I Don’t Want You – (Ashes Part 2 of 2)

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Have you ever felt abandoned?  Know that you are not alone.  Our newest Voice Miki shares her powerful and personal story of being rejected by her earthly father but then being embraced by her Heavenly Father, who renewed and restored her broken heart.  This is part two of her story of being raised from the ashes.

            I don’t want you.

            This was the voice I heard as I read over a letter from an attorney in San Francisco. On the page was a short, quick, professional letter asking for me to contact this sender: a family lawyer.

            I don’t want you.

            The words on the page raged and swirled, the words pulled deeper and deeper into a black hole, where emotions went to die.

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            A year previous, during my last year of high school, our financial struggles brought us to the end of our rope. My mother reached out and applied for welfare and was put into a training program and eventually found a job in which to support us with. During the time however, much information was collected, and it was revealed that no financial support came from my father, and he was to be informed and sought after.

            No word – not for a whole year. Then again, it had been much longer since he’d left.

            Upon visiting home for winter vacation after my first college semester, I received this letter in the mail. It hit me harder than I wanted to admit, especially to my mother, and weighed heavier upon me than I could bear to carry. No contact from him, still, just a letter from a stranger. I wasn’t even worth his time.

            My parents did not have the “fairytale romance” – or any kind of romance. They were barely friends. Their future together, decided economically by their families, and my father and mother were married. And his life continued to be shrouded in darkness – his life, his heart, his lover. His heart had left long before he ever had. It may not have been there at all.

            On the day I received this greeting, I took my first step into the spiral of depression, anger. What about me made me so detestable in his eyes? Was I not flesh of his flesh, no matter what happened between he and my mother?

            Struggling to banish him from my thoughts, I focused my energy into my studies, choosing to ignore the loneliness and bitter heartache that had already taken root deep within my soul. This pattern continued for years, and had it been my choice, would likely extend to today.

            But He had bigger plans for me—and what marvelously creative plans they were.

            From the outermost recesses of my mind and heart, a still small voice called out to me yet again. Thoughts, which I fought desperately to suppress with the weight of a thousand mountains, rushed through the cracks and flowed like lava, searing and transforming my rock-hard heart.

            I needed healing—more so than I would admit in a million years.

            And He wanted to heal me. Wholly. Make me an entire person. He wanted to mend my heart so that I could love from all of it and not just the parts that feel comfortable, the few unscarred parts I allowed others to see. This was the gift He wished to give me: a heart that is flesh and tender, a heart that is whole.

            All around me, others speak of trivial requests from their fathers. They talk of ways their fathers have loved them, and the ways they wished their fathers would have loved them.

            How much would I give to be in those shoes? The shoes that belonged to the fathered, the shoes that belonged to those who can say their fathers loved them even if it were just for a minute, the shoes that belonged to those who can talk hockey and culture and faith with their fathers.

            How much would I give?

            To be able to picture as a little girl a knight in shining armor with the face of my daddy coming to save me from distress. To be able to ride on my dad’s shoulders as we walked around, enjoying the kiss of the sun’s rays and the embrace of the autumn wind together. To be encouraged every time I fell down from learning to ride my bike as a kid. To have little trivial disagreements about the boys I liked.

            But these things I could never have. In the years under my belt, the one gift I wished to have received from him was that he wouldn’t have given up, he wouldn’t have left.

            But he did.

            He left.

            And he never looked back.

            Still.

            Though I may not be able to express love to a father I barely knew, I could be thankful for the physical life he’s given me that, in truth, came from the creativity of a Heavenly Father who would never leave my heart lonely.

            In the end, it is for His glory. He calls me His—in every sense of the word. I belong to Him. I am His daughter, His princess. He gives me the love I’ve always wanted from a father and gives it freely and abundantly everyday.

            Yet I don’t know how to receive it.

            Love from a father. What is it like? How does one go about receiving it? How does one go about giving back?

