By: Lipsia Nuñez
I was raised by my sister’s father, but to this day he is the man I call daddy. Growing up there were happy days mixed with some extremely dark days–it all depended on how much my dad had to drink. I remember as a kid when my father’s drinking was manageable. My sister and I knew that after he’d had a drink or two, it was our chance to score some good allowance money. My dad was very friendly and so during his weekend alcohol-filled parties he would invite the neighbors over and we all partied Miami-style until my mom sent us to sleep.
It was all fun and games until daddy started to be a “mean drunk.” He no longer had control over his drinking, and at a very young age I remember him doing unimaginable things to my mom. My mom, the one who did everything in her power to keep my sister and I safe. There were moments when my dad would come home and my sister and I would hide in our rooms in fear. We’d then hear thumps on the walls, followed by my mom screaming and crying in the living room. The police officers were frequent visitors and they knew the drill for Apartment #5. They would say to my mom “ma’am would you like to press charges?” But the answer was always the same, “No, officer. It was just this one time incident”. I remember my mother being so scared that she would sleep with a machete underneath her bed (!!!).
My dad was always in and out of the picture; he would disappear for months and when he returned my sister and I only hoped that he was sober and that, maybe this time, we would be a happy family. That was never case. It seemed that each time he returned, he was more addicted to alcohol, drugs and women–he rationed our food, threw a pot of boiling water on my mom’s skin as she showered, brought “lady friends” to our Thanksgiving dinner, and even pushed me down the stairs. I remember it all.
But, I am still daddy’s girl.
You see, in all my chaos, fear and turmoil I always knew there was a God and at a very young age I learned about Jesus. I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 7 years old, and through all those dark and scary nights I always knew that my heavenly father was looking after me.
“We love because he first loved us.” (John 4:19)
So many times when I share my childhood story people say, “Lipsia, you must hate that man.” But to their surprise I always say that my dad, Rafael, is the best dad ever! My mother, who went through unthinkable things, never spoke badly about him and always told my sister and I that we had to forgive him. In my eyes, even though my father hurt my mother, my sister and myself, he was the easiest person to forgive. I could not hold a grudge against him because I understood that I could love because God loved me first. If my heavenly father loved me, how could I not love and forgive my earthly father? I will not lie, there were times when it was difficult to love, but again I KNEW that it’s what God was calling me to do.
I see my dad through eyes of love, mercy and grace. I see a man who is in dire need of Jesus, a man who now lives a life full of regret and a man who is too prideful to say sorry. I love my daddy with all my heart, I have forgiven him and with my sister I know that one day soon he too will be a follower of Jesus. So yes, I do see myself as a daddy’s girl because through it all he is my dad and I will honor him always.
No matter who has hurt you or what you have been through, our heavenly father loves you and you too have access to a heart of forgiveness. I know that it is not easy and that it hurts and it hurts badly. Just remember that you have the ability to love because He loved you first. In all of our messes and mistakes He loved us first. Forgive, love and be free.
Major foodie and lover of life, Lipsia Nuñez is currently working towards a master’s degree in speech language pathology and works at a school for children with autism. Since high school she has worked with special needs kids to acclimate them into society. Her dream and passion is to see them grow up and successfully integrate themselves into the world.
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