{The Resolution for Women} My Forgiveness, Part 7 (book study)


(If you’re new to the blog, welcome!

To find out more about our book study and to read previous posts, click {here}.)

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The Window Of Opportunity: Gone

“I’m so angry. I feel like he owes us an apology. I feel like he owes ME an apology. He left us. He left mom and us three girls. He didn’t care about us. He didn’t look for us. He owes me an apology!” 

I sat there in my blue Toyota. The parking lot of Giant Food Store was packed. My son’s father was going to get out of the car to grab something quick for us. But then I started rambling. He let go of the door handle and looked at me.

I didn’t even know I was storing up so many feelings. I thought I was over it. I thought I didn’t really care about my father’s absence in my life. But the words just floated out of he abyss of my heart and I couldn’t stop them.

“It’s not fair. I feel like he had a window of opportunity to make things right… but now he’s in that hospital and he’s so sick,” I continued unaware of all the shoppers going in and out of the store.

“He’s so sick. He’s not really all there anymore. He’s not talking right. He had an opportunity to make amends… but He missed it…He missed the very small window. And it gets me so angry that now it’s too late and I can’t even expect him to be mentally capable of making things right.”

I visited my father in the hospital that day. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. I gave him a kiss on the cheek. And truth be told, it felt so awkward. So unnatural. Yet still I managed to quietly say the words, “I Love You, Dad.”

I walked out.

It’s Time

Soon enough we received the phone call. “I think it’s time.”

My momma, my aunt, my two sisters, and I got into the car and drove to grandma’s house. There on a hospital bed, in the living room, was my father. He had a blanket covering him and a cross grandma had laid on his chest. My mom and my aunt stood next him and prayed with him.

I sat on a chair just staring at him. He was heaving. He couldn’t talk. All that was left was a deteriorated version of the man I saw in the picture at home. The man in the picture was strong, handsome. He held me on his lap and I was smiling so big. I must have been three years old in that picture. I don’t ever remember being held by him. But the picture tells me it happened.

His breathing interrupted my thoughts, it got heavier. This is how it all ends. A father leaves a wife and daughters to fend for themselves, and when he takes his last breath, it is us who sit beside him.

He took his last breath in that living room that evening. Death came. But my hurting didn’t end. I didn’t cry.

My Last Words

The day of the viewing there were four chairs saved for the three daughters and wife. I was late.

Everyone went up to see him for the last time. I stayed glued to my seat. I didn’t want to go up, but my aunt insisted. I finally dragged myself to the front of the casket. Each step heavier than the previous. They did such a nice job on him. He laid there, looking so peaceful. Healthy even.

I felt all eyes on me. Because I’m one of the daughters. And you know, everyone is waiting to see a reaction. It was so uncomfortable.

I wanted to shout, “People, what are you waiting for? I’ve got nothing to say.” But that would be inappropriate, wouldn’t it?

So instead, I walked my hand along the casket, fixed the collar of his shirt, and ran my fingers on his hair.

And tears rolled down my cheeks, not because my father was dead. Not because I was grieving a loss.

“Why couldn’t you love me?” I yelled out loud with absolutely no words.

An oxymoron isn’t it?

Pent Up Emotions

I cannot speak for my father. However, I can speak for a girl in her late teens who understood that she was not loved by the man who was supposed to love her. Whether this was the truth, or whether he simply did not know how to express it, I no longer try to figure  it out.

See, years later I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. When I did, I was adopted into God’s family and I now had a heavenly Father. He was my Daddy.

Although it didn’t happen overnight, and it was a process, I eventually came to accept the perfect love of God. It took me years to understand  though, that I was walking in unforgiveness and that it was destroying my life. The saddest part of it all was that the person I was not willing to forgive was already dead. A grave stood between us. I would never hear what I wanted to hear from my father.

The question that remained was simple. Was someone, who was not even alive anymore, going to have so much power over my life?

I felt the Lord dealing with me. ‘You must forgive Darlene. You must not allow this to overshadow the rest of your life.’

Set Him Free

With time and with much prayer. I forgave my father. I released the pent-up emotions, which had been closely confined by unforgiveness, into the hands of a God who loved me, cared about me, and wanted me free.

I set my earthly father free from the cage of unforgiveness I carried him in. And in doing so, I too was set free!

I made a decision I would honor his memory by never speaking about him in hate and anger. Instead, I hold on to one last memory I have of him on his deathbed.

“Ruben, can you hear me?” my aunt, a Pastor, held my father’s hand.

“Ruben, it’s me. And Olga is here and your daughters are here.” She looked up at us.

“Ruben, if you can understand me, squeeze my hand.” His eyes were closed, the heaving continued.

She prayed for him. And she ministered to him. And we believe that when she asked him if he was ready to go with the Lord, that he squeezed her hand as an indication of  his readiness.

Then he took his last breath.

Choose Forgiveness

Instead of anger. Instead of bitterness. I extended {My Forgiveness}, and now I hold on to that last memory.

It’s the part of the story that gives me hope. My father, in the last moments of his life was able to repent of his sins. And while I was unable to forgive him at the time, there was a Father in heaven who looked at him and saw nothing but the righteousness of Christ. The price was paid. All was forgiven. Grace and mercy extended to him on that bed.

I understand now why my dad looked so peaceful in that casket. And I find great joy in knowing that one day I will see my father in eternity.

This week’s topic was {My Forgiveness}.

Is there someone who you need to set free from the cage of unforgiveness? Or perhaps you’re the one who needs to ask for forgiveness?

Either way, a woman resolved to live for Christ understands that forgiveness accepted and forgiveness granted, are both a blessing.

[Read More: Part 8 {Integrity}…]

This is just a little taste of our week 7 discussion. If you want to keep the conversation going, simply leave a comment below or email me to be added to our {Revolutionary Women} The Resolution, Facebook group.

Discussion time is open for half hour real-time on Saturday mornings at 8 am.

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Posted on January 5, 2013, in BIBLE READING, BOOK CLUB, DEVOTIONALS, LIFE, LIFE LESSONS, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, THE RESOLUTION REVOLUTION and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It’s a powerful story of forgiveness and so often it’s us who are trapped in the cage of unforgiveness and bitterness doesn’t just poison our own lives, it ends up poisoning the very relationship we have with God. Thankful you’ve been able to experience this freedom in Christ and hope for a day when all this is behind you in glory.

    • I agree there is power in forgiveness. What’s amazing is that many times we don’t even know we carry unforgiveness and all of a sudden all the garbage spills out of our mouths… out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, right?!

      Thankful that God doesn’t leave there in our mess. Instead, He leads us to the path that brings freedom. The path of that leads to life. Forgiveness is really God’s amazing gift extended to us, empowering us to do the same for others.

  1. Pingback: When an Apology Never Comes | love unconditional

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