Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Daddy's Little Girl, Day 1

Leslie Basham: When you embrace God as a good Father, it has a big of effects on your life. Here's Blair Linne, one of the speakers at the upcoming conference: Cry Out: True Woman 2016.

Blair Linne: I believe as we understand God as Father, it will help us understand who we are as women.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As you know, Father's Day is just around the corner. For many women, that will be a time of thanking their dad for the investment those fathers have made in their lives. Or you may be like me, my dad has been with the Lord for many years, but I'm so grateful for the impact he made in the first twenty-one years of my life. For others, I know that Father's Day can be a time of frustration and maybe pain—remembering the hurt than an earthly father may have inflicted—perhaps by being dominant and domineering, perhaps by being distant or not even there at all.

Blair Linne knows what it is like to feel the pain of broken family relationships in a fallen world. But she'll give us hope today. She'll remind  us of why we can always lean on our perfect heavenly Father.

Blair's spoken word poetry was a highlight at the True Woman '14 conference, and she'll be back with us again this year at True Woman '16. That conference is coming to Indianapolis, September 22–24. If you'd like to hear Blair, along with other speakers like: Mary Kassian, Janet Parshall, Stephan Kendrick, Russell Moore, you'll need to act fast because space is limited, and we're about to fill up that conference.

But this year's True Woman conference is unique. Even if you can't be there with us in Indianapolis, we're inviting you to get together with a group of women in your area and connect with us for a special night of fervent prayer for our nation and our world. That simulcast prayer event which we are calling Cry Out! will take place on Friday night September 23.

For more details on how to join us in person at the conference or how to join the Cry Out! event in your area, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, let's listen in as Blair Linne points us to God as our ultimate, loving Father.

Blair: I don't know your specific situation, but speaking on this title of fatherlessness, how fatherlessness affects daughters, whether that's a physical absence, a spiritual absence, or an emotional absence. I rarely have heard it spoken from a Christian perspective. I don't know about you, but twenty-four million children live in a home absent from their father. That's one out of three.

And then there are those who, maybe your father was in the home, a lot of the times a father may not be present. So even though he lives there, there may a disconnect, emotionally or even spiritually.

I want to look at this quote from Piper. He says,

Children ought to see in their human father a reflection, albeit imperfect, of the heavenly Father, in His strength and tenderness, in His wrath and mercy, in His exaltation and condescension, in His surpassing wisdom and patient guidance. The task of every human father is to be for his children an image of the Father in heaven.

Now most of us, we cannot look on our father as even an imperfect image or picture of our heavenly Father. Either it was because he wasn't present or because we couldn't connect with him emotionally or spiritually.

I have four main points that I want to focus in on during this breakout. It's going to be:

Point one: "A Father Lost." We're going to talk about the problem.

Point two: "A Daughter Broken" and the effects of that problem.

Point three: "A Father Loves." We're going to spend really the majority of our time focusing in on our adoption.

Point four: "A Daughter Restored." So now that we've been adopted, how do we live this new life? How do we work out our salvation?

A Father Lost

So what happened with our fathers? Well, sin happened. That's very clear. Adam, we know in the Garden he listened to his wife. He ate of the tree, ultimately listening to Satan and his temptations and giving in. And as a result, many of our fathers do not model what the Bible says a father should be.

We have fathers who, unlike what the Bible says, they may not provide for us. Some of you have had fathers who did not care well for you, did not provide for you, did not love you properly as a father should. Even some fathers who have died sooner than expected. It was out of their control. Fathers suffering with mental illness.

I have a friend who just recently had a father who's a believer and just in the past few years he's been struggling with mental illness, and she's wrestling with how to love and honor her father.

Fathers who profess to be a believer even sometimes may use Scripture to abuse or misuse their authority.

Some have seen their fathers cheat on, beat on, or disrespect your mother.

Some here have silently suffered with the great sin of a father who was verbally or physically or even sexually abusive.

So we have dads who have gone through so many different things as a result of sin, as a result of Adam and his sin in the Garden.

We have dads who face social ills, systemic injustices, which have left them discouraged in their manhood and defeated in their parenting.

And many of our fathers, they've never had a father themselves. And I'll tell you a little bit about my story a little later. But really, I could go on and on. But ultimately, when we ask, "What happened?," it was sin that happened.

