“Where’s your dad?” Una, my niece, asked me innocently. It was a question I wasn’t prepared to answer. I didn’t know how to explain it to her without tearing up. People ask me where my dad is all the time so I’ve mastered the art of sounding nonchalant about his death, if only to spare the person from feeling embarrassed they asked. I give the same response, I tell them “my dad died when I was 14 because he used to drink a lot (by this time you start to see a look of regret) but it’s okay because I don’t have much to remember him by. My parents separated when I was 1“ (cue look of relief). Telling it that way saves me from going through that awkward silence. However, I couldn’t do that with Una; It’s never easy to lie to a trusting child.
I miss my dad.
I wish I had a camera attached to me when I was a kid so I could put him on replay but all I have are few memories that are slowly fading with time.
(My dad on the left and me sitting on my godfather’s lap)
I remember going to the same cemetery where he was buried, to visit an ex-boyfriend’s grandfather’s grave. I was in college. I didn’t cry when my dad died and I didn’t think about him once until that day. I went to an area where I thought he might be and I started to look for him. I went through all the gravestones and when I couldn’t find him, I broke down and for the first time, I wept for my father. I realized that I no longer have a dad, it sank in 6 years too late. The denial finally ended.
Nobody knew that I was always longing for him. How I felt incomplete. How I regret not staying with him the last time he visited. How I would sometimes push my alcohol limit just to hear “you drink like your dad” from people who knew him, desperate to have that connection.
My life changed when I started to have a relationship with God two years ago. I’ve been a born again Christian since I was 9 years old but it wasn’t until recently when I had the realization that my completeness can be found in Him. To quote my friend, Arra, she said “it was like seeing the world in technicolor for the first time”. I started seeing God in a different light. He wasn’t my personal genie, existing to grant all my wishes; He’s a Father who had been patiently and lovingly waiting for me to have a relationship with Him.
I still miss my dad sometimes but God filled that hole in my heart when I welcomed Him in my life. When He adopted me as His child, I no longer felt despair, exhaustedly trying everything to feel accepted. I have a Father who loves me. I don’t need to constantly prove myself anymore, to compare myself with others because I know that He also has plans for me! I can be secure in any season because I am secure in God’s goodness and His calling for me.
We’re all given this access, through Jesus. When God looks at us, He no longer sees our sins but the finished work of Christ. We know who we are in Him and we know that apart from Him, we are nothing. Is there a greater love than this, that we should be called the children of God?
So if you were like me, incomplete, existing just to exist, exhausted, constantly thinking that there has to be more to life than this, seek Him out. He has been waiting for you, waiting to complete you.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7 ESV
“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV
“His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.”
Psalms 147:10-11 ESV
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!””
Romans 8:15 ESV
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”
1 John 3:1 ESV
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.”
Psalms 68:5 ESV