A Father Who Never Leaves His Child

A FATHER WHO NEVER LEAVES HIS CHILD, Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

A FATHER WHO NEVER LEAVES HIS CHILD, Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

“I love you.” His voice reassured as he tenderly kissed my forehead. Hopeful imagination of my biological father. And a time he was absent in my life. An abandoned child dreams of a father who never leaves.

Since I was a young child when he left, and the passing of time, it caused memories to escape. So I forgot what he was like.

My mother’s hands were full with me and my twin sister. So, she scooped everything up—including us—and moved from Texas to her hometown in Virginia.

Soon we were fortunate to have a wonderful stepfather come into our lives. A man who, along with my mother, cared for and loved us as if we were his own daughters. To this day, I’m grateful for him. Then, I hoped for a stepfather who never leaves.

But line seven of my birth certificate held a name.

You see, the birth certificates of my children’s live births list the mother’s name first, directly following the child’s name. But my birth certificate from The Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas Department of Health, lists the father’s name firstdirectly following my name.

This document was filed and proved my existence as it noted birth and the names of my mother and father. There were no blank spaces.

Yet, my life held a blank space and my heart an empty place. The space meant for a biological father.

To Know a Father Who Leaves

I wanted to know him. After all, I was his child.

Would I be a daddy’s girl? I wondered if I could sit in his lap or if he wore cologne. Maybe he would hoist me to his shoulders so I had a better view of animals at the zoo. What kind of television shows did he like? Would he watch cartoons with me? All things I wondered about him and wanted to experience in a personal relationship with him.

I had a loving stepfather, yet my heart whispered, A real father stays, he never leaves.

This man—on line seven of my birth certificate—came back into my life when I was in elementary school, along about fourth grade. My father gained visitation rights every other weekend with me and my sister.

So he became known to me. My dad liked westerns and Johnny Cash. He cracked open pecans and salted before eating. Fried bologna and onion sandwiches were a favorite. And he played the piano and harmonica.

Often, he turned the lights out and told ghost stories. He was a welder and a mechanic. Still further, he was handsome—women sometimes swooned when he entered the room. Also, he took us on adventures like fishing and roller-skating.

A Child of the Heavenly Father

A FATHER WHO NEVER LEAVES HIS CHILD, Photo by Sabine Ojeil on Unsplash

One thing he didn’t do with us—take us to church. My father did not believe in God. A self-proclaimed atheist, he’d say, “People think there’s a God, but there’s not.”

I learned truths about God’s existence from my mother and stepfather, friends in school, and the small church we attended.

At sixteen, about the time I began addressing my biological father as “Dad,” I heard the gospel message at a church service. Jesus Christ was sent by His Father, dying on a cross for me, loving me completely. The love I craved as a child.

I became a daughter of the Most High God. A child of the Heavenly Father. No longer a spiritual orphan—a Daddy’s girl.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

A Special Father’s Day

When I came to Christ, I began praying for my dad to believe in God.

It wasn’t Father’s Day, but what a wonder father’s day it was! Party balloons and family lined the walls of the nursing home’s activity room. My dad’s mother was celebrating a birthday.

During the festivities, my dad approached me teary-eyed. “Did you hear the news? I became a Christian.” What I hoped for came true. I was thirty-two. A sixteen-year prayer answered. Now my father was a child of the heavenly Father, too.

In 2010, five days before Christmas, my father passed away. The man listed on line seven of my birth certificate was in the presence of my Heavenly Father and his Heavenly Father. His spiritual birth and name on file, documented in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Maybe earthly fathers abandon us physically or emotionally. Perhaps we may never know our father because he left our world or this world.

A variety of fulfilling relationships occur with fathers, stepfathers, adopted fathers, or father-figures. Real blessings. But regardless of our earthly father and child experience, God, the Father cannot be compared.

God is infinitely better qualified to occupy our blank spaces and empty places with His love and presence.

