Sunday, January 25, 2015

Searching For My Father and Finding Peace

My mother found out she was pregnant with me in the summer of 1975. She was seventeen years old. She could have aborted me, but she didn't, and I am thankful that she chose life for me. I lived with her and my grandparents until she got married and moved out when I was still a toddler. Though her words and attitude told me different when I was a child, my grandmother wanted me to grow up in her home, so my mother did not take me with her when she left.

When I was young, I used to ask my grandmother questions about my father. She would never answer them. When I was around the age of eleven, my mother divorced her husband of ten years and moved back into her parent's house, my house. I am sure that I annoyed her. I followed her around, asking endless questions. I wanted details that should have stayed in the past. But I could not leave them there. I had to know about my father. 

Finally, she told me about him. She told me about their short relationship, how she knew that she had conceived me before she ever took a test, but she also knew that she did not want to spend the rest of her life with my father. She told me that my father was a foster child from Brooklyn, New York. He was in the military until he was kicked out and had ways and opinions that my grandmother didn't approve of, and that is why she never talked about him.

I used to daydream about him. I would hope that he would show up on our front porch one day, call me his daughter, and take me away. Maybe not forever, but at least for a little while. I wanted him to know me and accept me. I wanted him to fight for me and care for me. Ultimately, I know I wanted to feel loved by him. 

He never showed up. He never called. I have never seen his face or heard his voice.

In my early twenties, I started two different searches. I searched for my  biological father online and studied the words of my heavenly Father in the Bible. I never found anything online about my father. Everywhere I looked was a dead end. 

But the Word of God was very healing for me. Over time, I stopped wishing for my earthly father's presence in my life and no longer desired his love. It didn't happen overnight. It was a slow process. 

Through reading scripture, I recognized that I do have a Father that calls me daughter.  I found a father who knows me and cares for me.

Mark 5:25-34
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

In Mark, we read the story of a woman that was suffering, losing her life blood, for 12 years. She travels to meet Jesus, reaches out to touch His cloak, knowing that He will heal her. Jesus calls out to the one who touched Him, and she responds and tells Him her story. He calls her daughter and tells her that her faith has healed her, to continue on in peace, and suffer no more. 

I wasn't physically bleeding, but my heart was hurting. For years, I longed for my father, desiring to have a relationship with him. And like the woman in the story, I reached out to Jesus, studied scripture, and found an end to my suffering. 

Through God's Word, I realized that all the things that I desired from my biological father, to be known, accepted, and loved, I already had from my Father in heaven. My study of the Bible brought me into a closer relationship with God, and I began to feel peace. I no longer needed a relationship with my earthly father. 

My parents did not plan to have a daughter, but God planned me. Having a relationship with Him has helped me to feel peace about the man I will never know. 

Through Bible study, I learned that the Hebrew word for peace is shalom. Shalom also encompasses more than just peace. It also implies prosperity, wholeness, good health, and friendship. It is also a greeting and farewell, and when used in that way it is like praying for those things upon the one to whom you are speaking.

God knows you, calls you daughter and gives you peace. In Him, you can be whole and flourish.

How have you found peace through God's Word? Has studying the Bible helped you be at peace about a relationship in your life?
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