When Daddy Walked Away: How to Use your Rejection for Direction

My dad walked away.

On Christmas Eve.

I was 7.

“Please Daddy! Please don’t go! This is all my fault. I’ll do better in school! I promise! Please just don’t go,” I cried, with the tears pouring down my cheeks.

But no matter how much begging or pleading my little 7 -year-old self did, he left.  On Christmas Eve.

I was hurt, angry and confused.

All the way through college, Mama would always tell my sister and me to love, pray for and respect him. “That’s your dad”, she’d say. “You must forgive.”

I didn’t want to.

I was hurt.

Deeply.

Even though the Bible says in Colossians 3:13 to forgive quickly, I definitely understood what it was like to go through a “slow forgiveness.” 

Dr. Meg Meeker, the country’s leading authority on parenting, teens and children’s health says that throughout the course of her lifetime, every woman will take at least 1 man to the grave, and it’s not her husband.

It’s her Dad.

Either because she loved him so much and he passed away, or because he was just never there and she buried him in her heart.

My Story

I had buried him.

I wanted answers. Mainly, I just wanted to know why. 

Why did the man I needed and wanted most in my life walk away? On Christmas Eve?

Time passed.  I grew up.

By God’s grace, I had several godly father figures in my life. But there was still a void for him — for my dad.

Not too long ago, I had a life changing experience when I came face to face with the pain of the memory that hurt me so deeply, so long ago.

The Truth Comes Out

It was at my Mastermind meeting with some of the most successful people in the world when a wise person began to ask me questions about my life.

They asked me how I got so much confidence. I told them it was because of my Mom.

Growing up, she always poured life into my sister and me, and told us that we were destined for greatness. She told me so much to the point where I believed her. I’ve been blessed with an extraordinary Mom. 

Although their marriage wasn’t perfect and they loved each other, they just couldn’t live together.  You can love someone, but just not be able to live with them. 

But when this wise person asked about my Dad – that’s when the tears started….and wouldn’t stop.

You see, I hadn’t told this story or even brought up the memory of that pain to anyone since I was 7.

I wanted to bury it.

Forget it.

Leave it alone.

Bury myself in work and my business.

Act like it didn’t bother me.

But it did.

It’s wasn’t until I came face to face with what hurt me the most and caused me the most pain that I was able to get free.

It wasn’t until I faced my rejection that I was able to use it for direction. It wasn’t until I identified my pain that I was able to use it for purpose.

The Change

Fast forward to December 2014.

I have my answer.

Although he told me that it wasn’t my fault growing up, as a kid, when your parents divorce, you just don’t understand that. You feel somehow responsible for your parents’ relationship – like there was something you could have or should have done to keep them together.

But I have my answer and have fully embraced it.

Since I’m being honest here, let me just say I had my answer before. Dad had tried to explain what happened before. I just wasn’t ready to receive it and still wanted to linger in my hurt and anger.

But this time, I was ready. I was ready because I’ve been through enough hurt, experienced enough hurt and have seen enough hurt to know that people aren’t perfect and that true love forgives.

True Love Forgives

My answer was an apology.

Imagine that. An apology.

In so many words, what he said was “what I did, regardless of the circumstances, was wrong and I’m so sorry for the grief this has caused you.”

All of a sudden the air felt different and a weight of over 25 years was lifted. It was all my heart needed.

I was free.

The Future

My Dad is a remarkable man, and today we have a wonderful relationship because of Jesus Christ.

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I’ve come to learn that he’s super smart, and even won the Senior Olympics in his hometown recently.

We laugh, talk and pray together. He is celebrating his 70th birthday next month, and I am going to honor him for the life and legacy he has lived.

He is completely fine with me sharing this message because in his words, “God uses the mistakes of our past to bring glory to His name. If by sharing our story others will be drawn closer to their dads and to the Lord, DO IT. It’s all for His Glory.”

The promise of Romans 8:28 is true. “And we know that all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose.”

The promise of Genesis 50:20 and the story of Joseph is also true.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

We all make mistakes. The world is bigger than my pain, my hurt and rejection.

By sharing this part of my story, the number of women (and men!) who have identified with it has been astounding. It has overwhelmed me with gratitude that these beautiful people trust me with their story and deepest hurts.

They want more. And to help and serve those who do, in 2017, I’m launching a 4-week online course called, “When Daddy Walked Away” – How to use your Rejection for Direction. A 4-week online course for women who’ve been hurt because their dads walked off and left the family, but want to move forward.

How This Can Help You

If you can identify with any part of this story, I want you to know that I understand. I get it. I know your silent struggle.

I know how you bury yourself in success as you search for significance. I’ve been there.  But please know that you’re not alone.

Your father may have passed away, or you may be still estranged from him. God is able to touch your heart and cause you to not only forgive, but to be happy again.

Here are 3 ways you can use your rejection for direction:

#1 Tell it Usually it’s that thing that you’re most embarrassed or afraid to tell that will launch your business, ministry or relationships to the next level. When you’re able to say it aloud and publicly, with honesty and raw truth, you’ll experience a whole new freedom. A cleansing will begin to happen to you.

#2 Forgive it I know what it’s like to go through a slow and painful forgiveness. But I’ve also learned that it’s better to forgive quickly than it is to hold onto things in your heart. It will only make you sick. Talk about it. Get it out. Forgiveness is a process. Ask God for help in healing your hurting heart.

#3 Grow from it Once you’ve told it and forgiven it, use your story to help other people. After all, you went through what you did so that you can help someone else become a better and stronger person. Let God use you for His Glory!

