A note from Kelly King: As I read Kaye’s article today, the words from the song “Father’s Eyes” send my mind straight back to my college dorm room where Amy Grant’s vinyl of the same name made its home. Like Kaye, I want to have eyes like my heavenly Father and be willing to show compassion to women who have a difficult relationship with their earthly fathers.
When I was a young girl, Christian artist Amy Grant was new on the scene and gaining popularity in the Christian community. I was not yet a Christ follower, but I did love to sing and I loved Amy Grant! Her cassette (yes, cassette) “Father’s Eyes,” was one of my first Christian recordings. I would sing along at the top of my lungs, “She’s got her Father’s eyes, her Father’s eyes, eyes that find the good in things when good is not around, eyes that find the source of help when help just can’t be found, eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain, knowing what you’re going through and feeling it the same, just like my Father’s eyes, my Father’s eyes, my Father’s eyes, just like my Father’s eyes.” Oh how those words marked my young heart! Even now as I sing those words I see clearly how the Father was planting seeds in my heart for what would become a passion and calling for me.
Of course we know that Amy was singing about God the Father, and yes, let’s be the kind of people who truly have our Father’s eyes. This weekend we have the opportunity to see one another with the eyes of the Father—eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain. What do I mean? This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day. For some, this day is truly celebratory; for others, not so much.
For many, Father’s Day is a deep source of pain. If you are ministering to hurting women, then like me, you have heard multiple stories of women who have experienced pain—emotional, physical, even spiritual pain—at the hands of their fathers. The trauma they have experienced is beyond words. Father’s Day for many is a reminder of that pain of abandonment, rejection, lost dreams and hopes, loss and grief. For some, Father’s Day could also be a reminder that the husband they love is not yet a father—a different kind of pain and longing altogether. For others, like myself, it is a combination of all the above. My own father died 22 years ago, and like many, I have father wounds. I’m also a woman who was unable to birth biological children for my husband, and for the first 15 years of our marriage, Father’s Day was difficult.
On the flip side of that, there are many, many women with wonderful fathers who celebrate them well this weekend. How are we to navigate the varied emotions of the weekend? By having our Father’s eyes! Here are just a few ways to see others this weekend with our Father’s eyes and to minister to them in their pain:
- See one another. We have lost the art of looking at each other, haven’t we? Look each other in the eyes this weekend; look for emotion on faces and in eyes.
- Acknowledge one another. It’s one thing to see people in pain; it’s another thing altogether to risk saying something and acknowledging that pain. As you look and see, acknowledge what you see; ask to hear a story.
- Listen well. If someone in pain is trusting you with her story, please love her well by listening to her well. Suspend judgment, refrain from advice giving, don’t try to fix her father issues. Just listen, listen, listen.
- Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you your Father’s eyes to see people in pain this weekend and every weekend. Ask Him to minister His grace, mercy, and healing through you as you listen, love, and lead. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to pray with someone in pain this weekend. It is quite often the best gift you can offer a hurting heart.
As we become leaders and ministers to hurting women, I pray we develop eyes like our Father’s. Let’s ask our Father for eyes full of compassion and empathy, eyes that see pain and offer help whenever it is needed, eyes that see the good in one another and call it out—just like our Father’s eyes.
If this weekend is difficult for you because of your relationship with your own father, I am so sorry. I am praying for you now and throughout the weekend. Your Heavenly Father loves you and sees you; He will never abandon you or reject you.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.