When Father’s Day Hurts

Have you been dreading Father’s Day this year? Do you wish it would just go away? If your child is in rebellion, making destructive choices, estranged fromDSCN2313 you, or is suffering with a mental illness, then this is not a day you look forward to. It only elevates the pain and sadness you already feel. I posted a similar message to moms for Mother’s Day.This is for dad’s.

Dad, are you expecting to not hear from your child, much less get a card? They’re too self-focused and oblivious for that. They might not even know what day it is. They’re clueless. 

Where does that leave you? Set up for a lot of hurt and pain, anger and resentment.

These are times we tend to long for the past. We linger over positive memories from when they were little and wanted to play ball or have you read to them. Days when dad was their hero. Can you even remember that time? 

But those days are over. That’s the past and you can’t get it back again. You’re in a new place on your fathering journey. A place of grief and loss, of tears and sadness. A place of shattered dreams, of letting go. A place of change. Have you wondered how you got here – to this place of dreading Father’s Day?

Can’t you pray it all away? Is there anyone who can make it all better? Yes there is, but it’s not time yet. You’re still waiting for that day. Today you don’t know when things will be reconciled – or if it will ever come. Be comforted by remembering that your heavenly Father knows. He understands. He cares. He feels your pain. He is close to the brokenhearted. That’s you.

What can you do?

1) Lower your expectations – this way you will be prepared and it will hurt less if things do not turn out as you hoped.

2) If you’ve had traditions on Father’s Day, change them. Do things differently this year. Start some new traditions.

3) Make a plan to do what you will enjoy even if you have to do it alone or with a friend. If your child can’t join in, then go ahead with your plans.

 4) Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. If you need to express sadness, give yourself the space to shed some tears. Holding it tears in will affect you physically.

5) If you feel angry write them a letter saying everything you want to say, let it rip – then destroy the letter. Tear it up in a million little pieces. It will help you get the angry feelings out and might prevent you from saying something you’ll regret later. Repressing anger leads to depression.

6) Shift your focus. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, focusing on disappointments, focus on what you can be thankful for. And maybe you could you do something for someone else? That feels really good.

7) Forgive them. They don’t deserve it but then neither did we, yet Christ forgave us when we offended and hurt  him. Forgiveness frees you from becoming resentful and bitter.

Above all, remember how special and loved you are by your heavenly Father. He thinks you’re awesome – so awesome he sent his son to die for you.  If he had a wallet your picture would be in it. Wrinkles, thinning hair and all! You are the beloved of Christ. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

I hope this Bible verse will encourage you: “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.”  (Psalm 59:16-17) 

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