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My Father - Thank you for painting me a picture of who you are ....

Do you remember that day when I was ten years old? I was in the middle of the field that all the kids played ball at the edge of the woods - I was screaming at you, "I hate you! Yes, I know you're 'up there, somewhere' and you kicked this world into motion and you said to hell with us! I just want you to know that I don't need you, and I don't want you in my life. I hate you! They told me you were a God of love and I'm just letting you know I am not feeling any of your love."

I remember it - like it was yesterday. It was the night after my mother got beat up by my step-father. He put the barrel of his gun in my mouth and walked me into my bedroom, behind the door so she couldn't see him. I gagged on the barrel and it scraped the roof of my mouth. I could smell the oil he had used to clean it. He was drunk and he was on another one of his rants. I thought I was going to die that night. I remember him telling me, "I'm taking your mother on a little ride and you're going to be a good little girl and you're going to get in that bed and go to sleep. If you call the police, I'll kill her dead and you'll never see her again. Do you understand me?"

Then he grabbed my hair and yanked me from behind the door and pushed me towards my bed and slammed the door to my room. I cried out to you God, for hours that night. I begged you not to let him take her. I watched out of my bedroom window, with tears flowing down my face as he pointed that gun to her head as she got behind the wheel of the car. I watched and screamed out, "NOOOO!!!" as the car pulled out of the driveway. I was terrified and knew I was in the house alone. It was two o'clock in the morning. I thought that was going to be the last time I saw her.

I remember crying out to you to please let her live - I remember bargaining with you that I would be good and keep my room clean and make better grades in school if only you'd bring her back home to me. I was shaking beyond my control ... my nose began to bleed. Then the trickle of blood turned into a spray. Blood was shooting out in front of me and I ran to the bathroom and leaned over the sink. Blood was everywhere. All over the carpet and floor where I was standing. It was running down my legs and my gown was soaking in blood.

All I could think of was getting it cleaned up before he got home. I knew if he saw all that blood he would come at me screaming and pulling my hair to the ground to make me clean it. I grabbed some towels and began to wipe it all up from the floor and sink area. I wet towels down to get it out of the carpet. I scrubbed and scrubbed until I finally got it all up. I took my gown off and filled the sink with water and placed it in the sink. The blood was so thick, it made a red cloud inside the water. I stared at it until the water was completely red. I drained the sink and filled it again and place the gown in the water over and over. I finally got the blood out and rinsed it and placed it over the tub to dry.

I went to bed, still crying and fell asleep praying to you. I drifted off in a light sleep when I heard my bedroom door open. It was my mom. She panicked as she turned on the light and say blood all over my face. She asked, "Did he hurt you?" I said, "No, my nose just started bleeding really bad after you left. I tried to get it all off of me." I asked her if she was okay and she nodded. She told me he was sleeping. She took me in the bathroom and washed my face and took me to my room and told me to try to get some sleep. It was five-forty-five o'clock. It felt like days instead of hours.

I went to sleep knowing she was home. I woke up the next morning around ten o'clock and she was sitting at the kitchen table. She had a bruise on her right arm and nodded when I asked her if her had done that to her. He came in the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee for himself and began to slam the cabinet doors. He took a sip of his coffee and threw the glass in the sink and it shattered. He yelled out some profanities at us both and grabbed his keys and walked out of the door. I looked at my mother and she just sat there with that blank stare. I told her, "You need to throw him out of here. I hate that man and one of these days he is going to kill us both. I swear to God if you don't make him leave, I am going to go live with someone else. You already got rid of my sister because of him. If you don't do what I am telling you, I'll leave on my own and you won't have to throw me out."

Then I headed to the field and screamed at you God.

We've come a long way since that day. His death when I was thirteen was the beginning of when you began to pain a picture for me. I was so full of hate, anger/rage, bitterness and unforgiveness. Not only towards him, but also to my biological father who left my mother and sisters to start another family across town. I remember sitting in church and the pastor asked me to describe my earthly father in two words. I thought for minute to decide 'which one' and the two words that came to my mind were, 'Abusive and Abandoning.'

I then realized that because of them, I have painted a picture of who I thought you were - a ten year old girl, in a field, screaming out to an image of a father that I deemed abusive and abandoning. I had you all wrong for many years after that dreadful day. I wasn't a fan of what religion was trying to teach me about you either. They approached you much in the same way I was seeing you. Full of fire and brimstone - all angry and full of wrath because we humans didn't deserve your love and mercy. So I began to drift away from you and do just what I promised you in that field. I didn't need you so I went to live my life on my own terms.

Looking back, my life went just as your word describes it would be ... I was dead in my trespasses. You showed me that my roots were rotted and I needed a new heart. As you showed me all the infection inside, you also showed me I was operating on a faulty root system. You taught me to make exchanges to replace unforgiveness with forgiveness. You took away the shame I carried all of my life for growing up without a real father like most of my friends had. It wasn't my shame to carry and you exchanged my shame for your peace. You pointed out all of the lies I was believing about who I was ... Now I know who's I AM. You showed me how religion was man's attempt to come up with our own efforts and their roots are shallow. Religion has no roots.

The greatest act of love you have shown me is written in First Corinthians 1:8 Jesus will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." What God the Father starts, he finishes. God is sovereign. I did nothing to begin the relationship. You did it all Father.

So please, allow me to simply say, "Thank you. I love you with all of my heart. I deeply appreciate all you have sacrificed to save me. Thank you for painting me a picture of who you really are. I love my relationship with you. Thank you for teaching me what Religion did to your son, my Lord and Savior, on that cross. I know I don't deserve that kind of love, but I am forever grateful that You gave it freely to all who believe."

I know without a doubt the your love for me continues to grow. I feel it inside of me. I love our time together as it means everything to me. This world is chaotic, empty and coming to an end of itself. Yet your love is eternal and it never dies. Wow ... what a portrait.

I feel the closest to you when I am standing at the shore on the ocean. When I hear the waves crashing, I see a storm pouring over the waters in the distance and watch the lightning stretch out as if it were you arms reaching out, showering your blessings down from Heaven. What a portrait.

I experience you when I look deeply into the eyes of my children and grandchildren. I feel the warmth of their love when we get together or talk on the telephone. When they say, 'I love you mom." When they tell me they pray to you. What a portrait.

I am moved in my own spirit during times of worship. When a song about your enduring love, grace and mercy come for me. Tears will flow from my eyes with gratitude. I have never been so in love nor have I EVER felt so much love. What a portrait.

Every day is a new and blank canvas. I so love the portraits you have displayed to my heart over the years. I just wanted to wish the ONLY father I have ever truly know a very Happy Father's Day. I hope your day is special and that you know in your own heart how deeply you are loved and greatly appreciated.



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