Father's Day is here again and so many are posting wonderful memories about their Dad's on facebook and writing blogs about them. I always go back to this post I wrote several years ago.
Everyone has a Dad but not all of them were good ones. My Dad did not have a good Dad and he followed after his Dad. So few good memories are in my memory bank about him.
I married a man who is a wonderful Dad and our son is a wonderful Dad and our daughter married a good Dad. I don't live in regret over my childhood anymore, God has taught me to let Him use it, don't waste it by being angry, bitter over the fact I did not have a good Dad. I am grateful for all God has taught me through my struggles to forgive. Besides, I have the best Dad of all in our Heavenly Father.
Hazel over at http//letmetelluastory.blogspot.com gave a challenge to write stories from ones past. Stories that can be left to our children and grandchildren.
For some, that may not be a challenge but for me, it's extremely difficult. There are some great stories on her blog site. Some will make you laugh, shed tears, and some are life-changing but all are usually good memories that are shared. Every time I read those post my heart wishes I could come up with one good memory about my Dad from my childhood to share. Then one day as I watch my son comb his three year old daughter hair a flashback happened, one I had not had in a long time. A good flashback...it was my dad combing my hair when I was about my granddaughter age. Through the years it's the one flashback that does not cause me to tremble.
A flashback, or involuntary recurrent memory, is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience. These experiences can be happy, sad, exciting, or any other emotion one can consider.
By the time I was two my mother had given birth to twin boys, 19 months younger then me so maybe Dad noticed her hand was pretty full that night. Maybe he was sober that night. Maybe he was trying to make up for some of the abuse he inflicted on us. These details were not answered in my flashback. All my mind recalled is him combing my hair and I was not crying so he must have been gentle. I am amazed how one good memory can rise above all the bad ones. It would be so easy to dwell on the hurting ones and allow nothing good to come through but that helps no one including me.
When my two children became teenagers they started asking me about my upbringing. I wanted to lie...to evade the questions anything but gives words to memories. They only knew my Dad as the broken man we took care of three years at the end of his life. They did not know him as I did and because of Jesus living in my life, I somehow wanted to protect them from even knowing how bad things had been for me as a child. God never wastes anything though and He gently shoved me through opened doors to share how the love of God can win the most wicked heart. You see my Dad got saved the night before he died. (another post...I Got What I Wanted)
The love of God can turn anger and bitterness into understanding and forgiveness. These were the things I wanted my children to learn. These are the things I want my grandchildren to learn. They will get hurt along the way, some may even betray their trust. My prayer is that some of my stories, even the hurtful ones can be used to give them an understanding into the wickedness of our hearts. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Understanding that says, "there but by the grace of God go I". I could paint a horrible picture of my Dad and they would feel sorry for me but that is not what God wants. I am a better person because of my understanding and the act of forgiveness. No one owns me except the one who bought and shed His blood for my sin...to Him I owe everything.
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to
be understanding and forgiving. Dale Carnegie
“The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.... Barbara De Angelis
God said to Solomon in a dream, "ask what you want Me to give you." Solomon after looking back
at his and his father life said, "give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil...give me wisdom.
This dialogue in I Kings 3 between God and Solomon made a profound impact on my life as a young Christian of 35. The more I studied it a deep desire grew for the same thing, an understanding wise heart. Life is a few days of trouble a wise man once said and those troubles will rule ones life unless there isan understanding of who God is, who man is, what sin is, and most important the power of redemption.
I know there are more good memories tucked back in my memory bank and with God's help, I am praying for more to emerge. But for now, I will dwell on a little red headed three year old girl getting her hair brushed by her daddy. Sweet memory.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise , dwell on these things. Phil 4:8
This post is linked to Tell Me A Story