I have been tiptoeing around the perimeter of this post, knowing that I needed to put some things in writing, but a little fearful of the emotion that is bulging from a certain compartment of my heart. That daughter part of my heart.
It’s so heavy, yet freeing. It demands vulnerablility, yet brings comfort. I am fairly certain that I will do more deleting than typing as I press through the writing process here.
Maybe you can’t relate to having a daughter compartment of your heart. Growing up in a broken family where the enemy (just about) had full reign in our midst, I compartmentalized in order to survive. In order to protect my heart.
Wound after wound, trauma after trauma, year after year, my daughter-heart was trampled by the man that married my mother and adopted me. I believe that broken part of my heart was pushed to the back corner, where no one could get at it. To conserve emotional energy, I powered it down. No more expectations, no more dreams, no more wishes for a daddy that would really love me.
At 15 years old, I met Jesus. I’ve shared before about how His suffering made us kindred hearts. (You can read more about that here.) We have a lot in common, as far as betrayal and abuse goes. He was safe for me as my savior, mentor, confidant, friend.
At 20, I met my biological father and his family. (Pictured below is my dad with my brother Chris in Lake Tahoe, on our second time seeing each other.) I had no idea what to expect. Fueled by curiosity, I embarked on this relationship journey with my daughter-heart still in lockdown. Frankly, I didn’t know what to do with a father, so I embraced him as the encourager, supporter, and friend that he is. To be honest, I only let him in a little. We’d sit on the porch of my heart and talk, laugh, share. But that was it.
As the years went by and I grew closer and closer to Jesus, one thing in particular became very apparent. Jesus and I did not share the same heart for Father God. While the Son is one with Him, adores Him, does nothing outside of the Father’s will… I avoided the Father and feared Him. I couldn’t reconcile what the scriptures said about Him with my early father-daughter experiences.
It was a long process, too much to go into today, but Jesus persisted in convincing me that Father God was trustworthy. My biggest breakthrough came from these scriptures:
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3a
Jesus answered: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. ” John 14:9b
As I read those verses over and over, the Father began to speak to me. He began to speak to my broken and hidden daughter-heart.
I am as tender as My Son.
I love you as much as Jesus does.
I am as trustworthy as the One you already trust.
Everything that My Son did was a reflection of My heart.
It was My heart that you saw on the cross at Calvary.
I sent Him, gave Him, so that I could have YOU, daughter.
Slowly, the Holy Spirit began to resusitate that lifeless part of me. My daughter-heart began to beat again, to believe again, to dream again.
It awakened in me the awareness that my biological father was never invited into my heart. The Lord held my hand as I began to reach out and invite this man in.
At 40, I asked my father if I could call him Dad for the first time. That was a teary phone conversation, on both ends. It opened some doors in both of our hearts, and my daughter-heart was revived a bit more.
At 41, I engaged in the most vulnerable conversation I’d ever had with Dad. I told him for the first time about the pain and trauma of my childhood. In those moments, over coffee and eggs at a local restaurant, my daughter-heart fully emerged from the hidden depths. I sit here now, so grateful, so changed, so amazed at what God has done in me. The reality of this whole growth and healing process has created such a solid understanding of who God is. He is GOOD, my friends. He is Healer and Restorer. He is the trustworthy Father of my heart.
He didn’t stand afar and wait for me to figure it out. He didn’t sulk or penalize me because I didn’t know how to trust Him. He sent Jesus to meet me where I was at…. in the ash heap of my life. He sent Jesus, knowing that His Son would take me nowhere except to the very throne of His grace, into His presence. Somehow, He took my perception of fatherhood and gently erased it, giving me new understanding and the willingness to trust Him as Father.
In the last couple of months, He’s used my relationship with my dad to speak new things about His own character. I love how this is all intertwined. I love how the tangible and the intangible have become interchangeable. He speaks to me in everyday things, and i begin to understand the eternal things.
Dad has come down from his home near Sacramento twice in the last two months for no other reason except that I asked him to. While thinking about the fullness of that, about the long-desired love that it illustrates, the Lord spoke to me:
That is how I am; I come when you call, My daughter.
Undone…that’s what I am. Happily undone. He has managed to release from banishment my daughter-heart. He has healed up places that seemed beyond repair. He has given me the very thing that my daughter-heart wished for once upon a time. He has given me more, actually:
A Father in Heaven, and one below.
Have you hidden your daughter-heart from the Heavenly Father? Feel free to comment below so I can pray for you. Have you been through this journey? Would you offer encouragement to others by commenting below?
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