Children in homes without a father are 4 times more likely to live in poverty, more likely to have behavioral problems, more likely to go to prison, commit crimes, 7 times more likely to become pregnant as a teen, more likely to face abuse and neglect, more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, twice as much at a higher risk to become obese, and twice as much at risk to drop out of high school. These statistics are just staggering and we ALL know people in our circle who have dealt some of these, if not we ourselves.
Although this can apply to absent mothers, parents that ARE in the home, but neglectful – we are solely discussing the effects this has on women because we are women and we have first-hand experience with this as daughters.
Women who grow up without fathers tend to deal and struggle with self-esteem issues and worthlessness. Women/young girls without fathers are at a higher rate of committing suicide, engaging in drug use, promiscuity, etc. These statistics are getting higher every day as we see the demise of our society and our teenagers running rampant with sin. But where does this begin? Where does this feeling of inadequacy start?
Most girls who don’t have a father suffer with the question “what’s wrong with me?” “Am I not good enough?” “Am I beautiful?” If our Fathers aren’t answering our questions, then who is? Unfortunately instead of taking our hearts to God, we take them to man, which deepens our wounds since man cannot fill what only God can. Our relationship, or lack thereof with our fathers is directly related to how we view and see God as Father. In the book Captivating, Stasi Elderedge says that, “what we first believe about God, the Father, directly comes from what we know of and have experienced from our earthly dads.”
At a young age, both my sister and I dealt with the effects of not having our fathers.
Vanessa – I lost my father at a young age. I came home from school to discover that he had committed suicide. I was 8 years old. Despite the depression, overwhelming sadness and confusion that comes with a tragedy like that, I also had a sense of shame. This shame was a feeling of worthlessness – feeling unworthy that I was not good enough for my father to choose life, to choose me. As I grew up and the embarrassment of how he passed began to fade a little, the unworthiness I felt as a daughter grew. There are plenty of statistics I could have become – strung out on drugs, promiscuous, the list goes on. I did none of those things and thank God for having His hand on me. On the contrary – I was more withdrawn from men, not wanting to get close and be hurt like that again.
Michelle – My story is quite different from my sister’s. My father is still alive. When I was very young, my parents divorced and my father re-married. He and his wife had 4 children and his wife did not want me tainting their family and they therefore disowned me. I grew up, like my sister, feeling unworthy. Since my dad was such a great father to his other children, I felt like I was never good enough for him or anyone else. I grew up very insecure and clung to most relationships in my life in fear of being abandoned again.
Now what do we do with these hurts, these pains that have haunted us most of our lives? Healing is a process, a journey, and the first step is to be willing to surrender to God and invite Him into that place of our hurt. He won’t force Himself in. It isn’t easy to expose that wound again, however without going back to the place we were first hurt, we can’t begin to heal. I believe that is why so many people stay stuck is because it hurts too much to go back there.
Jesus came not to just save us, but to liberate, heal and restore. He is our healer. In Stasi Elderedge’s book Captivating, she rephrases Isaiah 61:1-3 so beautifully:
Isaiah 61:1-3 “God has sent me on a mission. I have some great news for you. God has sent me to restore and release something and that something is you. I am here to give you back your heart and set you free. I am furious at the Enemy who did this to you, and I will fight against him. Let me comfort you. For dear one I will bestow beauty upon you where you have known only devastation. Joy, in the places of your deep sorrow and will robe your heart in thankful praise in exchange for your resignation and despair.”
Another step in the journey of healing is to release. We can’t suppress our feelings. Many people carry anger, resentment and shame. We need to allow ourselves to cry and let the tears of healing flow. We need to get alone with God – vent and let it all out! It’s like opening that wound and letting it bleed. Don’t be afraid to bleed all over Him!
We also need to forgive. We must forgive those who have hurt us. A hard one is forgiving ourselves. Holding onto unforgiveness keeps us prisoners. We have to remember forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. We will not feel like forgiving. If we wait till we feel like it, we will never forgive. Forgiving is not excusing what happened to us, but releasing ourselves.
- Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge,my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.
- Psalm 68:5 – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
Vanessa – As an adult, I took a class at Church called “Captivating.” Yes, it was based on the book and it examined our relationships with each part of the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I began to realize I had held back from God the Father because I felt that He had abandoned me as a child without a Father. But through a lot of prayer and crying out. God took me back spiritually to where it all started and I saw His hand holding mine the entire time. It hurt to go back and see some of the things that God showed me, but it healed a wound I never thought would heal.
Michelle – I never had reconciliation with my biological father, but I did receive restoration and healing. Restoration and healing does not have to equal reconciliation. God restored me in different ways by showing me my worth and value whether a man approved or not. God did! He told me, “You will be healed in the place you were hurt.” I was hurt in my heart with the absence of a father, but God restored that with His presence. Remember, forgiveness and Restoration does not mean reconciliation
John 14:18 – “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you”
Satan and his demons constantly confront Jesus for domination of our souls. Evil wants us to be prisoners of our past. Receiving our healing comes from forgiving and venting and crying out to God, but maintaining that freedom requires a lot more maintenance. Below are some scriptures and points to meditate on as you walk your testimony of restoration!
- Discard False Identities – We need to See Ourselves God Sees Us
As we grow in God, we begin to develop a new self-image over time. As we truly surrender ourselves to God, self-destructive behaviors like addictions, eating disorders, promiscuity, negative attitudes and habits and threats of suicide fade away.
A. 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
B. John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
2. Cast aside every thought that threatens to remind you of your past hurt
A. 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
3. Meditate on the healing in God’s Word Daily
A. Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
B. Psalm 63:6 – On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
C. Joshua 1:8 – Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
- Forgive who hurt you, including yourself (Pray for your enemies
A. Ephesians 4:31 -32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
B. Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
C. Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
- Reach out to help others through their process
A. Matthew 5:16 –In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
B. Exodus 17:12 –When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
C. Matthew 10:8 – Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
We hope this helped you and we pray that God restores and heals every area in your life so that you are able to walk free and abundantly!