So ever since the fall of Adam, our first father, men have been under a curse. Adam giving in to Satan's schemes. Before he was even a father, he found himself submitting to the father of lies. And so this curse is a result. So fathers are tempted to not walk in this God-given role that they've received.

And Satan, he doesn't want image bearers to be displayed on earth, those created in the image of God to reflect His glory. Satan wants to shut that down. And he knows if he can keep our fathers bound in sin, then he can capture the whole family. If he can grab the man, and he's not walking in his role, then the whole family kind of shifts out of place.

So I just want to share a little bit about my own story. I was raised by a single mom. I'm from Michigan, and my dad lives in Chicago. When I was three years old, my mom moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. And so I'm 3,000 miles away from my dad, and our relationship was over the phone. Every few months we would have these conversations.

I remember maybe from about the age of eight or so, after having these conversations on the phone, I wanted to share with him, but they were just so superficial, honestly. It was like, "Oh, who loves you?" And, "Oh, you shine like a star."

And my dad, he has a wonderful heart, he's such a kind man. But I felt like, I want to really get to know you. I want you to really know me and know what's going on. So it was really hard for me.

It was hard for me to understand my identity, who I was. I wanted to talk to him and say, "This is really hard." But I was too scared. I felt that if I opened up to my dad and shared with him how I felt, that maybe I wouldn't have these conversations every few months. Maybe that would be taken away, too. So fear kept me quiet.

It wasn't until I was around eighteen when I started being approached by guys and thinking, I have no idea what to even look for in a spouse, in a guy. I had no model to go by. And as a result, I didn't have my dad's protection. So I found myself making compromises with men in hopes that I would find out who I was.

So I was eighteen years old, and I remember talking with my dad, and we were having another conversation. It was just so superficial, and we were about to hang up, and I said, "Dad! I need to talk to you. Here's how I'm struggling with my identity. Here's how I'm struggling with you being so far away." My dad had never come to visit. He wasn't supportive financially because he had things going on in his life where he wasn't able to do that.

So I just shared with him. I said, "I've been afraid this whole time to communicate this with you."

Well, he told me, "I've been scared, too." He said, "I've wanted to talk to you about this, but I've been so afraid."

My dad is not a believer, but I have seen him really put in a lot of effort after that conversation. He just opened up and shared with me that he didn't have his father in his life either, so he's been broken as well.

And so, since that time, my dad has made an effort to be a part of my life, but there's still a part he doesn't understand because we don't share the same faith. He doesn't understand fully who I am, and so I've had to ultimately trust in my identity in Christ. I've had to cling to God and cling to His truth even when I didn't have my dad, when I didn't have the things that I needed.

So being a believer, and my husband who approached me, he was interested in me, I didn't have a dad who could say, "Well, let me . . ." not dust off my gun collection, but, like, "Let me ask questions. Do you love the Lord? How are you going to lead the family? Have you thought through a biblical definition of headship and leadership?" That wasn't there. So I actually had to go to my pastor. My pastor, in a sense, was the one who was able to walk me through some of these things.

We're not responsible for what happens to us as children, but we are responsible for what we do with our pain as adults. If all we do in this workshop is talk about the things that went wrong with our dads, we're not going to go forward. We can think about the issue, we can think about sin, and the truth is, in your specific situation, you may not get to the heart of all of the reasons why your father wasn't there. But what you can know is it was because of sin. So if you don't get the answer, you know it was because of sin, and you're able to go forward from there.

So as we go further in, by looking at "A Daughter Broken," which is our second point, I want to keep I mind that we're both victims and rebels. We all have been victimized by other people's sin, and we have all rebelled against God with our own sin. So victimization is never an excuse for rebellion, and rebellion does not take away the real victimization that may have been experienced. We don't have to downplay how we've been sinned against, but we do have to take responsibility with how we have chosen to sin as a result of that.

I don't know if you're familiar with Amy Carmichael. She was a missionary. She has this book If that I've read. And there's this one page where she gives this visual like a pot that's filled with water. And she says, "If a pot is filled with sweet water, and you knock that pot over, sweet water's going to pour out. But if you knock a pot and bitter water comes out, it was because it was in."

So you can't make the excuse, "Well, you hit me, so that's why the bitter's coming out. Or you stepped on my foot, so that's why I lashed out at you in anger." In those circumstances, when we're pressed, even like we heard Joni mention the lemon being squeezed, it shows us what's in our heart. And then we can go to God with what's in our heart.

