Finding True Fatherhood

One of my earliest memories was taking a road trip alone with my father. With his long work hours and my multiple siblings, time alone with my dad was a treasure. I vividly remember him buying me a toy at a truck stop along the way and “showing me off” to the couple that we were visiting. To spend time alone with my dad was a gift.

This past Sunday, we celebrated the men who gave us life, who supported us, encouraged us, loved and comforted us along the way, or perhaps we celebrated the father to our own children. Hopefully these men have shown us what it looks like to protect, provide, and demonstrate what integrity and honor look like. However, some of us face this day with bitter or mixed memories. Some of us have disappointment or sorrow attached to this day because our earthly fathers have passed away or because our fathers were a disappointment (or far worse!) to us. Some people have never experienced the unconditional love of a father who adores them.

My earthly father had many flaws, but I knew that he would love me no matter what. He made me feel like I was special and that I would both be and deserve good things. He worked very hard to provide for my family. I knew that he would do his best to take care of me. But one of my dad’s shortcomings was that he couldn’t always put my needs ahead of his own. For example, I transferred from the college that I really loved because I thought he needed me to help him through a difficult divorce. In retrospect, I think that as the adult, he should have encouraged me to stay at the school I loved. He should have helped me make a wise decision and consider my own needs.  We should be able to trust that our fathers always have our best interest in mind.

I think this experience is one of the reasons I have sometimes struggled to trust my Heavenly Father. I know God loves me, but I have not always felt fully confident that He wants what is best for me. I have not always trusted that He knows what I need or makes my needs a priority. When difficult things happen, I sometimes distrust God’s motivation or plan.

Our relationship with God the Father is always influenced on some level by our relationship with our earthly fathers -- for better or worse. But for the truest understanding of God the Father, we must look to who the Bible says He is. “Father” (“Abba” in Aramaic) was Jesus’ favorite term for addressing God and appears over 100 times in the book of John alone.  If we turn to the Word, we will see beautiful pictures of the characteristics of God the Father. We see His abundant love in 1 John 3:1: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!...” We see His intimate care in Matthew 10:29-30: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” We see his joy in being our Father in Zephaniah 3:17: “He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

The Bible will reveal to you what true fatherhood looks and feels like.

God’s love and care for us surpasses what we know in earthly terms. It has taken me a lifetime to trust in it.

Please take a few more moments and listen to the song “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin and read the lyrics. Soak it in; seeing Him this way is life-changing. Click here: Good, Good Father


Get to know the blogger

What's your favorite thing to do in the summer?

Anything outside. I love summer. I enjoy the heat and the sun. I especially enjoy boating with my family on the Sassafras River. My grand babies have been out on the boat from as young as 5 months old. And on a hot summer day, I love eating ice cream…

2. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

My momentary fling is with salted caramel but my long term love affair is with vanilla peanut butter swirl.

3. If you have a nickname, what is it?

Mama Dawg is a family nickname for me. It was invented by one of my children’s spouses who didn’t want to call me mom but also wasn’t comfortable calling me Bonnie. It has now been shortened to M.D. It has stuck and is used by several members of our family. In high school, my nickname was Boom but my sister continued with it from high school on. I have also been called: Bon-ton, Bon-Bon, Bon-qui-qui and Bonnie Mac. (I miss my very Scottish maiden name: Bonnie MacPherson.)