Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Which I am Not a Victim of My Dad's Sin

Over the weekend I saw the latest Christian movie "Home Run" which details the story of an infamous baseball player with an alcohol addiction--and the mess that trails him as he clashes with grace.

At one point in the movie he has screwed up for the upteenth time, but this time it effects his very own son. He is sitting in a barn after drinking too much and he calls his Celebrate Recovery leader. He looks up at him with a face painted in shame and breath tinged with liquor, "I have an alcohol problem and I just don't know how to stop."

"I know" his friend replies, nodding his head, "I know."

Dad, I needed space this year and it was right and it has freed me up. You needed to sober up too, because let's face it, I can't make you stop--and I accept it now. I needed the space to learn it, and to wrestle some too. But I'm sorry for the way I have set up these unspoken requirements for you, completely conditional and biased in my offerings.

As though you should be punished. Held to a higher standard because you've messed up too much. Because your mess-ups have seeped over into my life too. 

If he finishes a year in that program, then you can call him. I remember thinking. He has to make it at least a year. Don't waste your time on him--or your thoughts. He won't make it a year. Once an alcoholic, always one. How many times have we been here, anyhow? He is never going to change.

Dad, I don't know why I have so selfishly decided you weren't worthy of my time until you earned it. 

Perhaps it happens as I remember what you stole from me, how you crushed my innocence and my dream, and I just hate you. I want to make you suffer. But the truth is, it's me drinking the suffrage overflowing with a heaping spoon of unforgiveness on top, whether you're lifting the glass or not.

As the pedestal bearing the gravity of my daddy issues continues to sink, I am finding myself so acutely aware of my own sinful heart, the sin that so far exceeds the label of abused. 

Your know, I have been hiding under the victim shell and pelting rocks your way every painful thought that crosses my mind. And a few years later, well those rocks have piled up into a flat out wall. Even when it is my sin. Like the night I gave myself permission to throw up a lot of food that I ate because you chose to leave rehab prematurely and it was my heart you left out in the dust of once again. Thinking of yourself before your family, again. Nothing has changed, I remember thinking. Or the way a few nightmares landed me in a heap on the floor when they ended with you and your sin against me. The way I spent the next week depressed and alone. Rightfully so, I rationalized. I am the victim here. 

That was my choice and it's time I own up. I have been labeled my whole life and now I do it to myself? Maybe it feels safe. Maybe it makes everyone else feel for me, justifies the darkness somehow. Maybe it puts makeup on the sin as it suddenly dwells in disguise. 

So I recall the countless times I have said those exact same words--I just don't know how to stop. 

I didn't know how to stop throwing up or cutting my skin. How to stop wanting to be loved. I had no idea what to do with the thoughts that reminded me of the used rag I measured up to be after I lost something most pure. I didn't know how to press through the darkness. Heck, I couldn't even stand up more or less run with perseverance.

Two bombs went off and it could have been anywhere, anyone. Sin is becoming a church word that no one really has time to think about, even down here in the bible belt, because it makes us feel uncomfortable. Best not step on any toes yells the postmods. I go to bed some days expecting to see Jesus before the alarm. And I weep because I'm not ready, yet my worship extends such bold words that echo come Lord Jesus, come. I know I mean it, it's just my heart is so ugly and dark.

Dad, you screwed up. But just because you hurt me does not validate my sin, it doesn't justify it. Nor does it justify the deep down conditional love I've mustered up towards you in my heart.

I am tired of living enslaved to this once-abused-girl mindset. 

No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more then I do, and yet none abuses it more then I have done, and still do. And it is all beyond me. 

So dad, I guess we have more in common then I'd like to admit. At the end of the day, sin is sin. There is no ranking. This truth defines us both, you know? It is setting us free when we choose.

Lately, my lips are ready to confess, but my heart is slow to feel, and my ways recluctant to amend. I bring my soul to thee; break it, bend it, wound it, mould it. Unmask to me sin's deformity, that I may hate it, abhor it, flee from it.

I hate the way I hate you. The way I hold the grudge. The way I still want you to love me the most.

I have been reluctant to amend, slow to acknowledge the breaking and bending. The mask always feels better, doesn't it? It's coming off now and hating it isn't enough. Dad, I just don't know how to stop blaming you for my dark days, how to stop seeing you only in light of your sin. 

I longed for a love you just don't have to give. God used an incredible fatherly figure to step in and guard me and guide me into more intimate understanding of His own love for me. As I see even that fatherly figure let me down, I realize all the more God is the only perfect one, the only one who offers me something unconditional and everlasting and redeems through it. The one who give us a new name.

Ya'll, I am not a victim or a bulimic. Dad, you're not an abuser or an addict. We are children of God. And He commands us to forgive, just as He has done for us. There is nothing radical about it.

Lord, help me to unmask my sin and flee to obedience that your glory might be magnified in my brokenness. 

Dad, I don't need anything from you. But, I still want it.

And I believe God is opening the door after just over a year of Him locking it shut. For now, I will write you a letter.

I look forward to seeing His glory on display in whatever way He would [or wouldn't] allow us to pursue relationship in the months & years to come. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These are powerful words! You have had to endure a lot…a lot of life events that were out of your control. All of your right desires, a loving, protecting father…it's no surprise you have this huge Dad-shaped hole in your heart. I don't want to sound cliche', but we all have a hole and we fill it with whatever we can. Sometimes it takes the form of dreams dashed or expectations unmet. It sounds like God is working in your life now to show you that He is the ONLY one who can fill that hole. But in the meantime, I encourage you to continue walking this journey of faith and forgiveness. You need to grieve the losses. And it takes great courage to see your own sinful choices that came out of the betrayal of others. You are loved. Incredibly loved. I pray you will continue to find healing here.

    Christy @ A Heartening Life