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Loving My Earthly Dad - Fatherswap.com

Kia Stephens

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December 16, 2016

Following God When It Doesn’t Make Sense

December 16, 2016 | By | No Comments

In this live stream hangout I discusses the difficult topic of “Following God When it Doesn’t Make Sense” with Maya Dawson.  Maya candidly shares her tug of war with God after loosing her mother and father in a two year period and then battling cancer. Read More

Kia Stephens

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September 3, 2016

4 Reasons Why Men Don’t Father Part IV

September 3, 2016 | By | 4 Comments

By nature I’m selfish. Born into this world the only child, only niece, and only grandchild didn’t help my plight any. Erroneously, I believed this great big world revolved around me.

Sometimes I still do.

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Kia Stephens

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July 31, 2016

Why the Perfect Father Does Not Exist

July 31, 2016 | By | 2 Comments

As a product of the 80s my perfect family was the Huxtables.  Running for eight seasons the The Cosby Show portrayed a coveted view of family life.  They had it all – success, a clean house (Ahem),  laughter, and healthy family interactions.   

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Kia Stephens

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June 15, 2016

When Father’s Day Is Bitter Sweet

June 15, 2016 | By | 4 Comments

You celebrate a few men:

Your neighbor,

That random dad in Target with the kids,

Your friend’s husband,

and other relatives,

but when it comes to your own father things gets complicated.

While idyllic images of fathers and daughters flood social media channels, you struggle to find images to post.  Father’s day is just a reminder that things aren’t so ideal for you. And this holiday comes with a broad array of emotions:

Admiration,

Sorrow,

Love,

Rage,

Jealousy,

and Bitterness.

Thus, fueling the temptation to wear a mask for the day, so your true feelings remain undetected. You’d rather suppress your raw emotions then broadcast your pain at a time when no one else is. I have felt like this on a number of occasions, and as a professional stuffer, I can say with clarity, “Don’t do it.”

This method of dealing with pain is ineffective.  Passive aggression is like a fast moving bullet to the soul, leaving it’s victims with a non healing wound.  If this sounds familiar, and your Father’s Day experience is more bitter than sweet, I have three suggestions to help you process your feelings.

#1 Give Yourself Permission to Grieve What Has Been Lost  

The physical or emotional absence of a father is a traumatic experience in the life of his daughter.  Whether the cause be death, divorce, abandonment, distance, or substance abuse, the effect is a loss that must be grieved.  Though difficult to process, it is necessary, in order to heal.

Are you hurting today?

Is your father daughter story so painful you can barely talk about it?

If so, the Bible gives you license to mourn.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Grieve every difficult memory, wound inflicted, word said, moment missed, and rejection felt.  Your story should not be minimized or dismissed.  If it is painful to you then it matters to God.  One of my favorite scriptures says it like this, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

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And you might be saying, “I’ve tried to release it, but the wound is too deep.”  I completely understand. The process of grieving takes time and is unique to every person.  Enlist support on your journey; you may require the help of a professional counselor, or a trusted friend.  Whatever it takes, for however long it takes, you will “be comforted” in your grief by God.  So do not lose heart.

# 2 Choose Forgiveness

The love you feel for your daddy only makes the dagger of his words and actions sink deeper. And attempting to forgive him is like falling down a bottomless pit: never coming to the end of his offenses against you.  I get it.  You are tired of trying to forgive a man that doesn’t seem to deserve forgiveness.  

And if it had not been for the selfless act of a Jewish carpenter, I might encourage you to forget about forgiving your daddy.  But because of Christ, my forgiveness is not conditional and yours either. We forgive because we have been forgiven, period.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

And this is more easily said than done, but it is doable. Christ is the impetus for, and the enabler of forgiveness.  Without Him it is impossible to willingly and consistently relinquish my right to hold a grudge towards my offender.

Every time I forgive with my mouth I ask God to help my emotions to follow suit.  And if the pain resurfaces, or a new offense is made, I continue to lean on the power of my heavenly father to forgive again. 

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August 31, 2015

Pursuing Your Daddy When He Doesn’t Pursue You Back

August 31, 2015 | By | 16 Comments

Recently, a young reader asked me about contacting her father.  She questioned whether it would be a good idea since she had never met him.  Tucked within the subtext of her inquiry was the fear that reaching out to her dad could be more painful than not reaching at all.  

I understood the apprehension in her email.  Every woman with an absentee dad knows any attempt to connect with her father might result in rejection.  No one wants to be ignored or dismissed, especially by her daddy.   

