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Dear Child,

I know your story oh too well. At twelve years old the man I affectionately called Daddy walked out of my life for the last time. It was my birthday and he’d come by to give me a card. That small token meant the world to me. Had I known it’d be the last time I’d ever see him again, I would’ve memorized more about that night, maybe even kept the card. Now twenty five years later, I don’t remember what he looks or sounds like; his being gone has become a part of me.
       

At five years old, Daddy left me for the very first time and every day with him morphed into every once in a blue moon. Barely able to ride a bike, I waited and waited for him to visit but it rarely happened. I only recall two or three cloudy memories of Daddy between then and my twelfth birthday. And over the years, no matter how I’ve tried to piece together the recollections of his moments with me, they’ve become no more tangible than a dream.  
       

I cried in secret, never wanting anyone to know my pain and embarrassment. I’d cringe when people would ask that dreadful question, “Where’s your daddy?” I’d bury my hurt in jokes like “If you find him I’ll give you a dollar,” but deep down inside I didn’t know how to process his abandonment. I’d wonder things like, if a parent is supposed to love their child more than anything else in the world, did his choice make me unlovable? If I were more beautiful, special or better behaved would he have stayed in my life? I wondered, how could he move on with a new family and forget about me? Being a child who marveled at whole families on television shows, I wished fictional men like Dr. Huxtable could be my dad. All I wanted was a father to talk to, depend on and help Mama so she never had to worry.  Attributing most of my problems to his absence, for years I prayed Daddy and Mama would reconcile. But eventually that prayer was swept away by the reality of such a day never manifesting. Worn down and helpless, I accepted defeat and began to hate “Daddy” instead.
       

But then one day my mother took my sister and me to a church meeting. I don’t remember much about the building itself, but I do remember the intrinsic feeling of happiness. I remember the preacher saying words my pre-adolescent mind didn’t fully understand. I remember walking to the front of the church with Mama and my little sister at my side, I remember feeling changed and that things would be better. In an instance, something died and something was born as I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. He {Jesus} instantly filled a void in my life that tears and hatred for my father could never fill. But at the time I accepted salvation, I didn’t completely understand the gift, so I continued to blame myself for being abandoned by a man; even though I was received by God.
       

By the age of eighteen, even more questions about my father and his family (my aunts, uncles and cousins) hunt me down like a shadow at sunrise. Why didn’t they come for me? Why did they walk away when he walked away? Who am I and will I ever know who I am without knowing who they are? By this time I was becoming a woman, dating and figuring out life in a new way. Lied to by men, I could have become anything they said I was because my natural father hadn’t left words of wisdom for me.
       

But by supernatural grace, God himself set me free. Little by little God went from being a stranger, to becoming a confidant and then a father. He is a father to the fatherless, (Psalm 68:5). When I stumbled upon this scripture in a church service one morning, I couldn’t resist finding it for myself in the Bible. Through the Holy Spirit I recognized that if God is my father, then a mortal man’s rejection could never break me or make me incomplete. God had been standing in the gap for me all along and if sinful men give good gifts to their children, how much more will He give to me. Through understanding truth, God gave me the strength and courage to forgive my father; freeing me from hating him and by hating him- hating myself. I was no longer a victim but a victor; not holey but whole.
       

Daughter, I know you can never relate to being the apple of your natural father’s eye, or being a “daddy’s girl”. I know phrases like you look just like your daddy can feel like both a blessing and a curse and questions about him may make you uncomfortable. I’m aware that you wonder if you’ll ever see him again and if you somehow run into him, will he know who you are? Will he speak to you or just walk right past; rejecting you once more. Perhaps questions like, is he sorry for the pain he’s caused, keeps you up at night. But such an existence doesn’t make you less of a daughter because God has a place for you in His heart.
       

Maybe you’re wondering will anyone ever love you enough to stay; will they tell you they love you and actually mean it? The answer is yes, though this commitment may not initially arrive in the way you’ve imagined. The kind of unconditional love that heals the heart is not coming in the form of a man. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed, (Psalms 34:18). And if you let God into your heart, if you accept Him as your Father, even if your mother and father abandon you, the Lord will hold you close, (Psalm 27:10).
       

Daughter, please don’t fall into the trap of grasping hold to anything that remotely resembles love, chasing it like a euphoric high. Many daughters with backgrounds similar to ours end up lost- all because the Devil has them convinced that numbing the pain is better than triumphing over it. You never have to settle for a man who abuses you physically, mentally or sexually. When I mentored girls, I use to tell them the worst thing they can do was to stop caring about themselves because when you do, you abuse yourself and allow others to do the same. Your body is not a playground for someone who says he loves you, does his business, deposits his seed, then leaves. The truth shall make you free; learn your worth. Through Christ, your body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit and there you understand that you’re not to be passed around for evil’s amusement. False love, love that hurts, and love the costs is not love at all.
       

Today, I pray for the man that said happy birthday, walked away and left me to pick up the pieces. I thank God for using an unsaved vessel to help bring me into the world. I thank God that although a man was not strong enough to be my father, that He {God} never runs out of strength. I pray that the man I once called Daddy will be delivered from his sins and will one day know the love of Jesus Christ. And I thank God for healing me from the pain of my father’s sins; I thank God that I am free.
       

You too can forgive the imperfect vessel God used to produce His daughter. Although it’s not easy, it is necessary. You don’t have to live out your days being burdened and tied by bitterness to any man. God, The Father, wanted you here. He wanted you here for a great purpose and by getting connected to Him, you become his child and learn that purpose.
       

Daughter of God, this is my letter to you, to help bring you out of the shame and bondage that has come to defeat you. God’s love covers you and wipes away every tear, healing every ache. Like any great father, He has a plan and purpose for your life and unlike mortal men, He will never leave or forsake you. God bless you and I pray this letter comforts you as you grow. May you accept the Father and let Him carry every burden life has bestowed upon you.

Signed,
Your sister in Christ


Letter to a Fatherless Child  

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                                                       By Nakesha Woods

Your body is not a playground for someone who says he loves you, does his business, deposits his seed, then leaves.

Nakesha Woods