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Your Turn: The Pain and Joy of Fatherʼs Day

 Fatherʼs Day is a day to cherish and rejoice in the love from our fathers, to lift high those treasured memories and honor the one whom we call Dad.

There are many reasons why we as children — whatever age we are — can find Fatherʼs Day a taxing time. I must be honest, until a few years ago, I didnʼt realize the importance in celebrating this particular day. In fact, in my younger years, Fatherʼs Day was a day I did not want to celebrate or even acknowledge. My own father as like others, maybe even yours, was simply not around as I grew up. So each year as this distinct time came around, I desperately hoped by ignoring its existence, I could also ignore the sadness, the disappointment and any associated pain or feelings would also disappear. Being a teenager, those feelings were natural to wrestle with, but as I grew in my relationship with God, there was a stirring in my heart for something to change.

Why it is important to grow in acknowledging Fathersʼ Day and even celebrate it? First, recognizing Fatherʼs Day simply meant I had made the decision to forgive my dad. My hope essentially came from Jesus, as He forgave those on the cross in His time of need (Luke 23:34); then surely, as He lives in me, I could do the same.

Forgiving a parent seems incredibly difficult, and it is a battle. In my particular circumstance, forgiveness through prayer was a gradual process, but itʼs also a continual one. Jesus commands us to forgive (Matthew 18:22-23) and the commitment to do so must be reaffirmed as it’s being obedient to the Lord and in this case my heart is continually released from shame and sorrow. To ask the Lord to bring you to a place of forgiving your dad is a bold request, one He will surely not deny.

Second, Fatherʼs Day can bring us closer to God and His Word. One of my life verses to meditate on is Psalm 146:9. “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow.” I believe the Word of the Lord is flawless (Psalm 18:30) and I am confident throughout my life He has sustained me, and this knowledge essentially brings me comfort and peace in the Lord in the moments when Iʼm reminded of those agonizing thoughts.

My hope rests in God, His promises and His grace to carry me through each day. Despite any shortcomings of our earthly fathers, I believe Fatherʼs Day can be more than just a day to get through as we can celebrate our mentors, leaders and other family members who have played a vital part in our lives. But more importantly, itʼs a day in which, as we reminisce, we might also be reminded of and find joy in our heavenly Fatherʼs perfect love for us and be assured that the Lord has a heart for the fatherless (Psalm 10:14,18).

If you have found Fatherʼs Day tough for whatever reason, how have you overcome? And what Scriptures have you found comforting?

 Natalie Wharton is a graduate who loves working with and encouraging young people. She loves running, sports, especially Formula 1.

If you would like to contribute a post to the Boundless blog’s “Your Turn” Friday feature, see “Writers Wanted” for more details.

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