I just lay there in bed, thinking. I was awake — wide awake. But I couldn’t move. Wouldn’t move. I had to burn the images into my mind.

They were images of a dream from which I’d just awakened. This wasn’t some sort of prophetic dream — heck, it wasn’t even a dream I’d say God crafted just for me. But I do believe He gave a pass on this one.

It was a short conversation, my dream. In it, I’m trying to skateboard — and failing. I get up and walk away, disappointed, angry, and frustrated. Suddenly, someone grabs me and asks what’s wrong.

It’s my dad in this dream; I know that much. But it’s not my actual dad. It’s someone else.

He calls me “son” and treats me as such. I tell him about failing to skateboard, and he assures me it’s okay. He then offers to help me. Together, I manage to skateboard a little more successfully. He gives me a big hug and walks me back to my friends.

The morning after, I processed this dream over and over. This “dad of my dreams” was unlike my dad of reality. He was affectionate and involved. He helped me — didn’t just tell me to fix whatever was wrong.

And he stayed with me.

A few weeks later, I had a repeat encounter with this dream-father. This dream was even shorter.

I was simply with him, not doing anything. We sat with each other, just talking about life. He put his arm around me and told me how proud he was of me. I placed my head on his shoulder and we stayed there for a bit.

I woke up from that dream wide awake as well, attempting to burn the images into my mind. Again, this dad of my dreams was just present with me. He cared deeply and expressed it.

What’s more: this dad of my dreams was proud of me. Not for anything I did; he was proud of me simply because I was his son.

There was a moment, after each of these dreams, when I could have let them drag me down. My dream-dad did what I’d always wanted from my reality-dad. He did things I still long for but know will never happen.

But I decided not to ruin these dreams with such comparisons. First, that’s unfair to my reality-dad who did what he could to care for me.

And second, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me perfectly. He does those things my dream-dad did.

Perhaps that’s what these dreams were — chances for me to see and experience, in some way, how God has been with me. In that case, I’m not actually chasing a dream-dad.

I’m simply seeing God’s love in my life from a new perspective.

Do you experience any longing in relationship with your father? Do you struggle to see God as a good and perfect Father?

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  • I totally understand every part of your blog. I’ve had a terrible relationship with my dad. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in over 20 years, so I’ve felt that absence for over half my life. I’ve never had that father figure telling me he’s proud of me or anything like that. It’s a hard way to grow up. It took a long time to see God as a good and perfect father considering what my earthly father looked like. I still have a hard time seeing that considering all my past mistakes, but I’m starting to more and more. I just have to remember that God’s love is never-failing and will love me no matter what and his love can’t even come close to what an earthly father’s love is like.

    • I’m so sorry your dad has been so absent from your life, Chris. It’s amazing how powerful an impact that earthly relationship has on our view of God. I’m thankful you have been learning more about God’s unconditional love as you’ve grown older. Praying you continue to experience that every day!

