I’ll tell you who – children.
“All the feminist rhetoric has not erased the deep-seated need that women have tucked in the recesses of their hearts-to be fathered by the father of their dreams. Little girls want a daddy to protect them, help them, guide them, nurture them, and cheer them on through the struggles in life.”*1
VH1 is now airing the Season 2 of Tough Love, a surprising hit among reality shows. Professional matchmaking team of mother and son take on 8 messed-up women with serious relationship hang-ups and teach them trust, respect and communication. The episode this past Sunday was surprisingly poignant, as the matchmakers had the women write letters to their fathers to reveal why the girls cannot have healthy, productive relationships with men. Every single girl had a bad or non-existent relationship with her father, including abandonment, abuse, neglect, and indifference. These are some of their letters.
Rocky is the crazy one; she is a single mother who flaunts her body and picks fights with the other girls. She wrote a song to her father, “How could you give me life and just leave me behind? I look at your face and see traces of mine. Not a call on my birthday, not ever a gift. When I blew out the candles you were always my wish. I will never make the same mistakes you did, every day of my life I’ll be there for my kid.”
Angel is closed off in relationships, never allowing any man to get close enough to care. She wrote to her Dad, “Why did you make me my Mom’s responsibility and not yours? All I ever wanted was your approval, for you to care. I’m sorry for my choices, and even though my life is not what you want, I still hate to disappoint you, which is why I lie to you.”
Jenna is a former obese girl whose self-esteem is non-existent. She wrote, “I’ve never been Daddy’s Little Girl. He is the most self-righteous, arrogant, critical man, and unfortunately I am just like him. At sixteen, when I was at my fattest, ugliest and most depressed I begged my father for help. He told me to stop crying, stop being a baby, and get over it.”
Sally, a girl who has been hurt in every relationship she has been in, said, “It’s been twenty years since I’ve seen your face, heard your voice. Twenty years since you have hugged me or kissed me or said you loved me. You will never walk me down the aisle or be there for the birth of my babies. You robbed my sister and I of any chance we had at having a normal healthy relationship. I hate you. I am terrified I will marry a man just like you.”
Liz, “I hate the fact that you were never present emotionally. Never once did you have an opinion about any matter in life, unless you were told to have an opinion by me, Mom or my brother Jacob. I wish you could have stood your grown at least once in your life, to give me an example of what a strong man should be like.”
Rocky grew up without a father and is now a single mother, raising her daughter without a father. Angel tells no one the truth about herself, her life or her past – she is so terrified of being disapproved of. Jenna is a beautiful sunny blond who hates herself, sees herself as ugly and unlovable and so men treat her that way. Sally has been abandoned by every guy she has ever dated. Liz breaks up with every guy she dates at the first sign of weakness. These women must work through their Daddy issues, forgiving him so they can heal before they will ever have a happy and healthy relationship with a husband.
Research results show that 24 million children (34%) live absent from their biological father. Approximately 40% of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all in the past year. About 50% of children living apart from their father have never even visited their father’s home. Studies have proven that children who live away from their biological fathers are more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological/adoptive parents. Similarly, girls without fathers are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as girls from stable two-parent homes.* 2
Reknown child sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, said “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person can bring.” A study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self-esteem. In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior.*2
Little girls dream of being cherished by their fathers. There is no greater desire in the heart of a little girl than that of her father’s approval. Sadly, that is not the reality for most girls, both little and grown-up. While throughout history a portion of men have repeatedly failed as fathers, God has never failed. He is the original father who cherishes His children, who loves His children with an everlasting love, and who delights in spending time with you, His child.
A good friend of mine hates the idea of God as Father, because she was physically and sexually abused by her earthly father. She longs to have a good relationship with her Creator, but cannot think of Him as father because of all the pain that term brings to the surface. She and I sat across the table from each other, she was weeping for the loss of her childhood and I was crying for her pain. I silently begged God to give me something to say, because I knew she could never really know God if she did not know Him as Father. The Holy Spirit took over the conversation and I was able to explain to her that the man who biologically aided in her creation was not her father. Her earthly father was the antithesis of fatherhood. The man who contributed to her birth was living in sin and defiance of God’s plan for him as a father. God will punish that man, but God loves her as His daughter. So,rather than looking to an earthly man to see what God is like as father, look to God to see how men should be fathers.
In the Old Testament, the subject of “widows and fatherless” appears 42 times. And all 42 times, God is either naming Himself as the father of the fatherless, commanding His people to care for the fatherless, or He is calling down judgment on His people because they have ignored the widows and fatherless. David calls God a “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation,” Psalm 68:5. God is Father to every believer, but He plays a special role in the lives of those who do not have an earthly father. My friend qualifies as fatherless because her biological donor has abdicated God’s calling on his life to love, cherish and provide for his child. My friend is a daughter of the God of heaven and earth.
The New Testament not only presents God as Father, but names us, believers, as His children. And not just children – we are heirs to the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father! Romans 8:14-17 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” AndGalatians 4:6-7 says, ““And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” “Abba” is the Aramaic word for ‘father.’ Both of these uses of father are in the vocative case, meaning that they are directly addressing God. The double use of the name father, repeated both in Aramaic and in Greek, emphasizes that the God of Heaven and Earth is now our Father! The message Paul communicates here is that we are now God’s children, we no longer have to go through an intermediary to speak to our King, He is now our Father. All we, His children, have to do is cry out and He hears.
Every other religion has an all-powerful god or goddess who demands worship and obedience. Only Christianity worships an All-Powerful Yahweh God who invites us to become His children, to call Him ‘Abba Father.’ “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty,” 2 Corinthians 6:18. God the Father is reaching out His hand to you, saying “I love you. I love you so much that I sent my only begotten Son to die for you that you could be my daughter. I love you, not because you are scheduled or beautiful, or talented or smart. I do not love you because you can do things for me. I love you because you are Mine.”
For those who have been blessed with good fathers, be thankful and allow God to fill in any gaps, because no human Dad is perfect. But for those whose fathers have abdicated their God-ordained role in your life – let God be your Father. All you have to do is accept Him as your Father. If you are a believer, God is already your Father, He is just waiting for you to open that part of your heart to Him so He can meet your needs. If you have never accepted Christ as Savior, you must do that to have an intimate, loving relationship with God as your Father, email us or click here to find out more.
Daughter, your Father is waiting with arms open wide.
*1 Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes
*2 U.S. Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, has a study out on ‘The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children’