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Overcoming Father Wounds | Kia Stephens

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2023 1:00 am

Overcoming Father Wounds | Kia Stephens

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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October 7, 2023 1:00 am

If you’ve been hurt, neglected, rejected or abandoned by your father, don’t miss this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Kia Stevens says if you feel like every aspect of your life is affected by that broken trust, there is hope. Your father wounds don’t have to have the last word. Hear this encouraging conversation on Building Relationships with Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: Overcoming Father Wounds: Exchanging Your Pain for God’s Perfect Love

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When you begin to initiate a relationship with your father, you cannot make them into the father that you want them to be.

You accept them as they are, and you cannot come to them with a bucket full of needs. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Do you have a father wound in your life?

Was your dad distant, absent, or abusive? Author and speaker Kia Stevens wants to help women heal who have those kinds of father wounds. You'll hear her story today, and if you go to our website you'll find more ways to strengthen your relationships, go to buildingrelationships.us. Our featured resource there is a book titled Overcoming Father Wounds, Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Gary, you have counseled a lot of couples through the years. Have you seen the effects of father wounds in the women you've talked with? Absolutely, Chris, and not only the women, but also in the men. You know, the role of a father in the home is so powerful, so important, and it's either a negative influence or a positive influence. And when there is a negative influence, and the wounds are there, the wounds are deep, and many times the wounds continue through the years. So our topic today is, in my vision, is a really important topic, and so I hope our listeners will stay with us because what we're going to talk about today will help you and help you help others who may be suffering from father wounds.

Well, and Kia is so vulnerable. Let's meet her. Kia Stevens, she's the founder of Entrusted Women, which she created to equip Christian women communicators of color, a contributing writer for IBelieve.com, Beloved Women, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Crosswalk. She speaks around the country, and her featured resource is that book Overcoming Father Wounds, Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love.

Find out more at buildingrelationships.us. Well, Kia, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you.

It's so great to be here with you and Chris. Tell us why you decided to tackle this really difficult topic. Well, honestly, I don't think I had much of a choice. You know, sometimes when God wants us to do something, I liken it to harassment. I felt like God kind of put this burden on my heart when I was in high school. I graduated in 1997, and that's when I really remember a strong impression in my heart that God wanted me to write a book. I didn't have the language at that time. I didn't have the words, but I believe God was calling me to write and speak.

At that time, Dr. Chapman and I started writing a book. It was called The Void because I knew something was missing. I didn't know what it was, but I had detected that something was wrong. There was a disconnect between the person, the public person that I was, and then my private behaviors. I struggled really in relationship with the opposite sex. I was keenly aware that something was not right.

I believe that God put that initial inclination on the inside of me. I had no idea that that would be a 26-year-long journey that he would take me on from the initial impression in my heart to when that book was actually published in 2023. But it wasn't my idea. Women don't set out to say, I'm going to write a book about father wounds. I'm going to write a book about pain. I'm going to put all of my mistakes and my hangups and my failures and my flaws on display for the entire world to read about.

That's not really the type of book that we set out to write. I know that it was God that put it on the inside of me to do. Yeah.

Well, I'm glad you followed through with what God put on your heart to do. Explain what a father wound is and how do you define that term? Sure. A father wound is synonymous with father absenteeism. When it comes to the absence of a father, that can occur in the life of a woman and a man in a myriad of ways.

A father could be absent by way of divorce, abandonment, abuse, incarceration, drug addiction, or alcoholism as it was in my case, and all of the byproducts that came with that could be a premature death or a physically present father, but emotionally absent. Those are just some examples. Any one of those, certainly not limited to the ones that I mentioned, have the potential to leave a wound in the soul of a woman and a man and a man for that matter. Yeah. Talk about your own situation. When did you realize that you had a father wound?

Sure. I had an experience when I was in college, my freshman year of college. I was in the dorm room of a friend and I remember her mentioning that she had built a bookshelf with her dad.

