The Well Blog

My Paradigm Shift: Daddy's Girl

October 29, 2015
Debby Pernes
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Father of the fatherless…is God in his holy habitation.Psalm 68:5

Perspectives change throughout our lifetime. However, some changes God generates within us are everlasting. The first huge change I remember from my childhood occurred in 1987 at the age of 4. My mom, dad, older sister Laura and I were living in the Bay Area at the time. One day my dad had the brilliant idea to visit my mother’s family, who was living in Modesto after recently escaping communist Romania. What a treat. We always cherished time spent together with them.

When we arrived at my grandparents’ home, we girls flew out of the car into the family’s embrace, and unbeknownst to us, gave my father the opportunity to back up the driveway and take off, leaving us for good.

I do not know why my father chose to abandon us in this fashion; it has always been a curious blessing. Though my home and my father were gone, we would all be safe of my father’s violence and be near loving family. What a blessing not to wake up hearing my mother’s cries of anguish as he bestowed her with another moral lesson followed by his fists breaking her ribs.

And yet my mother, in her selflessness, took me aside after some time passed to give me an explanation of what was going on. She was worried about her baby, though her world was crumbling all around her. “Did you know that God is our Father? God says in the Bible that He is our Father and we are His children. Did you know you are His little girl? Just like a regular dad, He says you can come to Him with any problem at any time and He will listen to you. So don’t be sad about your dad on earth leaving us. Our God, who created everything, will look after you and protect you, better than any other dad.”

Those few words have had a profound influence on my relationship with God. From that moment God became “Dad” in my mind and in my heart. When a father issue arose, it was a natural transition from thinking of my dad on earth to relying on my heavenly Father who loves me.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

God’s purpose was to keep our little family safe. He says we can expect tribulations, like spousal abuse, financial disputes, anger issues, etc., but God will help you get through it step by step. He softened my dad’s heart to drop us off. Honestly, the profundity of God’s work just blows my mind. Ask yourself: how often do you hear of someone who would turn in their favorite punching bag? God had to soften my father’s heart to have mercy enough to leave us with my mother’s family. God knew it would be a terrible road for us to travel alongside my dad’s many personalities without His interference. It was truly a miracle to be delivered into the hands of a loving family by a loving God.

I am 32 years old now, but I still come before the Father as His little girl. I feel a child’s connection to Him – the bond between trustworthy Father and (I fight to be His) loyal daughter. My mom instilled in the mind and heart of a girl a small seed that she is loved by a wonderful Father. That seed she planted has kept me going through familial, emotional, financial, marital and health problems, you name the obstacle. God has provided for His children to go through anything.

I still missed having a father to play soccer with and do human-dad stuff alongside, but I never truly felt his absence. God provided me with a family, a church with good people who kept my life full of the things of God, with His written Word and salvation. Most importantly of all, He chose me to be His.

Thankfully bask in God’s love, for He is our conquering Father in heaven who loves us, His children.

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