Monday, January 24, 2011

Blessed Wisdom in the Midst of Memory Loss

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Despite my grandmother's current health condition, she continues to inspire me in more ways than I can count.

I'm finding that if I can get her to talk about the past, her memory is quite intact. Conversations with her are comforting, then, as it's as if nothing about her mind has diminished. The laughter flows easily, and the sheer love of her family is always evident. I want to hold on to this part of her and keep it forever.

I'm also finding that with her memory loss she is slowly losing the ability to filter certain things out. Things that she would, more than likely, not talk with me about otherwise. Especially my childhood.

My father was verbally and physically abusive to my older sister and I. She bore the brunt of the abuse until she got to a certain age, and then the focus was on me. It feels strange typing that out, because I never felt like a victim. As a child, I honestly thought that it was normal. I had never seen my friends being treated the way that we were, but he never acted like that around other people, so I guess that I had supposed that it was a private affair that family's kept to themselves. Of course, I always wondered why he treated our younger sister so differently, and still does, but I never thought that the abuse was abuse. That is, until I became a parent myself.

In a conversation with my grandmother, a few days ago, she brought up a few incidents that I had long ago forgotten about.

One in particular was a day in which the Lord intervened by placing my grandparents at a particular backyard scene in which I was being "punished" for not raking leaves as well as I was expected to, at the age of twelve. It was, in fact, the last time I was ever punished physically by my father.

What I didn't know, then, was that my grandmother had scared my father that day. It doesn't surprise me, because she has always been extremely protective over my sisters, mother, and I. But I never knew how well she had protected me that day, until now. I am so thankful. I was pleased to inform her that it was, indeed, the last time he ever hit me.

He moved out soon after that incident, and he and my mother were divorced quickly. The calm in the house was immediate. My older sister and I took the divorce well, while my younger sister was very distraught. It took a while, but our relationship with him did grow as we got to know him more outside of the home. He married a woman whom became a second mother to me. She, somehow, brought us to know him in a different way. At home, we knew nothing of him aside from his quick temper. Unfortunately, we hit a wall nearly four years ago when my step mom passed away. We haven't spoken since. He has another daughter just a year older than Ella. I haven't seen her since her first birthday. When she was born, he said that he felt like the Lord had given him a second chance at being a father...As much as I love my baby sister, I couldn't help but wonder why he couldn't have been so the first time around. Despite my jealousy issues, I constantly pray that she is being given a father unlike the one my older sister and I had.

Each time I talk to my grandmother she wants to know if I've spoken to my dad. The answer is always the same, and she expresses her anger toward him.

In this particular conversation, I had expressed to her that I am having a hard time dealing with this. Until now, I couldn't understand why I've been so upset by the fact that he has had nothing to do with me or my children, as well as my older sister and her children, in nearly four years. And then it came out. I'm not even sure where. I had never said it out loud before.

"I know he's a horrible dad and I shouldn't feel as though I need him, but I need to know what's wrong with me. Why couldn't he love me? What did I do to make him hate me?"

Her response was blessed assurance.

"You didn't do anything. Nothing in the world is wrong with you. Something is wrong with him, darling. He isn't well. It's him. It's never been you."

And that was all it took for me to let go of 31 years of misery. Because, I knew that she was right. I knew that the things he had said, all the names he had called me...all the beatings, weren't derived from the Lord. Therefore, it wasn't right...and I didn't make him do it.

Twice the Lord has intervened, where my father is concerned, in the form of my grandmother. Both times changing my life for the better.

For the first time, I feel at peace where my father is concerned. I don't feel as though a huge piece of me is missing. I'm not racking my brain over instances in the past to try to figure out what I did wrong to warrant the abuse. It wasn't me. It was him. It's still him. Despite it all, I love him and pray for him...always.

I'm moving past this. Never again to allow myself to be apologetic for not being what he wanted me to be. I'm free. Thankful to be gentle and wise enough not to continue the cycle of abuse. Being thankful, with everything in me, for what I've been given.

Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.-Psalms 8:2

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.-Colossians 3:14

Relishing in His goodness...


Rightthinker-Andrea said...

Your post made me cry.

I'm so sorry for what you and your sister endured as a child, and praise God for your triumph over it.

What a wonderful blessing you have in your grandmother, and I'm thankful that she still remembers some of the memories that you also cherish.

Love you, and may God continue to richly bless you and your family!

Cassy said...

Ahhhhhhh...healing. Praise God! He is the perfect Father. We are Daddy's Princesses friend <3

Christy said...

Andrea-I'm sorry I made you cry. :0( You used a word that just made me smile...and I thank you kindly for it. Triumph! What a fabulous word that is. Thank you for being you.

Cassy-Yes indeed sweet friend. Love you oodles.