At the age of 26 my dad never fails to make me feel like a 7 year old all over again. Every text message and phone call would leave me with the crooked eye because I never knew where his loyalty or intentions laid.
My dad has been a runaway for much of my life and I never understood why although he expressed it had something to do with his relationship with my mom. “I‘ve always loved you guys and I’ve never stopped.” I have no doubt that my dad loves me, but I question if he cares about how his disappearing acts effect me. 2 years ago my dad and I reunited, but only for a brief season. After being stood up on numerous occasions I became hardened at heart and wanted nothing to do with this man. It was humiliating and devastating as I–and my partner at the time–watched myself crumble at the very thought that I play a minor part in his life. So minor that he could walk away, and return when he pleased. I often questioned whether it was something that I said or did that would trigger something in him to stop answering my texts messages or leave me sitting at a location waiting for him to come. I remember balling my eyes out and feeling some kind of way towards myself because I could never keep him around long enough to build a healthy and stable relationship with him. Surprisingly the table turned.
On August 1st my dad decided to create an Facebook account and it startled the hell out of me because once again I could not predict his sincerity. It took me a few hours to accept his friend request, but I did it anyways. Shortly after accepting his friend request he messaged me and I just stared at my phone. I remember asking God, “Okay Lord what’s his intentions? Maybe I shouldn’t respond? Is this a waste of time?“. And I remember God saying to me, “Compassion. Forgiveness. Test.“ On that day, I let down my walls.
Everyday we talk and I feel all the more curious and excited at one time. This is great, but I can’t help but pray that we could keep up the great work. However, there is still a part of me that feels this is too good to be true, and I look for him to screw up sooner or later. I braced myself for the impact, “Okay Erin this might hurt a little, but we are a lot stronger than we were years ago. He can’t break us and we won’t allow him to hurt us“. Every unanswered video chat and delayed response to my text messages automatically triggers the thought of, “Well, the wind goes to and fro so I guess he’ll be back someday“, but I hate living with this stigma. I hate the fact that I don’t know where I stand in his life and if I’ll be there tomorrow. I often wonder if I’ll ever be able to break down the walls of doubt and fear. I wonder if the wind blew slightly if he would go with it and leave me behind? I wonder if he woke up the next morning and discovered that it’s too late to start over would he disappear? Simply put there’s a lot of anxiety, and little hope. A Little hope? Whether or not my dad is here today and gone tomorrow doesn’t matter, because embracing him flawed and all is not a favor, it’s the God thing to do.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; bearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
— Colossians 3: 12:13
What keeps me hanging on is God’s unfailing compassion, patience, and long-suffering. Unknown to myself the Holy Spirit called me out on some of my less than perfect behavior. I discovered I often times run away from God with every excuse in the book. I often times have a hidden agenda even though He knows and sees all. I can be judgmental, prideful, malice, doubtful, negative, but God has yet to abandon me. Don’t get me wrong I am not God, but He is a part of me and I in Him. It is in Him that I am Redeemed, Holy, and Righteous in spite of my flaws. As a matter of fact, this goes for EVERYONE no matter their history. Psalms 103: 12 reads,
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
Yes forgiving and moving forward can be tough. But if you could reflect on the time you neglected and shunned the God who hurts like you do you’d second guess casting your stones of judgments, and condemnations too.
Are you willing to reflect, release, and move forward?