Monday, June 22, 2009

Straight from the Heart

Reprint from an article I shared in Focus on the Family Magazine, when I was 17.

"Dad, things aren't right with me."

I don't know how I got into my dad's office. I only know his door was open and somehow I found myself sitting across the desk from him.

I wasn't sure how the words would come. I had been awake all night, tossing and turning, trying to figure out how in the world I was going to explain to my parents the thoughts that were running through my brain.

A hot tear rolled down my cheek.

"What's wrong?" my dad spoke gently.

"I don't want to blame you or mom. I don't want to share with you the pain I'm feeling because I know you'll blame yourselves. But I can't hold it inside anymore."

Now I had an audience with my dad. He was with me. He was listening. I almost chickened out. I almost said, "Never mind. It's just one of those teenage emotional things. I'll get over it." But something wouldn't let me.

I spent the next forty-five minutes explaining to my father how exhausted I was. I was tired of teaching Sunday school. I was sick of playing the piano for service. I didn't like being at the church every weeknight. Most of all, I was tired of seeing how careworn my parents were. I knew dad was putting in 40 hours of work before Thursday even arrived. I knew how exhausted he was physically and emotionally.

By the worn expression on his face, I knew my dad was in no shape to hear how exhausted I was. But something compelled me to stay in my seat and talk.

It's been a long time since my father was a teenager (no offense, Dad). The things that I shared with my father that day in his office were not only related to the stresses of ministry, but pressures of the teenage life.

"I've lost a lot of friends this year. I miss them, and I feel like there's a hole in my life that can never be filled. This whole guy/girl thing just confuses me. I'm so tired of putting myself into relationships and being hurt. Sometimes you and mom are busy with church stuff and we don't see a lot of each other. It hurts a lot when we don't talk."

Tears began to flow from my eyes. "If God is so kind and loving, why do I feel this way?"


My dad listened to everything I had to say. By listening he showed me that he cared about me and that my health and sanity mattered more to him than anything else.

The phone rang. There were knocks on the door. But Dad stayed right there -- listening.

Somehow, Dad discerned that I didn't need a sermon. I hadn't come to learn how to solve my problems. He didn't tell me that I was not spiritual. He didn't give me 5 steps to reversing Pastor's Kid Burnout. It's funny that when I think about it, I don't remember much of what Dad said that day. Mostly I just remember that he took me into his loving arms.

My father held his sixteen-year-old daughter. What a sight we must have been! Pastor, sprawled back in his desk chair with his daughter in his lap, tears staining his white starched shirt. The tears that stained his shirt were not only from my eyes. My father cried that day. He still did not speak. In seeing his tears, I knew that his heart was broken for his child.

Perhaps he remembered the trials of his teenage years. Maybe he felt how tired I was. I don't understand it completely but I know my father felt as much pain as I did.


I wish I could say that the conversation in Dad's office solved all of my teenage problems.

It didn't. I still got burnt out in my service to the Lord. I still made decisions that I've grown to regret.

But a new vision was given to me that day. I saw a vision of my Heavenly Father, always ready, always willing to hear me and hold me and feel every bit of my pain.

I saw that He is never too busy to listen, even to the smallest detail and concern of my heart. As His child, nothing could ever change the way He feels about me. Not even my pain, worry, or fear.

Over the last several years I've learned to be honest with my parents. I've also learned that there are great rewards to being honest. God never intended for us to hold everything inside.

Just recently, my father held me in his arms for what I believed might be the very last time. My family had just learned that Dad needed to have an extensive and risky operation performed on his heart.

As I clung tightly to my father, not knowing quite how to say "goodbye," I remembered the day in his office when he gave me the time to share my heart with him. Looking into his eyes, I knew we would cherish forever the times we had spent together.

God has blessed me with 8 more years with my dad. I thank Him for His mercy and grace through our relationship.


AnnieBlogs said...

Beautiful article.

BJ Hamrick said...

Thanks, Annie! :)

Deb said...

Loved this. Simply beautiful.


Alyssa said...

Beautiful, touching writing. Makes me long for my dad.

Amy via Facebook said...

your writing and message is incredible. THanks for sharing!

Barbara via Facebook said...

...this should only be read with a tissue in hand. Thanks for sharing!

Carol via Facebook said...

So beautiful, Rebekah. I enjoyed!

Whitney via Facebook said...

this was beautiful bj. what a beautiful picture of the Lord's love for us... and our parent's too. :]

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. Not everyone has such wonderful memories of their father, but this is a warm and sensitive story that reinforces the importance of listening and loving. "As you love so shall you be loved."

Carol Garvin

BJ Hamrick said...

Deb - Thank you so much for your constant encouragement. :)

Alyssa - Thanks girl. <3 Hugs...

Amy - Thank you so much!

Barbara - My brother says my first book will have a deal with Kleenex where you open the book and there's a box of tissues in the front. I'm not sure if it was a compliment or not...

Carol - Thank you for taking the time to read and tell me... I appreciate it more than you know.

Whitney - Thanks girl! :)

The OTHER Carol - Thanks so much for your sweet comments! :)

Life Savior said...

Wow, that is really great.


BJ Hamrick said...

Thanks, Kade! I enjoyed your blog too. It's cool that you guys are blogging as a group!

Amy said...

Sorry I'm just reading this now . . . but this is absolutely beautiful. I felt like I was right there in the room with you, and that was a precious, precious thing. XOXOXOXO

BJ Hamrick said...

Thanks, Amy! You made my day :). I hope your day is beautiful with husband back from trip! <3

Jourdan said...

Oh wow, this is absolutely amazing. I loved every minute of it! As every aspiring writer likes to hear, "I couldn't peel my eyes away!" Great job. It sounds like you have a very loving, affectionate father.

I know all about waiting--for the right guy, for high school to end, for my boobs to come in (two out of three ain't bad).

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