By Janice S Ramkissoon
I was updating my personal website for a special 2016 ‘Father’s Day’ edition when I felt a strong conviction to highlight certain situations contributing to our homes being ‘fatherless’. Encouraging a man to be an effective leader does not begin with the man himself but with his parents and the contribution that their parents have made as well as all the other leaders involved in his life. I began to look at the strong female influence in many homes and how that is often negatively played out rather than being the positive and powerful force we were created to be in the lives of our children. My thoughts became a four (4) part article of which this is the third part. Part one is ‘Reaching Out From The Heart Of A Mother’ and part 2 (within same article) is ‘Standing in the Gap for Mothers’.
There is always a cause for the conflict in our families and if we stop long enough to reflect on the choices we have made in the past, we will be able to recognise some of our words and actions that have contributed to those conflicts. We will then have a basis from which to start a conversation in addressing those issues with the aim of bringing healing to our own hearts and the hearts of our children. Every day is a new day with new opportunities to start over. It is never too late to make a U-turn. God is merciful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess them. Make that U-turn today. You can do it!
I once listened to the heart of a broken soul shortly after her suicide mission was aborted. The root cause of her pain was abandonment. The rejection she felt from one failed relationship after another to one failed business venture after another went right back to parental neglect. We spent hours unpacking and as I listened, there were times I didn’t know what emotion would be evoked next. Towards the end of our time together, I was able to detect that I really wasn’t the target of her anger.
There were angry words coming from her and judgments but I was able to stand with her in her pain and allowed her to release the anger so that the dark clouds could begin to fade and the scales removed from her eyes. She didn’t have the approval she sought from her parents and therefore, she developed an unhealthy attachment to others whom she deemed successful and then she began to compare herself to those lives. I could relate to the pain in her heart because it came from the void of not having a father in her life. We both craved the love of our fathers and longed for that mother-daughter bond but neither of us had a reason to share such intimate details of our lives until that moment. That was the turning point in the life of this writer.
It was the first time I shared my story with anyone other than my husband. However, the timing was right. It was necessary to help her look at life from a different perspective and have a point of reference next time she felt her life was not worth living. Today, I am encouraged to see how her life has progressed from that place of hopelessness to a woman who is now travelling to various places empowering others. Each time I see her picture in a magazine or an advertisement of an event she is involved in, it encourages me to keep doing what God has called me to do, despite the obstacles. That was the night I made a decision to be the change I wanted to see—allowing God to use me right where He had planted me and with the gifts that were already invested in me. The journey to this point has been bumpy but I am glad I continued on that path.
I was hurting from being a fatherless child while seeing the effects of fatherlessness around me but not knowing what to do to make a difference. Through that encounter, I recognised how many of us go through life feeling hopeless because we don’t have a reference point. Too many mothers, in particular, fail to share with their children and grandchildren and those children often struggle to make it through life trying to be that perfect wife or mother because of the false picture their parents presented or because of the chaotic home environment from which they came. Through our silence we can also contribute to the downfall of our loved ones. An individual looked at my life and wondered why her life didn’t look anything like mine, even though she had been trying so hard to make it in life. She was looking at my life as the bench mark for her success. How little did she know that my life really wasn’t one she wanted to trade places with. She stood corrected before she departed and even offered me some great tips in how to overcome some of the issues I faced. The same person who thought it was so dark she couldn’t keep going on was offering useful advice to the one she thought had what she desired.
The lesson there is that we all have something to offer, if we only stop to reflect, analyse and recognise our God-given talents then seek Him in how best to utilise those gifts. I believe that nothing I’ve been through should go to waste when I have the potential to influence the lives of others. Someone out there can learn from my pain and therefore a child’s life can be improved because of my sharing. If one life can be improved, that life can go on to empower the lives of others. From such empowerment we can affect a whole family. If a whole family takes that teaching to the community in which they live, many more lives will be improved and the gift goes on.
All along I had everything I needed to help another hurting soul but lacked the understanding until the gift was ignited in order to help a friend in need. I am now here to encourage you to be the change in your world. Make a difference to the lives of those in your midst. You don’t need to wait until a producer finds you or a record company signs you to start using your musical gifts. Neither do you need to wait for a publisher’s acceptance of your manuscript before you begin to use your literary skills. You can activate those gifts right now and be an instrument to help save a life.
I do believe God sent that individual to make me realise the urgency of dealing with my own pain so I could effectively mother my child. I also believe that encounter was to teach me about how the simplicity of my sharing can make a difference in the life of another hurting soul. That night, I didn’t fully understand what was taking place but in looking back, I now realise that it was the moment fear began to leap out of me, making way for me to share. It took encountering three other lives affected by suicide and reliving two previous ones from my childhood to recognise that the lack of effective leadership in our homes was not just affecting a few people but was becoming an epidemic and pushing many to the limit. That is what it took for me to no longer fear losing connection with my extended family members to share my story.
A decade later, I was able to experience the freedom to publish a book dealing with the issue of parental neglect. Writing ‘Embracing Forgiveness’ was the key to my healing as it allowed me to go through the grieving process which I wasn’t allowed to do before. I had no idea I had trapped grief. I have also changed the focus of my personal website to help encourage, motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders as a way of honouring the life of my father—helping other fathers to avoid the same mistakes he made. I’ve learned that I can make a difference with my small ounce of faith—faith as small as a mustard seed and God will multiply my effort and produce a harvest.
I now share with a purpose of helping to heal hurting souls. I wanted to make a difference to the lives of those individuals to whom I was connected. I started with the ‘man in the mirror’ and today I am healed from the resentment that held me bound. I share from my heart, through my writing, because I believe that is what I’m called to do in this season of my life.
I love sharing the Good News of the gospel with others. May you be blessed by the written pieces that I share. You can contact me by emailing:firstname.lastname@example.org.