My early childhood years were turbulent. A broken family, a custody war, to say the least, an unstable start in life. My father and I were both broken, unsure, unsettled, and left to navigate a new life, him as a single father, and myself as a child feeling like a tossed rag doll going from place to place. As far back as I can remember, my father brought me to church. Whether I attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Missionettes, or he was leading the Royal Rangers in our local church, attending prayer vigils, we were in church. The church was our family. My father kept busy working around the house. Building decks, pigeon coups, putting up paneling, stuccoing walls, or ceilings, putting in linoleum flooring in apartments for new tenants who lived in our four-family house. My father involved me in his projects. Whether it was to grab him a hammer, box of nails, hold up a piece of paneling or talk to me about his baby pigeons that were soon to hatch, we spent time together. My father did not lavish our conversations with a lot of encouragement or uplifting accolades if anything he was more negative. Encouragement was scarce. His lack of encouragement left a big empty void in my life. Most of the time I was left feeling not good enough. Most of my life I spent battling an emotional emptiness within myself. If my father didn’t have anything positive to say towards me, how could God, my Abba Father, see anything worthwhile in me? However, he did always encourage one important lesson no matter what the situation was. Every time we talked it was the same lesson, He encouraged me to look past the human element going beyond the man/person and see Christ. He pointed me to the cross. He directed me to seek God. Father’s are not perfect is what he was telling me, in his not many words or direct words but I get it now. As a child sometimes you don’t fully understand why a parent does or doesn’t do certain things or why they say what they say along the way. As I got older, being a parent/grandparent I realized why he did certain things. He may not have been an encouraging father. He may have been harsh at times, but he showed me how to look to God as the source for all I needed. It took some hard roads to get it. I thank God, I got it. We can not expect another person to give us what we need to heal our wounds, only God can give us healing. He is the source. He is the answer for any and all voids in our lives.
Through many years of “self-worth” struggles to find value in myself, trying to fill a void I didn’t fully even understand myself, it was in my father’s sudden passing away, facing how short this one life we have to live can be, I had to get serious about what direction I would take for my future. I leaned on every word that he said, everything he taught me, putting my focus 100% towards the cross. I had a light bulb turn-around moment. It was then, I realized my father had given me the most wonderful gift you could ever give your daughter or son as a father. He pointed me to the one who knows the way, fills the voids, gives us our identity, values us, loves us, calls us his friend, his children, and no matter who our earthly father is, no matter what our earthly fathers may lack, we have a heavenly father who gives us exceedingly more than any earthly father could ever give. I found my true value and worth in my heavenly identity making me whole giving me peace, love, and a joy-filled life. I would encourage every father to speak words that are lovingly mixed with the godly instruction that will remain for eternity. Father’s are vital in the role they play in their children’s lives. Encouragement is extremely important. Encourage. Uplift. Spend time together. Teach your child to value and respect themselves. Validate and support them. Children need to hear positive affirmations because it molds their personal perspective on who they are shaping how they will view God as their heavenly father. Encourage your daughters and sons to look to the cross everything else God takes care of.
Sharmaine has been married for thirty-one years and is a mother of four wonderful children and a grandmother of two adorable grandsons. She thanks God every day for the life He has so graciously given to her. She is truly blessed. She is also a blogger. She has two blogs and is a children's book author. The title of her self-published book is "It's all silly, says Tilly." It is written in a fun light way addressing the serious issue of teasing and bullying but speaks to the importance of valuing others and their differences showing how kindness and friendship are important. She also has an author page on Facebook ~ Sharmaine Bernard. Her link to her blogs are: simplyinspirationalsb.blogspot.com which is an extension of her artistic author side and her pointing others to the cross with Christ's love blog. God is good! She hopes to continue to use her writing for God's kingdom and to help others young, old, boy, girl, man, or woman to see their value through God's view. God Bless!