On Sunday, I found myself smiling every time I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram and saw all of the tributes to great fathers. It made me think of how thankful I am for my own…
While my parents divorced when I was 8 and my brother was 6, we still had a present, hands on, and loving dad. My dad stayed involved and taught my brother how to be a gentleman by example. Dad has always opened the passenger door, never interrupted, has always paid, and never raises his voice. Dad believes in first impressions, appearance, cleanliness, being responsible with finances, your attitude and your words, and in doing your best always. Now, my brother is a great father.
I’m actually quite a daddy’s girl. I have always been one. There is probably not a picture that exists with my dad and I where I am not practically hanging on him. He puts up with my silliness even though we couldn’t be more opposite in personalities. Most people that know me know I don’t cry too easily, but the father-daughter dance at a wedding gets me every time. I’m thankful that I have a dad that’s always loved me and loved on me. He has always been excellent and expected excellence. He’s always been someone I wanted to please. He has always respected me and has shown me how to respect myself.
I remember one specific scenario where I started dating a guy who lived far away in Alabama. I was in college and I wanted to go visit him so I went there for the weekend. Unfortunately, I forgot my debit card and the only thing I had on me all weekend was my dad’s credit card. The guy I was dating had admitted to not having any money so the entire weekend, I paid for everything. I ended up spending over $200 on food and whatever else. When my dad got the bill, I got a long letter from him (I knew if I got a letter, it was serious). There was one thing in that letter that 15 years later I still remember:
There is a line of guys that would be willing and wanting to pay for me, and I’m with a guy that let’s me pay for him the entire weekend.
Clearly, he did not approve of this guy and made sure I knew why. My dad wanted me to know that I should expect more and I should be taken care of – not be with someone that cannot even take care of himself. It’s not about paying, it’s about the role of the man to want to take care of you and put his best forward for you. He taught me about character indicators.
So many people say girls end up with guys that are like their own dad. I do tend to be attracted to guys with my dad’s personality, but if that’s true – that we select guys like our own father – then for some of us that’s great news, but for others, that is bad news. As I write this, I recognize I have so many close friends who are essentially fatherless – sometimes because their dad died when they were young, or they were absent, or they were just bad fathers. Some of you may be relating to that right now.
For those of you, I pray for you to have a father figure. There are men in your life that can set an example for you. Outside of my own dad, I have had other father figures in my life.
- There is my father figure, David, who is a true cowboy. I watched him and his wife practically raise so many girls who would ride horses on their farm. So many of them came from broken homes and David modeled a balance of care and love, while challenging poor decisions in life and relationships. He always speaks the truth, regardless of whether or not you want to hear it. He is unwavering.
- I also had a spiritual father, Rich, who shared my faith. He was actually who baptized me when I was in my early 20s and taught me about Jesus and how He loves me no matter what I do. I remember coming out of a bad breakup (actually, it was with that guy my dad didn’t like after I stayed in that relationship for over a year), and Rich praying with me that God would protect my heart and guard it until the right man comes along. I remember Rich teaching me the importance of pursuing a relationship with Christ to be “whole,” rather than looking for a man to fill the gaps.
- I have other father figures now who continue to convey that message to me and encourage me to wait for the right person and as men, they know men and can always give me insight.
Find those men who respect their wives and love them and model a strong marriage. Those men can be your father figures.
As Rich and many others have explained to me, no man, including your father or your husband, will be 100% everything you need. That is what your heavenly Father is there for. There is no comfort greater than what Christ can give you. I remember feeling lonely at times, but was so motivated by knowing when my relationship with the Lord was right, I wouldn’t feel lonely. That fact alone drove me to seek that relationship. I didn’t want the emptiness or loneliness that comes with feeling like something is missing or that I am lost.
Single ladies – I implore you to look for a man who will be a good father. Regardless of whether or not you want to have children yourself, find a man that will love your daughter and model for her how to be treated in how he treats you, a man that will model for your son how to be a man, including how to respond to anger and love.
I truly believe that is what our generation and future generations need – to raise up good fathers. I want to get rid of the connotation that comes with a girl having “daddy issues,” which typically accompanies looking for love in all the wrong places. Rather, we will be a generation of women who are strong, patient, and fulfilled in knowing the satisfying love of Christ and willing to wait for a man who will lay down his life for her the way Christ did for His bride. We will be “daddy’s girls” because we have or found loving fathers.