...And this is how I want it to be. I want to enter into marriage with my father’s blessing as I stand before God. I want my heart to have no former attachments; to be a flower whose bloom has remained closed until the proper time. For this reason I have given my parents my heart, specifically my father, so it will be protected. And my Papa will be the one to give its carefully saved treasures, my emotions, purity, and first love to one he deems worthy of my hand.
Until then, I am perfectly content to be under my papa’s guardianship. My heart, as well as every girl’s heart desperately needs this kind of protection. We need fathers who are 100% committed to their role as our God-given leaders, and heart guardians.
A strong tie between fathers and daughters is not something our culture encourages. Women are prompted to become completely independent, to take hold of the reigns, and lead lives on their own. Through this choice, though, women are left vulnerable, and lacking a love they really needed as daughters. A father should be there to give this love, and his daughter should be willing to trust her father, because fathers:
-Impact how their daughters view their relationship with their Heavenly Father
-They are entrusted to equip their daughters to be mighty warriors for God’s kingdom.
-They model what a daughter should look for in a future husband, teaching her the principles of submission to the head of the family.
-They should guard her from those that could cause her to stumble, stray, or lose her trust in her family and Lord.
If you have a father like this in your life, then count yourself as blessed. No father is perfect, but any girl that has a leader with goals that are amongst those listed has a great protector for her heart, and the opportunity to be fashioned as "daughters like corner pillars, cut for the structure of a palace."(Psalm 144:12).
Part of being a pillar is welcoming principles like guardianship and submission into your life. Those principles don't sound very promising, do they? Let me explain: By guard I do not mean to imply that a girl’s father should never let her out of the house. Rather, he should make choices for her life (like who she spends time with and what activities she does) that will encourage her to be pure, and Christ-like.
Some of the decisions I’ve made with my papa to help avoid unnecessary damage to my heart is to not merely date guys for fun, but have my parents actively involved in the process of future *courtship, if it is the Lord's will I should marry. Then, they will evaluate any guy who comes into the picture, and see if he is husband material before we pursue a relationship that will lead to marriage.
As for “submission” I do not mean that girls should be their father's slaves, but that they should listen to his advice and instruction, obeying and serving both parents with a willing heart so it will “go well” (Eph. 6:1-3) with them in the future—like when they are wives someday!
Malachi 4:6 prompts fathers to turn their hearts to their children, and children to turn their hearts to their fathers “lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction,” says the Lord. God urges the hearts of fathers and daughters to be open with one another not only to reap the blessings—but so a nation will avoid falling apart! (Not to scare you or anything...)
Having a guarded heart causes others to believe that I am sheltered at times, but I believe as my father says that I am not being sheltered so much as I am being prepared for the Lord’s direction for my life. If I were fully immersed in the world, and unprotected by my father I would depend upon peers, and my flesh’s desires to lead my life.
But God, the same God who the Psalmist writes of offering refuge in the shadow of His wings, has a better plan for me, and for all daughters. I praise the Lord that my father chose to follow this plan, and that my father took upon himself the responsibility of holding my heart.
A book I would really recommend, for daughters and dads is Fathers & Daughters: Raising Polished Cornerstones by David Barret and his daughter Elysse Barret.
*Stay tuned...an article about this whole “courtship” ordeal will be coming soon!