daughter day one

“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”Luke 8:48

“Daughter.”

In a time and culture where fathers advocated for their daughters, this woman came to Jesus alone and ashamed. She was known to all as unclean, and there was no father to defend her or speak on her behalf.

Upon touching His cloak, she was healed from her ailment, from what made her unclean.

Yet, it is the word “daughter” that restores her identity and heals her soul. In a situation where no other defended her, Jesus chose to be her father. With one word, Jesus filled the lack and accepted her. She was clean. She was directly addressed. She was seen―seen by a man who would call her His child.

I have always been uncomfortable with this relationship of father and daughter. It is the identity of God that I relate to the least. While I never expected God to hurt or betray me in this role, I simply didn’t get it. I didn’t understand who I was in this relationship or who He was. I didn’t know how to be a daughter to a father, and I didn’t know how a father would normally relate to a daughter.

Several months ago, I felt that God was inviting me to discover this with Him. I felt that He wanted me to know Him fully, and this was the relationship that was most awkward for us.

So I did what any daughter who grew up with an absent father would.

I turned around and walked―no―ran the other way. I could not get away fast enough.

Because I know that exploring this would ultimately bring me back to the father I never had, the father who never wanted me.

I spent years trying to heal, forgive, and move forward from the abandonment I experienced at his hand. While in college, I had finally done it. I was at peace that he was not there, and I decided I would forgive him so as to not be eaten alive by the pain and anger I felt toward him. His sin was my sin―just manifested differently.

This was the place I refused to go. I already healed. That was it. I would revisit this no more. So I built up my walls, hardened my heart, and wondered why I felt so empty.

(Pro-tip to those who receive an invitation from the God of the universe, Maker of heaven and earth: take it.)

Last night, my mom and I somehow got on the subject of my father. My mom asked me a question about his new family, and I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. So she told me about an article she found, and I looked it up.

Within seconds, I realized this was the biggest mistake I’d made in quite some time.

What I was looking at was an interview about my father, conducted by a girl who could possibly be my half-sister.

I read about his upbringing in China, which was similar to my mother’s. I read about how he did not want his children to experience not having food or clothing like he once did. I read that he came to America in 1988 and struggled until he learned English and could open his own business.

And I was angry.

In one sentence, he managed to insult both my mother and me, as he didn’t seem to care if we had food or clothing. The factual error of 1988 tells me that no one knows about my part in his history because we were a family in America by 1987. There were no details of how he came to America because that would have to include the ugly story of how he married a woman so that he could join her family, who was beginning to emigrate from their side of the Pacific. And then sired a child with her that he did not raise.

And then at the end of his interview, he boldly proclaimed that what he was most grateful for was that he would not have known Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior had he not come to America.

I was livid.

We may have happened before this, but we still happened. There was no attempt to reconcile, despite having been in contact with one of my uncles for years. This made me furious, but my anger only served to mask the deep hurt that was coming from a wound I thought was long closed.

This was why I didn’t take that invitation. This was why I ran. I had been hurt by this man long enough, and I did not want to invite him to live rent-free in my head once more. It took too much to heal the first time.

I have written countless letters, journal entries, and at least one poem regarding what I was feeling toward him, how I was processing, what I needed to do. And a few years ago, I wrote him an eviction notice. I was free from him. Finally.

I do not regret my life without him, despite having wondered more times than I’d like to admit, “why not me?”, “what would it have been like?” I was sent into the fire early, and from there, one can burn, or one can rise. It’s no one’s choice but your own.

But in the midst of this, God blessed my father and allowed him to gift the character “phoenix” toward my name as part of His plan: before I was even born, God declared that I would be victorious.

I was afraid to come to this place because I did not want the wound to reopen. I feared returning to a place of darkness, anger, hatred. But it seems the difference this time is that the wound is shallow and uninfected, and I am pressed to address it while it is so. And it is God who will have to help me keep it this way because my natural leaning would be to pick at it.

To be here now, as difficult as it is, God had gone to drastic measures to barrel through all of the walls I had built up, for the sole purpose of extending His invitation to me again.

God is a God of second chances, and when your heart is as hard as your head, He will break that rock-hard heart to give you one that beats and lives, and ask you to try again.

A spiritual mentor recently told me that because I have endured this much pain, my capacity for hope is this much greater. My wounds and scars run deep enough that the foundation is set for hope and love to be poured in to fill these broken places.

