This morning, I looked up the origin of Father’s Day and learned something new.
A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd was raised by her father, a civil war veteran. He became a widower when she was sixteen and her mother died in childbirth. Sonora believed that her father, who raised six children as a single dad, deserved a day to be celebrated just like mothers were celebrated on Mother’s Day.
The first statewide Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington State on June 19, 1910. It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed a Congressional Resolution declaring the third Sunday of June to be Father’s Day.
I wondered what happened between 1910 and 1972, so I called my parents to see if they remembered celebrating Father’s Day. They remember celebratory Sunday dinners, similar to the ones we still celebrate today.
What does the word father mean to you?
And while an important holiday, I don’t feel that Father’s Day elicits the same sentimentality as Mother’s Day.
Having raised two boys, now nineteen and twenty-one, they have not grown up dreaming of fatherhood like my daughter who has grown up wanting to be a mother. Sure, my sons see it as part of their future, but it was not their automatic answer to the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s harder to write about Father’s Day than I would have thought! I could easily write for hours about what an amazing man my father is to my sister and me. He is still, and will always be, my daddy.
I could also write endlessly about the wonderful father that my husband is to our children. But what is challenging me is not knowing what you think when you hear the word “father.”
What was your father like?
Did you have a daddy?
Did you have someone who loved your mom with his all? Was your father someone who was there for you always? Was he someone who pointed you toward Christ above all else? Did your dad love you the same on both your best days and your worst?
Or, was your experience with your father more formal?
He might have worked hard and expected the same from you. Maybe he did not show a lot of emotion, but you knew you were loved. When he spoke about you to others, perhaps his pride was all over his face and abounding from his voice.
Or, maybe your experience with your dad was neither of those.
Maybe you did not see your dad everyday—or ever.
Or, maybe you had a wonderful life with your dad, but your kids don’t have the same kind of memories with their father.
It’s so hard to know what to say.
We belong to him
So instead of trying to speak into worldly fatherhood, I think that I will take it back to the only Father who has been with us since he knit us together before we were born. I will speak to the One who will welcome us into eternity when we die.
We are his, and we belong to him.
He is: “A Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5). He has lavished us with love and called us his children (1 John 3:1).
Our Father is the One who is not limited by work schedules, DNA, financial responsibilities, calendar visits, or personality traits.
To be his child, all we have to do is believe in him and he gives us the right to be called Children of God (John 1:12). He will not disown us, divorce us, or disappear from our lives. He will provide for all of our needs according to his riches and glory. He has prepared a place for us with him in heaven.
He will love us with an everlasting love, and his faithfulness will endure for all generations.
Whether your earthly father made all your dreams come true or was just someone you dreamed of having a relationship with, you have a Father in heaven who wants to fill the empty places in your heart with a love only he can lavish.