By Daneen James
We crave our father’s adoration, acceptance and affection. Every woman, at some point was or wanted to be “daddy’s little girl.” And the boy in every man, mimics or mourns the connection with his father. Whether absent or present, dads make an undeniably difference in the lives of their children. As adults we become more adept at disguising it. But the relationship with our father (good, bad, or nonexistent) colors every part of our lives.
From the Beginning
I grew up missing the presence of my dad. As a little girl, I longed for him to spend time with me and make me a priority. But the more he disappointed me and didn’t come through, the more detached I became. Most of my life, I’ve kept people at a distance. Making sure not to get too close or become dependent, so if and when they left, I could easily adapt.
The Grace Gap
Ovetime my dad and I reconciled, but the pain didn’t just disappear. It takes work not to allow past hurts to undermine the present good. I couldn’t do it on my own. But as I was willing, God helped me put aside my pain (long enough) to see my dad as a man. A man working through his own issues and experiences. Although my father’s choices affected me, I began to understand, they had little, if anything, to do with me. So we both needed grace. It's grace that builds the bridge between where you are and where you need to be.
Reach for Better
My dad died earlier this year. Admittedly, there was a time when this article would have been a barrage of anger about his missteps. But in the days leading up to my dad’s death, I found myself grateful for the time we had, not angry about how much we had missed. At some point, we must learn to resist the reflex to respond based on what was and choose to reach for what could be. Most times it’s not easy, but it’s always worth it.
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