Every girl dreams about her wedding day at some point in time, myself included. When it has crossed my mind lately though, it hasn’t been simply to dream. When it has crossed my mind it has been with the intentions of actually having a wedding. There are two things involved in a wedding that really hit my heart because in my mind, I can’t participate in them. The first thing is having your dad walk you down the isle. The second is the father daughter dance.
You see, my dad hasn’t been in the picture until recently and even when he has, it’s been him struggling with alcoholism. Our “relationship” Started about a year ago and it always involved him calling me under the influence once a month and about every six months he would actually be sober. The addiction is what kept him away in the first place but about 3 months ago he checked himself into a rehab again and he seems to be doing better. It’s hard for me because this isn’t his first time in a rehab and I feel like every time I have hope that my dad will actually get better it ends up leaving me hurt because he goes back to the life he knows… His addiction. Because of his addiction, he hasn’t raised me. I actually don’t really know him. The person who has been the strongest influence to me is my grandmother. SHE is the one who stepped in. After moving out of my mothers abusive home at 17 it was my grandma who stepped in and became a parent. It was my grandma who prayed for me for years while I was trapped in my mothers abusive home. It was my grandma who saw my pain and hurt when I moved out and SHE was the one who led me to the one who can heal me… She helped me find Jesus and for years she has been an amazing christian example in my life. It’s because of those things that I naturally feel like SHE should be the one walking me down the isle when I marry the man that God has chosen for me but according to her it’s not…
About a month ago my grandma and I were driving back from visiting my dad in the rehab. It’s an 8 hour drive so that leaves plenty of time for conversations. I honestly really didn’t want to go because as I stated before, I really don’t know my dad and what I did know and experiance with him wasnt success when it came to rehab. I went anyways because my grandma felt it would be a good thing to do. As we were driving back I told my grandma that I wanted her to walk me down the isle. To my surprise my grandma said she didn’t feel comfortable with that. She had two reasons for that:
1.) My father would be attending the wedding and it would really hurt him if someone else did it
2.) She doesn’t like being the center of attention
This upset me a lot because I did not feel like my dad had earned that right. I had 2 options at this point:
1.) I could not invite my dad to the wedding but that would really hurt him.
2.) I could walk myself down the isle. alone….
Then the first dance came up. Following the first dance is the father daughter dance. If my dad were there, he would want to dance with me. Again, I felt like he hadn’t earned that right therefor, I wouldn’t dance with him. this left me with only one option…
1.) Not have a first dance or a dance at all to avoid confrentation and drama…
My first thought to this was, WHAT KIND OF CRAP IS THIS??? My special day is being compromised because of someone who I don’t really know and I definitely don’t have a healthy relationship with. To me this was completly unfair… My grandma said this “I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want him to participate in this because at least he is actually trying. It would mean a lot for you both.”
Although my grandma and I ended the trip on a good note this conversation really hit me. I was sad. As an attempt to be a good influence (and per my grandmas wishes) I kept contact with my dad via facebook. My dad is not very Godly to say the least. I don’t think he knows what a relationship with The Lord is. In all of the conversations I have had with my dad they didn’t include him saying anything about God. If God was talked about by me, he would listen but then say something to completly ruin the converstation. One night out of nowhere my dad sent me this message:
“I love you very much Chelsea Bell. I am more proud of you than I have ever been and your brother to. Chelsea, tell your man that I will keep you all in my prayers. Him to. Text or call me whenever. I will be here.”
Those words blew me away. MY DAD said he would pray for me! The man who never took my relationship with Christ seriously just told me that he would pray for me. It was then that God started working on my heart. God gave me this analogy:
Taking away my dad’s ability to walk me down the isle and dance with me on my wedding day is like God saying to me: You have sinned yesterday or some other day and because of that I am punishing you and taking something away. God doesn’t look at my past. He sees my heart. He knows that I screwed up but once I ask forgivness, all of my sin is gone with no strings attached. I have no punishment later on and he won’t hold that over my head. God laid a conversation that Jesus had with Peter on my heart,
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
As christians, we are supposed to forgive just like Christ forgave us so who am I to take away something that would mean so much to my dad just because I have resentment and other feelings that aren’t Christlike in my heart. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS I AM NOT.
My dad is not perfect and yes he screwed up big time. He was never there but that doensn’t mean he can’t change. Our relationship can grow, just like my relationship with christ can grow but in order for it to grow I have to give him the opportunity to participate in growth. That means taking him for who he is just as Christ does for me. That means seeing the good in him and giving him chances. That means letting him in and actually building a relationship. My relationship with Christ begins to grow through time and God showed me that if I actually allow it, my not-so-good relationship with my dad has a potential to grow as well. Through that message I saw my dad was trying. Through God’s lesson, I finally understood the words my grandma spoke.
The most wonderful memories are made when you forgive someone as christ forgave you. Forgivness can take the place of resentment and pain but only through Christ’s never ending favor.
I can understand both sides of this for you and I am excited that Grandma’s wise words were also dictated by God. Ultimately you have to pray about this yourself and come to a conclusion that suits you. As far as your father goes I know it is hard to trust when you keep getting disappointed. Continue to pray for him, offer to pray wit him, tell him you are proud of him for being sober for a day, two days a week a month, remind him that his struggle is being cared for by God and that it makes you happy. It is never too late to become “family” and grow close. It just takes a LOT of work with the Lord leading the way!
Thank you for your sweet words. It means so much.
Hi great reading your poost