Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Perfect Father, Imperfect Dad: The Nature of Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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Difficult visits to see my dad increased from a few times per year to once a week after my return move to Ohio in September 2015.  He continued with put-downs I had heard all my life. Other than those, he basically ignored me. Soon, an unexpected call from the nursing home where 84-year-old Dad had spent the past six years, informed me he was refusing food and water and would pass away in two to three days.

Dropping everything, I went there immediately to spend those days with him. It was Christmas week.

He was unresponsive but could hear. Dad’s attitude taught me young I  was not good enough as a person, let alone as a daughter. In a whisper, I asked my other Father, the Holy God of heaven, to help me know what to say and when to say it. Concerned for Dad’s eternal salvation, my prayer continued, requesting that God would have a conversation with him before he died.

Sunday afternoon, the third day of vigil, a chaplain asked about dad’s spiritual story.  When I told him my father had long ago been removed from ministry, the chaplain responded with an idea I had never considered.

He said, “Your dad may have trouble believing he can be forgiven. Since he was a pastor who fell into sin, he may think he is not good enough.”

That evening I took a walk. Carols wafted out of the dining hall. Pausing to listen, tears rose for the first time. I would not let them go. There was no doubt that once they started, it would be hours before they would stop. 

Upon returning to dad’s room, I was met by such a force that I froze.  Recognizing the presence of the Heavenly Father,  I entered humbly and quietly. It was clear my prayers were being answered; God was having a conversation with dad. After several minutes, God’s tangible presence lifted. Dad breathed strangely and died within the hour.

I knew my Perfect Father had met with my imperfect one. Still,  I asked God if he would be willing to give me a sign to remove all doubt that dad had accepted his invitation.

Putting my fingers in the Bible, it fell open to Micah. My eyes landed on chapter 7, verses  18 and 19. “You [God] will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!”

In the end, grace met dad where he was and reminded him no one has to be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness. God delights, actually has fun, showing unfailing love to his own who repent. 

We are all mixtures of honesty and deceit, kindness and severity, faith and doubt. We do not have the power to love without fault, and that is okay because it is not in the “doing” that we experience grace.

At one point I said to my dying father, “Dad, all you ever had to do for me to love you is be my dad. All you ever had to do for God to love you is exist.”

It is nice to think of the irony- that God chose this oft-rejected daughter to show a stubborn and broken love to a dad who never had to be good enough to earn it.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Luke 11: 11-13

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  -Jesus

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

If Dad’s Love Falls Short: 3 Ways to Move Beyond the Pain

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

A narcissist dad thought it was everyone else’s responsibility to reach out to him. If friends or family did not,  it was their loss.

One child’s personality allowed him to take initiative and make compromises trying to find a relationship with his father. Another child was an introvert, and did not understand his father’s rules.

The first child received some attention. It was especially apparent in public because that is where narcissist’s shine. The other child was almost completely ignored except when his dad yelled at him for daring to cause an inconvenience.

This dad’s behavior was not faithfulness. This is not what love looks like.

Yet many of us have experienced fathers like this and much worse. The picture of love ingrained in our thoughts since childhood is drawn of betrayal, broken promises,  and neglect. Our fathers left us empty, angry, and lost.

Love is…

Kelly Clarkson sings a song to her dad who abandoned her when she was six.  Her lyrics compare him to the father of her children. *

He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece, he restores my faith
That a man can be kind and the father could, stay

These words remind me that behind every negative message from a faithless dad, there exists a basic truth. We are each worthy of a better love. No one can decide differently. If they try, we do not have to believe them.

Exchange false for true

The trick to changing negative core beliefs is to replace them. We will not overcome habitual thought processes by trying to ‘get over it.’ Our power is in switching to a new narrative.

  1. Stop the abuse. If you are an adult and your dad is still toxic, find a way to  draw boundaries and stand by them. Talk to him about the situation. Explain what words or behaviors are deal-breakers.  You decide how often or if you meet, and how long you stay in the same room. He threw away his authority.  You have the human right to emotional safety.
  2. Challenge your self-talk. Ask why you repeat self-defeating cycles. What can you do differently? Pay attention to what language goes through your mind. If you think (or start to say) “I’m a loser,” exchange the phrase for something positive whether you believe it yet or not. For example,  “I’m a fighter” points out how you continue to try.
  3. Reach out to the Father of Fathers. God promises to never abandon us, no matter what our parents do. He is good, faithful, and full of love for those who trust him. He made it possible, no matter how messed-up we are, to come to him. The way God designed is through his Son Jesus.  The New Testament (Bible) states plainly that by believing God sent his one and only Son to die and rise again,  we can ask for and find forgiveness and peace.

Instead of “I am abandoned,” try, “God loves me.” Take in positive truth and watch your pain recede.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*Piece By Piece

 

A Father Beyond His Little Girl’s Dreams

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

A lonely girl dreams of the perfect father. She imagines that when this man looks at his daughter, he sees beautiful possibilities.

As he listens to her pour out her daily, hourly joys, his attention stays focused. When she cries, he holds her. He disciplines her to keep her safe, but never harms her body or heart.

This perfect father continues to see his daughter’s charm and purity despite battle  scars  and  wrinkles  time has worn into her features. He believes her a success and forgets past failures. He loves his baby girl to the very end.

The girl awakens from her dream to sigh. She knows no father like this. In her reality, a father is imperfect, one who struggles with human selfishness, needs and will. For her, hope  of  knowing  a father’s unfailing love is but fantasy.

Then one day, the longing, disappointed girl meets another  Father.

This Father speaks softly with patience. His encouraging words, strong and enduring, build her confidence. He promises to go beyond her fondest hopes of being understood, accepted and loved.

Standing near, he whispers, “Come to me” every moment she breathes. She slows to listen and finds her yearnings lessened, her worries eased. In their place is a learned security. Trust is in the one who will never leave.

Drawing her close,  this  Father  breathes  in  her every word as if this communion were  somehow  his only source of joy. He joins her in designing life goals, shares the fun, and heals exhaustion from typical days.

Needs and emotions of other persons rampage through her home and heart, and this Father gives her wisdom. He cultivates her motherhood by demonstrating how to nurture and sacrifice for her children. Tidal waves of the world’s temptations threaten to sweep her young away, but this Father helps her to hold on tight. Then, standing by her side as she releases her grip, he teaches her how to let  go.

This Father invests in his daughter. He encourages her to have a renewed mind, and to be     a woman of conviction and insight. He sets her face toward the world and says,“Go get ‘em tiger,” and makes it possible for her to believe she can. He lifts her up with hope, and asks her to live humbly before him. These are his good gifts. 

This Father is not fantasy like a prince in shining armor. There is no one else, no matter how sensitive or strong, no other father or romance can fill the cavernous need in a daughter’s heart. To be apart from him is to feel so very alone.

He is not of this earth. His name is Yahweh, Jehovah, and I Am. He is the Creator, and Almighty God.

Upon returning from chasing illusions, the girl sees him in the distance and searches his face for a sign. He smiles with welcoming eyes and engulfs her in his waiting arms.

“Come daughter,” he says. “I am Abba. You are home.”

Happy Father’s Day

when i am old...Today’s Helpful Word

John 1:12

“… to all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–“

 

*****COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

picture of father/daughter from CHARCOAL on rgbstock.com

Today’s blog is an excerpt from Always The Fight: A Living Testimony of What Only God Can Do