When your dad doesn’t show up to be a dad



If you came over from Encouragement for Today, I’m so glad you are here!

Your dad didn’t show up to be a dad.

You see others doing it right and it makes you angry.

As I shared in today’s devo, my dad isn’t my bio dad. I don’t know why my bio dad didn’t show up in mine or my sister’s life, or in that of other children he had with other women. . . but I do know that it’s hard when you feel rejected by someone who should have loved you.

I want to tell you something.

Something important.


You are worth loving.

Maybe he has a reason for not showing up, or maybe he doesn’t.

But his absence is not about you.

You are worth loving.

His not showing up doesn’t define who you are. Who you can be.

Or the fact that you can love others freely.

I’d like to tell you something else.

It’s healing to forgive.

Why would I want to do that, Suzie?

Because not forgiving affects you, but it also affects those you love.

Somewhere, something, negatively impacted the man that should have been dad and he allowed that to impact you.

Like a tattered piece of luggage, it can just keep going from one generation to the next.

Forgiving allows you to give your children something greater than that.

A mama who is whole.

A mama who finds joy in the miracles right under her nose, rather than the absence of them in the past.

A woman who doesn’t look to a human being to fill a gap that Jesus so willingly took upon Himself to make whole.

It’s a gift, not just to your children, but to you. You cut the ties of unforgiveness that hold you bound.

You can change the legacy

How do you change the legacy?

My bio dad’s choice to be absent has become my teacher. 

It has shown me all the things that really matter.

Like swinging with a child on a pretty spring day.

Kicking tires in a used car lot with your teen.

Sticky kisses and toddler temper tantrums.

Every stage of my children’s lives are precious to me.

(Though some more precious than others.)

His absence desired to lead me to bitterness and, I’m not going to lie, there were times I got angry at him.

There were days when I cheered on my son’s basketball team or waited up on my daughters to come home after a late-night event, that I wondered if he ever regretted the absence in his children’s lives.

I don’t know the answer to that.

But his absence only accentuates what a privilege it is to be a hands-on, full-scale eyes-in-the-back-of-her-head mom showing up for good days and hard days and wonderful days.

Jesus came to heal your hurting heart

If your dad left a wound, your Abba Father sees it.

Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4:18-19 makes this girl want to dance. When people asked why he came, Jesus said that:

He came to heal the brokenhearted.

He came so that we could live free. 

If your dad hurt your heart, then there’s a Heavenly Father who can make it whole again.

It will take time, work, and it’s a partnership with God, but He peels back those hurting places a layer at a time and His touch matters.

May I pray with you today?

Father, thank you for your daughter. Thank you that she is valuable and worthy and beautiful to you. Thank you for coming so that she might be healed. Thank you for the miracles right in front of her. For that child’s smile. Or that friend. For the people who did choose to show up, and for the love that they have shown. Thank you that she is yours.  


The Mended HeartToday I am giving away one copy of The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places

and one copy of The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.

Just leave a comment. If you don’t know what to say, just say, “I’m here.”

That’s enough to let me know you are here, and to pray with you.

As a free gift, I’m sharing one chapter of each book with you.

The Unburdened Heart – Chapter One (<– Just click to download)

The Mended Heart – Chapter One (<– Just click to download)

I’m so glad you stopped by!







  1. Thanks for writing this. Father’s Day has been tough for me for a long time for many reasons, and I was encouraged to read your post. 🙂

  2. I’m here. Thank you dear Susie

  3. Oh Heavens! I found you, found this, at the most perfect time. THANK YOU! <3

  4. I am here! Thank you!

  5. Kimberly Smith says:

    The message above really encouraged me. I dont have my father in my life and I know that it was for a reason. I’m glad my Heavenly Father took me in.

  6. Gayle Mercer says:

    Great words of encouragement and truth. Lord, help us live out what we learn from this, to allow You to heal our broken places and mend our souls. May we become vessels of compassion and empathy to others who are broken and extend forgiveness as You have forgiven us.

  7. “Trust God to open doors no man can shut.
    According to your faith, will it be done unto you.
    God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him. Trust in the Lord Jehovah forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.
    When your mother and father forsake you, I will take you up.” ~ Love, God
    Morning Thoughts from Kim McCaleb…. The one who aligned the universe, set the planets in motion, calls the stars by name, determined His plans and purposes for you while you were yet in your mother’s womb, ordered all your days… the one who calls the mountains and trees to praise Him, whose thunderous voice is heard above all of the waterfalls and oceans of the seas, the one whose thoughts for you are more than the sands of the sea… That God…. has plans to prosper and not harm you, has plans to give you hope and a future. Do not look to circumstances, or feelings, or your own strengths, intelligence, reasoning, or recent events to determine your pathway, or past events, hurts, or wounds to determine your future… Look only to Him. Fix your eyes on Him, and believe what HE has promised… regardless of circumstances, feelings, your own abilities, or lack thereof to figure things out… His plans are so big that they can ONLY be fulfilled supernaturally. Failure is guaranteed if you try to do it in your own strength, ways, or reasoning. Victory is inevitable, when you rely fully on Him and His empowering Spirit to do what is impossible with men. Without faith, nothing is possible. With faith, nothing is impossible.”

