My father left the family home when I was two and my sister was one. My Mother re-married and went on to have three more children. My childhood was not a happy one; it was marred with years of physical and mental abuse, at the hands of my step-father (at the time). I never knew the love of a father, until I gave my heart to The Lord.
Around six months ago, I received a message from my father, asking to meet for a coffee. This message came as a huge surprise to me, as I had only had very limited contact with him over the last 40 years. Even though, at that stage, he was not a part of my life, I had been trying hard in the last five years or so to honor my father, though honoring him hasn’t always been easy for me. However, I would continue to try because he’s my father – not because he was there for me, or because he taught me great life lessons or because he’s a great role model. Unfortunately, none of that has been true in my life.
Despite this, God commands me to honor my father and, present or not, perfect or not, my father contacted me, wanting to be a part of my life and my children’s lives, so I choose to let that be enough.
Our first meeting was a little awkward for me, but my son, Connor instantly took a liking to him. This encouraged me to follow up with another coffee date, and things very quickly improved from there. I became very comfortable sharing my life, past and present with him; I met his lovely wife, and can now say he is a big part of my life.
One day my father ended our conversation with “I love you, sweetheart.” I don’t know how long it took me to respond because I had to absorb the moment. I had never heard my father say that to me before. Had I always had the love of my father? What difference would that have made in my life had I known? How would my life be different today?
The whole experience has made me think about our heavenly Father’s love for us, how much he loves us, how much he treasures us and how his love for us never fails.
Many people struggle to believe God loves them because of dysfunctional parents. What about you? Do you have emotional wounds resulting from your upbringing? If so, such hurts can block your understanding of God’s unconditional love. I encourage you to not only to move towards forgiveness but also to reject unhealthy mindsets you may have adopted because of trauma.
Believe the following:
Your heavenly Father will never abandon you. Circumstances never affect God’s nature. He will always, always, always stay the same.
“I will never fail you, I will never abandon you” (Heb. 13:5, NLT).
Your heavenly Father will never verbally criticize you. The Lord is a loving Father who speaks tenderly to His children, and even when He must discipline us, it is for our good.
“ …. for the lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” (John 5:11, NLT)
Your heavenly Father will never abuse you. God is not an abuser. He is a good Shepherd who protects us. If you were abused by someone, either physically, sexually or verbally, recognize that God did not approve of that behavior and He wants to heal you from the pain of that experience.
Your heavenly Father will never withhold affection from you.: God is crazy about you and He wants to shower you with love! As a believer in Christ you always have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit . He wants you to be close to Him.
No matter what fatherly wounds you may have suffered, and no matter how long ago the pain entered, God can heal your heart and fill in the gaps. Reach out and receive the Father’s embrace.
– Tash Ellis