Just prior to this memory returning, I had prayed a very specific and sincere prayer to the Lord. I had prayed, “Father, if there is anything in my heart, hurts from the past, unforgiveness that I am unconsciously harboring against anyone, please reveal it to me that I might be set free.”
My spiritual walk had grown stale. I knew something had to change. This prayer, honored by the Lord, set in motion the necessary cleansing and rebuilding of my character that I needed (even though “I” didn’t really think I needed it (pride, self-reliance, etc.).
As I drove up to the house, my “Navy” thoughts began to manifest. I got out of my old but reliable truck, walked through the door, through the house and out the back door.
Fortunately for my wife (and my own preservation), we had no rocks to inspect or dog in the house to kiss! I began to inspect the fence.
Also, of great fortune to Ben’s well being, he was visiting a friend.
The fence had been painted fairly well, but it was far from perfect. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered how perfect it was. This was a time of reckoning for me, though I still had no recollection of my previous experience.
After inspecting the fence, I entered the house, ranting about what a worthless waste of human flesh my foster son was, and how I would teach him a lesson. I even ranted at Karen for not supervising him well enough.
Well, my wife was fairly meek and quiet, but with the boldness of the Lord she commanded “go to your room!” So I did. I had a small office off the dining area that was a private study.
Upon arriving in my “secret place,” I cried out to the Lord. In the quiet of that place, God brought back to me the memory of the white picket fence. My weeping, anger, fear, hurt, etc. was immense. I had not cried like that in a long time.
As I experienced the emotion connected with the memory that had been buried for so long, I cried out to God for His forgiveness for having held a root of bitterness in my heart.
I sought His cleansing through repentance. This was the beginning of my process of reconciliation with my father. Not only did I have to repent before the Lord, but I had to face my dad. Not to condemn and judge, but to forgive, seek forgiveness, place responsibility (his – thoughtless statements and mine – unforgiveness and rejection of him), and seek reconciliation. This talk, filled with high anxiety, was the start of a relationship that is far from perfect, but is at least moving in the right direction (more on this later).
The Schism (or, The Two Headed Monster)
The impact of my dad’s prophetic word was two-fold. I developed an internally diabolic way of thinking and acting. On one level, I determined in my heart I would prove to my dad that he was wrong. “How dare he,” and “I’ll show him,” were primary themes!
I became a compulsive over achiever with obsessions for success, and fears of failure and abandonment. I became a sports-aholic, achievement-aholic, even a church-religious-aholic as I dove into one activity after another trying to win my dad’s approval. Unfortunately, since my dad had never achieved any sense of approval himself from his mother and father, he did not have it to give. He always tried to give what he had, but the pitcher of approval he tried to pour from was empty.
I never did receive his attention and approval, but I continued the chase. I did achieve a modicum of success. Yet, try as I might, I could never overcome my sense of inadequacy and worthlessness. My, how God was gracious in loving me during the paper chase for my Ph.D. I chased after education, success, even ministry, to satisfy the “hole in my soul.” My desire for success was only superseded by a genuine desire to be healed, whole, and complete in Him (conformed to the image of Christ), and my ability to sabotage my own success.
There were many times when I came close to success, but I would make a mistake, sin, or in some other way sabotage myself. Though I desperately wanted to please and disprove the “prophetic curse,” my inner self had secretly agreed with the message. In essence, I believed my dad”s report: “You’ll never amount to anything.”
In James 1:8 the writer states “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
In Jeremiah 17:10 it states, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
I believed the two-headed monster – the split thinking in mind and heart – completely (though unconsciously).
I was well aware of the Lord’s promises to set me at liberty from sin and its results. The battle was already won on the cross, and had already been appropriated to me through the Holy Spirit by God’s wonderful grace. Yet, no matter how I tried, the core inside of me believed I would never amount to anything in the eyes of the one whose opinion mattered most – my dad. I desperately needed and ultimately received (and am still growing in) God’s deliverance and heart mending. This process is fully covered in the remainder of the book.
Until next time… blessings Dr. Stan