This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone. -Elisabeth
I remember the day I found out my dad was sick. A phone call from my mom, her choked voice, my response to get her support as fast as I could. I remember my brain making the mental shift from daughter to counselor so quickly I went numb. For weeks I walked around breathing, but not living. As the days unfolded, I needed to confront my dad about his illness. I wrote a letter, I read a letter. My voice shaking, my tears flowing, my mom crying, my husband spoke truth, love, grace, and hope to a man I barely recognized. His response, cold and unmoved, “that was very well written.” The man I knew as my father was gone and an addiction had taken his place. An addiction that removed every ounce of love from his bones, stole every hope from his heart. He had exchanged love of family for love of porn.
I moved through the holidays that year, unsure of who I was. The father I had known all my life was not the man I believed him to be. A man of commitment, a generous man, a man of honor and steadfastness who had served his family faithfully. Now all that remained was a liar, a sham, an adulterer, what did that make me? Shame followed me around like a shadow, always there casting a pall on every happy occasion I tried to create. The cold winds of January blew in, and I was a hollow shell. In the darkness of those days when I begged for grief to lessen my pain, I held on to the hope that this was all a horrible dream. That this wasn’t happening to my family. But it was.
I was a good daughter. I supported my dad. I listen to my mom. I let my parents burden me with their secrets, anything to help them get better. Life seemed to get back to normal. We included my dad in family events and celebrations to give him a reason to stay sober. We PRAYED, on our knees, crying out to save my father from this addiction. We shared the gospel of repentance and the love of our Savior, we trusted God to heal him.
More lies, more empty promises and more veiled attempts to hold on to what was already gone. My dad chose not to get well. He chose his addiction over his wife, his daughter, his son, his grandchildren. He chose the empty promises and twisted love of pornography over the real and tangible love of family. He chose the darkness over the light. He left us. At 44 years old, my father abandoned me, he gave up fighting for his family.
The awakening that I wasn’t worth fighting for took the fight out of me. I circled the wagons. Only friendly faces were allowed in. No one could know my worthlessness, no one could see my shame. For years, I sat at the foot of the cross and begged Jesus to heal me, to take away this shame and worthlessness of my father’s sins. And He did.
My journey is not over yet. My father is not well. God did not heal him, He chose to heal me and He chose to give me a story to tell and scars to remember. He gave me a reason to fight the darkness for those I love, and for those who have no one to love them. My journey is not over; it is just beginning.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join my closed Facebook group called Hope & Healing, you can find it here.
If you’d like to receive my free resource “Is Your Healing Halted?”, sign up here.
If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my coaching courses.
If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If separated/divorced: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom: Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books