The Day God Sent The Mailman

11 07 2013

Through a clenched jaw, my dad said, “I found your mother’s journal. It says here, ‘Mel is dead. I’m finally free.’ Was he blackmailing her?”

Then he began to accuse my Mom of some incredibly vile, and completely untrue behavior. I was too stunned to be angry.

With more hatred than I thought was possible to convey through speech, he asked, “Did she ever tell you about the time I took my rifle and went looking for him? I was going to kill the SOB.”

It was as if the blindfold I’d worn my entire life was ripped from my eyes. The vista became crystal clear. My heart hurt with an intensity I’d never experienced. I was utterly devastated.

I’m wasting my time here, I realized for the first time in my life.

Excusing myself, I got into my car and went home, sobbing all the way. He did not love me; worse, he could not love me.

Forty-six years of doing everything imaginable to gain my dad’s acceptance, love, and approval had been useless.

I’d thought his disdain for me was because I was a girl, so I worked on engines with him, split wood, climbed trees, and shunned “girlie” activities.

My gender wasn’t the issue. The problem was Mel.

“And who is Mel?” you ask.

He’s my birth father.

No, I wasn’t the result of an illicit affair. Mom and Mel were married when I was conceived. In fact, I was her tenth pregnancy – the other nine were miscarriages.

My step-father (who adopted me when I was two, making him my “dad”) had been the interloper.

Theirs is a sad and twisted story. The three of them were best friends in high school, so much so that when my grandpa planted a tree for each of his four children, he included a fifth for Mel. He was part of their “family.”

The two joined the army on the “buddy system.” However, Mel was unable to go overseas due to physical issues. From there it went downhill.

My step-dad married a Korean woman (who dumped him as soon as they came back to the US). Brokenhearted, my mom married his best friend. You know what followed when “Dad” had no wife…he came after my mom, and talked her into leaving Mel. They were soon married.

Mel, prevented from seeing me, decided to do what he thought was best, and allowed my step-dad to adopt me.

(Later, when I told him what life with Dad #2 had been like, was he furious? Did he defend me? No. He also kept working hard to reconcile with his former friend. This cemented my belief that I was not worth fighting for – that I was a worthless nobody.)

As a kid, I always felt like an alien. I wasn’t like anyone else in my family. It wasn’t until I met Mel when I was seventeen that I discovered how similar we were. I found that interesting; I hadn’t been allowed to see him since I was a year old.

Forty-four years later, standing outside and listening to his tirade, I “got” it. To my “dad” I was nothing but a constant reminder of this best friend turned hated enemy. Unable to take out his hatred on Mel, I became his “whipping boy.”

Recently, I realized the severity of his hatred. He made it quite clear, but I was in denial and thought if I could only be better somehow, he would come to love me.

The Lord brought this incident to mind:

One of the things my “dad” never permitted me to do was go deer hunting with him. This was his sacred hobby. I was certain it was the key to winning his affection. I would go out, kill a deer, gut, and skin it.

Then he would be proud of me.

Then he would like me…

…love me.

He was adamant. He would NOT take me on a hunting trip. Hunting was for men.

When I was fifteen or so, I finally wore him down and he grudgingly allowed me to go with him. He made certain that I was as miserable as possible that entire day, forcing me to stand still for two hours so I wouldn’t scare the deer.

Later that day, he had my brother and I walk the hillside through the buck brush while he walked the dirt road below. The desired result was that we would flush out any deer that might be resting on the hillside.

After about twenty minutes, my brother found a rack of antlers on the ground and showed them to my dad.  Dad said that he wanted them, and that I should carry them since I didn’t have a rifle.

Think about that for a minute. I’m supposed to work my way through buck brush that’s shoulder high with a set of horns (four point – or ten point, depending on how you count them) over my head so I can get through the thick brush…

…during deer season?

Would you ask your dearly-loved daughter to do this?

I didn’t think so.

Never without his beloved beer, there he was on the road. Pushing through the brush on the mountainside would be me, looking for all the world like a legal buck.

(I wasn’t so stupid. No matter how much I objected, he demanded that I carry them – a full rack, by the way. These hadn’t been shed, they’d been cut off – and left in the brush by the hunter…??? I wrapped them around my chest and zipped my coat closed over them.)

I didn’t know that was my daughter. Didn’t she know that was a foolish thing to do? Oh, what have I done?” I can hear his phony lament now. It makes me sick to my stomach.

