I found myself melted into a heap of sorrow on my bedroom floor. There I was curled tightly into a ball as my tears dripped one by one into the blue carpet beside my bed.
I guess she heard my sobs because the next thing I knew, my mother was cradling me in her arms, my 12-year-old body limp with pain. It wasn’t physical pain, but it had brought me to my knees with paralyzation just the same.
My birthday had come and gone—another year passed with not even so much as a call or a card in the mailbox from him. I had clung to the hope that one day he would care enough to show up. I didn’t even care how, just show up in some way, any way.
Couldn’t he manage something, anything, to let me know he cared?
But that was just it. Year after year he managed not to show up. He managed to show me just how much I didn’t matter. He managed to show how incredibly little he cared.
I envied my friends. Their dads all seemed to care. They showed up. They were loving and present. My friends’ dads showed up for all of the important moments. They witnessed all of their daughters’ “firsts.” They were there to kiss every boo-boo and tend to each scraped knee. They watched with adoration as their daughters danced in recitals and sang in choirs. My friends’ dads took them to father-daughter dances at church, twirling them round and round in their pink frilly dresses.
My heart ached for that kind of love.
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How I wanted to be adored.
I too wanted to squeal in excitement with each twirl and spin.
My body longed to feel the arms of my daddy wrapped lovingly around me.
I would have given anything to have him there to tuck me in bed each night, whispering, “Daddy loves you!” in my ear.
But, that wasn’t my story.
My mom lifted my limp body as she pulled me close into her arms. She gently wiped my tears and caressed my hair as I sobbed uncontrollably into her chest. I could sense her heartache, too. I knew if she had the chance or the ability she would make it all better. I was certain she laid in bed most nights blaming herself for all the pain I was experiencing. And I knew she did her best to ensure me that his absence was absolutely no fault of my own.
But the lies consumed most of my waking moments, and my dreams too, for that matter.
Surely I had done something to have made him leave. There had to be something awfully wrong with me, that he would decide to walk away.
I must have been simply unlovable.
For so many years I believed all of those lies. I believed I was nothing more than a discarded piece of trash unworthy of anything at all—no phone calls, no birthday cards, no twirling dances or goodnight kisses, and most definitely unworthy of love. If my own father didn’t care about me, how on earth could anyone else care either?
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Many years have passed since the day I melted into a heap on my bedroom floor. My dad is now deceased with no chance of reconciliation. But I’m no longer that 12-year-old girl longing to be loved, either.
Thank God—He has mended piece by piece the wounds my dad left gaping open. God has redeemed me. He has taken the most painful hurts, the ashes of my past and He has made me brand new. He did not leave me in my pit of despair wondering if I would ever be worthy. Instead, He gently lifted me out of my pit of muck and mire.
Where my earthly father left me, my Heavenly Father has rescued me.
He replaces my sorrow with joy.
He gives me life.
He deems me worthy.
He wipes every tear I’ve ever cried.
He calls me daughter—and that is all I’ve ever wanted.