That was essentially a bandage being ripped off of this wound for me. In all the interviews that I've done and I've shared this story, the other thing that I didn't say is that there were a lot of family activities that were going on at my college that weekend when everyone was dropping their kids off. I had an opportunity to view all of these girls.

I went to a historically black all-girls school in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman College. I was seeing all of these girls engage with their mothers and their fathers, engage with their families. There was a lot of health that I was seeing. I saw a lot of happiness. I think that the pinnacle of that experience was me being in this dorm room because I was coming face to face with my own reality, not from my vantage point, measuring up with the other girls that I was seeing, with the other girls and their fathers, the other girls and their mothers.

I do have mother wounds that I have also processed through. I don't often talk about that, but my mother has given me permission to share that with the world. I think being in her dorm room that day when she said, I built this bookshelf with my dad was a reminder that I don't have what she has and I want it.

I want it bad and I've seen it. I want a relationship with my father. Up until that point, we really hadn't done much together. My mother and father got a divorce when I was three. There were a few court ordered visitations that I remember. I remember my mom driving me to this facility on a Sunday and we would go into what was somewhat like a little cubicle type room.

I would spend time with my dad there. I remember maybe one or two experiences of that. I remember having an unsupervised visit with my father at his apartment with his then girlfriend. I remember him purchasing a bike for me, taking me to a Walmart or a Target, something like that and getting a bike.

After that, the memories I have of my dad are gifts that he left on the front porch of my grandparents' home for some birthdays and some holidays, not all. That's what I equated him with. In that moment, I was like, that's not satisfying me. I want a relationship. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to hear a past program, take an assessment of your love language or see our featured resource today. Go to buildingrelationships.us. It's written by Kia Stevens and it's titled Overcoming Father Wounds, exchanging your pain for God's perfect love.

Find out more at buildingrelationships.us. Kia before the break, you were sharing with us when you had that realization that you did not have a relationship with your father like your roommate in college had and you sensed that you were missing something. How did you handle that realization? I mean, did you try to push it down and just forget about it or how did you respond to that?

I couldn't push it down. I probably wish I could have in that moment. It was all I could do to get out of her dorm room. I remember my eyes just welling up with tears and I left out of her room and I had a good old fashioned ugly cry. And not long after that, I connected with someone who was like a mentor for me.

She was in college too. And I told her everything that happened about what she said and what my response was. And she had also had a father who was estranged from her life at one particular point in time. And so she was telling me I wanted my father in my life. And so I wrote him a letter and I detailed all the events of my life that he missed. And at the end of that letter, I asked my dad to now begin pursuing a relationship with me. And so when she said that, it appeared to be a roadmap to get the father-daughter relationship that I desired and that I longed for. And so I did exactly what she said she did. I detailed every event that he missed, I mean from kindergarten all the way up to high school and college, graduating from high school and college.

And I said, that's water under the bridge. I want to start from where we are now. I'd like to develop a relationship with you. And so my dad did write me back and we ended up when I, my college was in Atlanta, I'm from Fort Worth, Texas. So when I would go home for breaks, then I would reach out to my dad and say, dad, I'm home.

Would you like to go to a restaurant or would you like to come over for Thanksgiving? I started to consult with my mom. I started to say, mom, are you okay with this?

You know, which I got to give my hats off to my mom because she tolerated a lot for me. You know, I was doing everything I could. I thought that I was enough that if I pursued him enough and if I invited him out to dinner enough and invited him over for Thanksgiving and Christmas enough, then I was somehow going to create this relationship that I fantasized about, that relationship that I longed for in the dorm room that day. I was enough to make it happen. And so I proceeded to do that.

One of the things that I now as a mother myself know was probably traumatizing and infuriating for my own mom. I would take pictures from our photo albums. Back in the day, we used to have those photo albums.

We would take our pictures at Olin Mills. I would take those out and create Christmas gifts for my dad because I didn't have any money. So I was like, let me create this.

