By Stephanie Rochelle Redd
Several years ago, I seriously contemplated writing a book about having ‘daddy issues’ and how to overcome them. But Doreen Virtue beat me to it. Plus, in all honesty, I couldn’t write that book from a place of sincerity as my daddy issues remained firmly within my grasp. Since then, though, I have taken a considerable amount of time, conscious energy and continuous effort to loosen my grip and my gripes against my dad, namely, by learning to accept him and his – perceived – limitations as grounds for grooming me to love without limits.
Oh sure, it’s easy to love people when they fit within our ‘love-limits,’ i.e. our conditions of how love should appear. But loving those who smash our limited ideas of love into limitless pieces is where our real work lies and, moreover, testifies to what real love is: Unconditional.
Thank God for a God who loves us without conditions and can, therefore, teach us how to really love others–if we let Him. Although He is all-powerful, God will not force us beyond our limits to forgive. If we are committed to holding on to conditional love and grudges against those who fall outside of our conditions, then we cannot fully behold God’s unconditional love for us.
That’s not to say that we should force ourselves to suffer conditions that abuse our love. No. With God’s grace, we can bypass such abusive conditions – as well as our conditional love – by passing it all over to God for healing.
By passing over nearly 30 years of anger, bitterness and condemnation toward my earthly father to my heavenly Father, I am healing and I am free as a result–healing with the understanding that how people treat me is less about me and more a reflection of how they feel about themselves; free to receive God’s unadulterated and unconditional love, and pass that love on to others, including my dad. Just as important, me healing from my daddy issues frees me to replace that label with the mantle I secretly always wished I could wear: ‘Daddy’s Girl.’
You see, when I finally accepted my dad for all that he can and cannot give me, I was then able to accept God as my “Papa,” whose powerful love gives me what I need and more. Two years ago, Papa hand-delivered the following note to me – at Wal-Mart, of all places – as a testament to how He dotes on me. Now, I’m sharing His love note with you as a testament to how much He loves you too:
My Child,You may not know Me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2) I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:28-31) For you were made in My image. (Genesis 1:27) In Me you live and move and have your being; for you are My offspring (Acts 17:28) I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12) You were not a mistake; for all your ways are written in My book. (Psalm 139:15-16) I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) And I brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know Me. (John 6:41-44) I am not distant and angry, but I am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16) And it is My desire to lavish My love on you, simply, because you are My child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1) I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11) For I am the perfect Father. (Matthew 5:16) Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand. (James 1:17) For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33) My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18) And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40) For you are My treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5) I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul. (Jeremiah 32:41) And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3) If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Deuteronomy 4:29) Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13) I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:2-4) When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18) As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart. (Isaiah 40:11) One day I will wipe every tear from your eyes and take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4) I am your Father and I love you even as I love My Son, Jesus. (John 17:23) For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed. (John 17:26) He is the exact representation of My being. (Hebrews 1:3) And He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31) And to tell you that I am not counting your sins; Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:15-19) His death was the ultimate expression of My love for you. (1 John 4:19) I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 6:22) If you receive the gift of My Son Jesus, you receive Me. (1 John 2:23) And nothing will separate you from My love again. (Romans 8:38-39) Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:22-24) I have always been Father and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15) My question is: Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13) I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)
Love, Your Dad