Months have passed since I was invited on this adventure. I was not ready to accept it then, but I think I am now.

It feels like the first step toward something huge.

I am terrified of the idea, but I am also feeling something I didn’t feel the first time.

Hope.

The one gift my father gave me is also my greatest burden. To bestow the name “phoenix” is ironic and fitting and everything I don’t want to bear. But it is a name that is redeemed because God called me something else.

Daughter.

He saw my lack and chose to fill it. He saw my wound and chose to heal it. With one word, He claimed me as His own―His own daughter. With this word, He chased away the hurt, shame, and lies that I had chosen to believe for much of my life.

He gifted me the bearing of a phoenix to fulfill the promise He made to me with this name. I will be refined with fire in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10)

And a phoenix will always rise.

Above the ashes.

I am a daughter―His daughter. And I will learn to live what that means.

This is day one.

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Ben

“The LORD said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’”
(‭Exodus‬ ‭3‬:‭7-8‬a)

“I know your sorrows,” He says to me.

Yes, I know He does. He sees more loss in the span of a day than I probably will in a lifetime, yet His eyes are still so kind, not hardened by the grief of each day.

And despite that, my sadness still matters to Him.

It has been a year since I lost my friend. I didn’t make it in time to say goodbye. By the time I’d arrived, he’d already gone, the smile that I had come to anticipate from him nowhere to be found. The young man I met years ago, who was so vibrant, so full of life, so infectious, had gone home to be with his Father. I can only imagine how excited they were to see each other, to meet face-to-face. I wonder, did Ben tell Jesus He’s “tight,” or was he so awed to speechlessness that all he could do was stand and gaze upon His face?

He’d dedicated his life to loving his Father. This love allowed him to love his wife, their son, and every single person he’d come in contact with throughout his life. Here was a man who was so selfless, always willing to assist where he could, never asking for anything in return.

I honestly can’t recall our very first interaction. We were probably introduced amongst mingling at Intervarsity. But subsequently, we became good friends, shared our insecurities, discussed Scripture, and laughed a lot—usually over a meal.

Ben once asked me, with my past how it’s possible that I don’t hate God. I think I’d said something along the lines of not being able to—His grace is irresistible after all. I’d answered that I’d seen too much from God to forsake Him, that He’d redeemed too much for me to try to keep going alone.

I thought about that question that day, and I still think about it now. I’ve concluded this: how can I ever hate a God who could and would breathe such a wonderful person into life and allow me to meet and become friends with him? The creativity and love and joy that went into creating a man who possessed such creativity and love and joy must’ve been exponential.

There are not enough words to describe who this man was and why we all loved and still love him. There aren’t enough to describe the way he loved God and people. He was always prepared to “speak on it,” giving all glory to God always.

There’s a song that I’ve been listening to a lot lately called, “Carry Me Down,” by Demon Hunter. In it, there was one line that always made me think of Ben:

So if you see me losing sight of all the death in life
You’ll find the peace in every time I failed to see the death in mine

If ever lived a man who poured out all he had every day, it was this one.

I miss you, my friend. You will never be just a memory. Your life will continue in all the people you’ve touched. What a legacy you’ve left behind in 29 years full of life.

Happy one year anniversary in Heaven, brother. Miss you and love you loads.

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ohana

Dear Family,

What does this word actually mean for you? You toss that word around when it’s convenient for you, and when it’s not, you hoard it to yourselves and keep it exclusively. When has that word ever been used to describe us?

Yet you asked me this week—no, you shamed me—in order to convince me you’re my family. You tell me that you can’t believe I would trust an outsider over my own family. It’s not the first you’ve shamed me with this either.

But let me ask you something.

Where were you?

Where was my family when I had to put a restraining order on one of our members? You were on the side of my abuser. Where was my family when I longed to belong to it? You were abusing me and shunning me from your presence. Where was my family when the inheritance I received from my grandmother disappeared and the account closed? You were the ones closing it. Where was my family when I was suicidal in high school because of the abuse? You were oblivious to your role in my suffering, and you could not be found.

How do you ever expect me to trust you? How could you ever ask that of me?

I have not allowed you to define this word for me for quite some time now. The word “family” does not belong to you.

It belongs to the Person who guided me out of suicide. It belongs to the Person who redeemed my greatest abuse to lead me to my greatest salvation. It belongs to His children, who have walked beside me and carried me these past fourteen years when you were nowhere to be found.

