How I Met My Father

How I Met My Father Graphic

On a cool morning, a few days after Father’s Day, at 7:05 am when we drove into the parking lot of IHOP and opened the silvery doors of our minivan. We tried to pull the kids out without the toys and miscellaneous vacation items falling out. I looked around the parking lot to see if they were waiting in their car. My 17-year-old brother was going to be there too. No people looking like the photos I had seen were waiting in a vehicle. So I straightened my clothes and fixed my hair to look my best as we walked across the parking lot with a child holding my hand.

This whole day seemed the opposite of how normal life is. You usually take your father to meet the young man you want to marry, not take your husband and children to meet your father. But my entire life has not been “normal.” I have come to terms that my life was God’s choice and He allowed me to live in the life He had designed for me, with my mother and without my father.

There was always a vacuum in my heart because I had never met him.

There were questions and longings to always feel loved and accepted. The desire to want to feel loved and not lonely. The thought that if I had passed my father on the street that I would not even know what he looked like and he would not know me.

I was given his name some time into junior high and high school and done searches on his name on the internet. There were probably 8 men in the U.S. with the same name with various addresses around the country. How would I know who to contact? I did not attempt to contact any of them. Fear walked with me and spoke with me, causing me to worry. I worried that if I did contact him that he would not want to know me. He knew my whereabouts when I was 2 years old but never pursued me. Maybe he had no wish to have a relationship. The questions in my mind could go on forever speculating motives and not understanding reasons why things happened the way they did.

I had begged my mother my senior year, months before my graduation to find him so that he would know that I was graduating. I wanted him to be proud that I had accomplished something good in my life. Needless to say, that did not happen. I went on to Bible college and followed God’s call in my life but watched as God, the Father to the fatherless, helped me when I needed Him the most. Alone to provide for my school bill, God helped keep it paid, then provided a job so that I could pay. He provided loving family, my aunt and adopted families were very helpful to me throughout my college years. God always bridged the gap and ministered to my heart.

As I walked into the IHOP entrance, I looked down at the small brown squared tiles as I followed my husband into the door. We walked into the waiting area and it was empty. Now to wonder whether we were there first, or what was going to happen. Then, looking around the room, he waved from a table way in the back of the restaurant. He and my brother both stood and walked to meet us as we met them. It was not nearly as hard as I had expected to walk up and give a sideways hug.

They were family… but then again, they were strangers.

Our children were ushered into a booth and we sat at tables connected. I sat across from my brother, diagonal from my father. So, that’s what he really looked like in person! A tall man with large broad shoulders. He had a Texas accent and a nervous laugh that surfaced now and then. His hair is a sandy brown color and naturally curly.

As my brother talked about himself and his mother and his sisters, I was overwhelmed. He loved them so much and complimented them so many times, that I wanted to meet them myself. They sounded like wonderful people.  I hoped we could maintain a relationship and become close.

I ate most of my breakfast but did not talk as much as my husband did. He talked and broke the ice for me, so that I did not feel so uncomfortable. How do you bridge the gap of years with someone whose title should equal a familial closeness? We could not bridge the gap of this relationship in a few hours of a day.

I also took multiple trips to the bathroom with my kids, it was embarrassing and funny all at the same time. Apparently he asked my husband if I was going to be alright when I was away. He assured him that I was fine, but it was going to take time. I think he understood.

The kids did not know that day  who my father was, but some months later we explained that day at IHOP. We made a decision not to tell the kids in case things did not work out so they did not end up being hurt. We explained the situation to them and they understood in their childlike innocence and were sad I had that type of childhood since they love their Papa so much. Finally we explained that it was good that he was in our lives now, and they wholeheartedly agreed.

The time passed and it was time for us to get on our journey to reach our vacation destination on time. Another sideways hug in the parking lot and then they walked away. I did not know in those moments if they would walk away forever or not. Would I still be accepted after they left? That question was hanging in my heart. As they drove away, they both waved good-bye and we smiled and waved and continued putting our kids in the car.

Meeting him and my brother was a start. He does keep in contact often. I know that we have been worlds apart and our lives very different. I only know of 1 or 2 people who have ever met their father or mother as an adult, who was not adopted, which makes it hard to find people to talk to about the situation. There is a comfort that even though circumstances did not bring us together until that day at IHOP, that God was with me. He preserved me for His purposes for my family and for our ministry together, so that I could do what He wanted me to do.

