What if as long as you can remember, you were told repeatedly you were worthless, a whore, and that you would amount to nothing? What if your father cursed the day you were born? What if that abuse wasn’t "only" verbal abuse but also physical and mental? How do you reconcile this childhood with yourself? With God?
We all face difficulties in our lives. The source of the pain may be different, but we all have the same opportunity to choose our response. Diann Hockenberry shares her story filled with Godly wisdom that has continued to guide her to victorious living. Yes, she did go back to confront her father. The events in her life caused my jaw to drop as I listened to this woman of faith and courage, who continues to overcome and live a life of freedom. You, too, can experience this same freedom!
Use these notes as a guide as you watch this program.
I've been married for almost 25 years to a wonderful man, I followed him around the world for nearly 23 years in the Army, and have 4 beautiful children ranging in age from 23 to 9.
My relationship with my earthly daddy is interwoven with my relationship with my heavenly Father
My life verses flow from Psalm 139:13-16 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
God is very clear here, he intimately and intricately designed me according to His want, His will! He chose my parents...He knew what kind of people they were and yet He still allowed me to be brought into that home...
My parents are loved by God just as much as I am loved by God. He chose to bless them with me! I was a gift from God to be cherished and they chose to live selfishly, they rejected God. That was not God's will, but it was their choice!
God so loves us that He sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. It is a choice! That is the kind of God we serve! He wants us to love Him and out of that love for Him, choose to live out our faith in Him daily!
I chose differently than my parents! Accepting Christ in the 3rd grade, I heard that God loved me and people at church seemed so happy to see me. I believed HIM!
When the nightmares came and they did, I would get up in the middle of the night and read from the book of Psalms. It always brought peace and comfort to me and I could fall back to sleep.
Not that I understood as a child why God's Word had such power, but I do now! In 2 Tim 3:16 I am told that "all scripture is God-breathed" and in Heb 4:12-13 "For the Word of God is living and active" and in Romans 12:2 I am told "...to be transformed by the renewing of my mind..." I had to bring the truth of God's Word to my thoughts/my nightmares and God brought me rest.
As I grew up still in this environment, I became very good at 'playing' church through my JH/SH years, but at the age of 18 I became very serious with God. I prayed, read His Word daily, and lived the way He wanted me to…and I knew very clearly I had to forgive my dad. Again God reminded me that He loved my dad as much as He loved me. God was asking me to love the sinner! Because of my love for God, I chose to follow.
Forgiveness is a conscience choice every day and it was not an immediate heart change for me, for I was angry, broken, and bitter toward this man that should have been my protector. It took me daily confessing that I was willing to forgive, but I needed help. He did not deserve my forgiveness, but then again I did not deserve God's forgiveness either.
I prayed that I would see my dad as God saw him! My prayer began changing, although my heart still hurt and I didn't feel different, I began confessing that I forgive my dad despite my feelings. In time I had nothing but compassion for my dad and God had worked a miracle in my heart as I can say that I truly had forgiven him. I even began praying for my dad's salvation!
Fast forward to the age of 23, I am married, living in Germany and pregnant with my second child. Still praying "God don't take my daddy until he comes to know you!" Little did I know that God planned on using me! After a disturbing dream about my dad dying, I felt compelled to go home and confront my dad and tell him about God's love for him. I spent some time with a dear friend praying and God led me to Matthew 18:21 "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." I surely didn't understand why I had gotten that verse, because I had already forgiven my dad. God was sending me home to win my dad to Christ! I was terrified to confront him, but trusted God would make my trip fruitful…
I can not emphasize enough that I knew that I had followed God's leading to tell my dad I loved him, forgave him, and that most important God loved him! It did not turn out the way I expected. In fact my dad laughed at me and proceeded to tell me how it was my fault and that he tried to hurt me. Where was his remorse, his sorrow, his regret... In just a matter of a few minutes, my dad's lies had overpowered me and I felt all of the anger, hurt, and bitterness once again. WHOA! What was that verse God gave me before I went home, forgive him again, my dad had just taken my knees out from under me...
It did not take as long to forgive this time, but it still took everyday making a choice to love God enough to do whatever He asked of me. God had me present His love to my dad, but once again my dad rejected Him...I just happened to be the messenger!
Little did I know that a year later my forgiveness of my dad would be challenged again…
Notes from A Wonderful Life with Sharon Hinton Smith show. © 2005 - 2013
You are invited to print and keep these notes for personal encouragement. www.sharonhintonsmith.com