“Family” does not end with blood.

Blood may be thicker than water, but grace runs deeper than blood.

You made me feel that I needed to earn a place in this family. Was being my mother’s child truly not enough? Yet in this grace community, there is no such thing as earning a place in the family. We are family because of Him.

This word is still being redeemed for me, but here and now, I claim it as my own. It is not a word for you to throw at me to acknowledge your authority. This word will not be reduced to something so petty.

This word means hope. It means acceptance. It means love—love unconditional, love to the point of sacrifice, love for life.

This word is too precious to me now. You cannot define it for me any longer because I know what it is now.

My Father told me. He showed me with His loyal love.

I have a new family now. Maybe you can join it some day. But you’ll have to understand, it’s on His terms, earned by His death.

I hope you can give up your small definition for His great plan.

eternity

Where the desert is covered in roses [Isaiah 35:1]
Where I can outshine the stars in a single day [1 John 2:25]
The face of God isn’t hidden [Revelation 22:4]
When I wake into eternity [1 Corinthians 15:51-53]

Where the shadows are never discovered [Revelation 22:5]
Tears are nothing more than a memory [Revelation 21:4]
Death isn’t alive any longer [Revelation 20:14]
When I wake into eternity
Eternity (Horseshoes & Handgrenades), Disciple

ben

This is what he opened his eyes to when he closed them for the last time on earth. This is his life now. This is the life that awaits all of us who love and seek after God. He lives now where death has no home, where death itself is dead. He dances with his Savior on streets of gold.

Friends and family came from all around to remember and honor him, to give praise to God for allowing us to be blessed by his friendship in the time we had together. In twenty-nine years of life, he loved deeper than some do in eighty.

Everyone who knew him describes him to have been a man of incredible faith and love. Those two things in his life drove each other forward, shaping and perfecting each other to prepare him for eternity. He was probably more equipped for eternity than many of us will be at the end of our lives.

I miss his smile, his joy, his absolute thirst for life, and his evident passion for his Lord. He was a man who never let life knock him down, who never took himself too seriously, who rescued ducks and appreciated serious conversations about Batman.

We miss you dearly, Ben Price. We rejoice that you are finally cancer-free and worshipping God at His feet. And we love you.

See you in eternity, where nothing will part our friendship again.

Death isn’t alive in eternity.

regret

I have regrets that eat at my heart.

When I was 8-years-old, I met a friend. He was best friends with my friend’s brother. Yeah, he was a boy, and boys at that age would terrorize girls here and there, but even at the age of 10, he was sweet and tenderhearted and would show that side of him more often than not.

Aside from the occasional moments at school when I’d see him in the playground, I wouldn’t see him again for about five or six years when we were in marching band together. We weren’t particularly close, but we’d chat on occasion. When something happened to my mom after one of our competitions, he and his mom rallied the troops and took care of us with phone calls and meal deliveries from several families in the band.

Once he graduated, I didn’t see him a whole lot. Maybe during homecoming here and there. Then we crossed paths again several years later when we both worked at the Happiest Place on Earth, though in two different departments. Whenever I was playing in the Park, I’d go by his attraction to see if he was working and say hi and give him a hug and whatnot. He was always smiling. I once talked to one of the leads at his attraction, and she’d done his interview to become a lead. The vote was unanimous: we all loved the guy.

He and I lost touch again some time later, and at that time, it would be for good.

I found out about a half-year after it happened that he passed away in a tragic accident.

I was heartbroken to hear it happened, and I think I was more angry at myself that I didn’t even know. A mutual friend had given a shout out to him in the program of his junior recital in college, and I found out then.

Can I really say I lost a friend? Was I a good enough friend to him to really have been considered a friend? Were the handful of hugs and smiles and hellos enough to have qualified me as a friend?

I have regrets.

He and I weren’t that close, and the opportunity to be close won’t ever come again in this life. Our paths won’t cross on this side of Heaven. I didn’t know him well enough to know what his walk of faith was like, how much he loved his Savior, how he desired to serve Him with his unique talents.

A certain social media site alerted me to his birthday yesterday before I went to bed. Which means in a few weeks, another significant date will swing around.

I don’t want to remember these dates. I don’t want to have a black spot on my calendar every year and be a huge lump of sad, especially when we weren’t even particularly close enough for me to mourn this much. Is that a weird statement? Do I need to know someone to a certain level before I can be allowed mourn them?

