Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall into Reading: A Dad-Shaped Hole in My Heart

So the posts continue for the "Fall Into Reading Challenge" I know that it's not even close to over yet, but I have to say, I absolutely love this challenge and I have plans to continue doing this type of a challenge for myself even though Calapidder Days does not host a winter challenge.

The newest book that I read was "A Dad Shaped Hole in my Heart" and it was actually given to me by a friend of mine who had started reading the book and never finished it. I didn't realize it at the time but it is the same author who wrote "Always Daddy's Girl" a book that I grew up seeing beside my mother's bed, a book she has recommended SEVERAL times to me. It has been such an amazing book for me and God in His sovereignty placed it in my path for such a time as this.

I have lots to say so let's just dive in - it's time for the the honest brutal truth: I have some serious 'Dad' issues (with both my dads), not to say that our relationships are bad, because they are not, and I have already walked through some healing and personal forgiveness with each of them, but the work is certainly not complete and there still remain some messages that I accepted and received during my childhood that were painful for me and that allowed a door for the enemy to use against not only me but my relationship with my dad and step-dad as well.
Along with that, (yes there is more) I have some serious issues with other people in my life that I have close intimate relationships with. This book was an eye-opener to me for some ways that I can move toward the direction of healing and restoration in many of these wounded relationships. Actually as I made my way through this book (slowly I might add) I was surprised by the names of people that would pop into my head as I read certain sections. I would literally have to stop and pray right there for that relationship. It was.... intense at times.

Sadly, for me, my initial emotion to most types of intense, painful, or even uncomfortable topics, relationships or people is anger and/or ignorance. I couldn't read this book very quickly because I often had to stop and "check myself" I would be unable to move on because the anger was too much. I had to learn to follow Beth Moore's advice and trace that anger to the emotion it was covering up.
For obvious reasons, I'm not going to go into to many personal details about my journey through this book, but I would like to give you some of the practical advice and quotes that I walked away with. I pick and chose and came up with 4 quotes/topics I just HAD to share with you.

1. "As I work with those in grief and trauma, I'm often given a window into a person's theology. What we believe about God really comes to the forefront when we are hurting. And so often what I hear is what people wish God would be rather than who He is according to Scriptures. But we cannot create God in the image we want Him to be inorder to satisfy our needs. He is who He is, whether that meets our approval or not." This is so huge - I hope you get this because this is something we ALL do. Next time you do this, stop, listen to what you are really saying and ask God to change it, find scripture that shows you who God really is and where you are believing a lie.

2. One of the chapters that really hit a cord with me was called daughter of divorce - I know this doesn't apply to all of us, it certainly does for my sisters and I and I know for a fact that divorce has touched your life. One particular section of the chapter talked about the some characteristics of a ACOD (A Child Of Divorce)
1. "Little Adult" - takes responsibility, but usually more for others than themself, with difficulty defining who they are
2. Control Needs - attempt to control everything, especially relationships
3. Fear of conflict
4. Need to take sides
5. Feelings of Abandonment - often times children of divorce "aren't even aware of their own needs or feelings and set them aside in order to stay in control."
6. Difficulty setting boundaries - ACOD has a hard time setting limits and personal boundaries.
7. Feeling Helpless
8. Idealizing or blaming your parents.
I give you all this list for several reasons - if you are contemplating divorce or see divorce as an option, I hope this list will make you see the reality behind the decision. Secondly if you are ACOD and you can see yourself in this list I recommend reading this book and possibly receiving godly counsel to walk you through some of these issues --- I'll be honest, I have several!

3. My favorite part of the book that I took away tons from I realized I needed to use in other "unbreakable" yet damaged relationships in my life. In the chapter called "Changing your relationship with your dad" it says
"Part of building a better relationships with your father is establishing better boundaries. If you dread getting together, but it's a necessity, don't do so with negative expectations; you could make them come true. Be different. Do the unexpected. Be friendly. Don't get hooked into old communication patterns. Ignore it when you're baited to repeat past issues or discussions. All families have unspoken rules of behavior and communication. Change them. Violate the rules in a healthy way." Is it just me or did this really speak to someone else?

4. And lastly, a point that Wright made, near the end of his book I felt also applied to several areas of my life. It was about healing and he said (and I'm paraphrasing) often we repress the memories that are most painful to us, pushing them down, ignoring them, numbing them the best we can; but if we want to experience true healing we have to face those memories - remember them - and losen the grip of control they have on our hearts.
From personal experience, I have found that as I begin to re-live and re-tell (either alone or with my husband to God) some of my painful memories and/or hurts, as the pain comes flooding back I have to relinquish it and give it to God. Just bringing up the pain is not going to help, but if we give that pain and those emotions to God and pray asking Him to take them and fill the place where they come with His love and His presence HE SURELY WILL - and that is when healing begins!!

I know this post seems a little choppy and that's partly because I am in a hurry - my children are awake and while I normally don't post while they're awake, I desperately wanted to get this out there (before I chickened out maybe). But it's also a little choppy because I really had to pick and choose the parts of this book to share with you all. There are many great parts and alot of practical, godly advice in the pages of this book, but like I mentioned in the beginning, it's not an easy read - I recommend it IF you're ready to be transformed and changed (even if it's hard) but if you're not ready to face pain and face your past to experience healing I would wait until God brings you to that place.


Anonymous said...

Awesome Big Mamma, I am excited to see where this journey and the healing form it will take us.

I love you and am always here for you!

Love your Hubby

Alexis said...

My heart is with you and I will be praying for you as you continue on your journey.

For His Glory said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. It wasn't choppy!