“Mommy, where do daddies come from?” In some cases, this hard question supplants the awkward query “Where do babies come from?” Mothers are sometimes stumped in their efforts to explain where daddies come from, especially when the father is absent in a child’s life. It seems that fathers, instead of being the cornerstone of the family, have become a rare commodity.
How can this generation understand the love of the Heavenly Father, when many do not understand the love of earthly mothers and fathers?
When we think of the effects of fatherlessness, we often think in terms of the father-son relationship and the impact it has on men. But we would be remiss to neglect the detrimental effect the lack of fathers has on women in our society.
During a tour of a juvenile justice center, one of our staff members was told that dealing with juvenile girls is among their biggest and fastest growing problems. They’re constantly getting in trouble. They’re angry, violent, uncontrollable, and mentally unstable. “You can’t put them into a residential facility,” he was told. “They’ll run away. They’re just unruly.” There is also a growing number of juvenile girls involved in gangs.
County officials have identified two primary issues at the heart of all these problems. The first problem is diet. When a person doesn’t care about herself, and believes no one else does, she will not care what she eats. Such people often turn to food for comfort. The second problem is men. Most of the girls have issues with their fathers. They’re looking for an identity, so they get involved in bad relationships or gangs. They give their bodies to boys who use them and break their hearts. Sadly, the cycle continues until they feel that they have nothing to live for.
Socialization and finding identity are necessary processes, but they are definitely harder when the family unit is fragmented, giving no parameters to help define the God-given roles of parent, daughter, and sister. Without a place to find identity, young people create their own worlds and families. Sometimes this occurs by joining gangs. We see it with street kids, too, who create their own family dynamics and even find identity in their “street names.”
“Covering” is a church term for the sense of protection we feel, both spiritually and physically. Spiritually, the Bible tells us that the moment we receive Christ, a canopy of protection is stretched out over our lives. We see this truth pictured in the description of the Passover. While the children of Israel were preparing to flee Egypt, a spirit of death was being released against the firstborn of the land. The only protection for Israel was the shed blood of a spotless lamb on the doorposts of their dwellings. If the blood was in place, they were spared. (See Exodus 12:21–27.) Today, Christ is our Passover Lamb. (See 1 Corinthians 5:7.) His blood keeps us safe and secure. This is the glorious work of the cross in our lives and the inheritance of every believer.
When there is a breach of covering in our physical, earthly lives, we feel exposed, vulnerable, and even unwanted. When a woman feels uncovered by her husband, there is disarray in the home. When a girl feels uncovered by her parents, especially by her father, she looks elsewhere to find the strength God designed to come from him. She looks for identity in places outside the realm of God’s intended plan. And when a girl has not experienced the love of a father, she will look to other men for that love.
One of my daughters in the faith, Laura, ministers to young women all over the world, and she also has an ongoing group that meets in her home. Before her father went to be with Jesus, he had asked me to help watch over Laura and her mother, and now she considers me a spiritual father.
Laura said, “A few years ago, the Lord opened my eyes to the desperate need of this generation’s young women, and how they need to be spiritually mothered and fathered.”
“I found myself surrounded by the most beautiful, precious young women” she said. “They all loved the Lord passionately and wanted nothing more than to please Him. As I developed sweet friendships with these precious souls, I began to hear their stories. To my sad surprise, almost all of them were stories of woundedness and brokenness.”
Laura asked me to speak to the young ladies she mentors, believing that I could minister God’s healing heart to heal them from their “daddy issues.” I spoke to them with the heart of a father, repented to them on behalf of any men who had hurt them, and released them into their destinies by praying over them and giving them a father’s blessing.
One of the girls in the group, Adriana, has not seen her biological father since she was five years old, and she shared her story with us:
I remember all the adventurous things I did with my father as if it was yesterday. He was full of energy when I was five years old, and he always knew how to plan our day. My day started with my dad dressing me, brushing my hair, and walking me to school. He didn’t have to do these things, but he did them because he wanted to. He considered me his pride and joy because I was his only daughter. Our day would end after school when he would pick me up and we would walk back through a small bayou where I would catch guppies in a sandwich bag. There are so many memories I have of my dad! I never want to lose them because they are all I have.
Life does not always end up the way you would like it, especially when your parents divorce. I never really understood how much of an impact it had on my life until now. For so long, I never cared to know the true story about why my dad had left, because I was angry at him; and my mom never knew how to explain, so she left it all unknown. As the years went by and I grew older, I desired a relationship with him once again. But how do you pick up where you left off when someone has been gone since you were five?
I am twenty-four years old now, and as I replay situations in my life that brought about terrible consequences, I know they were a result of not having my father. I had no male role model, so I ran to men to satisfy that void in my life. I found myself in relationships with the wrong men, but I was so afraid to be abandoned again that I stayed with them to feel safe and protected. I never knew the difference between a good man and a bad man; I knew only that I felt loved and that I belonged to someone. I have been in the worst relationships with physical, emotional, and mental abuse, but I stayed in them because I thought I needed a man to complete me.
If my dad had been around, I don’t think I would have gone through these things, because a father offers his strength and wisdom to help his daughter(s) choose the right man.