As women, we live with an innate longing to be cherished by our fathers.  We are wired to flourish in his praise.  Even if the relationship is muddied with abandonment and painful memories, the desire to know and connect with our dad persists.

So we weigh the pros with the cons and evaluate whether to pursue a dad who isn’t   pursuing us. Despite the potential to be brushed-off, I recommended she connect with her dad, but only after processing her pain first. Eighteen years ago I needed this same advice.  

I was in college when a friend shared how she wrote a letter to her father.  She penned all the major events he missed and invited him back into her life. “This is doable,” I thought.   

So one day I sat at the computer and typed a two page letter giving the chronological rundown on everything from Elementary to High School.  When I came home on holiday breaks I stole pictures from my mom’s photo albums and gave them to my father.  I called him and initiated outings.  I invited him over to the house.  I visited, sent cards, prayed and believed.  I did everything I could do.

The expectation was that my efforts would produce a made-for-TV father daughter relationship.  With a little effort I could snap my fingers and poof, instant bonding; it didn’t work like that.  We did begin a relationship but it was like meeting with a stranger over and over again.

I underestimated the barriers between my dad and I: time, culture, pain, fear, beliefs, mistrust, distance, expectations, and lifestyle choices, to name a few.  Like swimming against the current, forging a relationship with my dad was difficult.   I never anticipated that it would be.

I thought hard work would manifest the ideal father daughter relationship I longed for; it did not.  What I failed to realize was my perspective needed to change.  The impetus for pursuing my father had been centered around me.

My Needs

My Wants

My Expectations

My Ideals

My Hurt

Although the initial pursuit of my daddy seemed noble, I was motivated by selfish gain.  And some might argue that I was justified in my all-about-me-state.  After all, didn’t I  deserve to be fathered, loved, and cherished?  

The truth I had to embrace was, initiating a relationship with my daddy in hopes of receiving his love and affirmation was a risky and sometimes futile attempt.  

 When we obligate another person to fill our emotional bucket we set ourselves up for disappointment.  

Pursuing a relationship with our fathers requires a commitment to love him whether he reciprocates our efforts or not.  This is a mindshift, but I believe it is one we must have when initiating a relationship with our fathers.  If you are considering this journey I have extracted 4 take aways from my own personal pursuit that may be helpful to you.

Start with God

Without Jesus Christ I would be tempted to slip back into a you-owe-me-mentality.  When viewing my father daughter relationship through the lens of the cross I realize my father owes me nothing.  The selfless sacrifice of Christ paid the debt for me and my dad.  

  Only He can empower us to love unconditionally. This is difficult but achievable.  

  Love looks, sounds and feels like God.

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won't Soothe A Love Ache

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe A Love Ache

Forgive Your Father

If you are fantasizing about the day you can unload all of your painful baggage on your father’s doorstep you are probably harboring unforgiveness.  That bitter root in you is like grease in a fire. It will spread covering everything in its path; your relationships, your vision, and your future. You must rid yourself of unforgiveness before pursuing your daddy.  Unforgiveness lays a faulty foundation for any relationship.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

When a daughter walks into her father’s life for the first time she doesn’t know what to expect.  For this reason I would recommend mentally walking yourself through several different scenarios.

What if my dad has another family?

What if he was there for his other children?

What if he is dead?

What if he is incarcerated?

What if he is on drugs?

What if he has a questionable past?

What if he isn’t’ interested in getting to know me?

What if he is embarrassed?

What if he doesn’t accept me?

These questions are tough to read and none of them may be true in your situation.  However, I believe it is better to consider all possible outcomes.

Develop a Support System

Don’t do this alone.  Ask your closest friends to pray for you (and me too).  You may need a shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold.  Be vulnerable and allow your trusted friends to provide support for you.

I want to leave you with an encouragement if you feel like pursuing your daddy means no one is pursuing you.  The truth is God has pursued you since your birth.  He is wooing you through the people you meet, the blessings in life, the words of this blog post and in more ways than we know or or can imagine.  He loves you infinitely and He is more than capable of loving you as you endeavor to love your dad.

Pursuing Your Daddy When He Doesn't Pursue You Back Meme 9

 

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July 13, 2015

6 Steps to Writing a Forgiveness Letter

July 13, 2015 | By | 14 Comments

“Have you written a forgiveness letter to your father?,” my counselor asked.   In 30 years it never occurred to me that I needed to forgive him. “He wasn’t around so there is nothing to forgive,” I thought to myself.   And even though her prompting seemed unnecessary, I decided to take the advice.

