By: Blair Linne
“Girls are the best. I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.”
Kobe Bryant was being interviewed by ESPN when he mentioned how much he loved being a dad to daughters. The dedication Kobe showed towards his daughters was evident in him coaching their basketball games and, prior to retirement, taking a helicopter from practice to his home to avoid traffic so that he would make it in time to be able to pick them up from school.
Since his shocking death in 2020, #GirlDad has trended on Twitter in his memory. We feel saddened for Kobe’s daughters, who no longer have their father with them to watch them blossom into women. We look at these posts in honor of him and other fathers like him, and they make us ooh, ahh, and shed tears at these fathers who love their daughters unashamedly. It is wonderful to see men boldly display their love by plaiting and swooping baby hair, mastering the pirouette, attending their girls’ soccer games, and gladly playing make-believe over pink cups of imaginary tea.
Many of us look at these #GirlDads and wonder what could have been had we had a dad who loved us in such a way. What would it have been like to receive this type of affirmation from our fathers? What would it have been like to have a #GirlDad?
Around one out of four women identify as fatherless. While the presence or absence of fathers tends to be assessed by how it impacts boys, the connection between a father and daughter is special and, surely, no less crucial, since God did not set up this creation so that a parent was particularly significant only for children of the same gender as themselves. Fathers are vital to a daughter’s development. They have a lasting impact on her self-image and future relationships, and on her emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
A father can have a serious negative impact while living in the home—he has the power to provoke and discourage his kids (Colossians 3:21). But, as we have seen, his absence will be just as powerful. Yet there is often a subconscious assumption that as long as she has her mother, a daughter will bypass any dysfunction and arise from her dad-less childhood unscathed. It really shows how little value we place upon fatherhood.
Truth is, we fatherless daughters are hurting just as much as fatherless sons. We feel the effects of our fathers’ spiritual, emotional, and physical ghosting. But the more common the broken bond is, the more comfortable it is to ignore it. I don’t see many Christians asking the questions, “How does fatherlessness affect women?” “How can we address this issue and care well for our sisters?”
So, I ask again: What would it have been like to have had a #GirlDad?
Matter of fact is, we can know what it is like, for we do have a #GirlDad. And his impact on you can be—should be—greater than the impact an earthly father’s absence or lovelessness had and has on you.
We who did not have our father around can cling to God in a special way. It’s just like the person who has experienced hunger. When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you are able to rely upon God as your Provider in a way that someone who has always had a pantry full of food does not. Here is a wonderful opportunity to meet with God in a way which would have never existed if everything had been great and gone perfectly according to our plans.
Although none of us would have ever requested to grow up without a loving father, we can look at this as an opportunity to draw nearer and nearer to God to supply every need we have. When we get in a bind, we might not be able to get Dad on the phone, but our heavenly Father is right there, ready to hear our prayers and answer them according to what he knows is best for us. God is good, he gives good gifts, and he will never leave us nor forsake us.
God is a #GirlDad, and we’re forever his girls.
Taken from Finding My Father: How the Gospel Heals the Pain of Fatherlessness by Blair Linne.
Blair Linne is a Christian spoken word artist, actress, and Bible teacher. She is recognized as one of the originators of the Christian spoken word genre. At 13, she was one of the youngest contributors to the Anansi Writers Workshop at L.A.’s prestigious art forum, The World Stage. Since then, she has toured globally, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ through spoken word. Blair lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Shai Linne, and their three children Sage, Maya, and Ezra; she serves in discipling women at Risen Christ Fellowship, where her husband is one of the founding pastors.