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Father Wound: How to Heal: Kia Stephens

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2024 5:15 am

Father Wound: How to Heal: Kia Stephens

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 7, 2024 5:15 am

Could your father wound affect your marriage? Maybe it surfaces in struggling with trust, low self-esteem, or difficulty forming healthy boundaries. Kia Stephens helps you learn how to heal, using practical tools to overcome insecurities and find wholeness with God.

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Kia Stephens and catch more of their thoughts at and on Facebook, Instagram and X @kianstephens.

And grab Kia Stephen's book, "Overcoming Father Wounds: Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love" in our shop.

Intrigued by today's episode? Think deeper about Wounds by listening to "Where is God in my Deepest Wounds?"

Reconnect and thrive together in the beautiful masterpiece of a God-designed marriage with Art of Marriage.

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Okay. Before we get started today, I've got a question for you, not you Ann, our listener. Where are you listening from? And you know that we're from Detroit. Motor City. Shelby's in the Philly area and our Family Life Today headquarters are in Orlando. So we're coming to you guys from all over the country, but what about you?

We would love to know if you are in one of those areas or where else you consider home. Text FLT plus where you're listening from to 80542 to let us know. So again, you're going to text FLT plus where you're listening from to 80542. So I fly and I go and pick my dad up and tears are streaming down his face. And he says, you know, I owe you and your mother an apology because alcoholism robbed me of my life. And I sat there, you know, just stunned because I saw the remorse and my response could have been, well, you're darn right.

You know, and you're exactly right. But what I said was, it's okay dad. You know, we all have things that we got to work through. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most.

This is Tracy Lane from the Family Life Content team and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. This is Family Life Today. So today we're talking about something.

I was thinking about it this way. It's like most people and maybe it's some people, but I'll say it this way. Most people are walking around with this little thing they're carrying and they don't even know they're carrying it, but it's a weight and it's heavy. And I think most of us have it and we've been carrying it our whole life. We don't even know it. And sometimes other people can see it and they sort of identify it and they're like, what are you talking about?

I'm not carrying anything around. And yet it's real. I see it as not just a weight. I see it as a wound that's open that people can look at it. They can smell it because now it's like festering and it's infected. But we've been so used to that gaping wound. We're so used to it that we grew up with it. Yeah. And we're sick inside. We don't even know what normal feels like. And our listeners are like, what in the world are you talking about? You named this wound? Yeah.

It's actually called the father wound. And Kia Stevens is back with us. She was with us yesterday talking about her book, Overcoming Father Wounds. Kia, welcome back. Hey, it's great to be back with you talking about such an upbeat. I'm so glad to be here.

No, I'm really excited about this because as we said, most of us, I would guess are walking around with wounds. I had a great dad. He was present. He was a good man.

Very good man. Not a believer for years and years. And we had hard conversations about this. I would get mad.

He would get mad. But I still had a wound, but at least we could talk about the wound. A lot of us, like you had said yesterday, your dad wasn't able to receive maybe the words that you were saying, or even you couldn't have the relationship you longed for. And I think that's true for a lot of people. Yeah. Let me say this to the listener. If you didn't listen to yesterday, go back because you want to hear Kia's story of your father wound, my father wound, and...

But let's start here. How would a person know if they have it? Can you define it or help us understand, well, I don't think I have that, but maybe I do.

Yeah. And you were saying, Ann, that you thought a lot of people had a father wound. It's actually one in three children grow up with father wounds. And father wounds are synonymous with father absenteeism. So we know that a father can be absent for a myriad of reasons.

It could be divorce, abandonment, abuse, incarceration, drug addiction, alcoholism, as it was in my case, alcoholism. And it could even be working too much. Yeah. That's what I was going to say.

A physically present father, but emotionally absent. And so if you're listening and you're seeing one of those qualifiers and there are additional reasons, then you may in fact have a father wound. You know, in my research, I read a ton of books. And when I say research, it's really like me reading books, trying to fix myself. Let's call it research.

It sounds better on the radio show and the podcast, you know, in my research. I read this book by Dr. Charles Whitfield. He's now deceased and he lists inside of this book, several needs that need to be met in the child's life. So things like love, attention, validation, acceptance, trust, affirmation, safety, security. These are some needs that you need to grow up with that secure attachment style, right?

That we were talking about. And there are some needs, I believe that the father specifically provides, right? Because naturally we think about these gender roles of like the mother is the nurturer, but the father provides security. The father affirms the femininity of the daughter. The father says, you are beautiful.

