Lies and deception. You never really know you are being deceived until somebody else points it out to you. We become deceived when we believe a lie. Hmm. That is a loaded statement. Let me unpack that for you.
July 7th was the 30 year anniversary of my dad’s death from lung cancer. For 20 of those years, I mourned his death. I felt the loss always but especially around the holidays, Father’s Day, on his birthday, and on July 7th. He was in WWII and had a military funeral. So whenever I heard the trumpet play “Taps”, I would lose it. Dad served on the front lines in the army in France and Italy. Seeing so much death, your friends killed, and almost being killed yourself can really affect a person. Dad was an alcoholic. Being a fully recovered workaholic, alcoholic, drug addict, and co-dependent myself, I’ve learned a lot about addictive behaviors. Alcohol is what dad used to numb his pain. Those bad habits are what I used to numb mine.
Back in the ’40′s and ’50′s, alcoholism was considered to be a “sickness” and there wasn’t any knowledge as to root causes of addictive behaviors. Alcoholic’s Anonymous was available at the time, but that wasn’t the cure nor the answer for my dad. He wouldn’t go. After 17 hard years of trying to save the marriage, my mom chose to call it quits with my dad. I was 6. Dad had visitation rights every Sunday. Sometimes he would show up, sometimes not. When he did, we would go to the local tavern for the day and I would play pool or poker with his drinking buddies. He had a stroke when I was about 10 so mom did her best to drive me out to the city on Sundays to see him when she could.
I met my first boyfriend when I was 15 who would eventually become my husband. He was good about driving me out to see my dad on the weekends. Then dad died when I was 23. I had these dreams and expectations that I would one day have the relationship with my dad that I longed for. The kind of relationship I saw on TV shows like The Bill Cosby Show or The Andy Griffith Show or Little House on the Prairie. Those dreams died when my dad died. I think the death of those dreams and expectations is what I was really mourning for those 20 years.
Then one day as I was weed eating a house (I had a landscaping business), the Lord showed me some things about my dad. During this encounter, He showed me that I had put my dad up on this pedestal because I adored him so but that I was being tormented by lies, deception, and my inability to grasp the truth. The truth was that dad never really wanted children; any children, not just me. That he had rejected and abandoned me even when he was present. How he really didn’t want anything to do with me. The Lord reminded me how my dad’s mother (whom he lived with) threatened to take away his beer and cigarettes if he didn’t walk me down the aisle when I got married. There was a lot more that I won’t go into.
I cried and cried as I finished my work on that house. It was true. All of it. But I just didn’t want to see it before. A wave of peace washed over me at some point. Within a week or so, I went through the process of forgiving my dad. You may wonder why I would do this post-mortem, but it was necessary for ME to get free. I wrote dad a long letter which included all I was forgiving him for, all my pent-up feelings, broken dreams, and unmet needs and expectations. It was an extremely hard thing to do and came with many tears and sobbing. Then I tore up that letter and burned it. Oh what a release I felt. This extremely heavy weight that I was carrying was finally gone. I still think of dad often in a good and loving way, but I never mourned again like I used to. I can even listen to “Taps” now without a melt down. I released all that pain and I was free.
A father’s role is to provide for his children, protect them, love them, encourage them, and give them their identity. I never got any of that from my father. About 10 years ago, I had been taught by my bestest friend and through several inner healing ministries how to counsel hurting people. In 2008, I was introduced to some new tools from Bethel Church’s Sozo Ministry. Through these teachings, I learned that the way in which I viewed my earthly father, was very likely to be the way that I viewed my Heavenly Father. I had been lied to and deceived by the enemy into thinking that my Heavenly Father was all those things that my earthly father was. Aarrgghh! How wrong is that.
The road to my recovery and connection with Father God had begun. I renounced all the lies that Father God revealed to me. I asked Him for the truth and His answers were amazing. Prior to this, I was comfortable praying to the “Lord” and “Jesus” and never thought any more of it. But there are three parts of the Godhead and Father God wants to give me my identity as His daughter and reveal Himself to me as my Protector and Provider. Jesus is our Best Friend, Confidante, and Companion. The Holy Spirit also wants us to know Him as our Teacher, Comforter, and Nurturer (which is another story for another day).
If you were to ask me to picture Father God prior to this, I would have pictured Him as judgmental, critical, harsh, distant, uncaring, unloving, unreachable, untouchable, and disinterested. Hmm. That’s not in the Bible. After renouncing those lies, I was able to once again envision Father God. This time, He was reaching His arms out to me as He walked toward me to hug me. He was smiling and His brown eyes were warm and loving. Wow. He wasn’t someone to be feared anymore. He was so full of love. How amazing!
Soon after the deception was dealt with and the enemy’s lies were exposed, I began to pursue knowing Father God in this new knowledge of Him that I discovered. Out of my mouth came the prayer, “Father, teach me how to be your daughter”. Hmm. Who said that? I really didn’t know how to be a daughter because I was not able to trust or depend on my father at all. This was uncharted water for me. To have someone who loved me and was trustworthy? Foreign . . very foreign. Then weeks later, another prayer came out of my mouth. “Father, teach me how to let You be my Father”. Hmm. I have been independent and self-sufficient since I was 6 so this was going to be a challenge.
I haven’t arrived yet but I am steadily letting down those walls I erected to protect myself. We are taking this slowly because change takes time. But I have to say that my life has radically changed. I feel such a peace around me and can honestly say that I am now “resting” in the arms of a loving Father. The anxiety, worry, and stress of having to do it all myself is gone. I know that He will provide what I need when I need it and that He will direct my every step as I co-labor with Him in my life to accomplish His will. I understand what Romans 12:2 (NLT) means when it says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” That is what transformation is all about. That is what a loving Father wants to give His children. That is what I want from my Father God. What an awesome place to be. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.