Last night I came face to face with some issues in my heart that I need to deal with. It’s funny how the Lord works. You see, just this past Sunday He spoke to my heart and told me to begin writing again. Actually, He commanded me to write daily for the next 31 days, which is what led me to start this blog… You see, the Lord knows my heart, and He knows how to heal it. His word tells us, Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV). And so, as I write these words, I believe that healing will spring forth, not just for me, but for others with broken hearts.
A year ago, on September 14, 2011, I saw my stepfather take his last breath. My sister and I were together in Dad’s hospital room as we witnessed his last gasp for breath, and then he was no more. My sister was consumed by grief, while I stood there numb, comforting her. You see, my sister was his true daughter and I wasn’t. Her relationship with him was entirely different than mine, and though I loved him deeply, I didn’t mourn his passing.
Even now, more than a year later, I don’t miss him. I can’t share this with my sister or my mother, who both still grieve for him and long for him. But the truth of the matter is, how could I possibly miss someone who caused me so much pain and rejection? This man that I loved so deeply and thought of as my daddy, is also the one who abused me and molested me, and never repented for it. In fact, he blamed me for the abuse he inflicted on me and denied that it was even abuse.
I thought I had dealt with all of this years ago, and I truly did forgive him, but then, before his death, new issues sprang up, and rather than dealing with them honestly and facing them head-on, I chose to revert back to my old way of dealing with things… I buried them deeply and ignored them, hoping they would just disappear. And then last night, during bible study, the Lord began to speak to my broken heart, and you know what? I want to be healed… I’m ready to dig that pain up, face it and deal with it now. I need to do this in order to move on and be the woman God has created me to be.
You see, the Lord desires truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part He will make me to know wisdom (Psalm 51:6 NKJV). So here is the truth… About two or three days before he was admitted to the hospital in August last year, my stepfather brought some paperwork to the nursing home where my mother lives and had her sign over the deed to their house to my sister and me. My mother has dementia, and she thought she was signing over 50% of their property to my sister and 50% to me, but that’s not what he had written in the agreement. Rather, she signed 70% of the property to my sister and 30% to me, and he and my sister called me there to sign the papers also, and this is when I did something stupid. I signed those papers without reading them.
Now I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, but I found myself reverting back to the little girl who wanted to be accepted by her family, so I signed those papers. A couple of days later, my sister, who was helping Dad, called me to ask for my social security number, and I asked why she needed it. She said it had to do with the papers we signed, and I asked her what it was that we had signed. That’s when she informed me of the 70-30 deal.
I was crushed… The pain of rejection pierced through my soul as it dawned on me that I was the child that received only 30% of his love. It was an insult and a slap in the face. After all the pain I had suffered at his hands, he was now punishing me for bringing the abuse to light and for refusing to live under that darkness any longer. Rather than admitting his guilt or showing me any love or recompense for what I had suffered, he chose to punish me!
I spoke to my sister later (I’m not sure if it was 1 day or several days later) and I told her to tell him to take my name off that document, because the only thing I ever wanted from my parents was to be loved by them, not their money or anything else. Within a few days of my signing that document, Dad entered the hospital. I knew he was dying, and I didn’t want any anger or bitterness to be between us. You see, in spite of everything I loved him.
My birth father had died more than a decade ago, but he had never been a father to me. I only got to know him the last nine months of his life. My stepfather was the only father I had ever known, and he wasn’t always bad to me. There were a lot of good memories as well as bad ones.
So I visited him at the hospital during that last month of his life, taking time off work, supporting him and my sister, loving them both. And putting everything else aside, I wanted more than anything to show them Christ’s love. The last 2 days before he died, I stayed in the hospital with Dad all night, while my sister stayed during the day.
I’ve never witnessed such torment before, as I watched my dad suffer, writhing back and forth in pain and opening his eyes every few minutes then shaking his head as his eyes focused on the demons that tormented him, saying, “No, no, no – Stop it, stop it, stop it!” It broke my heart as I prayed for him quietly. The morning before he died, I went home but I couldn’t go to sleep until about 11:00am. At 3:00pm, I awoke from a dead sleep and called the hospital, telling my sister that I would be there shortly. I knew what I had to do, and that his death was imminent, so I quickly showered and went to the hospital. I told my sister that we needed to let him go, and asked her to bring Mom to see him. I knew in my spirit that this was it.
When my sister left, Dad opened his eyes and looked at me. I could tell he needed something, so I asked, “Do you want me to wipe your forehead?” He shook his head no. He was so weak. I said, “Do you need something?” And Dad replied softly, “A kiss.” I was shocked. I had not kissed my dad in years, and he was not the sort to ask for a kiss, and so I bent down and kissed his forehead and said, “I love you Daddy.” I hadn’t called him “Daddy” since he had molested me so many years ago. I loved him so much! And I asked him if had made peace with God and if he had accepted Jesus as his Savior. He said yes. I pray he was telling the truth. At approximately 3:15am, just a little over 12 hours after I had awakened that day, my stepfather drew his last breath.
A couple of weeks later, my sister showed me the will that he had drawn up the day before he was hospitalized. And there in the will, it stated once again 70% to my sister and 30% to me. It hurt. I didn’t want it and I told my sister this once again. I’ve told my sister that I cannot accept this punishment several times in the last year, and I meant what I said.
And now, I find myself in a new place… At the end of August, I was approved for short-term disability from my workplace, and my husband and I have been left with virtually no income for the last month, and the future is questionable too. So I find myself in need, and yet I still can’t bring myself to accept the 30%.
And so, Lord, I’m calling out to You. You have told me to, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you…” (Isaiah 43:1-4a NKJV)Father, I believe it when you said, “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore” (Isaiah 54:4 NKJV).
And now, O Lord, I give You praise, because You have truly blessed me and called me Your beloved. You have heard the cry of my heart, and You know the pain that I have clung to, and I bless You, because in facing the truth and admitting that I have harbored bitterness in my heart, You have freed me, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Thank You Father, because in writing my pain out and turning it over to You, I’m able to think of Dad without anger and bitterness springing up. And I can say in love, “Goodbye Dad.” In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
For those of you who take the time to read my long-winded post, I pray the Lord blesses you, and if any of you are grieving and in pain, I pray that the God of all comfort will wrap you in His arms, and that He will give you peace in Jesus’ name.
Cheryl A. Showers