My beloved dad passed on four years ago at age 87. God has given me the privilege of sharing the Gospel and praying with him to receive Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour when he was in his 70s. His passing on impacted me tremendously, to the point I thought I would never recover from it. It was a very difficult and lonely journey – one that was so stricken with grief, pain, anger, betrayal and frustrations. I missed him tremendously; his face, his voice, his mannerism and his presence. I just missed “My dad”. There were so many times I wished I had died too, just to be with him. I even talked about letting go of my life and everything I have to just “make sure he is alright”!!!!
About a year ago, by the grace, mercy and healing power of my ABBA Father, I have learnt to let him go and come to terms with his passing on. Even though I missed him, I thank ABBA Father for blessing me (my siblings) with this man, who is our dad. I treasure the memories we had together, and as a family….how precious my dad is to me and to my siblings. And what our relationship meant to me, as his daughter, one who is in his heart.
This was in sharp contrast to my growing up years (teenager) with my dad. My relationship and experiences with him would more than often cause me to draw and justify my conclusion – that he was a horrible and mean father. I hated him. There were many times I wished he was not my dad, he was dead or went elsewhere and never to return. I even prided myself, “I can live without you. I don’t need you.” Well, my dad did not do anything bad in the eyes of the law of the land, except ‘giving me a big slap in public, in the presence of my friends and classmates when my public examination results were not up to his expectations! Or when I was sound asleep in the middle of the night, he would yank off my blanket, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and study.” As a teenager then, the humiliation, embarrassments, hurts and wounds out-weighed and cancelled all the many good my dad had done for me. I had walled myself up and walled myself in from having any (further) and enjoying a father-daughter relationship.
I am thankful for the healing and mercy of God to me. God has restored me to my dad. He has allowed me and given me the privilege of being a daughter to my dad again. “My father’s daughter.” And with God constantly reminding and refreshing my memories of my dad and me, I begin to see and receive the goodness and love from my dad. Three fondest memories of my dad:
1. He carried me everywhere, especially when I was sick (and I was sick most of my childhood years), to calm me and distract me from my pain. He would rub medicated oil my back and forehead hoping to soothe and take away my headaches.
2. I was in Primary 3 when the May 13, 1969 incident broke out. Big commotion, shouts and screams and all the pupils were rushed into our school hall, and teachers scrambled to lock us in with no explanation given. We were very confused and scared as we did not know what was going on. I saw so many parents rushing into the school compound and into the school hall looking for their children. And I saw my dad rushing in and shouting out my name. “My dad came for me. He knew where and how to look for me. I felt safe.”
3. The Lord answered my prayer – I gave my dad a hug and told him, “I love you, dad. I will always take care of you.”
In our hurts and pains, we judge and condemn; we wall in and wall out for fear of further pain and hurt. We thought we could defend ourselves better this way. Instead, it has robbed us of our relationships with our loved ones. Many of our fathers may not know how to express their love (the way we want, or expect it to be done), but they do sincerely try and give their best. We often hear this from fathers, “As a father, I take on the role to provide my children with full protection, physical comfort and unconditional love. I do all these unto God who has given them to me.”
May we as children know how well loved and cared for we are by our fathers. May we remember that our fathers have loving, lamenting and longing hearts too. May we be humbled to know it is never easy to be a good father. May we encourage and pray for them so that they too will grow and mature in their calling. May we come alongside them now and in their old age; lighten their burdens, and be a blessing to them instead of taking their love for granted, expecting them to come alongside us and giving in to our demands and expectations (even as adult children).
Let us never give up loving, caring, being attentive and praying for our parent(s), our elderly parent(s).
- Embrace our parents out of reverence for God and His commandment – To love and honour our parents that our days may be well.
- Seek healing, reconciliation and restoration where there has been deep hurt, pain, un-forgiveness from broken and bitter memories and unresolved issues. Create new memories that come through healing and restoration – the hearts of the children are turned to their parents and the hearts of the parents to their children.
- Let peace abound within the four walls of every home and in every conversation.
- Let every intention be guided by God’s love, humility and gentleness, and with patience, bearing with one another in love. May we remember God’s mercy and goodness towards us.