Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On That One Time I Asked for a Dad {The Beginning}

A year.

That's how long I have been walking in this I really need a dad journey.

I know I am not alone and sometimes, I get the weird looks and secret phone calls revealed among concerned family members. And no, I am not in a cult. I figured it is time to share about my journey this year and I hope in doing so, we all find some hope in the perfect Father working through our earthly or adopted ones.

I was curious, what this fatherlessness issue is doing to this generation. I was shocked by what I found. Here are just a few stats that I want you to take in. I heard on the radio last night 60% of kids today are growing up without dads. That's more then half.

> 63% of teen suicides come from fatherless homes. That’s 5 times the national average.   {SOURCE: U.S. Dept of Health}

> 90% of all runaways and homeless children are from fatherless homes. That’s 32 times the national average.

> 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. 14 times the national average.  {Justice and Behavior}

> 85% of children with behavioral problems come from fatherless homes. 20 times the national average.  {Center for Disease Control}

> 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 9 times the national average.  {National Principals Association Report}

> 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. 10 times the national average.   {Rainbow’s for all God’s Children}

> 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. 20 times the national average.   {U.S. Dept. of Justice}

6 out of 10. I cannot hear that, read these stats and remain quiet and content to deal with my daddy issues in silence. I don't know what it all looks like yet, I just know we are called to defend the weak and fatherless. {Ps. 82:3}

Let me preface this with—God is sovereign and perfect and completely in control. Thus, fatherless women who love the Lord can make it without a dad who knows Him—yet I see nothing but protection and safety and redemption in the story He has written in my life this year. Enough that I pray it offers hope to a fatherless generation.

Last fall, after watching my former roomie go through courtship and then marriage, the holy spirit flooded the depths of me with this desire for dad, this conviction that this whole thing isn't going to work how it should without such a need being met in my life first. Proof of how the south is meshing into my previously liberal perspective on relationships and quieting much of that. Yet, it is sweet and right. I actually don't believe in dating anymore {but that is another post entirely}. That said, the whole picture of dad and brothers on the porch with a rifle as this suitor approaches to ask dad's permission to get to know me—that makes sense to me. Until I began to realize that when you take out the dad—that picture can never be painted just right. Thus, began my journey.

60% of kids today are growing up without dads and I am not alone.

You know, we all are birthed with that daddy hole, the one only His love can fill. And when our earthly daddys fail to do so and we don't know our Heavenly One—well, this is the testimony of so many of us who have waded into the depths of darkness, searching for love in all the wrong places, only a matter of time before we can no longer hold the broken pieces together anymore. But then, then for those He has called comes the little glimpse—a light, a hope, a future, daddy love.

Yet by this point, we just can't receive it freely, because we don't understand that. 

Nothing is free—especially the love of a dad. Especially when men have hurt us, when our dads have fallen short time and time again. When the only dad we have ever known got swallowed up into his bottle of VO or walked out and never came back or worked his way up in the job world as we took our first steps and just forgot to look back—we all know the same pain, the same hunger.

We become comfortable with the hole that festers in depth with each passing year.

All I can do is laugh thinking back to the early days of this whole deal. I remember thinking—what in the world, God? Do I just stand outside Walmart and start asking any man over 50 wearing a cross if he can be my dad? It's not like I could go up to someone I know—they would look at me and run. I mean, I wouldn't blame them.

So, what do I do? Well I process...and talk to sisters I trust...and pray...and doubt...and talk some more. Then I begin to hear His voice through the words that begin to echo again and again. He is patient and I am thankful.

All I heard real clear was this—find 'a man of peace' in this body and tell him you are looking for a dad. After being in a discipleship program for two years at this point, it made sense that the director of the program might have some ideas of who could meet such a need in my life—and he just so happened to also be a member of this new body I had recently joined. I told a friend who told a closer friend who talked to him on my behalf. Okay, I couldn't do it myself—perhaps I am a chicken, but mostly I just felt straight-up crazy.

After the initial plea on my behalf came a month of silence. I took that as confirmation that I was indeed mentally lacking somewhere. At least I didn't know him, I thought to myself. Good thing I only see him from a distance. I don't have to fear facing him, didn't have to fear the look which probably crossed his face when the friend of a friend pleaded my case.

Then she calls, out of the clear blue as the idea had nearly lost all meaning in my life. She tells me they want to meet me. They want to talk about it. They want to know me. Who? I ask, caught off guard. K and M, you know the man of peace and his wife. Can you come? Yes, okay, I'll be there.

Part 2 to be continued...

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