Initially it was awkward – like writing a letter to a stranger – but as I began to write, a reservoir of words and emotions poured out.  I was shocked.  Feelings surfaced I didn’t know were there.

And how could I have known I was carrying a buffet full of undealt with emotions if I never took the time to acknowledged their existence?  Out of sight out of mind, right?

Wrong.

 Our bodies are not designed to store hurt; eventually, it will reemerge.  And though it’s difficult to move beyond the pain, moving is a must.

 But how?  How do we do this when our wounded minds are like a perpetual DVR: recording and replaying negative memories?  I believe a forgiveness letter is one tool that can facilitate our healing.

A Word of Caution

  Proverbs 18: 21 (NIV) says, “The tongue has the power of life and death. . .”   For this reason, I never gave the letter to my father.  It was solely a tool for me to process my feelings, not a weapon to inflict pain.  I encourage you to do the same because a decision not to could be even more detrimental to the relationship.

If your father has harmed you,  it may be tempting to seek revenge.  You may want to hurt him the way he has hurt you.  Don’t do it! The Bible has given us specific instruction as to how we are to treat those who wrong us.  “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”  Romans 12: 19 (NIV)

6 Steps to Writing a Forgiveness Letter

Step # 1 

Dear Dad, It has been brought to my attention that there needs to be communication and healing in our relationship.  First of all I want to begin this letter by asking you to forgive me.  In seeking healing I realize I must examine myself first.  I specifically apologize for:   (You may feel that you have not done anything wrong.  To help you with this section ask God to bring to mind times when you have dishonored your father in word or deed.)  

Step # 2

Second, I want you to know that I forgive you.  I understand that to forgive you does not mean that I condone any actions of the past or present. To forgive you means that I no longer choose to be personally bound to the pain of your actions. I therefore choose, by an act of my will, to forgive you for:  (In this section be brutally honest with the actions of your father that wounded you.)  By forgiving you I am trusting God to be the great equalizer and avenger.

Step # 3

In choosing to be totally free I need to tell you how your actions above made me feel.  (In this section list all of your feelings from childhood to the present that resulted from the actions of your father. )

Step # 4

At this time I need to vent, release, and express my feelings towards you and your actions.  (In this section say everything you want to say that should not be said in person.)

Step # 5

In order to complete this healing, I am choosing to acknowledge actions on your part that I admire or cherish. ( Depending on your relationship with your father it may be difficult to come up with information for this section.  If you cannot complete this section leave it blank or don’t include it in the letter, but I challenge you to find at least one thing. )

Step # 6

At this time I want to thank you for:  ( If this section is a struggle, know that you can always thank your father for life.) Lastly, in completing this letter, I am now choosing to release the past.  I am looking towards the future in allowing God to teach me how to love you.

The Impact

I could not complete my letter in one sitting.  In fact there were times in the letter writing process that uprooted deep-seated hurts repressed for years. Those hurts had to be grieved before I could continue.  I want to encourage you not to rush the process but let the process guide you on your healing journey.

Once the letter was completed I read it aloud, alone, and to an empty chair.  This is another forgiveness technique that enables you to envision yourself speaking to your offender.   I cannot say that I was completely free after this but I was better.  I forgave my dad first with my will and then I asked God to help my mind and emotions to follow.  In time they did just that.

Ladies, this work is not easy.  You may feel like the pain is too deep and healing is an impossible dream, but you can do it.  Please know that I am praying for you. I believe you will overcome!  God has not put a period at this juncture in your life, but a comma.

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Dear Heavenly Father,

The process of forgiving is so tough.  Thank you for modeling true forgiveness for us everyday.  May we forever be reminded of the way we have been forgiven as we endeavor to completely and without reservation forgive our earthly fathers.  We know that you are faithful and will enable our hearts and minds to follow our will.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen

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Kia Stephens

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June 28, 2015

Why You Shouldn’t Give Him A Piece of Your Mind

June 28, 2015 | By | 16 Comments

As a woman obsessed  with happy endings, I held onto a fantasy father I was never destined to have.  He was an imaginary mix of TV dads from the 80s I wanted to magically manifest into my earthly father. It was foolish to expect my dad to be someone else, but I did for much of our relationship.

After years of distance, I thought reconnecting with him would be like making instant tea: just add water and voila. If I call, write, and pursue, eventually we will have the father daughter relationship I’ve longed for.  I was wrong.

