To the Girl Without a Father

Creative Commons. Lauren Hammond

I wrote this letter to myself and every other “Fatherless girl” many months ago, and it was probably the most healing collection of words I have ever written. I tried to publish it on a number of other blogs because it seemed a little too “close to home” for my own site. I may seem honest on here, but I am privately open. There are some things I keep close to my heart and one of them is my experience of not knowing my father when I was growing up.

However, last night when I was working out what to publish today, it felt right. I’m ready for my past to help others as I know there are many girls and women who have struggled as I have. I am simultaneously terrified and excited to share this with you.

As you read, try to remember that today I am different. Today I have a relationship with my earthly father that the girl in this story didn’t. Today and every day, the Lord is restoring the years that the locusts have stolen.

***

Precious girl. You’ve lived your while life trying to convince people that you are loveable. You’ve spent years being loud and outrageous so that others would take notice and think you were special, when deep down you didn’t even believe it yourself. You just so desperately wanted it to be true. Are you tired? I can see it on your face despite your sweet youth.

All that smiling and pretending, all the pining for attention, it came from somewhere deep and dark in your then-adolescent heart. Somewhere lonely. It came from the place that housed the lie that has defined your life until now; that you were unwanted.

There was a guy. His aloofness towards you was attractive because you didn’t know you deserved more. He took your tender heart into his uncaring hands and broke it a little bit more. It hurt, but the rejection was all too familiar and before long it had happened again with someone else. Though you were hurt, you weren’t surprised by this pattern because it only drove the point home further: rejection was your birth right. Lies, lies, lies. Still hanging over your now-adult head and still stealing your joy, your security and your identity.

After seeking out male love and validation for your whole life, you finally met a good man with faithful intentions. It was terrifying. His affection and devotion toward you came up against the solid brick wall you had built around your heart. Every single time he attempted to shed light on the truth that you are beautiful, funny and talented…. BAM. You were both trying so hard; him to convince you that you were worth loving, and you to believe him. It became exhausting for both of you and you pushed him away for the final time. You couldn’t let him in because you weren’t ready, but God knows you tried.

“Where to now?” you’ve been thinking. You can’t seem to find the fulfillment you need, every relationship is a dead-end and you constantly feel empty. I know, I’ve been there and it’s incredibly frustrating. You want to be whole and happy but you don’t know how. You know God loves you in your head but nothing is changing; you aren’t changing.

Little lady, it’s time you knew it in your heart.

The rejection that hung over your childhood like a dark cloud and labelled you as unworthy, it broke you when you were just an innocent little girl. Your beautiful mother did an amazing job of pouring love into you, but she couldn’t fill the gap of your father. There’s no shame in your brokenness but there’s also no life in it, and definitely no future for you there. Now, after experiencing first hand that no man can heal you, it’s high time you let God do what He’s best at. It’s time you let Him be your Father.

Restoration is waiting at your door. Will you open it and invite Him in?

There was no one to tell you the truth when you were young, so of course you didn’t know it. There was no Dad to lift you high on his shoulders and plant seeds of self-worth. There was no male role-model to set you apart as unique, lovely and talented. You didn’t have an adoring Daddy to admire your pretty dress and sweet laugh. That isn’t fair and it wasn’t meant to be this way.

But it’s not too late! Not now, not ever.

Jesus has a plan which starts with exposing, attacking and eradicating the lies that you are unwanted, rejected and not valuable. He will then replace those now vacant spaces in your heart with the truth: that you are absolutely loved, fully accepted and devastatingly beautiful.

Restoration is waiting at your door. Will you open it and invite Him in?

No boyfriend or husband, no matter how much he loves you, can fill that gaping hole that has been left by your absent father. Your partner can be an extension of God’s love for you, but he alone will never be enough. It is a father shaped hole, and thankfully our God is the greatest Father of all.

You are enough as you are, and God is enough for you as He is.

All it takes is a whisper that yes, you’ll invite Him in. Over time as you experience God’s redemptive love; that whisper will become a shout in the face of the lies that have held you back all this time.

You are loved and you do have a Father!