  • Brothers, this is a tough one for me, however, not for the reasons one may believe. My relationship with my earthly Dad was only so-so. We finally got along without shouting at each other when I was about 30, and he passed away from lung cancer after a short time of being in chemo just before my 37th birthday. He did finally accept me as a gay man before he passed on, so I kinda regret my attitudes towards him when I was younger, however, that was/is water under the bridge, and I accepted that part of my life as regrettable, but there’s nothing I can do about it now, at this time in my life, but move on and do the best I can.
    I said this is a tough one for me, as it’s tough for me to hear/read brothers such as yourselves say things such as Dean did and not feel a bit sad, although I know now he is walking in a different place, yet I am sad as I know not all of my brothers are in a good place with God as our Heavenly Father. I believe that God has to reach down into that most vulnerable and lonely place in our hearts – such as what Dean shared with us – and we have to [somehow] “allow” that to happen, regardless of what our relationship was to our earthly Dads. Sometimes, it takes catastrophic occurrences to get to that place, yes, even near-death experiences, to understand that we are not alone in this life. Mine happened twice, actually, many years apart. First time, it was when my 2nd partner passed away, and I realized as I was looking at his dead body in the hospital e/r that he had actually demonstrated to me the “unconditional” love of God, as he himself had also experienced, a few years before, as he had been able to give up an addiction to crack-cocaine that nearly killed him [I was not in contact with him during that period of his life, and did not know that had occurred until several years later]. I finally began to understand love as – no matter how many mistakes, and mis-steps I made while we were together – the man kept loving me, anyway, in spite of myself. It finally occurred to me, after he died, that that is how God loves us, even if we walk away from His love. Then, 15 years or more later, I was lamenting to God in prayer one Sunday afternoon about how absolutely “alone” I was feeling, how absolutely bereft of affection from another man, and how much I wanted another man in my life again, if for no other reason than some companionship and someone in bed with me at night [not for sex, just for a warm body showing me someone cared for me], I fell asleep shortly thereafter, well, maybe crying myself to sleep, although I honestly don’t remember anymore, as that was in either 2003 or 2004: a LONG time ago, and at least 17 years after having lost my 2nd partner.
    I woke up later that afternoon, maybe after an hour or so, feeling as if someone’s arms were tightly wrapped around me, and they were MASCULINE; strong, supportive, caring, and…..PROTECTIVE. Now, this is from a guy who had been QUITE skeptical about God’s direct, “active” interaction in our lives. I was floored, to say the least, and then the waterworks came, big time! God loved me!!! INFINITELY!!! I have a Heavenly Father who DESIRES me to come to him in my lonely times to not hold back in telling Him just HOW lonely I feel. How much I feel like “odd man out,” most of the time, as I am way off the beaten path of the average LGBTQ guy, as I believe in Him, although for many years, I didn’t really understand who He was, or how much He really cares about me, and wants me to know Him, and know His Love for me, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL!!! I was truly aghast at the reality of the moment. “Am I losing it? Is this all emotion, and nothing more? My mind playing tricks on me?” I wondered if I was already dead, and in some weird sort of limbo-land, although I knew I was in my bedroom at home, behind a locked door, with the TV on, and knew I was still a part of the physical world, although at that moment, I did not FEEL a part of the physical world. .
    All that said, I do want to reach out to all my brothers here, in a spiritual sense, and wrap my arms around all of you, and let you know WE ARE LOVED. It’s difficult, I know, when we don’t feel it. Damn difficult, as a matter of fact. Yet, somehow, that moment when God reached down and wrapped HIs strong, supportive, masculine, caring and PROTECTIVE arms around me that Sunday afternoon, I could not deny what I was feeling. I felt LOVED, By a man, and a father-figure/big brother, and one that I always had wanted, and needed, so VERY badly. I can relate to what our brother Dean wrote, as I had never felt very “successful” with all that “boy stuff” I was supposed to have done when I was young. I was a terrible athlete. I was a bit of a klutz [still am, even now!] I hated playing the typical rough and tumble games most boys my age would play. I would rather sit home and read, and listen to music. In short, a bit of a nerd. Oh well…. GOD LOVES ME ANYWAY…… I don’t have to be perfect, nor “all-boy,” either!!!
    And, most importantly for me, a man who has basically known he was “different” than other boys, and with same-gender attraction issues for more than 55 years now, well, that speaks volumes to this man, as my Heavenly Father knew how MUCH I was hurting that afternoon, and wanted me to know, “SOMEONE LOVES YOU, BILL. I LOVE YOU, WITH THAT LOVE OF A STRONG, CONFIDENT MAN THAT YOU HAVE NEVER FELT LIKE YOURSELF. i WANT YOU TO LEAN ON ME IN TIMES WHEN YOU CAN’T BE, OR DON’T FEEL STRONG.” I was – to say the least – dumbfounded!!! I know kinda what Dean felt when he realized what was going on after those dreams, as I – too – was just like “Huh? Really? What’s going on here?” And, Brother Dean, I rejoice for you, and with you! Somehow, a sense of a guiding light came into your senses you clearly needed, and almost without asking for it [my favorite verses in recovery from the addictions which almost killed me has been Ephesians 3:20-21. Look it up….. To me, it’s always encouraged me] gave me what I needed, without my even knowing I needed it, let alone having the balls to ask for it…… In that hour of affectionate love from a man whom I felt was/could be “strong” for me when I needed it, there was someone there for me who didn’t see me a freak, or a failure, or a sissy-boy, or a weakling. In that moment, I was a beloved son, who needed a Dad who was strong, and brave to touch a gay man and wasn’t afraid I was going to give him any “gay cooties,” and, better still…….gave a s*** about me.
    Brothers, I don’t want to put a damper on anyone else’s beliefs who enjoys our camaraderie here, nor make anyone else feel bad, that somehow their “epiphany” hasn’t yet come, or that they are somehow “inferior” in the faith department [you’re not!]. It’s there, somewhere, I believe, as I didn’t believe before that afternoon in my bedroom, that God, my Heavenly Father, wanted to be my strength, when I wasn’t feeling so strong, or manly, or….a kajillion other things we men are “supposed to be/feel,” just because we’re men. The worship song “Shout to the Lord” came into my life in 1996/early ’97, at a time in my life when I needed it most, and men, I needed it. BADLY!!! “My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there’s none like you…..My comfort, my shelter, TOWER OF REFUGE AND STRENGTH….” became altogether TOO real, and too poignant in those first days of wandering around, trying to find my faith in a puzzle of what the heck was all this stuff was supposed to mean…..I had turned around my life, actually God had turned it around for me, and I decided that I wasn’t altogether too happy with the life I had been leading. Having had a raging sexual addiction for years, and acting out just about every day, even with partners in my life [I’ve had 2 long-term relationships], I was a mess in those days, just having lost my partner, and understanding God’s GRACE for the first time in my life after reading Max Lucado’s book about grace over Labor Day weekend in ’97, I decided to let God do the driving, and found happiness, true happiness, for the first time in my life. I had found joy, and felt like I wasn’t a messed up train-wreck [some of my recovery brothers would sometimes call us “tore up, from the floor up,” in those early days of recovery, as we were all finding our way out into the light again….]
    The reason I share that with you is: The Love Is there, some sort of love we believe in down deep, and available, for everyone, I believe. Even if we never feel it directly from God, as Father or other, sometimes, we do have to be God or some sort of Higher Power for our brothers, who just CANNOT feel, or believe, as their own abuse has just been too brutal, and nothing makes them want to believe anymore. There is a saying I’ve seen in recent years, and I do believe it’s truthful, as I’ve seen it in real life, “Sometimes, WE are the only Bible some people ever “read”.” That’s kinda why I wanted to share this with y’all. In a way, even non-Christian men can be our “brothers,” and we need to show them love, and what love – real love – from another man can look like, as so many have never experienced it, or have only experienced it as abuse, which isn’t real love, if you believe in REAL love, as abuse is abuse, not love. So, to those of you who are my brothers in Christ, to those who have gone through the New Warrior Training Adventure weekend and are therefore “Warrior Brothers” [Aho!], and my fellow males who just need another man to show them another guy can genuinely care for them and gives a damn about what happens to them, well, all I can say in this moment is “You are AWESOME!!!! And, YOU ARE LOVED.”
    Hugs, guys!!!
    Yet another “Other Brother” who loves my fellow males infinitely and DOES “give a damn” about you,
    Bill G
    San Diego County, CA, USA
    [Damn…..Here come the waterworks again…….]

