Dad, I Need You...
The truth be told, dads have a ridiculous amount of influence in their daughter’s lives. I think a lot of dads have backed off because modern-day daughters appear independent, capable, intelligent, and strong. A dad may think, “Look at her. She’s fine. She doesn’t need to hear from me.” And she is. But, she isn’t.
We have this built-in need to know we are cared for, protected, appreciated, and known. When I say protected, I don’t mean locked up in an ivory tower and insulated from life. It simply means being known and cared for. There is safety in knowing that because someone is well acquainted (knows) with your heart (who you are), they are ready to jump into action in order to protect you (show they care) at any moment.
Whenever Pastor Jim returns to a place he has ministered in before, there’s always an informal line-up of daughters who just want a hug. Daughters are either waiting in lines to be hugged by men who are willing to be dads, or they’re leaving in droves to find any guy who has empty arms and is willing to say at least a few words of affirmation to them. It’s how we’re made.
We all need our dads to pursue us and work at knowing us. We need you to overlook our immaturity and rejection and still pursue us. Yes, it is work. And there is tons of warfare (spiritual tension—like a tug of war between heaven and hell). And, no, it won’t be comfortable. But if you could actually look into our hearts and see the power you have to bless our lives, affect our understanding of ourselves, and shape how we relate to men, I think you’d be utterly shocked and overwhelmed.
Dads, God gave you to us on purpose. You have an incredible amount of influence in our lives. Ask God for a revelation of a daughter’s heart, and watch the women in your life change before your eyes as you reach out to bless and affirm them.
By Heidi Karlsson
The Cry of a Fatherless Generation
I am a 15 years old. Don't judge me, but I lost my virginity when I was 14. I recently had sex with a guy I really liked, but he decided he didn't like me enough to date me. Every guy I've known has only liked me for sex—even my adopted father who started abusing me when I was four. Since then I've had a hard time respecting myself, so I don't usually expect men to respect me. I guess that’s my main problem.
On Friday I set up an appointment to get on birth control, but I feel really crappy about everything in my life. I find myself not having anyone to talk to that I can trust. Since I was 12, I turned to drinking, smoking, and random pills, hoping they will take away some pain and at least help me pass out so I don't have nightmares about the four years of abuse. I've felt suicidal since I was 13. I’ve run away 17 times and just don't know what the point is in my life anymore. I shut God out a year ago, but I've recently rethought that.
After your Unmasked conference I thought a lot about what you said about the problems with the fatherless generation. I found myself realizing how much it really did and does affect me not having a dad that cares about me in a healthy way. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing—searching and always having a boyfriend or “friends with benefits” if it means someone pays attention to me and talks to me. But I'm sick of trying to fill the giant hole in me that is only getting bigger the more I try to fill it.
A Word from Jim Anderson
I received the above letter from a young woman who attended one of our Unmasked conferences. It is an apt portrayal of the feelings and reality of many young women I encounter. Broken families and absent fathers have produced a generation of hurting and needy young women (and young men) whose needs have not been met. Reformation will occur in a nation, in part, when families and marriages are restored and fathers fulfill their God-given role within the family.
When a father meets the following needs in his daughter’s life—the 3 A’s of affection, attention, and affirmation—it creates an invisible force-field around her that protects her from seeking to have those needs met by other men.
The power of a father’s love in the life of his daughter is tremendous. As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, we call all fathers to shower your daughters with affection, attention, and affirmation. Your small gestures of love will profoundly affect their lives.