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Oh, dads! For many of us, they were our first buddies and our protectors and providers. They were the ones who taught us how to laugh. They graced us with cheesy jokes and tickled us before bedtime. They gave us allowance for good behaviors and groundings for bad. Can we imagine our lives without our dads?
While our relationships with our dads can be amazing, not everyone has a pristine, picture-perfect experience with their father.
Maybe you have been let down. Maybe you didn’t have the warmest father. Perhaps something happened that was beyond your control. Maybe he was distant or even absent. After all, they are human too.
*A study from Pew Research showed that 87 percent of people said they felt close to their moms, but only 74 percent said they felt close to their dads. On the other hand, 94 percent said they felt close to their dogs, and 84 percent said they felt close to their cats. The percentage of people who felt close to their dogs was 20 points higher than those who felt close to their dads. Ouch.
I grew up with both parents around and had a storybook-like childhood. I was definitely a daddy’s girl. But when my parents divorced when I was 9, I got to experience the other end of the daddy spectrum.
When my dad moved out, the social hardships (and my bitterness toward him) began to escalate. I suffered emotionally, physically and spiritually as do a lot of kids that grow up away from their fathers.
But that’s not the end of it.
Though dads are an important part of our lives, and we don’t get to choose our relationship experience, the good news is that we can choose the effect it has on us. We don’t have to become products of our circumstances.
When I was 16, and extremely lonely and depressed, I discovered that there is a love much greater than my dad’s or any other human’s: Jesus Christ’s.
Through Jesus, I learned that I was personally created by God to know and love Him and to be loved by Him as His child. “All who receive Jesus and believe in His name, He gives the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
God became my Father. I became dependent on His constant, dependable love, and I learned how to forgive my biological dad.
My dad is still not perfect, but we now enjoy a positive relationship with each other. When he fails me, I know I have the unconditional love, support and provision of my Heavenly Father.
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