Mom and Dad
Most parents (including and especially mine) did the best they could considering their background, gifts and abilities. I am truly grateful for my parents, and would not trade them for any other. However…
A Simple Analysis
As with all symptoms, there is a much higher propensity of having the same problems occur in the present generation if they have been a part of previous generations. Even insurance companies are interested in your family history, and most physicians want to look back as far as your 3rd and 4th generation to determine what areas of preventative medicine to focus on.
People live what they observe. The traits my mom and dad learned were a composite of their families of origin. I brought my own identity difficulties, obsessions, compulsions, behavioral and effectual problems into my marriage (which my wife and children have graciously endured). Thank God for His grace and mercy for a loving and forgiving family.
The dynamics of my family created in me an unconscious compulsion to achieve and overcome, with a tremendous and insidious ability to sabotage my own growth in Christ. James was so right when he stated we are led away when enticed by our own lusts (desires).
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:14)
How often I cried out to God for deliverance and healing. For years I could not understand why I was so vulnerable to satanic attack in some areas, and so strong to overcome in others. My search through the scriptures has led me to a fuller, growing understanding of the causality and deliverance from the “sins of the father” (or previous generations).
This gives a basic picture of the natural. Every family tree is a little different. Every individual can suffer from different symptoms based upon their family of origin. Not everyone is going to be exactly the same. In many cases symptoms will skip generations.
Though the natural view may provide some of the information as to how symptoms or problems are passed down generationally, the view would not be complete without the spiritual/Biblical side. It is important to understand just how generational patterns occur, and exactly how to deal with them from a Biblical and psychological perspective.
However, first, an illustration would be helpful to demonstrate how the seed of the family tree continued, implanted deep in my heart, and which set in motion destructive consequences for my generation.
The White Picket Fence
It was a hot August morning, and my dad had asked me to paint our white picket fence. Just like most eight year olds do, I saw my dad as a hero. I would do anything to prove myself worthy of his affection; for him to be proud of me was my highest desire. I thought I could demonstrate my worth by painting the fence… just for him!
I vividly remember putting on my old clothes (which is somewhat redundant – since we were poor, all my clothes were old), gathered the paint and brush, and set out to transform our old picket fence into a beautiful showpiece. In truth, I got nearly as much paint on my clothes and the grass as on the fence (Eight year olds are not usually the most skilled at such things).
About halfway through the day, my mom brought me some finger sandwiches and Kool-aid (like she did for my dad). This seemed like an extra special touch for what was shaping up to be a most excellent day.
About 5:00 PM, I started cleaning the paint brushes and putting away the supplies in anticipation of my dad’s arrival home. After tidying up, I sat down on my front porch, like a little Buddha, waiting for dad’s arrival.
A few minutes later, my dad drove up, pulling his old but faithful car into the vacant lot next to our old house. After inspecting the rocks (a daily ritual, to make sure that new ones had not grown or been thrown at the house), he walked towards the house.
There I sat with positive expectations. He came through the front gate, walking past me without any acknowledgment (a fairly common routine). My heart beat a bit faster, knowing that after work my dad would typically enter the house, pat my mom on the head, kiss the dog, and change his clothes. Honest! How my mom could tolerate playing second fiddle to the dog, I’ll never know!
After changing, my dad came back outside, again without seeming to notice me, and began to inspect the fence. My heart really began to beat faster. At times, my dad could be quite angry, and I had hopes today would not be one of those days.
As my dad began to approach the front of the house, I heard him speaking to himself. He was mumbling loud enough for me to hear some comments that would impact the course of my life for many years to come. He declared, “If you’re going to do a man’s job, you need a man to do it. Stan, you’re never going to amount to (Expletives)!” POW!
At the very moment of his prophetic pronouncement, several things occurred in my heart. These prophetic utterances must be understood if we are to break the cycle of the iniquity of the fathers, and be equipped to bring about the restoration of the soul, the repairing of the breach (Isaiah 58: 12).
In the book I have given an illustration in pictorial form of what occurred in the millisecond of time while I sat on that porch so many years ago. Let me describe it here; keep your heart open, since this pattern is typical of so many of God’s wounded soldiers.
The word that my father spoke, and the look on his face, was instantaneously perceived through my ears, my eyes and my spirit as a statement of overwhelming danger. This was not the first time my dad had stated such things (we jokingly talk about it now as my dad’s ability to speak “Navy”). But this was the time it “stuck.”
Because this word was too painful for me to bear, too horrifying to face or respond to, I had to distort the message to make it tolerable. In essence, though my initial internal response was to strike back at my dad (a sure way to permanent annihilation for an eight year old, and totally forbidden), I knew that I could not. In addition I had always been told that “big boys don’t cry” so my responses were limited at best.
The only way I could defend myself from this painful word was to change or twist (iniquity) the truth of the message, giving it a different meaning. Unconsciously, I re-routed the message, telling myself “he had a bad day” and “he didn’t really mean it” and “I never liked painting anyway” and “it doesn’t matter,” etc.
I distorted the message, replacing the truth with a lie to survive. Further, I buried this memory out of consciousness. The result was a wounding of my soul that drove me compulsively towards a conflicting conclusion. Before discussing the results of this prophetic curse (puncture, pierce, malign), I must advance the story several years.
This memory was buried for a long, long time. As I mentioned earlier, at 12 I became a Christian, and fairly consistently applied myself to living the Christian life. Through a number of circumstances, unquestionably directed by the Lord, God revealed the stronghold (one of many that had to be torn down) that had brought me into bondage and kept me isolated from my natural father and my spiritual father.
Ben, who was 13 “going on 8” (one of several foster sons my wife, Karen, and I cared for in our home) had lived with us for about a year. I was working for a Christian-owned treatment center for troubled children as a counselor/director. One very hot August day, I asked him to paint the red wood fence in the back of our house.
As I drove to work that day, I began to become noticeably agitated. Though the day was quite uneventful, my agitation increased until “Navy” language began to manifest itself in my mind. Thoughts of Ben and the fence created images of revenge and retribution if he failed to meet my expectations. I could not understand why I was so agitated, though the Holy Spirit certainly knew. You see, just before this incident, I had made the mistake of asking the Lord for something I was not really ready to face… but more on this in the next blog.
Blessings until next time… Dr. Stan