A promise to the fatherless

I’ve had to remind myself a few times that I’m not sending a Father’s Day card this year.

Each time I remind myself of that I also have to remind myself to breathe. And then not to cry or the clerk stocking the greeting card aisle will look at me sideways as I walk by. And then I’ll usually go through the motions for the next hour until it wears off and a Father’s Day sign hanging from the eave of Hallmark reminds me–once again.

This year threatened to be hard. The impending holiday dedicated to Dads could easily be one of the hardest days I’ll have to live through since saying goodbye to my Dad this last December. But I realize now, six months later almost to the day, that it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be hard for you, either. Or anyone for that matter who stands fatherless this year.

with kitty

As I was driving to work yesterday sorting through memories of Father’s Days past, a scripture came to mind. It was verse I hadn’t ever really thought about until right that moment.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” -Psalms 68:5.

And suddenly, things made a little more sense for me.

I never realized until now that each year this holiday is something a huge group of people face with heavy hearts. It’s a group of people who often go unnoticed and un-talked about–overshadowed by greeting cards, fatherhood sermons, and children riding on men’s shoulders. It’s filled with people who haven’t even known the love of a Dad here on earth and who don’t even have the memories of holding his hand.

a dad's hand

Some in this group will celebrate Father’s Day at a gravestone. Others will pretend the holiday doesn’t exist. Some will wrestle with forgiveness and bad memories and some will be reminded that they don’t even know what it’s like to have a dad. In households all across the country there is a lack of a dad’s love, a lack of male figures in the house that play basketball with the boys and intimidate the boyfriends of the girls. And because of this kind of disappearance, so many–no matter how they lost, or never even gained, a dad–are tempted to feel like they got the short end of the stick.

So many forget that the promise in Psalms 68:5 applies to them too.

Heavenly Father is just that: A father.

He isn’t a light in the sky or a feel-good story. He’s never been a myth or a fabrication or a dictator overseeing billions of insignificant followers that pass through generations like dust. He’s your Dad.

holding girl


He’s a dad who cries at our losses and who cheers us on as we regain footing. He’s the one who gives us strength when we have to do it alone and who listens to us even when we don’t listen to him. He’s an eternal father to the fatherless, to the lost, to the abused, and to the abandoned. Why do we think of Him in any other way?

Elder Holland once spoke about the pure knowledge that Christ had of his Father in Heaven and how real the relationship was.

“In that most burdensome moment of all human history,” he said, “Christ sought Him whom He had always sought–His Father. ‘Abba’, he cried… or from the lips of a younger child, ‘Daddy’…A son in unrelieved pain, a Father his only true source of strength, both of them staying the course, making it through the night–together.”

This Father’s Day I’m inspired to know that none of us really remain fatherless. On those hard nights, how many fathers truly surround me? My Father in Heaven who sent me to earth, my Dad who loved me once I got here, and still loves me now. Then there are the generations of grandparents and ancestors who reach to me and whisper guidance through the veil, faces I haven’t even met in this life.

walking with a dad

How wonderful it is that no matter what, we never live a day without a Father’s touch. Not a single one of us.

Not when a whole army of love stands on guard for us throughout our lives from places seen and unseen, making Father’s Day–and every day, really–always worth celebrating.

9 thoughts on “A promise to the fatherless

  1. On Jun 12, 2014 10:09 PM, “All our Lemmony Things” wrote: > > Kayla Lemmon posted: “I’ve had to remind myself a few times that I’m not sending a Father’s Day card this year. Each time I remind myself of that I also have to remind myself to breath. And then not to cry or the clerk stocking the greeting card aisle will look at me sidewa” >

  2. I always look forward to your posts. They inspire and uplift me. Thank you. I’m forwarding this onto my husband who has struggled with his relationship with his father for many years. He has a father in my dad and in our Heavenly Father. Thank you for this.

  3. Thank you for the beautifully written post. My father died in January this year. I have been petty good until the Father’s Day cards started showing up. Your post really spoke to me. Thank you again!!!

  4. My father died a month before I was born, crazy since it was 62 years ago. I had an abusive step-father for 18 years. It is just not a good day for me. The bright moments are my three great brother-in-laws. Also forgiveness is very healing, but it is still hard with what I had missed.

  5. Hi, thank you for your post and the meaningful scripture. this Father’s Day, 2014, marked the one year anniversary of my father’s funeral. Breathless is the right expression/emotion as I visit my mom and see photos and evidences of his absence. At the same time I feel his presence and influence in so many positive ways. It is interesting to know that I now have two Father’s in heaven. And comforting as well.

  6. Beautiful words. It’ll be two years this June for me. The empty silence that he left behind is the hardest, I still can’t bring myself to visit his little garden at the cemetery where we buried his ashes, at least not on my own. I guess going there just makes the silence louder. But it’s good to be reminded that our God is a personal and present Daddy and that’s worth celebrating. So sorry that you’ve lost your Dad too.

  7. 37 years later, this Father’s Day was the roughest in a long time. As I substituted my Daddy’s picture for mine on my FB profile a sense of overwhelming loss just hit me. I thought I was over it – I was just 12 when he died. You see some loves never die. My Daddy was everything to me. The only one I knew for sure loved me. It didn’t’ matter that I was introverted, insecure or homely, I was my Daddy’s girl. I didn’t have to prove anything or accomplish anything phenomenal. All I had to be was me.

    My heart goes out to you and know that it’s okay to cry. A father’s love is something special and unforgettable….treasure it!

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