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Three years ago I received a gift on Father’s Day that I didn’t ask for but desperately needed. My family of four had just finished our Father’s Day brunch. The kids were happy, my belly was bulging, and the hubby felt appreciated.
All was right with the world.
And as I sat in the passenger side of the car gazing out the window I had a revelation. “I’m not bitter anymore,” I thought to myself. There was no anger, or unforgiveness: nothing.
I was completely shocked.
After wrestling for a decade or more with my father wounds, the idea of contentment was downright unbelievable. Growing up in a divorced household, I spent little to no time with my father. There were no Chick-fil-A daddy daughter dates, late night chats, or boyfriend interrogations.
I didn’t realize it until I became an adult, but his absence dug a bottomless pit in my heart that I tried to fill. It didn’t work and subsequently left me feeling empty. So when I got to college I decided I was going to change things.
I thought I could pursue my father, add a little water, stir and voila, right? With ease I could manifest the relationship of which I had dreamed. But real life doesn’t work like that.
After a series of disappointments, I found myself frustrated and angry, not just with my earthly father but my heavenly one too. In fact, God was the bigger culprit because He had all power. He could have instantly made things the way I wanted, but He chose not too.
Shamefully, as a result, I did what I chastise my kids about: threw a temper tantrum that lasted years. I was, however, still on speaking terms with God. I went to church, read the Bible, prayed and got a bunch of counseling; I just had a bad attitude while doing it.
Remarkably, He helped me in this state.
Which is why I was so surprised on that Father’s Day morning. God had performed a modern day miracle in me. He gave me the gift of perspective.
I realized Christian faith is not predicated on perfect circumstances but persist in the absence of them. My job is to follow God in the midst of whatever life hands me; and so I did. I learned to relinquish my ideals, accept the life I had, and love the people God had given me the best I could.
God showed me that He has a purpose for the difficult places in our lives.
SEE ALSO: Father's Day for the Fatherless
Every tear cried, heartache felt, and disappointment experienced all become tools in the hands of God the Father.
As we endure painful circumstances, God displays His extravagant love in our lives. We become a beautiful portrait of His grace and compassion for others who need to know God cares about them too.
I got to see this first hand when I began to talk to other women about their father wounds.
Whether I was in the salon, on a playdate with my kids, or at work, women had something to say about their father daughter relationships (or lack thereof). Without hesitation they spoke, recounting memories and words (often painful) of their biological fathers.
In those moments God made it all clear. I understood why my prayers were not answered in the way I thought they should have been. God had a plan for me that superseded what I wanted. His plan involved using me to communicate his heart to women who had experienced less than perfect father daughter relationships too.
I imagine if you're reading this there may be something difficult about your Father’s Day. Maybe your father died, or you are not on speaking terms with him. Maybe he just left your mother. Whatever it is, be encouraged my friend. Pursue God in your season of difficulty and know that He sees you.
God knows everything about you: whether it be sadness, anger, or a longing for your father’s affection. He not only sees but He cares as we are reminded in 1 Peter 5: 7 (NIV), “Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you.”
My hope is that this Father’s Day God would grant you the same gift he gave me. I pray you would see with laser sharp clarity how he can use your most challenging experience to encourage the hearts of women around you. May His abundant love be sufficient for you during your difficult, but purpose filled, Father’s Day.
Image Credit: Thinkstock/chaiyon021
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father.