In Search of a Dad

Column Post by Glenda Harbinson

School plays, piano recitals, band concerts. From little girl to teenager, these were my moments in the spotlight, my time to shine. Every girl big or small wants her daddy there watching, cheering her on, pride glowing as his eyes follow her every move. I was no different.

My heart broke anew each time my daddy wouldn’t come. There were no reasons, no excuses; he simply refused. My heart still hurts remembering. The longing to be my daddy’s little princess never went away.  When he died five years ago, my hope and prayer that someday my dream would come true died with him. I’m unsure which grief was more devastating to me: the loss of my father or the loss of hope. Giving up that dream crushed me.

For years I prayed for a dad. I grew up in an intact family; for all it wasn’t, I did have a mother, a father and four siblings.  Even animals—it was a farm, after all.

I had a fantastic childhood hunting duck eggs for baking, raising calves and watching bunnies every spring.  Who could ask for more? Yet I longed for the love of a daddy.  As years went by I began to believe I should be outgrowing that need. Despite my efforts to smother it, it never went away.

I clung to Jesus through so many horrible things in life that when He was presented to me as a father I couldn’t grasp it. Jesus was my best friend who comforted me, held me, loved me. An attentive father? I had no idea what that was. I wanted one, asked repeatedly, yet the concept was foreign to me.

Into my forties I still longed for a daddy. People would tell me, “Turn to Jesus—He is all the Daddy you need.”  I wept in silence and wished I could make them understand I just didn’t have any idea how to do that. I kept crying and begging Jesus to allow me to feel that love, to be able to experience “daddy” so I could turn to God that way. He kept saying no.

It seemed it would never come to pass for me. I would struggle all my life wanting to serve a God with whom I just could not grasp a relationship. Then in March of 2012 God had a divine appointment for me.

I had become friends with Jo Ann Fore (through another amazing story) and had written her a note. Randomly (or so it might seem to those who don’t know our amazing God) another friend of hers responded to me. I didn’t know it then, but that man was the answer to my prayer.

My very first response to his post to me was “Oh, boy, what sort of Jesus freak is HE?” I smile now at the memory. Later I saw it from a different perspective and we began corresponding. God gave me a great gift that day: a man willing to take on a role he didn’t have to take.

He is an amazing man. He fathers me, mentors me, and guides me on our spiritual journey. He answers questions. He gently speaks to me when I’m acting in unacceptable ways. He loves me with an amazing agape love that can only come from the God who gave him to me.

I’m learning quickly to see God as that Daddy I can run to when I hurt, to understand that His arms truly are open to me all the time, that His love for me doesn’t go away just because I make a mistake or have a tantrum.  He loves me for me, just as I am.  He longs to see me grow but a bad day doesn’t make Him any less proud to call me His daughter. I have learned much about God as my father through this earthy role model God sent me.

I asked for years, but He provided at just the right time. This is a journey, and God always provides exactly what we need when He knows we are ready.

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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two  books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen

Glenda is a homeschooling mom of four in New Brunswick, Canada. She also fosters one teen and provides respite care and tutoring for another. She and her paramedic husband Mark have been married for 24 years. Glenda’s writings often reflect her personal experience parenting and teaching children with developmental and learning differences, as well as a particular empathy for moms with chronic illness. She blogs at http://pwsmommy.homeschooljournal.net/ and can be reached by emailing glenda.harbinson@gmail.com

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

4 thoughts on “In Search of a Dad

  1. Glenda, you said something that really hit it on the head for me. I had a similar experience with a father who was “there” but not “there.” When I first came to know the Lord, people said similar things to me, such as “Abba Father is your Daddy God.” I felt shame that I could not grasp the concept. One day, in the midst of a terrible divorce, pain and anxiety filled my heart and I thought, “I wish I could call my Dad and he would say, “come home, daughter, your room is still here waiting for you. I will take care of you.” He had passed away by then as well. I just felt God’s spirit speak to my heart. I felt he shared with me that even the best earthly father could not literally change my circumstances in the way I needed them to be changed. The verse, “As a father pities his children, so does the Lord pity those who love him,” (Psalm 103:13) kept coming into my mind. I went home after work that day and looked up the word, “pities.” It found it meant that the Lord had “overwhelming compassion.” After that, life began to change in big ways for me…ways that were amazing, as if the perfect Father orchestrated it when I came home to let him take care of me. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Linda, thanks so much for sharing your own experience. I’m afraid there are so many of us out there who share this particular hurt. I have felt that same longing for that invitation to be taken care of, even just for a time. I truly believe it’s one of the hardest struggles ever. I am so very glad that you have been able to find our Heavenly Father’s overwhelming love and compassion for you! It is an amazing discovery and one well worth seeking! God bless you in your relationship with our Abba Father!

  2. Glenda, my heart cried with you as you shared your deep desire for an earthly Dad who was truly there for you. To this day I still relate to Jesus more than Father and I know it has to be because of the fact I was a victim of incest from my own father so many years ago. I have found comfort in the fact that Jesus said “When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”. It is just that early connotation that fathers never fit our pictures of what little girls need and they are dangerous and scary…now, so many years later, I have realized I was caught up in what we call in coaching, “Mistaken thinking” . As Linda said, I, too, one day realized what ‘great compassion’ our Lord had for me and I have truly found Him to fill that gaping to hole in my heart that was never filled by a loving earthly Dad. And there truly are men out there that can be trusted. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Dixie, thank you. It is my desire that ALL of us who were hurt by men in our childhood can find the daddy our hearts long for in our Heavenly Father. He is there, waiting and wanting us to find comfort in Him even more than we long to find that same comfort. I am so glad to hear stories like yours of women who have found that comfort and healing in our Lord. He loves us with an everlasting all-encompassing love that will never ever let us go. Wow.
      God Bless you as you continue on in this journey toward eternity!

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