About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...

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  1. Bonnie,
    Father’s Day for me is a real mix. I miss my dad, who passed away 5 years ago, more and more each year that passes. I sometimes get a case of the “If only’s”…but I trust that my earthly father knows my heart. I see my children’s father who twice abandoned them and I wonder what it’s going to take to heal those hurting places. I praise God for my husband and awesome step-dad to my children. I know that God is able to fill in all the gaps with HIS love. Even to my old age my Heavenly Abba will sustain me. I take great comfort in that. So thankful that God is not made in the image of earthly Fathers…His ways are always loving, kind, faithful, steady. Celebrating fathers who seek to express how they are made in God’s image.
    Blessings to you for sharing your heart,
    Bev xx

  2. Bonnie, thank you for this perspective today. I’m working through this. This embracing. I thought I knew what it was, but when loneliness strikes in the dark winters of life, I questioned whether God’s embrace really did exist. Father’s Day is special, and mine is still around, (although he’s so grumpy now I have to remember who he used to be). Please pray that I will find a way to celebrate him even in his grumpiness. (Lol). But also, I will be celebrating the love of my life, the father of my children, the man God gave me who embraces me in the real of this life.

  3. So lovely and beautifully written. I lost my father to cancer when I was just 16; over 30 years ago. Father’s Day is always a painful reminder of all he didn’t get to see in my life: marriage, kids, work … . I miss him every day, but am so thankful for the Godly man he was as it not only gives me an amazing glimpse of our Heavenly Father, but I know I’ll see him again one day. Thank you for this lovely perspective of leaning into our Lord on Father’s Day.

  4. “God has turned my brokenness into a beautiful intimacy to become the beloved. His beloved.”. What a timely reminder that my Father uses all the broken pieces of my life to gently prove His love to me over and over again without condemnation or reproof. My dad died in March of 2015. The grief is easing….yet on days like Father’s Day his absence leaves an ache in my heart. I cherish the gift of the sweetness of memories.

  5. Bonnie,
    Father’s Day is kinda hard for me. He passed away in 1986 on vacation with my mother in Hawaii. I still miss him a lot but I know he is in a better place. My girls never met him but they have been told a lot about him. My Heavenly Father is there for me whenever I need him. Thank you for today’s reading,
    Mary

    • @maryhaynie:disqus – hi mary, it’s beautiful, although painful, as you have such loving memories of your father. it’s a comfort to know God carries both you, your father — and me along with all his daughters in His arms. May the sun shine warmly on you on Sunday, bringing God’s whispers of love to your heart. thnk you for sharing so deeply.

  6. Bonnie, I thank Jesus for these beautiful words that speak to my soul. While my father was present at times, his hurts spilled over. Now as he is at the end of life, I grieve what never was and forgive what was. Abba Father has been so gracious in this place, cradling, calling, reassuring. It is such a blessing to hear all that the Lord has done in your longing, how that “long being loved by a daddy makes me vulnerable — and intimately honest — with my need for Someone to love me, as a loving daddy would love his little girl.” We all need that place of Father in us filled and how amazing it is that our heavenly Father longs to fill that place in us 🙂 Something helps is to leave a love note to my dad and to Him who loves us with everlasting love on the church alter. May each of us embrace Him, the gift of Him who is the only one who can satisfy our deep need for a Father 🙂

    • @disqus_NbIBkkR8sk:disqus – thanks for sharing so vulnerability. it offers us your heart and your story — and brings us all together, as God carries us in his heart. beautiful reflection and idea to leave a love note to your dad at the altar. wow. soul beautiful. May the sun shine warmly on you this Sunday, as he carries you in his heart this Father’s Day.

  7. Bonnie, such beautiful words here. I am sorry your daddy left when you were seven. There is such freedom when we can embrace the healing God wants to do in our hearts. You said,

    “The beautiful truth is this: the parts of me I usually like to hide are the very parts where God is loving me and remaking my heart child-like new.”

    I’ve found this to be true as God has worked healing in another sort of wound in my heart.

    Father’s Day, for me, spending the day with my father, husband and brother-in-law, and our families honoring the fathers in our lives. The older I grow, the more grateful I am for the daddy God gave me. He grew up with only his mom, and he’s been so intentional in being the best dad he could be for my sisters and me. I am truly grateful for him.

    • @JeanneTakenaka:disqus – jeanne, it’s soul beautiful to hear how your father has been writing a new story into the hearts of you and your sisters… and now your husband is doing that with your daughters. so beautiful seeing you surrounded by the FAther’s love all around you, encircling your children and YOU. touches my heart so deeply. thank you for sharing! Happy FAthre’s Day –May the sun shine warmly on you this Sunday, as he carries you and your family in his heart this Father’s Day!

  8. My father died when I was 12 years old…I spent years seeking another Father. On a retreat in Hawaii I confessed my anger to God & finally realized He had been my Abba Father all those years. Bonnie you have a way of softly & so gently reminding me of the healing that Father God can do. Thank you!

