As a writer, there are times when I feel strongly that the Lord wants me to open my life to my readers. Sometimes it is quite painful, but I feel that if my writing helps even one person – it is certainly well worth it.
My early life
I have said in other articles, that I can remember being melancholy at a very young age. I remember feeling so alone. My dad was verbally abusive to me. I would laugh when he called me names, but I remember the hurt which I learned to hide well.
Beauty was everything in my family. My mother was glamorous. My older sisters were stunningly beautiful. Me? I had unruly and extremely curly hair; I had buck teeth before I got my braces, and I was stick thin. I was not a pretty or even cute little girl, and I knew it. My dad would call me Bucky beaver and spaghetti head and other hurtful names. I wanted him to love me, so I would laugh, but I was dying inside.
My oldest sister
She was 7 years older than me, and got pregnant at 16 years old. She left our home – I was so young. I guess I never really knew her. Little did I know that the Lord would bring us together in a beautiful relationship much later in life. I will refer to my oldest sister as (S).
My second to the oldest sister
From as far back as I can remember, this sister was cruel to me. I am not talking about normal sibling rivalry. She delighted in being cruel and torturous to me. She was my father’s favorite child – we all knew it. She would never talk to me, even to answer a question I asked of her. She even told me that I was adopted. She said that I could look in the mirror and see that I was not related to our family. I believed this for about 7 years until I found my Birth Certificate. I will refer to this sister as (J).
Watching friends who were “Daddy’s” girls
Nothing made me more sad than watching my friends who had dads who hugged them; who treated them like princesses. I dreamed of this.
All I could do was dream.
My teen years
To say I rebelled would be a gross understatement. I hung out with the wrong crowd; I self medicated with street drugs – anything to numb my brain. It’s like all of the anger and hurt that had built up inside of me, just exploded when I reached my teen years. I became very suicidal. I became a “cutter.”
When Mom and Dad retired to Florida
I was devastated when my parents decided to retire to Florida. It wasn’t because I was close with them. Perhaps them moving away – the finality of it – and I had not succeeded in making dad love me.
I was a believer at the time they moved. I was married with kids. I felt a burden for my dad. I felt that the Lord wanted me to write to him about Yeshua. I wanted dad to understand why I believed. This had to be the Lord. It certainly wasn’t my own idea. In my mind, I would have just made dad angrier at me.
But God had other ideas.
My dad wrote me back, telling me how proud he was of me. He told me that I was his strongest daughter. He told me that I was his only child who cared about the Ten Commandments. I wondered where this was coming from. I loved it, but it seemed so strange to me.
Billy Graham Crusades
Dad began watching every televised Billy Graham crusade. Mom was getting very frustrated with him. Watching Billy Graham was something my dad took seriously. I had to chuckle when I would hear the frustration in my mom’s voice.
A terribly botched surgery
Dad was having incapicitating pain in his neck. He found a surgeon in Florida who wanted to do a neck surgery on him. I called my mom and pleaded with her not to let dad go under the knife without a second opinion. She didn’t listen and dad went ahead with the surgery. This doctor completely botched the surgery.
The move back
Mom and dad moved back to the Washington area to seek out a neurosurgeon who might attempt another surgery to correct the first one. When I say “botched” – when he would stand, his head would lie upon his shoulder. I felt so sorry for him.
Dad was a type 2 diabetic. When a person has diabetes, healing takes a very long time. The second surgery, done by an excellent neurosurgeon, was not successful. The first surgery had harmed his cervical spine beyond repair.
My mother called me every day at work, saying that my dad just wanted to see me. I went every evening to visit with him. Sister (J) who had been his favorite was livid with me. I was told that she was angry and hurt that dad would ask to see me and not her.
I could see that dad was failing. Eventually, he was placed in hospice care. The Lord allowed me the joyful experience of leading my father to Him in prayer. The angels rejoiced in heaven!
After dad’s death
My mom did not return to Florida after dad died. A couple of times a month I would spend the weekend with her. I felt so sorry for her. One night she asked my forgiveness; she told me that both she and dad knew that my sister (J) had been so cruel to me as we were growing up, but they never tried to stop it. I told her that it was forgiven and that I loved her.
Two years after dad died, my mom was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. She died within 6 weeks. Before she died, she asked my sisters to be kind to me when she was gone. After her funeral, my sisters told me that I should not consider myself their sister, and that I would never see them again. In 1983, after I was born again, I shared the Gospel with both sisters in a letter. I’m pretty sure that cutting me off as their sister was directly related to me being saved.
Fast forward to recent times
I saw my two sisters and their kids on Facebook. My sister (S) was FB friends with my daughter. I wrote a note to both of them, just expressing my desire to connect with them. Sister (S) didn’t answer. Sister (J) blocked me and had her kids do the same. I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
One day, I asked my Christian brothers and sisters on Facebook to please pray that sister (S) would come into my life again. She had not blocked me on FB. God answered these prayers and she wrote to me. She said that she would talk with me on two conditions. NO talk of Jesus and NO talk of politics. I agreed, and since then we have talked on the phone weekly, and really have a wonderful time together.
Recently, I noticed that she sounded really sick. She would tell me that she thought that perhaps she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was so congested that she could hardly talk. She said that she had stiffness in her hands and could barely use them. I asked her if I could come up to her home and take care of her. She sounded elated that I would offer.
It’s a good thing that the Lord worked this out for me to stay with her. She was in bad shape and I drove her to her GP. She had pneumonia in her right lung. I stayed with her a little over a week. The strong antibiotics and prednisone kicked in, and in a few days she was feeling like herself.
We talked about sis (J). She knew that my sister was really hateful to me all of my life. She didn’t know why.
After I returned home, I received a call from my sister and was quite overwhelmed when she told me some things. She said that she called sister (J) and told her that I had come to take care of her, and how sick she had been. She then asked a question that I’m sure shocked my sister. She asked her why she had been so cruel to me since I was a young girl.
She told sister (S) that she saw dad being mean to me and that she began doing it too. Being dad’s favorite, I suppose that does make sense that she would emulate his actions towards me.
My husband said that this excuse was understandable when she was younger, but he couldn’t understand why she remained this way as an adult.
I told sister (S) that no matter what, I forgave my other sister. I also told her that I led dad to the Lord – that shocked her. I was able to plant many seeds during our visit. She would stop me if I began to tell her about salvation. She has a neighbor who is a Christian. She even went to church with her once. I know that the Lord has His hand on my sister. Nothing is random.
I can’t help but wonder if I will answer the phone one day, and it will be sister (J). But if that never happens, I know that I have forgiven her. I have done what Jesus wants me to do, and that brings me peace.
I hope that the reader understands why I wrote this article. Forgiveness is not a suggestion from the Lord. He tells us that we must forgive others. I’m sure that there are brothers and sisters in Christ reading this who were even physically or sexually abused. Sin in this world has brought the most heinous things into so many of our lives.
If I had not forgiven my father, I would not have shared the Gospel with him. If I had not forgiven my sisters, my trip to sister (S) would not have happened. And who knows; maybe sister (J) will contact me.
When Jesus hung on that Cross, He forgave our wretched sins. How can we withhold forgiveness from those who have hurt us, if the Lord of Creation forgave us?
Is there someone in your life who hurt you badly, and you are still holding onto the anger and resentment? Go to Jesus and ask Him to help you forgive this person. Pray for that person – I know it sounds impossible to do; but when you are praying for someone, it is impossible to hold onto the anger.