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Kia Stephens

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February 28, 2015

3 Lessons Learned From a Father’s Rejection

February 28, 2015 | By | 29 Comments

After overcoming a fist fight with fear you finally pick up the phone to call him.  There is no answer. You leave a message, and wait, but he doesn’t call you back.

A day passes. Then a week or two and still no response.  The rejection stings like alcohol on an open wound.   Overwhelmed with grief you feel unloved, foolish, and defeated.  So you purpose never to be rejected or hurt by him again.

But time passes and you muster up the courage to reach out once more, only to find the scenario stuck on repeat.  You are tempted to give up, but the potential of a relationship  outweighs the possibility of being hurt. Finally, after being jilted for the umpteenth time you decide to call it quits, realizing you don’t have the courage or strength to initiate with your dad anymore.

But the quit is just a cover-up for disappointment because if he ever called you back, something in you would ache to talk to him.  Even though he might have missed the first day of school, the first point you scored, or your senior prom, you still want him present in your life.

With each unopened invitation it’s like you’re standing on top of a skyscraper screaming, “Come back daddy!  Be a part of my life! I’ll accept you and love you!”. But he never comes and the absence of a response communicates louder than words.

I don’t love you.

You are not worth my time.

You are not important to me.

I don’t want a relationship with you.

And it doesn’t matter what age you are, the rejection of a father leaves a lasting imprint on his daughter’s heart.  It is by design; we are wired that way.  Whether he failed to call us back, come to that special event, or tell us we looked pretty we are left feeling abandoned.

Deserted.

Forsaken.

Dr. James Dobson describes the longing of a little girl for her daddy in Bringing Up Girls.

“There is a place in the female soul reserved for Daddy, or a daddy figure, that will yearn for affirmation.  Not every girl or woman is the same, of course, but almost every girl desires a close bond with this most significant man in her life.  She will adore him if he loves and protects her and if she finds safety and warmth in his arms.  She will feel that way throughout life unless he disappoints her or until one of them dies.  She will tend to see all men through the lens of that relationship.  If he rejects and ignores her or worse, if he abuses and abandons her, the yearning within her becomes more intense, though it is often tainted with resentment and anger.”

I’ve been there.  And I have responded incorrectly on most of those occasions when I felt rejected, but in my failure to respond well, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to pass on.

Lesson #1:  Being Rejected Says More About the Rejector than the Rejectee

It is a natural response to internalize rejection: to assume that there must be something wrong with me.  I am not pretty, smart, accomplished, athletic, etcetera enough, because if I was, daddy would pursue me.  But this is a lie because you and I do not have to earn our father’s affection.

Staying is a choice that every parent can choose to make.  It is difficult to grasp why any father would opt out of his daughter’s life. However, exploring the possible reasons why helps women relinquish the burden of making the relationship work.  Without justifying the behavior, I would like to present a few possible reasons for the rejection of a father.

  • He may be burdened with guilt and shame because of what he has not done as a parent.
  • He may be living a selfish lifestyle.
  • He may feel unworthy of having a relationship with his daughter.
  • He may have been rejected by his father and not know how to be a parent.
  • He may be addicted to a chemical substance.
  • He may have relational difficulties with his daughter’s mother.
  • He may be an abuser, afraid he might hurt his daughter.

These reasons, by no means, justify a father’s rejection, but they provide perspective: freeing the trapped little girl inside the fatherless woman from believing the absence of her daddy is her fault.

Lesson #2:  Expectations Precede Disappointment

At the urging of a friend, I reached out to my dad in college.  Nervous and afraid, I sat down and penned a two page letter detailing all the events he’d missed in 18 years.  I conclude the letter with an invitation to start over.

Naively, I thought this was all I needed to do, just add water and stir to make the father daughter relationship I dreamed of; I was wrong.  Though we began to occasionally spend time together, we were like strangers meeting for the first time many times over.  I expected more.

I thought my efforts alone were enough; I didn’t realize they weren’t until my 30s.  Once reality settled in I discovered:

  • I cannot change people.
  • I cannot expect my relationships to measure up to my ideals.
  • I can choose to be thankful.
  • I cannot give love with the expectation of receiving something in return.

Learning to love without expectation, eliminates disappointment in the life of a fatherless daughter.

Lesson #3:  My Dad is Not God

“Sociologists say it’s common for people to perceive that God is like the fatherly figures in their lives. If dad is caring, patient and concerned, then children will believe God has those same characteristics. And the opposite holds true when a father is harsh, judgmental or absent.”  – The Washington Times

Though I grew up in the church, a large barrier existed between me and God.  When it came to my intimate needs, I perceived God as distant and unresponsive.  I viewed him through the lens of my earthly dad. But God cannot be limited by our comprehension of the word father.  He supersedes every connotation.

3 Lessons Learned Meme

God is the counter argument to the words echoing in our soul.

He says:

I love you.

You are worth my time.

You are important to me.

I want a relationship with you.