    • @winischiemann:disqus – hi wini, thank you for sharing our heart and story so vulnerably with us. the little girl in you is celebrated and loved with us here 🙂 and we’re touched by God more beautifully by your sharing. May the sun shine warmly on you this Sunday, as he carries you in his heart this Father’s Day.

  9. Love you friend. Yes, I understand since my parents divorced when I was young. It was hard for so long to understand God as father that everyone talked about. One day God whispered to my heart think of me as your Opa (grandpa). I fell apart in His arms that day. Since I have embraced him as father so much easier.

    • @katiescottrandolph:disqus – sweet katie – that moments is just indescribable… i’m so thankful God knows when we need to hear him as Father and hold us as his daughters… so grateful with you! xo May the sun shine warmly on you this Sunday, as he carries you in his heart this Father’s Day.

  10. Bonnie – thank you for sharing your heart. i know it touches so many who felt the loss as you did. my favorite MOM verse is that one in Isaiah – “He gently leads us – the ones with the young!” Even good dads are not pefect dads – so we pray that God makes up the lack in our parenting for our “young.” bless you are you are blessed. sue

    • @sue_donaldson:disqus – hi sue! always so lovely to hear your voice. that Mom verse is just gold. it’s true! 🙂 thx for sharing it here. May the sun shine warmly on you this Sunday, as he carries you in his heart this Father’s Day.

  11. “I know that God is able to fill in all the gaps with HIS love.” this is a beautiful Father’s Day reflection, Bev. thanks for sharing your heart and your story. a real journey of the heart, intertwined with His!

  12. @disqus_XdFiQFffQ7:disqus – thnx for sharing, kathy. it’s soul beautiful to hear your heart expressed here into words. “embracing” love that word! i love how your heart is celebrating in the today of your husband, his reflection as father to your children — the man God gave me who embraces me in the real of this life.” (soul beautiful!) even as you reflect as the little girl in you with your father.

  13. mary, thanks for sharing your moving reflection of missing, grieving and also loving the memories you both share together. it is beautiful you have them and I pray the sun shines warmly on you on Sunday, as God carries you both in his heart.

  14. sweet Jeralyn, thank you for sharing your remembrance — as grief is a journey and when special memories and holidays like Father’s Day cross our path — it’s beautiful we can share those moments and feel the warmth of a kindreds hand in our ours, as the many feelings flow out from our hearts. Thanks so much for holding our hands here by offering yours to us in your reflection. you’re beloved.

  15. @JacintaHuang:disqus – Jacinta, i love how your words express healing, as you say “Heavenly Father fill in all the gaps of love that my soul desires..” it’s special to have this space to share our hearts. it’s ture. that verse is soul beautiful. thnk you! xo

  16. Bonnie, thanks to the honest, humble telling of your life-story, I know that many will find comfort and strength as they face similar circumstances in their own lives. You are a shining light of God’s tenderness!

  17. My father left when I was two. My mother had a hard time both have me and raising me. For years, I was told he stepped over me and walked out, I never asked my mother until a while back, she said he left in the middle of the night. Don’t ask me why relatives would lie. I never blamed him nor looked for him, I figured we’d both be disappointed. I forgave him, prayed for him. My mother never spoke badly of him, she was just too young to marry at seventeen. My real father had been in the army, was a police officer. He should have stepped up. It does something to a little girl, makes it hard to understand a loving Heavenly Father, I’m thankful I did. Even with a second marriage and Christian parents, I felt abandoned, my heart called to God and He met me in a lonely place. Is Father’s Day worth celebrating? Absolutely.

  18. Bonnie,
    Thank you for your open honesty! My last few father’s days have been difficult. Dad has been in an assisted living the last three years. His mental status was changing and was hard to deal with at times. Now my Abba Father has worked a miracle and I am enjoying my dad once again. We go for walks and I take him to the store periodically His mind is clearer than it has been in years. This will be a good father’s day for me.
    Blessings 🙂

  19. Bonnie, Thank you for sharing these heart-felt words. I, too, grew up without a daddy. He passed away when I was about eight months old, so I have zero memories of him (my mom never remarried). When I was younger I did fine with Father’s Day, however, as I’ve gotten older, I realize how much I missed. Learning to experience my Heavenly Father as Daddy is freeing and healing. As an adult, I’ve experienced the love and nurture of a spiritual daddy.

    I look forward to continue to learn about my Heavenly Daddy and experience a Daddy’s love for His girl!

    Blessings!

  20. My father was abusive most of the time. He died when I was 21 and I really do not think of him too much. But the Lord blessed me with a kind father in law who I will be calling this Sunday. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and I am the apple of His eye. Your writing is always so honest and I feel a place of peace when I am reading your posts. I went through a very difficult trial recently and your writing was a source of comfort and hope.Thank you.