And my mother, she paid for those. But I just was so desperate. I was so desperate to create this relationship with my dad. So how successful were you in that effort to build a relationship with your dad? I learned a lot. I learned a lot.

I remember I tell this story in the book, but my dad and I were sitting at this Mexican restaurant because my dad loves Mexican food. And in theory, I was thinking in my head, I'm going to invite him out and he's going to pick me up and we're going to have a great time. We're going to build this relationship. We're going to have a lot to talk about.

But we didn't. And it was awkward. And I remember staring at my plate of enchiladas wondering what can I say to stimulate some conversation. It was a moment where I had this realization we're two totally different people. He's a man.

I am a young woman. My father is from another country. So there's that barrier. He's Haitian.

And I'm an American born and raised. He lived a life that I knew nothing about. The chasm between us was so far and wide. It felt that way for me. In addition to that, there were things that I wanted him to do. I wanted him to initiate. I wanted him to take the lead. I wanted to see that he was intimately concerned about pursuing this relationship and building this relationship as concerned, if not more than me. I wanted to see that in him and what the Lord began to teach me over a series of years. I didn't get the lesson in my twenties or my thirties.

I probably got it in my late thirties, definitely early forties. When you begin to initiate a relationship with your father, you cannot make them into the father that you want them to be. You accept them as they are.

You cannot come to them with a bucket full of needs that they need to then dig their hands into and gradually begin meeting all of those needs. You're no longer that little girl anymore. You're now a grown woman.

Who has a relationship with God as her Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. I had to learn how to take all of those unmet needs to the foot of the cross, to my Savior, to my Heavenly Father, and ask Him to meet them because I realized through failure and disappointment and unmet expectations and unrealistic expectations that my father didn't have the tools to meet my needs in the way in which I thought they should have been met. I say that with the awareness that my dad did do what he gave me what he had at the time. It's taken me... I've had to grow to that place of acceptance. I've had to embrace that type of maturity. It's hard. Yeah, it had to be hard.

Let me ask you this. Is it hard to avoid the feeling like a victim and living as a victim when you have a father wound like that? I definitely think so, but for many of us, we don't know what we don't know. Oftentimes when we have placed ourselves in the role of the victim, other people around us can see it, but we sometimes, many times, can't see it for ourselves. I can remember being in arguments or times of heated fellowship with my spouse and always defaulting back to that place and always defaulting back to the wounded little girl in the heated discussions. My husband would say, you're being the victim. I would say to him, no, I'm not. You are. I'm not the victim. But I was.

I was. It took years for me to break out of that cycle. It took years for me to see how adopting a mentality that people are hurting me or people are rejecting me, or I'm always the one who's getting the short end of the stick. It took years for me to attach those lies that were driving my behavior to unaddressed childhood hurt.

It took years for that to take place. Let's talk a little bit about the book. When did you realize that there was a need for a book like this? I had a lot of moments, but there's one moment that sticks out to me. I was getting some counseling and I share this story in the book when the counselor said to me, well, let me back up because that same counselor, I remember sitting in a session with her and I was saying to her, I want to have a daddy daughter date night. I want my dad to come and sit on the couch with me. I want him to do all of these things for me.

This is what I want and I'm not going to be able to get that. And I look up and my counselor was crying, my counselor. And I'm telling this story of like, this is a board certified woman. She has all of her accolades affixed on the wall that I'm facing. There's a desk between us that's separating the client and the practitioner from one another.

It's obvious she is a person who has gone to college to be able to provide a service for me. And yet and still, here we are both sitting as women with father wounds. In that moment, the barrier that separated the client and the counselor was diminished. And now here we are as peers. And so that was a whole experience. But that same counselor also said to me, have you written a forgiveness letter to your father?

And I was thinking, what do I need to do that for? He wasn't there. There's no reason to write a forgiveness letter to a person that was not there. But I had access to a forgiveness letter template.

This is the same template that I include in my book. And so I took her up on her advice, even though it really didn't make any sense to me. And I remember sitting down, the letter walks you through saying what your father did or what the individual did. But for me, it was my father.

