I have been in ministry for over 35 years (boy, I’m getting old). During that time I have spoken to many, many youth who have deep feelings of hurt that stems from their fathers absenteeism, neglect and abuse are to name a few of the issues. On one occasion, I was stared at in anger and resentment and yelled at, “Betty, you don’t even understand what I am feeling. You probably had a father who was there for you.” I responded, “Well, yes I do understand more than you could ever imagine. No, my father was not a Leave It To Beaver sort of man. He was abusive, an alcoholic and never attended any of my sporting events, award ceremonies or graduations. Yes, I can empathize with your pain and I am so sorry, but your pain is not mine.”
As I sat with this student, he talked, he cried and he cursed all I could do was hug him and say, “I believe in you. You are going to make it.” “Betty, how did you get over it?” he asked. “Slowly, ever so slowly.” I said. “You see for years I was angry at God and to think of him as my Heavenly Father did not even compute.” I also told him how scripture says to call him ABBA father (meaning Daddy). I shared how I went into therapy and my counselor gave me a sponge bat to hit the couch to help release the anger I was experiencing. I felt like I swung that bat for hours and when I was done he explained my anger was based on my hurt that was bottled up. Then, he proceeded to tell me that I have a loving Heavenly Father that can handle my anger, resentment and pain. That was the first step of my long journey towards healing.
I finished our conversation by telling this student that after many years, I can now call God my ABBA Father. I know He loves me, He accepts me and He believes in me. Father’s Day month is difficult for many students, but I rest in the fact that God is faithful to journey with us in our pain and weakness. Scripture is clear in saying, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
A belated Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers may God bless your socks off this year. Thank you for your continued support of City Impact and the many lives we impact daily.
Because of Him,
Betty Alvarez Ham
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