There was a "Dad" in my world for a short hiccup in time. At least that was the name I called him. But a name does not a father make. My childhood memories of him are laced with the lingering sting of disappointment. Unloved. As a woman-child with baby growing inside, I pleaded with him to love me more than he loved his whiskey. That baby, now 12, knows nothing of this man I once called "Dad." Unwanted.
I was a teenager, and he tried to be "Dad." But in my heart I knew the truth about men. He would leave me, too. He didn't have a chance. Rather than risk more heartbreak and rejection, I turned away first. He gained the disdainful title of "step-dad" and his efforts were met with sneers and defiance. I already bore the names Discarded, Despised, Unloved, and Unwanted; I would not take the name Rejected. Instead, I gave it to him.
Time passed, life's pages turned. In the irony of this world, I chose a man who was destined to leave me. We started out a mess, did everything backwards and upside-down, we believed differently and lived as polar opposites. He didn't leave, and today he is Dad with a capital "D" and husband with a capital "L-O-V-E." But that is a story in its own right.
Time passed, life's pages turned, and he (the "step-dad") remained. I was a broken and bitter orphan, and his mistakes were repeated assurance to me that he would leave. But he did not leave. Though I named him Rejected and even Hated at times, he remained, he endured, he waited, he loved.
In my children, as all good grandparents do, he grasped onto the opportunity to rewrite his mistakes. He has laid on the floor smiling and chatting with each of my babes. He has driven remote control cars, put on pretend make-up, danced in the living room, built bird houses and sandboxes, cuddled, and wrestled. In those twelve years of seeing him be Grandpa to my brood, I watched and realized two things:
1. He will not leave me.
2. He is Dad.
I wasted many years keeping my distance, not trusting, being afraid. But the Lord is true to His Word, and He says, "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten." (Joel 2:25) A swarm of locusts came in and devoured my trust in men, yet God gave me
For those of us left orphaned, God is Father to the Fatherless. (Psalm 68:5) We can (and along the way I did) find our strength, love, and hope in His paternity. He renames us: Indispensable, Esteemed, Loved, Wanted, Accepted. But every now and then, He sees us in our hopeless state and determines to go to great lengths to show His love. In my case, He did that by giving me the desire of my broken heart - an earthly Dad.
While I may still call him Lee, his very name writes the word "Father" on my heart. He chose to be the Dad he didn't have to be.