The Bureau of Vital Statistics, Heaven’s Department of Life, has listed the Father’s name first, directly following our name when our certificate of live spiritual birth has been filed.

A FATHER WHO NEVER LEAVES HIS CHILD, Photo by Samuel McGarrugke on Adobe Spark

“I love you.” Calvary’s cross reassures as God tenderly kisses our forehead.

A Father who never leaves.

This post first appeared on Hope is Among Us.

Read How My Father’s Strong When I am Weak.

Featured Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash/Top Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash/Middle Photo by Sabine Ojeil on Unsplash/Bottom Photo by Samuel McGarrugke on Adobe Spark.

Karen Friday

Whether the spoken or written word, Karen thrives in moving an audience to experience laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection. She not only possesses an affection for words (just ask her family), but she also cherishes God’s Word. Karen is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles with a mission to know Jesus more and make Him known. She contributes to several national sites while she works on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. And she considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with her blog community, Hope is Among Us.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Melssa. “I love you.” Calvary’s cross reassures as God tenderly kisses our forehead.

      A Father who never leaves.

  1. Karen, WOW. This moved me so tremendously. I appreciate you sharing this immensely. I also had a complicated relationship with my dad. I was blessed as an adult to watch him accept Christ and honored to witness him get baptized just a couple of months before his death. I’m so grateful He’s now with Jesus… and I’m even more grateful our heavenly Father is the perfect dad for every one of us. I forgive as I’ve been forgiven. Thank you, Jesus!

    1. Jessica, I remember that about your story and your dad from another post or article. Yes, God is the best Dad ever and love how you said, ” I forgive as I’ve been forgiven.” A thousand Hallelujahs!

  2. Oh Karen this brought tears to my eyes. I can relate so much to this! Parents divorced when I was about 2 1/2 and it wasn’t until I was 13 that I reconnected with my dad! Had a step-dad that loved and cared for us. But meeting my heavenly Father when I was about 6 years old and knowing that I had someone who really loved me and would not ever leave me set my life in motion to seek him more and more! Thank you for this beautiful account of your life. You are such an encouragement to me and many people! Keep writing my friend…it gives us all hope! <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you, Marla. Loved hearing your story with your father and heavenly Father. The heavenly Father is a father to the fatherless! And the best example of a loving and caring Father. Blesssings sweet lady!

  3. Oh, Karen, this touching post brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for your candor and heartfelt emotions shared here. What a blessing that after sixteen years of prayer for your dad, he decided to turn to Jesus. You have reminded us all of the power of persistent and loving prayer.
    I’m grateful every day to know that my heavenly Father takes the time to lean down and kiss my on my forehead, letting me know that I am His forever.

    1. Glad this moved your heart, Martha. It’s so comforting to our hearts to know the love of our heavenly Father who adopts us, loves us big, and never, ever leaves or forsakes us…not for a moment.

  4. I truly appreciate your insight, both into the father heart of God and your experience with your father becoming a Christian before his death. Every time I hear it, it encourages me that my prayers for my atheist father aren’t in vain. God is truly a father for the fatherless!

    1. Thank you, Candice. I think I told you how a mentor encouraged me to insert my dad’s name in Scripture about salvation and pray it out loud to the Lord and so the enemy hears it. 🙂 Because my faith waned several times in believing the Holy Spirit would ever pierce the heart of my dad. Never, ever give up praying for your dad to come to know our heavenly Father. I started a salvation list in my prayer journal and add to it when I hear from others who are praying for a loved one. Now, my list says, “Pray for Candice Brown’s father to believe in God and accept Christ as Lord. “

  5. It is so reassuring to know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us with a constant, steadfast love. We can rest in confidence to know that he will never leave us or forsake us. I am so thankful your dad came to know the Lord. What a blessing.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story of your relationship with your own father. Many share similar experiences and find it difficult to understand that our Heavenly Father is very different. He will never forsake us or leave us. He is everything we wish (and pray for) with our earthly dads.

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