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“I Thought God Was Like My Abusive Dad” – a Guest Post

A guest post by a sister in Christ who has had a very, very difficult life. I’m excited about what the Lord is doing in her life! Please pray with me for His continued total spiritual healing for her heart, mind, and soul:

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This is a good article (How Praying in Wrong Ways Destroyed My Faith in God – by Nikki) and it reminds me of something. I often prayed to God unbiblically and when I slip back into old mindsets, still can. What do I mean by this?

Without me realizing it, I prayed out of a lot of unbelief and distrust – unwittingly attributing characteristics to God that were that of my father and other authority figures who had been unjust or untrustworthy. There were many such figures in my life which made it hard to think from any other basis.

Additionally, because I had cried out to God during an abuse incident and did not hear any response from God nor witness any rescue come to pass soon after, I really didn’t trust God or think He could be relied upon to do anything about things that were of great concern to me. So I would pray from a place of doubt and mistrust with my feelings as the indicator as to what was, or was not God’s response.

I did not base my understanding of God on scripture but on my feelings which I trusted more. I regarded Christians who would insist on putting aside my feelings in favor of scripture as nuts, self-righteous Pharisees, and totally insensitive. And some of them did, indeed, fit that bill. They were in such a rush to offer the solution that they acted as if my wounds were inconsequential. And from my end, I was so hurt and felt so sorry for myself in the face of abuse and injustice that I was just not ready to value truth more than feelings or seek for anything beyond healing.

Consequently my relationship with God was often an arm wrestling match, with me trying to persuade an unwilling God to do what I needed or hoped He would or ought to do.

I saw God through the lens of my father who was very unwilling to do anything for me or to meet my needs, and whose stance towards me was one of devaluation and contempt. Dad despised women and had a very idolatrous relationship towards them; he saw women as withholding, manipulative, and whiny users and entrappers, which affected his attitude towards me. He was also a sex addict and so our home included some violation and being aware of things we ought not to have been exposed to.

As a result, my needs and feelings were invalidated and I often had to “prove” that what I wanted, needed, or felt was valid by arguing for it convincingly like some trial lawyer. I won mercy by extreme submissiveness and even prostrating myself, as if before a king with the power of life and death.

That our lives were full of drama is an understatement.

His judgements of me were always negative and tainted by his own deep bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness of his mother. The result of all of this was a sort of idolatrous interpretative bias in my own heart as I struggled to come out from under all the nasty stuff my father had transferred onto me from his undealt with issues. And I had my own hurt and reaction to it and to feeling unloved and unwanted. I think that our reactions to such things are a combination of being sinned against and sinful responses which would of course include a sort of idolatry as our lives become about seeking what was denied us.

This can also result in anger at God who surely must have been a party to the whole thing, insofar as we might see things at the time they occurred and without any understanding of what God has already done in response to evil. Our focus in this head space is usually life in this world in the here and now and wanting to be happy. We are often unaware of God’s perspective being eternal and about right relationship with Him as the source of all life and joy. This makes it hard to grasp a larger picture.

So my prayer life and the lens of my heart was tainted by these things so that I was, in effect, praying to a version of God mixed with my father.

The idea that God was a loving and just Father did not compute for me and I found the idea revolting. One day, I decided to disregard my feelings and stand on what scripture said as a higher authority. I always felt filthy and unforgiven so I decided to stand on 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – and believe that.

That little decision turned out to make a huge difference, and suddenly it seemed that the universe swung around and snapped into precise order and I was able to see clearly.

I realized at that moment that God was not obligated to respond to me if I continued to pray to Him as something He was not, rather than praying to Him according to the truth of who He was.

Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV) says:

  • But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

And James 1:5-7 says

  • If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

I definitely needed my prayer life corrected and redirected by scripture and still do; praying by our emotions which tend to reinforce themselves, usually leads to a wilderness and brings despair and hopelessness as it tends to go in an ever tightening and defeating downward spiral.

Note from Peaceful Wife –

This dynamic with this dear sister’s dysfunctional relationship with her dad impacting her understanding of God is very common. We tend to assume that God is just like our earthly fathers and we have to be sure we separate the failings of our earthly fathers from our understanding of who God really is. We all need healing to some degree in this area, because none of us had perfect fathers. 

We can’t trust God if we have a warped, jaded picture of who He is, if we think He is evil and out to get us. So often, we end up getting Satan and God switched up in our minds. Not purposely, but we tend to attribute the evil attributes of Satan to God. It would be terrible to trust such a one.

We need to know who God really is and His genuine real character to be able to truly put our faith in Him. So it is important that we recognize any lies we may have embraced and that we learn to go to Scripture to find out the truth about who God is.

SHARE

If you would like to share your own skewed views of God and how that hurt your faith, you are welcome to. And if you want to share how you learned to reject the lies and receive God’s truth, we would love to hear that, as well. Or if you need prayer, you are welcome to share that here.

