The Dad I Almost Never Had

“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” – Deuteronomy 5:16

toddler in white hoodie during daytime

The relationships that children experience with their parents can have lasting effects well into adulthood. Once children mature into adults, they can recognize any negative behaviors and thought-patterns that were ingrained in them during their childhood and change them, if they choose.

Children normally see things in binary – black or white, good or bad, mine or yours, yes or no (that kind of thing). There’s usually no in-between for them. So when things happen, kids internalize them and often blame themselves; they are the center of their worlds, so it’s hard for them not to do it.

Growing up without my biological father in the home had its impact, just like how someone who grows up in a home where there is physical abuse or violence can be negatively influenced.  I didn’t see the example of what a father is supposed to be during my formative years. 

But the Lord blessed me later on with a great example of fatherhood in my stepfather. By the time he came into the family picture, I had long given up hope of ever having a father-daughter relationship. I’d closed that door of my heart, and was naturally skeptical. 

It didn’t take much time to overcome that skepticism, however, because my stepfather’s actions were what proved to be the defining characteristics of a cherished relationship.

I was shocked that a man whose own children were long- grown and out on their own was wide with excitement to take on the role as head of the family and provider for a family of three children who were still home. Of course, it was startling because of the fact that my own biological father chose not to do it.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:13

From the very beginning, my stepfather has been a blessing to me and our family’s life. One of the things that I first noticed about him was his work ethic. Before retiring, as a lead at his company, he had a number of awards and honors that all covered at least one wall.

I think there may have been a bit of healthy competition between he and my mom to see who could gain the most awards (maybe not, but that’s what it seemed like with as many accolades that they both earned all the time). He often was called upon to assist and train other supervisors at his company throughout the state. That drive to excel and be the best in his professional life pours over into his personal life, as well.

He’s the kind of man who gets to places early, who drives the speed limit, and who does the right thing when nobody is looking.

He loves God and he loves people. Within the first five minutes of a conversation with him, you’re sure to hear about how good the Lord is and has been to him. He doesn’t hesitate to share with others that God has blessed him and that He can and does bless them, too.

He teaches Bible classes and is always studying the Word of God to learn more of His will. And, he is not just a hearer or a reader of the Word, he actually does what it says. The bible says that “pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). My stepfather has taken plenty of meals to widows of the church, and he visits sick members, prays with them, and encourages them with lessons from God’s Word. He and my mom are, a lot of times, able to serve others in that way together. He cares about people. Both my parents do.

Just recently, he was in a book store or card shop one evening where there was only one young lady working. The store was nearly empty, and as he finished his purchase and was about to leave, a man entered the store behaving in a suspect manner. He decided to stay around to make sure the worker would be safe, since by that time she would have been alone in the store with that man when he left.

Thankfully he did stay, because that man began to harass the young lady, to walk around the counter, and to try to physically assault her. But my stepfather stepped up and demanded that the man leave her alone and leave the store. The worker was distraught and in tears. Eventually, he had to physically escort the man out of the store away from the lady worker. He then called the police and waited there with the woman until they arrived.

Had my stepfather not been there, had he not decided to stay, and had he not stood up to that man and his attempts to bring harm to another person, who knows what would have happened that night. The worker was so grateful for him and thanked him for staying behind and ensuring her safety.

He’s a stand-up guy. He not only stands up for his family and friends, he looks after the well-being of strangers, even.

In him I have seen how a man is supposed to treat a woman in the way that he demonstrates his love to my mother. I have never seen her treated so better by another man. I’m so glad that he came into our lives, and I can’t imagine any of our lives without him. I believe that God sent him.

I never really put much into any achievements that I’d made. If I ever received an award or trophy, I’d put it somewhere in a box and not think anything more about it. Well, my stepfather found that box, and one day I came home to find all my trophies displayed on shelves and a huge scrapbook that he’d assembled with many of my certificates, ribbons, newspaper clippings, photos, and other notable accomplishments. I’d never seen everything together in that way. It was a pleasant surprise, which garnered a sense of pride and confidence that I hadn’t had before then.

He’s dependable. He’s humble. And he’s kind. He’s a good man.  Getting married to each other was a great choice, for them both, indeed.  I extend my “Congratulations!” to them for nearly two decades of marriage. That’s quite a feat in today’s society.

I’m grateful for the husband that he is to my mom, for the leader that he is in the community, and for the father that he is to me and all my siblings. That’s not to forget the grandfather that he is; the grand kids simply adore him.

Both of my parents have done everything they could to teach me and my siblings to do what is right and to treat others respectfully and kindly. Any failures on my part to carry out those teachings are all my responsibility. So, if anyone tries to lay a charge against them, they can drop it immediately. And that, especially so, if it has to do with anything that I’ve done. You may shrug at it, but I give my parents my full pardon of any alleged wrongdoing. It’s because I know that I am responsible.

“The person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him.” – Ezekiel 18:20

The bible says that children are not to pay for the wrongs of their parents, and parents are not to pay for the wrongs of their children. I don’t want my parents to pay for anything wrong that I have done. I’m sure that many share that sentiment.

I have a wonderful example before me of what a real man is and how he takes care of business. My stepfather is honest, he means what he says, and he can be depended upon to do what is right. I’m thankful to the Lord for him.

He’s the dad that, until him, I almost never had.



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