It also walks you through saying, what are you thankful for? What are you upset with? What is it that they did to hurt you?

And then there's a portion that says, what do you think are direct or indirect byproducts of the action that they did to hurt you? When I got to that section and I began to list out all of the things that I wanted my father to be there for, I wanted you to be there for the first and last day of school. I wanted you to be there to tuck me in at night.

I definitely wanted you to be there to interrogate my dates, to tell some of these guys that I was in relationship with, that they were not qualified, that they did not meet some communicated criteria, that they weren't good enough for your little girl. I felt like if he had have been there, maybe I would not have succumbed and fallen to temptation in the ways that I did during a season of my life when I was most vulnerable. I was coming to that realization. And as I was writing this out and really in shock by all of the repressed emotions that were now flooding to the surface, I could barely finish that letter. In fact, I did not finish it in one sitting. I didn't finish it in one sitting and I had to stop and cry and grieve and then go back to it. And then I paired that exercise with the empty chair technique, which I learned from counseling, where you sit an empty chair across from you and you read that forgiveness letter to the empty chair as if the person that you need to forgive is actually sitting in it. And that also was a very emotionally healing exercise for me and one that I found it difficult to do in one sitting as well.

Yeah, yeah. Well, I'm sure our listeners are identifying with the pain and with your experience that you went through. In the book, you do talk about some types of father wounds. What are some of those types that you have identified?

Sure. And I've created a father wound test as well for this specific area or this specific man. But we're triune beings. We're part body. We're part soul, which is our mind, our will and our emotions. And we're part spirit. In my experience, we can be wounded in one or more or all of those specific areas of our lives. If we have a spirit wound, the spirit man is where we engage with God as Heavenly Father.

And I cannot tell you how many people I've said, Jesus, I can get with. The Holy Spirit, that's a little strange, but okay. But God the Father, no, thank you.

No, thank you. I found a quote years ago in the Washington Times that says sociologists say it's common for people to perceive that God is like their father or the fatherly figures that they had in their lives. And then years later after that, I did some more intensive counseling at my church that looked at the type of father that you had and how you viewed God.

So if you had a distant father or a passive father or a dominant father or an abusive father, you might perceive that God is also that way. That would be a spirit wound. If you have a body wound, you may have experienced physical or sexual abuse from your biological father. And then if you have a soul wound that impacts your mind, your will and your emotions, I saw so many wounds that were literally just popping out of the pages of my own life. But you could have a love wound, a trust wound. You could have an acceptance wound where you are perceiving that every subsequent relationship with the opposite sex, you're going to experience rejection because you have an acceptance wound in your own relationship with your biological father. So acceptance wounds, provision wounds, security wounds. So often the father provides the foundation of stability for his children.

And when he is not there, then there is an insecurity that latches itself onto the woman or the man, and they can carry it throughout their entire lives. And so those are some of the wounds that I identified honestly in my own life via the Holy Spirit and just doing self-reflection of what I saw in my own life. I had somebody recently on another interview say, do you consider yourself to have like a psychologist degree because of all the stuff that you've written about?

And no, I don't. My life has been my research, to be quite honest. And that and my relationship with the Lord, you know, when you pursue healing, he directs you to books and to podcasts and to TV shows for that matter or whatever, or messages. He provides messages in your own church, and that becomes the healing balm by which you're made whole, but you're also educated along the way.

And that's been the case for me. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . We're talking with Kia Stevens about her book, Overcoming Father Wounds, exchanging your pain for God's perfect love.

Go to buildingrelationships.us to find out more. Kia, some women might think that it's easier not to dig up the past and address their father wounds. What would you say to those ladies? I would say I understand. I would say I understand and that I have done that for years. I've masked pain.

I have faked like I was okay, because it is easier, especially when you don't discover your father wounds when you're single. It's difficult at any stage of life. But when you're married and you have children and the demands of life are boxing you in, especially when you have small children that are so needy or any age, I can understand how a woman would say, I don't have the time.

