I’ve mentioned that I think lots of women have mother hunger. But father hunger is something that may be far more pervasive. The point seems to be that mothers fail and fathers fail. And when they fail in a spectacular way, there can be spectacular results. When mothers fail, daughters grow up without the role model they need. When fathers fail, girls grow up without the masculine leadership they need.
When Dad was absent (because of death, divorce, military duty, etc.) or when Dad was not being a good or godly father, it can affect daughters in multiple ways. Sometimes it can create an insecurity that drives the daughter to look desperately for masculine attention some place, any place, which then can lead to immorality, broken relationships, and an unhealthy desire to please. Or, a daughter growing up without a dad can feel uncomfortable around men, crowded and intimidated, not sure what they are thinking, especially around her.
I’m sure there are many other ways father hunger can harmfully affect women, and there will still be women who survive a fatherless childhood with a strong confidence and healthy outlook nonetheless. The world is a funny place. And since no father on earth can imitate God’s fatherhood perfectly, we all will have an unmet father-need of some kind or other to one degree or another. Since God has built the universe with a Father at the center of it, we will by nature long to enjoy a good relationship with our earthly fathers because we long to be on good terms with our Heavenly Father.
It seems to me that a woman needs to approach this with a matter-of-fact attitude. Everyone has handicaps of some kind or other. The key is to identify and strengthen the weaknesses and press forward. So, forgiveness is always step one. If your father was unkind, unjust, unloving, or un-anything else, you need to repent of any bitterness and resentment you have toward him, and ask God to forgive you for harboring the hurts for so long. Then ask God to mend you. It is good to be needy and to know you are. That way you are turning to the Lord, seeking His help, His healing, His guidance, and His grace. Though we are always needy, we don’t always have the sense to know it. So thank God that you see an area where you need His help. Then look to Him in faith.
The next thing to do is look at what the Bible says that women are called to do, and do your duties with joy. We can’t stop in our tracks whenever we detect a failing in our upbringing. We can’t refuse to press on because of the inadequate or even harmful childhood we had. We don’t need to drag it around behind us all our days. That is not pressing on. No one has had the perfect upbringing, and if yours was poor, comfort yourself that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been!
“There is not a man on earth who can satisfy the heart of a woman.” I remember reading this in a Walter Trobisch book, I Loved a Girl. His point is that women expect men to solve our problems and fill our hearts. But they simply cannot, even if they were capable of doing everything exactly right. So we must look to Christ to remake us, sanctify us, and make us into the women He wants us to be. No amount of looking at our neediness will fix us. No amount of blaming parents will fix this. Only faith in God can lead us out of neediness and away from ourselves and our troubles.
Here’s a little Thomas Watson: “Let not men and women pore too much upon their afflictions: that is, busy their thoughts too much to look down into their afflictions. You find many people, all of whose thoughts are taken up about what their crosses and afflictions are, they are altogether thinking and speaking of them. It is just with them as with a child who has a sore: his finger is always on the sore; so men’s and women’s thoughts are always on their afflictions….you should rather labour to have your thoughts on those things that may comfort you.”
If you want to read more on father hunger, Valerie has recommended a couple of excellent articles that you can find linked in her comment under the post titled Mother Hunger.