Recently, my dreams of seeing my dad again nearly came true. I was invited to California with a friend, so I accepted in hopes of seeing my dad. I contacted him, and we talked about plans of driving to Fresno to meet him halfway. You can imagine my excitement! I began preparing a photo album with pictures of me growing up and pictures of me now, just to help us catch up. I was expecting to meet him on Friday morning after we flew into San Diego, but the week before I left, I called his house phone but could not get an answer. I left three messages for him.
By Thursday, I realized it was not going to happen, and I was right. I cried, and I began to question why he would do this to me and not even call me. I still do not know the real story, but I know that the day will come for me to see him again. It seems to me that nineteen years is long enough to wait, but God knows best, and I trust His timing to be perfect.
In the meantime, I look back in my life, and I see how God has blessed me with my stepfather, who has done so much for my family. I also see how He placed other men of God in my path to stand in the gap as spiritual fathers—men like Pastor Doug Stringer. His words and prayers have blessed me so much, especially when he helped me realize that my Father in heaven has been here for me all these years!
Even though my biological father was not present to see all the things I have feared and overcome, my heavenly Father was there holding my hand, giving me all the strength I needed.
I see many similarities between Adriana’s testimony and my own. My parents, too, divorced when I was a child. As a young man, I felt the desperate void of his absence. I left my mother and stepfather’s house and lived an aimless life for a period, sleeping on freight trains and donating plasma so I could have money to eat.
Eventually, I determined to find my father and discovered that he lived in Houston. I moved there and found him, but it did not fill the void. Like Adriana, I found that the search for my father led me to my heavenly Father.
Even with the similarities in our testimonies, we must still acknowledge God’s design in creating men and women to be different. Our needs are different, our giftings are different, and our wounds are different. And as the body of Christ, we must respond to women accordingly.
Many fathers, husbands, and even spiritual authorities do not treat women with respect. This produces a ripple effect, sending waves of oppression, suppression, and all kinds of abuse across society. Atrocities occur across the globe as women are raped, forced to have abortions, inflicted with mandated traditional rites of passage, and abandoned by irresponsible men. Emptiness, shame, and unworthiness have hindered many women. They are hurting, and we need to bring healing. They must be released to wholeness in Christ, but this requires repentance on the part of men. We must repent for the sins against women and begin to speak against the injustice women face around the world.
At the 2001 Global Celebration of Women in Houston, I was able to stand in the gap of repentance toward all attending women.
“On behalf of all the men who have ever hurt you,” I said, “verbally or physically abused you, or who even kept you oppressed in the name of religion, please forgive us. Perhaps you’ve been held back from fulfilling your destiny, or you’ve been made to feel like a second-class citizen. But ladies, the Lord Himself looks at you and says, ‘I have a destiny to accomplish through those who surrender to Me.’”
Many tearful women came to me at the conclusion of the meeting saying things like, “I finally got set free tonight” and “I understand that I have a destiny.” I reported what happened at this meeting to a ministry friend in Atlanta. She began to cry over the phone and said, “What you shared at that citywide prayer meeting set me free.”
I delivered a similar message at the 2005 Inspire Women’s Rally in Houston, where I was privileged to be the first male keynote speaker. Over two thousand women from a wide variety of denominations and ethnic backgrounds came together. Afterward, many of them said that they felt like a spiritual father had blessed them and released them into their future.
The more we operate in this prophetic act of repentance, the more we will release the body of Christ into its destiny. The world is desperately searching for answers, and it’s going to take both men and women to fulfill God’s plan.
I believe that America will experience revival either through a birthing or a shaking. I relate the process we’re in to the birth process, in which a woman needs strength to deliver a healthy child. Earlier, we quoted King Hezekiah, who said, “This is a day of trouble and distress because the children are ready to be born but there’s no strength to deliver them.” (See Isaiah 37:3.)
For a healthy baby to be born, there must be a healthy womb; and for a healthy womb, there must be a healthy woman; and for a healthy woman, there must be a relationship with her heavenly Father. Furthermore, there must be a relationship with a healthy man who is not intimidated by her gifts and who can and will give her strength to deliver.
Men are meant to be strength-givers to women. Yet for different reasons, men have allowed insecurities and fears to hinder them, which has created problems that have trickled down through society. Women have been vulnerable, forsaken, and, in some ways, devalued.
When men become secure in their identities in Christ however, they aren’t threatened by the gifts of women, but celebrate them. They are able to bless them and release them to become all that God destined for them to be.
Proverbs 31:3 says, “Do not give your strength to women.” This means that men should not abdicate the strength God has given them by stepping out of their roles and leaving women to take on more responsibilities than God intended for them. It means to not be a wimp made in America—or in my case, Japan.
However, we cannot go to the other extreme by being harsh and abusive. Jesus is saying, “Don’t give away your strength—be a strength.” Men were designed to guide, protect, encourage, and strengthen women. Women were created to be life-givers and nurturers. So, men, if we want to have healthy births and life-giving, nurturing care for an entire generation, we need to release women to fulfill their destinies, and we also need godly men who are secure in Christ to come alongside them as strength-givers, so that, together, we will be a powerful, positive force for God’s kingdom. We need the Spirit of Christ to empower us! It’s going to take all of us to go from death to life, from tragedy to triumph.
