For most people, Father's Day - like Mother's Day - is a joyous time to celebrate the loving relationship of a parent. Some people who haven't had lots of positive experiences with their parents as children and/or adults face these occasions with mixed emotions. Some of us hold on to our bitterness and live a life of emotional turmoil, while others of us choose to let go of the past, forgive our parents, and live healthier lives.
My dad was my very own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When he didn't drink, he was an independent thinker - extremely intelligent, loving and outgoing. When he did drink, he was mentally and physically abusive. My dad was a man who grew up without his father. Alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes were his salvation. He was a provider. Growing up, I never wanted for anything. I lived well, dressed well and ate well. Yet, I suffered from the chaos of the storm that was brewing inside my dad. He passed away suddenly during my teen years, and I remember after the initial grief of his passing feeling a sense of relief - relieved that I wouldn't get beat anymore ... relieved that I wouldn't have to watch him beat my stepmom ... relieved that my little sister would not have to experience his abuse.
It took many years and lots of prayer, personal reflection and therapy, but I finally surrendered all my hurt and disappointment I felt about my dad to the Lord.
To the person reading this whose dad was less than stellar and who is experiencing a similar dilemma this Father's Day, I encourage you to grow a relationship with God, the one father who will never leave you or forsake you. I also encourage you to take the necessary steps to relinquish the years of pain, disappointment and strife from your heart by forgiving your natural father.
Unfortunately, there is no "Happy Button" to push to turn right years of wrong doing. However, you can take authority over your disappointment, your pain and your anger. Therapy is a great way to start the healing process. If you aren't big on the idea of seeing a therapist, consider journal writing. Writing is a great form of therapy and can help you reflect and release those dark memories. Whether you choose to allow someone to read what you write is your decision. However, the process is more important than the product in this instance.
So today, I encourage you to make a decision that this will be the last Father's Day that you hold bitterness in your heart against your dad or any father figure in your life who failed you as a child or as an adult. I challenge you to let go and let God start the healing process in your life.