(The following post is long. I thought about splitting into two parts but decided to just leave it as one long post)
This is truthfully not a post I thought I would write. I have often shared small parts of my story but this part? It's one of the hardest parts of my story. It started a few weeks ago with a movie preview and God has been working in my heart since to share it here. My hope is that it encourages someone and let's them know they are not alone.
Many of you do not know that I have a rather distant relationship with my Dad. It is not something I share or talk about often. I am okay with where our relationship is...but it has taken a while for me to be okay with that.
The idea to share my story came a few weeks ago after watching a late night movie with one of my dearest friends. One of the movie previews was for the new Christian movie, Corageous. The movie is basically about fathers taking up the challenge the be better fathers. Watching the preview I was overwhelmed and pain hit swiftly.
That's the thing about pain.... the hurt of some of our life wounds never truly goes away.
For the first 15 years of my life while my Dad and I were not close I had a darling Papaw who in some ways took the place of a dad. My dad was a truck driver and was often gone. My Papaw took me to many events and stood in as my father more than once. When my Pappy passed away the pain lingered (and truthfully still does) but I just ignored that anything was wrong or different.
There is also the fact that I am very different from my family. I am an introvert in a family full of extroverts. I am a inside, bookish, nerdy girl. My family enjoys being outside, camping, and car shows just to name a few things.
I never realized how broken my relationship was with my Dad. I just assumed it was our differences that made us well... not close.
It's funny how you assume things are normal for so long that you just continue to believe that even though there are signs.
There is also the fact that I was a Christian and he is not.
When I started college the second time I realized how my relationship with my Dad was very different.
In February of 2005 in one moment it became clear that he was not nor was he ever the person I thought he was.
I changed so much in those moments. I became a very angry and unforgiving person. I held offenses and threw verbal barbs at him.
Yes, my Dad made some horrible choices. I also know now he is who he is.
No matter what I want I have to accept him as the person he is...not the person I think he should be.
Since 2005 God has worked BIG things out in my heart. He has removed my anger. He has shown me forgiveness is truly more about you than the other person. I am such a different person from those moments until now.
That does not mean I don't wish things were different. My Dad has no idea about what is going on in my life. Our conversations are surface level at best and I don't talk with him often.
I have learned that I can be okay with this because I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. Who I can talk too and who knows me the very best.
Accepting my relationship for what it is with my dad took a long time. And even in that acceptance it still hurts at times.
I also know now.... it's okay to feel that hurt. It's okay to wish it was more. It's okay to expect and want more out of the relationship. I want the conversations and the other things that come along with a good relationship.
I know he loves me. He shows me in his own way...through his checking to make sure my car is running well or reminding me to wash it.
God used my relationship with my Dad to show me how to accept the people in my life as they are.
Here is what I do know... Love is to be freely given. It's not meant to be earned. I can't with-hold it because I think the person should be different. I also know giving love freely hurts. God did not gurantee us a life of no pain. Jesus was the most wonderful proof of love and in the end... He died for love.
I love my Dad. Yes. My relationship with him is distant. There are many reasons for that but when given the opportunity I love him. I show him with my words and actions. At times it is hard. At times I want to give up. However, I will not. Love is too important.
Yes, some days hurt. That's life.
And I want to embrace my life as fully as possible...so embracing the pain and the beauty is important...so I can embrace love.
Know if you have a distant parent in your life...you are not alone and God cares. Also know others understand. <3