When I was little we lived on a farm about 5 miles out-of-town. It was fantastic! My mom would throw the five of us out of the house in the morning and we’d only come back in for lunch and the occasional cup of water. My three oldest siblings usually ran off to the woods for adventures but my sister Rachel and I would stay back playing pirates or building things. When the light above the barn came on we knew it was time to go in and wash up for dinner. My dad was home for most of those dinners. But as I got older he was there less and less. Then he stopped coming to church with us and stopped being involved in our extracurricular activities.
We moved into the city when I was 10 and after that point I started noticing things about my dad that I was blind to before. Despite my observations, it wasn’t until college that I realized my parent’s marriage was in serious jeopardy. He was rarely coming home from work and if he did he would either go straight to bed or play on the computer til everyone else was in bed. Right before Thanksgiving my freshman year of college he told my mom he wasn’t come home again…
It was the worst Thanksgiving ever. We spent it with relatives that we didn’t know all that well and the only thing it did was to serve as a reminder of how broken our home had become. I don’t know what it is, but something about your parents in difficulty has the power to turn you back into a small child again. I remember crying out to God late at night in my dorm room just overwhelmed with the pain and hurt this man was causing my siblings and worse my mother. I wrote an email to my dad and told him that LOVE IS A CHOICE, NOT AN OBLIGATION. We were an obligation to him.
He came home right before Christmas and appeared to make amends with my mother and went to AA for a while. Then that too stopped. Fast forward 8 years. We’re back to where we were or worse. My siblings and I told him this past summer that he needed to make a choice. He clearly has.
I find myself feeling like I did back in my dorm and like I did when I was a very small child and was scared in my dark room at night. I’m crying out to God for answers, ANY answers. I know He hears me and will answer. Psalm 116:1-8 says this:
I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.
I don’t know what God’s intentions are for my family, but I’ve realized that there are somethings that will never cease to make you feel like a child again. Helpless and overwhelmed. But as the Psalm says, “The Lord protects those of childlike faith”. So when I am small and inadequate, the Lord sustains me. I may not have the most amazing father but he is a sinner just like me. And though his decisions hurt me and tempt me towards bitterness I have to realize that God loves him the same as He loves me. I have to have that faith that “He who began a good work…will be faithful to complete it” and that one day my dad will be able to reconcile and forgive.