Saturday, February 19, 2011

Forgiveness

{This is a very personal post. I've had it saved for almost three months now, trying to decide whether or not to publish it. I decided that this is MY blog, a journey of MY life, a diary of my growth within myself and with my family....so here it is. Please don't judge.

A few months ago at church, we were blessed with the testimony of a missionary. He told us about how he was born to a 14 year old mother, a father not much older, and before his mother turned 21 she had 5 children. His parents split up (his father was dishonorably discharged from the USAF because of alcohol & drugs) and one night after his mother had tucked all five children into bed and they were fast asleep, she called the local police department and told them she had five beautiful babies tucked into bed that she could no longer care for, and asked them to come get them. Then she left.


The PD came, got the children, and they were placed in a group home. They were placed into their first foster home, where they were severely abused. The foster parents (I use this term loosely--how a "PARENT" could ever do something like this is beyond me!) would lock them in the backyard all day long while they were at work, with a little food & water. Like dogs.


He goes on to tell how they were then split up and he and his brothers went into a boys group home, where they were eventually taken out of because the counselors were abusing the boys. Then they went into another abusive foster home. THEN they were placed with a "Christian" family who were Christians on Sundays & horrible people the rest of the week. This family decided to keep his brother, but sent him back. He ran away, got robbed, lived on the streets, and then his dad decided he wanted to be a father again and got all the kids back. That lasted for six months.


Eventually, he joined the military and followed in his fathers footsteps -- getting kicked out for a drug & alcohol addiction. Fast forward a few years -- he got himself clean, found Jesus, found his parents (his mother had gotten saved a few months after she gave the kids up) and has forgiven them and has a great relationship with his mother, and an okay one with his father.


I told ya'll all of that to lead to this point. Some of you that know me in real life know that I have struggled with my relationship with my father a LOT in the past few years. I didn't meet my father until I was 17, although he lived just 8-10 miles away from me my whole life. Even then, it wasn't his choice, really, it just kind of fell in his lap. When I had Sara, a LOT of old emotions I thought we had worked through reared their ugly head and I made the decision to no longer have any contact with him. That lasted for about a year, when we ran into each other at my sisters high school Senior Night. We met a few weeks later for supper and "worked" things out. I won't go through every detail of the last two years -- but let's just say that things haven't been great. I've realized I had a lot of resentments against him. A LOT of hurt that I don't know will ever go away.


Back in September, my dad had to have emergency open heart surgery. Let me tell you what, that was a real eye opener. It was difficult to accept that my dad was about to have a major surgery, and one that the doctors said he may not survive? I realized that all those insecurities didn't really matter as much as I thought they did.


And then I heard this testimony on Sunday. I just cried the whole way through it. He said one thing that struck me -- he said that counselors, therapists, even ourselves -- we can bring all the hurt, pain, anguish, letdowns, emotional wars, anger, resentment, etc. to the surface -- but only ONE person can wipe it all away. I realized right then that everything had been at the surface for years, but I had not allowed Jesus to wipe it all away. That night, after everyone was in bed, I came out in the living room and just prayed so hard for God to take it all away.


And you know what? It wasn't easy. I wrestled with a lot of things on my living room floor that night. It is hard for us, as humans, to let things go and let God heal us. But I kept thinking -- if that missionary can go through ALL that he experienced -- all the abuse and EVERYTHING -- then surely I can let go of the little bit of pain I had. Because I had a wonderful childhood. I honestly did. I don't remember any negativity from my childhood. I am thankful for that.


My dad is a different man now than he was 26 years ago when my mother told him she was pregnant. He's a different man now than he was 8 years ago when I met him. My dad is a GOOD man. He always has been the type of man that will help you with whatever you need. He will give you the shirt off his back, the food out of his cabinets, the money out of his wallet if you are truly in need. I lived with him a couple of years before I got married, and people would often show up at our house needing something -- whether it was a tool, a little financial help to hold them over til payday, a vehicle for a few weeks til theirs could be fixed, or even just a hot meal -- they were not turned away. He is a kind, loving man. He has had his issues in the past, for sure. But now -- I'm letting go of all that. He is the man he is and God made him that way for a reason.


My dad often tells us girls that he made enough bad decisions for all of us so that we could make better ones. He's learned from his mistakes. The man that my dad is in 2010 loves all four of his daughters equally and the same. He is kind to our mothers. He loves his grandbabies and would not trade the WORLD for them. He has picked himself up, dusted his shoulders off, and in my eyes -- he's done an about face. Sure, he still has his issues....but so do I. My dad will never read this blog, but if he does happen to stumble upon it....I love you. Thanks for being there for me when I needed you.


Now, if we could just change the fact that he's an Auburn Univeristy fan!


I know that this was a very personal blog post...but this blog is a journal of my life for me to look back on later, so I wanted to include this. This has been a really big thing for me this week. My soul is completely different now that I let Jesus wipe all that away. :)

3 comments:

Archaeology cat said...

Beautiful

Nancy said...

Very touching. Thank you for sharing that with us. We all could use hearing stories like that. Being human is so difficult sometimes. And we make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be.

HappyascanB said...

Amazing post. I appreciate your transparency.