This Father’s Day was be my first as a dad, so it has some special significance for me. As I embark on my own journey into fatherhood it becomes clear the profound impact dads have on the lives of their kids. 

I was fortunate to have a really good Dad. He not only took care of our family, but he was supportive of me and my two sisters, and he always had our back when we needed him. 

However, I know many of us in recovery have not been so fortunate. Some of our fathers were not good at creating a nurturing, supportive, environment. Others were abusive or completely absent. If that was your experience, I am so sorry. 

As a result of our imperfect dads, one of the biggest challenges we often face in our faith and our recovery is projecting the image of our own father onto God.

For example, if you grew up with a father who was distant or not around, you might feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and that God is not listening to you. For many of us, such projections may not be evident without a little digging. Nevertheless, they can be a major obstacle in our faith journey and in our ability to see God as someone we can trust and depend on. 

The more I read scripture the more I have come to realize why my ability to trust God as a good father is so important. If I don’t trust that God is going to take care of me and has my best interests in mind, then I can only rely on myself. This creates a sense of anxiety and a lack of security, which can be a trigger for acting out as a form of comfort. The more I let my fear and doubt question God’s goodness and trustworthiness, the more susceptible I am to seek out unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

So, here’s an interesting question, if Jesus knew so many of our earthly fathers were so screwed up, why did he start out his most famous prayer with “Our father in heaven…”?

Or in other words, why is it so hard for so many of us to internalize the idea of God as a loving father? 

As one Christian blogger put it, for many of us, the idea of having or even wanting an intimate relationship with God as ‘Father’ is not only incomprehensible; it is altogether repulsive. Men are bad, corrupt, and fail. How on earth can I trust my heavenly Father?” ¹

I think the reason Jesus intentionally referred to God as a Father was to try and address our daddy issues head on. It’s almost as if he is saying, “This broken person is what you think a dad is supposed to be like. I will show you what true fatherhood looks like.” 

Let’s face it, no matter how well our earthly dads loved and cared for us, Jesus wanted us to realize that our heavenly father offers the perfect love, care, and discipline we need. 

As the author of the book of Hebrews puts it,

“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.” ³  

The Bible is realistic about how even the best dads are just kind of winging it (I know I am!) but emphasizes that God always knows what he is doing, so we can trust that even his discipline will benefit us.

In his chapter on Dads in Faith & Sex, Steven Luff talks about the importance of forgiving our dads for their shortcomings, while also deciding not to repeat their mistakes. He points out that part of claiming the responsibility of parenthood is to “learn to forgive one’s father for his shortcomings knowing that someday we will be hoping for the same compassion from our own child.” ²

If we can forgive our fathers, it will allow some of our past wounds to heal and allow us to focus on becoming the individuals we want to be and not repeating the same generational patterns of brokenness.

Of course, this healing and forgiveness is so much easier said than done. Like with many aspects of recovery and healing, it may take time. Stay committed to the process and work with a counselor, pastor, or close friend. Don’t be discouraged if your “daddy issues” are not fixed instantly. Like many aspects of our recovery, even recognizing the ways in which we have projected the shortcomings of our own fathers onto God can take time. Please be patient and gracious with yourself.

However, this Father’s Day, and every day, I encourage you to trust that God is a good father, and you can rest assured of that.


  1. Early, Alex. “Healing Our Image of God as Father.” (March 16, 2023)
  2. Luff, Steven. Faith & Sex (2024), p. 141.
  3. Hebrews 12:10, New Living Translation.
  4. Matthew 6:9 NLT