It took many years and some counseling to process my unrealistic expectations.  As a part of that process, I had to learn to distinguish between a lie and the truth.

Lie:  If my dad does not meet my expectations he does not love me.
Truth:  Placing expectations on how my dad should love me can lead to disappointment.  I must look to God to meet my need to be loved.   

“And my God will meet all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

A few years ago my expectations became the root cause of an emotional meltdown experienced after calling my dad when he couldn’t talk.  “I’ll call you back.” is what he said, but “I won’t call at all,” is what I heard.   I felt rejected.  I had been here before.

Rage and hurt birthed a child named insanity in a matter of minutes.   And without countering my emotions with truth, I uttered those infamous words.  “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind.”

“Are you sure this is what you want to do?”, a friend asked.  Her words should have been the red-flashing-lights I needed to press the breaks and re-evaluate my decision – but I charged ahead.  Irrate and overly delusional, I called my dad.  I said several words I wish I could take back.

“You did not call me yesterday because I checked my caller ID and there were no missed calls!”  “I did,” he calmly replied.  But my words dominated the conversation and left no room for his.  And I culminated my masterful soliloquy with a bold declaration, “ I will not be calling you anymore.”

Seriously, Kia?

In his strong thick accent, full of grace and humility, he responded,  “Ok, goodbye and I love you.”  We hung up the phone and I was smothered by silence.  “Wait, don’t go! I really didn’t mean it,”  I wanted to say – but didn’t.

And there I sat, miserable and crushed by the weight of the dial tone.  Then – by divine inspiration – I got the bright idea to check my voicemail messages.  There, sitting in my inbox was a missed call from my father the day before, “I called, but you weren’t there, I love you, dad”.

He had in fact called me the night before.  I had no grounds for using what seemed to be an appropriate use of the phrase “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind.”  The frustration unleashed on my dad was undeserved .

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

He could have responded in anger but he chose mercy.  Lovingly and with complete forgiveness my dad accepted the apology I gave  him – just minutes after I released the floodgates of unbridled emotions through his cell phone. “Oh, it’s okay, everyone gets upset. Just remember we are blood and I will always love you.” I was speechless.  (That’s saying a lot.) I gained a great deal of respect for my dad that day and  I laid my fantasy father to rest.

Why You Shouldn't Give Him a Piece of Your Mind Meme 3

These are the  tough lessons learned.

  1.  
  2.  Unrealistic expectations damage relationships.
  3. Always distinguish between a lie and the truth of God’s word.
  4. No matter what, honor thy father!

(Ask God what that looks like for your father daughter relationship.)

  1. Trust God to meet my needs.
  2. Apologize when I am wrong.
  3. Practice applying 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8.
Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . .
  1. Be slow to speak.
  2. Check my visual voicemail messages and missed calls.
  3. Never use the phrase “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind” again.

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June 8, 2015

Dear Hallmark. . . 3 Card Categories to Add For Father’s Day

June 8, 2015 | By | 6 Comments

When it comes to cards, I’m usually late.  I have good intentions, really I do, but somehow between life and my multitasking proclivities, I forget.  Thus resulting in me, running into Walmart for a last minute expression of love.

Father’s Day is no different, except I know in advance I probably won’t find heartfelt words to fit my father daughter relationship.

“You’ve always been there for me.”

“Throughout my life, I could depend on you . . . “

“Thank you for always making time for me.”

Captions like these leave me fumbling through card options looking for words that sort of kind of work – but not really.  Ten minutes turn into thirty and I end up choosing a card that will just have to do.  And every year, even though the card I need does not exist, I keep coming back like it does.  So this post is my cyber suggestion for some Father’s Day card alternatives.

Category # 1:   For the Father Daughter Relationship That Is Complicated

It’s not that you don’t have anything to say to your dad, because you do.  But when you are together, your bottled up emotions collide with his, producing the loudest silence.  Whether on the phone or eye to eye, the space between you feels impenetrable, filled with things you can’t talk about:

His  availability.

His addiction.

His work obsession.

His pride.

And you struggle to communicate love to a man who does not seem to love you back.  Given this reality, you need a card that articulates the words you can’t seem to say in person.

Dad, sometimes I find it difficult to talk with you.  
I wish things were different.  
But despite the unspoken words between us I want you to know,
I love you.  

 

Category #2: For the Daughter Who Has Never Met Her Father

His looks, likes, and ways are a mystery. You wonder which of your traits came from him.

Do we have the same nose?

Height?

Laugh?

