Daddy’s Girl, H. Norman Wright had the following to say about the initial relationship between a father and a daughter.
“Your relationship with your father was your critical interaction with the masculine gender. He was the first man whose attention you wanted to gain. He was the first man you flirted with, the first man to cuddle you and kiss you the first man to prize you as a very special girl among all other girls. All of these experiences with your father were vital to him and all other men: your femininity. The fawning attention of a father for his daughter prepares her for her uniquely feminine role as a girlfriend, fiance and wife.”
So if the dad is missing, and there is no stand-in father figure, the daughter is left to fill that void on her own. I did. Is there no wonder a parade of talk shows have milked the subject directly and indirectly since the 90s?
From Geraldo to Oprah, they all too predictably end with a made for TV bow on top that barely scratches the surface. The obvious reality is that one hour minus commercial breaks is not enough time to deal with this deep wound. It has taken me years and I remain dependent on the One who can heal me daily.
As women who grew up lacking the tangible love of our fathers we must be willing to:
- Admit we have an ache.
- Give ourselves permission to grieve what we did not experience.
- Identify the lies we told ourselves in the process.
- Replace the lies with truth.
- Choose a lifestyle of forgiveness.
- Embrace an abundant relationship with our heavenly Father.
If we choose not to, the effects can be devastating.
Reason 2: History Can Repeat Itself
I became a fatherless daughter as the result of divorce and that seed had fertile ground to flourish in my early years of marriage. Both of us were fatherless and did not grow up with models of what marriage should look like. Needless to say,we jumped the broom and our wounded souls joined in holy matrimony right along with our bodies.
Honestly, outside of God there is no logical reason we should be on the other side of an eleven year marriage. Even though God uniquely fashioned a Jesus-Fix-My- Life-Intervention-Program prior to us saying I do, there were many blind spots I did not notice until I was swimming in the deep end of the pool. After conversing with hindsight I wish I had taken the steps below before I got hitched.
- Keenly identify the needs that went unmet in my childhood.
- Practice going to God to get those needs met.
- Recognize and believe wholeheartedly that God defines me.
- Allow God’s word to make me whole and complete first.
If you’re like me and these words are too late to implement prior to marriage, start where you are. But if you are unmarried, with the desire to be married some day, TAKE HEED! Let this blog post be like a pesky fly on your favorite meal. Stop – don’t dive into a relationship and definitely not marriage until you do the above steps.
Reason 3: There is a Solution
If you knew the cure for cancer would you keep it to yourself? Would you remain silent as family members and friends received their life-altering diagnosis? Of course you wouldn’t. I believe you would tell anyone who would listen in an effort to save lives.
Fatherlessness is not cancer but there are parallels between the disease and what has become an epidemic. It starts small; some traumatic event occurs – like divorce, teenage pregnancy, death, or incarceration. And then it spreads. Subtly and gradually overtime infecting the adult lives of the children who experienced it.
Hence the reason for this blog. I was one of those children. But God has taken this broken, needy, fatherless girl with a low self-esteem and He is making me whole. I struggled for years in my youth and my adult life and God has met me in a way I did not know was possible.
He is abundance replacing lack in the life of a fatherless daughter. The cure for the ache in your soul is found in Him.
I know this because I’ve been adopted by God. This adoption is not just for the select few. It is available for every un-fathered girl turned woman who has ever longed to be adored by her daddy. “See what great love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 NIV.
I love the word lavished in this scripture!
So grab a woman, go to Starbucks and let’s start having a conversation.