She sat in the backseat of the car that night feeling scared and confused as her mother drove her and her brother around looking for her daddy. She didn’t know what exactly was happening but in her own little six- year-old girl heart, she knew something was terribly wrong. She could feel the fear and hurt radiating off of her mother as she frantically drove around looking for her father’s car in various parking lots of apartment complexes.
Finally, her small voice broke through the silence, overcoming her fear enough to quietly ask her mom, “What’s wrong mama? Where is Daddy?”
“I don’t know. Your father walked out on us. I think he’s leaving us,” she replied. As the little girl sat there, a thought came to her, “It’s my fault. Daddy was upset with me earlier because I got gum on the seat. I must have made him so mad that he doesn’t want to stay with me anymore. If I was better somehow this wouldn’t be happening.” Emotions and fears started overwhelming her. She began to cry out inwardly. “Daddy, I’ll do better,” she promised. “Please don’t leave us. I can be perfect. I’ll try my best”. The little girl felt so guilty. Her mama was upset and it was all her fault. Thoughts kept bombarding the little girls mind. “What is going to happen to us now? Will we be OK? Will he come back? Maybe if I’m better somehow it will make this all go away and things can be good again.”
A feeling of terrible fear began to suffocate the little girl. “Please, please, please come back Daddy. I’ll do better. I’ll be better. We need you. I won’t be any trouble. You won’t even know I’m there. I’ll be invisible.” The fear and hurt were so intense that all the little girl knew to do was to try to push it down somehow. Deny it. She took some deep breaths trying to still the panicky feeling that was rising up taking her breath away. Her little brother was sitting on the seat of the car next to her and she could tell he was afraid and confused. He was so quiet. She didn’t want to upset him, so she worked really hard to pull herself together and hide what she was feeling. “It’ll be ok. Mom will find him and he will come home”, she said to her brother with as much courage as she could muster. She could tell it made him feel better. Another thought came to her: “You have to be strong for your brother, and you don’t want to be any trouble to your mom.”
I wish I could say that the daddy in this story came back and that all of this little girl’s heartache and fear was swept away. As a little girl I prayed for my daddy to come back and just couldn’t understand why my father would leave us. I certainly didn’t have enough self-awareness to understand the lies that I believed. I’ve only just recently even allowed myself to focus on those memories. I buried them deep within myself because it’s all I knew to do to survive the hurt and rejection I experienced as a result of the abandonment by my earthly father. All I knew to do was to keep moving forward and try to be strong so I wasn’t a burden to anyone else. “Don’t be a bother to anyone” was pretty much my motto in life.
I can look back on my father’s abandonment and rejection of us and see the enemy’s plan in all of this. In his book Unshakeable, best-selling author and pastor, John Eckhardt, states “when a person has suffered rejection, he will tend to attempt to compensate by doing everything perfectly hoping that no one will reject him.” Eckhardt also states that, “perfectionism also leads to legalism and religious spirits. The perfectionist hides behind the rule book, and makes the Bible a rule book. This leads to hypocrisy and covering up because the perfectionist cannot admit he or she has broken the rules.”
Rejection also leads to guilt, shame and confusion. Rejection led me into so much fear. Fear includes fears of abandonment, failure, hurt, rejection, dying, man, confrontation, poverty and more. Some people experience extreme fears like panic, panic attacks, terror and more. Talkativeness, nervousness, worry, anxiety and tension are also forms of fear. Fear was HUGE in my life. Satan had me so bound up by his lies that I, that innocent six-year-old abandoned girl, believed. The end result of all of this is that even though I had come to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior, I was moving forward with my life completely weighed down with a whole lot of spiritual baggage that I had never handed over to Him. Fear and control were dictating everything about my life and I was spiritually blind to that fact.
I praise God that in his grace and mercy He led me to John Eckhardt’s book, Unshakable, as I was walking through some battles during that season in my life. I was blind to these things but I had enough knowledge and enough relationship with God that I knew He would be the only thing to get me through my spiritual battles. I began reading the book in the hopes of learning better how to pray and help others and came completely undone as God through the power of the Holy Spirit began to reveal area after area that I needed deliverance from. The big area for me was FEAR and I can tell you that God has delivered me. I have been set free and I’m walking in the blessing and freedom of peace in a way that I have never before experienced. The bondage of FEAR had blinded me in so many areas that after it was broken off God began to reveal and heal so many areas of my life. Literally, my spiritual vision suddenly became 20/20.
My overall view of God as my loving heavenly father came to life for me as I walked forward in deliverance. As God began to show me how bound by fear I had been I began to let go of my fear given desire to control and embrace trusting Him on a more complete, deeper level. I believe He saw that six-year-old child in the back of that car and could feel the hurt and fear I was experiencing. Because of the fallen world we live in we can’t be shielded from the effects of living in that world. But my Father God cared deeply about my pain, and He saw through the years how pain and fear were shaping my decisions and even my view of Him. If you had asked me as a teenager to use one word that came to my mind when I heard the word “God” I would have said “distant.” I knew God was real, but my view and experience with my earthly father had shaped my view of my heavenly father. I felt that He was far away and busy handling the problems of others far more worthy than me. I knew He loved me and cared for me but felt that probably all of my imperfections made me unworthy of His time or attention like others. It felt safer to take matters in my own hands and try to handle them myself than to lift the yokes of oppression that were dragging me down by bringing my needs before my heavenly father.
Through all of this He has always been there loving me and holding out His hands to shoulder the burden of my trouble, but I was still that fearful child…so afraid to hand over the control I was holding onto for my false sense of security. Eventually, however, I wore myself out spiritually and physically through all of my worrying and striving and reached the end of myself.
I will never forget that moment alone in my room when I cried out to Him in desperation, “Father God, I’m a failure. I’ve tried so hard and I keep messing up. All I’ve ever wanted to do was be a perfect mom…give my kids the childhood I couldn’t have. I’ve loved them so much but I’ve still made a mess of things. How can I love people so much, have good intentions and still end up making a mess of things? This situation I’m dealing with….I GIVE UP!!”
I can’t explain it except to say that God’s merciful grace came in and set me free. FEAR and control broke off of me and I felt His perfect peace and approval. This was what He was waiting for me to do. He was waiting for me to exhale and let Him take over. He was waiting for me to TRUST him enough to let myself give up and let Him take care of me like a daddy wants to take care of his little girl. But I had been like a young child desperately trying to handle tasks that I was far too helpless and unequipped to handle – making a real mess of things in the process. Strange to say that in giving up I gave in to God, but that’s exactly what happened. I can see myself now how God sees me….His precious daughter who just needs her Daddy.