“…the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.”

Psalm 32:10b NIV

The devil is a hit you where it hurts kind if enemy, and he looks for the point of least resistance. He kicks you when your down and uses the weakest place as an entry point in our lives to establish his strongholds.

Sometimes it’s sin.
Sometimes it’s hurt.
Sometimes it’s unforgiveness.

For me, the relationship with my father, or lack there of, has caused more pain and held me back more than any other. And from it I had to find healing. And to walk free, I must see my father through grace-eyes. I know he loved me the only way he knew how.

Daddy would you tell me you love me? Would you say it, please?

Would you look me on the eyes with longing eyes for my heart?

It’s yours already — just ask me for it.

Do you know I’m afraid, and I need you to say its ok?

Will you tell me I’m lovely?

With soul weeping, feeling like a little girl again, yearning, I tapped out these words while watching a father dance with his young toddler daughter at a wedding I attended recently. Watching how he danced with her, how he looked at her, revealed a longing in my heart that I thought had long been gone. It evoked emotions that I thought I’d never feel again. And there was so much more I could not form into words, of what I’d want to say to him.

Little girls want to know, Am I lovely? The twirling skirts, the dress up, the longing to be pretty and to be seen–that is what that’s all about. We are seeking an answer to our Question…Nearly all a woman does in her adult life is fueled by her longing to be delighted in, her longing to be beautiful, to be irreplaceable, to have her Question answered, “Yes!”…Little girls need the tender strength of their fathers. They need to know that their daddies are strong and will protect them; they need to know that their fathers are for them. Above all, a little girl learns the answer to her Question from her father.”  John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: A Guided Journal: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

I didn’t grow up with a father like that.

My mother encouraged, “Go sit on your father’s lap.”  I was five years old, the memory is faint, the moment is short, yet the impression has lasted my lifetime. Reluctantly and timidly, I climbed on his lap. Who is this man that I feel nothing for? And feel nothing from? Like stone, rigid and cold.

He is my father.

The only time I ever heard my father say he loved me was when he gave me away at my wedding, 15 years ago. The same father who I spoke to at my husband’s mama’s funeral, and said to him, “It’s times like these that make you think about life and death, and I want to know I’ll see you in heaven when it is time.”

The same father whose reply was, “If God really loved me then He wouldn’t have let the things happen to me when I was a kid. Things I can’t even tell you because they were so horrible.”

And I know he speaks of secret atrocities that I know happened in the “home” his mother gave him and his siblings up to just because — because she didn’t want them.

The same father, that as an almost-senior-adult drove 23 hours straight from Florida to New York with hopes he doesn’t speak too openly about, for hope unmet means pain — the hope to see his mama, and his mama to see him.

The same mama he didn’t see that trip, and hasn’t heard from for 12 years, who sent him a Christmas card out of the blue. Christmas Eve he told me about it, and added, “I thought she was dead.”

And like a child again, trying to bring his mama delight, he is excited about sending her a picture of him with his kids — us kids he didn’t really raise.

He loved us the best way he knew how. Nevertheless, it was a failing love. To be able to walk forward, I have to see him through grace-eyes, to walk in forgiveness, give him mercy. But still, he left me wanting, and gaping. Perhaps, because he was left wanting, and gaping.

When it comes to our hearts and souls, where there is void, there is pain, and the pain is what we try to avoid by filling with counterfeits of unfailing love. I ached with an emptyness that can only be filled by Father God.

And this is the Jesus I cling to. The One who proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” (Is 61:1 NIV)

I’ve seen the enemy use sin, and pain the same — to keep us bound. And Jesus came to forgive sin, heal us, and set us free.

It begins with forgiveness.

“When you embrace the forgiveness God has lavished on you, it helps you to really forgive from your heart…You forgive in order to heal. You look at what God has done in response to your own sin and then ask for the strength to forgive in the same way…Forgiveness allows God to deeply touch your emotional core and enables you to release both the pain and the one who caused it.” — Mike Breaux, Identity Theft: Reclaiming Who God Created You to Be

Do you have a place in your soul that still needs healing? I know I still do. I am not sure why it has not happened all at once. I suppose it is because we can only handle little by little, for whenever there was a healing in my heart, there was a re-visiting of that wounded place. But whenever there is a healing, there is a new freedom. And opening up about that healing of a broken-heart, brings others healing, too. It’s how it works, isn’t it?

Healing is a process, and writing out the truth of my pain has opened the door to the guarded places in my heart for God to fill. My journals are filled with pain spilled over into words, into prayers. I know we all come from different places.

Write It Out: Will you journal honestly your thoughts and prayers about any unforgiveness and pain you may have that needs to be released. Will you invite, even closer-in, Father God’s unfailing love to heal?

Say it Loud: I am a treasure child of God, defined as someone who is radically loved by God, whose love is unfailing. He is perfect, pure, strong, true, wise, faithful and wants to do eternal, awesome things with my life. The same is true for ____ (Fill in with the name of the person that hurt you. Pray they know it, too.) Psalm 130:7

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