I grew up in a broken home like so many others in the US. By the time I was a 1 year old, my mother and father had been divorced, and my mom had remarried. My father also remarried, and this is where the rest of the story gets a bit complicated. To keep it simple, I will keep the focus on my relationship with my biological dad.
My Dad was married 3 times over the course of his life, and he had 7 kids… I think. I know I should know that, but I don’t. Anyways, last year I saw a post on Facebook from someone who had the same name as one of my younger half sisters. The post was a picture of a young man in military uniform and the caption read, “Best daddy in the World!”. My first thought was, “This probably isn’t her”, but the picture looked like my dad. So, I asked my mom and she confirms… “That is your dad. Where did you find that picture?!”
When I read that post I was bothered. See when my dad passed away, my sister was a small child. How could she say he was the best dad in the world?! It honestly made me mad when I read it. Don’t misunderstand me, I am happy she remembers the good stuff, but my memory told a much different story!
I would have said he was the worst dad ever.
At times I would even say I was upset that he was my dad.. I probably shouldn’t say that?
It doesn’t sound very Christ like.
It isn’t full of love, but it was how I felt.
When I was a young child, my “dad” called my mom to let her know that he didn’t want to see me or my brother anymore. I was young, but I still remember that being weird. It didn’t make a lot of sense. A couple of years later he asks if we could start coming back to his house, and this cycle was repeated all of the way into my teenage years.
Nothing sucked worse than hearing my dad say I wasn’t his, all because he didn’t want to pay child support.
Was I not worth it?
Did he not love me?
I was mad and angry! I had been dealt a crap hand.
Now let’s get back to my sister’s post. I am in my 30s. I am father of 2 wonderful boys. I am married to the most amazing woman in the world, but when I read that post I still remembered the pain of my childhood. I remembered the hurt. I remembered the tears. I remembered sitting in my yard underneath a tree crying to my cousin Scotty, asking why my dad didn’t want me. Honestly as I write this right now I can still feel the emotion of it all and find myself fighting back tears.
There it is. I am a grown man, but my dad had wounded me, and even into my adult life I could still feel that wound. That’s what happens sometimes…
What I am about to say may sound cliché, but it is a truth that many people seem to never be able to put into practice. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond to it. My wound from my father can’t be my excuse for every other failure in my life.
Honestly, the difficulties I went through with my dad shaped me into the man I am today. Here are a couple of things to remember.
- Don’t let the hurt dictate who you are. When that hurt controls our thoughts and actions, we essentially give our life to that hurt over and over.
- Your pain doesn’t have to define you. You truly are more than what happened to you.
- It is okay to move on. In fact, I think it is required. There is a season of mourning and a season of rejoicing (or as the Bible says, a season to dance). Don’t allow one season to last longer than it should.
- Finally, remember it is your actions that will ultimately shape your life. If you had a bad dad, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a good dad. If your parents divorced, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy marriage. Just because it was a truth in your past, doesn’t mean it has to be a truth in your present!
In addition to all of this, can I say there was a silver lining as well. My mom has always been there for me, and I love her very much! Also, the man she married, when I was a baby, raised me like I was his own, and even though him and my mom are no longer married, I still have the honor of calling him dad, and the joy of him calling me son.