Got a Letter From My Dad!

A Father's Day Devotional | by Emmalea Butler


"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" 1 John 5:13 (NIV).

You may not know about my relationship with my Dad. To say it has been “strained” over my lifetime would be an understatement. You see, I’ve never seen my Dad! 

Imagine my astonishment when my mom gave me a letter that my dad had written to me! She gave it to me years ago; I have had the letter for a long time, but wouldn’t open it. Mom said it was important that I had it – and she wouldn’t press me to read it – but she was sure that someday the time would be right and I would open the letter and read it and finally understand my dad. 

I guess a part of me didn’t even want to know him. There were times in my life that I truly felt abandoned by him. I would get so mad. Where was he when I needed him most? Why didn't he make himself available to me? I was his little girl; every little girl needs her dad throughout her life! I’m sure I made decisions as a teen that would not have pleased my dad, but I figured he wasn’t there, so he would never know anyway.

I never understood WHY – why couldn’t I see him? Why couldn’t I talk to him? Why wasn’t he here to answer my questions? Because I didn’t have that “relationship” with him, I tried my best to put him out of my mind. When my heart yearned badly for him, I would make up things about him in my mind that were, well, not nice. You see, I figured if I knew he was horrible, then there would be a good reason not to have a relationship with him. So, I made up mean things about him. My bad thoughts about him became the truth, whether or not it was, I claimed it as truth! I told myself that he was mean, that he didn’t care about me – ever. I just knew he knew nothing about me, or had any feelings for me.

At times, I felt so abandoned during my life that if someone else talked about their close relationship with their father, I wouldn’t even listen. In fact, sometimes I would remark that I thought their dad was no different from mine. When they would try to tell me differently, I would get mad and walk away. I even told people to shut up and never talk to me about any dad relationship!

Yet, when I would really be hurting, all I could think about was what others said a relationship with my dad could be like – like the one they had. I would then become so jealous that I stayed away from anyone who ever mentioned a good relationship with his or her dad. In fact, I became quite bitter at times. I’m not proud of the way I felt about him. Try as I might, the only “good feeling” I had about him was that he chose my mom to carry me inside her body and close to her heart. Without my dad, I wouldn’t have my mom or known her love. Even though she tried and tried to get me to understand more about my dad – I would shut her out as well – but just about my dad – not the other good things she would share. My mother nurtured me and showed me so much love, but even that confused me. I would feel loved – but then I would think about my dad and the absence of a relationship with him, and I would spiral down again!

Finally, I was so broken and miserable I decided to read his letter to me. As I began reading it, slowly my heart started to change toward him. He actually had written me a letter with answers to the questions I had mulling in my mind throughout my lifetime. It was as if he knew everything about me – yet we had never met. 

In his letter to me, he even included sayings and words that, as soon as I read them, I felt warm and comforted. His words began to erase my pain. The bitterness I had for him began to change. Oh, I cried and cried every time I read any part of his letter to me. Every page helped me to know him better. It took a while but, even though I had never met my dad, I fell in love with him. My yearning was to meet him someday. You see, one of the lies I had told myself (and I believed) was that he was dead. But, I found out from the letter that he was very much alive and the entire time I had wanted to talk to him, he was waiting on me to call! 

I did cry out in anger – at myself! Because I had been so stubborn and refused to read his letter all those years! But as I would read a little more – he was so understanding; he promised to restore all of our relationship when we meet. Tucked in the letter was all the information on how to begin our new relationship – when I was ready. The thought of meeting him face to face someday soon gives me life! I talk to him everyday now, that helps a lot until we finally meet face to face. It is exciting; the more time we spend talking, the more joy I find in living. My dad is simply THE BEST! I just had to tell you about him. 

Oh, by the way, his letter, other people call it the Bible, but I call it my Dad’s Love Letter to me! 

I hope that as I shared this, there were moments that you thought of times you lashed out at your “Dad,” our Heavenly Father. Let me assure you – Our DAD – our Heavenly Father – is waiting to talk to you, to explain, to help you, and to forgive you. If you haven’t received your Love Letter from your Father, I have it here* for you and will be glad to deliver it to you today! Don’t put off reading it, as I did. I wasted so many years and so much of my life wanting to be deeply loved. No one loves me like my Father and HE is waiting to show you that same love too!

Joyfully Serving HIM
Emmalea Butler
Copyright 2016 

*Emmalea is the Director of the Lord's Locker, a social services organization that seeks to feed the spiritual and physical needs of their community. Emmalea presented the letter from her dad to those visiting the Lord's Locker; afterwards she distributed Bibles to those who didn't have one.

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