Daddy Envyby Marybeth Whalen

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 (NIV)

In high school I had three best friends. We did everything together. But there was one difference between me and them. They had dads who lived in their homes and clearly loved them. I did not. I remember envying them and the daddies they had when mine was not interested. For a long time I let this void in my life define me.

Fast forward twenty years. The four of us decided to have a girls' weekend away and reunite in the mountains of North Carolina. I was excited to see them again and looked forward to catching up. As the weekend unfolded the talk turned to family, as it usually does. Amazingly, all of their parents are still married and they still have involved, loving, present dads in their lives. They are blessed. My dad is still not in my life, but over the course of that weekend I realized I didn't feel any less blessed. I realized, to my surprise, that my case of daddy envy was gone.

What had changed?

In the twenty years between then and now I had taken off that mantle of unloved, fatherless daughter and put on a new identity.

I had discovered that I was the daughter of the Most High King. I had felt the love of a Father that was perfect and constant and amazing. I had let His love envelop me in a way that filled my lack. That love had changed me from the inside out.

I had found a satisfying wholeness in the process. I was settled and peaceful, no longer the uncertain, anxious girl who used to look at my friends' fathers with longing. I even felt a bit sorry for them that weekend, knowing that they didn't have a dad as good as mine.

In my novel She Makes It Look Easy, both of the main characters have grown up without fathers. They have experienced the profound loss a father's absence can cause and the rejection that can damage a woman for the rest of her life. For these women, this loss manifests in different ways and ultimately affects decisions they make in their lives.

Their stories are like mine and maybe yours too. So many of us grew up with a case of daddy envy; their departures rippling through our lives in ways we could've never envisioned.

And yet, it doesn't have to stay that way. God promises to be the Father to the fatherless. He promises to give His perfect love (I John 4:18) that will work within our lives to heal us, if we will let Him (Matthew 9:22). He will not barge into our lives and insist. Instead He waits like the perfect gentleman to be invited in (Revelation 3:20). When we open the door to Him, we're opening the door to a new life—one that will end our pain and bring us peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Do you have a case of daddy envy like I once had? You don't have to be fatherless anymore. Let God be the Father you've longed for and let Him show you the love you've imagined.

There's something special about having the Daddy who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), never tires (Isaiah 40:28-29), heals the sick (Matthew 4:23), knows all your needs before you even can voice them (Matthew 6:8), and loves with lavish abandon (I John 3:1). You can discover what it means to be the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).

Dear Lord, I have felt the loss of my earthly father so profoundly. I know that You can fill my need and I want to let You into my life to do that. Come into my life, heal me and give me a new identity — from rejected to embraced, from abandoned to welcomed. I want to be Your girl and let Your love change me forever. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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