From Judy, 43…
Every time Judy’s birthday, anniversary or other event involving gifts came around, there would be tension in the home. According to Judy, her husband, Dan, would never get it right. Either he would spend too much money on her, or way too little, or he would get her something in a color she thought she made clear she hated. Somehow it was never good enough. Needless to say, Dan was frustrated. He loved Judy very much and wanted to make her feel special on her day, but he was starting to give up trying. In his mind, no matter what he did, Judy would not be happy.
A few weeks before their 10-year anniversary, Judy suggested to Dan that they celebrate their big day in July instead of its actual date in December. Money was very tight that year, and she proposed that if they waited, they would have a better time together. Dan agreed and looked forward to celebrating their anniversary in July on the day he asked her to marry him.
The December anniversary arrived, and Dan gave Judy a big hug, told her how happy he was with her and how much he loved her. At ten o’clock that night Judy lay in bed with tears flooding her pillow. She couldn’t believe that Dan did nothing special to celebrate their anniversary – even though she had asked him not to. Dan was very confused and frustrated.
Judy met with me about this, and with God’s help, we discovered the source of her emotional pain was rooted in an event that happened long before she had ever met Dan.
It was Judy’s 16th birthday. She was in the living room when her father came home from an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. He had been sober for less than a year. He tossed a little dog-shaped figurine on her lap and said, “Here. My AA sponsor told me to get you something for your birthday.” This was actually the first gift she remembered her father ever giving her. She picked up the dog and noticed the price tag still attached: 59 cents. Ouch. She didn’t even like dogs.
Because of this event, Judy had believed that she was only worth 59 cents. In her young mind, her father was declaring his value for her. She didn’t want to believe this and kept trying to get her husband and others to prove it wasn’t true. But her efforts were no match for what she truly believed about herself. After all, fathers aren’t supposed to be wrong.
Thankfully, God has more authority than our parents. We asked God what He thought Judy was worth. Judy could see (in her mind’s eye) God enter the room of this painful memory. He held Judy’s hand and placed a beautiful ring on her finger. He told her how proud He was to call her His daughter. Judy was able to forgive her father and receive God’s powerful gift of love.
I’m happy to say that Judy’s life is changed. She no longer relives the pain of the past whenever it’s gift-getting time, and she is able to communicate better her wants and needs from Dan. And now that she is no longer a moving target he is unable to please, gift-giving has become enjoyable for him as well.
It’s interesting that Judy’s experience with her father, although painful, was not what I would call extreme abuse compared to physical or sexual abuse. But her hurt was real, and it was having a big impact on the quality of her life – especially for the first ten years of her marriage. She had tried to fix the pain by changing her husband’s behavior, as well as trying not to want or need gifts at all, but that didn’t work. Her problem was rooted in the past. Thankfully, God can take us back to the source of our first pain and give us a new experience with Him that changes everything!
His love is amazing!
If Judy’s story brought something to mind in your life that you would like help with, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your own appointment for emotional renovation.
This story is true and was posted with permission. The names were changed to ensure privacy.