Today, I am delighted to share the story of an incredible young lady whom I have known personally for her whole life. I have witnessed her journey and have watched with my own eyes as she has overcome the grave meant to destroy her! She is 17 years old, full of life and passion, and I know her story is one of dynamic breakthrough that will speak to a generation beset with doubts and fears about God, and with confusion and brokenness about their own identities. She has agreed to share one of the deepest pieces of the foundation of her story, and I pray it will shift something in your own heart to trust and believe God more in your broken places! Be blessed as you read!
“My name is Breanna, my heart is after my Father’s and this is my resurrection story…
Growing up, I had a very broken and distorted view of love, and what its place was in my life. The world tries to teach us about a love that’s meant to pick us up and save us, and it shows us the love that will never know how to satisfy our souls. As a child, one of the most beneficial things a parent can do is teach their child about love. What it is, where it comes from, and the fact that you’re supposed to love God and yourself before you can love anyone else. This was a fundamental piece that I was missing until I was 15 years old. I looked for love everywhere, and never found it because I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was looking for a feeling. I was placing my worth and my identity in the hands of others, and allowing myself to be crushed and let down, because there is no one on this earth that could give me what I was looking for.
But that’s not where my story ends.
One of the main sources I looked for love and validation in was my father. We had a relationship that is sort of difficult to explain. Looking back now, it’s hard to see what was truth and what was lies, what was reality and what was daydreams. I know that I looked to my dad for protection, approval, and affection. Now, because my dad was human (and had struggles like every other person on this planet does) he let me down. It wasn’t until I was separated from him that I realized the true impact he was leaving on my life.
God opened my eyes to show me that I had given my earthly father an idolatrous place in my heart and that I only allowed myself to view my Heavenly Father through the lens of my earthly father. Because of my interactions with my dad, I thought the following things about God:
- He was always focused on the things I did wrong
- I had to do everything in my power to please him
- It was best to stay away/stop communication if I’d done something wrong or something he’d disapprove of
- I didn’t deserve the things promised in His Word
To really sum it up, I had a works mentality when it came to my relationship with God, which means that I believed I had to somehow be good enough to earn His love. Because my dad was very critical, I learned to view God the same way. I hid from Him and never felt worthy to be in his presence. God showed me that the only way I could experience him in fullness is if I surrendered my father to him. All of my hopes and dreams for him, everything I had ever experienced and expected.
I’ve been praying for my dad to have a soft heart of compassion since I was 5 years old. God has answered this prayer in many ways, but it never lined up with what I wanted to see. God has given me promises that I lost the energy and courage to believe in. Somewhere along the line, I allowed what I was seeing, and what was happening around me, to define who God is and what he was doing. If my dad went back to jail, sounded like he wasn’t doing well in a letter, refused to call back, or didn’t meet a certain standard, I felt defeated and hopeless. I couldn’t see outside of the fact that God hadn’t met my need yet. It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of a father as I knew him that I was able to understand who God is and what He wants to do in my life.
Giving up or surrendering my dad is one of the hardest things I’ve done. Accepting that things might not be the way my heart longs for them to be has been painful, at best. As a child, who wants nothing more but to come home to her Father’s loving embrace, it has been very difficult to acknowledge that I may very well not get to have that for a long time. But in the process of bearing this daily pain, I’ve learned that, instead of thinking of my dad and being overcome by defeat, I can look to God and say, ‘Things don’t feel alright, but You are in control, so I can rest knowing that they are.’
As I do this daily, God is restoring my hope and faith in Him. He is resurrecting my image of a Father, and therefore the image I have of myself as a daughter. He’s showing me that a Father is someone I can depend on, regardless of the circumstances. He’s showing me that when He says He’s going to do something, it is already done. He’s showing me that loving myself is something that comes from the love He has for me. He’s showing me that even though I fail, time and time again, my worth is not based off my works, what I do. He’s showing me that my freedom is found in the path of obedience and forgiveness. Most importantly, My Father is showing me that my life is not defined by my feelings, and that when the enemy is trying to use something to knock me down, all it does it push me closer to, not further from, my Protector.
Through this journey I was encouraged by a couple of Scriptures:
Psalm 27: 10-14
“Though my father and mother forsake me, The Lord will receive me. Teach me Your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors… I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declared the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
My story isn’t finished yet. Although my prayers haven’t been answered yet, God said He was going to move in my life, and I will wait for that to come true. My dad is far, but he’s never too far gone. God’s relentless love will never stop pursuing him, and I can rest confidently in that! My hopes in sharing this piece of my life is that you would take a step back and know that although it may not feel like it, God is surely at work in your life, and He is fighting for you! Waiting on God can be so difficult, but it’s so worth it. If you’re feeling far from God today, I encourage you to ask Him where He is in your life and what He’s doing. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by your circumstances! God doesn’t allow something to touch our lives unless He’s using it for our benefit, so bring Him your questions because He’s not afraid of them!”