In 2005, my mom moved to heaven. It was her blessed release from a nightmare of a marriage. I’ve never wished her back into that mess for a moment, no matter how much I miss her.

Before she left, she asked me to help my “dad” with his finances. She taught him how to write a check the week before – he never handled anything but the cash of his paychecks when he got paid…and gave my mom $50 or so with which to pay the bills. He was a babe in the world of banking.

I agreed to do so, and spent the next eighteen months going to his house to show him how to balance a checkbook, and show him where mom had money invested, etc.

When he started running my mom down, and the understanding of his feelings for Mel and me finally came to light, I was finished.

Done.

Later that week I talked with Barb (my pastor’s wife) about the situation. There are many other things that he did that I will not commit to paper, but had discussed with her in previous counseling sessions.

I said, “I think it’s time I confronted him.”

She said, “I agree.”

It was decided that a face-to-face would not work. When he began to yell, I would shut down. There would be no way for me to say what was needed after that.

I drafted a letter and took it in for her to edit. She read it and said, “I think it’s perfect. Go ahead and mail it.”

At home, I addressed an envelope and put the letter inside. Handing it to my husband, I said, “I need you to mail this on Saturday – even if I change my mind and threaten to divorce you. I want you to promise to mail this.”

He agreed, and put it in a safe place.

On Saturday, for the fourth time in twelve years, our mailman came to our door. He had a registered letter to deliver.

Turning to Wendel, I asked, “Did you mail that letter?”

“No,” he said. “It’s in my Bible.”

“Well, God sent the mailman to pick it up!”

I’m so thankful that He did. I haven’t heard a word from my “dad” since he received that letter. Whenever I begin to doubt the wisdom and “Christian-ness” of sending it, I can remember…

…the day God sent the mailman,

…and set me free!

Just yesterday, I connected the dots between my “dad’s” desire to kill my father with his rifle and this hunting trip. The longing I had for reconciliation lays stone cold dead on the floor next to the shattered pieces of my heart.

Now you know in part why my struggle to forgive from yesterday’s post has been so great.

Thanks for stopping by to read. I appreciate that you take time out of your life to do so. 🙂

(The response to this was so wonderful that I posted a “Thank You” note to those who commented.)

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55 responses

15 07 2013
tric

So well written. I am sorry lifes journey has been so tough and sad for you. Saying “butt out” ( not really a loving Good bye!) to a one way relationship built on the premise “he is my dad I must love him and vice verse” must have been very hard and sad. I hope though it can give you mostly peace. Rejection in any form is difficult.
For what it’s worth even just knowing you through our comments I think your Dad is a sucker. Thankfully your mum must be smiling in Heaven saying “That’s my girl”.

15 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

The two of them were broken people, merely repeating what they’d been taught. Mum was loyal up to the end, asking me to assist him in getting his finances in order, since he was clueless.

The minute she stepped out of her “earth suit” I’m sure she wondered, “now why did I ask her to do THAT?”

I look forward to our reunion in the “sweet bye and bye,” that’s for sure!

Thanks for your sweet support. It’s worth far more than you know!

\o/

13 07 2013
PaperGiftsForEstefany

Papa God’s brave little princess! Let Him hold you in His warm and loving arms and bring you His healing and joy. Thanks so much for sharing this with other hurting hearts.

13 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comments. 🙂

He’s healed me of so many things…and continues even today.

\o/

12 07 2013
Chrystal

Thank you for sharing your heart, your pain and reminding us that God is the Father so many need/want & that Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. Blessings to you…..and by the way, I love the way you put “my mom moved to heaven.” What a beautiful & comforting thought picture.

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Her absence taught me much about heaven. The first and foremost is that the Bible tells us that “this mortality shall be swallowed up by life!” She merely slipped through the gossamer-thin veil between this world and the next…lucky duck!

\o/

12 07 2013
myGodsGrace

How wonderful we have a Father that not only Loves us better than any earthly dad could, but restores all things. i have a feeling you and Mel are at the beginning of a Beautiful relationship. Not to mention healing beyond comprehension with your step-dad. Be Blessed

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Unless the Lord was able to reach him before he died, I’m afraid that “what might have been” will never be. 😦

There’s still hope for my step-dad. It would take a miracle, but then, I’ve seen plenty of those in my lifetime!

