Ministry Resources

Father’s Day when Dad’s not Around

Author: Angela Craig

Tomorrow we celebrate Father’s Day. As I write this, the celebration is well underway across the USA on social media. Have you seen the #GoAskDad video from Gillette? The video opens with this statistic:

94% of teens ask the internet for advice before asking their Dad.

As riveting as this statistic is, it was not what caught my attention. It was the comments under the video that caught my attention. Here are a few comments regarding Father’s Day I read.


  • Well, when your dad’s not around you don’t have much of a choice.
  • I taught myself all of that… Y’all seem to forget the deadbeats out there who don’t wanna be there for their sons. My mother was the only parent I needed. 12 years and counting and I’m just fine
  • I don’t ask my dad because a) I don’t see or talk to him b) humans can be fallible. I’d rather learn from multiple people online who try to not be biased
  • …having to watch this commercial over and over knowing that I don’t get to be a part of my son’s life hurts.
  • My Dad abandoned me when I was 12… Then came back when he had cancer when I was 17. THE END.
  • I’m going to come out and say something that a lot of people on here won’t like. As we come up on a day that is intended to honor the fathers in our lives, please allow it to be just that, Father’s Day. I get many people had single moms who pulled double duty for their whole lives and continue to do so, but this Sunday isn’t about them. They have their own day in May (Mother’s Day). I was raised by a single mom too for the first part of my life and I appreciate everything my mom did for me and continues to do on nearly a daily basis, but she was still just that, a mom. Instead of mentioning the fact that your dad wasn’t there, how about you appreciate the dads that are there? They deserve it. I used to be bitter about the fact that my dad wasn’t there too, but let the dads have their day, people. There’s a hell of a lot of good ones out there who deserve to get their credit on their day. Please let them have it. That being said, I love you mom, but this one’s for you Pops!

What does your heart feel when you read those comments?

My heart hurts like someone stuck a sword through my chest. I feel like a warrior at the defense of those who wrote from the jagged edge of pain. My heart hurts that something so beautiful could become so broken. My heart aches for those who never knew the unconditional love of a father. And it hurts for the father who never knew the unconditional love of a child.

The truth is, Father’s Day is not a happy day for every person. The above comments are only a few that show the brokenness caused by the separation of father and child and the hearts of those unseen and abandon by their father. There are more – Over 20 million children (around 33%) live in fatherless homes across the United States (The National Center for Fathering, 2016). But this doesn’t include the fathers living in the home who have emotional or physically abandon their families for addiction or the title on their business card. Even in ministry, we see children swept aside for the work of the church. If you are confused about ministry work/life balance, I want you to remember: God never asked us to make his name famous at the sacrifice of another human being. Jesus was the sacrifice.

Back to the question:

What do you do on Father’s Day when your Dad’s not around, is a deadbeat, or dead?

If you are asking yourself this question, I understand. My Dad was not present during my childhood years and he has since passed away. I didn’t end up a fatherless statistic (depressed, low self-worth, high school dropout, pregnant teen, divorced, or with a jail sentence). I don’t think you have too either. Regardless of where you find yourself today, you must know this, NOTHING IS UNREDEEMABLE! But there are some things you will have to understand and take action on.

If Father’s Day brings up more negative emotions than good, decide to turn this Father’s Day into FREEDOM DAY for your soul.


  • Number One: Understand, you are so incredible, you were known before the foundation of this earth by God who created the universe. You were not only known, you were created for a purpose. The reason why it hurts so much when a parent abandons you is because they were the first person who was supposed to see your awesomeness. Your parents were created to see the gift you are to the world. Outside of your physical needs, your parent’s job was to nurture your gift and help you hand it back to the world to make a difference. If you were not recognized by the ones who brought you into this world, where did your identity come from? (This is a rhetorical question. Take some time to think about this. There may be other people in your life you want to thank besides your Dad today!)
  • Number Two: Recognize that your father’s inability to have a child/father relationship has nothing to do with you. Yes, I said: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! As a child, you are an innocent bystander in the wake of a storm, and that hurts. REMEMBER, your father’s emotional or physical absence has everything to do with his own brokenness or circumstances. Look beyond your pain to consider what may have happened to him as a child to create his broken identity. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it may help you understand it.
  • Number Three: Bitterness and anger will not achieve the retribution you are looking for. Bitterness only carries the brokenness of your father into the next generation. I don’t think you want that. Retribution is not achieved by bitterness and anger. Bitterness only carries brokenness into the next generation.
  • Number Four: Forgiveness, is a gift for you, not for him. Someone once told me, Don’t set yourself on fire, thinking the other person will die of smoke inhalation. The truth is, the only one suffering is you. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is not condoning. Forgiving is a choice. You have a choice to renew or release the relationship. Try writing a letter. You don’t even have to give it to him and in some cases, it isn’t physically possible. But remember, this is for you. You have a choice. Choose freedom.
  • Number Five: Choose intimacy. Children who have been abandon are great at securing their relational borders and building walls of protection. Unfortunately, they can be deeply challenged when it comes to intimate relationships. (I speak from experience.) Intimate relationships in commune with others requires trust. If trust was broken at an early age, intimacy may not come easy for you. There are people that want to love you if you will let them. It will be a daily decision but one you will treasure for a lifetime.


Until next time, have an incredible week!

More resources:

The Book of Forgiving – Book Review

Killing Lions – By John Eldredge, Samuel Eldredge

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