Happy Father’s Day 2.0

*This is from a blog I posted many years ago. I updated it and am re-sharing …

Father’s Day is one of those “iffy” kind of celebratory days. If you were lucky enough to have a Leave it to Beaver or Brady Bunch type of father growing up, then Father’s Day is most likely a happy day filled with warm fuzzy memories. If however, you’re like so many people who grew up with a childhood swathed in dysfunction – then today is oftentimes a day spent suppressing buried pain.

I grew up somewhere in the middle with a father that didn’t fit the mold of either Ward Cleaver or Mike Brady, but leaned more towards a Don Corleone or Archie Bunker type of father. I knew my dad loved me … but he parented with fear and yelling rather than hugs and praise.

My father issues date back to my parent’s volatile ugly divorce when I was six. Growing up is hard enough for the average child, but when you throw in a nasty divorce, custody battles, feuding parents, weekend parenting, remarriages, step-children, half-children … woo-wee, you end up with a recipe for scarred, emotionally handicapped children. Oh wait – maybe that was just me.

Like so many people with father issues, entering into a relationship with the Lord of the universe came with its own set of challenges. God is supposed to be my Abba Father; my daddy; my protector, an ever-present help in time of trouble. That’s quite a leap of faith for someone with daddy issues. The image of a Heavenly Father that thunders from the mountain tops and wants to smite me for my disobedience is easier for me to identify with because I grew up with thunder.

My dad wasn’t a horrible dad, mind you. For most of my childhood he was simply an absentee father, which left me with rejection and abandonment issues. The time I did spend with him was often stressful as I lived in fear of his unpredictable temper. The saddest thing about our relationship was I don’t think I was ever able to share an honest opinion or emotion with him. I was very guarded with him until the day he died. I regret not ever being confident enough to truly share my feelings with my earthly father.

It’s taken a lot of years, but I’m happy that I’ve finally reached that comfort level in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. There is nothing I can’t share with him. Once I was able to get past the fear of the thundering and smiting Father – the loving, protective Father surrounded me.

Rather than dwelling on the negative memories of my relationship with my dad, today I celebrate my father and hope he’s enjoying his Father’s Day in Heaven celebrating with the angels and his Heavenly Father.

I still miss my dad — especially today.  I’m comforted by the knowledge that my father developed a deep relationship with God before his passing, so I know we’ll be reunited someday. I look forward to our reunion knowing that all those painful memories of my early childhood will be long-forgotten and we can spend our eternity enjoying our heavenly relationship.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.   Psalm 27:10 (NLT)

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I hope you’re flying high!

Blessings in Christ and as always … happy reading!

Kathy K. 

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Get Past Your Triggers

I am most like Jesus when I am silent under attack. ~ Pastor Rick Warren

Her words cut deeper than a serrated hunting knife. Her verbal barbs and subtle innuendo disguised in false humility wounds more than physical blows. She’s someone from my past that knows my stories and manages to always push my buttons. Somehow a few unkind words from her and I instantly become that 14-year-old ugly duckling with a mouthful of braces and a face full of acne.

She’s a distant relative which makes it difficult to eliminate her from my circle of influence. Each time I talk with her (which is becoming less frequently these days) it takes everything within me to hold my tongue and not retaliate with snarky responses.

It’s likely that most of us have at least one toxic person in our past (or present) who has the ability to trigger painful childhood memories that effectively suck us into an abyss of unresolved emotions and/or juvenile insecurities. Oh wait … maybe that’s just me.

I recently saw a program featuring acclaimed Christian speaker and writer, Beth Moore. When asked how do we completely rid ourselves of poisonous roots of insecurity and fears stemming from childhood dysfunction that refuse to be vanquished, Ms. Moore quoted Matthew 15:13: “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted …”

God is not the author of fear, insecurity, low self-esteem or any other childhood hurts that haunt us. He didn’t plant those destructive roots in us. That was Satan’s doing. They can only be destroyed by using the proper tools. Practical tools such as prayer, reading the Word of God and then applying it to our lives is the best means to start with.

Refuse to isolate yourself or “eat your feelings,” (which I’ve been known to do in the past). Neither of those things will help; only compound the problem. Join a small group, talk with a trusted friend or pastor. Don’t let your hurts fester inside you. Let it out and talk it out.

There are any number of Christian books that can help you to work through any unresolved childhood issues you might have. I highly recommend Joyce Meyer’s number one bestselling book, Battlefield of the Mind. This book is as helpful and relevant today as it was when it was first published 20 years ago. Visiting with a trained counselor may be necessary for some of us who are unable to process our dysfunction any other way. The road to recovery will look different for every one of us.

Once you’ve successfully dug up all of those destructive roots from your life, you need to plant something more substantial in its place. If you don’t replace a negative influence with a positive one, you’ll continue to be vulnerable to the enemy who will easily swoop in and attack your mind and emotions all over again.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)

The only thing you want to have rooted and grounded in your soul, mind, will or emotions is the love of Christ, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Don’t let painful triggers shoot you down … arm yourself with all the weapons of God’s arsenal and defend yourself like the warrior that God created you to be.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NLT)

Blessings in Christ and as always … happy reading!
Kathy K.