My Father Wasn’t Perfect, but He Was Mine.
In memory of John Ruby Downey October 11th 1937 – May 22, 2021
A lesson in forgiveness.
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.”
Just as there is no guidebook to becoming a parent, there is no guidebook to losing one. Death is a confusing path that we are forced to navigate as time goes on. I recently was served a gutting reminder that Sunday will be my first Father’s Day without my earthly father. I refuse to dwell on the sadness which fills my heart. I would rather think of God’s plan and his work. Why? Well, my father and I had a complicated relationship when I was growing up. It was a relationship that inflicted much confusion, rejection, and hurt on my young heart. Ultimately, it was a relationship that God healed.
I spent my entire childhood trying to gain my father’s love and acceptance. I became an overachiever in many areas. I looked like a perfect daughter from the outside, while on the inside, I was spinning faster and faster to make my daddy proud of me. It was a race I could not win. The truth is, he was absent most of my life. He was the type of father that couldn’t be bothered with momentous milestones. He never attended a single dance recital or any of my graduations. Sadly, he chose not to walk his “little girl” down the aisle on my wedding day.
He was a man filled with pain and fueled by hurt. He did what he only knew how to do. He transferred his heartache onto me. Yes, that father, the one who hurt me, is the one I still love to this day. In remembrance of my father, I focus on the earlier years of my youth, where good memories prevail. I remember our Sunday’s on the boat, fishing and swimming while I snacked on Little Debbie’s my mother wouldn’t let me have, or the time we spent at Dollywood on the Ferris wheel. That was when I learned about my fear of heights. I will never forget our visits to every Civil War battlefield and museum during our Summer vacations.
Although it is fun to reminisce, this isn’t about my childhood memories. This is about healing and forgiveness. Power Up is just one of the many steps in my healing process. Thankfully, I have a mother who whispered every affirmation in my book to me as a child. She spoke the very words I yearned to hear from my father. This is my “why” for Power Up. This is the reason behind my book for children. This is my heart story.
Looking back, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. A year or so ago, I was courageous enough to forgive my father fully. An achievement attempted in my mid-20’s but I was never able to completely surrender until now. I am thankful I did. The healing and closure of a childhood chapter was about to begin. This is the part that fascinates me today. God knows our story. God always knew and had a plan. He was with us during each page and chapter of our life’s journey. He desires us to bring each painful paragraph of our story into his presence. He has been getting many of us to a place of healing for years. In memory of my father, I pray that my story will begin to ignite your healing process.
One closing thought…always remember that you are partnering with God in the shaping and raising of a life that was created for His purposes. You are leaving heart prints daily on that child’s soul. Be careful, be prayerful, and be grateful for the calling of parenthood. It is one of the highest callings of all!