It is absolutely a regret of mine that I didn’t know him better. It is absolutely a regret that I couldn’t even be there for him the way he was there for me. But I don’t want to remember these dates because it’s not about what or how I feel when they come; it’s about the life that was lived in between them.

I want to remember the boy who scooped a worm out of the pool for me when I was 8 (and probably killed a few spiders as well). I want to remember the young man who took time out of his Thanksgiving to make sure my mom and I were okay. I want to remember the smiles and the hugs that we blessed each other with when our meetings were reduced to passing each other at work.

I want to remember him.

The regret will eat at me—how can it not? I really missed out on something and someone special. But will I allow regret to swallow up his memory and the special days that belong to him alone?

I don’t want to. And so all I can do is pray that I give all the emotions I feel to Jesus and lay them at the cross. In return, I will thank that same Jesus for the life and friend He blessed me and so many others with for a period of time.

Thank You for this friendship, no matter how brief it was. Let his legacy continue, and let it be a blessing to You.

 

Glass Heart

A piece of glass is created from chaos. It comes about when sand is struck by lightning hotter than five times the surface of the sun. Or it is created in the heart of a volcano.

It is transparent. Glass has no means to lie. It is recognizable by anyone. It is vulnerable. It is strong enough to shelter people and create fortresses.

Yet weak enough to be shattered to pieces when struck.

This heart of mine is much like a piece of glass. It is transparent, it is strong, it is fragile.

It is vulnerable.

When I love someone—friends and family (and sometimes foe) alike—I love deeply. My heart is strong enough to do so by the grace of God. I give it all, or I give none of it, but it wasn’t always this way.

I learned of the fragility of my heart long before I learned of its strength. I’d given my heart freely to those I thought would protect it—those whose hearts pumped the same blood through their veins.

But they were the first to shatter it.

I’d given it to others: some of whom became family in a deeper way than biology allows, some who asked to receive it, some who seemed to need it.

And more often than not, it was damaged in those hands as well.

To whom can I entrust this heart of mine—one that has been dropped, stepped on, thrown against a wall; one that is missing a few pieces and lopsided with pieces that don’t completely fit together; one that is held together by duct tape and super glue, and prayers and good thoughts—so scarred and bruised and damaged with nothing to hide its imperfections?

No person should ever possess it. Even in this state—especially in this state—it is too precious.

The only hands that would keep it safe are the hands that formed it originally. This heart holds the throne of the King. It is His home. It is His heart.

I’m tired of giving my heart away to those I judge as someone who’d protect it. In my Jesus’ hands alone will it remain until He judges someone worthy. I’m tired of failing in this task that was never mine to begin with.

Though bruised, still beating. Though broken, able to be repaired. Though pieced together, still beautiful.

My heart is a most beautiful heart.

And it will not be easy to gain it.

It’s a Wonderful Life

I could have died when I was fourteen.

No, I didn’t run up against any near death accidents or get kidnapped by a maniac or anything that dramatic. No one was threatening my life either.

Except me.

My dear reader, I know by now you’ve picked up a bit on how traumatic my childhood and youth were. What I haven’t really talked about is how I’d coped at the time. Yes, I’m a tougher, wholer, person today, but then? Then, I was a mess. Then, I was tired. Then, I was sick of it. Then, I was ready to end it.

Day after day of surviving, of doing everything possible to not go back to a house and see the relatives who had invaded what was home for eleven years—it wears on you. Not having a home, not having a place to belong, to feel safe—or rather to have had it ripped from you—it wears on you.

I sat in my bathroom one day; my eyes were dried up from tears long shed. My heart was weary, and my body followed. I sobbed a tearless fit, and I wondered, “how much longer?” How much longer do I have to feel so cornered? How much longer do I have to feel so broken? How much longer do I have to feel so oppressed? How much longer do I have to feel so unwanted? How much longer do I have to feel so unloved?

And a solitary answer drowned all other thoughts.

Not much longer… if that’s your desire.

I could end it. I could finish it. I could finally stop feeling lonely and hurt because of my oppressors’ actions and words. The power was in my hands to never suffer again.

But then a rebuttal resounded through all of the dark corners of my battered soul.

If you do this, they win.

What did they care about what happened to me? Would it have filled them with remorse?

No. No, I doubt it would’ve. They were incapable of remorse.

Instead, my last action on Earth would’ve been breaking my mother’s heart and leaving her completely alone with them.

