(Photo: The Rock Church)
Soon it will be the third Sunday in June. In the narrative of your life, is Father's Day something you celebrate…or is it more like, "Happy I Survived My Father Day," or maybe the day you sit and wonder, "Where in the world is my Father Today?"
How many people do you know who allow their relationship with their earthly father to interfere with the relationship they have with their heavenly father? Sooner or later you have to make peace with both.
We don't make vows with our children: "to have and to hold" for a lifetime. Children are a gift from God – never ours, but entrusted to us for a short time to love and to lead to God. Unfortunately, some men fall sorely short of that responsibility.
On a winter day in 1976, four-year-old Perri Storey watched her father walk out of her home forever, leaving behind Perri, her mom and older brother, Mark.
Perri's father was a man of wealth, but left them with nothing. They lived hand to mouth in a dilapidated house. One winter, when there was nothing left to eat, Perri's mom pleaded with her to call her father and ask for money. Calls were made, but none were returned. This infuriated Mark, who was15 years of age at the time.
So Mark hatched a plan. He would break into their father's house, rob him and return with the loot to feed the family. On the night he entered the house through a window, Mark found his father dead. Perri's father had died of a heart attack several days before.
When her father's will was executed, he left Perri a considerable fortune. But as Perri recalls, "If being poor was miserable, it was nothing compared to the misery of being rich."
With money to spend, her mom's alcohol addiction grew and Mark became hopelessly addicted to crack. Perri buried the pain of her life in food. They were eating, smoking, drinking and spending their way back to poverty.
The final blow to their bank account came when Mark, who was running with a bad crowd, was arrested and convicted of murder. His felony murder sentence was life behind bars.
When Perri first received the money from her father's estate, she was entering high school. By the time she graduated, her inheritance of a quarter of a million dollars was gone.
Perri was alone, struggling with the shame of going from rags to riches to rags again. Finally, she had enough. She was in college and determined to do for herself what no man could ever do for her. She was going to be a success and create her own security. Nothing would stand in her way.
She pursued her degree with reckless abandon, earning top grades and honors. When she graduated, she committed to two additional goals. She was going to lose weight and move up the ranks of her new job. With unflinching drive and determination, she achieved both, losing nearly 80 pounds and earning five promotions in five years. On the outside, it appeared she had accomplished the life anyone would want. On the inside, she was still grasping for something she couldn't seem to reach.
Days turned into years of asking God, "What do you want me to do now?" Finally, thirteen years after she began that prayer, her purpose in life crystallized.
In 2010 Perri founded a ministry at the Rock Church in San Diego, Never Knew a Father's Love. Men and women who never knew their father's love have flocked to the ministry; each longing to share their pain, dreams and triumphs related to their fathers.
"It has certainly filled a need," says Perri. "It's amazing to know how many people out there felt all the same things I did.
"I could have suffered my entire life without a father," says Perri. "But my heavenly Father saw to it that didn't happen. I just want to make sure everybody has a chance to have a daddy."
We often look for people to be our heroes, but we must seek out God for guidance and a sense of belonging. Galatian 3:29 teaches, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." And, "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith."
Earthly dads will never be perfect; thankfully our Heavenly Father is just that. Make this year a Happy Father's Day.
For more information about the Never Knew a Father's Love Ministry http://www.sdrock.com/ministries/neverknewafatherslove/