If you’ve been following my story very long you know that my dad shows up every so often in the stories I tell. Usually about how he wasn’t around for me emotionally. Or even much physically. How perhaps even that lack of relationship may have contributed to some of the trouble I got myself into. While some of those things may be true:
This time I’m taking responsibility for what I didn’t do.
It was only 4 months ago that I finally got up the courage to tell my dad about my past.
If you put it together the 8 years I was in addiction plus the nearly 8 years I’ve been in recovery, that’s a total of 16 years keeping my dad in the dark. And for wholly selfish reasons: I was in fear of what he’d think of me.
Keeping it secret while I was in addiction makes sense. I kept it from everyone. But in recovery and even as I counseled other women through their own struggles, I went to great lengths to keep him hidden from it. Even while I was beginning to write a book, traveling around the country speaking, being interviewed for publications, etc. I kept the reason why safely hidden away.
The truth is everyone was starting to know about it.
My mom. My brothers. My friends. My colleagues. Complete strangers.
All sworn to keep it from my dad because “I wanted to be the one to tell him.”
I was living in freedom from the bondage of my sexual addiction, but I was still going out of my way to keep it a secret from him.
And in doing so, I was not honoring the man who to this day provides the roof over my head. When really all my dad had to do was Google my name and he would have been able to read my whole story.
But I believe the Lord protected him from having to find out that way. I believe the Lord protected him from finding out from someone else. I believe He wanted me to suck it up and face it (isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?).
That moment came 4 months ago.
I was leading a recovery group here Kansas; walking women through the process of confession. That night it was like I read the chapter for the first time. While I wasn’t still struggling in the area sexual addiction anymore, I was still hiding my past and hiding it in a pretty big way.
I was in direct disobedience by keeping my dad in the dark and not giving him the respect his position in my life is required. I knew in my heart that I had one more confession to make and the conviction to do so that evening was relentless.
And would you believe it? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, in more ways than one my dad surprised me with his response to my news. And in his own way commended me for what I had accomplished and encouraged me in what I am trying to do now for others.
It wasn’t until the moment I told him that I finally felt free. Not only to do ministry openly, but free from the secret I was still holding so tightly to. Cause even as I was leading women through recovery and doing all of these “good things” … I was still constantly covering my tracks.
It is now more than ever that I trust my call and I no longer need be in fear living it boldly.