After my husband died, I knew that if I remarried it would have to be someone special because I came with a very unique package, a three-year-old son. You might say it was a “buy-one-get-one-free” kind of deal.

Not just anyone could be the recipient of such an exclusive package, so I began asking God to protect me from the wrong person until the right person came along.

Quickly I knew there was something different about Pat. Whenever he invited me out, it was always a family outing, with my son included. Pat wanted to get to know us both. Right away, this caught my attention.

Eventually, we married. I had a new husband and my son had a new daddy.

Still, I had concerns. Since Pat was not Mitch’s biological father, I wondered how their relationship would develop.

Through Pat’s affection for my son, it didn’t take long for me to realize that anyone can “father” a child, but a real daddy is one who is around to wipe the nose and the other end, too.

A daddy is eager to play on the living room floor after a long, hard day at work. He’s the guy who gives up his golfing hobby to coach Little League baseball, and who carries the child to bed after he’s fallen asleep on the couch. A true dad also cares enough to discipline his son.

One day, Mitch reacted to that loving discipline with anger.

“You’re not my dad!” Mitch screamed with rage. “I hate you! I hate you!” He added between sobs.

I was shocked as I watched the two of them battle out their affections. I had never seen my son act like that. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear and pain. Pat fell to his knees and embraced our son. Mitch fought back. Without letting go of him, Pat began to calm Mitch.

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“You can hate me if you want, but I will always love you,” Pat said struggling to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. “You’re my son. I will never leave you.”

Every word Pat whispered into Mitch’s ear as he held him tight seemed to melt away his fear and anger. Suddenly, Mitch’s body relaxed and he returned his father’s embrace. It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, while our faces were still wet with tears, Mitch began to believe in the love of his father, accept the love of his father, and return the love of his father. It was not because his father was someone to play with or fill a certain role in his life, but because Mitch knew he was loved completely.

Later, as I reflected on the incident, I realized that Pat mirrored the character of our Heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. He was saying to our son, “No matter what, I’m here for you.”

Likewise, God is not some far-off, uninvolved God. He is near to us and approachable for whatever our needs may be. Our Heavenly Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and pains. Mostly, God wants us to know His love and know that nothing can snatch us away from Him.

God’s love is true, real and reliable. I find it interesting that the word “Father,” referring to God, is translated “Papa” or “Daddy.” These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad.

Perhaps you’ve never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow. Maybe you’ve discovered that not all people love with sincerity and you’ve been hurt by this. The good news is, no matter what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you, we have a Heavenly Father to whom we can cry out “Daddy” any time, any place, anywhere.

Celebrate this Father’s Day in the presence of your Heavenly Father. He’ll wrap His loving arms around you, make all your fears disappear, and whisper to your heart, “I’m here for you – no matter what.”

“We love him [God], because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, NKJ)

Used with Permission. Copyright © 2007 Micca Campbell.

Micca is a national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries who has touched and transformed the lives of thousands. She is a former Mother of the Year, and a contributing author to “God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Woman’s Devotional.” Micca says, “I don’t know why God called me to do what I do, but I’m having a blast serving Him!”