Tears started to pour from my eyes as I swayed with him in the middle of the dance floor. Everyone’s eyes were on us as we shared a private conversation filled with tears and a little laughter. The sweet acoustic sound of John Mayer’s song about fathers being good to their daughters serenaded the wedding reception room.
He held me tight while swaying. “Lindsey?” I looked up at him. “You know your dad loves you, right?” I smiled feeling the tears burning in my eyes again. “Yes dad. I love you too.”
My dad looks me square in the eye and smiled. “I’m so proud of you. We’ve come a long way, baby girl. I thank God that I’m able to share this special moment with my oldest daughter.” I saw him blink back tears in the most macho/fatherly way which made me cry more. “Me too, daddy. Me too.”
We have come a long way indeed. Our father-daughter dance at my wedding is something that I will ALWAYS AND FOREVER cherish in my heart. In fact, it was one of the things I looked forward to the most at my wedding. This special moment would showcase and highlight for us God’s miracle work in our lives. Looking at this picture, you would’ve thought that my dad and I always had a tight-knit relationship. Yet, it hadn’t always been this way.
Six years ago, my father and I were estranged. For two of those years, there was no communication at all. Four of those years were a roller coaster ride of disappointments, lots of tears, God’s grace, patience, and a lot of prayers of reconciling and restoring what was once completely broken into something new and better than ever.
In 2011, my parents divorced after almost 26 years of marriage. A few months later after the divorce was finalized, my dad remarried. Other family and some friends knew. I knew nothing about it until years later. The damage from the messy divorce, the betrayal from the “secret” remarriage, and other emotional hurt years before the split took a huge toll on my father and I’s relationship. By then, our relationship was already hanging by a weak thread.
After a major falling out with my dad in the summer 2011, I had just about had it with him. I made the decision to cut him completely out of my life. For short while, I thought would do just fine without him. However, that wasn’t the case at all. As I became closer to God through the years, God revealed how important and vital my dad was in my life and it would only come through God’s way of reconciliation.
Reconciling with my father God’s way was a task that I knew would be impossible to tackle on my own. It would be messy and painful. It would require me to bring up the past, expose unhealed and tender wounds, and have The Holy Spirit look into me to see what I desperately need to change. However, I was tired of being held captive and bound by bitterness, pride, blame, and a hardened heart. I needed freedom from the bondage of my “daddy issues” and God desired for me to have it.
Fathers Day 2014, I met up with my father for the first time in 2 years to start our journey of reconciliation. It was an emotional 3 hours as my dad and I shared our frustrations, pain, and tears about our destroyed father-daughter relationship. We prayed that God would intervene and give us peace, direction, and grace in this process. We talked about the divorce, the new marriage, and ways of whar a better relationship between us would look like moving forward. God was there. Love was there. Things weren’t immediately perfect but it was an awesome start.
Since our meeting, it was a challenge building and fostering our relationship yet both of my dad and were committed to working on it with God’s help. November 2014 was a pivotal point for my father and I as he was greatly supporting me in making one of the biggest and the most difficult decisions of my life. He stepped up when I really needed emotionally and spiritually.
It was in that moment when God reveal to me how far my dad and I have come. God had shown me that not only was He working on my heart but He was also working on my dad’s as well. As both my dad and I continued to place Christ first in the middle of our reconciliation and restoration, we noticed how the dynamics of our relationship changed. I notice overtime how the way my father and I related to God would be a direct link to how we would relate to each other.
This discovery was HUGE! We were starting to see more of Christ in each other. Sure, both of us weren’t perfect. We were continuing the healing process and knew we still had a very long way to go but this renewed our faith and gave us a solid, strong foundation of building and fortifying our relationship. I would start to see more of the love and protection along with strong covering he was providing me as any priest/father of the household would give. My dad would see more the love, respect, honor, and reverence that I would give as any doting daughter would.
This was something new, different, beautiful. This was God’s plan and design of how things were supposed to be. I starting to see my dad in a new light. I didn’t look at him as a tyrant or a man who was uncaring, unfeeling, and unloving. As he relied more on Christ, I looked at my dad as the shepherd, priest while protecting and covering his family. He was mirroring even in his imperfection what our Heavenly Father should be to us.
Both my father and I are still a work in progress in our relationship. Yes, there is still some pain from the divorce and some residual hurt from the brokenness of our family. However, I can say that God has been faithful in the most difficult and blissful times in my father and I’s reconciliation and restoration. No my dad isn’t perfect but he is BETTER in Christ. However, I thank God every Fathers Day that I can pick up the phone and call my dad to remind him how much of a long way we’ve come.