Lying… tucked… in my pink and white plaid canopy bed, tears hot, streaming down my face. I poured my heart out to my God. I knew with all of my little heart He could hear me. I knew with all of my little being that He could answer my prayer. He was all I had in this world, He was all I could depend on, the only constant in my life that would never forsake me. Even at the age of eight years old, I knew…
My father was bitter and his outbursts of anger were the norm for me and my two younger brothers growing up. He had so much resentment and hatred towards my mother for her act of adultery.
I lay there and remembered when my mom first told me that her and my father were getting a divorce. I was seven years old. We were alone, just the two of us and she told me, “Angel, I have to tell you something. Me and your dad are no longer happy together, and we are going to get a divorce.” Immediately a lump, a hot scorching lump, swelled in my throat. I tried to swallow it back, but I couldn’t. I knew… I understood even then what it meant. My life would be forever changed. My home would no longer be. I tried to rationalize it in my little brain… I tried to think of a way to change their minds… but I knew, I knew there was nothing I could do. My mom seen my face and she scooped me up into her arms, she started to cry, which made me cry, and she whispered in my ear that she never wanted me to blame myself for this… that none of it was my fault and that she loved me. Actually, I didn’t blame myself. I knew that it wasn’t my fault, and that it had nothing to do with me, or anything I did or didn’t do. She laid me in my canopy bed, the same one I was currently lying in, and she tucked me in tight… just as she did every single night of my life leading up to that day. She kissed me, and she walked out to leave me to my thoughts.
I remembered when they first separated, my dad would work offshore 7/7… the seven days he worked, my mom had us. The seven days he was in, he had us. The week my mom had us went by so fast… the week we were with my dad went by so slow. We couldn’t mention anything nice, or sweet about my mom in front of him… we dared not mention even her name. He hated the fact that we loved her, even after she hurt him so badly. I remember my very first night without my mom… she used to come to the bedroom and tuck us in, each and every night… this night, she wasn’t there. I lay on top of the covers almost all night… until I couldn’t stand the cold any longer. As I lifted the covers up to my neck it felt as if I was saying I was o.k. with her being gone, but I wasn’t… I wasn’t o.k. with it. The 7/7 arrangement lasted only a few months. One day, my mom came to visit, and she pulled me aside. She told me that she loved me, but that she was tired of living out of a suitcase, and that her boyfriend missed her the week she was with us. I remember thinking “what about us? We miss you the week you are with him, you’re tired of living out of a suitcase, but now we will have to start.” I dared not speak those words, I was a good girl. … Thick, hot tears formed in my eyes even then, I tried not to let them fall, and succeeded. I think I became hurt, and angry in that moment. What about us? Me, and my two brothers... everyone is worried about themselves, but what about us? We may have been little, but we still had feelings!
With my mom out of the picture, all of my dads rage fell on us. We were constantly put under verbal and mental abuse. We were called names and hit on a daily bases… sometimes for nothing more than simply being her children. I remember one day when I fixed my hair myself. I was SO proud of the way it turned out. With my mom gone I hardly ever had my hair fixed nice anymore. I wanted it to last as long as possible; I didn’t want it to come undone. I found the hairspray and sprayed some of it on my little master piece. About that time my dad rushed in and began to yell at me, his face red with rage, he jerked the hairspray out of my little hands and threw it across the living room. (I assume the project he was working on outside didn’t go the way he planned it) He looked at me with complete disgust in his eyes and yelled “Don’t you ever waste perfectly good hairspray on that mop of yours again, you stupid girl… you’re just like your mom”. I was absolutely crushed. I thought I did a good job… it was the best I had ever done alone. He hated it. When we were beat, I would go to school with long sleeves on to cover the bruises… but even when the surface bruises were gone, the emotional wounds never healed. I recall once when my baby brother, then two years old, had a bruise the size of his little back, in the shape of my fathers foot print. My grandmother noticed... then, she believed, but she turned a blind eye.