What a legacy that would’ve been. I would’ve proven to them that they could overpower me.

If I ended it this way, it would’ve been my loss.

And I have never been a gracious loser.

My focus shifted at that moment. I was going to come out of this a winner. I was not willing to allow anyone that much control over me to the point where I no longer had the ability to fight back, prove them wrong, and heal.

So instead, I thought of how I could win, how I could make something of myself, prove that they couldn’t break me.

Being that I was fourteen, plans to change the world weren’t exactly on my mind. I started small. I was going to be a leader in my extra-curriculars, and I was going to graduate high school, and have a life defined by my own terms.

What prompted this entry… you know, I’m not completely sure. I just started thinking about the people in my life and how much I would’ve missed out on had I not chosen to live.

I would’ve died never knowing what family really was.

I’ve just started figuring it out within roughly the last year. I would’ve missed out on redemption: the experience of real family and unconditional love. And I would not have hope for everlasting life but would be living in everlasting death.

Looking back at this time, it’s clear to me that, in this moment before I even knew Him, God had His sight set upon me.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”—John 10:27-28

It makes no sense, right? As far as I know, there has never been a Christian in my bloodline. I was a Buddhist in an abusive situation.

And God said, “I want her.”

In the midst of a hopeless situation, God saw me and led me into His arms and shared with me His family.

No one else can write a story this good. What a legacy this will be!

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you know just how loved you are; that when you see no hope, God will shower hope on you; that when you want to give up and let go, you find something to live for, no matter how small it is.

Because you never know when a small thing can change your life in a big way.

above the ashes

God has given me a powerful name: “the appearance, the bearing, of a phoenix.”

It’s this name that the devil must destroy in order to defeat me.

Names make one strong, mighty, significant, but they can also make one vulnerable. It is at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow, that expels devils (Mark 16:17). Yet in other cases, naming something gives one power over it. In Bible times, demons were cast out only after its name was learned. Naming our sin releases its burden over us. Naming an animal endears it to us.

Naming and names should not be taken lightly.

The lie that is attacking my name, my identity, promises fire, ash, destruction, desolation—nothing more. There is pain. There is misery. There is suffering. They will keep coming, I will keep surviving—no more, no less. There will be no redemption, no healing, no hope, no end.

This is to be my fate: forever waiting—waiting faithfully—only to have promises broken and dreams dashed.

But that is not what God has promised me through this name.

The phoenix does indeed burn, but it is not reduced to ashes.

flip

And neither am I.

From the ashes a new creature is born—stronger than the last with 1000 more years to thrive. It will emerge from them with eyes that carry all the wisdom of a previous life and wings spread wide to challenge the skies.

“A simple step of faith for you as you move towards what God has in your future is always rewarded with a God-spoken promise for the now.”—Andrew Gardener, The Vine Church HK

This is my promise bestowed by my God through two men who would cause me to live up to it over and over again.

“‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the LORD.”—Jeremiah 1:19

Take heart, little phoenix; the fire doesn’t burn forever.

I will burn.

But I will rise.

I am above the ashes.

Perfect Life

Background story on this entry: in Friday’s counseling session, my counselor had me speak to my cousin as though he were in the room and tell him what it was like for me growing up and what it was like living in the situation I was living in upon entering high school. At some point, I also went into who I am rather than what the family has labeled me as. And it hit me that no one else is living in reality. This was the first step in returning shame that didn’t belong to me back to the people who put it on my shoulders. This song shuffled on as I was driving to work, and everything that it said was more or less what I saw in this relationship with my relatives. And after work, this entry was born.

You pretend what you say you feel 
You pretend that you’re something special
All the lies that you hide behind
I see right through you, see right through you 
Paint it on, cover every inch 
Any flaw will expose your weakness 
I’m immune to your fantasy 
I won’t become you, won’t become you…

I never deserved how you treated me.

I never volunteered to be the family scapegoat.

I never asked to carry your shame and guilt.

So why did you make me?

The more I think about it, the more strategic I’ve realized this was: in order to protect a grown man’s damaged image and honor when he threw it away by his own decision, you targeted the most vulnerable person you had access to – the only one without the protection of a father. When did this decision take place, and why wasn’t I invited to be a part of making it?

We all got along fine the first few years of my life. We played together. The adults treated me like we were family. Because we were. We were.

Weren’t we?

So what changed?

When we moved to the West Coast, I still hadn’t started elementary school. And I was blindsided with that change.