So sweet girl, take your broken heart off your sleeve and pass God the baton, ‘cause He’s got it covered from here. As He redefines your value and rewrites your future, you will shine. You won’t have to convince yourself and the world that you are lovable, because your newfound identity as a precious daughter of Christ will do it for you.

Restoration is waiting at your door. Will you open it and invite Him in?

***

Please leave a comment so that I’m not left here feeling vulnerable and stupid. Was your father around; was he what you needed? Do you relate to this girl I am writing the letter to? 

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Confession: I can’t fix myself & I don’t know everything

I like to think I’m pretty emotionally stable. I process my emotions, I don’t run away (I try not to anyway) and I cry a lot.  I’ve even been known to call myself a ‘self-analysing pro’ because I can come up with a reason for every single one of my behaviours. I’ve got my sh*t sorted right?

Wrong. Turns out I am somewhat of an ’emotional perfectionist’ (self-diagnosed, of course. See previous paragraph!). No but seriously, I like to be so in control of my feelings and know exactly why I do everything that I don’t let things happen organically.

This is my greatest blessing and my greatest curse, because while I’m very emotionally ‘in-touch’ (are you loving all this psycho-babble?) I also over-think to the point of insanity and exhaustion.

When I talk to my friends I like to sound like I’ve got it all together. Then in the dark of the night I break down, because emotions and grief work on their own schedule that you can’t really control. Turns out being human has some painful disruptions, and I don’t have my sh*t sorted at all. 

So I told my over-active mind to go on holiday and called in a professional.

Yes, I’ve started seeing a counsellor; someone who has qualifications and actually knows what he is talking about; someone who can help me fix me so I don’t have to do it all by myself.

I went to my first session with a heavy heart; I was sad, lonely and running on empty. On the journey there I prayed ‘Please Lord let this be good for me, let me gain something from this because I’m spent and don’t have any strength left’. God heard me. I sat there and released months worth of tear-stained words to someone who is paid to listen to me. I didn’t feel guilty for ‘dumping’ on him, I just went for it (pray for him, poor guy!). He helped me reach some important conclusions in that very first session and I  left feeling so light I thought I might just fly.

The second session was a little harder, grittier and a hell of a lot more painful. That’s when the good stuff happens though and hey, I’m still alive. During these sessions my pain is justified, understood and accepted, but our (my counsellor’s and mine) ambition is my healing and I’m not allowed to sit in my pain and pity for longer than necessary. I must keep moving forward.

I’d rather be dealing with this at 22 than at 42, 52, 62 when I’ve caused other people pain from my own wounded heart. Have you heard? Hurt people hurt people. All of my hurt has come from hurt people, and out of that hurt I’ve hurt more people. It’s a vicious cycle, BUT I have the power to break it and it’s my choice whether I do or not. No I won’t ever be perfect but the goal isn’t perfection, it’s wholeness in Christ so that I’m not operating everyday life out of brokenness.

You might be thinking ‘gosh she is so honest, telling the blogosphere she is screwed up enough to go to counselling’. If it helps you, then heck yes I am honest enough. Frankly we are all screwed up at least a tiny bit, even if we like to act like we’re not. It’s what makes us beautifully human. 

Here’s a tip sponsored by moi: if you have faced trials in the past that you still haven’t overcome, or if you’ve never been to a counsellor, or just think it would be good for you, then go and talk to someone. Who knows, you may only need one session, or you’ll need loads. Whatever the case, deal with your pain so that it doesn’t deal with you. Also I personally think that if you’re in a relationship then it’s even more important; there is a lot of stuff that comes up when we share our lives intimately with someone, and sometimes they can’t carry our baggage. Oh and because I don’t like to leave anyone out: if you really are emotionally stable and this doesn’t apply to you, then that is great and feel free to ignore this paragraph!

All this was to say it’s nice not having to figure everything out by myself. Yes I still have to think, feel, process. However I am externalising it in a healthy environment instead of running circles in my mind. Oh and in case you were wondering, my over-active mind came back from her holiday and then handed in her notice of resignation. Turns out I don’t need her anymore, anyway!

If you can closely relate to the above and need to talk to someone about it, then feel free email me. Sometimes it’s just nice knowing someone understands and is there to listen.