Monday, February 9, 2009

"Will and Grace"-NOLA pt. 2

"Why are you going to New Orleans again?" someone asked me one night. I explained that I was going to see my dad...and planned to run the Mardi Gras Marathon. With my heart bitter towards the last reunion my dad and I had, I was concentrated on that run more than I was seeing him. For me to tell them, "to see my dad" was not the whole truth.

To take you back some, my dad and mom divorced when I was 3 years old. My mom remarried and so my dad. There was distance between my dad and I until I was 17 yrs. old when he came to my graduation. I longed to know my dad but he was distant and I didn't know how to get close. I didn't have a father figure in my life. My step-dad didn't know how to "love" someone.

We didn't stay in contact after I graduated and I began a life of my own. I married a wonderful man and had a wonderful child. It's a wonderful life...right?

Well, I was missing something. I was missing the love, approval, and soft voice of a father. An authority figure that speaks volumes in your life.

My husband asked me one day if I would be ready some time to see my dad. He suggested it would be good for me, him, and our daughter to see him. I was hesitant at first but we planned out a time to go to New Orleans and reconnect.

That visit was in July 2002. It wasn't a visit I expected I guess. With distance between us and not really knowing what to say with one another, we stayed more apart from each other than close. I had come to terms with we aren't meant to have a father/daughter relationship. I wrote him a letter explaining that we were better off "friends." He never responded.

In November 2002 I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. I had become a Christian when I was 15 years old, but not having anyone to help me along my walk to grow and mature in my Christianity, I fell away. Being led back to Jesus was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was that time that I began to realize, I was never alone. I had a father...a Heavenly Father. I began to be filled with His love and understanding that God never intended for me to be without my dad. He began to show me that my dad didn't know how to reconnect with me, he didn't know how to respond with that fatherly relationship, for he felt as if he had messed up and couldn't turn back.

I began going through a heart mending process. I first forgave myself for always thinking it was me and putting the blame on me for not having that relationship with my dad. I had no control over it. I then had to forgive him. It was a process and it took will. Everytime I would feel as if I had forgiven him, the enemy would throw in my face, "well, if he had stayed active in your life, you wouldn't have had to go through what you went through with your step dad in that household." It was hard to push those thoughts away, but I had to focus on forgiving my dad and building a bridge for him to cross to get to me.

When I say "bridge" I mean Jesus Christ. I cannot build a bridge from things in my heart, for my heart can be guarded. I have to build a bridge based on the words from Jesus. So, he began to show me how and I was able to forgive my dad.

So here it is 2009 and I was going to run this marathon...and see my dad. Should it not have been the other way around? I was challenged with that question, "Why are you going to New Orleans again?" I knew I had to rearrange my priorities.

I began to pray about this trip. What would my dad think of me now? How will Madelyn react to her "grandpa" that she has never met...or remembers meeting? I began to be at peace and knew it would be okay.

We got to grandma and grandpas house on Saturday. Lots of family members were there greeting us and welcoming us back. Treating us like family...and we are. I guess I never grew up in a tight knit environment that I didn't know how I was going to act. God reminded me that all the "love" that he placed inside of me when he made me, was solely for this purpose and it was okay to release it and I did. No walls, no guards, and no locks. I let go.

My dad, step mom, and siblings arrived. I hugged my dad right away. It was one of the tightest hugs I had recieved in a long time. It wasn't a hug I was used to getting. It was a hug that a father gives his child. A hug I have witnessed Jeremy giving Madelyn and not sure how Maddy was feeling at the time her daddy was giving it to her. I always wanted to know how a daughter feels when her daddy is "approving" of her, and I finally got it.

We sat on the porch talking about life, Hurricane Katrina, and forgiving one another. My dad began to tear up and saying he was sorry for things. I quickly reminded him that I was an adult too and I can reach out too. He still sat their feeling sorry. I finally said, "I am okay now. I have forgiven you and forgiven myself. Let's move on." I could tell he was battling within, but I reminded him again, "I am okay." He smiled and we continued to talk.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. '

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate..." Luke 15:20-24

This is a scripture that God revealed to me as I was seeking Him on how to approach the reunion with my dad. I felt as if I were to welcome my dad back. I felt like the father who hadn't seen his son because his son felt bad for all he'd done wrong.

Jesus welcomes us back no matter what wrong we have done. We have to learn to do the same to others. How cleansed do you feel when you know God has forgiven you for your faults? Should we not show the same heart to others...especially our family? Maybe the reason why I felt so "fatherly" to my dad was because it was God's heart. He is still my dads Heavenly Father and wants my dad to feel loved. So like Jesus tells us "you are forgiven," so I say that to my dad too. He doesn't have to explain anything to me.

There were a couple of things that went on while I was there that the enemy tried to throw in my face about how my dad was. I had to throw in the enemys face that I was over it. You see, like I said early on in the blog, there needed to be a bridge built for me and my dad to cross. Well, when I talk about a bridge, it reminds me of the childrens story "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." We, of course, are the billy goats. The bridge is Jesus. We are trying to get to the other side. Well, under the bridge is a troll (the enemy). The troll tries to stop the goats from fully crossing the bridge to get to the other side where the green is, but the goats (with teamwork) succeed and beat the troll.

That is how we have to do things in this life. Teamwork. Otherwise, we will never see what is on the other side. There are many things over there; salvation, hope, and forgiveness.

My dad may have some growing to do, we all do.

My wonderful husband came up with the title of this blog, "Will and Grace." My dad's name is William and he taught me a lot about Grace. I couldn't have Grace for Will if Will and Grace weren't given to me.

So you see, you have to have "Will and Grace" and those aren't things you see on t.v. It is learned from a walk on a bridge.


Mr. Randy said...

Wendy, I've been anxiously awaiting part two. My heart is filled with joy that you and your Dad are finally "connecting". Bless you and enjoy the journey!

Jason said...

Wendy, there is a song by Kellie Pickler where she sings about her mother leaving her at a young age and in that songs she sings," Forgiveness is such a simple word, but it's too hard to do when you've been hurt."

We wonder how our parents could do some things to us that we wouldn't even think about doing to our kids but that is the beauty of God's ways. He gives us all free will and He gives us the ability to not only grow our childrens heart to know and love Him but He gives us the ability to grow our parents' hearts to know and love Him as well. Whether Will uses that free will to learn is what we pray for but it takes forgiveness on our part towards them to be able to do that and I'm so happy that your recommitment to Jesus Christ has allowed you to forgive him.

I am so proud of you sis for coming so far on your journey in Faith. I know you have been an inspiration to me and I pray that your dad can see what you can be for him as well.... an inspiration.

I love you and your heart!!

Lacy said...

I take my relationship with my Dad for granted.I can see that now.
I'm happy you got that hug, they are necessary.