Ok, some quick family background:
I have a younger brother, James, who is about 3 years younger than me. Our parents were divorced in 1996. James and I have a tight bond because we were each other's only "constant." We would go back and forth from our mom's house to our dad's, but we were always together! Our parent's divorce affected us differently and we tend to handle our emotions very differently. Here's some more of my story....
April 2003, my life changed forever.
My daddy and I had always butt heads, for as far back as I can remember. But during the spring semester of my freshman year in high school, he decided to release court ruling for my visitations with him. It was hard for me to be "happy" with that, as I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression earlier that school year. But it was a relief to feel as though I was gaining back control of my life. During my middle school and into my freshman year of high school, I got in a lot of trouble with my dad; I was constantly being grounded, punished, and having privileges revoked. Now, some may say I was rebellious, and that could be true, but deep down, I think what I was crying out for was love. I felt controlled and manipulated, not loved. As wise of a decision it may have been at the time for me and my family, for my dad to wave custody rights, it hurt. What I think I felt was, "you are not worth fighting for." Look at every fairytale.... girls want to have someone fight for them! And as a young teenager, I needed that man to be my daddy. [From here, there is obviously a lot more to the story, however, specific details are not important in this particular telling.]
It wasn't until February 2011 that my daddy and I saw each other, for the first time, in almost 8 years. He invited me to a college basketball game. My husband, Tyler, and I decided to go! I was nervous, excited, and relieved!!! After all, MY DADDY WANTED ME AGAIN!!! Our time at the game was great, I got to share about what all had happened in my life... I graduated from high school (minor miracle since at one point I was failing most of my classes), graduated from college, and had gotten married! And it was wonderful just to hear his voice and to see his face. A couple weeks after that game I received a message from my daddy that brought me to tears. What he said is not what I want to highlight (I do not think poorly of my daddy and do not want to leave you thinking poorly of him either!), but what I heard and felt. As I received his message, I felt unlovable and unworthy of love. For the past year, we have not gotten together or really been in touch. If I had it my way, that would not be the case. I miss my daddy, as any girl would!
But I want to go back to my feelings of being unlovable and unworthy of love....because thus far this story brings a lot of bad news and there is Good News! During my high school years, I met someone who taught me what love really is, and proved that I was indeed loved very deeply. He is my Heavenly Father. When my earthly father left me feeling abandoned and unloved, my Heavenly Father intervened to say, "I chose you" (John 15:16) and "I love you" (John 15:12). This brought me such hope! God was not asking me to keep rules in order to be loved or approved- He loves me, period! But years after finding this True Love, I have to constantly battle the temptation to gain love and approval of others. The only One whose love I need is the Lord's.
I am so grateful that God met me right where I was, and used such a horrific experience (for any young girl) to woo me and show me true love. As for my daddy, I continue to hope and pray for a reconciled relationship someday as well as that he would find True Love as I have! And I also believe that God can use your sometimes unfortunate circumstances to woo you, and show you that He loves you dearly.
"For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in." - Psalm 27:10