Love recognizes no barriers. It Jumps hurdles. Leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope~Maya Angelou.
Our Seventh Guest on the stories of Hope series is the Phenomenal Samali Acham, an author of the book entitled The Seed She planted, a lioness raised by strong inspirational women. She is passionate about empowering children and young people. It is not uncommon for her to stop in her tracks to respond to the cry of a wounded heart. She believes in creating simple but unforgettable moments and encounters. Food is her favorite plaything, and the kitchen is her playground.
I hope her story weaves symphonies that will cast darkness away and soothe the ache in your heart as it did to mine. It is such an Honour to host you, Madam! Your collaboration is immensely appreciated.
‘Our Father, who art in heaven.’ I have said the Lord’s Prayer countless times, yet it is still hard for me to picture God as a father. You see, I grew up without my biological father. Yes, there were a few men in my life over the years whom I gravitated to as a replacement, but none quite filled the void. There was the uncle whose visits I looked forward to because he gave me a few shillings to buy a sweet treat. Bananas and sugarcane were my treats of choice. I called him uncle-daddy. My heart bleeds for that child!
Psychologists say that growing up without a father leaves a wound that can fester well into adulthood. The ache of an absentee father was most intense in my teens and early adulthood. For most people around me, Father’s Day was a cause for celebration-reminiscing about the moments shared, tears wiped away, hands held in reassurance-a time to celebrate the most significant man in their lives. For others like myself, it was a day they wished did not exist. It was a cruel reminder that their deepest heart’s longing they could never have. All they recalled were forgotten or uncelebrated birthdays, broken promises…a lonesome lifetime without a father to share fears, ease pain and be there to witness a race won, an accolade awarded, a milestone reached!
How does one get past the sense of loss and the constant reminder of growing up with a raw wound at your core? How do you heal the ache of abandonment? Like many in my shoes, I attempted to discuss my pain, but any attempts at an explanation only led to more tears, silent tears hidden from prying eyes, hidden from those who dared to care. As a younger woman, I was an expert at putting on a façade of indifference. I developed a thick skin which no one could penetrate. Many did try, but my guards held them off…fear, anger, sorrow… kindred spirits that comforted me and reminded me that I was not alone, that I was still alive.
I recently watched a video that mentions four fatherless Daughter Archetypes. 1) The Enchanted Woman Daughter fantasizes about prince charming coming to sweep her off her feet because she is addicted to love. 2) The Super Woman Daughter has an unquenchable urge to be perfect. She is always trying to improve and be better. She is highly driven by success and can be seen as controlling. 3) The Solitary Woman Daughter tends to be detached and avoids deeper connections with others. She desires love but isolates herself and keeps her distance.4) The Pretty Woman Daughter craves closeness with others even if she has to sacrifice herself for it. She has yet to develop her deeper parts that express her authentic self.
According to the video, each archetype has a characteristic fear corresponding to their greatest need-love/abandonment, acceptance/being controlled, connection/rejection, and validation/disapproval. If I am honest with myself, I have struggled with these fears to various degrees. I have only to examine my behavior in relationships to identify manifestations of those fears. Evidence in my life and research shows that growing up without a father leaves scars that impact behavior and, consequently, the trajectory of one’s life. Nevertheless, as a practicing Christian, I cannot deny the theology that tells me God is my creator.
I often think about what it means to be a Christian, more specifically, a born again Christian. I wonder about the difference it has made and ponder the ways my faith has colored my life and influenced my decisions. There have been times when it has felt like a prison from which I cannot escape, a self-imposed prison, but mostly, my faith has been my saving grace. Over the years, the emotional turmoil of growing up without a father has dissipated; I attribute this to faith and the power of God. I don’t know how He does it, but God does answer prayers, even the quick ones I say absentmindedly; the kind that seems like a passing thought.
Iyanla Vanzant, a world renowned teacher who strives to bring out the greatness in others, suggests three ways to break the hold of fatherlessness: – 1) Tell the Truth-admit that your reality is what it is and move past it. 2) Give up the story-let go of the fantasy that you can get back what is lost. 3) Forgive yourself for the things you have done due to the fears you harbored up to this point. According to Iyanla, if we don’t face our truth, “the level of emotional dishonesty becomes the filter through which we live every aspect of our life”. Acceptance makes room for forgiveness of self and the absent parent. I had a light bulb moment when I listened to T.D. Jakes explain how parents grow with their children. No parent has an in-built manual on how to raise children. When a father is handed a newborn, he does not automatically know how to be a father. They do their best with what they have.
I still struggle to view God as a father. For the longest time, the word father conjured up emotional turmoil and restlessness. However, as I learn more about the Grace of God in loving and dying for the flawed, broken and unfinished person that I am, I cannot deny my father the same courtesy. Walking in my true identity as one favored by a merciful God compels me to forgive and let go. I still feel a familiar ache at the mention of Father’s Day; I cannot say I have a relationship with my biological father yet. I acknowledge that the past is gone, and I cannot have a daddy, but I appreciate God’s love and care, and He makes it all alright. To my fellow fatherless daughters, as you walk your journey, take it to the Lord in prayer, be gentle with yourself and find me if you need to cry or someone to talk to.
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry,
Everything to God in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.