Pursuing Dad

Katie Millen

One of the most important relationships in a girls life, is that of her father.

A father is to be the protector of his daughter’s virtue, the guardian of her heart. When the desire for love and affection starts to become stronger as she grows, the need for her daddy will also grow. But often, it is during the crucial teen years, that the vital relationship between a dad and his girl become next to nothing. Where once as a girl she needed daddy to kiss her “boo boo” and hold her when she cried, she no longer looks to him but to someone else to provide what her heart craves.

When a girl wants love, and does not find it in her dad, she will naturally look for that love from the wrong person. Especially if her dad has hurt her and disappointed her, she will seek to find solace and comfort from someone else. Often that person is the boy who wants her only for what she can give him. If her virtue is not protected, he will be the one to steal it.

This is so tragic, for it is during the blossoming time of a girl’s life, when she is changing and feeling all sorts of different emotions and desires, that the relationship with her dad is so vital. It is at this time of life that she becomes most vulnerable to the grip of the enemy of her soul. Satan does not “go easy” on a girl because she is young. No indeed, he will work harder to win her and then devour her. And when the one charged to be the protector and guardian of her heart is somewhere in the background of her life – she is easy prey for the enemy. If her father is not pursuing her, there will always be someone else vying for her life. It is a race for her soul, and if the father is not in the lead, he will lose.

I look at my own life and see how the relationship I have developed with my father over the years has kept me from many tragic mistakes. Not only did he protect me from others and the harm they could do to me – but he protected me from the harm I could inflict upon myself. I needed a protector from me. When not walking with Jesus, fully surrendered to Him, I was an accident waiting to happen. I was the next statistic. I was the next victim. Without the umbrella of protection from my dad, I would have gone my own way and made a mess of my life. My dad pursued me. He fought for me. He got to me first. Dad made me see that even though I acted unlovable, I was still loved. Even though I didn’t think I had much worth – he proved my value by how much he paid to protect me. He showed me the love of God by laying down his own life, for mine.

Every girl wants to be a treasure to one man, and I knew that I was a costly treasure to my father. When I gave my heart to him, all of a sudden the love I once desired from a man was met by the love of my dad. I didn’t need a boyfriend, because there was no one who could compare to the friend and companion I found in my father. He showed me what a true man looked like. So even when I felt that girlish ache to have someone of my own, I knew the difference between fleshly love and true love. That difference revealed to me by my father was a huge factor in keeping me from falling for counterfeit love. I knew what the real, sacrificial, selfless, love looked like because of him. Until a man could show me the same thing, he didn’t have a chance at winning my carefully guarded heart.

I am so grateful for my dad and the relationship we have. I praise God that my dad is the man he is. There is a need for fathers to be the man in his daughter’s life. But while we look at unprotected, vulnerable, hurting girls and shake our heads saying, “Where is her father?” there are dads who desperately want to be the protector and nurturer to their daughters, who are not being given the chance. How so? It is not always the lack of a father who is at fault for a non-existent relationship, it is often due to the daughter’s own unwillingness to share her heart with him. How many men wouldn’t give their right arms to be given their daughter’s heart? For the man whose girl has said, “Daddy, until the day comes when you will give me to my husband, I want you to be the man who holds my heart,” he is the proudest man alive! For that daughter just gave him a priceless treasure and she has communicated to him that she wants him to guard that treasure at all costs.

But some daughters, for one reason or the other, do not want the involvement of a father. Giving her heart to daddy would mean welcoming his potential interference in her life. Many girls, no matter how much the father wishes to be a part of her decisions, struggles, consulted on matters and valued for his opinions – do not allow him to be the man in her life. Therefore, she misses out on a valuable relationship that could spare her from many pitfalls.

In order for any relationship to be healthy and strong, there needs to be communication: sharing between two hearts and two lives. Openness and vulnerability are needed if two people are going to strengthen their bond with each other. If a girl does not know how to share her struggles and feelings with her father, how then will she be able to do so with a husband? Her father provides the best training ground for marriage. If she can be open with daddy, she will be open with her husband. But if she is closed and secretive and does not want the interference of her father, what makes her think she will be any different with a spouse? Women must realize the incredible value a close, open relationship with her father means to her future.

“But you don’t know my dad!” you say. “He is too busy for me,” or “He’s not a strong Christian.” How can you give your heart to someone who doesn’t care or isn’t interested in protecting it? I encourage you as another woman, to be the one to pursue your dad. You may think that he doesn’t care or isn’t interested in your life. But be open to the likelihood that he is much more concerned about you than you think, and would be honored and privileged to be given a voice in your life.

I know a young lady who observed the relationship I have with my father, and asked me how she could have the same with her dad. She wanted more than just the typical relationship a girl usually has with her dad: she wanted a friend and a confidante. She understood how vital it is for her father to have her heart so that others wouldn’t have a chance at stealing it. I gave her my advice about how to begin nurturing a relationship with him, and she looked at me and said, “I’m scared of how he’ll react when I share my heart with him.” Yes, its true – your dad may be taken aback, even a little embarrassed when you (out of nowhere), offer access to your life. Remember if you’ve never shared struggles or asked for his counsel, it may be awkward for both of you. The awkwardness is temporary. The investment in him is worth a lifetime. Sure enough – awkward as it was, when this young lady presented the gift of her heart, her father became the proudest man alive. All of a sudden, his job as Dad became more than providing. It became a duty and a call to protect his treasure. But it began when his girl gave him the gift: she became willing to be protected.

If your dad is not going to pursue you, you must pursue him. It is common for a woman to take her father’s lack of pursuing her, as a sign of his lack of commitment to her. When truly, her father doesn’t want to get involved where he feels he is clearly not welcomed. Men are responders. They look for signals from a woman. If a father sees that his daughter is signaling to him the desire for a relationship with him, he will respond by pursuing her. But if her signals to him are, “Back off, Dad” he probably will take the cue and leave her alone.

What signals are you sending to your Dad? How has he been responding to you? Does he feel welcome in your life? Do not make the mistake of assuming he doesn’t care for you; it is more than likely he is just following your lead.

The first step is to show him by your actions that you want him to have your heart, and then commit to honoring him and valuing his voice. Start asking him, “Dad, what do you think of this outfit?” Where once you didn’t care to hear his counsel, show him that you now value it. It will start subtly, but over time, you will win your dad’s heart! If you need to, ask his forgiveness for not including him and recognizing him as your God-given protector. It doesn’t matter if your dad has failed you or isn’t the man you want him to be. By not honoring him and allowing his “interference,” you are stripping him of his God-given duty, and depriving yourself of a vital relationship that will negatively or positively effect your future.

Who says that when you become an adult you should stop honoring your dad and seeking his counsel? If you are still a single woman, your father should be the man in your life. Just because you are no longer a teenager doesn’t mean you have outgrown the need to be protected. Your dad deserves to be given the opportunity to offer his opinion and counsel – even if you’re an adult. Men tend not to “ prey” on women they know have a strong relationship and open communication with their fathers. And I can’t express enough the beauty of when a girl’s father is involved in her love life.

Though it will take years of investing in a relationship with your dad, the outcome is worth it. Make him the proudest man alive and give him what no one else can: your heart.

Katie is a wife and mother of three children, residing in New York City. She enjoys any moment she can get writing about the things God is teaching her about motherhood and special needs parenting.