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