When Dad Was Never There

Shine on my little girl

It’s Father’s Day, and for many of us, today is a painful reminder of all we never had.  Many, not all, women who struggle with pornography and lust also have absent or abusive fathers (or male family figures- grandfathers, uncles, brothers).  It can be really hard for us to know how to handle a day that celebrates men when we really aren’t too impressed by their existence.

Father’s Day for the fatherless can be a day that conjures up feelings of anger, bitterness, sorrow, loss, revenge, need, and desperation.

It could be an easy day for a us to fall to self-pity, or loathing.  It can be an easy day for us to fall.  It can be an easy day for us to look around at the men around us and throw in the towel on men altogether.

It doesn’t have to be that kind of day, though.  Here are some thoughts to help you weather the storm that can be Father’s Day.


Perhaps he left.  Maybe he beat you before he did that.  Maybe he’s still there, but ignores you.  Maybe he passed away, and you have never really forgiven God.  Maybe you never knew him.

Women can find themselves in many different fatherless scenarios.  Any scenario can cause pain and anger either toward our father or toward God.

You can’t heal if you’re holding on to that.  We have a tendency to hang on to our pasts.  If you are a woman with an abusive or absent father, you may even blame him for your addiction.  As long as you blame someone else, you will not be able to walk in freedom.  You have to let it go.

What if he doesn’t say he’s sorry?

There are some cases where the dad comes back, and asks for forgiveness.  In others, he’s gone and has no intentions of coming back.

We’re so used to forgiveness as ‘accepted apologies.’  It’s hard to accept an apology that you are never given.  What happens if he never comes back, and never says sorry?

You still forgive.

I love the part of the Lord’s prayer that says:

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”

You can have a forgiving heart toward him even if he never asks for forgiveness.  It’s the same heart Christ demonstrated to us.  Think about it:  Christ died for us, while we were still sinners.  His attitude toward us was one ready to forgive.  We didn’t receive that forgiveness until we asked for it, but it was always in his heart.  You can have forgiveness in your heart, even if your dad never asks for it.

Walk On

You cannot change what has happened.  Yes, it may hurt, and no, it isn’t the way it is supposed to be.  You can never undo this part of you.  You can’t splice in a father figure where there wasn’t one.  Even the greatest man in the world cannot occupy the place in your heart your own dad should have had.  That’s just the facts.

That doesn’t mean you’re broken.  It doesn’t mean you constantly live under this label, or live in fear of abandonment and trust.  No no.  You walk on, knowing that our God, our Father, our Abba, is able to make the broken beautiful.  Your brokenness will always be part of who you are.  What God is able to do with that brokenness is part of who He is.

Forgive, even if he never says sorry, and then, walk on, healed, sheltered, loved, and cherished in the arms of your Heavenly Father.

And on Father’s Day, when it can be so easy to look on others with envy or disgust, take a moment to understand that you are a rescued and adopted daughter of the King.  Then, pray for the men in your life- brothers, friends, cousins, uncles- that they would rise up and be the men they are supposed to be.

Photo credit: 
Fadzly @ Shutterhack / People Photos / CC BY-NC-ND