I, (Peaceful Wife), will be handling the comments, not the author of the post.

Much love!

RELATED

Trusting God to Heal the Scars of Sexual Abuse by Dawn Wilson

More posts on childhood abuse by Revive Our Hearts

Posts about abuse by www.gotquestions.org

Healing for Hopelessness about dealing with childhood wounds from my site www.peacefulsinglegirl.com.

What Are the Attributes of God? by www.gotquestions.org

Who Is God? video series by David Platt

** If you experienced severe trauma or abuse from your father, parents, an authority figure, someone in the church, or anyone else, please reach out for experienced, trustworthy, godly counsel – and to the Lord – to help you heal. And if you are not safe now, please reach out to the authorities if you can safely do so.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 800-799-SAFE (7233). Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get information in more than 170 languages. You will hear a recording and may have to wait for a short time. Hotline staff offer safety planning and crisis help.

12 thoughts to ““I Thought God Was Like My Abusive Dad” – a Guest Post”

  1. “Jesus, you take over. Jesus, you take care of it.” These surrender prayers which I learned from the inspired words below have helped me get out of my emotions and into humble surrender, which relieves my fears, anger, etc.

    The prayer was written by Fr. Don Dolindo Ruotolo, based on his prayer and inspirations from God.

    Jesus to the soul: Why are you upset and agitated? Leave your cares to Me and all will be fine. I tell you honestly, every act of true and blind reliance on Me, results in what you desire and will resolve all your difficulties. Abandonment in Me does not mean being frustrated, becoming anxious and desperate, offering Me your anxious prayer, that I may follow you and have your anxiety be a prayer. Abandonment means to shut the eyes of your soul in peace, moving your thoughts away from your troubles, and instead of thinking about your worries and pain, let Me take over your troubles. Simply say: Jesus, You take over.

    To be worried, restless, and to think of the consequences of an event is the opposite of reliance, it is really contrary to it. It is like a child, who wants his mom to take care his needs, but in the way he wants: and with his whims and childish ideas he hampers her work. Shut your eyes and go with the flow of My grace. Do not ponder over your present moment and put away thoughts of your future as a temptation; rest in Me, believe in My goodness and I swear on My Love, that if you think like this: Jesus, You take over, I indeed will do it for you, I will comfort you, free you, and guide you.

    If I have to take you in a different direction from the one you are looking at, I will train you, I pick you up in my arms, and you will find yourself, like a baby sleeping in his mother’s arms, on the other shore. What gives you immense stress and hurts you, is your reasoning over it, your thoughts and the pains it gives you; it is wanting at all costs to take care by yourself of what is afflicting you. How many things I can do, be it a material or a spiritual need, when the soul turns to Me, looks at Me and says to Me: Jesus, You take over, and closes its eyes and rests in Me!

    You do not receive many graces because you insist on getting them by yourself; but instead you will receive numberless graces, when your prayer is in full reliance on Me. When you are in pain, and you pray that I may act, you want Me to act as you believe I should… you do not turn to Me; instead you want Me to submit to your ideas; you are like a sick person who does not ask the doctor for the cure, but tells him what the cure is to be. Don’t be like this, but pray as I taught you in the Our Father: Hallowed be your name, which means, may You be glorified in this need of mine; Your kingdom come, which means, everything may work toward Your Kingdom in us and in the world; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, which means, You direct it as it seems best to You for the good of our eternal and temporal life. When you truly tell me: Your will be done, which is the same then to say: Jesus, You take over, then I do intervene with all My omnipotence, and I will resolve every situation, even if there is no way out.

    For example, do you see your sickness becoming worse instead of improving? Don’t become anxious, close your eyes and tell Me with trust: Your will be done, Jesus, You take over. I repeat it, I do take care, I intervene like a doctor, and even do a miracle if it is necessary. Does a patient become worse? Don’t be frightened, close your eyes and say: Jesus, You take over. I tell you again: I will indeed do it for you, and there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention. I take over only when you close your eyes.

    You never sleep, you want to appraise everything, to think, to delve into everything; you choose to rely on human power, or, worse, on men, trusting their intervention. This is what hampers My words and My will. Oh how much I long for this reliance in order to assist you, and how much I grieve to see your anxiety. Satan does just this: he gives you anxiety to remove Me from you and throw you into human initiative. Trust only in Me instead, rest in Me, rely on Me in everything. I do miracles in proportion to your complete reliance on Me, with no thought of yourself. I spread treasures of graces when you are in the most squalid poverty. If you have your own resources, even a few, or if you seek them, you are at the natural level, thus you follow the natural way of things, which often are dominated by Satan. Never a thinker or a philosopher has done any miracle, not even among the Saints; only he who relies on God does divine work.