He gives her worth outside of her anatomy. And so if the father is not in the home to do those things, then the daughter is left to do it for herself often with costly results. As we see with the statistic daughters who grew up without a father in the home are X amount more likely to have a teenage pregnancy or they're X amount more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol and risky behavior, or get involved in crime.

I would venture to say that if we examine the lives and it has been done, it's been done with prisoners. How many of them did not have a father? Did not have a father. As you were saying all those statistics, I was recalling, I think I was eight years old when I went in the room and my dad always kissed me goodnight. And so I went in to the room where he was to say goodnight to my parents. And I remember saying as an eight year old, maybe I'm too old to do this now.

And my dad said, well, maybe you are. And it was the last time he ever hugged and kissed me. And I remember I went to bed that night and I had this void like, I wish I wouldn't have said that.

And I hope he still does, but he didn't know. At that point I had already had a lot of sexual abuse in my background. So his hugs, his kiss at night, which was just totally appropriate and beautiful, were the only times I had had affection that was not distorted. And so I'm thinking of the fathers who even as their girls become teenagers and you're in that awkward stage because she's becoming a woman, let me just say she needs your appropriate physical touch and affection. Because I went on, I was so promiscuous. You talk about this in the book of even some of the signs of possible father wounds and our needs not being met, but dads like your little girls need this from you in an appropriate way.

Yeah. I actually read a book bringing up girls by Dr. James Dobson. And he talks about that. He talks about the awkwardness and fathers not wanting to touch their daughters or hug their daughters because they are starting to look like a woman.

And so there's a little bit of uncomfort with that, but that is the time more so than when they're little, yes, do it when they're little, but when they are teenagers and they're developing, you know, and they're turning to the opposite sex to define them and to give them the value and the affirmation. When a daughter has received that from her father and she gets a subpar comment or statement from a male, she can easily say, I don't need it. I don't need that.

I've already got it. My dad already told me who I am. I already know that I'm beautiful.

I already know that I'm confident. It's like, I've said it this way, you're driving your car and you've got a full gas tank. You drive by a gas station, you don't stop.

But when you're almost on empty, you're pulling in and you get in trouble, like you said. And let me just add this, boys need it from their dad too. Not just daughters, a hug, affection in an appropriate way.

A look that says, I believe in you and I see you and you've got what it takes. And if a father's not at home, a grandfather too. Right.

That's right. You know, life is how life is and families are not perfect. And in my own life, I mentioned my uncle cousin Raymond, because he was raised as a brother to my mom and my aunt, but he was a father figure for me in a lot of ways. I think it was just the combination of desperately wanting love and the dysfunction that was already set into motion way before I even got here that made this very dangerous cocktail of neediness. And it's not just in your relationships that you see the neediness. Dave, you alluded to this.

Workaholics. I think Robert McGee, he mentioned the performance trap where you perform in order to get the praise. And you're caught in that cycle because you didn't get the praise growing up, but it takes us acknowledging the truth.

Jesus says, the truth will set you free. So these parents are parental figures that we've set on pedestals because we love them. They're our parents. They're our parents.

We see no flaws. They're our parents. But when you get old enough, you can say, well, my dad was a great provider. He was not affectionate. My dad was affectionate, but he wasn't attentive and he didn't come to that volleyball game. Or my dad was a leader in church, but he was absent. When he came home, he watched TV all day. He never asked me about my day or my dad had an affair or my dad hit my mom, or he called her a name or for the most of the time he was even, but when every now and then he would get upset and fly off at the handle and he never hit anybody.

He never cursed, but it scared me because I'm sensitive. You know, when you get older, you're able to hopefully preferably with counseling and some help, you're able to look at it holistically and with balance and say, this is true, but this is also true. And this is how it has impacted me in my life. Now, how did you heal?

Cause I'm guessing a lot of people are resonating and they're like, yes, yes, yes. You know, I didn't know the snake was in there with me, but I want to be able to talk about this like he is in a way that feels like, I know we're all still on our journey, but yeah, you've got some closure. I have gotten some closure and then there's some more things that opened up when you're writing a book. It's kind of like right before you birth the book, baby. Oh yeah. I was like, I don't even know why I'm writing this book in the first place. I don't know if I believe this anymore. I'm just keeping it 100.