It’s been a year now, and I pray the bond will grow and that he will learn to understand me for who I am. I hope he will appreciate who the Lord has made me to be. If he never does, my purpose is to always please God my Heavenly Father.

If you in your life or ministry know of an adult child that is meeting their parent for the first time or are navigating through this type of relationship and need someone to talk to, please have them contact me on my Contact page. I would love to help or listen if I can.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy, How to Help the Fatherless Child on Father’s Day.



How to Help the Fatherless Child on Father’s Day

How to Help the Fatherless

How many fatherless children do you know? Fatherless children come from married homes, unmarried homes, single homes, they’re orphans, and almost anything in between. Men can father children easier than they can truly be a father. It’s a part of our society and a problem in our society that the Bible addresses very clearly.

One fatherless child may not have ever met his father. Another fatherless child may have had many bad experiences with their father in the past. And another fatherless child may only see their father when he wants something from them. Yet another fatherless child may live at home with his father every day but not have the love and attention he needs or deserves because of his father’s preoccupation with other matters in his life. The scenarios are limitless.

A child living without their father is greater than those that live without their mother. Gasp! I am sure that some of you may not agree with statement. The Bible does not address a child being without a mother as much as he does children being fatherless. There is something about the male leadership and spiritual role that is needed in a person’s life. When the father is not there to be the authority, protector, and provider, God steps in and gives Biblical instructions for God’s people to help them and plead their cause. (See Exodus 22:22-24, Deuteronomy 10:17-18, 24:17,18, Proverbs 23:10,11)

Fatherless children tend to have heartache and problems on Father’s Day. Their hearts hurt and yearn for a father that will love them and care for them and listen to them. Here are some ideas, as many of you will see fatherless children on Father’s Day in your churches, on how you can give them encouragement.

  1. Recognize the void. Look for those that are fatherless in your church. They will be of all ages, some people never outgrow the void that growing up fatherless gave them. Their void is having love, spiritual guidance, and physical needs met.
  2. Acknowledge their struggle.   If there is not a physical struggle in the child’s life then there is probably a spiritual struggle. They ask themselves questions about who their father is, why he does the things he does, why God does not see their hurt and address their needs quickly, and if they are worthy of being loved. You do not have to say anything specifically to them about this struggle, but acknowledge that it is there in your heart. This is a genuine and Biblical void.
  3. Point them to the Heavenly Father. One idea is to ask them if they are doing alright on Father’s Day. Then lovingly remind them that God is a Father to all of those that need one. Give them a scripture or two in a note or on a notecard so they can take that reminder with them. They may even keep it in a special place and look at it now and then. Sunday School teachers can take special time in their class to remind children of the Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and care for them even if they are not able to talk to each child one on one.
  4. Pray with them if possible and pray for them as often as you think of them.
    If God allows you the opportunity, without making a spectacle out of the person or situation, ask them if you can pray with them. Then simply pray for their needs and thank God for being the best Heavenly Father a person could ever ask for. Be wise though, remember not to isolate yourself with a child or teenager in a room alone. Men should pray with boys and ladies with girls unless it is a husband or wife together, to prevent any type of false accusations.
  5. Provide any physical need they may have.  Ask God to help you see the need of fatherless child in your church. If you see they need shoes then bring them a pair of shoes or a gift card so they can go buy a pair. Then let them know that God cares for them. Doing this will help them be reminded that God does care even though their earthly father may not. The church does not carry the responsibility to provide for those in need, He encourages us not to shut up our bowels of compassion for the needs of others.

I John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

That verse is very powerful in motivating Christians to help others in need. Helping a fatherless child is no exception.

Another thought, if you are a Sunday School teacher and you know a child does not have a father or a regular father in his life then be mindful when you are having your class make crafts. You could make your craft point to the Heavenly Father or give them an alternative to make their gift for a grandpa, uncle, or other father figure in their life. Sometimes these types of activities will isolate the child and make them feel sad. Instead of allowing someone to leave church feeling discouraged, make it a positive experience where they felt loved by you and their Heavenly Father.

We have the wonderful responsibility of being able to point people to Jesus Christ and Father’s Day is just one of the opportunities we can have in showing fatherless children about a Heavenly Father. May you stand in the gap and be an encouragement to the fatherless around you! Happy Father’s Day to you all!