(Photo Courtesy of Jenna Lucado Bishop)
Getting to Know Your Perfect Dad
Jenna Lucado Bishop Shares on the Importance a Father Plays in Your Life
By Sarah Komisky
With Father’s Day inching around the corner, many of us are reminded of the first male figure we have had in our lives known as “dad.” For some, it’s a day of celebration honoring the man who has impacted our lives for the better. But for others, it’s a day that stings or even causes anger at the reminder of a broken relationship with a father in or not in our lives. Either way, this annual holiday has caused many of us girls to think about our fathers. For Jenna Lucado Bishop, it’s also an opportunity to share about the hope God brings to relationships with earthly fathers and the blessing that awaits us when we engage in a relationship with God: our perfect, Heavenly Father.
As a current mom, author and speaker, Bishop, who came from a background of having a good relationship with her earthly dad (Max Lucado), went on her own journey of coming to know what it means to know a perfect, Heavenly Dad. This became essential to her faith.
“As wonderful as my dad is, he is flawed, so is every dad. So there are areas in my life of insecurity, like growing up in the church, being in the limelight a lot and being Max Lucado’s daughter. I didn’t have pressure from my dad but I think a lot of people expected me to live up to my dad. Fill his shoes. Be a certain way. Talk a certain way. So I look back and I have insecurities about that,” Bishop shares.
Coming to her own faith as a teen when several relationships fell apart, Bishop credits her faith to the prayers of her parents and mentors who were praying for the desire for God to be placed on her heart. With a desire to sing, Bishop became a part of a traveling singing group that sang at church girl events. Loving the idea, she then discovered a desire to come alongside teen girls and encourage them in Christ. Wanting to seriously pursue music, Bishop moved to Nashville, joined a band and began songwriting. After an attempt to try to sing for the Women of Faith conference, the president of the organization asked her to teach and speak instead. This was a moment that changed everything, as this woman saw a gift in her she did not yet know existed.
This then launched Bishop into a new calling of speaking to teen girls. She spoke at “Revolve,” a young version of a Women of Faith conference. She spoke to young women while also writing several books for this age group and co-authoring books with her father, including “Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You.” This book points to the importance a father plays in a young women’s life. In turn, Bishop passionately shares this message.
“God continually refers to Himself as a Father throughout Scripture and so because of that, a lot of us girls are going to compare God to our earthly fathers,” Bishop explains.
While Bishop acknowledges that all of us have had different experiences with our dads, she emphasizes the point that our relationship with our dad is fundamental to our relationship with God.
“I was fortunate enough to have a good relationship with my father on earth so I think looking at my upbringing and seeing his faithfulness to my mom, his provision for my sisters and myself, his encouragement to me and just his love for me nurtured not only my relationship with Him but it nurtured my relationship with God the Father. I had no idea that later on in my life I was going to compare God to my earthly father simply because God refers to Himself as Father. So that’s why I think that earthly relationship is so significant,” Bishop shares.
At the same time, Bishop desires to give hope to girls who have broken relationships with their earthly dads.
“The truth is: no earthly dad is perfect. And God is so big and so huge that He can’t be just strictly compared to earthly dads. That would be wrong, because He’s so much bigger than an earthly dad. So I would say to those girls who have broken relationships with their dads, that God wants to redefine what a father-daughter relationship looks like, and He can and He will. He’s going to restore it and you know what? He’s even going to use your earthly dads to teach you more about His love and His faithfulness no matter how broken that relationship is. That’s the cool thing about God — He uses everything for the good,” Bishop emphasizes.
Understanding the need for our father is not only huge to our connection with God but also how we see ourselves and the way we see others. It influences our self image and defines many areas of our lives. With this in mind, Bishop challenges readers to always go back to our relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus as a starting point.
“The beauty of God is that, since He calls Himself a father and since He calls us His daughters in Scripture, we then can have a father-daughter relationship with perfection. This is with a father who does not discourage, does not belittle,” she confesses. “If anything, He defines us the way He sees us. When you know Christ, how does God see us? Well, He sees us as Christ. He sees us as loved. As whole. As beautiful. When we get to know God specifically in a father-daughter relationship, and allow Him to influence us, then it’s going to overflow into our self image and our relationships with others and it’s going to help us answer those ‘why’s’ in our lives.”
In her book, “Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You,” Bishop probes young women to rethink why they do what they do when it comes to guys and how it connects to their earthly father.
“It’s going to help us understand, well why I am insecure in this area? Or, why do I hate myself? Or, why do I struggle with guys? I think God is going to help us see, ‘Okay, well, your earthly dad belittles you in this area, so that’s why you struggle in that area, so let me redeem that,’” Bishop says.
When it comes to guys, Bishop reminds us that because our dads are the first male relationship we have as females, when fathers don’t love their daughters well, daughters seek love from other males. When girls experience brokenness in their relationships with boys, Bishop encourages girls to ask themselves what is missing in their earthly relationship with their father.
“A lot of our relationships with boys stem from the way we are with our fathers,” Bishop explains.
However, Bishop doesn’t leave us on that note. Instead, she offers the hope of a perfect father who can influence our relationships with guys. When we embrace our relationship with our Heavenly Father, He can then help us in our relationships.
“Now all of us, no matter how our relationships are with our earthly dads, we all have hope now because we have a perfect Father and that perfect Father can then influence our romantic relationships with guys. He can then show us, ‘Okay, what does it mean to have a pure relationship with a boyfriend? What does it mean to walk in this new area of romance with a guy?’ He can guide that. And pretty soon, the more we walk in this father-daughter relationship with God, the way we see relationships with guys is changed. It’s healthier, it’s more pure — it’s the way God intended it to be. That’s why seeing God specifically as a father is huge in a girl’s life,” Bishop says, expanding on the subject.
At the end of the day, she reminds us that everything comes back to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is this core relationship with our Heavenly Father that impacts and changes for the better all our other relationships around us. So this Father’s Day, this young woman leaves girls with a challenge.
“I would challenge girls, especially those tweens and teens, to really look at God and go, ‘Do I see God as my Dad?’ Because when we see God as our Dad, that’s going to really influence the way we are in relationships with boys,” Bishop says.
Learn more about Jenna Lucado and pick up her book “Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You” at http://www.jennalucadobishop.com. You can also follow her on Instagram at jennalucadobish.