To be notified of the launch of “When Daddy Walked Away” – How to use your Rejection for Direction A 4-week online course for women who’ve been hurt because their dads walked off and left the family, but want to move forward – you can subscribe to my blog right here.

I wish you a life of happiness and healing.

My deepest thanks to my friend, Chuck Bowen of Chuck Bowen Coaching, for being that wise person who asked the right questions at my Mastermind meeting.

Leave a Comment Below

Question: How are you going to use your pain to help others? You may leave a comment below. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • iselltoo

    How do i handle the rejection from church members who found out about my past who used to talk to me but now avoid me like I have leprosy. I have literally stopped going to church because of this judgmental spirit. I visit other churches, but I don’t think I will ever be a member of one church again.

  • Very heart-telling post. There is pain in each one of our lives due to our “human condition” and the connection to others in their “human condition”. It’s the CHRISTmas season and a babe came to us in His “human condition” to help us know He alone is the only true answer to any and all of it. Thanks for sharing,

  • Beautiful post, Jevonnah. What an incredibly story of finding direction.

  • Wow, This is so strong. My sister’s and I went through a similar journey. Thank you for sharing and showing how to use it for growth

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Bruce, I love your perspective here. It’s so liberating that we can cast our cares upon God because He cares for us. Yes, HE alone is the only true answer. Bless you!

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    I’m so sorry about what you’re going through and had to face. But know this: you can take what hurt you the most and use it to become stronger. I understand what a slow forgiveness is like, so it might take some time, but ask for God’s help to heal your hurting heart. He longs to help you and loves you so much. I pray you’ll be able to trust again. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thanks, Roger. It’s often those stories that hurt us the most and we’re most embarrassed to tell that can help the most people. Blessings!

  • Wow, that touched me. To see your pain turned into God’s gain of growing in His unconditional love and forgiveness is powerful and moving.

  • barryeknightspeaks

    This is the real deal right here! Very touching and close to my heart as well!!

  • Kylle’ D. McKinney

    Lady J thank you for this post! I know it is helping countless individuals as it has helped me.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thank you so much, Nick. I’m determined to help others use their rejection for direction and their pain for purpose.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Jeff, I’m so glad this touched you. I know the best is yet to come for you!

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Barry! Thank you. I’m so honored to know you and your beautiful family. Your dad was an incredible man. I miss him so much.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thank you, Dr. McKinney. I appreciate you!

  • Oh Jevonnah – you continue to stretch and grow in so many ways. Your openness and willingness to jump right into the new or uncomfortable is inspiring to us all. Your sharing of your hurts and fears just expands our trust of your authenticity and competence.

  • Rochelle Delain

    Wow did not expect the intense emotional reaction I got from reading this. It stirred some kind of grief deep inside of me. At first I had no idea why since I had a really good dad who was faithful to my mom and my step mom (after my mother died). He did not walk away and we are very close. Then on the way home it hit me. It was not my natural father I felt abandoned by but God, my heavenly father. God is the perfect father but at an early age I felt as if he had walked out on me. I can remember begging and pleading with him at age 9 not to take my mother who was dying of cancer. I prayed and believed for a miraculous healing. I did my best to be a good girl. But she died… And I never even got to say goodbye. I was devastated and angry at God and the only comfort the adults in my life could offer me was that she was better off now and I had to be strong since I was the oldest girl in the family. Years later my older brother died of AIDs which broke my heart even more. I went through counseling, inner healing ministry, support groups etc. I thought I had forgiven God, that I was healed. Then last year I lost my younger sister quite unexpectedly. Again I had prayed and believed that God would heal her. She appeared to be getting better and she told me during our last conversation that they were going to release her from the hospital in a couple days. The next day she suddenly took a turn for the worst and never regained consciousness. Once again since we live over 600 miles apart, I never got to see her before she died. It hit me really hard but this time I was careful not to blame God and thought I had handled it pretty well..until tonight after reading your post. As I drove home all of the anger, grief, and feelings of abandonment suddenly flooded over me all over again and I became that 9 year old girl all over again. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It showed me that i too have actually buried some things and am still in need of healing. But is also give me hope that Good loves me too much to leave me in my wounded state and that he is more committed to my healing that I am (even in my strongest attempts to heal myself). Maybe I need to come to your conference.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thank you so much, Dan, I am honored by your comment. You have been a shining light to me in so many ways. I am so thankful. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that sharing my pain can help so many others.

  • Jevonnah, thanks for being so transparent. What I am learning in my coaching, is that when I step out and admit an area of weakness or a struggle, the client always relaxes and opens up more with me. You are setting a great and Godly example.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thank you so much, Steve. You are right. Admitting our areas of struggle creates more opportunities for clients to open up. All my best to you!

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Rochelle, your story touched me profoundly. Thank you for being so open and honest. I’d love to see you at a VIP Day or a Deep-Dive. Your story is needed and will impact so many people. I truly understand where you’re coming from. You’re not alone. Praying for you always.

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  • Crystal Smith

    Wow, I’ve been challenged with blogging about my abandonment issues with my father. Actually. my Dad is the one who encouraged me to write about our issues. Your story was very moving and you’ve provided me with some insight on how to write about a painful past and still honor my father. Great work. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to work with you since I’m just down the road from ya (Pensacola, FL). Once again very inspiring and touching.

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thanks, Crystal! I look forward to the great things that will come out of your writing! Great things are in store for you.

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