A Daughter Broken

When we miss out on having a healthy relationship with our dad, we find ourselves being opened up to specific ways that we might be tempted with lies.

One way that we can be tempted when we're broken is to be this perfect people pleaser. This is the woman who tries to be perfect in order to compensate for the hurt that she feels. So in order to try to compensate for Dad's absence, we can preach to ourselves the lie, which says, "I just need to be the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect student, the perfect wife, and then no one will leave me, or then I will feel complete."

But the woman who grew up with her father, one thing you need to know: It's not that she's better than you. It's not that she was without flaws or perfect. It's not the result of some sin that we committed at birth the reason why our father maybe wasn't around or able to connect with us.

So we can't look at it as though it's our fault, and we have to try and do something for that to make up for that.

And this idea of attempting to have it all together or feel this sense of control over our life is really not the answer. The truth is we're not in control of our circumstances. The truth is this is an impossible standard.

And Jesus, He's not looking for the perfect woman or the perfect daughter. He's saying, "Come as you are. Come broken. Come needy. Come weak. Come." And He calls women His daughters, who are sinners. And that's the beauty of the gospel. It's not, "Well, let me clean myself, and then I can come to Jesus." He says, "No, just the way you are, you can come. And I'm going to transform you so that you will look like Me."

Another thing that fatherless daughters can become is a slave to promiscuity. So you may have heard the phrase that men give love to get sex; women give sex to get love. I don't know if you've ever heard that, but we can be so desperate to receive love from a man that we will dishonor God's Word. We will throw out our convictions. And the thought is, If I give him what he wants, then he will stay.

Honestly, this may not be sexual intercourse. It can be things leading up to that. I remember coming up, I was, like, "Oh, sexual intercourse. That is wrong. But these things leading up to it, oh, I'm not quite sure." But God is seeing our hearts. He's seeing the motives of our hearts.

I just want you to think about this question personally: Have you ever mistook sex for love or lust for love? The truth is, if a man is asking you to compromise your walk with the Lord, he is not showing love for God or for you. You can think, Well, he loves me, and I trust him. So I'm going to give him my body to prove that. But after you've given your body, you find yourself longing for the covenant, the security that comes with that commitment that comes in marriage, and you spend the rest of your time trying to convince this man that you're worth pursuing, you're worth committing to.

So God is wise. We have to remind ourselves God is wise. He knows what's good for us. He says that sex and the things even leading up to sex are reserved for marriage. It's reserved in that beautiful covenant, that intimacy.

So I just want to encourage you, even in the faith that Jesus doesn't say, "Give Me something so that you can receive My love in return." He loved us first. And that's the way that we're able to love Him, and I praise God for that.

And another thing is, sometimes fatherless daughters are afraid to trust. I think this is the flip side of that kind of coin. It's disconnecting from men. You build up walls to close everyone up from getting to your heart. So that Scripture, "Guard your heart," you take that and say, "Okay, bars and chains and locks, barbed wire, whatever I can find . . . I'm going to just protect myself from the men around me."

So a Christian man approaches you and is interested, and you quickly push them away. You become the militant single woman, like my husband said I was when he first met me. Like, you love Jesus, but you don't love men. You don't love anyone else.

And so to be able to love is to be vulnerable, and that moment you open up to someone, sometimes the fear is that you're going to be rejected, that, "If I give myself, my heart, in a sense, to this man, then he's going to reject me like my dad did. So I'm not going to do that."

Scripture says, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God who he has not seen" (1 John 4:20).

The Lord can certainly call us to singleness. That doesn't mean we have to get married. But it does mean that we should have a high view of marriage, whether we're married or single. The Scripture says marriage should be honored by all. So even in your singleness, as you're serving God with an undivided heart, you should still have a high view of marriage, and you shouldn't be cutting yourself off from relationships and intimacy with others.

Another thing is, she could be a slave to excuses. So she hides behind these excuses, the "if onlys" or the "what ifs." The if onlys are, for example: "If only my father was there, then I would have a fulfilled life. If only he paid more attention to me, then I wouldn't feel the need to try to find love in the arms of a man."

Or some examples of some what ifs: "What if I never get married because of my issues or my past? What if my husband leaves me like my dad left my mom?"

