This Father's Day, I wanted to share something very personal with you, which makes me so incredibly thankful that this day is no longer a date on the calendar I dread.
In March of 2008, suddenly my daughter no longer had a father. After battling severe depression for many years, her dad chose to take his own life shortly before her 4th birthday. It's something that rocked her to the core, and left me trying to pick up the pieces of both of our lives. I struggled with forgiveness, guilt, and anger as she struggled with pain and abandonment. I look back on that time in my life, and I'm not sure how I survived it - but my child gave me a reason, and God gave me the strength.
On Father's Day, whenever I passed by a stand of cards proclaiming "World's Best Dad" I would cringe inside. I'd mourn the fact that my daughter would have to sit alone amongst the lucky kids who still had their fathers every time this holiday came around. My dad tried to be there for her. Her uncles tried. It just wasn't the same. I had a little girl with an irrevocably broken heart, and no amount of grief counseling or caring people could fill that void.
And then, almost two years later, I met Ryan.
I was so nervous when I discovered that he didn't have kids of his own. Would he understand that I didn't have free time at the drop of a hat? Would he be the stereotypical boyfriend - fun to have around, but suddenly disappearing when things got rough? Most importantly, could I ever trust this man with my daughter's heart?
It's been over five years since our first date.
She has tested his love. She has tried to push him away. But he's not easily pushed.
My daughter has a father. She has a man who wasn't afraid to face the difficulties of a broken heart or a broken child. She has a dad who won't abandon her, a man who was waiting at the end of an aisle to promise to me, as well as to her, his lifelong love.
He's the man who has taught her how to ride a bike. He helps her stumble through multiplication tables and spelling lists. He has taken her to the movies and to the dentist, and now reaps the benefit of hearing a little girl with a tattered, but freshly mended heart say, "This is my dad."
Love doesn't come from shared blood. Love comes from the heart. Happy Father's Day.
Listening to: Coldplay - 'Fix You'