How to Not Miss the Perfect Love of Imperfect Dads
(Originally posted on June 21, 2015)
There is a term you have heard… “Daddy Issues.” It certainly is a real thing. I have spent enough time with a lot of you, and there is real, sincere hurt from dads in the world.
I’ve had some of those hurts.
Somewhere in my story … I believed I was not loved, I believed I was not measuring up, I believed I was not enough.
My dad wasn’t extravagant with words (which is--I guess--at the time, what I was looking for), but now as a parent and as a daughter, I see so clearly that he was EXTRAVAGANT WITH HIS LOVE.
I write books and at times, my darling father has been a part of some of the darker seasons of my life. (Here is a shout out to all the poor parents of writers!) Early on, my dad graciously gave me permission to write about his life--and even his weaknesses--if it helps people and brings God glory.
God bless him. Writing. It costs everyone you love if you write honest and raw like I do.
So today--with Father’s Day around the corner--I would like to shout about all…
The extravagant ways my Dad loved:
1. He tucked us in… Almost every night, he got on his knees beside our bed and he prayed for us, and he told stories he made up about Ellie the Elephant and George the Giraffe. 2. He worked so hard to provide for us… There were so many times money was tight, but he never wanted us to know and he always protected us from it. 3. He was present… He attended games and plays and gymnastic meets--he had 3 daughters--and I have a hunch there were other places he might have wanted to be. 4. He created moments… Celebrations meant something around here. He and Mom wanted Christmas and birthdays to be unforgettable, and they were. I have had a hard time recovering since. 5. He was faithful… He loved my mom and he stuck by us. 6. He did his best to give us God… He led family devotions and advent (even if it was painfully awkward, because sometimes it just is), and he took us to church and sent us to camp, where eventually I did trust Christ.
And I could go on and on.
You read this and you think... WOAH! You officially have the best dad that ever lived. And you would be right.
But most of my life, I missed it…
Sometimes, we miss all the ways someone is trying to love us, because of the ways we wish they would love us.
It wasn’t till adulthood that I put words to my hurts--to how desperately I needed to hear some things from him.
And guess what? These days, it seems he is bound and determined to tell me every phone call, every visit how proud he is, how much he loves me--enough to make up for 10 childhoods.
When our dads are imperfect, it leaves room for the perfect Father. Guess what? 100% of us are imperfect parents. We are the norm, and so we save for our kids’ counseling bills, and tuck them in and lead the awkward devotion, and we do our best to push them to the only perfect One.
I talk to so many of you who have tremendous hurts from your dads, and I know some of you could never form a list like I just did--there is only pain, and there wouldn’t be enough good. (And to you, I am so sorry.)
But some of you can. And life is too short for words to be left unsaid.
Write the list, even through the hurt. If your dad is still alive, text him or email him about all the ways he loved you, and thank him today!
How did your dad show you love? Tell us about him.