I don't have the bandwidth. I don't have the energy. This is just one more thing on my long laundry list of things to do. But I would argue that this is something that should not be ignored or dismissed. I would encourage her to examine the possibility that her wounds have already impacted areas of her life, whether she admits it or not, that her woundedness can be impacting how she views herself, how she relates with her children, certainly how she engages with her spouse.

Or the absence of her spouse, the relationships that maybe have not worked out could be tied to unaddressed pain and woundedness in the relationship with her biological father. I try to be gentle with that question because I'm on the end of a 26-year journey. I've done a lot of work. It's a little easier for me to talk about it. Well, it's a lot easier for me to talk about it.

But had women have found me at some different points during that 26-year journey, I probably would have also been reluctant as well. I might have said, I don't want to do that or you don't know how painful it is. You don't know the consequences that I've experienced. You don't know how I've suffered. You don't know what I went through.

And if you knew, you wouldn't be encouraging me to do that. But because I am on the other side of a 26-year journey, I can also say that God heals all wounds. As it says in Psalms 147 and 3, He heals the brokenhearted and He binds up their wounds. I can say it's true. It is true because He did it for me and I'm nobody special. If He did it in my life, I know He's able to do it in yours. And so I can offer that encouragement to women that if they don't want to remain bound, because when we're wounded and we're living out of our woundedness in that area, we're still bound. If we want to know freedom, that freedom is available to us and God will guide us in the way of freedom. Can you give some practical steps for a woman who's thinking, I want to do something. I want to do something about my father wounds.

What would you suggest? I always answer this question by saying, admit. That's the first place, acknowledgement. For many of us, we maybe don't want to acknowledge. Maybe we have grown up in a family that has covered up secrets and lies and things that have happened. Maybe we've grown up in a family that has prioritized image over functionality. That at all costs, our family needs to look pretty and put together and perfect. And there are no flaws and there are no issues.

There's no dysfunction here. And if you say anything that might be punishable by the treatment that you receive from certain family members, it might be punished by being ostracized in your family of origin. I remember in a session I had at a conference, there was a 77-year-old woman and I was addressing this point right here to acknowledge your wounds being the first step. And she came up to me after the session and she said, everything you're saying, that's my story. And she was shaking and trembling and said, it was never okay for me to say what my father did.

I never heard anybody say, I have permission to acknowledge what was done to me. And it's impacted everything. It impacted my divorce and the end of my first marriage.

It's impacted my daughter. And all I could do, I was so taken aback by her response to my words. All I could do was hold her.

That's all I could do was hold her and allow her to grieve, which she was saying no one had ever given her the permission to do. And so I think the first step is just acknowledging. We don't have to acknowledge it to anyone but God in the privacy of our own prayer closet. And then the second step, I would also say is something that requires no one else. It doesn't require a counselor.

It doesn't even require my book. And that would be to invite God, invite the Holy Spirit who is described as a wonderful counselor, invite Him into this healing journey and have an honest conversation. And saying, God, I was hurt by my father when he did at age such and such and I really need your help. If it is true that you can help me, if it is true that you heal the broken hearted and that you bind up all of their wounds, I need you to show me my next step.

I need you to direct me to the next healing choice that I can make, the next healing decision that I can make. And for some of us, that is meeting consistently with the licensed professional counselor. For some of us, it's purchasing this book. For some of us, it may be writing the forgiveness letter that I mentioned and reading it out loud to an empty chair. For some of us, it may be finding a support group or it may be listening to a podcast. I do have a podcast called Hope for Women with Father Wounds. The journey is not going to be a one size fits all.

It's not the same for every woman. Our wounds are not the same. The amount of time that it will take for us to heal is not going to be the same.

But that is the power of praying, inviting the Holy Spirit to take control of our healing journey because he has infinite wisdom on each of us. We don't have to give him the background. We don't have to say, and then when I was three, this happened.

