There is an old song lyric by John Mayor that says, “Fathers be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do.” This lyric couldn’t be more accurate. Where do young girls first learn about love? From their fathers. Yet sadly more than 24 million children in our nation live in a home without the physical presence of a father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. So in reality, the only thing that millions of fathers are teaching their daughters about love is that: it walks out, it is not faithful, it is distant, it is not trustworthy, and it is selfish. And we wonder why so many young women in our culture end up confused, broken, and searching elsewhere for someone who can show them what love is.
The older I get, the more my heart breaks over this… Because I acknowledge that it is a crisis and that strong fathers have become a rarity in our day and age. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a father who loved me deeply and wasn’t afraid to show that love to me. Just the other morning I woke up to a text from him that said this, “Today Mandy, I am so grateful for you. I’ve never met a gal that can face the truth, love the truth, and live the truth more than you. I want you to know that as long as I have strength I will love you. I will defend you. And I will stand by you. Have a great day my one and only.” This is actually the text that was the inspiration for this article and it is just one of many: texts, calls, cards, phone calls, conversations, and words of inspiration that I’ve received ever since I can remember from my father. And as I read his text, tears came to my eyes, and I realized the extent to which I am the woman I am today because I have a father who knows how to love well, who isn’t scared of showing affection, and who doesn’t shy away from reminding me how beautiful, valuable, and worthy of love I am. He is a huge reason I am able to see myself the way God sees me, and even in my dating relationships, know that I am worthy of a man who will fight for me, who will love me well, and who will stay faithful to me.
For the longest time, as a little girl, I assumed that all fathers were like my own. I assumed every girl had a father to run home to who would give her a warm hug, tell her she is beautiful and endlessly be her number one fan. But the older I got, the more I began to realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth…and my heart began to break, because every young girl deserves this. Every young girl deserves to have a father who will love her endlessly, who will fight for her, protect her, and cherish her. And to think that some women have never experienced this, even into their adult years, is a not only a tragedy but a crisis.
So this is what I would like to say to any woman out there reading this who maybe hasn’t had a strong earthly father in your life to remind you of your value and worth. My prayer is that you would know today that you are so valued and so worthy of love. My prayer is that you would have a revelation of God’s insane love for you, even right now, and that your identity could be transformed through the power of that love. That you would be able to see right past the lies that you are believing about yourself, and look straight into the eyes of a Father who says that you are: beautiful, lovely, valued, worthy, and far more loved than you ever dare dream. My prayer for you is that the knowledge of this love would transform your heart, your life, your identity, your self-image, and even your relationships with men. That you would not settle for any less in a man than one who pursues you passionately, protects you physically, and stands by you faithfully. You are more than worth it all.
And to fathers out there who are either new fathers or who struggle with being present in your daughters life, I would say… Please, learn to love well. Speak into your daughters life and tell her about her worth and her value. Look her in the eyes and tell her she is beautiful. Tell her you believe in her. Empower her. Hug her. Love her deeply. And even more, love your wife deeply and faithfully because that is the one example your daughter will see of love and faithfulness. Don’t leave. Don’t walk out. Stand by her. Be her man until the day that you give her hand away in marriage to a man who will protect her and love her in the same way. Be there for her endlessly. It is the most important thing you can ever do for her. Fathers, please learn to love well.