7 Ways to Overcome Father Wounds
“What was the name of your blog?” she asked me in the parking lot. We had only met the day before when I casually mentioned I had a blog for women with father wounds. I gave her the website and then asked if she knew a woman who would benefit from the content. Inwardly, I assumed it for someone else when she replied, “Me”.
I was struck by her courageous honesty: sharing her tender ache with a woman she just met. But that seems to be one of the responses you get when mentioning you write about father wounds. Women are either curious, indifferent, or all in.
On another occasion a woman jokingly questioned, “Father swap? How can you get one of those?” And although, she was being sarcastic, her words were laced with a level of truth.
For some, hearing the words father wounds is the equivalent of pouring salt on an open sore. Although, mere words, they function as an irritant agitating what would otherwise remain undisclosed. This was the case in a story Jo Saxton recounted, in her soon to be released book “The Dream of You”.
In it, Saxton shares about a church service where the minister asked for a woman who did not know her father to come down for prayer. This is how she described what happened next.
I heard the sound of a young woman crying. Her broken voice was saying, “I want my Daddy. I want my Daddy.” Then it changed to “I want a Daddy, I want a Daddy.” Then I realized that that young woman was me. . . In that moment I was revealed. My deepest self, my longings, my fears, my grief. All of it was brought out into the open.
Her words and actions seem to mirror that of the other two women. All three of them had an immediate response. I too, had a similar experience my freshman year of college.
“I made that bookshelf with my dad.” a friend said as I sat in her dorm room. Minutes later the words “with my dad” continued to bounce off the walls of my brain signaling, I was not okay with the absence of my father. As I left her room, my eyelids bulged like dam walls holding back a great flood. My concept of father had been limited to a few court-ordered visitations, gifts left on the front porch of my grandparent’s home, and Heathcliff Huxtable. But I craved what she had – a relationship.
Every woman who has a father wound knows it, or will know it eventually. The question, however, is not whether we have father wounds but rather what are we supposed to do about it? Is it possible to heal and if so how? The answer to both of those questions is yes and below I’ve outlined just a few ways to overcome father wounds.
#1 Admit we have an ache.
When presented with an opportunity, we must be willing to acknowledge we have wounds to begin with. Although tempting, masking, faking, and running won’t work; we must face our problems. This vulnerable place offers God something to work with.
#2 Give ourselves permission to grieve what we did not experience.
Next we need to communicate to ourselves that it is okay to grieve what was lost: our childhood, desires, and memories. We don’t have to be superwomen grinning and bearing our pain. We can take the necessary time to grieve what has been lost.
#3 Identify the lies we told ourselves in the process.
It is my fault. I am not lovable. I am not wanted. If we find ourselves thinking these statements consciously and subconsciously we must begin to recognize them as lies planted by the enemy of our soul to rob us of our God given identity.
#4 Replace the lies with truth.
The only way to counter lies is with the powerful and effective word of God. This requires a daily intake of God’s scriptural truth in order to readily distinguish between truth and the opposite of it.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4: 12 (NIN)
#5 Choose a lifestyle of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not dismissing the actions of our father. Forgiveness is relinquishing our right to hold him responsible for the wrong he knowingly or unknowingly did to us. The common misconception regarding forgiveness is that it is for the offender. The truth is, forgiveness is for us. It frees us from the prison bitterness puts us into.
#6 Embrace an abundant relationship with our heavenly father.
God, in his sovereignty placed encouragement in His word for those with father wounds.
In Psalms 27: 10 (NIV) He says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”
In Romans 8: 15 (NIV) He says, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
God was intentional about communicating His heart towards us. He longs for us to know Him as our perfect father: intimately concerned about the things that concern us (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). He cares about every tear you have ever cried regarding your father and he wants to replace your sorrow with hope and peace. If you have a father wound know that the void of a father wounded daughter is filled by the infinite love of an abundant God.