Unwanted and wanted - a Father's Day reflection
Lisa Bond is the children's worker at Mexborough Baptist Church, where she shared these thoughts on Father's Day (20 June)
Father’s Day is a tricky day for me - a stark and cruel reminder, year after year, that I am unwanted.
I didn’t have a dad. Of course, I have a biological father, as we all do, but I don’t know or see him. It’s a mutual decision but, much as I deny it, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. My mum has been a wonderful parent but there was no mistaking the void I felt when my school friends would share stories about their dads, and the girls in my Brownie pack would spend weeks perfecting their Father’s Day crafts, pouring their heart and soul into every little pencil line. I would join in because, well, what else would I be doing?
I had a step-dad as a young child, but the less said about him, the better. No, my gifts were reserved for one man; my hero and the first man I ever loved – my Grandad. He is one of my most favourite people in all the world and there was nowhere I felt safer than nestled into his lap. Even now, 20 years after he gave them up, the smell of pipe tobacco instantly comforts me. Some of my best memories have been with my Grandad and I am so incredibly grateful and blessed to have and to have had his love and support throughout my life.
My husband is a fantastic father to our three small children but even this is something I’ve struggled with a little. Growing up without a father figure in my daily home life, I didn’t know how to navigate a two-parent dynamic; my Mum had been two parents in one and I was so used to seeing her juggling everything that I didn’t know how to split the role or ask for help. I struggled with relinquishing control and partnering in decision-making and parenting style. I feel fortunate that he is very patient and understanding with me and we navigate this path together – and hopefully we do it well.
I’m proud to say that I do have a wonderful step-dad now. He’s everything I could have hoped for, even if I had to wait 20 years to get him! There’s something about the decision to take on another man’s child (and a broken, adult one, at that) and choose to love her as your own. I can’t quite wrap my head around it, but I’m so grateful that he can, and does!
The truth is that we have all experienced this selfless love to an even greater degree when we became sons and daughters of the Father. In fact, we are given such an assurance that we are His beloved children, that we are encouraged to come boldly to Him and cry out to Him, calling Him “Abba!” – the very same name that Jesus Himself used for Him. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” – Romans 8:15
My story isn’t unusual. In 2019 the Office for National Statistics declared that 2.9 million families in the UK were lone-parent families. Many children today will be honouring their grandfathers, uncles, brothers, stepdads, single mums, and perhaps just as many will be feeling unloved and unwanted, fatherless and ashamed.
Psalm 68:5 calls God “A Father to the Fatherless” and that’s exactly who He is. Nobody is ever truly fatherless when we are adopted into God’s family. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1
I might not have had a biological dad who wanted me but I have a Father in heaven who chose me, and who blessed me with kind and generous men who love me because they want to, and not because my DNA dictates that they should. I would argue that that’s even better.
Father’s Day is a tricky day for me - a beautiful and poignant reminder, year after year, that I am wanted.
Image | Alex Guillaume | Unsplash
Lisa Bond lives in Doncaster with her husband and three small children. She is the Children's Worker at Mexborough Baptist Church, where she shared this reflection on Father's Day (Sunday 20 June, 2021).
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