I did in those times, what I had always done… I prayed, screamed, yelled, called out to God. I asked Him to put us in a better place… to take us away from the hand of my father, from the fear. There was such a thick, heavy fog of hate, confusion, anger and distrust that resided in the house we lived in. It never lightened, never went away. Sometimes it was so thick it could choke you… no one believed me. I reached out to so many people for help, and not one person believed me. The only person who could make this all go away, the only person who could be there for us now was my God. I would sometimes pray for him to take me in the night, I knew that dying in this world would mean I would be alive in heaven for eternity… the thought of it would bring a smile to my face each and every time.
As I think back on the life I lived… on the years I spent under the hand of my father… of how I constantly turned to the Lord for help, for answers, for peace… I can’t help but wonder… would my children know to turn to God in times of helplessness in their lives? Have I taught them, shown them, the sweet gentle love of our Heavenly Father? Would they know Him if they felt Him? Am I failing as a parent with these sweet beautiful angels my God has trusted me to raise up in His Word? I hope and pray with all of my heart that I have been able to plant seeds of faith in the hearts of my little ones.
My brothers were too young to have experienced Gods saving Grace… they were sucked under the piercing ice cold tidal wave of destruction and addictions that followed a life of belittlement. Under the constant pounding rain of words that chipped away at self confidence and feelings of worth they crumbled.
Of all the years, and days residing under my earthy fathers roof, never once were we hugged… never once were we told we were loved by him. He was never this way around other people. He would become a happy-go-lucky, laid back, fun loving guy who gave of himself to anyone that needed. I’m sure this aided in the reason why no one believed any of my tall tales of abuse in our home.
Despite everything we went through with my father… I forgave him. I didn’t forgive him for his sake, I didn’t forgive him because years after he dropped us off on my grandmothers door steps( after finding a woman he just couldn’t live without, a woman who didn’t want anything to do with us) he came back into our lives trying to buy us gifts and taking us out to eat, helping pay our bills. No… nothing he could have ever done would have caused me to forgive him. I forgave him …. I forgave him because that’s what my God said I needed to do. I forgave him so that that part of me could be free, be put to rest. I forgave him so that I could go back in my memories and lie down in that pink and white checkered canopy bed, beside that little girl crying out with all of her heart to God. So I could wrap my arms around her… hold her tight… and whisper “It’s o.k. … everything is going to be o.k. … God hears you sweet angel… he hears your prayers, he hears your cries and he loves you… He sees you, His heart goes out to you and he says ‘Don’t cry.’ Luke 7:13. You will be saved from this place, I promise. You ARE worth loving, you ARE worth saving, you WILL have a bright future, you WILL amount to something and you will NOT end up like your mother, ” That’s why I forgave him… so I can finally allow that tiny little girl…. full of so much hurt…. to fall sleep without tears in her eyes.
I do, thank God for those years we lived with my father. I know that if it were not for those hard, trying times early in my life, I would not have drawn so close to Him... I may never have clung to Him the way I did. I know me experiencing the things I have during my life has given me the ability to better relate to, and counsel the girls at church. Although I am just as grateful that my children have never had to experience anything like this, I pray that if or when they are faced with trials, they have the strength and wisdom to push through, and reach out to God the way I did.
Years after forgiving my father... after growing and building a relationship with him... he has turned to drugs, and has recently decided to "disown" his blood children. In his words, he has tried his entire life to redeem himself, and we were never able to forgive him. Then he went on to say that he never did anything to be forgiven for, all he did was make sure we were taken care of. He said that he has found a new woman, who has children... and that he will be a father to her children that we never allowed him to be to us.
I wish him the best in his life, I forgive him... yet again, and I will pray for him. . . I will pray for him, and I will pray for those innocent children who will have to live under his heavy hands. I pray that he has calmed in his older age, and will not be a fraction of the father to him, that he was to us.