A Father’s Hair-Braiding Miracle

I was asked to write a blog on miracles for Guidepost magazine.  I’ve shared it below.

A Father’s Hair-Braiding Miracle

(Contributed by Danny Tanner)

I didn’t believe in miracles. How could I? My 39-year-old wife was dying from cancer. We had an army passionately praying for Lisa’s full recovery, but God’s lack of response led me to believe miracles were a farce. In fact, his refusal to respond to my pleas made me fully question his existence.

After her death, I thought God had deserted me.

The last day my wife was conscious, I told her that if it was time for her to go, she could. I promised her I would take care of our girls. However, I was fully unprepared to follow through on that commitment.

Lisa was the CEO of our house. I didn’t know the difference between tights and hose. I couldn’t tell an espadrille from a flip-flop. I didn’t even know how to log onto the school website. She handled it all. I was weak and lost.

A few weeks after Lisa’s funeral, I was at my parents’ house, struggling to get out of bed. Not even a snuggle from my youngest gave me motivation. Later that afternoon, my mom pulled me aside and said, “You can do this, Danny. You have to do this.”

She was right. My mom’s words reminded me that I had promised my wife that I would step up. I told her not to worry, that I would raise our girls.

I’m not sure what it was, but a spirit inside me was ignited that day. As I drove home, I actually felt strong, a feeling I had not experienced since Lisa’s diagnosis. It didn’t remove my grief. It did, however, motivate me to be the father I was destined to grow into.

Not long after, I found my youngest daughter, seven at the time, standing in front of the bathroom mirror sobbing.

“What’s wrong, Michelle?” I inquired.

“I can’t braid my hair!”

“Can I help?”

“No. You can’t! You don’t know anything about hair! You hardly have any.”

“I bet I can do it,” I said with confidence.

I called my middle daughter to the bathroom.

“Stephanie, show me how to braid her hair.”

“I’ll just do it Dad.” She was clearly annoyed.

“No. I want to learn.”

Stephanie proceeded to show me how to separate three strands and weave them back and forth. I took the helm. The first three attempts left lumps at various points on her head. But the fourth time, I got it right! My first official hairdo was a small plait on the right side of my first grader’s head, just enough to keep her hair out of her eyes during YMCA basketball practice.

I followed my success by looking upward and having a quiet conversation with my wife. I did it! Just like you!

This was a small win, but it began to build my confidence. Next I baked homemade cookies for Stephanie’s school birthday party and even tackled my first sleepover–18 girls in all! I took the girls shopping for bathing suits and volunteered in their classrooms.

It didn’t come easy, but it was as if somehow Lisa’s strengths were gradually being passed on to me. I was filling the role of both mother and father.

As I look back on the past few years, I am amazed. Not at myself. No. I am amazed at God’s miracle. He took an inept man and gave him strength beyond imagination. I thought he had deserted me, but he’d been there all along.

He turned me into the father I’d promised my wife I would be.

You can read more about Danny’s journey as a father in his book Laughter, Tears and Braids or on his blog The Real Full House.

Leave a comment


  1. What a beautiful article!

  2. Beth

     /  June 11, 2014

    What an inspiration … much needed to day .. I have been the primary parent for my own children and my sisters for several years … thanks for the reminder that God is with us always and we need to ask for help … wishing you and your firs all the best

  3. Beth

     /  June 11, 2014

    * girls (not firs)

  4. A lovely article and an inspirational one for those out there who are on the verge of giving up. Yes, miracles do happen even if you don’t believe it especially when you think you’re alone on your journey. Reminded me of my dad 🙂

    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 11, 2014

      It is hard to believe you can get a miracle out of this…but it happens.

  5. Andee

     /  June 12, 2014

    Very well done!

  6. What a lovely family you have. Thank you for sharing your heart. God Bless you all!

  7. Donna Pilkington

     /  June 13, 2014

    Very well done and you are to be commended. Some men would have thrown up their hands and said “I give up!” Happy Fathers Day this Sunday. Celebrate mightily!

  1. A Father's Hair-Braiding Miracle | The Real Full House |

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