I grew up not having a father. My father died when I was 12. I still cannot fully describe how difficult it is. Although my mother fought so hard to provide all our needs and raise me and my brother well. It is different when you don’t have a father on your side. I grew up with envy towards others. I am envious whenever I see fathers with their daughters at church. Envy will sometimes hit me whenever I attend a friend’s wedding especially when I see the bride walking down the aisle with her father on her side. It makes me wonder, “how does it feel growing up with a father?”
But you know what’s the most difficult part? Celebrating Father’s Day without a father you can prepare a Father’s Day surprise.
Lately, I realized that Father’s Day is beyond honouring our fathers but it is celebrating manhood. Have you heard or read something about a fatherless society? It is common in the West but it does not mean that it’s not happening in the East. If families don’t have fathers to remain faithful in their call to be a husband and a father, then our society is forming men and women who grow up with no firm foundation of fatherhood. A fatherless society speaks a lot about the absence of real men in our generation. Our society needs men who are man enough to be authentic, true, real Fathers.
A real man who desires to be a father who provides protects and pastors.
We need men who will provide for the needs of his family not just providing financial and materials needs but most especially, emotional and spiritual needs. We need men who will make us feel safe, men who will lead us closer to God.
Men are meant to protect those he loves at all costs. Even if it entails denying his own desire. A man who fights the temptation of the flesh is a real man. Because real men are protectors, they are mindful of their actions that can potentially hurt the people he loves.
Men are called pastors, leaders who will lead others to God. A pastor knows who God is – the source of authentic and true love. A man who truly knows God is a man who knows how to truly love. And because he truly loves, he will do everything to bring the people he loves, closer to God.
Fathers are witnesses of God’s love
Fathers are witnesses of the Father’s love. They are the image of God the Father. My father was not a perfect father but through his presence for 12 years in my life, it affects how I can connect myself to God the Father. I am forever my father’s little girl because my father showed me how precious and valued I am as her daughter. And so when he died, God filled the void in my heart – my longing to have a father. Because my biological father was a witness of the Father’s love, it is easier for me to connect to God the father.
Fatherhood is life-giving to others. Fatherhood is not limited only to biological fathers. ALL men are called to be spiritual fathers. Looking back on my journey, I never feel that there’s something missing in me when my father died. God sent men who stood up to be my spiritual fathers.
God molded my brother who is 9 years older than me to be my image of a man. My father was my cheerleader and no. 1 supporter. At a very young age, I knew that I deserve to be loved and valued because Papa showed it to me. When he died, my brother continued what Papa made me feel – that I am loved, I am good, I am valued.
The Lord did not stop sending people to make His fatherly love real and tangible. I am blessed to meet fathers in Couples for Christ community who treated me as their own. I may not be their own daughter, they welcomed me to their family as if I am part of them. I am blessed to have met elder brothers who journeyed with me and accompanied me just like what my brother did.
My life’s tragedy could have formed me to be the worse version of myself but through the men who have been my spiritual fathers, I was shaped to be a better person .
This Father’s Day, let us celebrate the presence of good men in our lives. Men are not perfect but instead of pointing at their imperfections let us learn to affirm them of their goodness, encourage them to be the man they are created to be, affirm them of their value.
To all the brothers, I hope you will desire to become a true father who provides, protects and pastors those he loves. May you strive to be a man of God who strives to be an image of the love of God the Father.
To all the sisters, find and pray for a man of God who desires and strives to become a “true father”. When you are dating, ask yourself “is the man in front of me can truly provide, protect and pastor ?”
And to all the children whose fathers are still alive, let your fathers know how much you appreciate them.
To all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day! May you become the Father God called you to be. The world needs you.
A Catholic Lay Missionary who travels the world to share her story with God. She believes that life in Christ is a beautiful adventure.