The Unblessed Prodigal Heart

As a self-confessed Prodigal, I will confess I craved it all of my life.

My father’s blessing.

I would even go so far as to say it was the deepest craving in my heart.

As a child, I longed to make my Father smile.

(It was not a simple task.)

Dad came from Quaker roots with German overtones. In our house “the Papa’s word” was law. Period. No other options. So, to make my dad happy was always foremost in my thinking from as far back as I can remember.

My problems arose when I failed to do so, which was often the older I got. Partly, because my dad was so hard for me to “read,” and partly because he encouraged me to “think for myself” as long as my thinking didn’t conflict with what he wanted from me.

The latter?

Made for days of confusion with even greater conflict.

Question: How was I to think for myself and please my father?

Answer: Most of the time I couldn’t!

I could do one, or the other, but rarely both.

Maybe it was because I was a Baby-boomer who came of age in the turbulent Sixties. By the time I reached adulthood the Vietnam War was in full swing, protests on college campus’ were the rule, not the exception, and funerals of lost boys from the war were becoming a regular event in our small town. I remember “Women’s Lib” as just taking off, and I believed that my parents were dinosaurs, and just didn’t get me. (An affliction of every generation I think.)

In a way, it was true, because my father was a child of what has been called, The Battered Generation. He, being raised during The Great Depression when families had to pull together just to survive from one day to the next. My dad just didn’t “get” my heart-speak, and I certainly did not get his. I believe we both wanted to, but the gulf between us eventually bred a profound and abiding silence that was to last all of my teen years, and on into my adulthood.

Only one time do I remember even coming close to receiving his blessing. I was well into my forties, and I was in the middle of a ten-year marathon, caring for my mom. I had taken up writing as one of the ways to cope with my stress. I was in my home office working on the computer one day, when my father came into the room, stood behind me, put his hands on my shoulders, and began to pray, silently.

I cannot even begin to convey how painful it was that my dad kept the words of that prayer to himself. I begged him one time to share it with me, but he would not, and indeed, he never did.

Those words whatever they were, went to the grave with him, and to my way of thinking, I remained unblessed.

That silence of his became one of the deepest wounds in my soul. Though I wouldn’t admit it for many years and even today (now in my sixties) I write this with tears. How could my dad say he loved me, bless me, and not share those words with me? Was that even a real blessing?

For some of you, the only “blessing” you received from your dad was the back of his hand.


You not only feel unblessed, you feel like the cursed, and may have been just that.


For others, you never knew your dad.

There wasn’t a father—let alone a kind and loving blessing from one.

The absence of the father’s blessing can leave empty spaces in our hearts. Big black holes we try to fill up with lesser things in a desperate hope that they will make up for our absent blessing. We go chasing after anything that we believe might alleviate our pain and make us feel truly valued.

I did that for years. I used my work and accomplishment, alcohol, prescription drugs, anything I could find, to remove the hurting in my wounded empty heart.

Ah, but God saw; knew all about my prodigal heart and He longed for me to know:

  • He is a Faithful Father who doesn’t give up on us.
  • He is a Father who doesn’t let go.
  • He is a Father who doesn’t walk out.
  • He is a Father who doesn’t purposelessly cause us pain.


He shows up for us even when we don’t want Him to. And He shows up determined. He is relentless in His love for us. He speaks. He reaches down, and reaches out, with compassion, with tender love, and often when we least deserve it.

He’s like that—He’s faithful.

He’s the Dad-love, the Dad-kindness, the Dad-blessing, we all desperately want and need, and can’t avoid… not when He’s made up His mind to come after us! And be sure of this, He knows right where you are. Knows everything you’ve done. And still, He is head over heels in love with you.

I believe there is a tremendous power for us, and our lives, in The Father’s blessing. I also believe, there is a deep pain “the unblessed” carry all of their lives unless they receive The Father’s Blessing from above; the one they missed from their earthly fathers. So, please. Believe these next eight blessings are meant for you.

Receive the gift of your Heavenly Father’s blessing.