Fathers day is historically almost as challenging as Mother’s day. Almost.
The only difference between the two is a level of indifference when contemplating my history. You see, I grew up with my mother – and despite the dozens of relationships and father figures she dished up for us, when all was inevitably done and dusted it always came back down to her and me. My father on the other hand was little more than a sperm donor – and I don’t say that in a bitter or hateful way. It’s just the truth. I only know a few things about him and judging from what little information I do have, I can quite emphatically say; that’s enough thank you very much.
Apparently my biological father was a devil worshiper who told my pregnant mother that his cat (who was his ‘medium’) was jealous of me so it was safer if she moved out. Ok...? Not long after this, in fact 2 months before I was born he walked out of my Grandparents house and went missing, and Mum – fearing for his life because he was also a heroin addict, reported him to the police only to find out that he had given her a fake name the entire time and he was actually a wanted criminal.
While I may be able to get over everything else, the devil worshiping thing doesn’t exactly inspire me to want to find him and get to know him. Who knows he may have turned his life around but I’ve never really been interested. I guess that’s a good thing – better than pining over a long lost dead beat dad anyway. It truly is the small things I find myself thankful for.
Then came her first husband which didn’t work out too well – alcohol, affairs and abuse pretty much sums it up. The only good thing that came out of that relationship was my brother. But we never got the chance to get to know each other as his father took him away and threatened my mother that if she came looking, he would take me to. Now I don't know if that's the whole story, in fact it probably isn't, but nevertheless - very sad for both of us. In fact I can’t even imagine (being a mother myself now) what it must have truly been like for her to lose her son and die without ever seeing him again. Soul destroying I think.
Then came the next husband – a true psychopath. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse! To this day I still can’t figure out why she chose to marry him after he chased her down the street in a fit of rage with a butcher knife trying to kill her. Time spent lying in a drain as she hid from the monster should have given her a pretty good chance to think about it. But no – he was an upstanding citizen with a future, a doctor nonetheless, and she was not going to let this one escape. Again affairs and abuse were the norm, but this time the victim wasn’t just her. For 7 years this man (who had become my legal adopted father) sexually abused me. He used his position as a doctor to cover it up, often drugging me and making excuses that “he was allowed because first of all, he was a doctor, and more importantly because he was my father and he loved me and this is what fathers do” (in that order). What did I know? Nothing except psychological exhaustion. Many of those years were spent alone with him in his house after they divorced so much of the time I was left alone to deal with it.
My teenage years became very difficult, as news of the abuse spread like wildfire in our small town and I was expected to take the ugly legal road. My mother – being just as traumatised by the revelation that her only daughter had been molested all those years – carried on seeking and finding comfort and security in the next mans arms. Some of them were actually really nice, and so were their families, but it would ALWAYS end badly and I got so sick of moving in and out of the boyfriends houses that I decided to leave home and be responsible for myself. That didn’t really work out too well either…I was only 16, and all I knew was that I wanted to stay put and have a life that didn’t rely on different men to make my mother happy. Then came the drugs, alcohol, depression, suicidal tendencies…you name it – I went through it.
I was 25 when I found my next father figure. I wasn’t planning on it – but the closer I got to him and his family, the more I let down my guard and started to trust again. This time I was sure I wouldn’t be hurt because this relationship was built on Godly foundations - and I trusted that. I was a mess when I walked into that church and it certainly did help save my life. 13 years past and the relationship grew, changed, reframed, strengthened, and everything in between. At first I looked up to him as a father figure, but as I matured the relationship grew into something even better. A genuine friendship - or so I thought. The church was instructed to call him their “spiritual father” but to me he and his wife were much more than this. They grew me up, taught me everything about the Kingdom of God, baptised me, married me, named my son, was there helping to save my life when he was born, dedicated my son, shared every single key event in my life within those 13 years and then…. betrayed us all. Betrayal is such a harsh word but that is exactly what he did. It may be his own family that is hurt the most, but he made himself responsible for ALL of us. He let ALL of us down. I’m not going to go into brutal detail out of respect for common decency, but it was pretty bad and involved countless people being hurt. Regardless of this fact, I actually have no right to point the finger or judge anyone for screwing up. I'm just sharing a hugely significant part of my journey around the subject of Fathers and the role they played in my life. I can't tell my story without telling this part sadly enough!
Truth is, I've done a lot of growing up since this happened, and worked really hard at that thing called forgiveness. Because as you can imagine it brought to the surface a whole lot of rubbish from past hurts. I know ultimately that the only person you can really trust is God Himself, because every single one of us screws up. None of us human beings are perfect and there's some sort of weird comradeship that comes with the acceptance of this truth. I know he, or anyone else that has happened upon my life and messed it up a bit did not do any of this deliberately. They didn't sit down one night with a pen and paper and map out exactly how they were going to mess with my life or anyone elses. It's not as simple as that right? I mean how many times have you hurt someone unintentionally? Or even intentionally, not realising the damage it could actually cause? Just some food for thought. I know Father's Day can be challenging for some, for so many reasons. I get it. I was that person for a long time, but I've learnt some things during my time in the fire.
Basically I don't waste any more time getting offended or pining for something I always had. Because I did always have it, whether I knew it or not. A Father that is. And so do you! You just have to accept it/Him and get on with the rest of your life! It can be done, I promise...
Today I woke up and even though it wasn't in the grand 'Father's Day plan', I felt like I needed to go to church. I put my case forward to the hubby and said to him that I really wanted to honour my real father today. Of course he agreed. I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that I wasn't feeling sad or displaced, despite all the different slices of my story I just shared with you all. And to top it off the service was full of inspiring stories and wisdom from Dads who are really awesome. You can either get sad about that, or celebrate it. I know what I CHOOSE to do!
So today should, by all accounts, be a challenging day. But it just isn't. Because I have the best Dad in the world! I may not always understand why He does the things He does, or allows certain things to happen that may seem contrary (in our minds) to what a Good Father would allow, but I do appreciate how I've grown through it all and how He's never left my side once.
Some people have asked me how it is I can trust God and go back to church after everything that's happened. Firstly, it wasn't "God" that did anything to me so that whole distrust thing is redundant. Secondly, I decided something a long time ago:
That I loved God, more than I loved pain.
This is my love in action. And because of this and the abundance of grace He gives me, I AM GOOD. It’s not by my own strength that I am able to genuinely and wholeheartedly celebrate Fathers Day each year, but it is made easier by witnessing and honoring my husband for his beautiful example of fatherhood. Not perfect (who is?) but a heart determined to try, and feet hearty enough to walk it out. Then there is my Father in-law, who has the biggest most loyal heart, and is really just a big softy even though he can look pretty scary (not to me though) lol. These two guys love their families fiercely and know how to make us feel loved, secure, and protected.
Yes there are some good solid examples of fathers out there and we can thank God for that, even if we didn't have one! We can also thank Him for being the best Father ever!!
So Happy Fathers Day Daddy God. I've loved you since the moment I met you, and I will keep loving you for all of eternity. You are everything I never thought I had, plus so much more. And Happy Father's Day to all you other Dad's out there, especially the Tereu men. B x