Recently my seven-year-old daughter put on her sundress, tied a ponytail in her golden-brown hair, slapped on some tutti-frutti scented lip gloss, and headed straight for my husband.
“Daddy, look at me!” she said.
“Oh Rebekah, you look beautiful.”
She smiled with her head down, acting a bit shy but enjoying his presence.
Daughter or son, within every child lies a desire to please their father and win their undying love and attention. I was no different than my daughter. While my dad traveled a lot with work, I always anxiously awaited his arrival home. I loved cuddling up on his lap and rubbing my cheek against his five-o’clock shadow. I craved his affection and attention.
Daddy the Protector
God has given daddies the wonderful privilege and responsibility of leading the home and protecting his family – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I asked my husband just this morning why he believes a father’s love is so important. I was curious to see how his answer would differ from what I was thinking. He said, “It plays a huge role in the overall trajectory of a child’s life.”
My husband grew up with a father who suffered deeply from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from Vietnam. He knows very well what this means as his own father struggled with anger and exploding from the trauma he experienced in war. My husband has had to depend on God’s strength to overcome his own battles from growing up with secondary PTSD.
Arrows in the hands of a warrior
When I think of the very course of a child’s life and the implications, I think of Psalm 127:3-5 which says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”
Because God says children are a blessing, not a burden, daddies have the privilege to bend and shape their child for God’s plans. They’ve been given the task of directing his arrows so that they’ll be purposeful and on point in service to God. Daddies have been given the position to ensure that his children will be on target in life, not missing the mark. He’s a steward of his children – training them to be arrows of righteousness who do good and not harm. This is his responsibility until the day he bends back the bow and sets each arrow free into the world.
The truth is that no earthly father will ever love and bend back his bow perfectly. Only our heavenly Father can do that. But we can’t forget that even in imperfect love, a daddy’s love, affection, time invested, and attention is critical and vital to the overall well-being and success of his child. Words spoken, behavior, lifestyle, actions, experiences, character, priorities of daddy and more will stay with his child all his life.
The wonderful challenge
It’s a wonderful challenge to seek the Lord’s help and direction even in weakness and the battle against sin. It’s a wonderful opportunity for daddies to view their children how God does– as a reward – a gift to open up and find delight. It’s a wonderful challenge for daddies who didn’t have a present father growing up, to choose a different way and find the healing they need in their heavenly father.
Daddies, your children need your strong hands and steadfast position on this battlefield. They are desperate for your voice, touch, strength, help, counsel, affection, leadership, godly wisdom, courage, and much more. Our culture desperately needs you, too.
After my daughter was reassured by her daddy’s attention that day, she ran off and played freely, confident in his love for her no matter what.
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mother to four, and writer in rural Colorado. She’s the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. To read more from Samantha, visit her blog: www.samanthakrieger.com