When it hurts to be happy…{Or the gift of the family secret}

ROCKPORT SUNRISE 2012 Copyright Sheila Kimball

Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:8

Today would have been my daddy’s 78th birthday. And in the last week he has been on my mind, close to my heart where mixed emotions swirl.

I love my dad. I have forgiven him. In the last ten years of his life {he died in 2001} me and my sons enjoyed a closeness and a peace with him that was not experienced in my growing up years where his alcohol addiction ruled our family.

And in this year at Longings End with our one word from God being BREAKOUT, I must confess I had no idea where God was leading on the ever continuing journey of sanctification and healing. When God “tells” me something,  I can second guess wondering if it is just my own thoughts and desires. But He has confirmed time and time again since January that He is BREAKing us OUT of what remains that keeps us bound.

And BREAKingOUT is hard work, even though it is by His grace, even though He holds me through the process.

In families where alcohol or some other dysfunction plays a part there is often such secrecy and shame that any shedding of light on the subject is seen as disloyalty. So herewith I state a disclaimer:

I LOVE MY DADDY…the one God chose for me. I understand how broken my dad was and his dad and his dad before him in a long line of generational dysfunction. Quite frankly, there is alcoholism on both sides of my family tree.

And God tells us to forget the past because all things are new. YES and AMEN!

Yet an appropriateness remains in working through the past as the Lord directs so that we can release it and move forward, unhindered, into all the mighty blessings He has waiting for us, his beloved babies.

So while I may struggle with some characteristic traits related to being an adult child of an alcoholic {and the same characteristics seem to hold true for adult children raised by mentally ill parents or adult children who have been emotionally or sexually abused or suffered some other childhood trauma} and not do everything perfectly, I keep pressing onward in my recovery, my sanctification, holding onto Christ with both hands especially when the road is a little rocky.

Because I am who I am in Christ Jesus!

And even though I passed on this family dysfunction to my precious children, I also passed on Jesus to them the best I could. And the God that sets me free-er each day, is there for them as well.

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For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Tender mercies…
How kind is my Lord to lead me to Isaiah this morning and a verse which even includes the word BREAKOUT! A gift for me on my daddy’s birthday!

God is good and for me no matter what with a LOVE I purpose to comprehend and receive more each day. Loving me so much that it overwhelms me. And He is there for you too, and for all of us!

No matter what the legacy of our family line, we all can grow up in the Lord, having our inner child hearts healed of all their wounds and we can walk forward to live the life he created us for. So in looking forward, here are my humble thoughts and my wishes for my dad…


Happy Birthday, my dearest daddy.

I love you and look forward to seeing you again one day when we will hold each other tenderly as never before and all will be made right. The legacy you left, the one that was left to you, is a hard one, but without it perhaps I never would have sought the Lord. I may never have found the gift of forgiveness in Christ. And I have no doubt that the God who chose your parents for you and chose mine for me did so out of Love and in an effort to draw us to Himself.

And today on your birthday, Daddy,  I choose to recall the good memories I have of you…

How you would tiptoe past my bedroom predawn on your way to work and pull the covers over me. Always a light sleeper, I knew you were there but pretended to be asleep. That small token was a huge gift of your love for me.

I recall with delight you taking me out for ice cream at that roadside stand right off the Saw Mill Parkway on Yonkers Avenue. Yum!

I remember you singing “my song” to me.

Or bringing home live lobsters or shrimp chow mein from Moon’s Chinese Food for dinner. {All you ever ordered was shrimp chow mein and I grew up believing that was the extent of the Chinese take out menu!! It would be years before I recovered from this and learned the truth! :)}

Thank you for working like a bull in a blue collar job no matter if you were sick or the weather was bad. You always got up and went to work to provide for us. And even later, you were generous with money and acts of service for me and the boys.

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And God gave me a treasure trove of sweet memories of you once your heart had changed in those last ten years. You became such a loving, wonderful granddad, dad and friend. And you always told me how much you loved Mommy and that she would always be your wife in your heart. And in a tangled up way that didn’t make much sense to me as a kid, that blessed my heart because I know you did.

You did the best you could with all that life had handed you, with the awful pain and terrible fear you yourself grew up with.

I am not sure if you ever realized how much Christ loves you, but He does, then and now. Me, too, and while I am first His Daughter, I will alway be …
~your sheila

The song my dad always sang to me.

Heart Cry by Sheila KimballIs someone you know hurting? Or maybe your own heart is breaking? Heart Cry, 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul  Purchase your copy today at our Heart Cry eStore.


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2 thoughts on “When it hurts to be happy…{Or the gift of the family secret}

  1. Sheila, I really enjoyed reading your beautiful tribute to your father. It is a sacrificial and loving gift in his memory. I am excited to read your Breakout Manifesto. Thanks for sharing.

    Blessings, Sara

    • You are so welcome, Sara. Would love to hear your reaction/comments to BREAKOUT Manifesto when you get a chance…

      is so very good. We are the apple of His eye no matter what we have
      been through, no matter what we have done. He LOVES US LIKE CRAZY even
      when we may act a little crazy 🙂

      And He is in the healing
      business, making our hearts whole through His Holiness so that we can
      first receive His love and then love others as He does. Too wonderful
      for words sometimes and that is when I stop, and like a little child
      climb up in to His lap and just let Him hold me while all this wonder,
      this grace, sinks in…

      Blessings to you…