Each week, I have been sharing a little bit of my testimony. If you missed the first installments, be sure to read them HERE.
Even then, as a grown woman about to get married, my father was still trying to control my life. I had been in and out of their lives since I had been disowned. I was allowed back in if I followed the rules, which I usually did not so I got kicked back out. It was a cycle that continued up through my wedding.
We had planned the wedding how we wanted it. According to my father, I was selfish and made it about me and Jon rather than making it about my father and everyone else and doing it how he thought it should be done. Two nights before my wedding there was an awful, awful argument. One that resulted in my father threatening to drive my entire family the 4 hours back home and not participate in my wedding if we didn’t do things his way.
As usual, I did not know what to do when my father got like this. I was under his thumb, yet I was in my own home. I did the only thing I knew how to do, just as I always did; I ran and hid. Jon stayed and fought for me.
We ended up doing things my father’s way because Jon knew that I wanted my brother and sister and my mom to be a part of my wedding and that it was important to me. The next 2 days were filled with bitterness, anger, frustration and unhappiness; not exactly how you would picture the days leading up to your wedding.
My own father ended up trying to sabotage as much as he possibly could of my wedding after that. He did not lift a finger to help. He made everyone late for pictures so we only got a few pictures taken before our wedding. We were not even able to get a formal wedding picture of Jon and I on that day, because there just was not any time. As I prepared to take that next step in my life, a step in which you hope for happiness, my own father did not say a single word to me on my wedding day. He walked me down the aisle, but did not say a single word to me beforehand; not a blessing, not a word of encouragement; nothing. As I walked down the aisle towards my future husband, I knew I was making the right choice.
After my wedding, I cut most of the ties I had left with my family. I sent letters and packages to my siblings but that was about it. I had a new husband and a new life and the pain wasn’t worth it to me anymore.
The first few years of our marriage were interesting. There were a lot of great times, but many more low times. I obviously had some issues in my past that I needed to work through and heal from. At the time, I didn’t know it, but I was suffering from severe depression. It was bad. Really awful. It is only by God’s hand that Jon stuck it out with me. He took my verbal abuse, he took my depressive states, he took my suicide attempts, he took my overwhelming anger, he took my underwhelming joy; he took them all, picked me up, wrapped his arms around me, and stood by my side. Jon is an amazing man who shone God’s love without even knowing it.
I finally got to a place where I was good; I was certainly not completely healthy mentally, but I was healing and I was moving forward. I got my degrees and started teaching preschool for a couple of years. I was finally heading in the direction that I wanted to be going.
My mom finally left my father and we began to rebuild our relationship a little bit. But she still has so much anger, bitterness and resentment that it can be toxic at times to have her in my life. Her and my sister continue to choose not to heal and move forward. So I love them from a distance and continue to pray that God will work in their hearts.
Fast forward a couple of years to the birth of our first child. That alone is a beautiful and amazing blessing. Life was good with our baby boy. I loved being a mother.
I saw my father one more time at my great-grandma’s funeral. The only reason he came was because he heard that I had a child and he wanted to see him. He didn’t care about me or about trying to apologize for anything or to make amends. He was still doing the same things he had always done. That was the last time I saw my father. It has been 8 years since I have seen him. But I have been able to heal. God has taken me through the long and painful process of healing from all those past hurts. I have been able to forgive my father for all the wrong he has done to me. God has shown me that I can forgive and that forgiving someone who has hurt you is about me being able to heal and move forward; it is not about the person that has hurt me. I am not the one to judge him; God will take care of that. I have forgiven my father, I am healing and I am moving forward.