    • Love this!

      • We are the daughters of God, the creator of the universe. Abba, Father. Most kind, gracious, heavenly father, YOU indeed are the great I AM, you hand selected each of our earthly father’s for the specific plans and purposes, for which you created each of us. Thank you that our worth is not found in how our father loved or did not love us, but in the fact that YOU love us, more than we can even dare to think, dare to dream, or dare to imagine. For each woman visiting this site, who did not have a Godly father who walked in your ways, reveal your heart to her, love her with your perfect, immeasurable love that surpasses all understanding to the point that her security in you is so realized that she can praise you for being the father that her earthly father never was to her. You restore what the locusts have eaten, you are the repairer of the breach. Lord, heal, help her forgive her father, as you mend her wounds… to the point that all her rejoicing is found in you, and she no longer feels abandoned or forsaken, but chosen as your royal daughter. For those fathers, may they come to know you as Lord and savior, and take steps of actions to make amends to their daughters. We know that nothing is too hard for you. You say in your word, in the last passage of the Old Testament, that you desire to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and hearts of children to their fathers. May the very core of who these women are be reshaped by you, and may these fathers find you, and come into your saving grace, becoming the men that you desire them to be in you through the transforming power and grace of our son, who has made us accepted in the beloved. The gates of hell will not prevail against your plans and purposes for these women and their fathers. Do what only you can do, and may we rejoice for all eternity over what you do on their behalf. In the name of your beloved son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow… as a man I read Proverbs 31 devotionals daily. I’m convinced it’s not just for women. 🙂 Yesterday my wife and children celebrated Father’s Day. They honored my presence in their lives with gifts, cards, lunch, and hugs. I praised God for the blessing of my family because I didn’t have a dad that seemed to care about my mom, sister, or me. You see he chose a destructive lifestyle, fair-weather friends, and temptations of this world over us. He left us when I was 8, and eventually divorced my mom 2 years later. I am now just realizing how much, as a kid, I wanted my dad to be my hero. I am just now realizing that my desire to be accepted by others started at the moment my dad showed me the smallest hint of rejection. It’s difficult living with the idea that the very person that was supposed to be your hero, your provider, your security chose to walk away without a thought for what his children needed from him. As I read through most of the comments above, I’m thankful for a number of things – God is the Father to the fatherless; God is good; God is faithful even when we aren’t; God’s love never fails. Today I pray that my wife and children understand just how important they are to me, and that I’m learning how to be a good husband and dad. I love them dearly. And I recognize that God loves them more. I thank God for allowing me to enjoy the blessing of celebrating Father’s Day. Thank you Heavenly Father for being my hero, provider, security… and never leaving me nor forsaking me. I pray others find comfort in your love, and peace in your faithfulness. You never have, nor will ever change!

    • I absolutely love that you came to my blog, that you read the devos, and that you shared your perspective as a dad and as a son, and as a believer. So powerful.

      I share a story of meeting a woman who is a speaker. She’s older and she took me under her wing for an hour unexpectedly. Though I had been mom to three, and a second mom to many, it was the first time to feel what it might be like to be under the wing of a spiritual mom. It was years ago, and my mom was still in the healing process at that time. I literally left the room when she was through talking and found a quiet place and wept for what I never knew that I didn’t have until that moment.

      It was a turning point — a place where I could be bitter over what I didn’t receive, or open my heart to celebrate the miracles around me — my babies, my marriage, my God, and later to celebrate my mom’s healing and friendship.

      I hear your heart as you stand in that same place of receiving and celebrating today’s miracles. What a beautiful testimony. What faith. And what a legacy you are giving to your family. Happy Father’s Day to you!

  9. I’m sitting here in tears after reading this and although I forgave my biological dad years ago the hurt is still sometimes there. Just last week I found out the man I never met passed away in January of 2013. My sister came across his obituary and as I stared at it crying and half expecting to see my name as a surviving child…it was not there. After hanging up the phone with my mom and holding back the tears as best I could to keep from upseting her for crying for the man who did us both wrong… I cried, and cried and cried for hours. I couldn’t understand why I was grieving for a man whom I had never even met. A man who I was told never even held me in his daddy arms! And then my oldest daughter hugged me and said in her most grown up words to this day “it’s okay mom, I know, you are crying because there were unresolved issues there” She was right. There was always that hope that “one day” he will want to meet me and now it will never be.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I too had a man who took two of us girls in whose biological fathers didn’t want them. My sister’s dad was in and out of her life and my step dad is who she calls daddy. Even though I was 16 when he married my mom, I am thankful for the role he took on as provider. And I’m also thankful for God showing me love and allowing my girls to have the earthly father I never had.

    Blessings to all of you who can relate!

    • What a beautiful daughter to love her mom so succinctly and so well in a hard moment. <3 She sounds wonderful.

      And I want you to know that grieving is part of healing. It’s okay to cry for what you didn’t have, to place that burden of hurt in capable hands of a Father who doesn’t abandon us. Yet I also hear a heart of gratitude for what you do have. That’s the place where God abides. In truth and in hope.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.

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