My Dearest Daughter:
Where do I even begin to express my heart to you?
First, I want you to know that I have always loved you (even if from afar) and I am sorry for every tear you have ever shed and for every painful shard that has pierced and broken your heart.
I know that you had many questions—especially questions of “Why?”
Questions on why your life seemed so different, questions about your origins, questions like why doesn’t he love me/want me, questions on the void and silence.
I realize dearest, that you often wondered if your life was a mistake. You spent so much time wondering about him, where was he, what was he doing and why was he so far away?
I imagine you thought that somehow you were to blame as children often do when life doesn’t make sense.
I recognize there were times when you felt shame and sadness at having to explain to others that your father wasn’t there. That there was no reasonable explanation to provide, at least none that made you feel better.
I know sweetheart that scars were left upon your heart and feelings of abandonment, betrayal and being unwanted and unloved permeated your soul.
All I can say is that I AM SORRY!
I wish that you knew that I adored you and loved you right from the start and that I will love you for all of eternity.
I wish you would truly believe that you are the sparkle of my eye! Thoughts of you bring me pure happiness and joy! When I think of you a smile spreads across my face and my heart skips a beat! You are so very beautiful, you are smart, compassionate and have such a kind heart. You are worthy and unique- there is none other like you in all of creation! I am so incredibly proud of you and I know you will do great things!
I wish that you would believe that absolutely nothing that you could ever do or say would change the love I have for you! All the times that you have ever felt unwanted, alone and unloved-- I was there.
Oh, how I love you so!
Heaven only knows the depths of my love for you. You are my heart, my love, my child…. for always!
I wish I would have received this letter early on in my life as it may have shaped me differently or at least helped me to cope and make better decisions, possibly sparing me some mistakes and heartache.
Truth…. Fathers are important.
Studies have shown that fathers have a tremendous impact on their daughter lives; in fact, in many important areas, fathers have more of a striking influence than mothers. For example, research shows daughters that had fathers who actively encouraged academic and/or athletic achievements were more likely to graduate from college and obtain higher paying, more demanding jobs traditionally held by males. More importantly, it is the father’s role in the daughter’s life that has the greatest impact on her emotional development, feelings of self-worth/self-esteem and the ability to have more intimate fulfilling relationships with men. Daughters who had the stable support of a good father developed a higher self-image, were less likely to be depressed and have body-image problems. They were less likely to start having sex at a young age and gravitating to relationships that are abusive/harmful. Further, well-fathered daughters are more likely to have more satisfying, longer-lasting marriages.
Linda Nielsen wrote a great article that provides more details on the impact fathers have on daughters and can be found here: http://family-studies.org/how-dads-affect-their-daughters-into-adulthood/
So, if fathers have such a huge impact on daughters… what does that say about those of us that didn’t have a consistent father in our lives?
We have some hurdles!
I know, because I didn’t have my biological father in my life (at least not until I was 24 years old and it was very short-lived.)
I was that little girl that for many years had lots of questions and feelings of inadequacies. I was also that young woman that made a lot of mistakes early on and fought low self-esteem and under-achievement.
It has taken me YEARS to reconcile my past, offer forgiveness to those that have hurt me and been hurt by me and accept MY LOVE LETTER FROM GOD!
Ironically, I now can see clearly how God was with me every single step of the way. I just didn’t actively look for him back then!
Now, I can see that my biological father wasn’t in my life for a very good reason… a Vietnam Veteran suffering from PTSD, addicted to drugs and alcohol and carrying around demons that hurt his family and children. I was spared.
I recognize how God sent so many good men into my life to help show me a father’s love. I had the best grandfather a girl could ask for that loved me right from the start! I had a man that married my mother that adopted me, treated me as his own and loved me the best that he knew how. I had an adoptive grandfather that loved to spend time with me and took me fishing. I had a great uncle that made me feel special by showering me with gifts (whether it was a special treat from Silas Davis’ General Store or a brand new pair of cowboy boots that I never wanted to take off!)
But most of all, God blessed me with the best husband; a man that loves me unconditionally, a man that forgives my weaknesses and strives every day to show me his love, to please me and take care of me. A man that has been by my side for over 25 years now and who I believe will be with me till the very end.
Men that God sent over the course of my life to show me His goodness, His love and His constant presence.
All along, the love that I needed was always there -- it simply came in unexpected forms and at distinctive times. I just had to see and recognize the truth of it for myself!
I don’t know where you are in life…
If you have that wonderful earthly father that loved you from the start and is still in your life – cherish him, count your blessings and thank him today for the great job he has done!
If your wonderful father has left this world- thank God for the time you were given together.
But if you are the daughter, whose father was absent for all or most of your life- my words to you are few... look around and take inventory of the love and blessings in your life and then.....
Simply forgive him.
For your sake and for his (even if you don’t believe he deserves it!)
Then turn back and re-read the letter above- it was written just for you!
Father, thank you that you love us right from the start; that you knit us together in our mother’s womb and promise to never leave us. Thank you that even in the weaknesses of man, your love is still abundant! Help us Lord to forgive those that have hurt us and to look for you even in the unexpected. May you heal any brokenness within our hearts and fill it with your goodness. And Father, I pray that those that have suffered broken relationships, where possible, you would mend them in the powerful name of Christ.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. - Psalm 68:5