As a child, I grew up with a dad who only saw me when he wanted to. Being on his terms was a hard thing to cope with. I remember growing up wanting to do everything with my daddy; then, my parents got divorced and after that my image of what a father should be was forever skewed. Sure I had friends who had amazing dads that were an example of what a dad could be, but it always left me with wanting that for myself and not knowing how I would get it. I always asked the Lord why I had to be the girl that didn’t have a daddy that loved her, why I was the girl that had to pretend my dad randomly being involved in my life was okay.
I first started hearing about God being “a Father” when I was in high school. And to be honest, I thought that it was kinda weird. I mean, God was Jesus’s father but he wasn’t mine. God just created me and I was supposed to obey his commandments and spread the gospel but letting him be my Father was just weird. I thought it might would be possible for God to be other people’s fathers, but He could never be mine. Fathers gave good things to their children, and because I had never been able to see that from my earthly father, how in the world was I supposed to receive that from someone that I couldn’t see? I wanted a father that could tell me goodnight, and from what I knew, God just told us what to do and what not to do. I wanted a fun dad, not one that just bossed me around.
Two years ago the concept of God as Father no longer seemed strange or impossible, but just foreign to me. I started to become curious and question how that was possible. I tried to talk to God like he was my Father instead of like he was an authoritative figure. I really started to believe that He loved me as a daughter and that I was special to him, but I just knew that eventually he would leave me too because I was too boring, too much, or just unlovable. However, all of that changed the summer before my first year interning when I met a family.
I met this family through a church I was interning with and for whatever reason, I just fit in with them. I quickly started going over to their house weekly and spending most Sunday afternoons with them and their family. I became a part of their family, spending most of my weekends with them and doing all of the family things that I had longed to do since I was a little girl. It was really easy for me to open up to their two sons and the mom, but opening up to the dad took some time. As my relationship with the family started to grow, so did my relationship with the dad, and in the fall it clicked. One normal day at their house turned into a moment that I will never forget, it was the moment that I truly felt the love of a Father. Hearing the words “Anna, my daughter” come out of a man’s mouth that I watched for months serve and love his wife and children was truly life changing and I remember going to bed that night saying “I get it”.
In that moment I truly understood how God the Father saw me as a daughter because I experienced it in a very real way for one of the first time in my life. I was finally at a place where I could let God be the same. The cool thing about that moment for me was not that I finally saw God as Father, but that I finally realized that He has been a Father to me my entire life. The nights that I cried myself to sleep pleading for my dad to love me and make time for me, He was there. The days where I just wanted my dad to watch me play softball or tennis, He was there. The dances that I wished my dad had come to watch me get ready and to tell me how beautiful I was, He was there.
God is your Father. It doesn’t matter how many times we forget about Him, run from Him, and act like He isn’t there for us...He is. Even when our earthly fathers fall in the cracks and don’t act like fathers, He is there. God chose you as His son or His daughter. He loves to watch you do the things that you're passionate about. He loves to watch your dreams unfold and for you to tell him about your day. He loves you in your silly moments and the moments when you cry out for more.
You’re dad loves you, more than you could ever know. You’re daddy loves you.