Family Relationships, God's Love

Father: When Fathers Love

A photo of the author with her father


The three men in my life who speak the most of fatherhood are my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband. My father was raised by a single mom, and yet, he figured out this “dad-thing.” He learned how to help his three daughters know they were loved. He encouraged us to chase our dreams and to grow into the women God intended us to be, not the women he thought we should be. I’m sure this was tough, as we sometimes made choices that grated against what he thought was best for us!

A photo of the author's parents'-in-law

My father-in-law passed away last September, but he was a supportive, encouraging man. He and my mother-in-law raised three sons to live with integrity and honor and to be men of valor. He had a big laugh, which helped me fit in better with my big laugh. And he had quiet ways of showing his love. 

My husband is intentional about parenting each of our very different boys. I love watching him build relationships with them on their level, not according to his expectations. They laugh together. He speaks the hard truths when needed, and he’s learned how to listen.

That’s how God is with us. He knows us intimately, and he loves us passionately. But, He relates with us on our level. He seeks to draw us closer to Him, but He allows us to grow at our pace, not at His.

A silhouette of a father holding the hands of two young boys as they walk along the beach

Perhaps that’s part of what Father-love looks like . . . loving a child where they are at, but hoping and encouraging them to become all they were designed to be. He gives us glimpses into the plans He has for us, and sometimes shows us the bigger picture. He knows these plans and uses the current situations in our lives to equip us for what’s coming. 

I know not everyone has a good experience with their fathers. When an earthly father has not “fathered well,” it impacts our understanding of the amazing love of our heavenly Father. For some, it’s harder to view God as a “Father” because of the wounds an earthly father has inflicted. Faith becomes deliberate as we learn to trust Him to love us in healthy ways.

A father holding a toddler's hand as they walk on a rocky path

I’m thankful for God’s patience. Sometimes. I push to do more for Him, to serve Him in bigger ways. And other times, I resort to childish thinking because life feels too hard. 

And yet, our Father is gracious. He doesn’t allow us to remain childish in our thinking, and He challenges us to go deeper in our understanding of Him. 

There are times when He allows us to rest, because He knows that’s the most important action at that moment. 

A meme with the words: "Our Father walks with us—holds us accountable for the choices we make—but He always, always loves us." On a backdrop of a father holding his daughter's hand as they walk along with the mother toward the ocean.

I’m thankful our heavenly Father loves us always . . . when we are walking well with Him and when we flounder. As we do with our sons, our Father walks with us—holds us accountable for the choices we make—but He always, always loves us. Just as we always love our children, but more deeply.

As we celebrate fathers this coming weekend, I hope you’ll honor someone who’s been a father in your life.

What about you? Who has been a father in your life? What’s your favorite aspect about God our Father?

Click to Tweet: Our Father is gracious. He doesn’t allow us to remain childish in our thinking, and He challenges us to go deeper in our understanding of Him.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

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A photo of the cover of an ebook called, "Finding God's Presence in Everyday Living," by Jeanne Takenaka

26 thoughts on “Father: When Fathers Love”

  1. Never really had a dad,
    nor a mother, neither.
    From the knowledge that I had,
    I did not miss that, either.
    I ran my life quite wild and free,
    and kept me safe from harm,
    maintining youthful dignity,
    and I was always armed.
    Perhaps a scrapbook would be fine,
    to document a fam’ly life,
    but I’d rather have what’s mine,
    .45 and Bowie knife.
    Not the greatest way to grow,
    but we all gots our row to hoe.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Andrew, that’s a rough way to grow up. It’s a good thing you’re a fighter. I can’t imagine how your life would have turned out if you weren’t. I’m thankful for the wisdom you share in your comments and poems. I’m praying for you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I, like you, have had three good examples of fatherhood in this life – my father, my father-in-law, and my husband. I can remember when I was a little girl. my dad had a little motor scooter. The kids in my neighborhood would like up at my house and Dad would take them on rides around the block for hours at night, after he got home from work. Now that I am an adult, I realize he must have had many other things he wanted to do, or maybe he just wanted to relax, but he patiently rode around and around the block, giving joy to all of us kids. That’s what our heavenly father is like too – patiently giving us undeserved grace and joy.


