No matter where you lie on the feminism spectrum, from a bra burner to Mrs. Cleaver, there is something in women that gnaws for the affection of their father. I attended a wedding on Friday. It was beautiful. Many moments in the evening took my breath away, but only one made me shed a tear. It was when the bride danced with her father.
I forgive my father for what he has done to me and my family. I forgive him because God did that for me. I don’t even hold him accountable to me for what he did. I have (forcefully) surrendered it all to God. What do I do with these desires for a father though? I have never danced with my dad before. I don’t rest my head on his shoulder. I don’t – and never had – someone to teach me how I deserve to be treated, loved, heard. Forgiveness doesn’t wash those feelings away. Is part of forgiving my dad accepting that I have lost a father?
I know I should go to God for everything, but how does God give me those memories. Perhaps, I will never have them physically. Maybe all those moments are spiritual moments I have with God. In prayer, when I am without words, I tilt my head back and look up to heaven. Other times, I will have a worship song playing and will dance. I am dancing with my Father.
So much of the way I am is because of my father. I don’t date at all. I could say that I think a man is handsome, but I will never ever approach him. I dread getting my heart broken. I want to avoid that experience as many times as possible. Also, growing up with an unfit father, I have dealt with a warped and hateful attitude towards men. I wanted to use them. I want them to know a woman’s pain. Sometime’s I wanted them to use me. I let them use me sometimes. I felt so poorly about myself in relation to men, that I would settle simply for a guy to acknowledge me. Sadly, even if it was an insult to my body, my morals, my beliefs, or my intelligence. I hate them sometimes for no reason. I question them unrelentingly and attempt to make them feel as small as I have felt.
My father has made me feel so insignificant sometimes. I am a trophy in my personal triumphs; I am a whipping post for all his failures. I have not reconciled with him. I have forgiven him. He does not see the error in his ways. What makes it more difficult is that he is a proclaimed Christian. How can two Christians see two different Christs? How can this man know the Bible and not love his family like Christ loved the church? Is it terrible, that I want to stop at forgiveness? I don’t want to reconcile to him, because I don’t really love him anymore. I don’t love him as his daughter. I strive to love him with Christ’s love, but most days I am indifferent. I already know the answer to the last question. Christ’s blood allowed for our forgiveness, but his Resurrection is the way for my reconciliation back to God. If such great lengths could occur for reconciliation, what else can I do, but reconcile with my father…these are the moments when being a Christian is difficult. Let me write on something less emotionally grueling.
I rarely drink at all. After some time it becomes easy to avoid a drink, but I remember contemplating getting wasted once. It was after my father kicked me out of the house. I wanted to feel nothing. I didn’t want joy or sorrow. I just wanted to feel void. I wanted to feel empty and purge all the emotions I had. My dad didn’t deserve my tears. I don’t drink though. I knew if I did it once, I would like it. I would like not feeling like myself for a while. I would like not having to remember my father and his failures. I wouldn’t have to remember my blood father hated me enough to kick me out. However, what I forget in those moments can haunt me double as I fall into sobriety. Being emotionally prone, I set stipulations on when I drink. I need to be emotionally stable. I don’t need to feel pressured. I only drink with one or two other people with me. I have set up these guardrails, because any other way would lead to destruction.
I still have a long way to go with my dad, but thank you Jesus I am so much further than where I was.