Not Your Typical Father’s Day Post

It’s been a bittersweet exercise to thumb through my Facebook and Instagram feed today. It’s Father’s Day; a day set aside to honor dads.

Scrolling through the posts, I see the thank you’s to amazing fathers. I witness the blessings and joy these fathers and grandfathers are to their children and grandchildren.

I also see the missing my dad posts. Some are fresh hurts, others said goodbye to their father many, many years ago yet the pain and loss are still very real.

I see another type of post. It is sandwiched between the best dad ever and the I miss my dad terribly. It is unseen because it is left un-said. Not posted. Not voiced.

There are those who have longed for years to be called daddy and have not been able to hear those glorious words spoken from the lips of their very own offspring.

There are others silently posting: I wish I had a dad worthy of this holiday. Whether living or passed on, they wish that they could with conviction say that they love their dad or miss their dad terribly. But the words fail because their dads failed.

It’s a tough spot…father’s day. Celebrating, and rightfully so, those who have fathered well. They’ve made mistakes, of course, but at the end of the day they have loved and lived well the role of father. Today is my sixth father’s day without a father. It is also my sixth opportunity to honor the father, the amazing daddy, that my husband has become!

There’s a part of me that dreads every Father’s day. Each year I grieve a loss. Like a tormented King Saul, my father struggled and fought to be a good man and although he tried, my dad sadly failed more than he triumphed at being the daddy my family needed. Most of my memories are filled with proof he failed. There are a few sweet moments I try to hold onto wishing they would wash away the painful recollections. Sometimes my intellect wins out and I can see and name the psychological demons that so tormented my dad’s mind. In rare moments of grace, I can sympathize and even applaud his fight to overcome his own abuse-filled childhood. In many ways he did overcome. But not completely. Although hurting people hurt people, that doesn’t mean that I deserved to be hurt and that is what stays with me the most.

Amidst my dad’s bi-polar tendencies, my dad lived with epilepsy. My earliest childhood memory involves a thanksgiving gone awry because my dad had a seizure just before we prayed over our meal. Throughout my childhood, seizures and black-outs were a constant and often daily occurrence. I recall one weekend while home from college sitting with my dad on the front porch. I took a chance and began pouring my heart out to my dad. I shared experiences from school, dreams I had for the future, and ideas I was chewing on. One minute he was smiling and engaged, the next his eyes had a distant look. In that moment I knew his body was present but his mind was elsewhere. The epilepsy had taken over. My shoulder’s slumped and my heart sunk. In a moment of vulnerability my words fell on the deaf ears of a man experiencing a mild seizure. As I sat there, stunned, waiting for my dad to come to, I felt God speak to my heart.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” My dad had left me but my Heavenly Father was right there.

A dear friend texted me today because she understands what it’s like to scan the card aisle in desperate search of a father’s day card that doesn’t cause too much pain to sign and deliver. She shared a beautiful scripture passage and left me with a great reminder. She reminded me of the amazing fathers that both our children have.

Oh the redemptive work of Jesus!

I have a choice to make. I can wallow in what I’ve lost or rejoice in what I gained on the day our first child was born. I choose to rejoice.

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Although I will likely struggle on days like today for like…always, I am thankful for the father’s love. I do not have many fond memories of my dad to look back on but I witness daily the richness and blessings of a daddy who loves his children oh so much. The Lord redeems my childhood in every hug, every smile and every word of affirmation my husband speaks over our children. It’s a beautiful thing.

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I can’t speak to your pain or joy….

But I will try anyway:

If you have a wonderful father, I rejoice with you. You are so blessed and I am very thankful you have this gift!

If your wonderful father is no longer living, may he live on in your laugh, in your smile, in your child’s determination or sense of humor.

If you have experienced the loss of a child or never had the opportunity to hear those sweet words: Happy Father’s Day from the lips of your child, may the God of all comfort give you peace.

If your relationship with your child is strained, may God restore it.

If your father is not, or was not, what you hoped he should be, may God redeem your story through the miraculous transformation of your father or through the provision of men in your life who honor you as a child worthy of love.

“See what amazing love the Father has given us! Because of it, we are called children of God. And that’s what we really are!” 1 John 3:1a

Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

15 thoughts on “Not Your Typical Father’s Day Post

    1. Thank you Lindsey! Love seeing all the amazing adventures you’re having! Keep living the dream sweet lady!

  1. Oh wow, Patty! This is beautifully and perfectly said! I’m so sorry that as your friend I didn’t fully understand your pain growing up together. I so wish I could have been there for you, though I had no idea the depth of pain you were experiencing. I commend you for the outlook on life that you have chosen. You are proof that one’s past doesn’t have to define one’s future. You have such a beautiful family, I love seeing how God has blessed you!

    1. Thank you Leslie! You were/are a great friend! It’s weird…I just grew up thinking a lot of what I faced was normal (living in a state of survival)…my dad tried…he really did try and we did have seasons of true beauty as a family and my sweet precious momma!!! she tried so hard to be there for Jimmy and I! A true rock. God continues to turn my past into beauty and every time I write he heals another part of my heart.

  2. Hi Patty, you are an excellent writer. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to look into the window of your life. My girls also had their share of heartache. Mental illness is cruel. I am thankful for your joy. May those who live with mental illness, or have mental illness find joy in their lives, and love.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. You are right, mental illness is very cruel. So thankful that God can make beauty from ashes and that his love never runs out!

  3. I cried! Patty, I’m so proud of the amazing woman of God you are! I have always seen the strength of our God in and through you… even at a young age. What a gift you have in writing! In fact, just recently I found a letter you had written to me when you were at college. It blessed me in the here and now! Your words in this post will not only continue healing pieces of your heart… but the hearts of others! l 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 promises that! God has a way of turning our pain into purpose! Great, mighty, and powerful purpose! Thank you for your vulnerability! Thank you for sharing your heart on this difficult day! What a blessing you are dear daughter of our Heavenly Father! The one and only perfect Father. I love you!

  4. Patty,
    I remember embracing you when your daddy passed. I am so sorry that he passed before he was able to be fully well and redeem some of the brokenness. These words are so raw and meaningful- even more so than when I read them last time. 2 of my children spend half of their time with a father who also suffers from mental illness & my prayer and hope is that they will be able to see wellness and restoration and maybe even his salvation sooner than later. God has been able to redeem us and restore some of the brokenness through my remarriage & an awesome stepdad, and I will be forever grateful for that. My prayer is also that they will themselves seek God & wellness always.
    Thank you for sharing so much of your heart, your story, and the journey. Parenting has a way of reminding us of so much- both the good and the not so good. May God continue to heal the pieces of your heart that you didn’t even realize needed it. May He continue to bless your marriage, your parenting, your writing, and you. You are truly one of the most humble, kind, warrior moms I know. Love to you friend.
    Heather

  5. Patty, You truly are a beautiful person. Growing up you could always brighten anyone’s day. Your heart always seemed to be so full of Jesus. I had no idea your struggles as a teen. You hid them well but then again maybe it was just the joy of the Lord. Life is beautiful with Jesus and Patty you have always reflected him. Thank you for being such an awesome example of His love. I’m so proud of you and I praise God that he has redeemed your past into this beautiful future.

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