    When you see that things become complicated, say with your eyes closed: Jesus, I abandon myself to You; Jesus, You take over, and stop worrying about it, because your mind is sharp and for you it is difficult to distinguish evil; but trust in Me, and let your mind wander away from your thoughts. Do this for all your needs; all of you, do this, and you shall see great things, endless and silent miracles. I swear it on My Love. I shall indeed take over, you can be sure of it. Pray always with this loving confidence and you shall have great peace and great fruits, even when I choose for you the grace of immolating yourself for reparation and the love that entails suffering.

    Do you believe it is impossible? Shut your eyes and say with all your soul: Jesus, You take over. Don’t be afraid, I indeed will take care of you, and you shall bless My Name, in humility. A thousand prayers do not equal only one act of abandonment; don’t ever forget it. There is no better novena than this: Oh Jesus I abandon myself to You, Jesus, You take over.

    1. Renee,

      Thank you for sharing. May we all truly yield ourselves completely to the Lordship of Christ in every area of our lives. I can’t begin to imagine how different our lives would be if we were to do so and to truly walk in humble obedience, faith, and trust with Jesus.

  2. Praying this for my marriage. Finances are tight and my husband has become burdened by them and shuts down emotionally. Married 23 years but 6 years of financial difficulty. I need Jesus to take over so I feel His power and peace. I have felt alone and rejected. I need to know I am in Gods will. I just want to run away from this.

    1. Hi Sofia,
      My husband and I went through financial hardships as well which put a strain on our marriage. We are currently seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

      I personally avoid novenas (which are written by men) and prefer to rely on direct scripture (the inspired word of God) to minister to my heart during trying times. The Psalms are an excellent resource. King David felt alone and rejected several times so the Psalms are very easy to relate to.

      Blessings and peace,
      Nikki

    2. Sofia,

      Thank you for sharing. I pray for God’s healing and blessing over you both. I wonder what spiritual treasures the Lord may have for you in this time of trial? Would you be interested in talking about things with me?

      Much love!

      1. I don’t think I’m up to talking. I met with a counselor for several months and go to church and I get that I need to seek Jesus and rely on Him. But I live with this man that shuts me out and the pain is unbearable. I have moments of wisdom where I can see Jesus in this just a bit but they don’t last. My husband works hard and pays the bills. I work full time too. We have over extended ourselves but that doesn’t mean that it is ok to disconnect emotionally.

        1. Sofia,

          Okay. I was in a similar situation when I began this journey 10 years ago – my husband was completely shut down. It was an extremely painful place to be. I felt so unloved and frustrated. The more I tried to make him respond to me, the more he withdrew. Now, I actually understand why – in my case, at least. And I have a number of posts about it.

          Let me know if you ever want to talk or if you would like some resources.

          Much love!
          April

  3. Hi all,
    What struck me in this post is that the writer’s father’s heart was tainted by own deep bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness of his mother and how he did many things to hurt his family deeply as a result. It shows what a cancer unforgiveness is and how it causes nothing but pain, heartache and misery.

    My father also had a bad mother. He was very unforgiving and was cruel to his wife and kids for many years. I in turn became hateful, bitter, angry and unforgiving towards him as well and my heart was a cesspool of sin for decades. I was miserable all of the time. It was just awful.

    I came to Christ 12 years ago and I’m still struggling to change my ways. Now that I have a son, I want more than ever to learn to be a forgiving, merciful person so that I don’t do my son similar damage. I want him to have an example of a loving, compassionate, forgiving and merciful mother.

    I’m praying for all strongholds related to sins of anger, hatred and unforgiveness to be broken and trying to change my thoughts and actions towards others.

    I also struggled, like the author, to see God as a loving father since my own father did many unloving things. I attended a retreat called “Healing the Father Wound” and that helped a lot. I also used to pray to God with distrust and unbelief in my heart.

    I pray that God would pour mercy and love into our hearts and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I pray that he can transform us into women of faith who trust God with all of our hearts and live lives filled with mercy, forgiveness and compassion.

    1. Hi again,
      By the way, a few years ago, my father repented of all of his sin and gave his life to Christ. He is now a God-fearing man who loves and respects his wife and kids. His transformation is proof that no one is too far from God. Never give up on praying for your lost family members.

      I pray that the writer of this post will pray for her father and that he will repent and give his life to Christ. I pray for healing and forgiveness in her family. I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill her and her father right now and lead them to a deep relationship with Christ, the divine lover and healer of our souls.

    2. Nikki,
      Isn’t it terrible how the pain just continues to flow down through generations like this? Yes, if her father had known the Lord, had a godly example in his own parents, what a different outcome it may have been.

      How I praise God that you know the Lord now and that your father has repented and that Jesus has changed him! WOW!

      Thank you for sharing. And I join with you in praying for God to break the chains of His wounded daughters (and sons) and that He might heal every hurting and wounded one and set them free to live in holiness and His abundant spiritual life.

      Much love!

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