A Father To The Fatherless

22 May 2014

Image courtesy of daughtersneedafather.org

 Normally it doesn't matter what my past looks like with the exception of times when people who want to or need to talk about something and I can share a relevant experience to help. I don't make it a habit to share it on a regular basis, but I accept that it is a part of who I am and how I go about life. The things in my past have helped to bring me to where I am and turn me into the person that I am. I have been lucky to come out on the better side of things. However, it still isn't always easy to talk about it.

Out of nowhere I was asked about my father on two different days this week, back to back. Two slightly different questions both of which ended up receiving the same answer. Both of which meant that I had to talk about the fact that I have not had any contact with my father in almost three years. Not that is a surprise at all to me with his history. He never was really interested in being involved in my life and the older I got the less interested he was. Throw in financial issues, long-term medical conditions, a divorce, lawyers, judges, and a whole slew of family history and it was one hot mess. 

He stopped being interested when I was in mid to upper elementary school. I learned quickly that I was better off to avoid interacting with him the majority of the time. His anger issues didn't make talking to him easy, helpful or beneficial. Often I just talked to my mom and asked for her permission for things. By the time I hit middle school I knew when to avoid him and how to go about doing so. I spent many days and evenings away from home in an attempt to not have to interact with him. By the time high school rolled around I spent so little time at home that my lack of time there caused him to get angry with me. After my mom's diagnosis with a rare nerve disorder and then their divorce, I barely interacted with him except for a rare occasion on one of his weekends or Tuesday nights. By the time I was just about two months away from leaving for college he told me that he could care less if I showed up for visitation or even made contact with him. So for my sanity I didn't. I walked away and have kept my distance out of safety for myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I tried contact once and it was never returned. The one time he attempted contact it was merely in an attempt to get revenge on my mom. I decided then that it was better for me at this point in time to not have contact.

This has made things hard for me with regards to my faith. I listened to so many people refer to God as Father. They talked about all of the qualities He had of a father figure. All these good things that fathers supposedly had. However, I didn't grow up experiencing those things so I found it hard to believe that God could possibly be all of those things. That He could possible be the perfect Father. I kept making excuses for why I couldn't accept that fact, none of which involved the whole experience with my earthly father. I didn't want to admit that the reason I struggled accepting it was because I hadn't experienced anything good with my father. I struggled with it for a long time. One of the times that really made me rethink it all and process it in a new light was the message that Reggie Dabbs gave at NYC 2011. I was reminded that God is so much bigger and so much better than any earthly father, even the good ones. He didn't want me to experience what I did because of my earthly father, He didn't want me to be hurt by him. But it happened and He has come to bring me through it and to show me what the Father is truly like. 

It has been a heck of a ride and it hasn't been an easy one. Do I still have days where I struggle accepting God as being the Father? Yeah, I do. Do I still have a hard time referring to Him as Father? Absolutely. Do I always remember and fully believe all of the aspects that make Him the most perfect Father? No. I am not always good at remembering the reasons why He would think that I am worthy to be His daughter. I still struggle every now and then to accept that He truly is the perfect Father, especially on bad days. There are many days where it is still hard for me to refer to Him as Father, because that word conjures up so many not so great memories. It is a struggle often and in many forms, but I am constantly trying. I am constantly asking Him to help me to come to fully acknowledge and accept that He is the perfect, never failing Father. That He is the Father that will never leave, never forsake and never extort. He forgives me when I fall short of His will for me. He blesses me a thousand times more than I could ever ask. He gives me grace that I have not earned nor do I deserve. His love for me still amazes me on a daily basis. I may not have been blessed with a good earthly father, but I have a Heavenly Father who far surpasses him in every way.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing." -Psalm 68: 5-6a

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