About 20 years ago or so, my home church experienced what could be considered a movement, one which would spur us to reconcile our hearts to God the Father’s. At the time, Brian Doerkson, a Canadian musician and worship leader, had produced a CD of moving music called, Father’s House, that the Spirit used to break our hearts and prepare them to receive the Father’s love. I know it was like that for me.
Like most people, I had father issues. My parents split up when I was young and my mother remarried when I was in my preteens. But I was lucky. My parents split on good terms and they negotiated ways to ensure that my father remained in my life. And, I had an excellent step-father, who treated me as his own flesh and blood.
But that didn’t mean I escaped unscathed. I grew up with a mean chip on my shoulder; I was bitter, angry, fearful and anxious, afraid to try, afraid to fail, and afraid to let anyone close to me. I felt small, unloved, an unimportant. It wasn’t until many years after the divorce, when I was going through a long process of healing and restoration (and bawling through Mr. Doerkson’s CD), that I realized the depth of the hurt and messed-up thinking I had carried over the years. As I child, I didn’t know what to do with the pain of the separation, so I’d buried it deep and tried to forget about it.
Thankfully, God doesn’t forget.
It’s funny how you can believe two different things at the same time, isn’t it? I knew I was loved by my dad and step-dad, and I knew from church that God loved me, too. Then how was it possible that I could still feel so lonely and unimportant?
The Father’s Heart Movement, as I’ll call it, began the process of my restoration. Singing about God’s acceptance and of His unconditional love over and over prepared my heart for the Holy Spirit to move. Eventually, I understood that God wanted to save me from hopelessness and bring me into His light. I understood, too, that God’s acceptance had nothing to do with me. God loves because that’s who He is: love. His acceptance is rooted in unconditional love, which was demonstrated in Jesus’ sacrifice.
In other words, God was my real Father, and though people had disappointed and left me, He never had and never would.
How does this relate to my earthly dads? Even though my parents split up, my dad was an excellent dad. He was there for every special event, he made sure I got a good education, made time to see me regularly and, though I’m grown up now, he’s still there for me and my family. One of the things I enjoy most now and while I was growing up, is just talking with him over a cup of green tea. It could be about anything: life, health, social issues, whatever. The point is, I have always known in my heart of hearts that my dad was there for me even when he wasn’t always physically there. I think that truth lay the foundation of our relationship and anchored my relationship with God the Father during my most difficult and hopeless years.
And let’s not forget my step-dad. As far as I was concerned, I was his daughter. He treated me and my mother well and was an excellent father to my (half) sisters. That he’d accepted me, who was not his by blood, was the most concrete model of God’s acceptance and adoption humanly possible.
The process of healing took time. Something like that doesn’t usually happen overnight. There’s so much to uncover, acknowledge, confess, and release to God. I thank God for my family and my church, who supported me. Eventually, the chips on my shoulders smoothed out, I grew up and matured. I became a mother. It was hard work, but I realized that though our hurts cause us pain, they can also lead to our restoration.
Fathers, never forget your importance. Whether or not you’re physically in your children’s lives, know that you are needed. If you can’t see them physically, pray for them, lift them up to God. If you are in their lives, seek God’s wisdom on how to be the best father you can be. Your relationship with your children forms models that will influence their perceptions of and relationship with God the Father. No matter the situation, God’s desire is to bring peace and wholeness in your relationships. Trust Him and ask for His help today.
Dyane Forde is a social worker by profession. She is also the author the fantasy trilogy, Rise of the Papilion, and manages a writing blog called Dropped Pebbles, as well as a blog for Christian Creatives under the name of Delia Talent. Dyane loves to communicate with readers and encourages them to contact her.
Dropped Pebbles: www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com
Delia Talent: www.dyegirl1373.wixsite.com/website
Trilogy Amazon page: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079TWRT7Q/ref=series_rw_dp_sw