Woman Alive writers reflect on what they have learned from their fathers.


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What our fathers on Earth taught us

Jemimah Wright

“My earthly father, John, went to be with Jesus in 2020 aged 86. He was a businessman but after a dramatic conversion aged 32, his passion was evangelism. He would tell everyone about Jesus, often much to my embarrassment! When we were walking through the village where he lived with my mum in Norfolk, he would stop cars and ask: “Do you know where you are going?” They would usually respond: “Yes, to be pub at the river…” and then with a smile, he would say: “No, when you die, do you know where you are going?” Some drove off, but there were times he led people in a prayer of repentance and to ask Jesus into their hearts. He taught me what faith looks like, and how important it is to step out of our comfort zones if we want to be used by God.”

Rachael Cottle

“I’m extremely lucky to have a dad on earth who has been there to teach me many things as I’ve grown up. One of the most valuable lessons he’s taught me is the power of just letting things go. My dad is the champion of “does it really matter that much?” He has shown me how to choose when to hold my ground and when to let things pass. Ask anyone who knows him, and I guarantee they’ll tell you how kind and considerate he is. I love that he’s often putting others before himself.”

Lauren Windle

“Aside from being absolutely hilarious (well I had to get it from somewhere), my dad is relentlessly generous. I’ve never known anyone hold money so lightly and share it so freely with those in need. My lessons in how to spend, save, donate and tithe all started with his example. He’s also always ready with a listening ear when it comes to my work. He offers invaluable advice about working well with others, asserting my boundaries and giving my best.”

What our father in heaven taught us

Jemimah Wright

“My heavenly father has taught me again and again that he is a good father. I lived in Hong Kong for six months a few years ago, I was volunteering with St Stephen’s Society, living in a house with girls and women coming off drugs. It was a little like being in prison, as we could not leave.

“One morning I woke up and the sky was blue and the sun shining (quite unusual in muggy humid Hong Kong). As I cleaned my teeth I thought: ‘I’d love to swim in the sea today.’ I knew it was impossible, on the schedule I was supposed to be in the house all day. But suddenly I felt God speak to my heart, he said: ‘I give you desires so I can fulfil them, put your swimsuit on.’ I laughed, and said: ‘No no, I understand it’s impossible, it’s alright…’

“The feeling to put my swimsuit on was very strong, but I disobeyed as I felt silly. I went downstairs, and Hannah the Chinese house leader asked me something she had never asked before or after. She said I would be taking a group of the girls to the beach near the Girls House for Bible study time. I thought, how ironic, I will be at the beach today, but I won’t be allowed to swim as I had to look after the girls.

“However, at the end of our Bible reading time I joined one of the girls who was paddling in the water. The waves were quite big and we were getting wet. I went in a little deeper, and the other leader was smiling and seemed relaxed. A big wave hit me, and I realised I was wet up to my waist so I might as well swim. In all my clothes I started swimming. I could not stop smiling. God had said he gave me desires so he could fulfil them, he is a good father. I only wish I had obeyed and put my swimsuit on!”

Rachael Cottle

“One of my favourite things about God the Father, is his constant reminder that I can always come home to him. No matter what happens in my life God has always been there with open arms. When I’ve needed rest, he’s been my safe place. In times of celebration, he’s right in the middle cheering me on. If I’m overwhelmed by situations in my life, he’s there with a shoulder to cry on. My father in heaven is ceaselessly teaching me that I will always find home in him. If I am with him, I am safe, I am loved, I am free. I am home.” 

Lauren Windle

“It’s taken me a long time to truly learn that God is always listening to me and my prayers. Previously, I felt I had to guard my most prized desires. I was scared that if I trusted God with them, I would have to accept his will and then I may not get the things I wanted most. When I finally did start handing those things to God in prayer, for a long time I felt that all I got back was radio silence. It’s agnoy praying for something every day and feeling like nothing is shifting. But more recently I’ve been hearing God talk to me in different ways. He is answering my prayers but not exactly how I asked. For that I am grateful - both that I’ve been heard and that he’s responded with his wisdom and not mine.”