    • What an incredible testimony, Bill! Thank you so much for sharing your story, your insight, and your encouragement! It was a blessing to hear your words come alive through the screen in this. I praise God that He demonstrated His powerful love to you that day and that He continues to demonstrate every day in new and exciting ways! I pray you continue to understand the fullness of the depth, height, width, and length of God’s love every day!

    • Thanks so much for writing this Bill, and Dean too, sharing your dreams. They both were amazing. Ryan had written a post awhile back about heaven and just hanging out with Jesus and doing stuff together. Someday, it’s all gonna be true for real. Till then, thanks for pointing to it you guys.

  • I had dreams like that off and on since I was a real little guy, but it wasn’t my Dad, he was alive and very real so I couldn’t see him any different and I loved Him he was Great just seldom around and I didn’t think he really care that much about me. It was about my brother who died a few years before I was born. I never could make out his face that clear but when I was with him I felt totally safe totally loved and free from a terrifying violent alcoholic home. I remember waking when I was small and crying because I missed him so much. When I became a man I realized the man in my dream was not my brother but Jesus and I still felt totally safe and totally loved. I haven’t had one of those dreams in a long time, I miss them

    • Thank you for sharing your dream with us, Bob. I’m so sorry you had to endure a terrifying home life but I am thankful that Jesus revealed Himself to you through those dreams. I pray Jesus reminds you of His love for you in old and new ways these coming months. Thank you again for sharing, brother.

  • This was so poignant and spot-on. My dad died when I was an infant, so I grew up without any male mentor–EVER. Subsequently, I had no idea what being manly was or how I was to act. Embarrassingly enough, it was a friend who pointed out to me, when I was ten, that I was supposed to lift the lid of the commode up. I went into teaching, and I’ve had many students call me their absent dad, and my children ask me how I was such a good father, and I answer, “Act like my dream dad would have been like.” I guess I’m blessed to have no bad influences.

  • Reading this makes me feel very lucky. I will always treasure the wonderful relationship I have with my earthly father. It’s sad that so many men seem to neglect the needs of their kids! My dad has always been there for me, and though it hasn’t always been easy, I would not trade our relationship for the world.
    The only time I feel discouraged in this area is in how it relates to my SSA. I have a father who is present, loving, and a Christian, but somehow I still long for loving intimacy with another man. It kills me that even though my dad tells me he loves me every day, I still have this broken yearning. I know it’s not his fault, but my own…and I can’t tell him about it.
    Thanks for sharing your story Dean. Your Heavenly Father is definitely smiling down.

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