Monday, June 17, 2013
I can testify
As everyone was celebrating Father's Day yesterday my heart felt torn, I've mentioned before I didn't have an ideal upbringing. My dad did the best he could but ultimately he simply didn't know how to love us. It was years of heartache and sorrow for us and a huge lack of relationship for this daughter who ached for a dad to really be there. God has done huge things since I've grown up and my dad is not the same person he was then, a miracle I know full well. If anything God has used that huge area in my life to teach me forgiveness. I knew if I ever wanted a real relationship with him after God had changed his life I was going to have to let go of 18+ years of absolute devastation, years and memories that couldn't be re-done. I'd like to put on my best Sunday School answer here and say it was easy, but in all honesty, it was hard. And frankly, I felt hurt like doing it. But after many weeks in tears on my knees wrestling with God over this issue I knew He was calling me to forgive my dad. Not because he deserved it-in many ways he robbed me of my childhood.
But because I didn't deserve the forgiveness God showed me either. But He did. And He does. So I did too.
However, the pain still creeps up on me sometimes and for many years I struggled with that fact. If I had forgiven my dad why was I still having to deal with the pain of it all? One day God spoke very clear to me though when He told me, He would bring healing to me (and faithfully He has), but He would never remove it so much from my memory that it would lose it's effectiveness. I didn't understand at the time. I tried to humbly obey, but I certainly didn't understand and wanted to erase every painful memory.
Fast forward a few years. I meet this man and fall madly in love and he's a youth minister, and I'm kind of his sidekick, and we do ministry together. And I can't tell you how many opportunities I've gotten to hit my knees next to a sobbing 16 year old girl that I could swear was myself 10 years ago and say with every fiber in my being-
I understand, I've been there too.
And in that moment, it all has purpose. I understand the moment that He told me He wouldn't completely remove it from me, because don't you see? Then I went through it all for absolutely nothing. I shudder to think.
I was still able to celebrate with my dad this weekend. No matter how imperfect the road might have been, God has certainly proved Himself as the Redeemer He is. I'm living proof that there is hope where it certainly doesn't feel like it. I spent years being that girl producing puddles of tears on her bedroom floor praying as hard as she might, but seeing nothing change year after year and wondering if my prayers were hitting the popcorn ceiling above me. Even though I may never be a daddy's girl, and oh how I always longed to be, I can honestly say I am grateful for my dad today-good & bad. I simply wouldn't be who I am today without him and everything we've been through, more importantly I wouldn't be the same, or as effective I believe, in ministry without those painful times.
Anyone else been there? I'd like to offer some encouragement in the tiniest form of a free printable. These words are true, I'm living proof, and they resonate deeply within me. You're welcome to share this as well, I would just appreciate the link-back. This printable is a 5x7 and all you have to do is click on the picture below. Enjoy!
Linking with: Julie, Happy Wives Club, Jolene, Ruth, Nan,and some of the best things in life.