Jesus knew how to strengthen both men and women and release them into their ministries. When He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He went against society’s norms in two ways: He talked both a Samaritan and a woman. Even the disciples questioned what He was doing. But no one could deny that this woman received not only an answer to her questions but also a new life. She was affirmed, empowered, and released to proclaim the good news: She declared, “Come, see a Man” (John 4:29)!
Like the Samaritan woman, many women today need affirmation. Emotional and spiritual barrenness have stripped them of their very feminine attributes, thus resulting in a barren generation, as well.
Women are marrying later in life and are establishing careers first and family second. They are approaching their thirties and forties without bearing children. Furthermore, many men fear commitment, and their reaction to the women’s movement was to pull away from relationships.
Today we are as desperate for God to fill our empty wombs as Hannah was for Him to fill hers. (See 1 Samuel 1:11.) A barren woman who greatly desired a son, Hannah regularly poured out her heart to God at the altar, reminding Him of her affliction. Once, when she was crying out in the house of the Lord, Eli the prophet brought her encouragement and gave her hope. When God answered the travail of her heart, Hannah gave birth to a new generation of prophets who would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord through her son, Samuel.
Today, there’s a generation of prophets and prophetesses both in the natural and in the spirit realm yet to be born. They’re ready to come forth; but we, the church, need strength to deliver them.
Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, represents the type of covering we men are to provide. He comforted Hannah, stood by her, and blessed her even in her despair and labor. Men of God must support, nurture, and encourage women. We must undergird the women of our generation. When we do this, the Valley of Baca, or the valley of weeping, will become a spring. (See Psalm 84:6.) Streams of living water will gush forth, providing a lasting drink to quench every thirst.
The well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman was not just any watering place. It was Jacob’s well, and from it sprang living waters that quenched the thirsts of generations. As the women of our day receive the same revelation and freedom as the Samaritan woman, their nights of weeping will cease, and together the body of Christ will declare, “Come, see a Man”!
Our world needs a birth of resurrection life that will lead to revival and a harvest of thousands upon thousands of souls. Something is getting ready to happen, and we need to PUSH—Pray Until Something Happens—for the release of a generation living on the edge for Christ. We need men, women, and children together to become all God wants them to be. God needs all of us—regardless of race, status, age, or gender—to orchestrate His will upon the earth. Both men and women are needed for prayer and spiritual warfare. Scripture says,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
We need the passion and zeal of the young; the life-giving, nurturing nature of women; and the strong, protective, and empowering attributes of men. To give birth to revival, the whole army of God needs to combine their gifts and strengths.
It’s time for us to rise up with the radical determination and conviction of Joan of Arc, an inexperienced warrior whose enthusiasm inspired the entire French army, which no king had been able to do. During battle, she approached the general of the army and stated emphatically, “I’m going to lead the men over the wall.”
The general replied, “There isn’t one man who is going to follow you.”
With her eyes fixed like flint, seventeen-year-old Joan replied, “I wouldn’t know. I don’t plan on looking back to check.” She took off over the wall, and every one of the men followed. Her courageous example delivered her country.
Birthing revival will require the same kind of heroism and radical commitment in the hearts of those who bear the gospel of good news today.
Just as Jesus approached the Samaritan woman at the well, He’s approaching you and me. The challenges, barriers, and limitations placed on us are now in the past. It’s time to allow the Lord to heal us. He’s not ashamed to call us His children. He’s not embarrassed of who we are. He created us in His image. We must release our past and run with the vision God has placed on our heart. He has a purpose for our lives!
If we allow Him to change our hearts, we will experience a new birth. And after the baby is born, we’ll forget the pain, the sorrow, and the obstacles; we’ll rejoice in what the Lord has done. (See John 16:20–22.)
Identifying and utilizing the strengths of each generation and each gender, we’ll become what I term “Gen-Edge” people—a generation living on the edge for Christ. Functioning in God’s design and order, we all will benefit as we benefit His kingdom.
God is calling His people to become fathers and mothers to the fatherless. He is calling men to rise up and to be men, to accept their God-given positions in the family and in the church by providing strength, to be husbands to the widows. He wants men of strength, maturity, and integrity to spiritually father sons and daughters. He is calling us forth!
God is giving strength to birth the coming revival. He is birthing a fresh generation with a fresh anointing out of the spiritual womb of His church. They will be a prophetic generation that will not be like the former generations. They will not be like their fathers.
That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalm 78:6–8)
Instead of being stubborn and rebellious, they will be a generation that puts their hope in God, not succumbing to compromise, but living on the edge for Jesus.
God is ready to bring forth a massive move through the lives of His people. It won’t be contained in any one church building, denomination, or even nation. He is doing something exponential. He has put that plan into our spiritual wombs, and He is giving us the strength to bring it forth! Unfulfilled visions, dreams, and passions, which have been locked away for a long time, will now come to life. It’s time for me, and it’s time for you.
Excerpt adapted from Doug’s book, In Search Of A Father’s Blessing, published by Whitaker House, 2016