Thanks for your comment. 🙂
\o/

12 07 2013
myGodsGrace

i had ten years without talking to my dad. God had different plans. He not only restored but allowed me privilege to Honor him before he died. There is Healing in the name of Jesus

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

12 07 2013
myGodsGrace

just re-reading my romans post, and when i got towards the end i started reading about my restoration with dad. i thought of you maybe it will speak to you? Blessings

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! I’ll check it out. What’s the name of it?

\o/

12 07 2013
myGodsGrace

romans 5

12 07 2013
Kathleen

I read your story last night and have done some wrestling with the pain, neglect and abandonment. Thank you for bravely sharing this as it leads me to fine tune the meaning behind forgiveness: not saying “what they did was alright” but saying, “I won’t hold them accountable, God will.” You so perfectly model what Paul did in Acts- shaking the dust from your feet against that man and leaving him to himself– where he chose to thrust (forgiveness, love and salvation) aside and judged himself unworthy of eternal life. (Acts 13:46b)
Yours is a beautiful story of love and rescue! When men tried to make you feel unworthy, it was their unworthiness that was revealed. The Creator of the universe, God Almighty, the Holy One instead chose YOU to be His child, appointing you to eternal life.
Your trademark symbol of hands upraised has even more deeper and precious meaning. It makes me think of a small child with arms raised saying “hold you”. Our Father always does 🙂

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Kathleen. I hadn’t seen my action as shaking the dust from my feet, but I guess that’s what I did.

Until yesterday I continued to hope that he would see the error of his ways, and seek me out. It’s been six years now. It’s not going to happen. I’ve moved from denial and anger to resignation and grieving the loss of “what might have been.” This chapter of my life is over.

I like your take on \o/. The header picture on my blog is a picture (in my mind) of God holding me – His little, innocent princess. He has been so very good to me! {contented sigh}

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Everyone has been so sweet in their comments.

\o/

12 07 2013
vonhonnauldt

I’ve never walked in your moccasins, so can’t even begin to imagine what you suffered. Thank you for this post. I pray that, to those “tidal waves” our Lord will say. “Peace. Be still!”

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

He did that yesterday – through my brothers and sisters here in Blogville! I love His ways. 🙂

\o/

12 07 2013
kingintraining

Gee Tami I have such a lump in my throat 😦 The deer story is awful, I’m just picturing you in it..I pray our Father releases you from the bondage of those hurtful memories

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

He has, this one and dozens more like it and much worse. He is a fantastic healer!

When you picture me in it, picture the host of angel armies surrounding me, for that is the reality of the situation! 🙂 What others meant for evil, God has used for good!

You just gotta love a God like that!

\o/

14 07 2013
kingintraining

Amen!

12 07 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

Tami, I am sorry you had so much heartache as a child. So many broken hearts in this world because of people’s foolish choices, anger, resentment and bitterness. That must be part of the sins of the fathers passing down the generations. When you share your story, you bring healing to others. My father wanted me aborted. My mom actually told me that. There was never a father image in my life at all growing up. My mother resented ever having me. I stumbled often, without the protection and counseling of a daddy or love and nurturing of a mom! I know what you mean about not being able to see God as a father. I lived decades wondering why I struggled so much over the simple concept of a father’s love in comparison with God, I just couldn’t connect the dots. For me a father image was a complete blank! It’s just been lately I have been able to appreciate our Heavenly Father as a Father and a Daddy. I also struggled with forgiveness. May the Lord of Heaven, bless you and give you peace in this area. May the dark shadows of the past recede from your mind in the everlasting Light of His Love.

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Ashamed, and believing myself to be “deserving” of nothing better from my father, I kept much of this in the secret places of my heart – and accepted whatever garbage people wanted to send my way as my “due.”

I’ve learned that by sharing my story, I bring it out of the darkness into the light and it loses its power to control me or affect me.

At the same time, I discover that there are many others like me, who are also harboring dark secrets of “unworthiness.” By sharing, they can begin to see a little of the light for themselves.

Aren’t you thankful that we have a Father who is not willing for us to live our entire lives blanking Him out, but who tenderly pursues us and wins our hearts? I love Him so much!

\o/

12 07 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

Yes, God’s pursuit of us is amazing! I know there are many shades of darkness many of us carry from horrendous pain inflicted during childhood. God is so good in his nurturing and his loving patience.

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

The good news is that there is a way to healing and freedom!