That's where I was. But, um, a friend of mine pointed out about this book and I wasn't even intentional in doing that, that the title says overcoming and the ING is present progressive, which means it's happening right now. I'm in the process of overcoming.

It's not a period. And so I want to preface anything I say from this point forward with the fact that ING is present progressive. I don't want anyone to feel like I'm not far enough or I'm just starting now or I'm too far gone or there's nothing God can do with me or look at all these wounds. If you've identified, I got trust wounds and love wounds and affirmation wounds and security wounds.

I'm completely jacked up. There is nothing that God can do with me. I want to bring you back to the ING. I'm still an ING state, but some of the tools that I've used, definitely that forgiveness letter was really powerful for me and prayer and counseling. I think there's something to be said about having someone who is clinically trained, um, that is outside of your circle of friends. And they're paid to keep your information confidential that can provide insight into your life. And even with that, you know, counseling is about $150 a session.

So that may be overwhelming. I would say, start with your church. I actually did that with my church. I'm fortunate that my church had a program it's called Renew. I'm hesitant to say it cause I sat on another program and people like hunted me down.

I was like, where can I get in that program? Um, so it's not available to the public, but it is a merge of psychology and Christianity, which I think is so needed. So you look at things like your traumatic childhood experiences, and you look at your wounds, your family of origin, and then you begin to trek through like your dominant thoughts. And, um, you do a process called cognitive behavioral therapy, where you identify the thoughts that are driving your behavior. Because when we have behaviors, the natural tendency is to say, I am going to change my behavior.

This is going to be one of my new year's resolutions. I am not going to behave like this anymore. I'm going to be more kind. I'm going to be more loving. I am not going to be angry, but that's attacking it from a behavioral standpoint.

You can't do that. You have to change your thoughts and then your thoughts will automatically change your behavior, but we can't change our own thoughts because we're not God. So you have to turn to the word of God. I'm thinking about what are the Romans chapter 12 verse 12 to, you know, do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You renew your mind with the word of God.

So the blend of the cognitive therapy and the word of God is identifying what is the dominant thought that is driving this behavior. I must perform to feel loved. Would that be, I was going to say, give us one of yours, give us an example. I must perform to be loved. I must be told that I'm pretty, to feel beautiful.

I must drive the relationships in order to feel important and feel loved. So those are some examples, but just identifying those apart from the word of God might not be enough because they can sound like truth. It might feel like 95.763% truth. And you can't even distinguish that.

Oh no, no, no. That's a lie. That's where you need a counselor. That's where you need the Bible.

That's where you need to pray and spend time with the Lord. The Holy spirit is a wonderful counselor and he will say, that's not true. Over time, year one, that's not true. Year two, that's not true. Year three, that's not true. Year four, that's not true. Year five, you're like, Hey, I think that's not true. Wait, there's a scripture, what was it?

Thessalonians? That's how it's been for me, you know, not immediate. Although I do believe that God is an immediate God. He can do that if he so chooses, but it's been a roller coaster, you know, where you see growth and change. And then you go back around the wheel and you're like, have I changed that off?

It's so funny. You say that I was talking to a woman not too long ago about, she said, I know you've gone through and healed from sexual abuse. I said, healing, healing from sexual abuse. I said, because I said the first time I really dug down deep, I thought, there it is.

I'm free, I'm done. And then it resurfaced and I thought, what is this? I thought I had dealt with all of it. And she said, okay, that's what I wanted to talk to you about because I feel like things keep coming up. And I said, I know I asked Lord, I thought this was done. I gave it to you.

I thought you healed it. And I feel like he is so gracious in giving us pieces of it that we can stomach. We can't handle it all at once. And so that's why when we get married, new things arise. When we have kids, something arise when they leave.

Yes. I'm not ready for it. It's hard. These new things arise. And so God just continues.

He's so gracious. Isn't it healing? And when you're talking that brings some of my favorite scripture that will probably be someone's new favorite scripture on Philippians one six, that says being confident in this, that he who has begun a great work, he started it shall be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. So as long as we're on that continuum, if I'm not where I'm supposed to be, or if I haven't gotten to where I want to be emotionally and mentally, it's okay. I'm tracking towards a perfection. I will be perfected. You know, so I offer that as a encouragement.

I thought that too. I'm kind of a check it off the box type of person healing. Boom. We got that. Praise God. Okay. What's next?

