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Abandonment - Carly's Story
By Vivi Anderson
From a Daughter’s Perspective

 When I was in the first grade, I watched my dad pack his belongings and walk down the stairs telling me and my older sister that he was leaving us for good and that it was our fault. He told us that we didn’t love him, he wasn’t welcome, and so he was leaving.

            It was hard for me to understand it all and I felt responsible for something that I couldn’t fix. Looking back, I know it wasn’t my fault. Yet at the time, I was devastated and deeply hurt.

            I think deep down my dad loved me but didn’t know how to show it; and his desire for alcohol and a free lifestyle prevented him from being the kind of dad that he should have been.

            When I was in second grade, my parents’ divorce became final. Funny, he always put the blame on us saying things like “You, your sister, and your mom kicked me out, you don’t love me and that’s why I left.”

            After he left, surprisingly I was fine. I felt okay with the divorce because when he was around, he was verbally abusive. In his absence, there was finally peace at home. I was relieved that he wasn’t picking on my sister, my mom, or me.

            Up until fourth grade, I used to see my dad every other weekend. Those visits were very confusing times for me. He acted so differently at his house than he did when he lived at home with us. For example, once while I was visiting, he was cleaning house and being a great person to live with. His roommates loved him and kept saying what a great person he was. My sister and I were thinking, “Who is this person?” We didn’t recognize who he had become because when he lived with us he never did anything after work except watch TV and ask me to bring him beer after beer from the refrigerator.

            During that time, he told me that he was moving and then left the very next day. He never said an official goodbye. He just left. It felt like a knife stabbed me in the heart. Every time something like this happened again, it wounded me deeply and I grieved for my relationship with my dad. On one occasion he even said to me, “I’m moving to Russia to start a new life with a family that loves me.”

            When I was eleven years old, and in fifth grade, my dad moved to Arizona. I visited him there, which didn’t turn out to be a good thing. Every time he took me to a restaurant, he was flirting with the waitresses. Once he even took me to Hooters and was acting the same way. I was very uncomfortable and didn’t want to be there.

            One day, we went for a boat ride with one of his friends.  He and his friend both got really drunk. When we were ready to head back, the boat wouldn’t start. They got into a big fight and began shouting and arguing on the boat. I was so scared and I didn’t know what to do. I was traumatized because of the fighting and also for the situation we were in. We eventually made it back home. Yet, he never apologized for any of it.

            During another visit, an incident occurred that I remember vividly to this day. He took me on a trip to visit his friends. He was drinking so much that day and it was apparent that he was too intoxicated to drive us home. When it was time to leave, I begged him to stay overnight so that he would not have to drive, but he refused. I was so worried, that I asked his friends if I could spend the night so I wouldn’t have to ride with him. Even though they said yes they could not convince my dad to let me stay.

            On the drive home, my dad was speeding. He must have been going in excess of 90 miles an hour. I could feel the car swerving all over the road. Cars were honking at us and I was terrified. Finally, I could not stand it anymore so I climbed into the back seat and cried. I curled up in a ball and I prayed that God would get us home safely.

Looking back on that night, I absolutely know that we were surrounded by angels protecting our car. By the way he was driving; I don’t know how we avoided a car accident. It was definitely protection from God. The divine protection has made me realize that God cares for me and has increased my faith in Him.

            Every time I visited my dad, I had these mixed emotions. Even though I was grateful for the opportunity to visit with him, it always turned out to be ugly and stressful for me.

            I grew up feeling lonely and abandoned by my dad. I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings of inadequacy. My mom, who is a great mom, does her best to provide for us. Still, I was so unsure of myself and I hurt all the time. The pain was so great that I started having panic attacks at school. I felt like my situation was spinning out of control. I was afraid of letting other people in because I didn’t want to be abandoned by them like my dad had abandoned me.

            Today, at sixteen years old, I am experiencing a turning point in my life. On Father’s Day, as I was sitting in church, I heard a young rapper singing words that hit me like a ton of bricks. He said, “All I knew father as was alcohol and dangerous.” I felt like God was speaking directly to me. Then, a woman named Perri Storey of Never Knew a Father’s Love, told her personal testimony. I started to cry. I was crying because I could relate to all of it. These strong emotions surfaced and I could not stop crying.  As I was recalling all the pain and years of loneliness of being away from my father, suddenly I felt the arms of God wrap around me.  My Father in heaven was comforting me. It was a moment that I will never forget. I felt His love, His acceptance and His healing touch in my heart. At first I was crying from sadness, but then I was crying from joy. God was healing my heart. As God would have it, the lady sitting next to me patted me on the back. She said “I know how you feel. This is my first Father’s Day with my dad. He is sitting here with me for the very first time.”

            I could not believe my ears as she told me her story. She had met her father for the very first time two weeks before. She was in her fifties so she had many years of sorrow and many lonely Father’s Days. Yet, she was able to encourage me with her story.

            Afterwards, I realized that sitting next to her was not a coincidence. It was a divine appointment we sat next to her that particular Sunday. In my heart, I believe God arranged it for me as a special testimony of how He can reunite fathers with their children even after so many years.

            At this time my dad lives in Thailand and I do not see him at all. However, I feel that God has healed me of the pain that I have lived with all these years and that I will now be able to help others who have feelings of abandonment.  I can give them hope for their healing. God rescued me in such a special way. He reached inside to where all my hurt was and began healing me. I have faith that others can receive this healing, too.

            Another special thing happening in my life now is my involvement with “Never knew a Father’s Love” Ministry. I attended a meeting for the first time last Friday and I feel like I have a whole new family that has stepped into my life to help me heal.  Perri Storey, the Chief Steward, has taken me under her wing. Daily, she texts me words of encouragement. I feel so blessed to be a part of this group.

            I am happy to say that I am on the path to complete healing. I know God has a purpose for me. I hope to be able to help others who have a similar story so that they can begin their healing process.

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