Father’s Day is a complicated time for me. Mostly, it reminds me of how blessed and thankful I am to have a stepfather who stepped up and has always loved me as his own. Most importantly, I am reminded of My Heavenly Father.
Father’s day always stirred up memories of the complicated and sometimes non-existent relationship I had with my father. So, I want to share my story so that others can understand my journey and what eventually led me to a relationship with My Heavenly Father.
As a little girl, I loved my daddy, he was like a giant teddy bear to me. He was always so loving and fun to be with. I can remember laying in the floor of our living room watching television with him. He had a way about him that made me want to be near him. He was a loving man and always so gentle and kind. I was a daddy’s girl and I thought at the time, it would always be that way.
When I was 10, my parents divorced. As far as I knew, there were not any problems…my mom and I were moving to Georgia because she got a transfer with her job and he was going to come down as soon as he could find work. Eventually, the truth came out and I was devastated, I couldn’t understand…how could this happen?
My relationship with my dad was still a close one(as close as it could be 10 hours away). He called occasionally, sent a Christmas and birthday presents, and I even went to visit as much as finances would allow. Over the years, the relationship deteriorated. My mom was always very good about not expressing her feelings about him to me. One summer, I went to visit him and I learned the truth behind why our relationship had deteriorated…my dad was an alcoholic. He and his new wife were living a lifestyle that I could not understand. I always knew he was a drinker, I even have memories from when I lived with him of him being drunk. I never knew the severity or I just ignored it, after all, I was a daddy’s girl and I didn’t want to believe anything negative about him. I was so upset after that visit because I felt like he chose the alcohol over spending real, quality time with me. I know now that alcoholism is a disease, but I took it so hard that summer.
Several years had passed and I did not speak to my father. He occasionally sent a birthday card and would tell me to call him, but I just dismissed it. If he wanted to talk and cared about a relationship with me, then he could make the effort. When I was preparing for my wedding, I decided I wanted him there. I sent an invitation(not expecting a response) and he replied that he would be there. I was excited, he had missed all of my high school and college performances, sporting events, accomplishments, graduation, etc…but he was going to be at my wedding!
Maybe this could be a start to reconciling the relationship? The day of my wedding came and went with no sign of him, no phone call, no nothing. I was devastated. At that point, I decided to completely erase him from my mind. What I didn’t know, was that God was working on me. All this time I was desperate to have a relationship with my father and what I came to learn was that the only relationship that mattered was the one with my Heavenly Father!
When I was pregnant with my first child, my family traveled to my hometown, I decided I was going to go and talk to him. I wanted to tell him that I was ready to put the past behind us and move on. I wanted my baby to know his grandfather. I was ready to forgive him.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. –Matthew 6:14
My brother took me to his house and all of my hopes were crushed when he didn’t even recognize me. I don’t know if he had “erased” me from his memories or if he was drunk. Either way, I was devastated and could not bring myself to speak the words I had planned.
A few years later, I got a call that my dad was dying. He was in the ICU with congestive heart failure and liver failure. My brother and I made the trip to see him and I knew that I had to reconcile with him now. When we arrived, he was too far gone, but I told him anyway. I wanted him to know that I had forgiven him. I believe he heard me and I know that God heard my prayers because a few days after I had arrived back home, he was out of the hospital and doing better…a miracle! He called me and we talked. I couldn’t believe it! A few days later we got the call that he had taken a turn for the worst and passed away. I was at peace when he died and I think he was too because I had a chance to tell him that I forgave him.
…in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. –John 16:33
I have been told by others that he was a christian and in the last couple years of his life he had become sober. I do not know if he will be waiting for me in heaven, I do hope so. I would love to talk to him about his grandsons because I know he would be so proud of them and proud of me for the life I have lived.
So on Father’s Day, I am thankful to have found a daddy who loves me and I am proud to say I am a daddy’s girl to my Heavenly Father.
Just remember, no matter where life takes you, how disappointing it seems, how devastating it can be, or how hard it may be to understand, God has a plan for you and He wants you to know Him and He will do whatever it takes to be closer to you. Through Jesus Christ, you can have a Heavenly Father who loves you!
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39