Today is Father’s Day and the most common question asked (specifically by my mother’s side of the family) is this: why do I honor a man who was not in my life? The answer is simple- he’s my father. No matter what happened or didn’t happen in my childhood, he is my father and I love him. I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, for many years I resented my father’s absence in my life. As I got older, my feelings for him changed and now I realize some very important things….
There are 3 sides to every story….
As with any relationship, there is his side, her side, and the truth. I grew up only hearing my mom’s side of things…which wasn’t much because she never talked about her past. She provided for me as best as she possibly could and when I experienced shortcomings, I would blame my absentee father. My family aided in estrangement by never saying anything positive about my father, if they ever spoke of him. As a child, I honestly felt that everything I had was because of my mother and everything I lacked was because of my father. It was just that simple. I never considered the fact that he had a version of what happened with my mother- it didn’t matter. Point was, he wasn’t there when I needed him. Now that I am older, I can see the divine reason behind his absence.. and that is God’s side of the story.
For some time, I blamed my rape on my dad. I felt that if he had been around, my mother wouldn’t have had to work so hard and my brother would not have had the opportunities to rape me. Now I realize the fault in that logic. First, the rape, although horrible and debilitating, is my testimony. That rape caused me to seek God and find Him where He dwells. That rape contributed to my desire to serve others. That rape gave me a servant’s heart. Second, as I grew in Christ I realized that if evil was going to happen, it would have happened no matter where my father was. My brother was bitter and was set out to hurt me and my mother- my father’s presence would not have changed a thing.
He is half of me…
What people often fail to realize is that when you engage in sexual activity with another person, your spirit becomes intertwined with theirs. This is one of the many reasons why sex is only supposed to be between a man and his wife. Every person that we engage in sexual activity with, we leave a part of ourselves with them and they leave a part of themselves with us. And when a baby is conceived from the act, half of the mother and half of the father pour into that child. So even if my father was not physically involved in my life, his spirit and his being were already in me. I have his height. I have his mother’s eyebrows. My skin complexion is fairer than my mother’s because of him. I am his child and he is in me. Even without him around, I still fell into the activities that he loved and I exhibited some of his personality traits. Considering how quiet my mother is, I know that my bubbly and open personality comes directly from my father and his side of the family. I know what comes from him and I know what comes from my mother. God saw fit to give me the best qualities of BOTH of my parents. I am everything I am because of them both and nothing without them both.
God still provided…
Even though I grew up without my birth father in my life, God still saw fit to bless me with another father figure. As I’ve said in many posts, my best friend, Amy, and I have been friends for 23 years. During the course of our friendship, her family became mine and vice versa. Not only was her friendship a blessing but from the friendship I was given a father in the form of her father. Her dad became my dad. He gave me lunch money. He drove me to and from school and church. And most importantly, he was my pastor so he also prayed for me. He was everything that I needed, when I needed it, because God provided. I never felt like I was missing a father because of Amy’s dad. He held a place in my heart that allowed me to be able to love my birth father. It is truly because of my earth dad (and God) that I am able to love my birth dad today. God will never leave a void in our lives. Whatever we think we are missing, He is able to fill. He filled my void back then and, in other ways, He continues to fill voids today.
On December 11, 2009, my brother (my father’s son that was born before me) found me on Facebook. That short message that he sent was the bridge that connected me to my father and his entire side of the family. That day changed my life in ways that didn’t become evident until this year. That’s just how God works! Today I do have a relationship with my father. I was always amazed how my mother could know something was wrong with me without me saying a word. After awhile I realized that God was talking to her and telling her everything. And as it turns out, God was talking to my dad, too. My dad, although he is miles away, knows when something is wrong with me and he reaches out immediately. My ancestors and God speak to my dad and then my dad speaks to me. My dad knows me just as well as my mother knows me because God has kept him in the loop.
My Father’s Day message for you all is this: even with an absentee parent, God has and will always fill that void. Whether He sends a surrogate or fills the void Himself, He will provide for you. It is because of my relationship with God that I was able to forgive my father and allow him to be in my life now. Life is entirely too short for me to hold onto anger or bitterness because of things in the past that don’t pertain to me. All that matters to me now is that my dad shows his love for me in every breath that he takes. From his weekly “Happy Sunday” texts, to his commitment to reading every status and blog that I post- I know he loves me and I know that he wants to be in my life.
There is not a perfect person on this earth. No, not one. When I realized that my dad was just human and that as a human, he has made mistakes, I looked past his faults and was able to see the man that lies beneath. He’s just like me- he’s flawed and saved by grace. Time and distance will never change that he is my dad and I am his baby girl.
Beloved, I encourage you to let go of the pain and forgive those who may hurt you. Letting go of past pains allows you to heal and accept the love and gifts that God has waiting for you. True peace will never come when we continue to hold on to bitterness and hurt. We must forgive, in order to be forgiven, but also so that we can grow.
*That’s me and my dad when I was a baby…..yes, I was a chubby cutie!*