I felt tormented by my own conflicting emotions; I loved my dad and hated him all at the same time. Because of this, I couldn't understand God's love.
Editor’s Note: Names have been changed for anonymity
I grew up overseas and had a happy and carefree childhood. My family was very close but all that changed when I was eight. My mum wanted to send me and my younger sister to Singapore for a better education. My dad didn’t agree and they had heated arguments over this. In the end, my mum had her way.
In 2005, I came to Singapore with my younger sister. I was just ten years old. After handing us over to a guardian at Changi Airport, my mum disappeared. We were terrified being in a foreign land alone. As the elder sister, I was forced to be independent as our first guardian couldn’t be bothered about us. After two years, my mum finally placed us with a different guardian.
That’s when we started attending Impact Life Church. This church and my Life Group became my second family! My Life Group leader, David*, treated my sister and I like his own daughters. For the first time, I experienced God’s love. I knew I wasn’t alone anymore.
But things started to go downhill back home.
My dad could not get over being separated from his daughters. Over time, my parents’ marriage crumbled. In 2007, my sister and I were back home for a month. We found out that my dad was chatting up different ladies on the phone, even when he was at home. I was furious, hurt, and extremely disappointed. I hated my dad. He betrayed the family and I wanted my mum to divorce him. Over time, the anger turned into guilt, and I started blaming myself for not loving him enough and causing him to be lonely.
This went on for years and my dad had multiple affairs.
I felt tormented by my own conflicting emotions; I loved my dad and hated him all at the same time. Because of this, I could not understand God’s love. I thought that God, like my dad, will betray and forsake me one day.
5 years ago, my mum told me that my dad was no longer coming home. I suspected that he was with the mistress. After so many years, I finally decided to confront him directly. I texted him to demand an explanation for his actions. But my dad simply said, "It's between your mum and me, and none of your business." He had no shame nor remorse; I hated him even more.
I decided that my dad was simply not worth my forgiveness.
I allowed my heart to harden. I rationalised that I did not have to see him often anyway. I stopped praying and seeking God for change in my family. I thought to myself, "Maybe time will heal." But of course, time does not heal. For years, I saw no hope for my family.
The breaking point came when my dad decided to bring his mistress home. My dad just went through a minor surgery and I was back home with him during my school break. Instead of resting, he decided to bring his mistress over. I couldn’t believe my eyes! How dare he do that when he knew that I was home! All sorts of thoughts started running through my mind. While I was so angry to the point that I wanted to slap them, I was also very fearful and hurt. I wanted to run away from the situation.
In that moment of confusion, the Holy Spirit told me clearly that I wasn’t alone.
I didn’t have to face this by myself. I realized that God had never forsaken me! I felt a surge of strength and confidence that I knew must have come from God. I decided that I had enough of running away from my problems.
I stepped out of my room and asked the lady to leave. To my surprise, I was calm and composed through the entire confrontation. That day, I realized that God can give me supernatural peace, even in the most difficult situations.
However, from that day on, I was so angry I stopped talking to my dad altogether. But God had a better plan in mind. The very first service that Pastor Daniel preached when I came back to Singapore was about forgiveness! As if forgiving is not enough, the next two sermons in the following weeks were about accepting and serving the person I hate!
I refused to let go of my hurt at first.
It felt as if I was letting my father off the hook too easily despite owing me too much. But I knew the Holy Spirit was knocking on my hardened heart. I had to forgive. I went home that day and started on it right away.
I followed the 3 steps that Pastor Daniel shared: 1) to identify who I was angry with; 2) to determine what I was owed; and 3) to cancel the debt.
It was painful as God brought to remembrance the many times my dad caused hurt and disappointment. But I pressed on and all the pent up frustration started to flow out from me. It was replaced by this unexplainable love and peace. God was starting to heal my broken heart! But God didn’t stop there.
God taught me to see my dad differently.
My dad visited Singapore last year. In the few days that I spent with my dad, I started to notice all the white hair and wrinkles. It struck me that hey, my dad is really just a lost soul without God. He is lonely and sinful, just like anyone of us. God led me into a journey of understanding my dad. But God softened my heart to view my dad the way He does, with love and compassion. God showed me His immense love for my dad despite his sin and brokenness.
This journey hasn’t been easy and the affair is still ongoing. There are times I still get angry. But in these times, I learnt to count on God for strength and comfort.
Psalms 34:18 says: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Even though my earthly father is not perfect, my heavenly Father is here for me, and He will never betray nor forsake me.