I have a Maker He formed my heart Before even time began My life was in his hands He knows my name He knows my every thought He sees each tear that falls And He hears me when I call I have a Father He calls me His own He'll never leave me No matter where I go He knows my name He knows my every thought He sees each tear that falls And He hears me when I call. This song by Tommy Walker was my favourite when I was in high school and the university. The song did it for me. I mean - it would make me cry those sad-happy tears that would make the worship leader think God was moving in the congregation. It would always humble me that God, big big God, unfathomable God, eternal Creator of heaven and earth, would know my name, promise to never leave me or forsake me. My favourite Bible verses ran under the same theme - of a God who made me, knew me, loved me and who would never forsake me. It was good to be known.
Psalm 139:13-17 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!"Before I was formed in my mother's womb God knew me. He directed my formation. What may have been a surprise, ahem, unpleasant shock, to my parents was not a surprise to God. He orchestrated it.
I also loved Isaiah 46:4 "I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you."I was a kid dealing with serious rejection issues and in need of affirmation and validation. That is what growing up without knowing my father had done to me. I never knew the man who sired me. Not his name or lineage or inclination of whether he was short or tall, dark or light, funny or gum face. And it totalled to me feeling unloved and unwanted by the very person who was supposed to love me unconditionally, the person who made me to be. I missed an identity I desperately wanted. I lacked attachments. I lacked roots. I felt I didn't really have a home (and I suspect this will break mum's heart because she tried to give me a home). I was like a bird, fleeting. Which is crazy because my mother loved me- I know that looking back now. But her silence on my parentage felt like lack of love. I thought she didn't care about me hence kept my father a secret. And I did not give her an easy time. So I walked around with a wound in my heart. Even after I got the man I today call dad, I couldn't quite let him in till I was in my 30s. I think every one who has been raised up by a non bio dad has at one point rebelled and yelled (even in your own head) "You are not my dad. " I never voiced that to him but I know he felt the walls I had built to keep him away because he once in a while would want me to know how much he loves me. My birthday was the saddest and deepest day of my calendar. This is the one day I gave myself permission to pine for and miss a man I never knew and might never meet or know. It was our birthday. Since I was 16, I think, I cried every birthday because it reminded me of someone who I wished was thinking of me on that day, who would have wished me a happy birthday, someone who I wished would see how much I had grown, how much God had brought me through. I would write him poems, wondering if I looked like him, if I had ever met him on the street, if he ever thought of me... Then I'd realise the futility of my little pity party and try to pick myself up. Then I found God, or is it God found me, and he told me he knew me, loved me and that He is a father to fatherless. That he knew even the very hairs on my head even when someone whose loved I craved for did not know whether I lived or died, ate or slept. God told me he had made and would carry me. That I could let myself be fathered by the greatest Father of all. I mattered. I was known. And what a joy to be fathered by God. That was healing to my wounded heart. It took a long time to internalise that truth- many years actually. As recently as me a mother of two, I still had father issues. But eventually the message got in and resonated from within and I knew I could release this man whom I had carried all my life. Eventually I was able to view my birth father as just another human being dealing with his own weaknesses, inadequacies, hangups, issues, probably with circumstances beyond his control. So he had failed a little girl thirty something years ago. I couldn't hold that against him forever. I needed to free him, free me. I needed to forgive him even when he did not know he had wounded me and even if he never asked for forgiveness or reconciliation. Healing but... I knew I had forgiven my bio dad for his absence and silence. And God in his gracious mercy had given me an earthly father who has loved me even more than any birth father could ever have. this man gave me a name, that because of my hangups, I was unable to take up (It's taken me years to ever be able to call him dad and the only surname I've ever used is my husband's. I'd be asked my name in official places and blurt out my two names with confidence, knowing the next question was why I only had two names). Dad gave me a place to call home, roots and new extended family. He's the one who brought me to the city for the first time, put me up with his friends, took me to university on my first day and made sure I was settled in. He walked me down the aisle. He found me a place to live when i was an