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Father’s Day is Difficult

Father’s Day is a difficult day for me, full of mixed emotions.

On one hand, I love that my husband and my son are such great Dads. They are certainly worthy of being celebrated on a special day.

On the other hand, my own father wasn’t such a great Dad. And therein lays my difficulty. He struggled with a few things in life, and those things affected me – greatly. How do I reconcile the “honour your father” commandment from God and yet be honest about my own experience?

I’ve made a list of all the good things my Dad has done. For example, he got up early every morning for dozens of years to go to work. He took his family to church, which gave me a foundation of Biblical truths that probably saved my life. He was an example of volunteering in the community.

Yet I still hurt every year at this time when I think of “Father”.

Over the years I have dealt with the pain of the past, and come to an understanding and acceptance of what happened. Dad’s actions were not right and my healing was not easy, but I found that surviving and thriving are possible.

Yet I still hurt every year at this time when I think of “Father”.

A few years ago, I received word Dad was dying. The news came at Easter. I went to the Good Friday service that evening, wondering if I should go see him; wondering if I could handle going to see him. I had been in contact with him prior to and since my Mom passed away, but nothing very consistent.

That night, as I listened to the dramatic presentation of the death of Christ, I once again took my hurts to God. The readings were about Christ, but my focus was drawn to the crosses on either side of Jesus. The thieves were dying alongside the Saviour – one bitter and the other repentant. I knew my Dad was the repentant one.cross-66700_1920 2

Before I could decide to go see Dad, he was with Christ, just like that thief on the cross. So was I okay with the fact that God forgave my Dad? Yes, because I also have a choice of which thief I am going to be. I could hang on to bitterness, but that would only kill me slowly. I saw my own need for salvation and asked for Christ’s mercy. God forgave my Dad, and He forgave me, too.

Do you have a hard time with Father’s Day? Is your Dad nothing like the ideal men we see in commercials? Talk to God about your hurts and your doubts.

Do you have a tarnished image of God because of a tarnished Dad? Please know, God is nothing like that man. And even if you had a wonderful father, know that God is even better than him, too.

God provides me with peace each year at Father’s Day, as I am reminded of His mercy and forgiveness. Despite the hurt that surfaces at this time of year, I thank God for my Dad. God’s mercy to me and God’s mercy to my Dad means I can love, honour, and even respect the imperfect man who was my father.

Forgiveness is worth celebrating at Father’s Day each year.

Earthly fathers aren’t perfect; some, in fact, may fail us in horrible ways. But God is perfect, and so is His love. He is everything our fathers should be – and more. – Billy Graham

Categories: Light in Dark Times Marnie Special Days

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Marnie has recently retired to Saskatchewan, Canada to write and be with her grands. She shares from her heart, drawing from both painful and joyful life experiences, where she believes God's presence makes all the difference.

6 replies

  1. I, too, can relate to your story. I can also attest to the fact that full healing is possible, and definitely worth all the hard work to get there. It’s okay to be a little off-balance as long as you keep leaning forward. Blessings

    1. Love your testimony, Bobbi. Does it ever get easier? Trusting that what I share will help someone who isin the pain or doing the work of recovery to lean into God.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Marnie. I appreciate your illustration of the ones crucified with Christ, one repentant and the other one bitter. I share your pain. I thank the Lord that the verse “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” is repeated 7 times throughout the Bible, reinforcing that HE is a forgiving God. Love you!

  3. Marnie I am right there with you in this post. All of that and maybe more or less (since I don’t know your experience) I experienced with my father. It is especially hard since I’m pretty sure his actions are what sent both my mother (an early death from cancer) and my sister (a suicide) to their graves. I have spent my entire childhood and then adult life first surviving, then coping, then almost dying, then recovering and now healing from my father. It’s a wonder any of us make it isn’t it? The father figure is so important in the home. I agree with everything you wrote and especially that you expressed it as a journey, not a quick prayer and then we are fine. I have to work at forgiving everyday and some days I do better than others. Thanks for sharing. I have only ever once written about my father and posted it but then I took it down. I too find father’s day a hard day mixed in with blessings.

    1. Writing about a painful past is hard, but my purpose in sharing is so others know they are not alone, they will get through it, and God is present with them. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone, Gloria!

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