And then when I was 16, this happened. And this is how it impacted me because this is my temperament or this is my disc profile or this is my Enneagram score. We don't have to do any of that. We don't have to say how we felt and how we haven't been able to heal and how we've coped all of the substitutes and fillers that we've placed in our life, whether it be a man or alcohol or drugs or work or fashion or food or clothing, whatever it is that we've used to try and heal ourselves. We don't have to communicate that to God because he already knows.

He is a wonderful counselor. And so I always start there with those two steps, acknowledgement and an invitation to God to come in and take the wheel as it relates to our healing journey. And that journey, as you said, would be different for different women. Let's say that there's a woman who hears us today in this conversation, or maybe she reads the book and she decides that she really would like to do what you did early on, and that is make an initiative to reach out to contact her father if he's still alive.

What would you say she should consider before doing that? I dove head first. I figured I had enough to make this relationship work. And so I jumped in and as a result, I experienced a lot of disappointment. And so from that disappointment, I've created some questions that I have in my book and I'll go through a few of them now.

I think I'd start with the first one. Do you have any expectations of what you want your father to do as a result of you initiating communication with him? If you have expectations that he will apologize, that he will begin to meet your needs, that he will reciprocate in the way in which you are initiating a relationship with him, that would give me pause. I would stop and investigate the root behind those expectations. Because if our father is unable or unwilling to do any of those things that I've listed, apologize, admit wrongdoing, initiate or reciprocate the initiation of a relationship, then we could find ourselves disappointed.

And so we really want to make peace with the reality that he may not meet any of our expectations. I would also say, ask yourself, am I okay if my father has fathered someone else and he was in their life, but he wasn't in mine? Would I be okay if my father has a whole other family and they don't know a thing about me?

And he is not interested in communicating my existence to that, said family. Would I be okay if my father, if the issues that caused him not to be in my life, potentially drugs, alcohol, workaholic, if those are still priorities for him, am I able to engage in a relationship with my father? For some of us, if our father was sexually, verbally, physically abusive, it may not be safe for us to engage with our biological fathers. I had a woman ask me about the scripture, honor thy father and thy mother. And so I think for those of us who grew up in the church, that scripture has probably been seared in our heart and in our mind. And along with that searing has come these ideas of what honoring looks like.

But in my book, I talk about the reality that honor does not look the same in every relationship. For some of us, honoring our father is simply saying, I'm going to consistently pray for him. That is a way to honor your father. It may not be advantageous for you to be in a relationship with your biological father if he is not safe.

I cannot answer that question for you. Honoring our father may look like I'm going to purchase a father's day card for him, even though he didn't father me. I'm going to purchase a father's day card for him, which is something I did for my biological father. Honoring our father may look like I'm going to call him. I'm going to let him meet his grandkids. I'm going to walk through that forgiveness letter. I'm not going to hold his wrongdoing over his head every time I see him.

I cannot say what honoring the father would look like, but what I can say is it's something that we need to decide for ourselves prior to engaging in a relationship with our biological father if he has been estranged from our life. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and thanks for telling a friend about the program. Maybe you know someone who would benefit from our conversation today. You'll find a link to the podcast at buildingrelationships.us. Plus, see the resource, Overcoming Father Wounds, Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Kia, you talked about writing a forgiveness letter to your father. Let's talk a little bit about what this kind of forgiveness is, because it seems to me it's what's sometimes called unilateral forgiveness. That is, it's just one person. It doesn't lead to reconciliation.

It leads to your own health. So say just a word about what this forgiveness is like, what it looks like. Sure, and I was walked through forgiveness via a curriculum that my church has.

It's called Renew, and I cite this curriculum in the book. But forgiveness, before we can forgive, we need to understand what it is not. It is not justifying. It is not dismissing, denying, condoning. It is not reconciling with the offender. Forgiveness is simply relinquishing our right to hold another person responsible for the wrong that they did do to us. We're not saying they didn't do anything. We're not sweeping it under the rug. What we are doing is surrendering our right to hold another person responsible for the wrong that they have done to us.