What are we having for dinner? You know, and, and that's not reality. And also that's not comforting. It is not comforting in the church when we do that to people like, Oh, you're still grieving your divorce.

Wow. Isn't God good all the time? All the time. God is good. Why are you sad? Because we have the fullness of joy over here.

And as we talked yesterday, if you have more faith, you'll have our joy for the people that are in the thing that we talked about. Like, I don't want to deal with it. You said it's like a snake in the corner.

I would say, and I bet you would say this to Kia. Isn't God so gracious that he gives us what we can handle in the moment. He's not going to overwhelm you. It can feel like that at times emotionally, but he's so gracious that he's right there with us. It's so true. I'm in a season of, I'd say that I'm in a character building season. That's what I give people because I know they can handle that and they probably can't handle everything else.

So I would say that season is never going to end. I feel like God dealt with you. Yours was pretty quick though.

Well, I shouldn't say quick. I feel like God did so much healing in you as you journeyed through your forgiveness with your dad. Yeah, but like you're just saying, it's still triggered. I still was doing ridiculous things to try and get seen. And everything you just said about the lies or the beliefs or the statements you live your whole life believing, I need to perform to be loved.

If you don't know what those are, that's why it's so critical, like a counselor or somebody to help you identify, these are the statements that are not true, but you've lived with that have led you to bad behaviors. Because like you said, we don't connect to behaviors to, there's a root and that root is a thinking root and God's the only one that can change that by the word of God. So I literally, as a preacher, I literally went on stage with an extension cord wrapped around me and said, here's what we do. I'm good. And I was like, no, this is plugged in somewhere. You got to go back and figure out what that is and then say, God, I need you to do work there. So I think I'm still in it.

I think we all are. It never ends, but yeah, God has done an amazing healing for me. And I think he's then said, I want to use that to heal others. Tell your story. Like you're telling your story. Yeah. You know, and I want to be clear with listeners that I use tools and I use people.

There's one book called Mind Over Mood and a counselor, I've had a series of therapists and one of them recommended this book for me. And so you have to list out when you have a, I think it's an activating event. I could be blending some things, but you have a situation that happens. You write down all the thoughts that come into your head.

This'll be a good application today. Write down all the thoughts. So let's say there's an argument with your spouse and in the argument, your spouse says, you're always going to be like that. You're always going to be too sensitive.

Okay. And when he says that you're triggered because maybe your mother said you're always too sensitive, or maybe your father said you're always too sensitive. So then you would go get your journal and write down some of the thoughts that you were having while this was going on.

I feel angry that he said this. I am always going to be misunderstood. My emotions are too much, or those are good right there that I put out there. But I think two of them actually that I just mentioned might've been the dominant thought that would drive maybe a spiral down into depression or discouragement or something like that. I may or may not have used my own life as the, to pull that together for you right there. But, um, you know, that's kind of how you do it. It's work. It's work to think about what you're thinking about, to think about why you do what you do in the moment. But it's that type of work that helps us to begin to identify lies. Okay.

So you've got those on your paper. Now what? Now you need to counter that with the truth and that's why you got to read the Bible.

You gotta go to church. So Kia, I'm thinking about your dad after writing this book. Did he read it? No. Well, what does he think even about the title?

Sure. Well, you know, the book is like, let's say 95% Kia and maybe 5% dad. So I sent an E copy of the book to my mom.

She read the whole thing and actually went through the exercises. And then with my dad, I knew he wasn't going to read it. So I fly 800 plus miles to Texas.

That's my hometown. And I go and pick my dad up and take him to a Mexican restaurant. I pull out my little pink laptop because that's where my book was at the time in between some chips and some salsa. And I'm like, dad, you know, I want to read my book to you. And so I read a little bit and he said, yep, that's the way it happened.

My dad has a thick Creole accent. And so then I read a little bit more and I was like, are you okay with that? And he said, yep, that's the way it happened. And so then I read a little bit more and I get to the part where my dad wasn't there for anything. He missed every volleyball game. He never interrogated my date.

He never took me to a football game. He didn't do this. He didn't do that. And I look up and I'm getting ready to say, daddy, you okay with that? And tears are streaming down his face. And he says, you know, I owe you and your mother an apology because alcoholism robbed me of my life. And I sat there, you know, just stunned because I saw the remorse.

I saw the awareness of what alcoholism had done to not only him, but to me, you know, and I'd never seen that. But I think the beauty in that moment was that one, I didn't need him to say that I was at peace. And two, that God had showed me my own depravity because when he said it, my response could have been, well, you're darn right.

