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A Father Who Never Leaves

Father

Me and my father

“I love you.” His voice reassured as he tenderly kissed my forehead.

Hopeful imagination of my biological father. A time he was absent in my life. A girl can dream.

My being so young when he left and the passing of time had a way of causing memories to escape. I had forgotten what he was like.

My mother’s hands were full with me and my twin sister. So, she scooped everything up—including us—and moved from Texas to her hometown in Virginia.

Soon we were fortunate to have a wonderful stepfather come into our lives—a man who, along with my mother, cared for and loved us as if we were his own daughters. To this day, I’m grateful for him.

But line seven of my birth certificate held a name.

My children’s certificates of live birth list the mother’s name first, directly following child’s name. My birth certificate from The Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas Department of Health, lists the father’s name firstdirectly following my name.

This piece of paper has been filed, proving my existence by documenting birth and the names of my mother and father. There are no blank spaces.

Yet, my life held a blank space and my heart an empty place. The space meant for a biological father.

To know a father

I wanted to know him. Would I be a daddy’s girl? I wondered if I could sit in his lap or if he wore cologne. Maybe he would hoist me to his shoulders so I had a better view of animals at the zoo. What kind of television shows did he like? Would he watch cartoons with me? All things I wondered about him and wanted to experience in a personal relationship with him.

I had a loving stepfather, yet my heart whispered inside of me, “a real father stays.”

The man—on line seven of my birth certificate—came back into my life when I was in elementary school. He gained visitation rights every other weekend with me and my sister.

He became known to me. He liked westerns and Johnny Cash. He cracked open pecans and salted before eating. Fried bologna and onion sandwiches were a favorite. He played the piano and harmonica. He turned the lights out and told ghost stories. He was a welder and a mechanic.

He was handsome—women swooned when he entered the room.

One thing he didn’t do with us—take us to church. My father did not believe in God. A self-proclaimed atheist, he’d say, “People think there is a God but there isn’t.”

I learned truths about God’s existence from my mother, friends in school, and the small church we attended.

At sixteen, about the time I began addressing my biological father as “Dad,” I heard the gospel message at a church service. Jesus Christ was sent by His Father, dying on a cross for me, loving me completely.

Father

Me and my father

The love I craved. I became a daughter of the Most High God. A child of the Heavenly Father. No longer a spiritual orphan—a Daddy’s girl.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

A father’s day

When I came to Christ, I began praying for my dad to believe in God.

It wasn’t Father’s Day, but what a wonder father’s day it was! Party balloons and family lined the walls of the nursing home’s activity room. My dad’s mother was celebrating a birthday.

During the festivities, my dad approached me teary-eyed. “Did you hear the news? I became a Christian.” What I hoped for came true. I was thirty-two. A sixteen-year prayer answered.

In 2010, five days before Christmas, my father passed away. The man listed on line seven of my birth certificate was in the presence of my Heavenly Father and his Heavenly Father. His birth and name on file, documented in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Earthly fathers can abandon us, physically or emotionally. We may never know our father because he left our world or this world.

A variety of fulfilling relationships occur with fathers, stepfathers, adopted fathers, or father-figures. Real blessings. But regardless of our earthly father-child experience, God, the Father cannot be compared.

God is infinitely better qualified to occupy our blank spaces and empty places with His love and presence.

The Bureau of Vital Statistics, Heaven’s Department of Life, has listed the Father’s name first, directly following our name when our certificate of live spiritual birth has been filed.

Father, image courtesy of PIxabay.com

Me and my Heavenly Father

“I love you.” Calvary’s cross reassures as God tenderly kisses our forehead.

A Father who never leaves.

© 2016 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved

* Cross image courtesy of Pixabay.

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June 16, 2016 at 9:15 am | Uncategorized


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Laura Strand says:

Such a familiar story. I too had a father who abandoned me. I met him at the age of 8. There was always a hole left by his absence despite an amazing step father. Our relationship remained tenuous and sadly he died at a young age, before really knowing his grandchildren. Thankfully our heavenly father sent me the love and loyalty of my husband, who has helped me heal, and be able to forgive my biological father.

Karen says:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and story, Laura. I’m sorry for your abandonment. It can tend to make us question love and why a father wouldn’t stay. But, oh the joy of knowing a heavenly Father who can satisfy our deepest longings to feel loved, to be a Daddy’s girl, and to run to His lap when we need comfort. Thankful your husband has helped the healing process. Blessings, my friend.

Rob Moore says:

Father’s are so needed and critical, as well as obviously the moms too. I am proud to have adopted my daughter after marrying her mother. Now my role as “Papaw” to 3 grandkids is incomparable. I would not trade any of it for anything in the universe. All of it priceless blessings from our Heavenly Father above. Praise and glory to Him!

Karen says:

Amen, Rob! It’s a high calling from the Most High God. How awesome that you’ve embraced fatherhood and not only does it bless you but your daughter and grandchildren. That’s wonderful. So thankful the Lord has lavished such love on us that we are called His children. Thanks for commenting and blessings, my friend.

[…] If you know my story, you know my biological father was not around for part of my life. But this wish came true. My dad came back into my life. Read more about that chapter of my story, A Father Who Never Leaves. […]

Oh, so moving and touching, Karen! Thank you for sharing for all those who have lost a father and/or have thought they were fatherless from the beginning.
God is the ultimate Father, creator, comforter, nurturer. May we all learn to trust and abide in His love!
Blessings!

Karen says:

Thanks, Martha. Yes, may we learn to abide in God’s unfailing and complete love. God is infinitely better qualified to occupy our blank spaces and empty places with His love and presence. Blessings!

Becca Starks says:

Wow! This tugs and hugs my aching heart! So beautifully written and so comforting to see my feelings held by a sister in Christ. I pray for any broken or bruised places left in you from this as I have almost the same journey with my father. He left when I was 11, never to return. Just 3 months ago, he was tragically murdered. The Lord truly gave me beauty from ashes in finding a letter of him writing a prayer acknowledging Jesus as Savior. Thank you for sharing this.

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