Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

You’re Not Fatherless: A Story of Forgiveness

I lost my father 11 days after I turned 13. I was in high school, writing mid-term exams and wasn’t informed until after his burial. As a teenager, I remember the sense of pain, emptiness and also a dawning sense of reality that I felt. Life was going to be different from now.

Image by Michael Sweet

Image by Michael Sweet

And it turned out so.

Education was important to him. A well-travelled man, my father acknowledged the power of learning and education. He inspired me with the words:

“Whatever happens, get your education and make me proud.”

Notwithstanding the numerous obstacles, the loss of our family fortunes, I pursued that dream. Without a biological father, I trusted in a Heavenly One to guide and lead me.

This really hurts me!

In recent years, I have followed the impact of absent fathers in homes; the pain and the hopelessness of not having someone to look up to.

Some walk out, some make significant mistakes in their personal decisions and some genuinely lost their battle against sickness, like my father.

One of the saddest realities of my generation is the sight of talented and gifted youngsters shaped negatively by the mistakes of a parent and role model, especially absent fathers.

That really hurts me.

If only we look in the right places, we will find an amazing network of people who are willing to support us in the absence of our fathers.

Looking back, I’m so grateful I entrusted myself to God-fearing fathers who mentored and shaped me significantly. It was a risk, but one I’ll live never to regret. Sometimes in life, you have to be vulnerable to reach your goal.

Through their ‘tough love’, I learned perspective, found focus and grew a passion for intentionality.

A story of forgiveness

Recently, a friend of mine shared about her experience of living with the ‘fatherless’ tag since childhood, of having to deal with the fact her father may not walk her down the aisle on her wedding day, and of her journey to forgiveness.

My fatherless story is different from hers in many ways but she said a few things that struck me deeply, something that’s worth sharing (shared with permission):

“In 2004, my mom did something I thought was rather foolish and unnecessary.
She drove me to a house I had known as my father’s. At the gate she told me everything that transpired between her and my father’s family.
I had two options: either go in and attempt to rebuild broken relationship with them or walk away and never look back.
This was where she was humiliated, betrayed and rejected. And here I was, asked to take a step towards forgiveness or not. I walked into the house and chose forgiveness.
Recently, I listened to a pastor preach on the subject of fatherless children. I’ve never thought of myself as fatherless before, thanks to my mom, who was always there for me.
I left church with a heavy heart that night. But later, I began to connect the dots and to understand what was happening that October night 10 years ago in my father’s house. In the very place she was humiliated, my mom gave me a platform to forgive, to love and be kind.
My story may be different to yours but I believe we have amazing stories to tell. But we cannot do that as long as we are still angry and bitter. I’m not defined by my father’s past actions, mistakes and decisions. I’m not my father; I’m born with a purpose.
I urge you to break the cycle of “fatherless kids”, which has become a reason for some to underachieve in life. Fatherless is not the end of my story. Don’t make it the end of yours.”

I am touched by her story of forgiveness and journey of grace.

You are not Fatherless

If you can relate with my friend’s story, I encourage you to summon courage and realise that fatherless is not the end of your story.

You have a Father, One who’s always present and willing to put His arms around you.

Don’t rest your entire life on the mistakes of an absent father (I don’t say that lightly). You can live life to the full, knowing you have a Father who will never leave you nor forsake you.

You are not Fatherless. 

Questions: I recognise the sensitivity of this topic for some readers. But I would love to read from you if you can relate personally with the ‘fatherless’ experience. How did you deal with the absence of your father? Share in the comments.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

12 Replies

  1. Geoffrey Afriyie

    Joseph, as usual an inspiring post. Keep up the God work!

    1. Hey Geoffrey, good to see you here. Thanks for following my journey. Stay blessed.

  2. We live in a fatherless generation. My parent were separated when I was 13 years old and he died when I was 18 years old. I’ve been blessed to have a few people step into my life who were father figures for me, they really have impacted my life for the positive. Great post!

    1. I am encouraged by your story, Dan. I see a connection with mine – allowing father figures to guide and shape us. Thanks for sharing your story.

      1. Glad to share, now we can be father figures to those younger than us (or older) who have no fathers.

  3. First – really enjoy the new site – great feel and look!

    2nd – My parents divorced when I was 5, and at 13 my brother and I moved in with my aunt and uncle. Not having my dad around was difficult, because it was a choice he made – not an illness, not a death – just a choice. It was rejection at it’s worst, to me. The biggest difference, is that I always held out hope though that one day we could normalize our relationship. Fortunately we were able to do that a few years before his death.

    All the hurt and my lack of understanding was softened in our Saviors arms. I’m often asked how I’ve turned out the way I have, and I know that it’s because I became a Christian. God provided for all of my needs. Even though I didn’t really understand the description of God as a father until having my own children – I know my life would be miserable without God.

    1. Wow, David. Such a moving story you have there!

      1. God does amazing things in our lives – even when we don’t recognize them.

  4. I was grown when I lost my dad…even as an adult I was devastated by his loss.I can’t imagine being a kid without a dad.
    Having spiritual parents is so important.

    Thanks for sharing this moving post.

    1. Hi TC, from my experience, it’s a terrible feeling. It’s like a core part of you is gone and you’re left vulnerable. That was probably one of my lowest moments, even as a teenager. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

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