There are three things women need from their earthly father to have a healthy relationship with God.

1. Approval and affirmation of who she is. A woman longs to be accepted for who she is by her father. She needs his approval, affirmation, and adoration. She longs to be special and told she is beautiful. She wants this without having to earn it, but if she doesn't get it, she will seek to earn it. When she has been approved and affirmed by her earthly father no matter what she does or doesn't do, she will be able to approach God with the confidence that he loves and accepts her unconditionally. Without the approval and affirmation from her earthly father, she will approach God from the standpoint of having to work to earn his favor. She will not be able to accept that she is worthy of God's love simply because he loves her. She will believe she has lost favor with God when she makes mistakes and she will also be convinced that God expects her to do many things to prove her worthiness.

2. Emotional connection. The second thing a woman needs from her father is emotional connection. This emotional connection includes her father being able to listen to her feelings, wishes, dreams, and desires. It includes his being able to comfort her when she is sad, angry, or upset. It also includes him being vulnerable with her and able to admit his weaknesses and struggles. Without this, God will always seem distant and unapproachable. Her faith will be more in her head than her heart. She may wonder why she doesn't feel as close to God as other Christians, as she won't be able to truly say that she has a close relationship with God or that she sees herself as that little girl who can cry "Abba Daddy" on his knee. She won't go to God with her hurts, fears, and struggles; instead, she will try to take care of them on her own.

3. Healthy model of masculinity. A woman learns about what a man is from her father's example. A man needs to be strong and protective but not overbearing. He needs to enjoy a woman's femininity without taking advantage of it. He needs to lead while allowing his daughter to influence him and stand in her truth. A woman whose masculine model devalues women, takes advantage of a woman's perceived weakness, or uses his position and strength to abuse, control, or hurt will not be able to trust God. She will not want to identify with God's masculine side out of fear. She will control her own life and struggle with surrendering her life to God because she will expect God to punish her and to take advantage of her trust. She will not feel safe with God and she will perceive him as arbitrary, angry, punitive, and untrustworthy.

If a woman doesn't get these three things from her earthly father, her relationship with God the Father will be affected. If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, there is hope. You can recognize that your image of God is distorted. God is who he says he is. He isn't your earthly father-He is your Heavenly Father who loves you, accepts you, cherishes you, and values you. He is trustworthy, caring, and forgiving and you don't have to earn his love. He wants you to sit on his knee and cry "Abba, Daddy."

Author's Bio: 

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Karla Downing is an author, speaker, licensed marriage and family therapist, and Bible study teacher. Karla's passion is to help people find freedom in Christ in the midst of their difficult relationships and circumstances through Biblical truths and practical tools.