My Early Young Adult Years
Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic that people are just starting to talk about in society. I don’t understand why my dad did the things he did to me. I can bet he too was abused in some way, shape or form. My father died about six years ago. He is no longer in my life. Well, that kind of started when I turned 18, got married, and left my house for good to save my life and my sanity. Ever since then, our relationship was virtually non-existent. We talked every now and then.
He tried to reach me countless times but I never returned his call. I can remember one distinct time I answered the phone. We talked. He kept saying how sorry he was for hurting me. It took many, many years of sorting through why my childhood was filled with secrets, lies, and sexual abuse. I wondered why I didn’t have a special relationship with my dad. The kind that a little girl trusts her dad will never hurt her or harm her.
When I look into my dads eyes I wanted to know if he loved me and would he protect me but instead all I thought was “Is it going to happen today?” I asked God many times, “Why did this happen to me, God?” I remember when I was a child looking out the window of our one bedroom home just starring into the dark sky with lots of stars and just having simple conversations with God about my life and the abuse. I told God that one-day I am going to leave. I figured that my life had to get better than this.
Later on in my life…The Chapter of Forgiveness
In my adult life, I held onto something though. It was anger, bitterness, and punishment…I could not forgive my dad. My heart was in such pain. I just tucked in all the pain each time I would feel it creep up. I was driven to be successful and part of that was keeping my mind busy from the thoughts of my pain.
I knew I had to make it in this world so I did not have to depend on anyone. I was always told how we needed to forgive others just as Christ forgave us for our sins (Ephesians 4:32) but I couldn’t get a grasp on doing that thing called forgiveness.
But little by little, God showed me how
He had to break me piece-by-piece to free me of that sin I was holding onto because I struggled with forgiving my dad
It was a process of many years
I felt like I had to punish him for all the wrong he did to me. I was angry and bitter. I had to take revenge. The only way I knew how to punish him was to stay away because he kept trying to contact me. My kids did not know my dad at all; they do not have any pictures with him and do not have any memory of meeting him. That’s because my dad was kept out of their life and I made sure of that.
There were solid boundaries protecting us to ensure our safety. I did that mainly to protect my kids from a child molester. It was my choice and a simple one for me actually. The process of forgiveness was quite lengthy for me. It is different for everybody. I had to be set free from holding onto something that was hurting me inside.
It took me a long time to let go and to understand that total forgiveness is not condoning what my dad did to me but it was not my job to punish him for all the wrong he did. That was God’s job. I had to relinquish my trust in God to do His part.
Forgiveness is not a Feeling
What I learned is total forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice. For some reason it is easier to hold on to that anger and bitterness. I don’t know why. It feels more comfortable to hold onto anger than forgiving. Forgiving someone seems like it’s a sign of defeat on our part. But I am here to tell you it isn’t. It is quite the opposite!!!
Total forgiveness is difficult but it brings about the absence of bitterness. Total forgiveness begins in the heart, your heart, and my heart. I forgave my dad. If he were alive I would look him straight in his eyes and tell him, “Dad, I have forgiven you.” But he no longer shares this world with me. He died suddenly and unexpectedly.
I think the last time I saw him was a year before he died. I am going to talk about forgiveness in these next four blog posts. Forgiveness is tough but it is necessary in order for us to be set free in order to move on. Maybe you are dealing with something that needs to be resolved within the realm of forgiveness. I would love to hear about it, just click here and write me.