            Forgiving my earthly father… I never thought I needed to. He had departed so early and abruptly from my life and growth that I felt he was a stranger in nearly every way. But he was not a stranger; a stranger would not be able to wound my heart so mortally. He was a man whose responsibility was to raise me and love me, and he threw it all away along with a daughter he wished he never had. He was a man who left me to fend for myself when I needed a father the most, in order to chase after his own fleeting desires. He was a man who broke my heart, shattered it to pieces, and scattered it to the four winds.

            To pray for him? To forgive him? To… love him? Who am I that I can do such a thing? By the love and mercy of God, this daughter was called to do such. And by His strength alone I could pray blessings on a man I would rather curse for eternity.

            Even so, as time has passed, peace had begun to heal my heart. It continues to be painful to pray for him. To pray against the wrongs he has done and is possibly still doing—this is simple. This is something I can do. To pray blessings on the man who trampled on my heart? To pray blessings on the family he replaced me with? How could I? They are the hardest prayers I will ever have to pray.

            Struggling to forgive, straining for justice, I judged this man and labeled him a sinner. His sin cut deep and severed tendon from bone. He abandoned me, cut out my heart and dropped it without a second glance. Yet I am called to forgive him.

            I felt, however, that if I could forgive this man, I could do anything. I knew deep within that my lack of forgiveness for him and my anger that boiled into hatred would poison the fruit the Heavenly Father wished to grow in me. I wanted to be fruitful for Him, and more than anything, to be made whole.

            Forgiveness would come soon enough—soon enough on His time. To be forgiven, one must forgive. Were my father’s sins really much different than my own? Had I not once left my Love, ripped out His heart, and spat in His face?

            The sinless God came to the earth He created, relinquishing His right to be praised, clothing Himself in frail human flesh, and donning a servant’s clothes to wash the feet of those He taught. The sinless God, who had and still has every right to be angry and hateful toward us who break His heart over and over and over and over again, chose to forgive, and His love compelled Him to die for those who break His heart and His laws in order to allow them to come back into fellowship with Him.

            The innocent sought the guilty for reconciliation.

            So how could I, in my selfishness, justify hating this man for what he did? I was just as guilty as he. And our sins were against no one but Yahweh, God Almighty.

            I would learn that forgiveness was the key to my freedom, and it was just within my reach. Forgiving my father would release me from my anger, release me from my bitterness, release me from the cage I slammed shut long ago, and allow me to use all the wasted energy and time to focus on that which was more important and lasting like putting a smile on my Heavenly Daddy’s face.

            My earthly father, having taken no active role in my life for over twenty years, taught me the only lesson he ever needed to teach me: how to forgive.

            My father: the man who bestowed the first character of my name, meaning “phoenix.”

            The second burning of my nest, the second rebirth: complete.

——————

            Phoenixes are magnificent creatures. Through severe physical and emotional trauma, they are able to rise more beautiful than before, wearing their scars like jewels.

            The appearance of a phoenix—a name given to me by the two people who would push me to live up to it for years to come; my name is a promise – a promise that life would not be easy for me, but also a promise that the scorching fire that licks my skin is a temporary sting that would lead me to be born anew.

            My name is a promise from God, a promise of a difficult life and a promise of perseverance through the fire. Scars etched deeply upon my heart and upon my past—they are being refined by the fire to shine like silver and gold.

            He wants my heart. The heart that had been trampled on and forgotten about is the heart that the King of the universe wants to set His throne upon, to make His home in. He reveals to me from beneath a shrouded veil a heart that is whole, a heart that is radiant, a heart that is beautiful.

            This is my heart. The scars that were once adorned on its surface have been healed and transformed by my Savior. These storms that were meant to batter and break and dirty this heart have caused it to shine even more radiantly than it once had, and more radiantly than it once could.

            This is my heart. This is His home. There is still healing that must take place.

            But He knows me.

            And He will meet me in the storm.

            And when the rain subsides, peace comes like waves spilling over each other before finally breaking on the beach, the scent of the sea an hour after a storm—the scent of peace—lingering lazily in the air.

            In the scream of silence, the caress of a whisper brushes across my face. Born from the imagination of the Most High God, He seals me with His promise.

            I am His masterpiece.

            I am a phoenix.

 

Photo credit: Flickr / n0vi

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