Father’s Day, a celebration I didn’t know about till I immigrated to the United States at the age of 13. My first experience with Father’s Day was a very sad one, as I looked around at my friends who had fathers to celebrate with, and realized how that could never be for me. I wrote about my father in another blog, so I’ll just summarize here that I did not have the privilege of growing up with a loving father. In fact, I knew my father had no affection for me. So each time Father’s Day rolled around, I dreaded the day. Sure, as a young Christian girl, I knew in my head the concept of God the Father, but what was that really like? Having known a father who could fly into a rage and beat me into pulp, an all powerful Father God was even more to be feared than my own earthly father! In my childhood, there had been men who tried to be “father figures” to me, but I honestly couldn’t connect with them, always being tentative and fearful. I was one messed up girl indeed.
It took a personal encounter with God, who, with the help of a dear friend, came to rescue me when I attempted suicide at the age of 21, for me to begin to know God’s fatherly love. (I wrote more about that in another blog too.) As a young woman, I looked for love in all the wrong places, and did so many things I was ashamed of, to the point that death seemed a good escape. Coming back from that low point in my life, I really started to understand unconditional love. I’m very thankful that God brought into my life this dear friend, who later became my husband. Through my wonderful husband I have seen an example of selfless, unconditional love. Watching my husband interact with our children over the years have healed the wounds in my heart, as I realized more and more, how very much God has always been there for me, but I couldn’t see it at the time. And so, Father’s Day became a happy time as I celebrate God’s fatherly love, being thankful for the men who have shown me fatherly affection, and my husband’s love for our children. I’m so thankful that our children have been spared the pain I had suffered.
As I look across the whole spectrum of time, stretching out to the eternity yet to come, I am now at peace. The pain from childhood is gone, replaced with wholeness and serenity. Knowing God as I do now, I have no doubt that in the end, all will be well. I’ve long since forgiven my father for the abuse he inflicted upon me, for as I matured and healed, I could see that he too was an abused child, and truly “knew not what he’d done” to me. I know first hand the things humans are capable of doing out of anger and pain. As I have been forgiven and shown compassion by God, so I forgive and show compassion to others. I look forward to seeing my father again someday, in the presence of our loving Father. That would be the best Father’s Day ever!