We (sort of) recently celebrated father’s day. It tends to be a bittersweet day for me. It is a reminder of both good and bad. I love that we have a day to celebrate fathers. I love that we have days to celebrate parents. They should be celebrated. They have a hard job.
Parents have a profound impact on our lives.
I often wish I could say my (biological) dad had no impact on my life. Or that I only have happy memories of him. Unfortunately neither is true. Someone once told me that as a girl my father was my “first love”. It sounds a little weird but I get it. He was the first man I loved. As much as I may not like it, I probably would have been considered a daddy’s girl growing up. I loved my mom and was close with her but I spent more time with my dad. I was the first born golden child that did everything he wanted. I excelled in school, made friends quickly, was musical, did well in sports. I was also a leader and he liked that. Probably because he saw himself in me. I was who he wanted me to be I put on a great outward performance.
I am my father’s daughter.
I got his sense of humor. I got many of his characteristics. I even look like him. I also took on some of his not so desirable characteristics. I loved control and often successfully controlled and manipulated those around me. I liked to live both sides of the coin: multiple youth groups & lots of time in church pedaling the squeaky clean image while also stealing, lying, bullying others, & spending time with people who were less than a great influence. I loved to live to the brim in hypocrisy like him.
I often hate that I am so much like him. I look in the mirror at times and am literally faced with the similarities. I spent so much time being angry with him and myself. I was angry with him because the first man I loved ended up betraying and wounding me so deeply. I was angry with myself that I was affected by his actions and that he had any impact on my life period.
I didn’t want to admit to any happy memories at all. It was much easier to hang on to anger when there are no “happy” connections to that person. I often laughed around my dad. I learned about leadership. I became better at things because of his coaching.
I didn’t want to admit his words hurt me. They cultivated shame in me – how could I think that about him? They cultivated a hatred for my appearance – it was never good enough. They cultivated deep insecurity – I was never quite perfect and that was not okay. I learned to fear, distrust, & disrespect males in general.
In taking my mother he changed the course of my life forever. That kindled a fiery anger.
I learned my anger only affected me though. It made me an unpleasant person. It made me unwilling to feel anything. It hindered my relationships with friends, parents, & Christ.
In letting go I walked into light.
Because of Marty’s actions I am liberated. I am liberated from the abusive, manipulative, & controlling environment he created. I am free from being fed lies. My mother was liberated. My brother was liberated. And on top of that – we have a new family. We have new siblings & parents. We have a new father.
No parent is perfect and my life is a testament to that. Most do their best but they fall short. We all fall short at some point of some thing (usually multiple things). I do have a Father who is perfect in all ways though. Who sat with me in the tears, in the anger, & held me in the times I fought everyone else off.
There’s a worship song I love & the chorus sums up where I rest:
“You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, It’s who you are
It’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am
It’s who I am”
I am my Father’s daughter.
Therein lies my comfort. There is my perfection. There is all the things I cannot and do not need to be. There is the place to bring my sorrow & pain where it is transformed into joy. Into light.