If you’ve had an absent father, you may know the feeling of trying to fill an emptiness with dating. Whether your biological father left you at a young age or an older age, you know the feeling of abandonment. In one way, you could be settling for a relationship only to fill a physical absence. Second, you could be dating with the intent of receiving healing from the pain caused by your father. Lastly, your feelings of self-worth could be in anguish and, eventually, be broken entirely.
The physical presence of a good father growing up leaves a lasting impression on one’s life, all the way from piggy-back rides to walking a bride down the aisle. These are beautiful moments, but they are also moments many have not had with a father. As one grows older, he or she may fill that missing person with dating, where words of affirmation are spilled, affection received and love shared. Yet, with that very intent, the absence of a father will never be accounted for by the physical presence of the person you’re dating.
So, healing can never be accomplished; the void will never be filled. Dating with a focus on erasing that emptiness will only cause the bed roots of your pain to grow a little deeper. It could destroy your hope in finding a noble person to share your life with, veil your eyes with pessimism and drown your identity.
That walks straight into your worthiness. A feeling of broken self-worth leaves you questioning if you’re enough. Your father was absent, the people you’ve dated have disappointed you and it’s put you into a reckless cycle, and so now, your worth is barely breathing. You have known no other truth but the fact that your father didn’t fight for you and somehow didn’t see you worthy enough to stay. That can be breaking to the soul, I know.
The Father That Stays
“And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and He is in heaven.” —Matthew 23:9
This is the good news. It’s a promise from someone who declares they will never leave nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). God is real and alive and powerful. Jesus Christ has filled in every void, every sorrow, every disappointment, every broken promise and every absence in your heart. He has stooped down to your worth, and has breathed into it new life. He’s come to fulfill broken relationships, broken hearts and broken beings, and he fills in the gaps of worthlessness with His faithfulness, His covenant, His goodness, His wonder and His mighty love.
“As He says also in Hosea, ‘I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and her who was not beloved, ‘Beloved.’” —Romans 9:25
Someone Who Understands
“If you’ve felt abandoned, please don’t forget that our Christ also felt that way. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).” —Matthew 27:46
This is no coincidence, that in that very grieving moment, even our Savior felt abandoned. Christ knows your pain, but more than anything, He knows the truth. He knows he is called Son by the Father of the heavens and the earth. The Father who takes abandonment very seriously, but who kept silent while His son was on the cross out of love for us. That’s the kind of sacrificial, almighty and loving God that we serve.
He binds our wounds, so that when the time is right, we will be ready for when our partner in marriage comes. We’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit and pursuing Christ, versus seeking relationships to fill a void. He fills us. We are appointed, chosen and cherished. Let’s not forget how faithful, how loving and how magnificent our Father is.
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