My first memory of my dad was at 2-3….it was summer time my mother and I waited in a car in front of a mob affiliated bar…I add this point for extra clarity on how dangerous and desperate this was. My mom would wait until he was done spending money with the boys on drinks and games, to see what was left over for her. This night that I remember he came out to the car and I scurried to the back intimidated by this very muscular albeit handsome guy…. He leaned in and said “you don’t have to be afraid of me…I am your daddy”…. The next day I was able to get a sundress with a part of the money for sitting there with mom…For a long while since that day and for several reasons…I was never able to accept much for gifts or recognition without thinking it must be earned…even if by just humiliating yourself. When I was 3-4 my dad left town….one afternoon this man who I resembled far more than my mother’s side and who may drop a gift or relieve a financial stress by giving mom some cash…never stopped by again.
But it was what happened at 5 that really matters…I stood in a church and I looked at kids with dads and wondered why they had one- but mine left….just that week my grandmother was kind enough to point out how much I look like him and how disappointing that is and will be to me. Prayer time came and I asked God why…. and for the first time that small voice was heard and it comforted me with “I love you and you are mine….I will be your dad”. I just knew God was real in that moment and I said my salvation prayer and I was baptized within weeks after a pastoral interview – that moved him as much as it did me…shout out to that
pastor and his validation!
I would like to say that moment fully healed a heart and answered all questions….or that nothing else bad happened to me as a child- but that’s not the case. I stayed with my faith and I wanted to obey my heavenly father…but understanding the how and why he would or could like me still when to me the day my biological father left seemed part of the verdict on my worthiness.
I understood God wanted to be my dad….I did not really fully understand what a dad was though. Would he want to prosper me, how we would he find me worthy- a girl whose father did not- and in doing so became the example for my grandmother and church on how to treat me- this illegitimate child! Like his rejection and
decision was some predictor of my future value….and now that there was a consensus among all of them… it must be God’s opinion too right? I mean they were some of the leaders!
I was very shy until High School…oh I brought my bible to Kindergarten and gave the teacher my bible after a big Heaven talk and asked her to say the salvation prayer…and she did! But with the kids…forget it….that is until I blossomed in HS. I went to an art school where you had to declare art majors and where 50% of all classes were those majors…mine were Photography and Interior Design. I should hope one could find a social circle! I loved hanging with them and I still have relationships with teachers and former students but I did not want to do the things they were doing…drugs, sex, drinking I passed on it all…completely. It was that spirit behind the voice that pierced my 5-year-old heart and that I knew It could see what I was doing… and I could and did not want to make Him upset or disappointed with me.
But even with that determination to please Him…I was vulnerable. I was fighting for myself now…daily with my mom and grandma…fighting for my position and value because who else would right? If fighting did not work I ran for the hills…time alone were some of the best times. The one option I would never fully consider
is asking God to speak to them , or fight for my feelings and heart… I was still not completely sure their opinions were not His opinion of me too. I could so believe He wanted me and my heart, just not that he necessarily enjoyed either.
I know I am not the only one…or that you need your dad to run like a thief to feel this way. In fact I do not think you have to be fatherless to have had something happen that has made you feel so wanted by God…but yet not as valuable to Him as others.
How have I moved forward with those feelings? I do not believe in the fake it until you make it philosophy with something like this…this is a family matter! I think we have to be honest about these feelings- even if you feel you will be judged as spiritually immature….this is heart matter, a wounded heart matter – it needs healing, not just profound wisdom.I call it out to God…because like any good father, I find He wants you to know
HOW he loves you. I found with quiet pleadings, a fast if struggling with something deeper… and certainly with every tear…. He shows. Because after all I am daddy’s little girl
Have I completely healed? NO!! Even now having experienced various types of good relationships, having a wonderful son, accomplished a few career highlights and even though there is so much progress with my mom now…. because dad’s are so important there can be specific situations or a moment that may bring me back….And that is when I need to go back to acting like His child! I kick and scream, moan and complain that he has not done enough in a situation or ask why with a whine. Then after that I go into child like guilt for disrespecting dad and being ungrateful….so I shed a few tears for that (see I really am somehow merely and yet profoundly his child)…after all that I can rest with remembering his words “I will be your dad”! Then I begin being honest with him, reminding him that he is not here to hug me (DAD HUGS ROCK)….that I have I never heard any parent audibly say I love you… And then ask He please be here and please remember and pardon my human limitations. Sometimes I feel his pain with and for me…sometimes honestly he makes me end the pity party. But every time my honesty with my Dad (and most others for that matter) about what I am really
feeling and NOT just what I think or they and others think I should be feeling…with that admitting…something wonderful shifts in my heart or life….every time- even if not instantly. I also get to feel the bruises heal even more.
I decided to humbly accept and somewhat nervously write this – you see I am not fully healed from a brain injury so please pardon the imperfections in this my first writing since….but I knew the wonderful Chris would be kind and I knew he was doing something important with this project for you dads! I hoped my story could help fully illustrate the long-lasting power you have in helping raise Daughters With Purpose…. and that it is not in just being the first tangible understanding of God THE FATHER – which it is, or covering protector -which you are…but you have the power to create the native language that will define her worthiness.
In many cases your treatment of your daughter will set how others from adult men and women, to her own girlfriends and yes of course boyfriends and maybe even the church community around her…believes she deserves to be treated. Is it fair? NO…. Is it a big responsibility? YES…but should it be hard? I think only if you refuse to try or wait for her to lead. Hugs, texts, flowers, compliments and mostly her knowing you are praying for her…it’s ok to romance your daughter’s heart! Please know you have the power to contribute in large part just how well she thinks she should be treated, her worthiness! More importantly… just maybe how
much she also feels she can be enjoyed and valued by God! GO DADS! And to MY Dad- thanks for coming for me so young…you have saved my life twice! I am so fortunate for that personal love and I adore you….and I can’t wait for Jesus to give me that hug!
Jules is a remarkable woman who I have enjoyed connecting with on Twitter. You can follower her @julesmarie26. She is a New England native who spends a good deal of her living in NYC working as a Music and Sports Industry Manager. She is a mom to a great 9 yr old boy and has adopted 2 boys in their teens who are now in their early 20’s. Those older two boys refer to her as their sister…cause truly she is not old enough to be mom.. Part of who she is means having an open door policy at my home where she loves to cook and plan events for friends and clients!