Happy Father's Day to all you men out there who are working hard, raising your family, loving your wife - the mother of your children, and proving that while any man can be a dad: it takes some special effort to be a Father.

You know that it takes hard work.  You may have learned some things at a slower pace than mom....but you got there.  And now you love it!   Your heart is lost to your children.  And they are all the better for it.   Today, we raise you up and celebrate the special place of a father in the home.

Well, at least I'd like to honor that special place.  The problem is, I don't know what that looks like. 
(And I am not referring to Left Brain....he'll get his own special post soon.)  Rather, once upon a time, I didn't know.  Now that I am married with children, this day is both joyous; yet also carries a sense of loss.   The pain of rejection may have left a long time ago.  Now there's just the numbness that often remains after a deep cut. 

I'm talking for those of us who didn't grow up with a father in our homes.  Or, at the very least, not a father we could count on; who made us feel safe, who we could be proud of.   Some of us just got.....a dad.   If we were lucky.   Maybe some of you reading this, got worse.  much worse.   What does this day mean to us?    How do you honor - what you don't have?  What you never knew?

They say the first most significant relationship in a young girl's life, is the one with her father.   Um, okay.   So what is to become of little girls, as I was, whose daddy is gone before their 2nd birthday?  (divorce) For the first half of my life, there was no celebration of Father's Day.  Well, we probably went to my Grandpa's....but not in our own home.   Was I aware of this as a child?   Oh yeah.  Painfully.   Divorce wasn't such a common thing back then.  No back and forth home hopping.   It was just me and my mom.   He was just gone.   Good riddance I am told.   Maybe.  But I wonder still.....does he ever wonder?

I don't have even one single memory.  Nothing.   He could walk by me in the street tomorrow, and I wouldn't know him.  I assume this bothered me as a child.  But then again, maybe it didn't.  Hard to miss what you never really had.    And since I also learned the hard way that it is better to have an absent father, than a new daddy, that also doesn't exactly honor the title (enter divorce #2), well I suppose I just figured at some point life was better off without them.   Clearly, that opinion changed at some point.

Well, yes.  My mom did eventually find Mr. Right.  However, at 25 it was a little too late to revisit those special father/daughter moments.  (Although, we did have some pretty great fishing moments.  coming home reeking of whiskey and cigars! sorry mom. but it's cold at 5 am on the lake, and the smoke keeps the bugs away!)  Yet, I am grateful to my step dad.   He did restore my faith in men.  Otherwise, I probably would not be married to this day.   Luckily for him, as an adult I knew it would be unfair to expect him to completely solve my "daddy issues".   So how did I overcome this hurdle to reach the place of actually celebrating this day?   To be "normal"?  Dare I say, well-adjusted?

The truth is, I never, ever was completely fatherless.   I had someone who is a "Father to the fatherless" (Psalm 68:5).   Someone who is great, powerful, majestic...greatly to be loved, and to be feared; yet also tender, merciful and good.  More than willing to step into the hole left by an absent biological father.  More than able to fill me up with His love, protect me in His shelter,  and make me new by giving me His HOPE.    There is no cruelty in His hands; only His healing touch.   There is no loneliness or fear of rejection, only perfect peace.

And if like was once me, you have that far away look of loss and sadness in your eyes today.   If you worry about the sins of your father coming to rest upon you.  If you've travelled too far the broken path of destruction and corruption.  If you wonder how love will ever find you; broken as you are.  Know this: there is a greater love waiting for you, far greater than the one you lost.  There is a Father who seeks you.....and strengthens you, so that you can be whole again.  He will find you and bring you home.  He's always been there; waiting to love you.   You will know joy at the sound of the name, "Father".

"… to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."   (John 1:12-13)

Happy Father's Day and God Bless you men!