You know, you're exactly right. But what I said was, it's okay, dad, you know, we all have things that we got to work through. And what a grace moment it was, and I'm so glad I didn't miss it.

I could have flubbed it completely. You know, I could have destroyed him had I not been changed by the transformative power of Jesus Christ. Had my life not been dipped in the blood of Christ Jesus, I could have crushed him.

But thanks be to God. You know, I realized in that moment, you and your dad on an even playing field, his battle was alcoholism. Your battle was insecurity, low self-esteem, lying, or when, you know, that was your battle, but we all got them. We all got battles. And so I'm grateful for that moment.

And today we have a working relationship, not perfect, but working. Let me ask you for the person who has blown it, maybe they had that conversation. They didn't let their parent off the hook. What would you say to them now?

Because they're thinking, oh, I did blow it. I gave them everything. I let them have it.

Yeah. I would say that's the beauty of the cross. It's like second chance after second chance after second chance after second chance. It's never final. Even with the forgiveness letter, I've had people write forgiveness letters to their fathers who are dead and gone six feet under. You can still get your heart right. And certainly if your parents are still living, I heard this quote that said, if your parents die, they're still your parents.

You know, no matter what type of father or mother they are, when they're gone, they are gone. And you want to make sure that you did everything. What does the Bible say?

Make every effort to keep the peace with one another, to live in peace with one another, do your part, do your part and trust that God will do his. I would end today saying for you today, it starts. I don't even know how you ended up listening today. Maybe you listen every day.

Maybe somebody handed you this. I think God's been speaking the last two days to somebody that's journeying like we have with this father and I would say this, get on your knees right now and pray and say, God, I can't do this. I need your help. And then number two, start the letter. Just start the letter. You may not finish it today. Start it.

Start the journey and say, God, help me go on this journey. At the end of this journey, and we haven't even used this word yet, but we all know it because we felt it. There's freedom. There is freedom. You're in bondage. Unforgiveness, bitterness, revenge, vengeance. The Lord says, vengeance is mine.

He's got this. You're in bondage and I've been in that bondage and you cannot become the man or woman God wants you to become. He's created you to be and this holds you. The day I forgave my dad, I didn't know it at that moment. I was finally free to sort of step into the man and husband and dad and create a legacy I could never do. It started the day I forgave my dad and it's still journeying and you need to stake that journey today.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. Before we end, we've got a question for you. How can we pray for you? I love this question because we talk about a lot of serious things here on Family Life Today and those details about our families, they often need our prayers. So can we pray for you?

We're serious. Yeah, so here's how you can let us know. Text FLT plus your prayer request to 80542 to let us know and it would be our privilege to pray for you. That's text FLT plus your prayer request to 80542.

We want to pray for you. I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Kia Stevens on Family Life Today. And let me just share with you what someone recently just posted in their review for Family Life Today.

This person said, this podcast with the heart eyes emoji. I lack the words to even describe how amazing it is and the impact it has had on me. I want to have dinner with Dave and Ann. I want to know them.

I want to know about them and learn more from them. At times I listen with regret sometimes on how many opportunities I have missed with my own kids and spouse, but the regret is soon replaced with hope. I love it.

I cannot get the years back that I wasted, but I can begin in the present. I truly wish I could adequately explain my feelings that I have for this podcast. It is a blessing. And man, isn't it a blessing to hear a review like that? I'm so encouraged by that.

And I know that Dave and Ann are encouraged by that as well. Thank you so much for leaving that review. If you know anyone who needs to hear conversations like the one you heard today, would you share this episode from wherever you get your podcast? And while you're there, you can really help others learn more about Family Life Today by leaving a review similar to the one I just read, if you'd like, because I'm super encouraged by that. You know, Dave and Ann were talking today and yesterday with Kia Stevens talking about father wounds and many of us can relate with that. And Kia has written a book called Overcoming Father Wounds, Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love. You can get your copy of Kia's book by going online to or you can find it in the show notes, or you can just give us a call at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Now coming up next week, being a parent is hard. This is probably not news to you. So how do you do it right?

And how do you do it well? Well, Cissy Goff and David Thomas are going to be with us next week to talk about emotionally healthy parents and families. We hope you'll join us for that. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-07 07:20:17 / 2024-06-07 07:32:44 / 12

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