Updated: Jul 27, 2019
I will be honest and admit that the one session I was least interested in at the Woman Evolve Conference is the one that I learned from the most. I looked at the program and noticed the session that was set up to be a conversation between Pastor Sarah and her dad. I kept staring at the title— “Daddy Issues.” With my preconceived notion of what a “daddy issue” was, I felt there was no need to hear a girl who has had her father in her life since day one talk to a dad who had always been present. I couldn’t fathom the purpose or power in it. This is mainly because I was under the impression that daddy issues were a direct correlation of the impact of an absent father and the woman’s inability to truly overcome the hurt. As a woman whose father was not always active in her life, I understood the pain it could cause and the void that it could create. However, I guess I ignorantly placed the “daddy issue” pain on the woman’s powerlessness in being able to overcome. I was unconsciously looking at things from my “strong” point of view.
Before we jumped into the session with Bishop TD Jakes and Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts, I love that Pastor Sarah opened the session debunking the myth that girls/women whose father was not involved are the only ones who can have daddy issues. Sarah admitted to having daddy issues herself, with one example being her teen pregnancy making her feel like she had lost her title as “daddy’s little girl” and how this affected her. Surprisingly, just her opening statement gave me a degree of freedom. This is simply because I sometimes felt the weight of being a statistic or automatically being perceived as damaged because I did not grow up in a “traditional way”—mother and father both involved in my life. Her words, in an uncharacteristic way, gave me permission to own my truth even more about the true journey with my biological father without feeling that the world would perceive it as coming from a currently wounded place.
Womanevolve.com stated that the purpose of the session was to minister on what was for some us our very first heartbreak. With her describing it this way, I made the essential connection that a heartbreak from a dad can fundamentally be registered as a heartbreak from a man. So, this relationship could possibly lay the foundation for the relationship with the man that God has for you. Sarah went on, after her opening statement, describing the different relationships of daddy-daughter. The one she mentioned that swerved into my lane was “Some of us have great relationships with our fathers now but maybe haven’t always.” A year or so ago, my biological father asked for forgiveness for his absence and this year was the first year that I have genuinely been able to celebrate Father’s Day. Before now, Father's Day was always the day that I sat aside to acknowledge other great fathers that I knew connected to me. However, 2019 was the first time in 33 years I said “Happy Father’s Day Dad” to my biological father. With me having such strong, hard feelings about absent fathers and being in total disagreement with a father being inactive, I was surprised that I was able to allow myself to go to such a compassionate place and authentically work on forming a bond with my dad.
See the thing is, my father always had an open invitation to be a part of my life. He just chose not to be 100% present. On the rare occasions I did make contact with him, the conversations were cold and felt forced. By the time I hit adolescence, I accepted the fact that we would not have a relationship and I had no interest in trying to revive it. I made an intentional choice not to harbor ill feelings in the process though. I never wished anything bad on him or held a grudge. While my dad was absent, I was still focusing on being the woman that God called me to be and strengthening my core. Had he attempted to connect with the Tasha who was still dealing with broken pieces of herself from past hurts and past relationships, I am not sure I would have been as open. However, a part of the strengthening of my core was me learning to carry out the principles of Christ to truly forgive and extend grace. Moreover, my own struggles made me realize that there are no perfect people and just like I want to be a recipient of God’s grace, I offered the same to my dad. So I give much credit to my spiritual maturity that I was able to approach the situation with love when we did reconnect. Besides, at such a time where I am operating in purpose and seeking God for so much, it could not have been a better time for us to reconcile and for me to truly be sure that part of me is healed and whole.
Taking this approach allowed me to operate in forgiveness when faced with the situation 30 plus years later. When he and I initially started to form a relationship, I realized that in order for me to let my guard down, I needed to have a true heart to heart with my father. It was not to stay stuck in the past but to make peace for the future. I'll admit that at first I was dragging my feet and wasn’t immediately ready to have the conversation. However, when he mentioned wanting a bond with my children I knew it had to be done sooner rather than later. My father and I had the conversation and he admitted that he ultimately chose not to be present because of his own selfish reasons and dealing with his own issues. It finally sunk in that his absence had nothing to do with me. Similarly, Bishop TD Jakes mentioned the same in the "Daddy Issues" session in regards to fathers being human and having their own issues and correlated this with why it was so important to forgive fathers in general.
This past year or so I have been doing a deep dive into every area of myself and claiming TOTAL VICTORY over EVERYTHING. The “Daddy Issues” session affirmed my decision to reconcile with my father despite his absence. Moreover, the “Daddy Issues” session confirmed my healing, my spiritual maturity, and my freedom! After all, I do believe that daddy issues can become marital issues if left unattended. Pastor Sarah admitted herself that her daddy issues showed up later in her marriage. I am glad I processed my feelings in a healthy way, talked them out with my daddy, and we were able to move forward!
So whether your father was absent completely, only present during the highlight reels, there but working so much to provide that you barely have a bond with him, or you have created your own wedge between you and your father due to your or his actions, I encourage you to not let the pain fester in such a way that it alters who you are. In the words of Bishop Jakes, “Don’t take your nurturing nature and nurture bad feelings, situations, and thoughts. The enemy then is able to use your God given instincts against you.”