Gifting the man who ruined my family

Father’s day is drawing closer. While everyone is hopping around trying to find the perfect gift and make time for their “greatest father in the world,” I am sitting on the edge of the world hoping no one asks me what I am doing for father’s day.

I am not proud of my father. His past actions of purposely hurting his family broke the family up and then he came back into our lives as though damage had not been done. The pain my mother went through, the helpless situations my siblings and I faced each day when we lived in the safe house as we waited for a place of our own – they are scars we won’t forget. This biological father of mine has shown me what kind of man I do not want in my life, he took the life out of my mother and lives selfishly in her home creating chaos and demanding his needs be met regardless of anyone else’s need. Why would I want to give this man a gift? I want nothing to do with him. And yet, during this Father’s Day I feel the weight of obligation to celebrate him and it angered me and shamed me.

As Father’s day moves in I feel an invisible hand reaching for my neck, for although I didn’t want to give him a gift, I know the expectation is there. I didn’t want to bless him with a gift because to me, it is a sign that I welcomed him into my life and that I think of him kindly. It is the last thing I want to do.

Every year I run away from this burden of being my father’s daughter… but the Lord’s been working in my heart to forgive my father. More than anything this forgiveness is for myself. How can I love others if I cannot forgive and love a family member? No, I will not love my father as his daughter, but I will love him as a child of God and through the love of Christ I will forgive my father’s wrong against me and against those I hold dear to my heart.

I will show my father, not my love, but the love of God by being kind to him. And for those of you who want to “kill two birds with one stone,” love is the weapon of choice. By showing my father God’s love and forgiveness through me, he may one day return to the Lord who saved, saves, his life. Through forgiving and loving, my heart will be released of the grievance of punishing my lost father. Through choosing love first, the burden of worldly, invisible pressure on father’s day is lifted.

The wounds from my father’s past actions are still raw, but with God’s love they are healing and I am slowly becoming a person I can love and cherish. I am becoming a person I know the Lord can be proud of – I am coming free of the chains of sadness and anger and breaking through to fresh air and warm embraces of the Sun.

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