My father left this world today and I was powerless to do anything about it. I could not stop the disease that ravaged his body. For him, the fighting is over. There will be no more pain, he will no longer struggle with earthly issues. That does not hold true for me as he left me behind.
Death is not the only time my father has left me alone. My father walked out on me more times than I can remember. Along with each departure, he took a piece of my heart. With each closing of the door, he took a part of me that I swore I could never get back. And every time I saw him, there he stood with parts of my heart in his hands. I was powerless to understand why. I was powerless to even speak. Yet, I had a powerful tool – anger.
As far back as I can remember, I have been full of rage; sometimes quiet rage and sometimes it bellowed in full force. As a child I cried myself to sleep wondering where he was and wondering why he wasn’t home with me. The older I became, through adolescence and through the turbulent teen years, my wondering turned to indifference. I no longer cared. I didn’t care about him and I didn’t seem to care about myself. Nothing I could ever say or do would convince him to come home. I was powerless in my effort to keep my family together.
Throughout the years my life has been one of failure and incompleteness. Nothing seemed to be right in my life. I blamed my father for every failure, everything that was wrong in my life. Every broken relationship was his fault. Every rejection was because of him. Every reason I had to procrastinate was simply and totally dependent on him.
Despite all of the brick walls I’ve run into during the course of my life, I married a wonderful man and have two awesome children. I own my own home. I have a great job and lots of friends that love me. Yet, something was missing. There was something I desperately needed but I just didn’t know what it was. As much as I loved to blame my father for all that was ill in my life, year after year, this was getting old and stale. The more love I received from my family, the more I began to look at my situation differently.
A little over a year ago, I gave my heart to Jesus. I found the completeness I had been longing for. He put a loving bandage around my heart and stopped the bleeding. As I sought to give Him all the pieces of my life for restoration, He willingly and gladly began to heal me. And I gladly gave Him all of those broken pieces – except one – my relationship with my father. This piece, I vowed, He could not have. All that I have been through with my father, as I saw it, was the reason that I was who I was. I wore my anger and resentment like a crown. I had earned it and no one was going to take it from me.
I can imagine the Lord smiling at my rebellion. He knows me better than I know myself. Upon my conversion, Jesus’ first order of business was to present my father, sick and dying, at my doorstep. I was not happy. I fought the Lord tooth and nail. Regardless of my arguing, my father was still there. In my house. Sick and close to death. My heart was hardened. I was afraid to face my fear and my father. I was afraid to face the possibility of relinquishing my complete heart. I was powerless before the will of God. I was without control.
My earthly father stood before me, with tears in his eyes, and begged me to forgive him for all that he had done to me. There he was, holding out his feeble hands to me, reaching out for my hands and my heart. To my surprise, I began to cry. Before I knew it, I was telling him that I loved him, that I always had loved him. I forgave him. I was, again, powerless in the hands of the Lord, yet I had the power to set my father free of the bondage of guilt. In accepting the Lord’s forgiveness in my life, I had extended forgiveness to my father and witnessed the relief of years of pain as my father accepted my forgiveness. This was truly a powerful moment.
The dagger that held the pieces of my heart together was gently removed. Jesus now held the pieces in place. My father and I were freed to find joy and rejoice in this newly restored relationship.
I wish I could say that we had the chance to live differently as father and daughter, but sadly that is not the case.
The daddy that I always longed for left me one more time on May 9, 2004. This time it was final. With him he took the hopes and dreams of a little girl that is still standing there with arms opened wide. We didn’t get to say all that could’ve been said. There was so much more that we could have done. Still, I am rejoicing with this departure. My father and I have the hopes of seeing each other again, as he gave his heart to Jesus before he left this world. That is the most powerful thing of all; to find forgiveness in the presence of the Lord and to help someone else find that same forgiveness and peace. It is powerful to melt in the loving arms of my Lord and know that all that is important to me is important to Him. This is beyond comprehension.
The Psalmist says, “…that power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy”, (Psalms 62: 11-12). God used His power to move the mountains in my heart and in the heart of my father. In essence, the mountains that separated my father and I was removed and thrown into the sea. Through His mercy, my heart of stone turned to flesh and I was set free.
Without Jesus in our lives, my father and I were powerless to forgive each other. We were powerless to live life abundantly. We were powerless to break down the barriers that we painstakingly built around our hearts. But with Jesus in our lives, through His power of love, through the power of His blood, we saw each other in a different light. He says in 2nd Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. Through His power, despite my fears, my sins and those of my father have been erased. My mind and conscience are clear. My father went into the next life a brand new person; unafraid, knowing he was loved and went to sleep with a sound mind.
I will miss him very much.