Up until my husband became a father, I was never a fan of Father's Day. My earthly father has not been the kind of man that one should ever celebrate or devote an entire day to, and Father's Day was always a hard day filled with flashbacks from my childhood, anger, and sadness.
But something incredible happened.
I watched the man that I married become a father to our son, and then our daughter, and I started to heal. Seeing the way a father should act has been one of the most beautiful things I've witnessed in my adulthood. Now, the man I chose to marry is the complete opposite of my father. For starters, he's not an abusive alcohol so I call that a big win from the get-go, but it's more than that. My husband is gentle and patient, he is kind and silly, and the best part of all he that is a Christ follower who teaches our children about God. Seeing him interact with our children has slowly but surely put all of those broken pieces back together.
Right about now I'm sure I sound like a Kelly Clarkson song, and if that's what you're thinking then you'd be right. Sweet Kelly and I apparently have a lot in common when it comes to our father's, and her most recent song Piece by Piece is one that is very dear to me. While my father didn't abandon me like Kelly's did, he created a hostile and abusive environment for my sisters and I to grow up in. He emotionally, verbally, and physically abused my mother, and when I got old enough he tried to do the same to me.
Except I left home at 17 to live with my grandmother and I never looked back. Because while I saw what was happening all those years, I swore that I would never let a man treat me like that, and to this day one never has. (Well, they've tried...but this Cajun mouth hasn't kept quiet, and those men have no part in my life.)
To this day there is still turmoil with my father. He is erratic and even more of a drunk than he used to be. I've tried to help...tried to allow him to be a grandfather to my children, but the first time he yelled at me in front my children was the last time he ever saw them. As a Christian, I do believe that one should honor their mother and their father (Exodus 20:12), but I also believe that you should distance yourself from things causing you to sin and things that are toxic. (Mark 9:47)
So that's what I've done.
Last month on the day I finished graduate school and earned a Masters degree, I received three incredibly rude and threatening messages from my father. He'd just figured out that I removed him from my Facebook and he could no longer see pictures of my children, and he was furious. He told me I was crazy...that I was messed up in the head. That I was a child and a coward and threatened that something would happen if he was not allowed to see his grandchildren. (FYI - all curse words have been removed)
On that day, in my heart, it. was. done. I was done. The power that he once had over me was gone because I was no longer a little girl, but a mother with an instinct to protect her children, and I was livid. The strange thing is that I no longer feel anger towards him, only sorrow for all that he has lost. I have forgiven him in my heart for all of his wrongdoings, but will not allow him to cause anymore harm.
On this day, Father's Day, I am disappointed that I do not get to celebrate that relationship in my own life, but I am abundantly excited to shower my husband with love. I know that in this world marriages fail just as often as they succeed, but I truly have faith that our marriage will be one that lasts. However, if something goes wrong and I do nothing else right, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that my children have been blessed with the most amazing father.
It's taken a really long time to understand this because in my mind the word father is not synonymous with good things, but I do have another father. This Father adores me and is proud of me. He will never hurt me or leave me. He is perfect and caring and a King, and technically that makes me a princess. I know that I can do all things through His strength, and that He is always there for me.
And that's a beautiful thing.
***If you're reading this and can relate to the relationship that I have with my earthly father, I urge you to come to terms with the facts, get angry about it and then let that anger go. Forgive him. If you can repair that relationship, try. If you've tried there's still suffering, walk away. Pray for him. He will always be your father, but he doesn't have the right to hold that fact over your head or to take credit for your accomplishments. Run to your heavenly Father. Dive into His Word. It's going to be okay. Maybe not right away, but eventually, you're going to be okay.***