He is the perfect father.  And no earthly dad comes close to Him.  If you have experienced rejection by your daddy, allow the constant acceptance of God to heal your broken heart.

“When my father. . . forsakes me, then the Lord  will take me up.” Psalms 27: 10 (KJV)

Comments

  1. Sammie Barosy

    Hello Kia: Very well thoughtful and very well written. I had not read Psalm 27 in the same way until now, especially verse ten. Thank You!!!.

  2. Beautiful! I love how you say “God cannot be limited by our comprehension of the word father. He supersedes every connotation.” Those are words to hold close and within because when the world hands us a distorted view, the way to God is always crystal clear. Blessed to be your neighbor today at Testimony Tuesday.

  3. I have a young friend who is fatherless. She is also a young Christian. I need to be sure I share these words with her as she is reaching an age where she will need to decide if and how to reach out to him.

    • Helen, I pray this post will help your young friend on her journey to know her biological and heavenly father. I will be praying for her as she embarks on an unpredictable path.

  4. Amen! Amen! Amen! I am wildly cheering your words, which I tend to do with you. We need this message, this reminder. It is powerful and effective in healing. Thank you for this Kia! Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup Kia.

  5. I have not felt the rejection of my father but I do appreciate the thought you have put into this post because it will help others to look at this with a different perspective.

    • Thank you for your words Sandra. I hope this post will encourage women who have experience a father’s rejection.

  6. All good. Especially #2. So glad we have a big Daddy God who is always there for us. Never leaves us. And loves us perfectly… Linking from Testimony Tuesdays. Hugs to you, Kia.

  7. Thank you for such an open, honest,and transparent post…great strategies ❤️

  8. You have said everything well. I couldn’t help but agree in every lesson you mentioned. This is very enlightening especially for those who are currently undergoing the said rejection. It’s not easy to accept this truth, but that’s how it is.

    Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • Thank you Lux. It is such a difficult truth to embrace if you are going through it. My prayer is that every woman would know they are accepted by God even if they are rejected by their father.

  9. Love this 🙂 You said this all so beautifully and it is so importantly true. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this topic lately since my husband and I are foster parents. I know we are going to be going through a lot of these issues with my foster daughter; it bothers me when people say that she is lucky because she isn’t at all. She has lost so much already and even though we are doing all we can to keep up her relationship with her dad, there will always be some loss and grief. Thanks for giving me a lot to think about and things I can encourage her with!
    -Sara, uncommongrace..net

    • Sara, I pray you foster daughter will reach a place of peace as it relates to her biological father. I imagine it must be difficult looking on the outside in but God can mend her broken heart. I pray she would feel His presence through the care you and your husband provide. Be blessed and thank you for your words.

  10. Thank the Lord, He is a great Father! And He can heal us of the wounds of rejection. Thank you for sharing this post! Stopped by from the #fellowshipfridays link up at Equipping Godly Women!

  11. Great lessons! Too bad so many of us women have to learn them… too bad so many women never do… 🙁

    • Your statements are very true but I am hopeful that this blog will reach the women who need this message most. Thanks for your words Brittany.

  12. wonderful message Kia. I am so thankful for you that God has turned your life experience into a message which glorifies Him. Thank you for reaching out to help others.

    I’m linking up with Suzie today also for #livefreethursday

    Blessings

    • Thank you Jana. God is able to take the difficult parts of our lives and make a beautiful story for others to read. Be blessed! – Kia

  13. Lots of wisdom in this, Kia. <3 Thank you so much for sharing in #livefreeThursday. I'm so glad you do.

    • Thanks Suzie! So glad to link up with #livefree Thursday today. Be blessed! – Kia

  14. What a powerful post, Kia! I could be reading the words of my own daughter whose father has rejected her. This helps me so much to understand why her fellowship with God has seemingly soured. She may be viewing God through the lense of what her own father looks like. Thank you so much for sharing! Visiting your blog today through #LiveFree Thursday.

    • Janet I pray your daughter would see God as He is – without clouded judgement. Be blessed! – Kia

  15. Wow! This is packed with a lot of wisdom! I could have written this myself except it has taken me into my 50’s to understand what effect my dad’s leaving me as a child has had on who I’ve become and how I perceive myself. Thank you for sharing your insight.

    • Cindy, whether your 50 or 25 discovering the effects of your dad’s absence takes courage and hard work. I applaud you because it is not easy to do. Thank you for your words and I’m so glad you joined the conversation today. Be blessed! – Kia

  16. “My dad is not God”.

    Dang.

    The father wound is such a big wound, because it feels like it reflects who we are. If our dad doesn’t want us…

    Good luck in your walk, friend. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen, I love you bluntness (Not sure if that’s a word). Truly I did have to come to a realization that my dad and God were not one and the same. Had I not done this there would have been a huge barrier in the way of me and the intimate relationship with God the Father that we are promised in His word. So glad you joined the conversation today. Be blessed! – Kia

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