As the daughter of a single mother, I should’ve been pregnant at 16. Or maybe addicted to drugs. Or a high school drop out. Okay, maybe not, but the odds of those things happening when you grow up without a father (mine died when I was 8 years old) are much higher than when you grow up in a 2-parent family. It doesn’t mean it has to happen – just that it’s far more likely.
A quote from Donald Miller:
Girls who grew up without fathers are often hurting and looking for strength and affirmation from men, and it’s important they get that from a community or from men who are safe.
I had that. My mom provided that for me. She couldn’t fulfill the role of a manly influence in my life, but she made sure I got it. Most importantly, from all the right sources.
- Bill. Now my stepdad, but they dated since I was 9 and he’s been a constant source of manly influence in all of our lives. Luckily, he had the patience and bravery my mom didn’t have to teach us to drive.
- Neighbors. We had great neighbors, but I’m specifically thinking of the Schmidts, who would let me stay for dinner, out for ice cream runs or took me camping. Keith would even let me drive home from Awana a time or two.
- My church family. Great, godly men who affirmed and encouraged me in healthy ways. They probably didn’t even realize what they were doing at the time. Men like Jon Pierce, Mike Fernen, Dave Voth, Dennis Dick, Chuck Tschetter, and tons of others guided me in powerful ways.
- My grandpa. Every few softball games, you’d see Grandpa Delbert in the stands sitting there, cheering you on. Every birthday party, he and Grandma would show up for dinner.
- My uncles. There at graduation parties, special events, surgeries, moving day, whatever. They were just there.
Because of all their influences, I wasn’t the girl who had to seek out affirmation from men because I already had it from great men (who probably didn’t even realize what they were doing). I don’t think any of them said: “Man, here’s Jayme. Better encourage her cause her dad can’t.” Maybe they thought that. But I’m guessing they just were great guys who ended up fulfilling a need in my life. Or maybe they knew the biblical commandment to take care of the widow and the orphans.
This orphan thanks you!