I don’t want to write about this.  This is too painful.  Too embarrassing.  Too vulnerable.  Too raw.  I didn’t ask for this.  I didn’t want this.  This is something we only admit to closest friends … while staring at the floor.  But I’ll write for you girls.  I’ll write for those who can’t.  I’ll write for the girls in the fatherless daughter club.

No little girl hopes to belong to this club one day.  Maybe you were forced to join because your father died.  Maybe you never knew your father at all.  Or maybe you had a relationship with him when you were younger- but, for whatever reason, you haven’t seen or spoken in years.   I suppose the path that brought me here is irrelevant.  Just know that I too wear this pain- like a scarlet letter across my chest: a daughter without father.

This hurts.  This is painful.  The holidays serving as an annual reminder of his absence.  The questions from friends.   Perhaps you’re angry at your father for his early passing or maybe you blame him for why you don’t speak.   Maybe you don’t have any anger or blame left, but you feel rejected.  The first man designed to love you unconditionally- left you.  If others really knew you, would they leave too?

So then what?  Stay guarded?  You think, if I don’t let them in, don’t love, and don’t show myself- then I can’t get hurt.  I can’t be abandoned.  I can’t be rejected again.   Keep them at a distance.  Be perfect.  Hide your anxiety when someone realizes you’re not perfect.  Smile through the pain.

Or maybe it’s the other way for you and you’re trying to find replacement love in another man.  A boyfriend.  A stepdad.  A big brother.  Getting attention from “guy friends.”  Having sex with guys to earn love.  But nothing works.  A piece of you at the end of the day still feels…empty.

I struggled for a long time.  Some days I still do.  But I’ve realized that the God who created the universe loves me.  And He’s not going anywhere.  He loves me in spite of my imperfections.  And I have lots of them- just ask my friends.  I’ve made lots of mistakes because I’m human.  And so is your dad.  And while he might be 50% of your biology, his choices don’t determine your worthHis behaviors don’t define you.  His beliefs don’t dictate how much love you deserve.

I have lots of friends thrown into the fatherless daughter club.  I see the sadness in their eyes when they begrudgingly admit they haven’t seen their father in years.  But they are successful women.  They have wonderful careers.  Beautiful families.  They’ve married men who are great husbands and fathers.  And so did I.  And so can you.

So, we can’t change the past.  We can’t change mistakes or make someone want to be around us.

BUT- we can make different choices.  We can understand God loves us.   We can learn from past mistakes.  We can realize that it’s okay to be imperfect.  We can choose great spouses who will be great fathers.  We can let people in.  We can be vulnerable.  We can love.

God is a loving father.

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