Growing up I never knew how to love. My relationship with my dad was one that we hardly spoke to each other, but when we did, it was of him putting me down for not being good enough and that I never will be. He was impatient and unreasonable. Thoughts of running away from home often came to me, but I never executed it as I was afraid of what might happen to me if I was found.
As I entered my teenage years, I started seeking acceptance and approval amongst my friends. I started spending more time out with my friends than being at home and I became one of the “naughty kids” at school. I sought love in romantic relationships. I carried over what I thought was love from home into my relationships with others. The things I said and did really hurt others and it didn’t bother me at that time, because I didn’t know how to love.
Then in 2011, my parents divorced. At that time I didn’t realize how much it hurt me but I went about my daily life numb and emotionless. However, a few months later it hit me. Years of hurt from my dad came crashing in on me. I blamed him for everything; for betraying the family, for walking away, for hurting us, for neglecting us. Many thoughts of acting out in anger often came to me because I wanted revenge. I wanted him to feel the hurt that I felt. I was an emotional mess, though I still managed to keep a tough front.
Shortly after, I accepted Jesus into my life. I started to learn how to love like Jesus loves. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This definition of love broke me down. God started to fill me with His love and changed the way I loved others and myself. The realization that God’s love for me never changes, no matter how much I disappoint Him, helped me to understand the love my earthly father has for me. I started to love him for the person he is. God healed me of my past hurts, so that I am able to love with all that I have.
My relationship with my dad has been improving slowly as God is still at work in me. I no longer feel the guilt and shame of my past, nor do I feel condemned for the person I was. God loves me the same way that He loves you too.
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Master of Social Work
UQ2, St. Lucia Service