    1. Laurie, it’s a blessing to have a good earthly father. It sounds like your dad invested in the kids in his life. That’s amazing that he gave those motor scooter rides. It is kind of amazing to look back on our childhoods through the lens of an adult and have a better understanding of things, isn’t it? I agree, our heavenly Father shows us love in the unique ways we’re designed to receive it, and definitely through grace and joy!


  3. I am blessed and thankful that God gave me a wonderful earthly father. Daddy went to Heaven on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1998. I miss him very much. He was a wonderful father and loved the Lord. I am thankful God loves us and we can always go to Him.


    1. Melissa, I’m so glad you had an earthly father who was so wonderful. I know it’s been over twenty years sent he went to Heaven, but I imagine there are still times when you must miss him. I’m with you, thankful that God always loves us and that we can always go to Him.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for this reminder. Thanks for prompting our thoughts about our Heavenly Father. I love that we never bother Him. He never turns us away because He is too busy or uninterested in our affairs. He is there … always. I am smiling thinking about His goodness… THANK YOU!


    1. Heidi, I love that about God too. Can’t you just picture Him, setting down whatever amazing thing He’s doing and giving us His full attention? 🙂 I’m so thankful that He is completely engaged in the relationship we have with Him. Thank you for bringing out this aspect of our Father!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeanne,
    The older I get, the more I appreciate my dad and his love language to me. He wasn’t a mushy, warm fuzzy kind of guy but he showed his love in so many other ways – especially in loving my mother. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since he passed. I wish I could call on his wisdom many days. Thankful for a heavenly father who loves us unconditionally, but also loves us too much to leave us in the mess in which He found us! Love the pic of you and your dad!!
    Bev xx


  6. What a sweet photo of you and your dad, Jeanne! I miss not having my father here. He passed in 2010 with cancer; it still doesn’t seem possible. I am grateful that my f-i-l is still here though; like yours, mine also raised an amazing son, for which I’m so thankful.


  7. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad, your father-in-law, and your husband, and I appreciate how you’ve related these to our heavenly Father. I think it was also really compassionate of you in remembering those who don’t have such great dads.


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Kathy! I’m so grateful that our heavenly Father is the most amazing Father of all. It seems like relationships with fathers can be complicated and painful at times.


  8. This is beautiful Jeanne and reminds me of when my dad wasn’t poorly.Still his exemplary life has left a mark on my life forever and it’s hard to explain to others except think with heartfelt awe.And God never leaves us what a gentle Father He is.


    1. Ava, I can’t imagine how painful it must be at times to see your dad doing poorly. I’m so glad he’s left an indelible mark on your life for the good. And I’m with you, in awe of how amazing and gentle our heavenly Father is. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  9. Beautiful! I had a complicated relationship with my dad, but I knew he loved me… and best of all, I know that any love we experience here on earth pales in comparison to the love of our forever father, God.


    1. Jessica, I like how you describe your relationship with your father. I guess when it comes down to it, knowing we are loved by our fathers means a lot, and yes, any love here pales compared to the vastness of God’s love for us.


  10. This is beautiful, Jeanne. I love the pictures of your dad and your husband’s parents. One of the aspects of God’s fatherhood that has always comforted me is His goodness. All he does and allows in my life filters through that, which means that it can only be for my good (even if I don’t understand it). I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day with your family!


    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, friend. I agree with you. God’s goodness is amazing to me. To know He will be steadfast in His character—including goodness—even when I’m not humbles me. Knowing that even in the hard seasons God is good gives me courage some days to walk through them.


  11. Jeanne, what a great reminder that “That’s how God is with us. He knows us intimately, and he loves us passionately. But, He relates with us on our level. He seeks to draw us closer to Him, but He allows us to grow at our pace, not at His.” Thankfully our Heavenly Father has abundant love, patience, mercy and grace so that we can be gradually shaped and transformed.


  12. when fathers love well, not perfectly but consistently, we are blessed beyond words.

    and when they don’t, it’s hard for us to fathom a tender-hearted God.

    may all your readers experience His love today, friend …


    1. Yes, Linda, yes. A father who chooses to love consistently is such a gift to his children. I pray for those I know who do/did not have this in their lives. I hope your Father’s Day was good.


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