MEMORIZE: When my mother and father forsake me then the Lord shall take me up. Psalm 27:10
READ: Psalm: 27
Challenge #24: Briefly describe your relationship with your father and how you believe it has affected your romantic relationships. If your father is in your life in any way; call, text, email or tweet him just to tell him you care.
Daddy’s lil girl. Every young lady longs to be one, but the reality of over 40% of children being born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother, or even the grandparent, makes this a far-fetched dream for many of us. I was that dreamer. For over half of my life, my father was a stranger to me; I knew his name and face, but not much else. At the ripe, impressionable age of 15, my father told me never to call him again, then changed his number and moved to Virginia, just in case I didn’t get the message. That was over 15 years ago. His brother, my uncle, tracked me down in 2011 and told me that he had passed away. With the recent passing of my father, God showed me that I was still holding on to some hurts that I never knew I had. Because I now realize how it affected every relationship that I was ever in, and how it would have affected every other relationship that I would ever begin, until I had dealt with it—I think it’s important to share within this challenge. There may be a man or woman dealing with Daddy issues who needs to hear how to gain the courage to face and heal them.
My Daddy issues ran deep. And they ran rampant. They controlled so much of me. But the most troubling part was that I didn’t know I had them. This is what made them dangerous—they tainted all of my relationships, even my platonic interactions with males, without my knowledge. I faced abandonment issues, insecurity issues, and self-image issues. I was a mess, and it takes a lot out of me to be this transparent. His choice as a man affected the woman that I would become. I don’t believe men truly understand the damage they can inflict on their children when they decide to leave. It leaves a wound that only God can heal, but many don’t suspect it’s there, so they will never get the healing they need.
Man or woman, no matter how much we may try to downplay or minimize the role, we all need to feel the love of a father. This is not meant to slight the love of a mother, because her love is incomparable, but I believe that the father’s role in our lives may, in some ways, have a more direct impact on how we grow up to have other relationships.
A father is the first person that chooses you in your life. There is never doubt of the maternity of a baby because a mother physically carries it — it can’t be denied because she gave birth. However, the father has the unique choice to acknowledge that the child is his, verbally and by action, before a paternity test is given. I believe this is what gives the dynamics of the relationship with the father a different perspective. Whether you have ever thought of it this way or not; if your father is in your life, was in your life, or has ever acknowledged you without proof, then this is the first earthly example you have of a man choosing you because he wanted you, not because he couldn’t deny you. This is vital in the foundation of how you view relationships, whether you are male or female. As a female, a standard (even if you are unaware) has been set for the way you will relate with men and how they should treat you. As a male, it plants the seed of responsibility and leadership in your female relationships. Because you chose her, you love and accept her out of free will, not obligation.
So what happens if you didn’t have an earthly father to choose you? I believe it manifests in different ways in different people, but I wholeheartedly believe that it will manifest. In a man, maybe it rises up when he finds it a bit easier to deny his own child or to negatively treat the women in his life. On the other hand, he may choose to use it as an example of what not to do. He may become the protector of his mother, treating every woman the way she should be treated because he refuses to be like his father. For a woman, it may subconsciously affect her trust in men or cause her to be bitter towards men without realizing the root cause. She may seek to find the acknowledgement and acceptance she never received from her father in any man she can find to fill the void.
I was the latter. I searched for acceptance in men specifically, and in people generally. I didn’t know how to be myself, because I never got a true definition of what that meant. I was taking care of two kids at the age of 16, while my mother worked nights and slept days, and my father wasn’t there. My younger siblings needed me, so I worked full-time throughout my high school years to pay bills and buy groceries. I don’t use this as an excuse or a ploy for pity; it’s simply fact. I grew up fast, and without a self-image. Even at a younger age, I remember dating older men; I guess I was looking for that father figure, even then. I tried to fill that void with being everything to everyone, I needed to be liked, I craved acceptance, because I had been so starved for it.
Until recently, I would tell people that I never had a father in my life. But that’s a lie. I did have a father, until the age of 15. He wasn’t much in the way that I now know what fatherhood is, but he was mine. Because I was his only daughter, I thought that made me special, and for a while, I believed without a doubt that I was. So, the devastation was all the more real when the one man that was supposed to love, cherish and protect me, the only man that couldn’t have a hidden agenda in loving me because his own blood ran through my veins, told me he didn’t want me anymore.
Because of his rejection, I never had a man that made sure any other man who sought my affections was worthy of my attention. I didn’t know there should be a standard. I didn’t know that I shouldn’t and didn’t have to waste time kissing all these frogs, because one day my prince would come. How can someone learn unless there is another willing to teach? They say, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” I disagree. What I didn’t know did hurt me. The love and affection I should have gotten from my daddy, I desperately sought in men. And when they couldn’t live up to that role or fulfill the hole I had, I would move on to the next one. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t be what I needed them to be, so once I drained them, I would move on to my next victim… I mean relationship.
As a Single, especially if you are a Single woman, you should use this challenge to examine your own relationship with your father, or lack thereof. Don’t let it go neglected, because it will manifest at some point, and I can tell you from experience that its timing SUCKS. Get to the root issues and allow God to replace your rejection with His Son’s acceptance. As a Single man, don’t allow your father’s mistakes to make every woman you date your victim. Use your experiences to heal, not to further inflict wounds. A woman that had a daddy to teach her how worthy she is, won’t accept your issues, especially if you aren’t willing to work on them. Allow God to heal and restore you during this Single season so you don’t go into your marriage looking for your mate to repair a fatal wound that could eventually kill it, if not fixed by the Master Physician. Healing is available, but only to those that ask for it. Many of Christ’s healings required the person to first acknowledge what needed to be healed. He’s still healing, but you have to ask the question, “What do I need to be healed?”
My healing is here. It was and still is a long process, but God is healing my wound, because I need to be whole for my purpose. He can’t allow that rejection to interfere with His Son’s acceptance. I’ve completely forgiven my father, because I’ve been completely forgiven by My Father. If you have Daddy issues, I encourage you to seek to resolve them and not give them the power of controlling any more relationships in your future.
I now know a Father’s love.