How to Build a Stronger Life This past Mother’s Day, I spoke in church on…
In my quiet time with God, I knew God was calling me to give a blessing to complete the forgiveness process. I read, “ Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. . . . If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14, 18,21)
I prayed, God, I know you want me to write my dad a blessing. But when I look back at my life, there are so many hurtful memories. You lead me to forgive Dad, bt how can I express that in a way Dad can see your love? Help me write something to Dad so that he will know I love him—but more importantly, that You love him. Let him see that Your love can absorb his pain.
As I wrote the tribute I could see how some of my best traits were ones God had redeemed out of darkness into the light. Because I grew up never knowing when Dad would rage, it was as if I lived my life on alert. Because I’ve allowed God to redeem that fear, it turned into a God-given ability to read people, to sense how they are feeling. I can read between people’s emotional lines. Because I grew up mediating between Dad and everyone in our family, I have the ability to mediate now, which is a handy skill for a leader! But my favorite trait that God redeemed is the one I wrote about in my tribute to Dad.
In 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make I share the story of the tribute, a Christmas gift that keeps on giving to all involved.
On Christmas Day, I stood and read this tribute face-to-face to my father:
Our Golden Treasure
It was a sunny Saturday morning. Excited children piled out of cars, baskets in hand. It was the day before Easter, the day of our small town’s big egg hunt. I was nervous and excited, as were all the other preschoolers. I held tight to my dad’s hand. The whistle blew, and the race to find the prized goldenegg was on! I picked up a pink egg and then a green one, and I placed them gently in my basket. But what I really wanted was that golden egg. The hunt seemed as though it lasted a lifetime. It seemed that no one could find the golden egg.
Dad said, “Come here, honey.”
He bent down and whispered into my ear and pointed at the ground. I looked down at a disgusting sight—an egg smashed and broken from being trampled upon by tiny feet.
“But it’s broken!” I said to my dad.
“What color is it, Charlie?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Look close. What color do you see?”
I tried hard to find a piece of shell big enough to discern its color. I picked up a small fragment and yelled, “It’s gold! Daddy, it’s gold!” But how was I supposed to get it over to the judges?
“Pick it up. Moms and dads can’t touch the prized egg. You have to carry it.”
“Ick! It’s too yucky, Daddy! I can’t.”
“If you want the prize, you have to pick it up. But I will help you carry it.”
We bent down and I scooped up as much of the egg remnant as my tiny hands could carry. It felt awful. Dad slid his hand under mine, and together we carried our broken treasure to the judges. I was awarded a huge basket brimming with Easter goodies. Dad was proud of me, and I was proud of him.
In the years since, I have often thought of that day. It is a picture of our father-daughter relationship. My dad is a lot like that broken golden egg. He has often felt inadequate to be all that he wanted to be as a dad. His heart is like that egg—full of prizewinning potential but cracked by the heartache of broken dreams. Dad has a heart of gold, but it often goes unseen by those around him. Words fail him. Sometimes his actions fall short of the feelings he’d like to express. But I’ve always held on to a piece of that prizewinning potential, just like I held on to that small piece of golden shell. I’ve held on to the golden moments that Dad and I have shared. Like that day in the park, when I was proud of him and he was proud of me. And when times are hard, I sometimes hear that whisper, “If you want the prize, you have to pick it up.” So I gather up the pieces of life and carry what life requires me to carry.
No, Dad is not perfect, but neither am I. So I hold tight to that less-than-perfect treasure because all that has happened—the good and the bad—God has used to make me the woman I’ve wanted to be. I have become a woman who can look at a bad situation, find the gold in it, and go on.
I’m a prizewinner in my daddy’s eyes, and his love is a golden treasure to me.
After I read it, Dad said, tears rolling down his cheeks, “Charlie, thanks. Thanks for using your writing to say such nice things about this bad ol,’ good ol’ boy. If you ever want to use my story to help other people, go right ahead.” That was the first time I ever remember Dad complimenting my writing—and the best part was that I didn’t need it. I could receive it and enjoy it, but I didn’t need it. I wasn’t frantic for approval because I had already heard the applause from my heavenly Father. My daddy told me later that he cried because it was the first time he felt loved unconditionally. God’s love flowed through me to him like a funnel from heaven!
I encourage you to write your own blessing, speak, write the words that heal. And learn how to let God heal, rebuild, and redeem your life. Read 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, and do the personal activities at the end of each chapter, and watch and see all the amazing wonderful changes God will bring your way. This might become your best year yet!