You all treated me so terribly all of a sudden. And I didn’t understand why. Can you imagine how confusing that is for a child? I still don’t understand. But considering how loyal the kids in this “family” are to the parents – to a fault – I don’t doubt the parents were involved in this decision.

Guys… all of you.

I was three. Maybe four at the most.

How did grown men and women decide that the four-year-old was going to be shamed for no reason but to save your own faces? How did you even think it was okay to get your children to agree to it – to be the ones who treated me the worst while you passively observed? How did you justify this to yourself? “She’s not one of us.” “Her surname belongs to someone outside the family.” “We’re not harming our family, we’re protecting it.”

Did it go something like that?

That’s just… pathetic.

You want a perfect, PERFECT LIFE
Nothing wrong, nothing real inside
All I see is a perfect lie
I don’t want your perfect life

I don’t deserve this shame. So you can have it back.

I am not defined by what I lack. I am not defined by what kind of man my father was. I’m not defined by his sins. I’m not defined by who my mom is. I’m not defined by who I’m not.

I’m defined by a whole lot more.

You think I’m hateful. You think I’m disrespectful. You think I’m selfish. You think I ruined your lives because I stood up for myself against you.

No. I think you’re looking at the wrong person when you say those things. Maybe you should walk into your bathroom and stand in front of your mirror. And then say those things. Because that’s who deserves to hear it. And that’s who still needs to stand up for him or herself.

I refuse to be defined by your fantasy, no matter how much you’ve convinced yourselves it’s reality. I refuse to carry the burden of your sin against me any longer.

I refuse your shame. It was never mine. It was never about me. It was always about all of you.

So, keep your dream with no consequence
You’d damage me just to feed your senses
All you fake for reality
I see right through you, see right through you
Take your pride, take your vanity
Can’t you see that your ego’s empty?
I will turn, I will walk away
I won’t become you, won’t become you…

If you’re tall because you’ve forced me to kneel, you’re not tall at all. You just rob me of what belongs to me. You clothe yourself with my innocence and stand tall, and clothe me with your shame and force me to my knees with this burden.

How was it okay to have done that to a four-year-old?

You want a perfect, PERFECT LIFE
Nothing wrong, nothing real inside
All I see is a perfect lie
I don’t want your perfect life

I’m still living the repercussions of your decisions. I’m still learning to shed your shame. Why should my relationships be damaged just because you damaged ours? Why should I be damaged just because you tried to make me damaged?

It’s clear now.

You’re afraid. You’ve always been afraid. You’re not afraid of me – or if you are, you’d never admit it.

You’re afraid of yourselves.

You’re afraid of what you’ve all done. You’re afraid that your fantasy can never become a reality.

And so you’ve convinced yourselves that I was the cancer, that I was what kept your perfect image of yourselves from being true.

And you tried to destroy me.

But isn’t it ironic? Can’t you see?

Those actions are exactly what prove that your fantasy is fantasy. Those actions prove who you really are: small people who have to make other people be small in order to be big; broken people who have to break other people in order to be unbroken; selfish people who have to pass their guilt onto other people in order to be gracious.

My eyes are wide open
I see the enemy, the hypocrisy
Your cover is fading
Secrets pouring out, castles falling down
There’s nothing to hide behind
I know who I am inside

I’m perfectly broken

I’m not without fault. Why else would I need a Savior?

But I don’t own your faults.

And you can’t make me.

No more.

I’ve got enough of my own, thanks.

I don’t have resolution to this yet. I wish I did. I wish I can be past this and moving onto greener pastures.

But this is my first step toward those.

This is me. Handing your shame back to you.

And if you refuse it, one day I’ll learn to drop it at your feet. As well as Someone else’s.

I don’t want this burden anymore. Carrying it for over two decades is too long – I will not carry it any further. This lie will no longer damage the good and true things in my life.

I see that I’m not perfect, that life is not perfect, that people in my life aren’t perfect.

And the imperfections are what make my life so beautiful.

You want a perfect, PERFECT LIFE
Nothing wrong, nothing real inside
All I see is an empty lie
I don’t want your PERFECT LIFE

I am not the abuse you dealt me.

I am perfectly broken.

And adopted into one heckuva family with the only perfect Father.


