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When It's Hard to Call God "Father" (3206 hits)


I never even met my dad until I was 12 years old. I met him again when I was 15, and at that point I was deeply aware of the pain of it all. As a teenager, I poignantly felt what I'd lost, what I didn't get to have. So I thought of Jesus as my Savior and my friend, but the idea of God as Father? It was very painful.…


When you spoke at the IF:Gathering this year, you shared how having an absent father deeply impacted your faith and sense of self. What was it like as you grew up?

My parents are Nigerian and I was born in London, England. They split up before I was born—my dad moved back to Nigeria, my mom stayed in England. It was a broken situation, and I spent the first six years of my life in foster care.

I became a Christian when I was nine, but the “God the Father” part of my faith seemed irrelevant because, to me, a “father” was someone who walked away.

I never even met my dad until I was 12 years old. I met him again when I was 15, and at that point I was deeply aware of the pain of it all. As a teenager, I poignantly felt what I’d lost, what I didn’t get to have. So I thought of Jesus as my Savior and my friend, but the idea of God as Father? It was very painful.

You’ve shared that, as an older teenager, you had an experience at a church in which a speaker specifically said that someone in the congregation needed to come to know God as Father— needed to understand God’s love in that way. You knew that message was for you. How did that moment change you?

The Lord really met me and unlocked years of grief. When that person said that God was my Father, it was almost like I was meeting God for the first time.

I knew God and was attuned to his voice, but it was that particular revelation of God as Father that I’d never gotten a grip on. But suddenly my life and the idea of God the Father collided. Initially the collision was full of grief and anger and sorrow. I broke down in tears. But I also wondered, “Now what?” I didn’t know how to relate to God in that way.

I shared this struggle with my pastor and his wife, and they told me that God was responsible for revealing himself as Father to me—that it wasn’t up to me, that God would get through to me. About a week later, I “started over” in my prayers. I said, Hey God, my name is Jo. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know what a father is meant to do or what a father is meant to be. I don’t know how to get to know you in this way.
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Posted By: Jeni Fa
Saturday, June 18th 2016 at 5:47PM
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