How Forgiving my Father Brought Healing
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”Colossians 3:13 NLT
I believe parents are the first example of God to their children. If they are absent or present—it shapes and establishes how their child will perceive God. For me, it would have been easier to trust God if God were a Black woman because my mother and Grandmother took care of me and their love and support were consistent. However, the absence of my father (which I perceived as rejection) made it hard to trust the God in the Bible with the pronouns He/Him. My disconnect from my natural father made it hard to connect with my Heavenly Father.
When I was a teenager, I blamed my poor behavior on not having a relationship with my dad. I was angry that he wasn’t in my life, and the feeling of abandonment haunted me. For many years, we had little contact with no bond. He would tell me he loved me, but I didn’t believe it.
As I became a young adult, I realized not forgiving my father was hindering my growth and healing. It was also hindering my relationship with God and believing what scripture said. I was in a cycle of hurt, frustration, and trauma. So, to heal, I made a conscious effort to forgive my father for his absence and agreed to start a relationship with him as an adult. Our new dynamics started weird because I was all grown up, but in time, it became routine. He would call me and tell me he loved me and ask about everything I was doing.
Over time, we formed a genuine connection. I started to heal, and my relationship with God grew as well. Furthermore, I started going to therapy. My therapist told me to start talking to my father as if he were a parent and ask him for advice about things in my life. However, asking my father for advice was challenging because I subconsciously didn’t value my father’s opinion based on his history.
Nonetheless, I listened and started to confide in my father. Confiding in my dad deepened our relationship and increased my respect for him. I am so grateful for the restoration because, without warning, it was coming to an end.
In 2020, my father died in December. Our last conversation went like this:
Me: Hey, Dad! How are you doing?
Dad: I just returned from the hospital today. I’m doing much better- thank the Lord!
Me: Praise the Lord! We were praying. Glad you’re good.
Me: Just in time for your birthday!
Dad: I appreciate it, son, I feel God’s upon me, and I’m thankful. I love you, and I appreciate you checking on me.
Me: You’re welcome. God is with you.
Dad: I feel it, Son. I love you, and I am so proud of you for doing your thing—just one day at a time. Keep your head clear of worries you can’t control.
Me: Thank you. Okay, I will do that.
Sadly, these would be the last words we’d say to one another. A week later—my dad passed away. Amid a global pandemic, I lost my father and friend.
Although he was absent throughout my childhood, as an adult, he was a fantastic parent. God indeed restored the lost time during my adulthood. My father was remorseful for abandoning his responsibility. He apologized to me frequently. I often wonder if he felt forgiven.
As the anniversary of his passing approaches, I’m thinking of the beauty of forgiveness. God orchestrated our reunion, and God’s love was the center of our connection. With God’s help, my father and I took the necessary steps to experience the love and restoration that heals our souls. I will forever remember my father’s presence in my life more than his absence because what we shared while he was alive fulfilled me in a way that nullifies the past.
Forgiveness is the cornerstone of healing and restoration.