And the possibility that you may never know who your father is, leaves you with an array of emotions.

Discouragement, hope, fear, and anger trade places like a game of musical chairs: bombarding your mind with questions you can’t answer.

Why didn’t he pursue me?

Does he not want a relationship?

What if I never know who he is?

The trauma of his absence reaps a harvest of varying responses; making it difficult to succinctly capture words that every fatherless daughter can relate to.

Some women may deem participation in this holiday unnecessary.  Others might find it difficult to purchase a card for an absentee dad. But there is still another perspective: a delicate blend of forgiveness and hope.

A card from this viewpoint would cradle the dream of a fatherless daughter who yearns to meet her daddy someday.  And although a purchase like this may seem illogical to some, for a daughter searching for her dad, it makes perfect sense.  In faith, this card would be a keepsake, saved for the day you meet your father for the first time.

I have longed to know you, dad.  
When I was a child, the promise of you and I filled my thoughts.   
I envisioned us one day having a relationship,
but when my fantasy met reality,
I became disillusioned with the idea of us.
I lost hope.  
Even still, my spirit has not been completely broken.
I am willing to work on our relationship.  
There will always be a place in me that is connected to you,
because you are my father.

Category # 3 For the Brokenhearted Daughter on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a time of adoration and affection, but it can also be a source of pain: stirring up feelings of rejection, disappointment, and unfulfilled longing. And at the apex of this agony, God speaks to His daughters.  Whether the relationship is distant, fractured or non existent, He has time tested encouragement that communicates his heart to every woman with a daddy ache.

I want to fill the father shaped void in your soul.
I will secure you.
I love you with an everlasting love.
Before your conception, I envisioned you.
Like a doting daddy, I was there when you. . .
 Took your first step.
Went to Kindergarten..
Kicked your first goal.
Lost your first tooth.
Went on your first date.
I never missed a milestone, and I never will.
I am with you always.
I love you.
Nothing will ever separate you from my love.
You will always be a Daddy’s Girl.

– God –

Why I Forgave My Daddy Meme 4.1

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April 11, 2015

Why I Forgave My Daddy

April 11, 2015 | By | 10 Comments

Memories wrap around our souls like skin, reminding us – with every movement – of the pain inflicted, knowingly and unknowingly, by our fathers.

That event he missed.

The words he said.

His actions louder than words.

And we are often oblivious to the weight this record of wrongs has on our life.  It was in my own state of oblivion that a counselor asked a poignant question.

“Have you written a forgiveness letter to your father?” she said.   “Why, he wasn’t around?” I naively thought to myself.  In 30 years it never occurred to me that I needed to dispense unmerited mercy.

After that probing question I played a game of tug-o-war with a pressing decision;  I forgive him; I forgive him not. The fear of recurring wounds made commitment difficult.  I couldn’t figure out how or why I should give up my list of grievances for someone who might hurt me again.  Torn between two options, I finally made the choice to grant grace to my dad.

Books became the hammer I used to chip away at my stubborn will – one in particular stands out.  Joyce Meyers, Christian Author and speaker, details the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father in her book, Beauty for Ashes.  She says,  “I was sexually, physically, verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused from the time I can remember until I finally left home at the age of eighteen”.

Her story – jagged and mired with thorns – is difficult to read, let alone live through.  Even still, Joyce details how she forgave her father at the end of the book.   She offers a compelling case for letting go of offenses, but it was not enough for me.

I needed more than another woman’s journey to give up my right to hold his pardon hostage.  Aided by disappointment, I  maintained a grudge,  embodied anger, and embraced bitterness.  I needed a counter argument I could not refute; it was found in Christ.

Betrayed.

Rejected.

Struck.

Spat on.

Mocked.

Beaten unrecognizable.

Stripped.

Flogged.

Abandoned.

Crucified.

For me.

Why I Forgave My Daddy Meme

On a cross Christ died for my unforgivable acts and those of my father.  

 He did this knowing I would grudgingly offer this gift He so freely gave to me.

With Christ as my compass I must release any and every offender.   I forgive my daddy because I have been forgiven. Period.

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And it must be noted that this choice does not justify the behavior of the guilty party.  It does not dismiss or excuse the acts they committed against you.  Nor does it require forgetting, denying pain, or reconciliation.  Forgiveness is a decision to surrender our right to hold another person responsible for the wrong done to us.

Why I Forgave My Daddy Meme 3

Though I do not know the tender ache of the misdeeds you suffered,  I know the one who has forgiven you and your offender. 

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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)

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