unpaid intern. He's the person I talked to first when I wanted to get married, or quit my job or re-take a job. He is the person who will call me because he has missed me and offer to buy lunch. He gets me and we share certain passions like writing. My kids adore him. He has loved me unconditionally. He's been tireless and unconditional even when mv love has been at best lukewarm. I bless your heart Dad. His love and presence, however, did not stop me from pining for the love of the one man whose genes I carry. I was grown up, independent, married, a mother, full of the Holy Ghost, but somewhere inside was a little girl longing for that which she didn't get while growing up. In fact having children just brought all the underlying pain and identity issues bubbling forth. I wondered whose genes I was passing along. I would look at my son and wonder from which side of the family that twisted pinkie came from. Carrying my daughter especially was hard on me. She's the one who led me to finally look for and call my birth father. I knew that if, for example he died without my ever meeting him, talking to him, I would regret that for the rest of my life. I say she was born to break the chains. I tried reaching out to him. How I got his number is a case of divine intervention that I might tell on another day. Let's just say I was Facebook friends with someone who knew someone who knew him. But for the second time I felt rejected. My heart was once again broken to a thousand shards. I remember it was the same week I had received a job rejection letter so it hurt twice as bad. To me, those were two people in one week telling me I don't quite measure up. I sat in the pew of a Catholic Church in Eldoret town and cried. It was the kind of hurt I couldn't even share with my husband. It was too raw. So in my brokenness I poured out all the ugliness to God, and he graciously puts us back together again. He made my heart okay. Then grace... I had come a long way, from a position of hate and anger to a place of neutrality regarding my father. Now I didn't care whether he lived or died, got to know me or not. I was done being hurt or rejected over and over by the same person. I thought I had arrived. You could not reject a person who expected nothing from you. Two months ago, I saw a joke that said women think their fathers are heroes and their husbands idiots. I joked with my husband and told him he was a hero and my father an idiot. Immediately I felt convicted over my words. Good or bad, deserving or undeserving, I had no right to insult my father. I needed to honour him for his position, not necessarily for how well he had executed it regarding me. The Holy Spirit reminded me that no anger, malice and slander are to come from me. A week after that incident someone else out of the blue sent me a verse on the need to honour our parents. Amidst my protests, he quoted for me the verse that says "if you do good only to those who are good to you, how different are you from pagans? " Then he added, "Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). So now I am here asking myself, what is the gracious thing to do? How do I do good to someone with whom I have such a history? How do I honour a man who hasn't honoured his role in my life? How do I honour someone whose rejection has the impact o break m heart into a thousand shards? How God calls us to impossible standards, standards that are only possible through him! A Bible study led me to understand that honouring means thinking and acting under heavy, even reverential respect for the divinely-appointed position someone holds. The Bible command for children is to honour parents.... not *good* parents 😀. Thanks for that Davis. Again, whatever we do, we do it as unto God. Any grace we offer, we offer because of God and for God. It is letting the light in us shine. Consequently, I have not completely written off reconciliation with my bio dad. I opened that door once again. And I will keep it open because it is the God thing to do, the gracious thing. Regardless of the circumstances that brought us together, God in his sovereignty chose him that I may be. I carry his genes, attributes and personality quacks. These are gifts from God to me, through him. I honour that. I've learnt that when navigating the waters of dishourable parents, we should distinguish between the person and the position. We honour them for the position, not how well they carried it out. Will we always be able to have a relationship? No. In some cases, especially where there was abuse, this can even be foolish. But we will pray for large hearts and practical ideas to still honour fatherhood and motherhood and not speak ill of our parents. PS. You know those stories you write over several years and never get the courage to finish or publish? This has been one of them. It speaks of healing on my part. I pray it encourages someone, prods another to action but most importantly reminds us that we have been called to a ministry of reconciliation and that sometimes that has to start where it hurts most, in our own families. Lastly, earthly father or not, we will be reminded that we have the perfect father above and He thinks about us, loves us, knows us, cares about us. Shalom.