"One day I received a call that my father had passed out on a South Carolina sidewalk. He was taken to the hospital and placed in ICU. I received another call 36 hours later telling me he was gone. He never regained consciousness. Over the next few hours I struggled with how to feel, what to think, and what would be expected of me. You see, in the years since the poems were written, the healing had been received, and the advocacy work began, my father and I had built a relationship – an albeit distant one – but one that seemed to work for us. At least on the surface.
As I tried to make sense of things, the most amazing thing happened: my Heavenly Father flooded my soul with His presence until a truth stood out like a sore thumb: my father wasn’t a perfect father, but I hadn’t been a perfect daughter either. (to him or to God). Knowing I had some repenting to do, I lowered my head to pray.
The next time I looked up, Father's Day was approaching. Again, God sent revelation to me, this time through a song called "Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. The line that hit me like a ton of bricks is “and I’m loved by you, that’s who I am.” For so long I allowed my childhood to define me as “the child of an abuser and the child of the abused.” But the line in song noted above made me realize that my identity lies in the fact that I am loved by God. This divine reminder was a clarion call for me that it was time for me to let go of the past, and of all my father/daughter regrets, disappointments and issues. The truth is that I though I may resented and I also loved him. And I will miss him. I’ll miss his calls, his jokes, and his visits. But I won’t miss the bad memories. Because I’ve decided to let them die with him.
Although the words I heard for the first 18 years of my life hurt me in more ways than I can say, I found out that there can also be freedom in words. And power. And healing. The two words that began my healing were I Remember. The two words that completed my healing were I Forgive."
Click here to order a copy of Words Will Never Hurt Me.
Click here to listen to Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin.
If you are being abused call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at
(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or (800) 787-3224 (TTY).