Monday, January 21, 2013

He is jealous for me

I figured it was about time I wrote about the most precious relationship in life so here goes.

I spent the first twenty years of my life defining myself in terms of my dad. In the earliest part of my life, my dad was the god of my world. He often reminisced that I had followed him everywhere. I can remember thinking that if my parents ever divorced, I would want to live with my dad.
Then I turned eight and my dad left my mom for another woman, who had children of her own that lived with my dad while I stayed with my mom. My dad would only get me once every few months and then I saw more of my step-mom and step-brothers than my dad. His abandonment led me to believe I was replaceable and that there was something intrinsically wrong about me that drove the people I loved away and made it impossible for anyone to love me unconditionally.

I grew up in church but, after my dad left, we stopped going because my mom went crazy from grief for a couple of years. When I was ten, we found a new church and things became a bit more stable. During vacation bible school that summer, I understood that God sent his son to die to save me from my sins and I accepted Jesus as my savior. Looking back, I think I had only grasped that He saved my from hell and taken care of my afterlife but missed that He wanted an intimate relationship with me in the here and now. 

It was during my teen years that God began to challenge my relationship with my dad. Inspite of all the times my dad failed me, I held on to this naive hope that one magical day he would wake up and be the involved, caring father I needed him to be. We developed this cycle where I would confront him about the ways he hurt and he would try to be better for a few weeks before falling back into old habits and breaking my heart all over again. Many times as I wallowed in my heartache, the Holy Spirit remind me that I had a heavenly Father who loved me more than I could possible imagine and urge me to run to Him but I was stupid and a brat. So much so my response was always I don’t want God’s love, I want my dad’s love. I know God should have smacked me. I absolutely deserved to get backhanded but instead God waited me out.

Fifteen days before my twentieth birthday, my dad lost his two year long battle with cancer and I lost all my hope and my identity because I could no longer define myself in terms of him. I dropped out of school, moved back in with my mom, and stopped living for well over a year. Most of that period is a black haze of depression in my memory but throughout it God slowly and relentlessly brought me back to life. He filled me with hope again and I finally embraced him as my perfect, loving Father. He made me completely dependant on Him. To this day, I cling to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit because if I let go, I will slide right back into that deep, dark void of depression.

God also started untangling my dad baggage, which He’s still working on now. He revealed to me that my dad loved me the best he could and any lack in that love came from my dad’s brokenness and not mine. Recently, He addressed some of my insecurities through Renovation Church when Ethan preach on John 3:16 and Leonce talked about being bought for keeps before the Lord’s Supper that Sunday. Deep down at my core I believed that eventually I would push God too far and He would walk out on me forever. That Sunday I finally understood that after purchasing me through the brutal sacrifice of His son, God is not going to discredit that payment and give me up just because I do something stupid. I wept from the time I took the Lord’s Supper until I arrived at my apartment because of the overwhelming freedom that lesson gave me.

There are many more moments throughout my life when Jesus came to my rescue and changed my life but the overarching narrative is that God in His infinite mercy and unconditional love stood by me while I pushed him away for lesser things and then, when those lesser things came crashing down, He picked me up out of the wreckage, healed all the damage my choices had cost me, and fulfilled my need for a father I could always depend on.

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