‘But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too”. Mark 11:25 NLT
This story is about my relationship with my Father.
It is about my pain based on my perceptions of events. Some of it will not be pretty, but it is time for me to set these memories free. Mistakes were made by everyone, including me, so please read with a soft heart and forgiveness so that I may continue to forgive myself. Also, please keep in mind there are always at least two sides to every story.
Some people will probably think that I should not write this, but I offer I do this with his consent and to help others. Like I always like to say ‘When you know your pain has a purpose, it changes your perspective. Your pain has a purpose for you and a purpose for others.’ I hope it helps you or someone close to you.
So what is this all about… growing up I was the apple of my father’s eye and it was no secret from anyone who saw us together. Am the first born, named after his mother (all 3 names lol), the age gap between my sister and I is 6 years, so I had my father’s undivided love and attention all to myself and it never changed even with the arrival of my two siblings. My father was very intentional in my life, we had dates, he was my go to person when I needed advice, whether on love or work, you name it , he was my voice of reason.
My mother and father were both pillars in my childhood church, my mother still sings in the choir, while my father was a KAMA chairman of the men’s’ church group, the chairman of the gated community we lived in and the chairman of a cousins group. We seemed like the perfect family: a mother and father who were madly in love, with three children who were always prim and proper whenever there was a Sunday morning service.
As you grow, you realize that these pillars of perfection harbor cracks from within the foundation. As I aged and began understanding the inner workings of marriage and how not every marriage is a bed of roses and not what appears to be in public, I had grown to be angry and resentful of my father’s midlife crisis lifestyle.
My father is such eye candy, I mean even when we would be out on dates with him and we bumped into my friends, they would be like “is that your father? Goodness he’s hot!“. He’s a head turner for sure, you can’t miss spotting him in a room. He had a well-paying job, drove high end cars, dressed sharp, smelt good, such an entertainer and good conversationalist. I could see why my mother couldn’t resist his vibes back then. With all this, it just attracted the wrong kind of attention that eventually compromised on his values, his marriage and family.
One evening of August 2015, I think my mother reached her tipping point because I received a distress call from my mother’s house help, to go home because my parents got into a scuffle and she was scared it could go south. I was so mad as I drove to our home and when I got there, I stormed in and my father was the first person I saw. He was in the living room with his peers who happened to be our neighbors… (my parents verbal exchange was so loud it got the neighbors attention) the words that came out of my mouth at that heat of the moment, to date I cannot repeat them… that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back and I became his enemy.
Seeing my mother angry and in tears broke my heart, I didn’t even want to know what transpired that lead into the heated argument to arouse such attention, all I knew was it must have been my father’s new way of life that was making her miserable.
How could my father risk throwing away over thirty years of marriage and his three children in the name of living “the good life”?
These questions haunted me for a while. To this day, I still cannot tell you the answers.
The anxiety of my doubts in marriage was a direct result of the actions I had witnessed, I was fearful of what if Mi-amore gets to midlife and shifts his focus from our family? But I made a conscious decision not to allow my father’s mistakes ruin or interfere with my relationship with my husband. So I would work so hard to suppress my feelings and emotions towards him.
Two years went by without us seeing each other let alone talk to each other, if we met at functions we would act like we did not know one another. This caused a lot of people pain: my mother, siblings, husband, my children, even my in laws, and myself, but in secret.
This new way of living without my father in my life was not an easy journey. Deep down I missed him but was too angry to be the first to reach out to him.
At some point in my life I felt like every wrong thing happening to me or my family had to do with my estranged relationship with my father and he was the reason for my misfortunes.
Last year in 2017, I had a miscarriage, we had fasted and prayed for a whole year and were trusting God for another child only to discover we were pregnant, but at 8 weeks my doctor informed me I would not be able to carry the baby to term. The same baby’s due date fell on my father’s birthday… I mean, even I laughed at God’s sense of humor. Same year my husband got retrenched from work. All the places I had made job applications came with regrets. My health was under attack. I had 4 theatre surgeries under anesthesia, all unrelated issues, every time I went into theatre I would ask God to see me through so that I could get a chance to mend things with my father or at least hear him out on why he chose that lifestyle.
All this just left me wondering was I under a curse? and immediately the scripture verse of “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
What a wakeup call… all was not going well with me because I was not honoring my parents, especially my father. I knew I needed to forgive my father for what he had done to me and my family.
Immediately I sensed these events and more were no longer normal battles of life but spiritual warfare to disintegrate our family, and realized just how powerful a father’s blessings are to his children. We started a prayer chain with my family, in laws and my life group.
I thank God for my mother because she never at any one point stopped praying for my father, wanting her marriage to work and her family reconciled. It is through her prayers that they were able to reconcile with my father and together worked towards forgiveness and restoring their marriage, but my father was still very bitter with me, I guess he couldn’t reconcile how his dearest daughter took a side and disrespected him in front of his peers.
