These are the hard questions we ask ourselves when our dad's are missing from our lives; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On the rare occasions when my dad would visit or contact me, which wasn't often, it was as if this carefully placed bandage over my heart was viciously ripped off. Blood was oozing everywhere. Underneath is a festering wound that cannot be healed if it is not addressed or brought to light.
Suddenly, I'm that frightened little girl who is torn, confused, and broken. Part of me just wants to run and hide. Yet this father wound haunts me. It has become the most traumatic experience in my life. Despite what my head says (just get over it & move on), living without a father who isn't active or present cuts like a knife. And time does not heal all wounds.
As I read the book, The Father Effect by John Finch, I couldn't put the book down. It was a page turner! For the first time, I started seeing my situation in a new perspective. I realized that my own dad grew up with a father wound. There's good chances that his dad did, too. And it may go back far into generations from long ago.
My new understanding was that moms and dads are never taught how to be good parents. I know that I wasn't taught this when I first became a mother. Most dad's have a mindset dictated by our society that they're a "good" dad if they work, provide for their family, and keep a roof over their heads.
What most men don't know is that their children, young and old, don't need money, gifts, or little tokens of love. Instead, what they yearn for is their dad's undivided attention, quality time together, and a father who actively participates in their lives. Gifts are great and an extra perk, but we truly want unconditional love and affection.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, John, for writing this book! (And for turning it into a movie.) The Father Effect helped me to discover the missing pieces to mend my broken heart back together. Your book validated my agonizing circumstances. It helped me make peace with not only myself, but also my dad. Ultimately, The Father Effect offers forgiveness and healing.
Here's a side note about forgiveness and healing. The truth about forgiveness is that Christians cannot faith-shame or victim-blame others into forgiving. Nobody can genuinely forgive on another person's timeline. That's not how forgiveness works. Instead, forgiveness is a long journey; not an overnight quick fix. It can take months, years, or a lifetime to forgive deep wounds.
Many Christians do not realize that we must first permit ourselves to fully experience the five stages of grief. Anger is a part of grief. Grief is based on a legitimate loss in your life. It's not only for those who lost a loved one who dies, but also the loss of never having the loving father you desperately needed.
I've learned to give my own self grace when I feel angry towards my dad. That this too shall pass. That despite my negative emotions, I am giving myself permission to feel whatever I feel. To not ignore it, hide from it, or suppress it. For it is only when we allow ourselves to grieve (and go through the anger stage) that we may eventually be able to move forward to heal and forgive.
Today, I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father who always pours out His mercy, grace, and infinite love. Who is the father to the fatherless. Who has wrapped me in His tender arms and reveals His love to me in tangible ways, like the times when I see beautiful red cardinals.
Whether you grew up with a dad that was absent for whatever reason or he was physically present, but emotionally and spiritually absent, I highly recommend this book. It is by far the first book that tackled some very hard questions about kids being raised without a father and how it impacts their lives, relationships, emotional health, identity, faith, and parenting their own children.
The author, John Finch's, phenomenal message and real life stories spoke to my heart and soul. For the first time, someone understands me and my pain. It's been life-changing and therapeutic for me. As an avid reader, this was the most powerful and transforming book that I read this year. Order your copy today!