This week I’ve been visiting some issues with Fathers and Daughters. If you are just tuning in you can go back and read:
- Fathers, Daughters and the Crisis in the Western World
- Giving Our Hearts to Our Fathers
- Why Daughters Need Their Dads
Today I want to discuss some of difficulties that arise with our “less-than-perfect” dads. The writing of Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin in So Much More has been the catalyst for my thoughts. I want to quote them on this. They begin their chapter “Daughters, Fathers, and Difficulties”:
We can’t wait for our fathers to be perfect before we become the perfect daughters. We must begin finding ways to honor and value our fathers where they are, as God’s law commands us… If nothing else a daughter must be grateful to her father-for giving her life; if he fed and clothed her; if he has ever done anything kind for her- because gratitude is the beginning of honor… When you think of your father, you shouldn’t think of his weakness that spring to your mind, but of how much you love and appreciate his good qualities. When you speak of him to others, you shouldn’t talk about his mistakes, but of the good things he’s done. When you speak to him, instead of criticizing and nagging him for his faults, you should tell him how much you admire his strength.
Again, they acknowledge, and so do I, we are not speaking of abusive or dangerous fathers. They say:
We understand there are some fathers who are abusive, exploitive, and engaged in ongoing criminal activity, as defined by Scripture. In such cases, girls can only help their fathers long-distance by praying for them after being geographically separated from them. If church officers are unwilling to intervene in such circumstances on behalf of the victim(s), direct state intervention may be necessary.
In situations of abuse, I do believe there is freedom in forgiveness, however the situation deems much a different handling.
So what can we do with our “less-than-perfect” dad?
First of all, realize he has a “less-than-perfect” daughter.
Then pray. Pray for your father. Ask him what to pray for. Take his relationship with God seriously as you pray for him. Don’t just look to build him up to feed yourself. Truly seek what is best for your dad as bring his name before the throne of God.
What if your father doesn’t care about being involved with you?
Honestly, your father has probably been completely clueless on how to be involved with you. The Botkin sisters say, “In some cases, the reason fathers become afraid to ‘interfere’ or ‘intrude’ in their daughters’ lives is because their leadership and guidance have been pushed away in the past.” Before you right off your father, ask yourself if you have made it clear that you desire his input and genuinely respect his counsel?
What if your dad isn’t even a Christian?
Many men that don’t know Christ yet have honorable qualities. They may still posses a desire to provide for and protect you. They may not be at a place to lead spiritually just yet. That’s where your gentle spirit can fight for HIM spiritually. Gird yourself in prayer for your dad. Let your dad have an encounter with Jesus through you.
What if my dad makes it clear he does not want to be in my life?
If you are unmarried and your dad, after your pleas and prayers, refuses to act as your protector, the time may come to seek your male guidance elsewhere. Maybe God will provide you with another man in your family who is willing to be your father figure. Maybe a group of elders from church could provide you with spiritual, fatherly counsel. Remember this, your father’s refusal has nothing to do with your worth or value. God absolutely intended for you to be nurtured by a loving, strong, earthly father.
Remember, no matter what, God is the perfect father who desires the first place of your heart. He has laid down the sacrifice for you to prove it.
So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? Heb. 1:4-5