The Lord arranges specific people to cross our paths at the perfect time and place for a perfect purpose. It could be to enlarge our territory, to minister to a hurting soul, or to bless someone.
Or a stranger could be used by God to encourage us, inspire us, or to help us in some way. A divine appointment is never a coincidence, nor an accident. Instead, it is a glorious intervention.
In 2017, when I scrolled through Twitter, I noticed a tweet. It grabbed my attention because it involved father wounds. An author and film maker, John Finch, shared about his own father wound. Intrigued to learn more, I started following him on Twitter and Facebook.
Soon, we became friends on social media. We had a lot in common: We were both authors, Christians, and we suffered a father wound.
In the summer 2017, I had the honor of being invited to John's book launch team for The Father Effect. One perk included getting a free copy to read before the actual book release.
From the first chapter, I was glued to his story. It shared John's personal journey of growing up without his dad and how it negatively influenced every facet of his life.
As I read the story about his dad being emotionally absent, I related to the negative feelings of having a distant dad. Rejection. Unworthiness. Unlovable. Turning page after page, tears streamed down my face.
I was blown away that someone understood my painful father wound. For the first time, I didn't feel so alone or empty. John's captivating message touched my heart and soul.
The Father Effect helped me view my situation in a new perspective. I realized that my dad grew up with a father wound. His dad did, too. It may go far back to generations from long ago. How can father's love their children if their own dad's didn't openly express love to them?
Most father'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. The average man doesn't know their children, young and old, don't really need money and gifts. Instead, what they yearn for is their dad's love, attention, and a father who actively participates in their lives.
Children need their daddies. They need their father's undivided attention, affection, and adoration. After 50+ years, this had been missing in my life. It left a father wound. It hurt badly. I wasn't even aware of how it became toxic to me and everyone around me.
Through the years, it had a way of making me feel unworthy, unacceptable, and never enough. If my own flesh and blood couldn't spend quality time with me or participate in my life, was I of no value? These are the hard questions we ask ourselves when our dad's are missing from our lives; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
On rare occasions when my dad visited me or contacted me, which wasn't often, it was as if this carefully placed bandage over my heart was viciously ripped off. Blood oozed everywhere. Underneath lay a festering wound. It couldn't be healed if it were not addressed or brought to light.
Suddenly, I'm that frightened little girl who's torn, confused, and broken. She wants to run and hide. My father wound haunted me. It became the most traumatic experience in my life. Despite what my mind said (move on), living without my dad wrecked me. Time does not heal all wounds.
In November 2017, I received a phone call that threw me into a tizzy. My sister invited me to join her and our three other siblings on a getaway. They planned to celebrate Christmas early with our dad who lived out of state. A festive holiday celebration to spend quality time together.
The sheer idea of it sent my heart racing! Stubbornly, I told her that I wouldn't join them. Digging in my heels, I remained resistant. Still hurting with a father wound, I had a dozen legitimate reasons to not see my dad.
Out of nowhere something strange happened. Everything to do with forgiveness and humility crossed my path. I kid you not, it seemed like all of the songs on the radio were about healing broken relationships or humbling oneself.
I'd scroll through Facebook and trip upon a post about forgiving one another. Or I'd watch a movie about people reconciling their relationship.
Unexpectedly, God started softening my heart. He even went as far as using red cardinals. A savvy way to grab my attention. A sign of God's love. The rich red shade of a cardinal is a true demonstration of God's love for us when Jesus sacrificed His life to give us life. The red cardinal symbolizes the red blood of Jesus on the cross.
Let's just say, the Messiah sure had a unique way to get to me. He met me smack center in my mess. Oh boy, did He get to me! It became a wrestling match.
One by one, He gently broke through my stubbornness. Those rigid walls of anger and bitterness were shattered. They were replaced with empathy, compassion, and love for my dad. Who can do that, but our Savior?
In December 2017, I decided to visit my dad who lived out of state. He wasn't in good health and battled advanced Alzheimer's. I was concerned that he wouldn't remember me. Yet, I trusted that God wanted me to restore my relationship with my dad.
As I approached my dad's door and waited for him to open it, I was a nervous wreck. Part of me was scared of the unknown. This walk of faith truly tested me. I felt strong about doing the right thing, but it didn't mean it was easy.
Actually, it was the most difficult decision I've made in my entire life. To lay down my will, my unforgiveness, and my years of hurt. To release my father wound to Christ.
When my dad opened his door, he welcomed me and his voice was filled with joy. He hugged and kissed me, saying, "Dana, I'm tickled pink that you're here!"
For the next two days, I walked on cloud nine. My father was a changed man. His usual business demeanor was gone. He was gentle, kind, attentive, and affectionate.
Repeatedly, he'd stop what he was doing, wrap me in his arms, and tell me how much he loved me. It was an awesome answer to prayer!
The reason God used a divine intervention for John Finch to cross my path was for five purposes. First, the Lord used John's book to minister to me. Second, God used John's father wound to soften my heart for my own dad. Third, Christ had plans to nudge me outside my comfort zone to visit my dad. Four, the most important factor was to restore my relationship with my father. Five, by choosing to forgive my dad, I was the one set free.
Perhaps, you've only known a dad's hands that harmed you or his words that cursed you? Or he was emotionally distant to you? Whatever shape the father wound marred into your heart, understand that your pain is valid. No matter how great or small, a father wound is one that desperately needs healed.
If you have a deep father wound, I pray for you to release it to God. Give Him your hurt, frustration, and disappointment. It may or may not mean that you restore your relationship with your dad. Each person's situation is different.
Yet, you can take a closer look at how broken relationships impact your overall wellness. You can stop the cycle of dysfunctional relationships. You can make positive changes. You can decide to be free from your painful wounds. Today, may you bravely choose healing and freedom in Christ.
“He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].” Psalm 147:3 (AMP)
For those battling a father wound who want to read The Father Effect by John Finch, here's the Amazon link:
NOTE: This blog post is an excerpt from a chapter in my new book, Sacred Wandering: Growing Your Faith in the Dark. Stay tune for book release details soon!