“There are times when I feel like the title ‘father’ is the worst name God could have given Himself. What a stupid idea, when ‘father’ means rejection in my world.”
It was late Sunday night and I had this message from “L—“ on my email. I had just spoken that morning at a church in Southeast TX that we had worked with during Hurricane Rita relief. My message was about God’s love and mercy for the fatherless and His desire to adopt them into His own family. One of my board members was there, along with his sister.
When my board member was a young man, he went through some challenges with drug addiction, and his family contacted me for help. Later I directed him to a Teen Challenge where my friend Roger Helle is the Executive Director. Today, he runs the family business and heads up one of our Somebody Cares chapters. He has a beautiful family who all love the Lord.
And now, all these years later, his sister’s daughter is going through struggles of her own. It was she who sent the email, and she graciously gave us permission to share the email she wrote that night, in hopes of helping others:
I am 18 years old. I feel God pulling on my heart stronger than I’m comfortable with, so I’m doing what he told me to… writing to you. This is my story.
Like my uncle, I’m extremely determined. The last two years of my life have been thorny to say the least. My dad left when I was 16, and ever since I’ve had a coarse time trusting God. To be honest, there are times when I question His authority and even His existence. I live in a small two bedroom apartment with my mom and 13-year-old brother, so the couch is my best friend.
Almost exactly a year ago, I became pregnant. As you may know, I am adopted, as is my brother. I’ve always been immovably pro-life. I knew I had other options, I knew I was making a huge mistake; I knew what I was doing would destroy my spirit and tear out my heart, but I had an abortion six weeks later. I could make excuses as to why, but in reality we live with the choices we make.
I hate myself for that choice. The sound of the vacuum haunts my dreams to this day. I’ve just recently gotten to the point where I’m not ashamed of what I did. I don’t try to hide it from people anymore. I want them to know so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
After the impact of what I had done hit me, I literally drank myself into a coma every night for about a year. I still struggle with alcohol periodically, but never really got into drugs, mainly because I didn’t like them; however I know that if I had I would most likely be on the street at this point.
There are times when I feel like I’ve never really been loved by a hand that touched me. There are times when I feel like the title “Father” was the worst name God could have given Himself… what a stupid idea when the title “father” means “rejection” in my world. I guess I’ve been looking for something these last two years to justify my pain… to explain why all this has happened and why I am so screwed up.
I know that you can only find redemption through God and that no one can do it for you, but I usually stay away from people that I’m angry with. Honestly, I want to go “Mike Tyson” on God most days.
Even though I’ve never met you, I have an obscene amount of respect for you and for what God did through you in my uncle’s life.
I want to be who I know God wants me to be… and this isn’t who God wants me to be… I want God to be proud of me. I want my family to be proud of me. I want to be proud of me.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read my e-mail. I don’t mean to dump all my problems on you or anything, I just felt like writing you was what God was telling me to do. I’d love to hear back from you.
With utmost respect,
Divorce, abandonment, rejection, crisis pregnancies, abortion, alcohol, drugs—this one young woman in one letter addresses so many of the issues our fatherless generation faces daily, and they can all be traced back to a broken connection with a father. Her story echoes the heart-cry of an entire generation who only asked for, very simply, the affirmation, acceptance, and approval of a father. What too many of them experienced, instead, was abandonment and absence. Though she says the name “father” means “rejection” in HER world, she is really speaking on behalf of an entire generation.
When I replied to her email, I encouraged her that no matter what she was gong through, no matter what she was feeling, God the Father was there for her. I praised her for her honesty, because honesty is attractive to God. It’s only in that vulnerable place of honesty that He can begin to bring healing. I could tell from her email she wants to help others not to experience the same pains she has experienced, and I gave her hope that God would use her that way. I met with her in my office a couple of days later. She left with hope in her heart and joy on her countenance. She wants to minister to other young women who have experienced pain. She continues to write, telling me all the wonderful ways God her Father is taking care of her and watching out for her.
At the end of the day…this is what we do. Though we speak to thousands, minister to pastors and leaders all over the country and even the world… the core of what we do has never changed in 25 years. It’s all about people.
Even as this was all happening, I was finishing up my latest manuscript, Who’s Your Daddy Now? My hope through writing this book is that our fatherless generations (notice this is plural now, as my own generation and the emerging generation have both grown up without fathers) will embrace their Heavenly Father, who loves them so much He gave His only Son so we could be adopted into His family!
If God has added grace for the fatherless and for the widow, how much more grace will there be when an entire generation is fatherless? And if we now have a double generation, the former and the emerging, that were both termed fatherless, I believe we are going to see a double portion of grace poured out on two generations that together will emerge as the “gen-edge miracle,” journeying together to become the prophetic generation, and together preparing a people for the coming of the Lord!
Leonard Ravenhill wrote to me once: “My dearest brother Doug, let others live on the raw edge or the cutting edge…you and I should live on the edge of eternity.” On the edge of eternity, bringing in the harvest for the final days! I can think of no better place to be!
Thank you for journeying with me these 25 years! May we never lose site of our goal, to rescue the perishing in the name of the Lord, and lead them to relationship with their Heavenly Father through the Spirit of Adoption!
Please pray for the manuscript mentioned above, Who’s Your Daddy Now? along with three other books I’ve been working on: Living Life Well: The Spirit of the Commandments; Born to Die: The Work of the Cross and the Power of the Resurrection; and The Characteristics of the Holy Spirit. I am also working on another that we are trying get released before Christmas. I took each of these with me to the annual Christian Booksellers convention and have been speaking with various publishers. Your prayers for wisdom and provision as we move forward are gratefully appreciated.
SCA SUMMIT AND 25-YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
We are now accepting registrations for the Somebody Cares America Summit and the 25th Anniversary Celebration, beginning Sunday evening, October 15, and ending with our 25th anniversary celebration banquet on Tuesday evening, October 17—which also happens to be my 50th birthday! I can think of no better way of celebrating my “jubilee” birthday than to spend it with the many wonderful friends God has given me through the years. Our location will be the Sheraton Brookhollow here in Houston. For registration forms and more information on attending or underwriting, please call us at 713-621-1498 or check out one of our websites at www.somebodycares.org or www.dougstringer.com or www.tpmi.org.
•Doug’s travel schedule: health and protection while traveling, God’s heart for the people to come across clearly in his messages
•Finances for travel and general operating expenses
•Self-Supported Interns to assist with ministry needs and office needs
•Administrative and clerical help
•Resource inventory, marketing, and distribution
•Special Projects: Books, disaster relief manual, SCA Summit and 25th Anniversary
Doug Stringer is founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International and Somebody Cares America/International. For articles and teachings by Doug, please visit www.dougstringer.com. To support the work of the ministry, you may donate online at www.somebodycares.org.