Growing up I was definitely a daddy’s girl. I loved doing everything with my dad. Every saturday morning we read the comics together and watched tom and jerry. We went to many Titans games together, and every sunday we would bet on the outcome of each game. I sat on his lap and helped him with his fantasy draft until I was old enough to form my own team. He taught me how to play cards. I remember crying because it was my bedtime but I wanted to stay up later and play cards with my dad and his brothers. He spent hours rebounding for me while I shot, and he played horse with me every time I asked even though he knew he was going to lose…He has always been one of my biggest fans, and he wasn’t afraid to start the “DEFENSE” chant at my rec basketball games. At the time I was really embarrassed, but looking back on it now, I just laugh because it was his way of showing me that he loved me, supported me, and would always be there for me.
There are so many qualities that I love about my dad. He is goofy, funny, serious, hard-working, full of love, caring, playful, active, animated, positive, and honestly just hilarious.
My dad has always been protective over me; he actually showed my first boyfriend his ax right before the first time we hungout…but that story is for another time.
My dad and I are very similar in some ways and very different in others. Like any relationship, my relationship with my dad isn’t perfect. We have gotten into some fights and we disagree about some things. We pester each other and have hurt each others feelings. We have both said things we shouldn’t have, and we are both imperfect. At the end of the day, my dad’s love for me has always been unconditional. During the onset of my eating disorder I have been able to see glimpses of the Lord through the life of my dad in ways that I have never been able to before. His heart towards me has been a glimpse of how much my heavenly father loves me.
During the onset of my eating disorder my family and I were all walking into new territory. We have no idea what to do or what to expect. Eating disorders don’t just affect an individual person. At first I could tell that my dad didn’t quite understand the concept of recovery. He told me that I should just go to Mcdonald’s and get a hamburger and gain 20 pounds (not his best move, haha). Slowly and surely I became better at communicating with my family about how they could best help me recover. However, there were moments that I was so numb and so distraught that I couldn’t possibly communicate everything I was feeling. These were the times that I saw the Lord moving in the heart of my dad. One Monday after I had a particularly rough weekend he took off work during a busy month just to come have lunch with me. I told him that he didn’t need to waste his time and that I had class and that I was going to be okay but he didn’t listen. He knew I needed him. He started calling and checking up on me once a week just to make sure I was doing okay. He went up during worship and prayer time at our church and he interceded for me. He stood in my place and prayed for God to heal me when I didn’t have enough energy to translate my pain into words. He gave me back scratches and massages after emotional break downs, and kept me laughing on some of my hardest days. When I told him that I had never had a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup he left the house immediately and went to the gas station to get me one. He cooked some of my favorite meals to help re-nourish my body and soul. He was (and still is) willing to spend thousands of dollars on therapy, medical expenses, and nutrition appointments so that I can fully recover. He celebrates my success in school, but also reminds me to not let my grades to keep me from living. He never hesitates to tell me how proud he is of me and how much he loves me. He is sacrificing a lot for me and I can never repay him for everything that he has done for me.
I love my dad and I cannot put into words how thankful I am for him. It makes me heart to think about others who haven’t been able to cultivate a relationship with their father. Maybe your dad left you at a young age; maybe your dad passed away sooner that planned; maybe you just have a broken relationship with your father, maybe he has hurt you in ways that can’t be put into words; maybe you despite him; maybe he has no place in your life. The good news is that no matter how good or bad your relationship with your father here is on earth, it can’t be compared to the way that God the father cares for us. Our God in heaven is the only father (or person) that can meet our every need and take care of us in the best way possible.
The glimpses of compassion, unconditional love, unrelenting pursuit, joy, protection, sacrifice, and love that have come from my father are blessings that I will carry with me my whole life. However, my dad is not perfect….no father is. As much as I love him, I know that my relationship with him (or anyone else for that matter) dulls in the comparison of my relationship with God the father.
As much as my dad may want to do everything in his power to heal me, he simply can’t. He doesn’t have the power to heal me. He doesn’t have the ability to set me free from anxiety and depression and disordered eating thoughts. He can’t fill the void in my heart that is longing to be satisfied. He can’t always ease my pain and comfort my soul.
I love this verse found in Matthew 7:11: “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (NLT).
God sent Jesus (the perfect gift) to carry the burden of the cross so that we may have eternal life and freedom from the bondage of this world. He knows exactly what we need when we need it, and he knows us even better than we know ourselves. He withholds nothing good from us-we simply just must ask him and trust him.
I am thankful that God has allowed my relationship with my dad to remind me of God’s love for me. God’s love for us is so great that he is constantly knocking on our heart to spend time with us. He delights in us. His love never runs out for us even when we feel like we no longer deserve it. He carries our burdens and heals our wounds. Even when we push him away, he draws near to us; even when we slam the door in his face he keeps knocking. He is our provider, our healer, our wisdom, our guidance, and our source of hope. If you don’t have a good relationship with your father, I would encourage you to lean into your heavenly father as your ultimate source of life, comfort, love, and deliverance. Growing closer to my heavenly father has allowed me to grow closer to my dad and show him grace even when it’s hard. It’s painful and hard and will take time to heal, but God isn’t too small to heal even the deepest wounds. I’ve seen my mom walk through some pretty hard stuff that has ultimately led her to a deeper relationship with God and a better understanding of his love. If you have a good relationship with you dad, I would encourage you to think about some of the aspects that you love about him and how you see glimpses of God in his life. I would also encourage you to lean into your heavenly father as your ultimate source of life, comfort, love, and deliverance. God is the absolute perfect father and he loves his children. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with a Father that loves us more than anyone else on this earth. You are loved, cherished, thought about, accepted, whole, pure, and full in the presence of the Lord.