My Father’s Daughter
By Heather Arbuckle –
I have heard it said that the relationship between a father and his child plow the way for how she will one day perceive God. With remarkable truth, I have seen these words unfold in my own personal father/daughter relationships.For me, life is a tale of two fathers. One has chosen to be absent from my life since I was very young. The other stepped in to fill empty shoes. Both of these men have affected my view of God in profound and powerful ways.
Cruel and abusive, my birth father caused me to look at all men with fear. Everything about him was intimidating, from his words to his posture. Even though I longed to be “Daddy’s girl”, his very presence filled me with anxiety. Cruel interactions with my father left deep and painful scars on my young and fragile heart.
Complicating matters, my dad left his post of fatherhood when I was quite young. Feeling rejected and insecure, I placed a protective shield around my wounded heart. As I evaluated God’s love through a lens of brokenness, I perceived Him to be an angry tyrant, ready to punish and abandon me for any real or perceived offense. Consequently, I wanted nothing to do with His kind of love, for it could not be trusted.
When I entered the sixth grade, my mother married the man I now call my dad. When Mom announced she was getting married, I was happy for her, but nervous for me. After being emotionally battered by one father, I wasn’t sure I really needed a new one. Having been mistreated by my biological father for so many years, I was overly cautious in opening my heart to this new man now part of our lives.
With one foot firmly rooted in childhood and the other stepping into the uncertainties of junior high, I was blessed that God brought me my dad. I had much to learn about my Heavenly Father, and God assigned my “stepfather” to teach me of His love.
Calm and non-threatening, Dad was not easily angered. While the rest of my family is animated and passionate, my dad is private and reserved. Most of the time, he keeps his feelings quietly to himself. It took some time for me to understand his ways.
Still, I grew to appreciate and respect the man who CHOSE to be my dad. Immediately, he recognized and embraced me as his daughter. It was his home that provided a sanctuary for my festering emotional wounds to heal. His quiet ways allowed the veil of fear to be lifted from my eyes and gave me a new perspective on God’s love.
It is a beautiful parallel of my standing with my God as well. Grafted into His family through the blood of Christ, I am His beloved child. Reconciled through grace, I am “an adopted heir in Christ” (Galatians 3:29 NIV). Nothing can snatch me from His loving grasp. My Heavenly Father delights in me and “nothing can separate me from His love” (Romans 8:39 NIV). Claiming me as His own, God “will never leave me nor forsake me“ (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).
Secure in my position with my Heavenly Father, I still have much to learn. Each day, God teaches me to be a reflection of Him. While I rest in His love, I continue to learn His ways. I long to be more loving. I strive to be more patient. I wait to become all He desires. For in this life, I am called to be my Father’s daughter.
Heather Arbuckle is a former educator who is now serving God as a writer. She lives in McKinney, Texas, with her husband and college sweetheart, Marty. Together, they have three children. You can read more from Heather at her blog www.hearts-for-him.blogspot.com. She has no greater joy than to see God’s word accomplish its purpose in the lives of readers near and far.