The June 22nd entry on my Courageous calendar quotes ‘A father is one of God’s first gifts to our hearts, and his love stays with us always.’
Well, it should … if the father is faithful to the family and continues to love both his wife and children throughout his lifetime. And I think that is really the ultimate gist of the quote above.
But what happens when a husband divorces his wife and is no longer truly there for his children? In many divorces men abandon their wives and children financially … and more importantly abandon their children both emotionally and spiritually. Even if he thinks he is, it’s a bit difficult to near impossible for a father who initiated divorce to then be the spiritual mentor of his children … obviously for God ALL things are possible.
No doubt there are many fathers who stay very committed and very active in their children’s’ lives in spite of the separation caused by divorce. But my observation is the odds for such paternal commitment typically (but not always) drops proportionately the greater the number of miles and hours separating a divorced father and his children and/or if that divorced father is involved with another woman in the midst of or shortly after divorce (once again this is not a rule of thumb but what I have observed over my nearly 59 years of life).
I have a daughter and two granddaughters who have been learning to cope with such abandonment for almost two years as the man they had depended on for so long has chosen to live anywhere from 300-600 miles away … this week my daughter reached out to me to help with my nine-year-old granddaughter.
She was a daddy’s girl … a princess to her father … and then he chose to leave for another woman … after numerous other infidelities.
So last week I took my granddaughter out to Chick-Fil-A and we ate and talked and simply enjoyed each other’s company. As we were headed home, she asked me:
‘Papa, have you ever felt like you had a hole in your heart?’
My heart broke … what kind of pain would cause such a young child to ask that question?
We have often heard the following …
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus” – Blaise Pascal
And yet based on the opening quote from my Courageous calendar I also think …
“There is a Daddy shaped hole (no doubt a much smaller hole) in the heart of every daughter that is intended to be filled by the love of her father.” Absent that love, a daughter often experiences a great deal of pain from the emptiness in that Daddy shaped hole and oftentimes she seeks to fill that hole with the love of another. And that seems to be what my granddaughter is going through.
So my daughter and my granddaughter have reached out to me … what a blessing and yet what a responsibility. Help me Lord!
So last night was week 2 – we went out to Taco Bell, played chess, did some Bible study and then just talked … hopefully healing is beginning.
So please pray for my granddaughter and that sense of emptiness she is feeling. And pray for me … that I will love and care for her in the way God intends for me to as her Papa … her grandfather.