So I decided to borrow a leaf from my mother and started being intentional in my prayers, asking God to remove any chains that were holding my father and I bondage from forgiving one another and win our souls back to Him all to the glory and honor of His name.
I took to my secret weapon to find solace – The Bible.
“But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” Psalm 130:4 (NIV)
What I had come to realize was that there was still malice in my heart.
On bended knees, I let out a prayer that shook my core. I prayed to rid me of my anger, I prayed to forgive my father for his sins, and I prayed to forgive myself for hating him and his unjustified actions. He did not abandon us, he provided and maintained the home for my mother and my siblings but the emotional turmoil was more than anyone could handle especially my mother.
I just prayed.
With prayer, nothing came sudden. As much as I wished for the Lord to grant me forgiveness swiftly, my journey to peace took much longer than one powerful prayer.
What I had to learn was that forgiveness was a battle for my heart. Was I willing to remain bitter and blame all men for the mistakes of one, or was I willing to take this uphill trek to humble myself and absolve my anger towards my father?
With that, I continued to pray.
God worked by putting an increasingly heavy burden on my heart about my dad, our relationship, and the part I continued to play in its failure. It is easy to forgive a child, even a teenager, for her mistakes, but as an adult you must accept your portion of the blame for failed relationships. That’s how forgiveness works.
After two years I was at a point where I was willing to accept whatever he wanted me to do, to be reconciled back to him. I no longer wanted to clothe myself in a blanket of pride even though I still felt justified in my actions in defending my mother and cursing him out in front of his peers.
Mi-amore, and I bless the Lord every day for this man, said he would support me with whatever decision I made and held me accountable in my role in mending fences with my father. And so the journey began, I reached out to my father’s peers as per his instructions, who were with him on that eventful evening and had several meetings with them to apologize for disrespecting them as well. This step I must say was not easy.
For one I felt these peers were not in any way entitled to an apology, this was a family affair and my actions were as a result of anger for what my father had done. I was bitter with them because I expected them to hold him accountable and understand where I was coming from. But pride aside, I met all of them and was forgiven.
Eventually my father got wind of what I did with his peers and he reached out to my husband and asked him to set a date and time for us to meet and put our differences aside. Isn’t our God faithful? He heard our prayers and answered them in a timely manner.
A million things clicked together for me in that moment Mi-amore told me of his conversation with my father. We went over for dinner and had a meeting with my husband, mother and father. I must say God had used the two years of our silence and distance to really work on us. I asked for forgiveness and my father in return embraced me and granted me forgiveness. All my doubts from previous years were erased. Hurt and anger were replaced with forgiveness and acceptance. It hit me my father still really did love me.
So, today, I can say, “I love you Dad” and mean it. Boasting not in the easiness of this journey or my personal willingness to fully surrender to loving, honoring and forgiving my Dad. Instead, I boast in the continual power of the Holy Spirit that prunes and changes hearts. It is His Spirit that has not only supernaturally changed my Father’s heart, but mine as well.
If, you are praying for reconciliation with your father or are dealing with the past hurt from your parents. Know that God is willing to restore and reconcile. No matter how long it’s been I believe God can do it. But before He allows us to reconcile with a person He changes us first through wrestling, tears and surrendering our hearts (Genesis 32 &33).
One of the lessons I learnt was that we can’t afford to put our parents on a pedestal of perfection- they are God’s children too and they fall short of His glory. One of my regrets, is that I wish I would have honored and loved my father this much before acting the way I did and caused us to lose two years of time we will never recover.
We must humble ourselves enough to forgive what we formerly thought was unforgivable. He is faithful to piece us together even when we don’t see restoration. He is powerful enough to reconcile us first back to Him as our Father and then to others.
The father’s blessing I received from my dad on that reconciliation day, radically changed my life. It set off a series of chain reactions, opening up an awareness of the father’s blessings that I never knew was possible. I see the effects of receiving it, and not receiving it, as I meet and get to know people in my day-to-day life. When I sense various problems or issues in people’s lives, I wonder what the root cause may be. Time after time, the answer points directly to the relationship that they have with their father.
How a father feels about us, what he thinks about us, and most importantly what he says to us, has a powerful impact. There is a supernatural aspect to the father’s blessing that only God can fully comprehend and explain. The supernatural power of God is the only explanation to the miracles I have seen as a result of the Father’s Blessing. So for my father, one of the most important people in my life, speaking words that communicate he loves me (my most basic need), is the most important and powerful thing a person can do. I believe the reason why the father’s blessing is so powerful is because he’s the most important person in my life, fulfilling the most critical need in my life, by employing the most powerful force in universe, the spoken word! He has the power to bless and curse you; I have seen and experienced both sides.
So this year I plan to celebrate Father’s day and make up for the lost time, and I thank God for giving me a chance to make it right with him here on earth before our time is up. It is my prayer that you too will enjoy your Father’s Day with your biological father, spiritual father or with our Heavenly Father.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you“. Ephesians 4:32 NIV.