Today marks one year. 365 days. The accomplishment of something I had always dreamt of, attempted numerous times, but never imagined possible. In today’s society we throw around the phrase “life changing,” yet I believe few things truly are. 365 days ago I decided to take a life changing step that, without a doubt, has been the best decision of my life.
A year ago I was broken. I was overweight, unemployed and trapped in a cycle of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse from my father. After a drunken night (which you can read more about HERE) and thanks in part to the brutal honestly of several friends I consider brothers, I mailed a letter confronting my father on the sexual abuse that took place during my childhood as well the verbal and emotional abuse that continued into my adulthood. For the first time I am making part of that letter public. My hope and prayer in doing so is that others who are trapped in an abusive relationship, either sexual, emotional or physical, would find the strength and courage to end the abuse and realize their self worth.
When you chose to walk out on mom, Josh and I 23 years ago, I wish you had left completely. Instead from a distance you’ve remained, not as the father you should have been, but instead as a liar, mocker, abuser and one that time and time again has worked to destroy my self-image and self-worth. Now at 27 years old I can’t find a single good thing has come from our relationship. Instead my heart is full of lies, self-hate and anger because of the excuses, broken promises and abuse you have put me though for years.
The lies happened routinely as you said, “I’ll be there. I promise.” Missed little league games. Missed chorus performances and school plays. Award ceremonies. These were all times that I wanted approval from you. I wanted to see you smile in admiration and tell me “good job.” Instead every time you had an “excuse” for not being there. Excuses don’t release you from being a father. Excuses don’t change how it felt for me to not have my dad there rooting for me and encouraging me to be the best.
The abuse you put me though is what has destroyed me the most. No matter what I have done I have never been good enough for you. I feel as if I am striving for something that can’t be obtained. My childhood was filled with remarks about my weight. Continually you’ve told me time and time again that I am fat and overweight. Not once have you taken the time to invest in me and help me fight to change my weight. You’ve criticized my creative/artistic and caring side to the point you’ve said I must be gay. I remember in High School you saying only a fag could care so much about art and chorus. The emotional and psychological abuse you’ve put me though has left me with a heart full of lies and a broken and distorted view of myself.
For years I have endured under your continuous abuse and despite the lies you’ve fed me. I have tried to pursue a relationship with you. I’ve held on to a hope that maybe you might respond to my pursuit. Instead, I have been met with profanity, yelling, broken promises, lies and continual mutilation of my self-worth. After much prayer and seeking wise counsel, I’ve decided that things must change in our relationship. It’s time for me to take control and put and end to this cycle of abuse. Effective immediately I am ending contact with you.
One verse that has continually encouraged me is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
This verse has continually served as a reminder of my self-worth. “You were bought with a price.” I have worth; enough worth that God would send His Son to die for me. Regardless of your situation, regardless of the promises that they’ll change or stop the abuse, any individual who abuses another isn’t worthy of respect. Simply put, get out. You’re worth so much more.
Today I am a completely different person. I believe that by putting an end to the negative voice of my earthly father and ending a longstanding cycle of abuse, space and freedom have been created for God, my heavenly Farther, to speak clearly and do work. He’s surrounded me with several Godly men who over the past year have affirmed my masculinity and worked to restore what was once destroyed. A huge thank you to Mark Nash, Josh Cox, Travis Wright, and Traylor Disbrow for loving me and continually pushing me to Jesus through this season.
One year. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us…” (Ephesians 3:20)