Do you remember your prayers from childhood? I certainly do! Some were silly ones. Some were sweet ones. Some were serious ones. And it’s those serious ones I remember the most.
As a little girl, I used to utter the same prayer night after night. I’d be laying in my bed with my mother beside me. I liked to pray with my eyes wide open, gazing up at this wallpaper border of frilly, pastel bows that framed the four walls of my bedroom. I’d imagine each little bow being an angel, a special messenger who would help relay my prayer to God. My bedtime prayer typically ended like this: “God, I ask that you’d give mommy a husband and me a daddy. And would you make us a happy family? In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Yes, every night I would ask God for a father. I wanted to be a daddy’s girl. I longed to be loved by a father: a person I innately sensed should protect and provide for me as I navigated this big journey called life.
However, that prayer of my fatherless heart remained unfulfilled year after year.
At some point as a teenager, I stopped praying for a daddy. By the time I graduated high school, I relinquished the dream of being a daddy’s girl. God’s answer to my prayers appeared to be a resounding “no. ” Now I was an adult faced with this reality: I had been raised in a single parent home and had never met my biological father.
During my first year in college, I abruptly hit a wall of grief over my absent father. I was a functioning adult by all external appearances, but inside I still was a little girl with a tear-stained face and a crushed heart. Some days I felt like I was attending the funeral of a complete stranger- still mourning this man who should have been etched in the cascading images of my childhood. But his face was nowhere to be found. Not even in one of the dusty photo albums stashed in closets back at my home in Atlanta.
At the tender age of 18, I finally and fully felt my father’s absence for the first time.
Soon this journey of grief led to a wrestling match with God. I put on my fighting gloves and started to hurl the questions that I had been too scared to utter until now:
Why were you silent all these years? Why did you not give me a father? Why me? Why must I be stronger than other women who have had a loving father?
It was as if I had lived in God’s house, sat at His table, but never had let myself snuggle up on His lap. Sure, I had dutifully tried to obey Him, but now could I really trust Him as my Heavenly Father? Amidst my barrage of questions, God met me in my wrestling match. His response surprised me.
He didn’t deny my hurt. He didn’t ignore my questions. He didn’t punish me for my doubt.Rather, He simply embraced me. As I pummeled out the anger, He poured out His heart. My God, who I had grown up knowing as my Creator and Savior, poured out His heart as my Father.
And He wants to do the same for you, friend.
In my journey to heal from father wounds, I started to search the Bible for reference to God as Father. My findings surprised me! Did you know the Bible includes nearly 1,000 references to the word, Father?
One of my favorite verses to savor is Romans 8:15: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have receive a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
This verse reminds us that Christ bore our sins on the cross to grant us this glorious gift: adoption as a child of God. In fact, the Aramaic word, abba, means “daddy.” Thus, the grace of Jesus Christ grants us an intimate relationship with God. It’s as if we’re a little child snuggling in the lap of our daddy.
Through the grace of Jesus, God grants you and me a new identity defined by His adoption rather than our father’s abandonment. When we choose His adoption, we become an Abba’s Girl.
What is an Abba’s girl? I found it is simply this: a girl defined by the grace of Jesus rather than the pain of her past. Like me, you may have never gotten the chance to be a daddy’s girl. But you and I can rejoice in an unshakeable identity-that of being an Abba’s Girl: a daughter lavishly loved and passionately pursued by her Heavenly Father.
Below is a quote I encourage you to print and then display somewhere to remind you of the true identity bestowed on believers in Jesus Christ, who are trusting God in this fatherless journey!
Scripture to Savor: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
Reflect and Respond: Have you ever asked God “the hard questions” about your fatherless condition, and what was the result? How would your life be different if you identified yourself as an “Abba’s Girl?”