Healing from Father Wounds

I am reading the book Tattoos on the Heart for the second time now. I cry through almost every chapter. It’s about a priest named Father Gregory Boyle, otherwise known as Papa G, who has a ministry called Homeboy Industries. Papa G employs rival gang members side by side in bakeries, t-shirt companies, and coffee shops. He has also removed tattoos from hundreds of gang members.

In the book, scene after scene depicts Papa G showing fatherly kindness towards hardened, drug dealing, sometimes murdering young people. And in almost every scene, they end up crying like a little child when he shows them unconditional acceptance. They are starving for love.

Consider this scene: a teenage boy named Looney just got out of juvenile detention center. The whole staff throws a party for him, ordering lots of pizzas. They “kill the fattened pepperoni and welcome home the prodigal Looney.” He is amazed that they would throw a party for him. He asks Papa G if he can see him alone. Looney pulls out his report card. You can tell he dreamed of this moment from inside his cell walls. “Straight A’s,” Looney says. Papa G looks at the report card. 2 Cs, 2 Bs, 1A. This white lie might have gotten his a beating at home from his angry father. But Papa G overlooks it. He says

“On everything I love, mijo, if you were my son, I’d be the the proudest man alive.” 

Looney cries and cries.

I cry and cry.

Papa G says this: “Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgement at how they carry it.”

I love that.

Most people see how sinful Looney is. Papa G sees how strong Looney is.

Looney cries out for a father that he never had. When he is offered love, a little bit of light seeps into his sad, lonely soul.

I cry out for a father who tried hard with what little he had who died this year. My dad struggled his whole life with depression. He was often crippled by it. He often wrestled to understand how to love us, and yet he tried so hard. I have to remember that.

I wrote a song about my dad a few years ago, a song that I never played for him.  It was about how he grew up as the son of a coal miner, one of the youngest of seven children. It was about how hard he tried despite his often difficult upbringing, despite his struggle with depression. This is the chorus:

You whisper to me the secret of forgiveness

When I set him free, I walk out of my prison

When I set him free, I am the one forgiven.

This father’s day, I want to stand in awe at what he had to carry rather than judgement on how he carried it.

Most of my life, I have thought of God as a friend or even a husband. I have barely every thought of him as a father. Because of this, I often struggle with the idea that God takes care of me. I strive to take care of myself without him. I have a very hard time trusting that he is good.

I want to remember that my God is a good papa. So good. He takes me into his lap and says, “I swear on everything I love, Katie girl, you are my daughter, and I am the proudest papa alive.”

If this father’s day was hard for you, take a moment to forgive. Take a moment to look into the eyes of your true papa. A papa who loves you so deep that he gave everything for you.

Tell us about your healing/ forgiveness with your own fathers. Tell us about how you have learned to see God as your own papa.

On a side note, I have 14 hours left to raise another $400 to make my goal on my indiegogo campaign for my new CD Sing Over Me, all songs from God’s perspective. Would you consider pre ordering the CD to help me reach my goal? It would mean so much to me! You can get other incentives like my book…

You can watch the video and preorder the CD here…

8 thoughts on “Healing from Father Wounds

  1. Hey Kate,

    I really enjoy your blog. This was a great posting. I do have a suggestion for you, if you don’t mind. I like to pin blog posts I think are really good on Pinterest, but they need a picture to be able to be pinned. If you could add a picture to your posts it would be very helpful. 😉


  2. Thanks Kate. Love your blog! Just ordered Tattoos on the Heart. Would love to get yr book but we are in NZ.Will have to wait till we get back to USA.

  3. My father and mother celebrated their divorce by ‘coming together’ and nine months later I came along. For the first four years of my life I had no father. I suppose this was good because my father was abusive towards my mother. But my mother married my first stepdad and had my little brother when I turned four. I remember him a lot and in most of those memories he is either mean or indifferent. He too was abusive to my mother. But he passed away when I turned nine. I cried. Mostly for my mother. Six weeks after his death my mother married my 2nd stepdad. Yes, you read that correctly, six weeks. He was ten years you ger than my mother and- you guessed it- abusive to her. As well as emotionally abusive to my two brothers and I. Five years after they were married they were divorced. I was 14 years old and never had to face another abusive father-figure.
    My dad popped into my life briefly when I was 10. My older brother and I stayed with him and his wife and their two infant sons for two weeks during summer vacation. We were ignored by our estranged grandparents and accused of stealing by our stepmother. It was horrible.
    After that I didn’t hear from my father for a long time. In the meantime I dealt with a lot of emotional issues including depression, self confidence, self esteem, and self worth. I also struggled with identity. Given the kind of exposure to ‘fathers’ that I had it was obvious where my issues came from.
    But then the miraculous happened and a man stepped into my life to counsel me. A Godly man who took me under his wing and helped me walk through my issues. About a year after starting counseling I found myself more and more whole. It came to the time when I felt good enough to tell my testimony in hopes that maybe other people who struggled as I had would find strength and redemption as I had done. About a week after I gave my testimony I was looking online for my fathers home phone number, something I had done off and on throughout the years. After finding a possible number I called it and my dad picked up. I was shocked. We began reconnecting. I was 23. I am now 29. To make the story even sweeter my dad and stepmom are both christians and have repented to me for the past. They have apologized for not being there for my brother and I. It has been awesome!
    There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in my relatoonship with my father. I close myself from him out of fear. Fear of rejection. I know this is a lie from the enemy but it happens. On this past fathers day I sent him a ‘Happy Fathers Day’ text and called my Grandpa to verbally wish him a happy fathers day. So we do have a ways to go but God is so good. And He truly is a jealous lover. He wouldnt give me my father until I gave Him my heart.
    While all this is awesome I still find myself struggling with how I view Father God. Like you Kate I never knew what it was like for a father to take care of me and now I find it hard to trust God for that. But this is changing every day!
    Thanks for sharing and being so open and honest! God bless you sister!!

  4. Pingback: Either God is Nothing Or He Is Everything | The Sexy Celibate

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