The Power of a Father's Love
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com I owe my father a huge thank you! Sure, I need to thank him for all those years of paying my bills, fixing my bikes, and providing a shoulder to cry on. But this year I realized that his contributions to my childhood were much more than that. He has influenced who I am at the very core of my being. Let me explain.
Recently, I’ve talked with several girlfriends who are in terrible relationships. If anyone can pick a loser, um, I mean “not very nice guy” out of a crowd, it is these women. I can understand how a guy could fool a girl into thinking he is Prince Charming for a while, even though he is not. But after enough time with him, it seems they would have to realize the truth. Why do they continue the relationship after learning that he is controlling, abusive, or domineering? I’ve often wondered why any woman would let a man treat her so poorly.
As I’ve listened to their stories I’ve realized that these women don’t view themselves as being worthy of anything better. Why is that? I would never even consider letting a man treat me the way they have been treated. But why am I any different than them? I think it can be credited to my father.
I grew up as Daddy’s Little Girl. If I had a problem that needed fixing or a question that needed answering, he was the one I ran to. He counseled me through everything from Algebra homework as a high school student to career choices as a young adult. He always expected that I do my best in whatever I did, and he believed I could succeed in anything I put my mind to. As a result, I learned to hold myself to those same standards.
He always showed me unconditional love, which helped me learn to love myself. It was something I’d taken for granted until I realized from talking with my friends that they had no similar view of their self worth. Having fathers that didn’t believe in them left them to grow up not believing in themselves.
As I was growing up, my father also modeled how a woman should be treated. He lavished my mom with love and respect. As a result, I grew to expect nothing less than that from the men I dated and from the man I would eventually marry.
Dad also modeled the qualities that I would want to one day find in a man. He was a living picture of godliness, honesty, integrity, and responsibility. It wasn’t until after talking with my girlfriends that I realized the reason that I have looked for these traits in relationships is because those were the traits lived out before me through my childhood. Unfortunately, many of my friends had no such role models.
It was only recently that I realized what a profound effect fathers have on their daughter’s lives. That is why I want to thank my dad for the godly example of love that he has been to me throughout my life.
But what about my friends? Are their relationships (and self esteem) doomed because their fathers were not such a good example for them. Not at all!
A Note to Ladies
Whether our own fathers were a good portrait of our Heavenly Father or not, our Heavenly Father’s love for us never changes. We should be looking to Him to find our identities and our self-worth. Scripture tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that God knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16). He cares about us so much that he knows even the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7).
We each have value because He created us and He loves us. He is our pattern of what love should look like. We should study Him, imitate Him, spend time with Him, learn from Him, and only date godly men who are doing the same.
Perhaps your earthly father let you down, but your Heavenly Father never will. Run into His arms today and find the best Dad you could ever ask for!
A Note to Fathers
If you are a father, please consider the important role that you play in your family. Your daughters are forming views of themselves based on how you relate to them, and your sons are watching you to learn how to act as a man.
God has chosen you to be the father of your children. He could have placed them in anyone else’s care, but He chose you. Allow Him to teach you how to be a godly father. If you are looking to Him for guidance, He will equip you to be the best dad that your children could ever have.
As Father’s Day approaches this weekend, I plan to take some time to call my dad to express my love and thanks. But as I’ve been reflecting on the influential role that my father has played in my life, I’m reminded that I need to take a moment and thank my Heavenly Father as well. God is the one who gave my father the strength, wisdom, and patience to be the godly mentor that I needed.
The Lord not only blessed me with wonderful parents in an earthly sense, but in a spiritual sense as well. He blessed me with a godly family that pointed me to Christ as the ultimate source for any need I could ever have. The ways that they lived out their relationships with Christ led me to desire my own walk with Him.
I am thankful to my dad for showing me the path to a godly life and for cultivating in me a desire to know my Heavenly Father. My life and my relationship with God are proof of the power of a father’s love.
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