I always believed I was unwanted.
That afternoon at my kitchen table, decades of the wrong thinking came unraveled like a cozy sweater.
I sat at an angle across from my dad as we sipped from our coffee. We were enjoying the slow-paced afternoon with coffee in my kitchen.
“Dad, do you remember that time that I was staying the weekend with you in Florida, when I was five or six years old, and we were both sick all weekend?”
Seemingly out of nowhere, as I stirred my coffee, a memory of this had flashed before me. “Yes, I remember that. I’m not sure if it was the flu, but you weren’t staying the weekend. It’s when you lived with me in Baton Rouge.”
I quickly shook that off, perturbed. “I never lived with you. I always lived with mom.” My parents divorced when I was very young, and I don’t have any memories of them together as a couple. My earliest memories are always with mom, and living with her.
Dad insisted. “Christi, you lived with me. You don’t remember?” Whatever, Dad. I wanted to know more about this sickly weekend and why we felt so bad. “What happened? Did we have food poisoning?” Dad persisted and asked again if I didn’t remember living with him, which I didn’t. I wish he’d stop saying that!
“Christi, I thought you knew. I thought you remembered. Or I would have told you and talked about it. I never brought it up because I didn’t want to bring up painful memories. I figured if you wanted to talk about it, you’d ask me.”
WHAT?! I sat there, stunned. “What?” I felt as if the world suddenly stopped spinning on its axis. Time had stopped for me. Again, I demanded, “What are you talking about?”
My dad, now over seventy years old, is gentle. He placed his hands on my knees and leaned in. “Christi,” He said my name, as if to stop the surreal experience that had my fragmented memories falling from the sky and bring me back to the present moment. “Christi, do you want me to tell you again what happened?”
He explained the early years of my life. My parents had separated when I was young as I’d remembered, but somehow I’d permanently altered other facts in my memory. I had, in fact, lived with my dad for some time.
He had custody of me and after a few years, before I was five, I moved back in with my mom and my new little sister.
I’d completely blocked this out of my memory.
I sobbed with relief as the truth washed over me. “You always wanted me.” He hugged me as I cried. We cried together as he patted my back, “Yes, you have always been my girl, I’ve always wanted you.”
“I never believed that. Now I know. You WANTED me. You FOUGHT for me. I MATTERED to you.” The tears were not from sadness, but more of a filling up that was happening in that very moment in my soul.
I pulled back and looked at my dad. “Do you realize that I’m forty-five years old, and my ENTIRE life I’ve believed the lie that you never wanted me? That you thought I was a nuisance and a mistake and you wished you’d never had me?”
We hugged and talked more. He assured me of the love that he’s always had for me, however imperfect. I felt as if I was walking on air for the next several weeks as I would sing-song to myself, “My daddy loves me. My daddy LOVES me!”
And for maybe the first time, I actually believed it.
As this reality has sunk in, the deeper reality of God’s love for me has permeated my soul and mind too. He is a Father, yet a perfect One. His love has persevered when I have believed Him to be mean. He has pursued me and fought for me. His love is costly.
No matter our relationship with our earthly dad, or lack of it, our Father God sees us, loves perfectly and powerfully. May we all let this truth sink in so we may live it out.