(The above image is part of the wonderful small group who supported me in what you are about to read.)
Ok, I know what those who know me are thinking right now…. “When DON’T you speak?” Yes, yes, I’m a talker. I love to engage in the spoken word….ok?!?!
However, standing in front of a crowd is a bit unnerving. I’ve done it so often, you would think it would be easy by now. Nope. My heart starts beating, my hands turn cold and sweaty, and I feel like I’m about to throw up.
Today was no different, except the setting was inviting, while the subject was extremely difficult.
The setting was a large group for a bible study I took this fall. Let me let that sink in a moment.
Many of you who have known me for a long time might be surprised to see I was in a bible study. I was. I am better for it. The past three months have brought me more peace than I’ve ever had, even in the midst of some very trying and stressful moments outside the bible study, in my “real life”.
When you read my very first blog, Finding Faith, you will see how much my mindset has changed. To now be in a powerful bible study, it seems a lifetime ago when I wrote that blog.
I have so much to say about my journey, but that is not the subject of this blog. The subject is that of sharing my recent story of my father.
Today, I stood before a room filled mostly with strangers, focused on the handful of women I’ve gotten to know, and I shared how dramatically my perspective on my father has changed.
You might have seen the blog I wrote a few weeks ago about my Daddy Issues. In case you didn’t, he was absent my entire life, with a couple of meetings sprinkled in. He fought to not pay $20 a week in child support. He didn’t know who I was when I called him. Many years ago, he started reaching out, wanting a relationship. I was ok. I had forgiven him. I had no interest in knowing him. I especially didn’t want him in my girls’ lives.
Then, the bible study happened. One day was focused on honoring our parents. I didn’t think I had to honor my father.
My small group did not pacify me. The women challenged me.
Frustrated, I wrote that blog. A stranger responded with advice to look at it as a positive to change my view of our relationship. Something was happening.
I was opening up to the idea of knowing him. It was scary. I actually prayed… a lot.
I re-read every email he had sent in the past decade or so. He sounded different to me this time. I prayed. The answer came. I needed to write him another email. I needed to write an email that was so honest and raw, he would have the full picture. I did. I was sure he’d be angry at me for saying what I did.
He responded in a way I could never have imagined. I received his response in a way I thought wasn’t possible. A peace I had no idea I was missing came over me.
And today, I stood in front of a room of people and shared all this. Well, not all, I was trying to keep it to 3 minutes or less. I shared most of it.
I am writing this now to all those wondering, should you speak? Should you tell your story? Should you talk to the person you’ve refused in the past? Should your voice be heard?
I have no idea what is next for me. I have no doubt, though, that I am armed with a peace I would not have found had I not spoken.
To the women today.
I am so grateful for all who where there to hear.