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10 Truths for Those Whose Fathers Skewed Their Image of God

  • Anne Peterson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • Updated Apr 11, 2019
10 Truths for Those Whose Fathers Skewed Their Image of God

Some people grow up with loving fathers; I was not one of those people. So when I learned that God was my Father, it was hard to separate my experiences growing up from the reality of what a father is supposed to be. Then God taught me that he was a good Father and could satisfy all the needs in my life that my earthly father never did.

I’d like to share 10 encouraging truths for those whose fathers skewed their image of God.

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  • 1. God is our protector.

    1. God is our protector.

    Growing up, I did not feel safe. I was afraid of the one who was supposed to make me feel safe. We never knew when he would fly into a rage and come after us. It was hard for me to believe God was my protector, but little by little, God showed me verses that helped me to trust him.

    Read Psalm 61:3. God is almighty and powerful. And he is our refuge—our place of safety. Now instead of running from my father, I can run to my heavenly Father with no fear at all. What a difference.

    The more I read and study God’s Word, the more I learn about how God protects us and always looks after us. Oh, how safe he has made me feel.

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  • 2. God accepts us totally.

    2. God accepts us totally.

    My father was someone who was hard to please. Consequently, I didn’t feel he accepted me. His harsh words made us feel bad about ourselves.

    But God totally accepts us, just as we are. The world thinks we need to clean ourselves up to go to God, but that’s not what the Bible teaches.

    Read Romans 5:8. We are to come as we are, for God loved us so much that he sacrificed his perfect Son so that we would be made clean. When God looks at those who have accepted Jesus, he sees them as righteous. No longer do I have to wonder if God accepts me. When I accepted Christ, God totally accepted me. And even when I’ve blown it, Jesus intercedes, and God sees me as forgiven.

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  • 3. God really hears us.

    3. God really hears us.

    When I was growing up, I never felt like my dad heard me. It felt like he was there but at the same time, not present. So I wondered how God could hear us when he had so many who needed him.

    Read Psalm 18:6. God’s Word is true, and he tells us that if we cry out to him, he hears us. How wonderful to know he not only hears our cries but also knows each thought that we have.

    Read Psalm 139:1-4. Knowing that God understands even my thoughts gives me peace. It means he is attuned to me in a way no other person has ever been. God cares about me totally. And because God never changes, he will always care.

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  • 4. God wants to spend time with us.

    4. God wants to spend time with us.

    When my sister and I were little girls, our dad would tell us to make our legs stiff and he would lift us up in the air. We felt like ballerinas. We felt like the world belonged to us. But as we got older, he stopped spending time with us. And when he spoke to us, he spoke harshly.

    I learned that God loves spending time with us. He loves it when we talk to him in prayer and when we sit and spend time reading the love letter he wrote to us, the Bible. And I am certain he loves it when we praise him, either with words or when we sing to him. I also like taking walks with the Lord and noticing all the beautiful things he has created. It feels like he made them just for me.

    Last week, I saw a deer in the cemetery that I walk in. I was struck with the beauty. I said to God, “Are there any more?” And immediately I saw seven more deer like the first one. I just stood there with tears in my eyes, so thankful for my walk with him that day.

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  • 5. God comforts us.

    5. God comforts us.

    When we were young and needed comfort, we always went to our mom since our dad wasn’t very gentle with us. So when I read that God comforts us, it was a hard concept for me to believe. And yet, every time I have lost someone significant in my life, God’s Holy Spirit has comforted me.

    Read 2 Corinthians 1:4. God cares when we hurt. He heals the brokenhearted.

    Read Psalm 147:3. It’s wonderful to know that when we are in pain, our heavenly Father cares. I have lost many loved ones in my family and can personally attest to God’s comfort in my life. Even when others stepped away, God never did. He comforts us so we can comfort others who are hurting.

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  • 6. God thinks we are special.

    6. God thinks we are special.

    Did you know that God watches his creation—even little sparrows?

    Read Matthew 10:29-31. God knows when even one sparrow falls. He tells us we are worth more than the sparrows. God even knows how many hairs are on our heads. We are special to him.

    One day when I worked as a cashier for a grocery chain, the girl at the next register received flowers from a customer. I smiled when she showed them to me and told her my favorites were Lilies of the Valley. About 10 minutes later, a woman came into our store, walked up to me, and said, “These are for you.” There in her hands were Lilies of the Valley! I had never seen that woman before and I know God gave me those flowers.

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  • 7. God never leaves us.

    7. God never leaves us.

    I did not feel close to my earthly father. It’s hard to feel close to someone who hurts you. I remember the day I found a verse where God talks about how he will never leave us.

    Read Deuteronomy 31:6. Just knowing God will never leave me is such a wonderful promise: one to hold onto forever.

    There were many times in my life when I was tempted to feel all alone, but knowing God was there gave me such peace. When I miscarried two times, God was there. When I lost our granddaughter, God was there. Even when I testified at my sister’s murder trial, God was right there beside me, just like he promised.

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  •  8. God is approachable.

    8. God is approachable.

    Fear kept me from approaching my father at times. But God is always approachable. Even when I’ve made mistakes, I have not been afraid to come to God. With my earthly father, I would feel shame. As a child, you don’t know enough to separate what you think from what is really happening. So I figured if we were being hit, we must be bad children.

    It wasn’t until I was older that I understood my father had problems. My father didn’t draw me to him, but God has always drawn me to him. God is gentle and kind, something I longed for my whole life.

    Read Hebrews 4:16. We don’t have to be timid when we approach God. He is in his throne room, and we are his little ones who can just open that big door, walk in, and sit on our daddy’s lap. We don’t have to be afraid at all.

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  • 9. God loves us.

    9. God loves us.

    It’s probably not surprising that I wondered if my father loved us. And yet, God let me have a healing time with my father before he died. When my father lay on his death bed, he apologized for being the kind of dad he was. That was the only apology he ever made. And at that moment, God gave me the grace to extend forgiveness to my father. I was able to speak words that seeped right into his heart. I was even able to kiss my father on the cheek. And he died the next day.

    I didn’t even want to go and see my dad, but God did. God loves us totally; we see it all around. And yet, we see it most clearly because God gave us his most precious possession when he let his own Son die in our place.

    Read John 3:16. We may have learned that verse in Sunday school, or at a vacation Bible school. We may have even memorized that verse—God’s love clearly illustrated on an old rugged cross. 

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  • 10. God works in our lives.

    10. God works in our lives.

    Read Romans 8:28. God starts working in our lives when we believe in what Jesus did for us. But he doesn’t stop there. He continues to take all our hard times, all our mistakes, every part of our lives, and work them together for good. Because that’s what a loving father does. He will never give up on us. And one day, those of us who have accepted Jesus will be in the very presence of God where we can finally see the one who has always loved us and always will: our Abba Father.

    Father, I know there are many who want to trust you, but they are afraid. The whole idea of you being like a father scares them. So I lift up these people to you right now. I ask you to use these words to encourage others. Heal those broken places so they can trust you, Father. And thank you for how you encouraged my heart so I could see that you are the father I never knew I always needed. I pray this in your Son’s most precious name. In Jesus’ nameAmen.

    Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne believes life is hard. She writes words to make it softer. To connect with Anne, go to annepeterson.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

    More of Anne’s wisdom on fathers and forgiveness can be found in this Crosswalk article.

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