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Archive for August, 2012

For years I’ve had problems reconciling my relationship to my dad in my mind. I no longer wish to try and have a relationship with him; I haven’t wanted or had any contact in over a year. My biggest trouble isn’t the actual relationship (or lack of), but how to reconcile it in my head.

When I invent stories in my head (aka daydreaming), I usually create girls who are in abusive relationships with their dads. Usually, it’s turned into finding another father who is either the real (birth) dad, an adopted dad, or even “just” a father figure. All of the second father roles are incredible father models–gentle, encouraging, loving, and proud of the girl. Some are accepted easily, but usually the girl has to be convinced that he is sincere.

In my imagining and re-imagining of scenes from a fantasy story I want to do I ran through the following scenarios last night. (I’m currently unsure if they’ll remain, but wish to share them and their insights into my life…not to mention I’m having to reconstruct it just to put it here.)

——————-
Boy: “I know you love me. I know you’ve loved me since childhood. Why won’t you let me love you?”

Girl: shares memory from childhood where she finds out the man who was called her father had never loved her, including her feelings of complete failure as she never “measured up” to his expectations.

Girl’s real father: “I’m proud of you. I have always been proud of you. You’ve exceeded every expectation I’ve ever had for you. But, more than that, I’m proud of you because you’re my daughter. I love you. You are exactly who you should be; you were created for this.” He goes on to explain that no other person could fit her role, and if her circumstances were different, she wouldn’t fit either–and her role is of vital importance.

At her father’s encouragement, she is actually able to move forward through her fear where before her fear encapsulated her away from them.
———————–

In this second scene, the group is sitting around the fire and the father is telling of his former betrothed. He had broken it off because he thought she was in love with someone else. But she wasn’t, he had been tricked by his best friend who wanted her for himself.

The girl knows something extra. She knows that the woman was abused by the friend before meeting and marrying someone else. The woman was to have a child (of the abuser), but the abuser prevented that and caused the woman to lose the child–a son.

The girl found out (about the abuse and child) when she was 10-12 years old and took action.

In the retelling of the story, it’s obvious to the father that the girl killed the abuser because of the way he was killed. (The father, a knight, had trained the girl.)

After she had killed the man, she returned to her home and told the woman’s husband (her “dad”), thinking he would be happy and proud of her for enacting justice, but he was furious. He was thinking it was his wife’s chosen lover, not an abuser, and he had lost his chance to a male heir (not able to have his own, turning a blind eye on his wife’s actions). He had the girl whipped.

She shows the scars on her back, then retreats from the campfire. She goes over to a rock wall (side of cave perhaps) and curls up in a ball as tightly as she can.

She feels alone and unloveable. With the flogging, she knew that her “dad” had never loved her. With many words spoken by him, that she was barely acceptable to him.

With those feelings come isolation and the fear capsule that closes around her and prevents her from believing anyone could possibly love her.
————–

It was the words in the first scenario that caught my attention, but the actions in the second that helped me make since of it all. It was very much God saying “Why won’t you let Me love you?” to me. Because it is me preventing Him from truly working in my life, from truly being in my life, because I don’t feel worthy to be loved and cared for, especially from/by God.

So, before going on with me, please pause and let Him ask you:

“Why won’t you let Me love you?”

The reply of the Father struck me hard (insert “son” as needed, dear reader):

“I’m proud of you. I have always been proud of you. You’ve exceeded every expectation I’ve ever had for you. But, more than that, I’m proud of you because you’re my daughter. Because you’re my daughter, I have always loved you. My love is unconditional and will never change, no matter what you do. You are not a mistake, you are who should be. I created you just the way you are, for just the time and place you are at.”

Ok, so I admit it’s hard to leave in the part about exceeding expectations. I’m sure we all fail at times in our spiritual journey. However, what expectations does God really have for us? He already knows what we’ll do, so unlike human parents His expectations can’t be exaggerated by the unknown hope of the future. At any rate, I believe that He is always proud of His creation and always loves.

So, it can be easy to logically believe this as true, but to have it sink into the heart? Lol. That takes work. But the work is not mine. I “simply” need to let Him work in me.

As I said before, the second scene really showed me through actions what the first scene showed through words.

The first thing it showed was the need I feel for a “mark”–something to show saying “look how much I’ve been hurt” to people, as though it would prove more than words…as though it was necessary. But God knows the pain, He knows the hurt we’ve been through. He can see, and feel, the scars on our hearts. But He can change the scars from festering and pain to healed marks of His love….as long as I let Him, and as long as I stop picking at the scars.

The second thing revealed was the girl curled up away from the others. She isolated herself, letting herself be self-defeated. Looking in from the outside, it’s likely her friends and her father felt her hurt with her and wanted to comfort and reassure her, but she shut them out.

Today our new pastor spoke of the “shattered image” (Genesis 3:1-28). It’s his new series on how creation as a whole was broken by sin entering the world causing us all (and even the world/nature) to become a “shattered image bearer”, no longer properly reflecting God.

“The cause of the shattered image” was that “man dethroned God and enthroned himself” (direct notes from the sermon). We, through shame and guilt, tried covering the shattered image (the fig leaves), but our attempts are feeble. As a result of the shatter image, we have consequences. However we still have hope.

God doesn’t leave the broken image bearer alone. He pursues us. He seeks us out. The beauty of this is–He knows where we are, we can’t hide from God. Just as the others could still see the girl in the campfire scene, He sees us. However, the others have a decision to make: come to the girl to offer comfort and love, or let her stay alone wrapped in her layers of fear, self-defeat, and even self-loathing. God has already made His choice, and it’s unchanging–He comes to us.

And in His coming, He offers things that no one else (and nothing else) can provide. He promises redemption–He restores the broken mirror so that once again it can properly and truly reflect Him. The image bearer can be whole again.

He also provides a covering, more thorough than we could do ourselves. This covering covers our sins and our shame so that instead of sin, God can be seen. It’s obvious that this covering would protect the outside world from focusing on our brokenness, but if I may be so bold I think there’s something more–

When we truly surrender, when we truly allow this cover to be placed on us, it allows us to no longer see our brokenness but to have the focus be on God.

We would still know about the brokenness, for sure. But it would no longer have rule over us, it would no longer consume us. Instead, we would have our focus on the Image, allowing the pain of our brokenness to be healed, and becoming the image bearers we were meant to be.

Consider for yourself, are you holding back from God’s love? Are you preferring brokenness even though it’s painful and isolating? Ask God to reveal to us what we need to know to move on from brokenness. Perhaps write a few lines down such as the “Father’s reply” I have above as affirmations and place it somewhere to serve as a reminder. Comment below to share your own ideas on how to transition from the broken to the image bearer.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21, 25 NASB)

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