I’m so thankful for the good memories I have from my childhood. Waking up on Sunday morning to the aroma of Mom making “Big Breakfast” (pancakes and bacon), my sister and I playing outside with our friends after school until the street lights came on, and braiding my Barbie’s hair next to my Mom, while she styled her clients hair in her at-home salon.
Unfortunately, the broken memories are just as vivid. I grew up with an alcoholic Father, and all of the family dysfunction that spawned from his behavior. I was forced to learn forgiveness at a very young age, but the daily, “I’m sorry” was nothing more than a verbal Band-Aid with no authenticity.
As I grew older, I developed a failure complex from the constant criticism that crippled me any time I “missed the mark”. For 27 years, I would draw boundaries and then regress. After all, he was the only father I had. It was a vicious cycle with no light at the end of the tunnel.
A child trauma expert at Vanderbilt University said that it’s not unusual for children to crave attention and love from abusive parents. This explains my endless pursuit for reconciliation and redemption in my relationship with my father. I truly believed it would happen, so I would put up with almost anything, tricking myself into thinking we were building a relationship.
The plans I had for my father and my relationship came to a sudden halt when he unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack the morning of February 2, 2015. I carried unbearable weight in the months that followed, thinking about all of the things we never got to say to each other. I believed whole-heartedly that redemption was on the horizon. I thought he would turn his life around and bring healing for all the pain he caused my family.
Negative experiences, opinions, and influences can blur our vision and change the way we see the world. These blinders become the enemy’s greatest tool against us, because they keep us from seeking God’s perfect plan for our lives. Instead, we pursue anything that can numb the pain from the past.
It took a long time to come to terms with the fact that God had a different plan. As hard as it was to believe, I realized that believing equals trust, and this was the ultimate test of my faith in trusting God.
Do we truly believe that God can use our brokenness for His glory? Whether we believe it or not, the answer is YES, and it’s spelled out for us all throughout scripture.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
No matter what life throws our way, we must believe that Our God is sovereign—that he knows the desires of our hearts, and that His plan for our lives is perfect beyond our understanding.