A couple weeks ago my husband, Chris, had to be out of town for business, leaving me and my girls to fend for ourselves for a few days.
Chris doesn’t have to away from home very often, but when he is, my girls and I try to make the most of it. I like to think that we have our fun together, watching movies, getting pizza, and snuggling together at bedtime.
No matter how much fun we have on our own, we always miss him and there comes a time when his absence starts to wear, in one way or another, on each of us. I miss my helper, my partner, and my grown-up interaction. My girls miss their daddy, their source of rough and tumble, and their soft and steady strength.
This time in particular, my four year old, Aletheia, seemed to struggle the most. By day four, she was not herself. As I stared at her exasperated, weary and tired over her impish behavior, I realized this wasn’t about her being defiant or out-of-line. This was about her missing her daddy.
“I just miss my daddy,” she said throughout the day. I did my best to assure her that daddy would be home soon, tomorrow in fact, and that we just needed to hold on a little bit longer. I know at four, it’s hard for her to understand, and I tried my best to give her grace.
Chris did return the following afternoon, and the joy that filled my little girl’s face at the first sight of her daddy spoke volumes to what her heart had been feeling all along: that there is nothing like the love of a daddy.
After a few hours horsing around with her daddy, my girl was back to normal. In the days that followed, I felt like I had gotten my little girl back. Her sweet and loving spirit had returned, and the defiant and grouchy scourge she had been, just days before, was tempered into an occasional outburst rather than a constant creature.
All in all this experience served me with an important reminder of the difference a daddy makes.
With this in mind there is something I would like to say to all the daddies out there:
If, as a daddy, you are ever tempted to think that the role you play in your family is all about making a living, providing, fixing this, or mowing that, please, please remember that to the hearts of your household you are So. Much. More.
A father, or a daddy, is designed by God, to show, model, and display to his children what the love of the the Father is like. You are your children’s first and best example of what a relationship with the heavenly Father is all about.
Your presence in the lives of your children is desperately needed and it desperately matters. Yes, you may earn an income, yes you may provide, yes you may be in charge of a million little things, with a million people depending on you, but no job, or task, or living, is more noble or important as the task of modeling Christ to the very hearts and souls of your children.
As I write this I know that there are those who have either grown into adulthood without a loving father’s presence in their life, or those who are currently seeking to raise a child or children of their own, alone, with daddy removed or nowhere to be found.
Please know that though our situations are not the same, I have the utmost respect for you and your courage, your strength. I can’t change, fix, or take away the hurt that I know you live with everyday, but perhaps I can offer you hope and a reminder of that which is true.
Our heavenly Father is a Father to the fatherless. He longs to be the father you never had. He longs to be the father your children may never know.
As my family has recently learned, our earthly fathers make a huge difference in the lives of those who love and depend on them, but how much more of a difference does our heavenly Father make for all of us, the fathered and the fatherless?
When we love Him, when we depend on Him, He is the difference that fills our lives with love, that makes each of us want to run to His arms and know, in the depths of our hearts, that there is nothing like the love of THE Father.