The Fatherless Bride

Days 4 & 5 Love your spouse challenge

Our engagement was a surprise. I honestly thought we'd be breaking-up, so I was prepared for the fall. Instead we went away for a weekend filled with vinyl records, games of Rummikub, and fishing. He dropped to his knee one evening and popped the question. My answer, "Really?", followed by, "yes" again and again. We went into town to listen to live music and make plans for our wedding to be...

There are two things I've always hated about weddings:

1. The father giving the bride away. 2. The father-daughter dance.

Those were kept for girls with dads. Those things weren't for me. To say I was jealous was a bit of an understatement.

My dad died when I was twenty, but he left long before that. He was the best dad he knew how to be (Hebrews 12:10). He was funny and smart. He dealt with his own demons, and I don't know what they all were. He lived parallel lives, and our family paid for it.

My wedding day was beautiful. Every girl dreams of her white dress, her dearest girlfriends by her side, and her almost husband awestruck at first glance of his new bride. With that as criteria, my wedding was a success. But, what I was missing was my dad. My sweet brother gave me away. He stood in, as he had so many times for my dad, at the father-daughter dance. But I longed for my own father to be there. In fact, that same longing held my heart captive for many, many years to follow.

What we long for, lost daughters, is not found on an earthly level. It's only found in our Heavenly Father. He is what our hearts yearn to be filled with. Psalm 103 lays it out quite clearly. He is the father we lack. He is merciful and tender toward those who don’t deserve it; he is slow to get angry and full of kindness and love. He never bears a grudge, nor remains angry forever. He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, for his mercy toward those who fear and honor him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. In 1 John 3 we are reminded, See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children—think of it—and we really are! How blessed are we to be called His children!

Too often we hunker down in our own self-pity, fixing our sights on what is behind us... what could have been. For 20 years I held fast to my father's death, to all the things I didn't get to do, and to what my own daughters would miss out on. I clung to the anchor that kept me drowning in sorrow. But no more! Instead I cling to the Word. I rejoice in knowing that my Heavenly Father is here- I bless the holy name of God with all my heart. Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things He does for me. He forgives all my sins. He heals me. (Psalm 103) It's in His healing that my soul finds rest, I cut free from the anchor, and my sorrow ceases. Oh, how blessed we are to be called His children. He is a good, good Father, indeed.

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© 2016 by Jennifer McAndrews