When Father’s Day Hurts

by | Jun 21, 2020 | holidays

photo cred. unsplash

Father’s Day is today. Are you a dad with a broken heart? Are you weighed down with pain, worry, fear, and rejection? If so, Father’s Day can be hard. Positive memories from when your son or daughter was young and innocent flood your mind. Negative memories and their associated emotions overwhelm you.

Men tend to hide their emotions, but this is different. On Father’s Day tears can be closer to the surface than usual. Oh God, please don’t let anyone ask me about ________, or how I’m doing. I couldn’t take it.

There’s a lump in your throat—but you hold back those salty rivers. You can’t let anyone see you cry. You’re a macho man, right? Besides, if you let the tears come, you might not be able to stop the flow.

Can’t I get a free pass for Father’s Day? you wonder. Most of your friends have plans with their families. How you envy them. Their children enjoy being with them: cookouts, camping and fishing trips, beach or boat outings, theme parks, gifts, dinners . . . except for you. Perhaps you have other children who will be thoughtful, but not them—the one you ache over and can’t stop thinking about.

A Bitter Reminder

“What are you doing for Father’s Day?” Quick. Change the subject as fast as possible. Hope they don’t notice your avoidance maneuver.

On Monday, co-workers will most likely inquire, “How was your day yesterday?” That’s the open door for you to brag on how loving your children were. Everything in you wants to slam that door and run. A made-up response slips from your lips as you slink away with a fake smile on your face.

photo cred. Samuel Martins on unsplash

You’d give anything for a reconciliation with your child. Just to hear their voice would mean so much.

Some of you don’t even know if they’re alive. The agony tears at your insides.

I remember how difficult Father’s Day could be for my husband. If he didn’t hear from our daughter my heart would ache for him. At first, he tried not show his true feelings, but they were hard to hide. Knowing he was in pain hurt me too.

The day became a bitter reminder of what he didn’t have anymore—of the one who was missing. Father’s Day only made him long for the past when our daughter wanted to be with him. When he was her hero.

This Isn’t the End of the Story

Dear dad, can you remember those days? What happened to your beloved child?

Drugs and alcohol happened; bad friends, depression, and self-injury happened; suicide attempts, arrests and jail time happened; rebellion, lying, and terrible arguments happened; same-sex desire, pornography, anger and resentment happened.

Everything’s changed.

Nothing’s the same.

Hurting dad, I hope your son or daughter will at least call to wish you a Happy Father’s Day, even if they aren’t ready to say “I love you.” But if not, remember this is today–one chapter in their life.

It’s not the end of the story—not yet.

I encourage you to make some time today or one day this week to read the parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15: 11-32). This story reminds us of something important; something we forget after waiting a long time.

There is always hope.


One day your child could come to their senses like the lost son did, do a turn-about, and be restored to you. Next week, next month, or next year they could come and say, “I love you, dad. Please forgive me. I’m sorry I’ve been such a jerk.”

However, you may not hear those words next week, next month or even next year. The wait could be long. You might wonder when or if it will ever end.

When I was on the verge of despair, ready to give up, a wise friend said, “As long as your child’s still breathing, there’s still hope!”

Dear dad, step-dad or grandpa, keep on keeping on. Don’t throw in the towel and walk away. Don’t despair or quit praying. Trust God and learn how to fight for their lives on your knees. Thank him for what you do have to be grateful for. Get busy helping someone else to take the focus off your situation. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to worry and never give up. You have no idea what Father’s Day could bring next year.

This great Bible verse gives me a tremendous amount of hope:

This land that was laid waste has become like the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 36:35).

Anything is possible.


Holding on to Hope and The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie. (Both are on our website. If ordered through us we receive a small percent from Amazon that helps support our ministry.)

Heavenly Father, comfort every hurting, disillusioned dad who reads this today. Remind him that you see his pain. You understand and you care about how he feels. Renew his hope for better days in the future. But if not, help him continue to trust, pray with faith, and keep his eyes on you. With you, anything can happen. A ruined life can become something beautiful once again. Amen.

*(Today’s blog is from the archives and if this blog was helpful, please share it with a friend in need.)