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Father to the Fatherless

To hear "recover," some people will instantly think about addiction. We can recover from a traumatic life event or regain what was taken from us.

The earliest memory I have of my Father is him teaching me to ride a tricycle. That memory is a bit sketchy. I recall my parents frying mullet fish in the kitchen every Thursday as I played on the living room floor. In my mind's eye, I see him sitting on the rear pews of our church as I sang a song.

The memories shift to him being physically present in the house but emotionally absent from our lives. He was angry, intoxicated, and at times threatening towards our Mother. He moved to one side of the house while we occupied the other side, and he was no longer coming to our church.

At twelve years old, my parents divorced. My mother and siblings moved into another home away from my father.

We adjusted "well," living without my father present with a typical feel. My siblings and I matriculated through school, growing into teens and adults with very little support from our father.

After a gap year, I applied to a few colleges. Johnson C Smith University accepted me. In my sophomore year, I met a freshman girl who would become my best friend. She was raised in a home where her father was physically and emotionally present. I would go home with her from time to time on weekends and grew to know and love her family. I thought it strange to see her hop in her father's lap and wrap her arms around his neck while he planted kisses on her face or forehead. For many days I continued to ponder that scene in my head.

Years later, I realized that they were not "strange." Many of my adult struggles and unwise choices resulted from not having a relationship with my father. I became angry, ashamed, and devastated! How do I turn all of my mistakes and choices around? How do I recover from years of not being affirmed, supported taught how a woman is to be treated by a man.

1978, my freshman orientation leader spoke a seed of salvation in my life. She said," God wants to save you." I thought to myself, "Save me from what?"

Psalm 68:5 (NIV) says that God is a Father of the fatherless... he sets the lonely in families. God helped me to first look at the fact that my father did not have a relationship with his father. That revelation helped me to forgive. I had written my father off, but eventually, I began reaching out to him. We developed a bond that included a Sunday afternoon phone call each week. If I missed a phone, he would call me Monday. Occasionally, he visited my home and attended family holiday gatherings and birthdays. When his health began to decline, I was able to accompany him to a few doctor appointments and assist him when he was hospitalized.

My father is resting with the Lord now. No more Sunday afternoon phone calls, but I now have fond memories.

You may be struggling with the negative impacts of having a father who is physically and emotionally not present. First, allow God to heal you through His Son Jesus by accepting Him as your Savoir. Sincerely ask for forgiveness and let Him come into your heart.

Prayer: God, you are the creator of humanity, Father to us all. You mend the broken-hearted and forgive all sin. I ask You to restore father-daughter relationships for those sincere in recovering them. Touch hearts and minds God to be open and receptive. Help them to listen and hear each other with compassion. You did it for me. I know you will do it for them. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

It's not too late to create some fond memories.

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