And so, I do that with a simple statement. I forgive the person for the act, filling the act that they did. And now, forgiveness is two parts.

It's practical. That's the part I just gave you, which is an act of our will, but then it's also supernatural. There is a part of forgiveness that only God can do. And that part is where we pray and say, Now God, as an act of my will, I've relinquished my right to hold this person responsible for the wrong that they've done to me. Will you help my heart and my mind to follow suit? And with that, it may be a one-time ask of God, although I doubt it. It may be two times or three times or four times, but as many times as we need to say, Now God, this is what I've chosen to do, but I'm struggling because my mind keeps rehearsing the words that were said and the deeds that were done. Will you please help me, God, to get in line with what I'm willing, what I am choosing to do? And I parked there. I parked there for many, many years of just having to go back and say, God, I'm choosing to do this, but I'm having a hard time.

Will you help me? Until one day, I remember it was a Father's Day and we had just finished celebrating my husband and I was in the car and I said, Oh my goodness, I'm not bitter anymore. I'm not angry anymore. I'm not upset.

This is real. The work has been done in my heart. And I offer that as encouragement for women no matter where they find themselves on the forgiveness continuum. And I do want to say that I went to my dad because the publisher recommended that I get an information release form from my father to share his story with the world. And so I sat down with my dad and I read the contents of my book that pertained to him over a plate of chips and salsa, much like that first meeting we had. And I read a little bit and I said, Dad, are you OK with that?

And he said, Yeah. And then I read a little bit more and said, Dad, are you OK with that? And when I got to the last part where I was saying I wish my dad had been here for the first and last day of school and I wish he had been there to interrogate my dates and I wish he had been there for my volleyball games and my track meets. I look up and my father had tears streaming down his eyes and he said, I owe you and your mother an apology because alcoholism has robbed me of my entire life. And it was in that moment that I knew for sure that God had done a work in my heart because what I responded with was not anger and was not, well, you should have said this a long time ago. But what I responded with was grace.

You know, we can know that forgiveness has really taken root in our heart when we feel the exact same way about our offender that God does about them. And God loves my father just like he loves me. And so I responded to my dad. It's OK. It's OK, Dad. We all have things that we need to work on.

We all have things that we struggle with. And so that's what I would say about forgiveness. Well, I want to thank you for your openness and the way you've shared your story with our listeners today and also for the way you wrote this book with that same kind of honesty. I want to close our time with one question. Do you think that the truths in your book would be transferred if it's mother wounds as opposed to father wounds? I used to respond to that question.

No, no, no. And then I had so many people come up to me and say, well, I have mother wounds and I applied some things in your book to my mother wounds. And in all honesty, I mentioned earlier I have mother wounds, too.

And so I don't know if there's a blend there. If there's some wounds that were both from the mother and the father, I don't have a line of distinction. But what I will say is that there are some counseling techniques like the forgiveness letter and the empty chair. I encourage counseling and then praying for your father. You can also pray for your mother. There's a forgiveness wheel, that template that I created.

Those things are definitely applicable to any relationship and it would certainly be applicable to the relationship with a mother and a daughter or mother and a son. Well, Kia, let me just again thank you for being with us today and sharing on this very, very personal and painful journey because I know that many of our listeners can identify with this. And I want to encourage our listeners to get the book, to work through it themselves, as you said, asking God to guide them on the journey to work through this so that they can become the person God wants them to become. Thank you for being here. May God continue to give you wisdom in your own ministry to others. I know that our listeners have been enriched by what they've heard today. So thank you.

You're so welcome. Kia Stevens has been our guest today and you can see our featured resource at the website buildingrelationships.us. Her book is Overcoming Father Wounds, Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love.

Go to buildingrelationships.us. And next week, he was known as The Prof. Hear lessons from the legacy of beloved teacher and author, Dr. Howard Hendricks. Before we go, let me thank our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Backing. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 02:35:33 / 2023-10-07 02:51:30 / 16

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