Sixteen years ago my father died as the result of an assault. I was seven years old at the time…. My mother was single for the next seven years, until after I was fourteen, when she found a partner…. She has been with him for nine years, but to this day I don’t consider him a father, not even as someone whose advice I can seek…. I miss having a father, someone who can advise me and help me solve my problems….

I’m afraid to go forward and, even more than that, I’m afraid of falling and that no one will be there for me. I have always been the one to support everyone else…. I don’t feel that I have a purpose in life, or that I do anything for anybody. I feel very empty.

Dear Friend,

The feelings that you describe are completely normal. As you were growing up, you dealt with things as they came, without the maturity to process the meaning or implications. But now that you are an adult, you are grieving not only for what you lost but also for what you never will have. Many men and women have either lost their fathers or never known them, and they understand exactly how you feel. In my case, my father was lost to alcoholism, so I too had to grieve the relationship that I never had.

It is also normal that you do not consider your mother’s partner as a father. You were already fourteen when he came into your life, and you probably always saw him as some kind of threat to the memory of your father.

Although grieving is good and normal, at some point you have to put it behind you and think of the future. Having experienced the loss of your father, you could be an excellent role model for teen boys who don’t have fathers, and become a great teacher or coach.

It is interesting that you say that you have always been the one to support everyone else, yet you don’t feel that you have a purpose in life. If supporting those around you were all you could do, it would be enough. However, it is true that there are always more opportunities to help others. So if you haven’t already settled into a career, do some research into the helping professions.

You say that you want a father to give you advice and support. Do you know that you have a Heavenly Father who has written you a very long letter full of advice? The Bible has the guidance you are looking for. Ask God to come into your life in a personal way and to guide you each day. Ask Him to take away your fear and indecision. And ask Him to help you find the answers that you need in the Bible.

Find a church where the people love God and live by Biblical principles. Most churches have meetings designed especially for men. We recommend that you begin attending these meetings, because in them you will find men who can advise you and help you solve your problems.

We wish you the best,