Not every girl gets to be Daddy’s little girl. Many are missing the father-daughter relationship that is so essential for any child to have. The following excerpt is from H. Norman Wright’s A Dad-Shaped Hole in My Heart. Dads, see for yourself and learn how to help heal that 'dad-shaped hole' in your daughter’s heart. Daughters or even sons, consider what Wright has to say about that hole in your heart.

I’d like to begin this first chapter with June’s story. In many ways her story mirrors the cry of countless daughters just like you, who struggle with the effects of a dad who wasn’t there for them. Year after year they cry,” Daddy, where are you? Who are you?”

My son was born five years ago. He’s a healthy, energetic child. At least he appeared to be healthy at birth. But a few days later we discovered he had a defect. It wasn’t visible. No one could see it. But it was there, and it was serious. He had a hole in his heart. He was born that way. Within a week after we discovered it, the doctors opened his chest and repaired that hole in his little heart. He was able to go on with his life in a normal manner. He’s not even aware that he had a hole in his heart.

I wish I could say the same. My son and I are alike. We’ve both had holes in our heart. He was born that way and it was repaired. I wasn’t born with one, but over my childhood years the hole was created and it grew larger as I grew. It hasn’t been repaired, even though I’ve tried. It’s a different shape than my son’s. The hole in my heart is in the shape of my father. Physical surgery won’t repair the hole. It will take something like emotional surgery or healing for it to slowly close. I’m not sure how to go about the process. I’m confused. Is it dependent upon my father reaching into my life and somehow undoing what he did or doing what he failed to do years ago? I just want a whole heart. It’s too bad there are no heart transplants for this kind of disorder.

There are many daughters walking around with a hole in their heart in the shape of their father. They are missing something from their father that should have been given. Or he responded to them in ways that were way beyond what any daughter should have to endure. Or he simply vanished one day from their lives and hasn’t reappeared. Any of these experiences can create a hole that seemingly cannot be filled by anything else. If you think you are alone, that your pain is unique to you and your family, I hope that this book will show you that this is not true. Listen in as other adult daughters share how their dads influenced them – sometimes positively and sometimes negatively – far beyond their childhood years.

Father — a powerful word. A positive word for some and painful for others. What is a father? Who is he supposed to be, and what is he supposed to do? Sometimes in my counseling practice I have heard women describe what they wish their fathers would be or had been, and my only response has been, “He doesn’t exist anywhere.” He sounded like Super Father, who could bound from one building to another. Some create fathers in the image of what they want him to be rather than what he could ever be. Often we do this with God, our heavenly Father, too.

As I work with those in grief and trauma, I’m often given a window to look through into a person’s theology. What we believe about God really comes to the forefront when we are hurting. And so often what I hear is what people wish God would be rather than who he is according to the Scriptures. But we cannot create God in the image we want him to be in order to satisfy our needs. He is who he is, whether that meets our approval or not.

In the same way, some women will never have the father they want, not because of a deficiency in their dad but because what they desire is unrealistic and unattainable. For others, what they want is reasonable, and it would be healthier for their dad if he were that way. But some fathers are so emotionally or developmentally challenged it would take years of work – maybe even therapy – for his healing to occur. Only then could his daughter hope to see the preferred change in their father-daughter relationship.

The book, The Wonder of Girls – Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters, by Michael Gurian is one of the best books I’ve seen on this topic. In a very succinct way the author describes the impact of a father upon his daughter. He said, “A father who is honest with his daughter about his own flaws becomes her confidant. A father who remains stoic becomes her enigma to solve. A father who distances himself too greatly from his daughter becomes a burden she carries into life. If a father always finds time to cuddle, listen to, toss in the air, dance with, run alongside, coach, comfort, and protect his daughter, he will give her her the gift of life he is built to give. If a father withholds nothing, teaching his daughter the life skills she needs to know, he shares an active kind of respect for variety in a girl’s developing self. If a father competes with his daughter in games, but especially when she is young, lets her win her share of races, he is showing her both his own humility and her potential. And as a father helps a daughter enter the worlds of sexuality, romance and then marriage, a man becomes more than an arm to walk down the aisle with – he becomes – in his daughter’s mind fearless…”

Excerpted from A Dad-Shaped Hole in My Heart: How God Wants to Heal the Wounds Left by Your Earthly Father by H. Norman Wright. Copyright © 2005. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.

Tags: healing Father
Photo Credit: Jonty Fisher