See today’s post. 😉

\o/

12 07 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

Will do. 🙂

12 07 2013
Pure Glory

Oh, the pain of trying to please a father that can’t be pleased due to his own issues. I identify with never being able to please my father. God gives special grace and uses what the enemy meant for evil for good. You have a powerful testimony that is setting many free. You overcome by the word of your testimony. God has great things for you.

12 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

One of my favorite verses (among a thousand plus!) is in Revelation 12 where we are told that we overcome the enemy by the *word of our testimony* and the blood of the Lamb!

Day by day I walk in greater freedom – and I LOVE it!

\o/

12 07 2013
Pure Glory

The word of our testimony is more powerful than we can conceive.

11 07 2013
worthless_romantic

Maybe that’s why you’re so good at recognizing and being a friend to those who feel rejected and unloved by Jesus. At least that’s how I used to feel. Things are different these days. Thank you my friend.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Okay, I’m looking for the Kleenex box. You’re most welcome – I’m so proud to have you as part of our family. 🙂

\o/

11 07 2013
Tony

Tami, to say that I know how you feel would be a lie because I had good parents and never experienced what you did as a child. However, I know what it is like to be betrayed by those whom you consider father figures and those who purport to be like brothers and sisters to you. To them the word, “covenant” is just another holy word to be flippantly thrown around. I have had my heart ripped out and handed to me by those I was closet to. I too can understand your struggle with forgiveness.. With that said, let me share a vision that the Lord gave me of my own heart.

A vision that the Lord gave me for myself a while ago dealing with hurts and wounding of my heart was incredible to say the least . In this vision I saw a human heart, mine, being held in a pair of hands, The heart was wrapped in gauze and I could see that it had dried blood on it meaning that it had been there for a while. Then I saw another pair of hands begin to slowly unwrap the gauze and as the wrapping came off, I saw a heart that was very bruised, had multiple stab wounds, many scabs, and looked almost lifeless. Then I saw the hands that had been holding the heart cup the heart, one hand over the other, so that i could not see it. What I did see was a brilliant white light coming from between the fingers of the hands holding it. When the hands were again open, I saw a new healthy heart.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

That’s amazing, Tony!

The Lord used many visions and dreams – as well as speaking to me in my mind to bring healing. My heart has been nearly completely healed.

I love His tender care throughout the healing process while He mended what man has broken.

Thanks for sharing! 🙂
\o/

11 07 2013
StephenWhoElse

I can only imagine what you have gone through. Truly it is by God’s grace within you that you are able to forgive. I pray that our Jehova Rapha will heal your heart of the pain.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your prayer, Stephen.

I’ve been intimately acquainted with Jehova Rapha. He has healed so very many things. My youth wasn’t pretty. I attempted suicide once when I was 18, and again when I was 19. I just wanted out!

When that didn’t work, I turned to alcohol for several years. In my late twenties, God began His healing regime for me. That would take about 20 years. Today there are just a few areas that have yet to be ministered to. He has been faithful, so I wait on His timing, for it is perfect.

Today I can’t believe that I’m the same person!

\o/

11 07 2013
StephenWhoElse

That is wonderful. I read this in Darrell’s blog and would like to share it with you

http://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/god-will-calm-your-storm-rest-in-the-power-of-his-grace-bible-inspiration/

I hope Psalms 107:29 comforts you too!

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing it.

Today’s post sounded like many that I’ve read in WordPress, I realized too late.

Maybe tomorrow I need to write about the healing I’ve experienced over the last eight years. It’s such a lengthy story, though. I don’t know if anyone would actually be interested in reading it – even if I made it into a “series” of posts. There’s enough stuff behind me to easily fill a 500 page book! He has been so good to me!

I try not to revisit too much of it. Since Jesus began to heal, I’m so happy to leave behind the “victim” role and mentality. Today I understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Life to the full.” I have that – and so much peace. It’s wonderful!

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. You’re terrific! That means a great deal more to me than you’ll ever know. There haven’t been many “supportive” males in my life, if that gives you any idea. 😉

Have a very blessed day!

\o/

11 07 2013
StephenWhoElse

God is good! What else can I say!

And yes, do share your healing srories…someone out there needs to hear it!

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’ll keep that in mind, Stephen. Another friend told me, “when you write, you’re not funny; but when you teach you’re very funny. You need to write like you talk.” I followed her advice, and LBH has taken off like a rocket.

I’m astonished at what the Lord is doing with the messages He gives me every day.

I so appreciate your support. It’s nice to see your face pop up often here!

