Most, but not all, American kids grow up celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I happen to be one of those “not all”s. My father just wasn’t around. Liquor wooed and crazed him. After too many altercations of abuse to my mother (with her screams and his curses), my mother and I left when I was age 5. I don’t have any good memories.
Within a matter of weeks after bunking with a single-mother friend of Mom’s, I became a ward of Family and Children’s Services because my mother had no financial means to take care of me. Most of the other children in the care home were like me. I actually dreaded Father’s Day. I felt glad that it occurred each year during school vacation, because teachers would always make a big thing about Mother’s Day; and if Father’s Day celebration had come during school months, surely we’d be expected to participate in the making of little gifts for them, too. I wasn’t alone in my dread.
We kids weren’t blind. We spied other children whose daddies played with them; and best of all, they got lifted up onto their daddy’s laps. We saw lots of hugs and kisses going between. It looked like such fun, what love was surely supposed to be.
When I turned 10, I really tried to be my dad’s daughter—even walking a few miles and visiting him on Saturdays while he was jailed for six months for the robbery of a cigarette machine while on a drunken spree with a friend. By this time, I was newly back living with my mother. But she had to be at work, so I was on my own and lonely, and I thought he must be lonely. After his release, he wanted to reconcile, but Mom figured she wasn’t going to risk it. So he continued to be an absent dad. It was as if my jailhouse visits hadn’t mattered.
But the day came when his role was filled for me by the most wonderful Father a kid could ever want, even though I was now a young woman of 18. His name is Father God. I first discovered Him by studying the Lord’s Prayer. From the time I was age 12 I’d been searching for God, although I hadn’t known that He was my Father. I found my real Dad was full of compassion, strength, kindness, and love. He was always there for me. I talked to Him every day in prayer. I asked Him to give me something to do for Him to bless others. He did, and writing became a ministry. And I forgave my dad.
Now I’m at an advanced old age, and I look back at the fathering my husband, our son, and his sons have done and are doing to be good dads. None of them is perfect, but all of them love Jesus, and they know about the Sonship between Jesus and His Father, our Father God.
The spiritual family connection is vital to truly appreciate fatherhood at its best with our ever-present Daddy.
Betty Kossick and her husband, Johnny, live in Apopka, Florida, where Betty continues her work as a freelance writer. You can contact Betty at [email protected]