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Kia Stephens


January 25, 2015

Why Growing Up Fatherless Does Not Define Me

January 25, 2015 | By | 16 Comments

“How many of you never heard your earthly father say, I love you growing up?” asked the minister.  I was a little apprehensive to answer such a personal and private question publicly.  But as I watched several hands go up all around me I decided to raise my hand too, only to look to my immediate right and see the hand of my mother raised as well.

My grandfather was the previous pastor of the church I grew up in, so as you can imagine, I was shocked.  Although, my grandfather was a great and honorable man, he was not an affectionate father. It was sobering to discover my mother and I both shared this experience.  In 34 years the subject never came up between her and I.

Why would it? The absence of your father’s affection is not an everyday topic of conversation.  And before this blog I often remained quiet when the subject of fathers and daughters came up.  I did not want people to know my father daughter relationship wasn’t etched in a storybook.  So my silence became the security blanket I wrapped up in while secretly hoping someone could relate to me. And when I found a woman with a similar background I felt an instant sense of comradery.

Jonetta Rose Barras, author of  “Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl?  The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women, succinctly describes this sorority of women.  “We are legions, a multicolored choir of wounded.  Nearly four out of every ten children in the United States live without their fathers in their homes (the statistic is now 2 out of 3); 50 percent of them are girls according to The National Fatherhood Initiative.” Barras’ quote reminds me that this reality is not uncommon.

Iyanla Vanzant expounded on the wound that links us on Oprah Winfrey’s Daddyless Daughters Lifeclass.

“When daddy leaves he takes a piece of the daughters soul with him…” She goes on to say, “There are three ways you can be daddyless. . . It’s the daddyless daughter ache.. . Daddy is there but he’s not present, so you are aching to be seen, you’re aching to be acknowledged, you’re aching to be accepted, you’re aching to be approved.  We’re trying to catch somebody’s eye.  Very often, when we have gotten it from daddy and he let’s us know that you are beautiful,  and that you’re  pretty we don’t have as much of a craving for the external validation. Then there is the daddylessness where daddy was never there, so we fantasize about what it would have been like had daddy been there. We fantasize about who daddy was, and usually he’s not a scoundrel or a weasel he’s this thing, this great big hero thing that we missed. . . Then you have the daddy who was there and is now gone through divorce or death or whatever and that creates this yearning, this hole that nothing ever seems to fill.”

Her description of a fatherless daughter resonated with me as it did so many women in the audience, on Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.   I found it encouraging to see other women expose the ache I tried so long to conceal.  And though I could relate with the ache she described I did not want that ache to define me.

Why Growing Up Fatherless Does Not Define Me

The ache for a father’s love is a temporary description and not a permanent definition of our souls. “

 He says we are:


Jeremiah 31:3


Romans 8: 29 – 30


1 Peter 2:9


Psalms 27:10


Psalms 139: 14


Romans 15:7


Exodus 14:14

Taken Care Of

Philippians 4:19


Proverbs 31:25

So what about you?  Are you allowing yourself to be defined by what you did not experience with your earthly dad?   If so come out from behind the shadows.  Join the sisterhood of women who are owning their past and embracing a bright future with a God who loves them immensely.


  1. Rea

    I think the attribute of wanted speaks most to me. To know I am accepted and my presence is wanted makes me feel that I am here for a purpose.

    • So true! So often we look for other people to value us when we have been valued all along by the One who matters most.

  2. Shohana

    All of these attributes speak to me, each one is so important. And each one only God can fulfill. My Heavenly Father will never leave or forsake me ❤️

    • Shohana, they all speak to me too. These truths have been like water to a parched soul on many an occasion. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these attributes.

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart with many. I never knew my father as he left before I was born. You are so right – we are defined by our Father in heaven. Thank you for sharing these uplifting verses 🙂 God bless!

    • Thank you for being so transparent Ruth. I pray that the love of our heavenly Father would overwhelm you (if He hasn’t already) and satisfy the needs of your soul that went unmet.

  4. What a beautiful message to the fatherless. I am so blessed by your words today, Kia! I can identify with looking externally for validation and acceptance in the absence of paternal love. This verse in particular speaks to me: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up (Psalm 27:10).” Thank you for sharing; So glad you joined #RaRaLinkup today! 🙂

    • Thanks Tina for being so transparent. You picked one of my all time favorite verses. I can remember when I first read it and how I felt so loved by God in that moment. Isn’t just like God to tuck it away in scripture for women like you and me? Thanks again for you comment and know I have been blessed by your words too.

  5. Kia, I seriously cheer you on. This is a beautiful post. It resonates and speaks volumes. These are words that need to be spoken. Thank you for doing it. I am so blessed by the fact that you joined the #RaRalinkup. I am praying for you.

    • Thank you Kelly, for hosting the #RaRalinkup and providing an avenue where other women can share the message God has placed on their heart. I truly appreciate your encouragement and your prayers.

  6. Powerful and encouraging post! I’ll be sharing it in my fb page 🙂 thanks!

  7. Your words always make me pause and ponder parental relationships. I am hyper aware of my ons being fatherless as he and I got divorced 9 years ago but then he passed away two years later. It leaves me wondering if I am providing what my sons need. Both son have been blessed with father figures in their lives but it is to the same. Thank you for your provocative posts.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…I Love You, Summer!My Profile

    • Mary, thank you for being vulnerable regarding your sons. I’m only a few years into this parenting game and I question so many of the decisions I make or don’t make concerning my kids. I hope you are able to find comfort in God being the ultimate father for his boys. He is able to make up the difference between what we lacked from our earthly parents and what we needed in our development. This is my prayer for your boys. I pray they would discover (if they have not) how fulfilling a relationship with the Lord can be in the absence of their earthly dad. Thank you for joining this conversation and be blessed! – Kia

  8. Oh Kia, my heart ached for you and your mother as I read this post, but this, this right here: “The ache for a father’s love is a temporary description and not a permanent definition of our souls.” Amen and Hallelujah! I am rejoicing that you know your eternal Father’s love today. Thank you, Jesus, that no matter what our earthly experience we can know your love is perfect and complete. Blessed by you today.
    Abby McDonald recently posted…When We Dilute the Gospel of Grace (Link-up)My Profile

    • So true Abby! God gives plenty to those who know lack. His grace is so sufficient. I know now God had a plan for me and my mom. Had my experience not been what it was I would not be writing this blog for women with similar stories. So even in my difficult circumstance God makes my truth beautiful. Thank you Abby for joining the conversation today. Be blessed! – Kia

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