Blessings,
Tami
\o/

11 07 2013
melanie jean juneau

have you ever heard of the need to pray for esach soul of miscarriage? They press in for pray causing emtional and spiritual anxiety, depression. insomia, alcohlism even mental illness in the most sensitive or religous person.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

My mom had at least 15 miscarriages. Today she’s bouncing them on her knee…reunited at last! 🙂

I know that about ten years before she moved to heaven she named them all – she knew the sex of most of them.

That was tough on her. My second brother lived only three days – her uterus ruptured while she was in the hospital with a kidney infection. She was only in her 7th month. Technology had not advanced like today so they had no way to sustain his tiny frame.

I’m happy to have her safely tucked away with Jesus!

\o/

11 07 2013
melanie jean juneau

good to know

11 07 2013
dianarasmussen

Very powerful post Tami, God bless you beautiful.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

If it speaks to anyone at all, it will be worth it. 🙂

\o/

11 07 2013
Kari Anne Dorstad

You are so blessed to have the Lord to give you wisdom about this. My heart breaks for the so many who stay confused over the insanity they were plagued with by adults. Thanks for sharing!

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Mine too. How do people get through their traumas without Jesus?

\o/

11 07 2013
annabachinsky

It’s so sad that a feud between two friends and a girl would get to a level that would turn a father against his own daughter to such a point that he never treats her like a daddy should 😦 I’m so sorry that you had to go through this kind of pain at such a young age Tami. Nobody should, especially not an innocent little child who wants nothing more than to be treasured and loved by her father.

Thank God that no matter how our earthly father may be He is our Almighty Heavenly father who has loved us from the beginning of time.

May He continue to comfort you and walk with you through these issues from the past that are so hurtful to remember. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father who patiently loved me, and inched closer bit by bit as I would allow Him to. Now I love Him dearly! 🙂

\o/

11 07 2013
rosesnearrunningwaters

Wow. I have great respect for you sharing this…I know it must be difficult to re-live those moments as you write them. Thankfully we have the most wonderful Father in heaven and you know He has more love for you than we can even know 🙂 God Bless

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

People either love or hate The Shack. For me, it was the method God used to “sneak” into my mind and begin His transforming work. If “God” had been a white male, I’d never have let Him speak to me. I had no use for another “father,” thank you very much!

Through the unique portrayal of Himself, God renewed my mind when it came to how I saw Him. I’m very thankful to Paul Young for swimming upstream and tolerating so much condemnation when he published the book.

\o/

11 07 2013
robbyefaye

Tami, how amazing, this holds true for me, too.
My parents wanted a boy so much they named me Robbie after my Dad (Robert) – then later named my baby brother Robert!
My Dad shaved all my hair off when I was 2 because he was FURIOUS with my mother and then dressed me, deliberately, in jeans.
I was physically and verbally abused my whole life (that’s just the tip of the iceberg).
The Shack, though most of my friends reviled it, helped me, too.
Thanks for your beautiful posts both yesterday and today-I know it must have been horrendously hard to experience your life and to relive it here for all the world to see.
Just know in doing so you’ve touched MANY, MANY people and God will richly bless you!
(Sorry about the almost journal!)
God’s Blessings!

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

LOVE the ‘almost journal’!

I’m sorry for your history. It’s hard to really trust that the Lord is going to set this all right sometimes, isn’t it? Forgiving has been the greatest struggle of my life.

Bit by bit those shackles are dropping away, though. There’s light and beauty beyond…peace – something I never knew before I sent that letter. I haven’t heard a word from him since. 🙂

\o/

11 07 2013
cazehner

I have no words. Only a deep respect for you and a grateful heart to our loving Heavenly Father. After the tidal waves of grief today may you find freedom and joy. I am praying for you.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you very much. I truly appreciate it. Thankfully, I believe this is the last time this memory will hurt so much. That’s usually how Jesus rolls. He brings it up, it hurts, He speaks truth to that wound, and Woohoo! Healing follows!

\o/

11 07 2013
blmaluso

Thank you so much for posting some of your story…you know you will touch many hearts with your honest sharing:-)

I can feel your pain as I read about your life… from being a child up until now. I am so sorry you did not receive the love you longed for in a father, and should have had. I will add you to my prayer list, and keep you in my heart.

May God bless you and fill your heart with the love of the Holy Spirit, as you continue on your walk!

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you so much. The pain of this incident is washing over me like a series of tidal waves today, leaving me an emotional wreck. Your prayers are very much appreciated.

\o/

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