Lyrics from “Perfect Life” by Red on their album Release the Panic © 2013 Provident Label Group LLC, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment. Find them at http://www.redmusiconline.com

to the man who broke my heart

You. Didn’t you know? You were supposed to be my first love. Didn’t you know? You were supposed to protect me from tears and heartache. Didn’t you know? You were supposed to model a good example for me. Didn’t you know? You were supposed to love me. Didn’t you know?

Didn’t you know?

Instead… Instead, you chose to fill your own selfish wants and desires. Instead, you caused my tears and heartache. Instead, you became a model of everything I don’t want in a man.

Instead, you gave my heart its very first scar when I was just a child.

Are you happy right now? Are you happy with your new wife and the kids she’s given you? Did you fulfill your duty to them? Were you your daughter(s)’s first love, your son(s)’s first hero, your wife’s one and only? Are you happy? With your 4-5 bedroom house in suburbia? Looks like you didn’t move too far from where we used to live when we were a family.

Family. Were we really a family? You were you. Mom was mom. I was both of you. We were three people—no, two and a quarter, I guess—occupying one very small space. I really didn’t know anything about you. What you liked. What you did for work. What meal you enjoyed coming home to. Your favorite color. Your favorite book. Your favorite food.

But I remember this.

Everyday, when you came home, you would knock on the door, and I would rejoice that my daddy was finally home, and I’d run to the door to unlock it for you and run into your arms like I hadn’t seen you for years. Ironic.

But I can’t remember this.

Were you happy to see me, too? Did you open your arms to me? Did you enjoy coming home to us? To me?

Who do you think you are, that you can abandon a woman you pledged your life to and the child who is flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone, and never look back? You’re as much a stranger to me today as you were before you left. But the damage you’ve done is much more intimate. You are a parasite, a wolf. Plain and simple.

But you know… I can thank you for two things.

I thank you for the physical life you’ve contributed to me.

And I thank you for being the lesson of forgiveness I needed to learn.

You didn’t love me. You weren’t the knight who rescued the princess—there was no knight, and I was no princess. You didn’t think I was enough. You didn’t think I mattered. You didn’t think I was your responsibility. You didn’t think of me as your child, or of you as my father.

But I hate to break it to both of us… it is true. I’m as much your DNA as you are mine.

And that’s all we will ever be to each other.

I wonder what you’d think if we ever met again. Would you recognize me? Growing up, everyone told me I looked like you—and it must’ve torn Mom apart to hear it so much. Would you care to know me? Would you see me as more than an insect?

No.

No, I don’t suppose you would. I don’t think you even can. You had the chance to prove me wrong once several years ago. And you didn’t prove me wrong.

Instead, you broke my heart all over again.

It is a daily struggle to forgive you. Some days, I want to hate you forever. Some days, I want to punch you in the throat. Some days, I want to scream at you at the top of my lungs.

But who am I to judge you? Your sin is replicated in me. I have lied. I have cheated. I have broken the heart of my Love. I have left Him for other things. I have severed our relationship.

Like father, like daughter.

What a legacy, huh?

The first time I was able to see this… such a weight was lifted from my heart. I couldn’t judge you. I couldn’t condemn you. Your sin was my sin. I needed to repent as much as you do.

Because of a father, I learned to grow up before I should’ve. I learned the world was ugly. I learned that I was expendable.

But because of a Father, I learned—am learning—how to be a daughter, a child, an heir. I learned that He has overcome this world. I learned that I am covered in His fingerprints and am loved beyond measure.

He gave me you for a father for a reason. He had faith enough in me to believe I’d turn out all right — better than all right. He is strong enough to carry me through you. And you and I… we get to team up and bring Him glory in my life and through it. Don’t you feel special?

I’m not a messed up little girl with a father complex. I’m not a broken kid, desperate for any and all male attention. Oh, how close I could have been to either, but take a look at who I am. I am a woman firm in her Savior. I am a woman confident in who she is. I am a woman satisfied in the love of one Man. I am a woman strong enough to be weak. I am a woman who’s turned out pretty darn good.

And I am finally an heir. And Someone finally came to save me and defend me.

Bless you and your family. Bless your life here. May you enjoy all the seeds you have sown and reaped. Bless your children, that they may have the father I never did, and your wife, that she may have the husband my mother never did. Bless you.

But it’s really too bad you never got to know me. Your loss, really.

I’ll be praying for you as much as I can for the rest of my life. Some days (like today) will be more difficult than others. But I have forgiven you, do forgive you, and will forgive you.

Have a good life, dad. As best as you can without me, anyway.