So these fears that we have, even some of the blame shifting that we have, I think it could be helpful to deal with these fears, but not to live here. We don't want to live here, because it can be paralyzing. So though these are real-life frustrations, we want to be careful not to continue to blame shift or to say, "If only . . . you're the problem." Because now we actually have a solution, which is the beauty of being women of God.

So one thing we need to consider is that Christ died so we don't have to live in the if onlys or the what ifs. Christ died to set us free from excuses. So we're free from fear. We're free from anxiety because Christ died. We're free from our past no matter how dark because Christ died.

And what this means practically is we can replace the lie with the truth. So the lie is, "If only my father were here, then I would have a fulfilled life." But the truth is, "Only through Christ can I have a fulfilled life."

So the fear is, "What if I never get married because of my issues or my past?" But the truth is, "I can surrender myself to God in trust, and I can trust His will for my life whether that means singleness or marriage, and God may use my situation to bring glory to His name and even break some generational curses or strongholds in the family. And maybe someone else can benefit from hearing my story and hearing how God has changed me and transformed me, maybe the unlikely of women into a woman of God."

So why don't we focus on that as we look at A Father Loves.

A Father Loves

I want to spend our time just digging into our adoption in Christ. There's a wonderful book called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by Bruce Ware. He has a very long quote, but I think it's so good. He says:

Some who have been affected by abuse can learn afresh from our heavenly Father just what true fatherhood is. I have sometimes heard that those who grow up with abusive fathers simply need to remove from their minds the notion of God as father. This name for God is a barrier to their relationship with Him, some have said, but truly this is the wrong solution for a very real problem.
Rather than removing father from our Christian vocabulary, and in particular from our naming God, should we not work at having our minds and hearts refashioned so that our very conception of father is remade by knowing the true Father over all?
That is, instead of encouraging a distancing from God as father, with love and sensitivity, we should say to those who cringe at memories of their fathers, "I've got wonderful news for you. There is a true Father who is drastically different in so many, many ways from the father you had. Meet, will you, the true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Learn from Him just what father really means and enter into the fullness of His fatherly love, care, wisdom, provision, protection, and security.

Praise God! Praise God that we do not have to overlook this attribute of God as Father. We do not have to say, "Oh, no. I can't deal with that because of my circumstances." We can learn, like he said, afresh of who our Father is.

Now in the Scripture, God has primarily chosen to identify Himself as Father. There are a few times where He compares Himself to a mother, but over all, it is father, fatherhood that we see, the fatherhood of God. And we cannot let the culture try to tell us that that is because somehow God is a misogynist or Christianity is demeaning to women. It is not that.

I believe, actually, as we understand God as Father it actually will help us understand who we are as women. So God does not downplay us. This is just the way God has chosen to reveal Himself, and so we can praise God for this. This does not take away from our womanhood at all. It adds to it as we understand who we are in Christ.

Nancy: Blair Linne has been reminding us of an amazing truth. If you've come to faith in Christ, you have been adopted in God's family. That means you are His daughter. Recognizing that identity will change the way that you look at everything—including painful, human relationships.

Blair gave this message at True Woman '14. The message was called "Daddy's Little Girl." To hear the entire message, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We'll be listening to part two tomorrow.

And you can hear Blair Linne’s spoken word poetry in person at True Woman '16. This conference is coming to Indianapolis September 22–24. Seating is limited and we're almost at capacity, so be sure to register soon at ReviveOurHearts.com.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this program, this conference has a unique component I’m so excited about. On Friday evening, September 23, Bob Bakke and I will be leading a prayer time that we are calling Cry Out! We’ll be crying out to the Lord to turn the hearts of His people back to Him in revival. We’ll cry out to Him to visit our land with a new sense of His presence in this day when good is being called evil and evil is being called good. We’ll cry out to Him to bring families together, to heal marriages and to empower a generation of His women to be devoted to His work for such a time as this.

That prayer gathering will not be just for the women gathered in Indianapolis for the the True Woman conference. I’m asking women all across this country to join in crying with us on that evening. In fact, I’m asking you to cry out with us.

I want to encourage you to get together with a group at your church or in your area and participate in this one-of-a-kind prayer event through an online simulcast? Get all the details for Cry Out!, this nationwide prayer event for women on September 23, by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, when your biological dad lets you down. It's easy to start believing lies about who you are. Blair Linne addresses some of those lies and shows you the truth that will set you free. That's tomorrow, right here on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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