Maybe you’re like me.
Take a deep breath. Let the relief wash over you. It’s over.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe Father’s Day is this mixed bag of wanting to love and honor the man you raise children with, and gingerly protecting your heart from the arrows of praise flying around you about other people’s dads. Maybe you too avoid social media, restaurants, and even church on that day, because it’s all just a little too much. Maybe you also think you are ok, only to find that while it may take a bit more prodding to produce pain, the wounds to your heart are still just as present.
Maybe you already know that they just don’t make a card for the way you feel.
It’s funny how we see ourselves, so resilient and strong. We speak of “getting over” relational pain, and “moving on” from past hurts, as though we are simply describing taking antibiotics for an infection. But really, heartbreak is a chronic condition to be managed, not cured. I wonder how many fathers would leave their families if we told them “by leaving your child, you are giving them diabetes. They will always have it, and it will cause significant life changes, and perhaps even death. It will affect them negatively for the rest of their life”, if more fathers would pause before bailing?
My heart wants to scream “YOU DON’T AFFECT ME”, but my heart whispers “You affect me every day”. Even now, writing this makes me feel small and vulnerable. I used to feel guilt and shame any time I felt any emotion about the absence of my father, as though I was telling God that He wasn’t enough for me. I covered that pain in big theology words like forgiveness, sanctification, and suffering in joy. The problem was, I never allowed myself to suffer. And so my joy was swallowed up too.
Maybe you’re nodding your head.
I’ve said this before, that this is my favorite verse in the Bible- “The Lord is like a Father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He knows how weak we are, He remembers that we are only dust.“- Psalm 103:13-14 I love this for so many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that it shatters my idea that I annoy God with my suffering. That He’s up in heaven just tapping his foot and waiting for me to get over it already! That He rolls His eyes when I avert mine from scenes of grown women and their fathers.
Here is what I know. Growing up without a father sucks. Am I better off without his influence, I don’t know, but I know that not having a father is not what He intended for me. I know that I am 36 and I still expect abandonment from others. I know that there are issues and questions I have that I don’t want to go to my friends with, I want to go to a father with. I know that I don’t trust others easily. I know that I mourn that Wes never had to have the nervous talk about marrying me with anyone. I know that my children will continue to ask more and more questions. I know that it doesn’t take much to put me back in that child’s place, watching him walk away. I know that I don’t struggle with jealousy or envy much, except when I watch those women whose eyes light up when they talk about their dads.
Here’s what I know. Jesus IS enough. Enough to handle my happiness AND sorrow. Strong enough to deal with my anger. Tender enough to lift my head. Patient enough to walk with me through my trust issues and faithful enough to remind me of the truth when lies feel safe. Kind enough to not force me to process all my pain at once, and gentle enough to allow me time to slowly peel back the layers of pain. He is enough.
Maybe you’re like me.
Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies.@yahoo.com
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