Search for Significance

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Guest Post by Dana Arcuri

Father’s Day hasn’t always been a day for celebrating my dad. For many years it was a heartbreaking reminder of a lifetime filled with disappointment, disillusionment, and pain.

After my father’s adulterous affair, my parents divorced. At two years of age, I was the youngest of five girls and completely unaware of the family dynamics. No sooner had my dad left than he quickly remarried the “other woman”.

During the 1960’s, divorce was rare and frowned upon. My new single mom was shunned from the Catholic Church. Her priest angrily warned, “You will burn in hell!” Feeling hurt and condemned, my mother vowed to never again step foot into a church.

Shortly thereafter, she bravely packed her old station wagon with household belongings and five young daughters. We relocated out of state where we could start a new life. Many years passed before we saw our dad again.

Once we were old enough to travel by plane, my dad sent airfare for my sisters and me to visit. Each summer, we would briefly spend time with him. To complicate matters, we were confronted with a new step-mother and two step-sisters. As a little girl this never made sense to me, especially when visits were limited to a few weeks out of an entire year. How could an innocent child possibly comprehend that this stranger was her dad?

It’s no wonder summer visits with my father and his new family were an emotional rollercoaster. Competing with seven other females for his love, acceptance, and attention was a tall order for me. It usually ended in a cat-scratching battle, which led to me sobbing in despair. Year after year, I was forced to face rejection, loss, and sadness.

The most gut-wrenching part of visiting my father was saying goodbye. I knew it meant I wouldn’t see him for over a year. How do you say goodbye and let go of someone you’ve never had? Most challenging of all, how do you go on living and acting as if your life is fine when your heart has been ripped to shreds?

Growing up with an absent parent was a chronic festering wound. A resentful and rebellious teen, I made great attempts at covering the emptiness in my life. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Drinking, drugs, and promiscuous behavior left me feeling even more worthless and unacceptable.

Being brought up in a dysfunctional home without the positive influence of a supportive father or Christian faith led to my living a wild, secular lifestyle. Outwardly, it appeared that I had my life intact, but there was a deep hole in my heart. Nothing could fill the void—not college, employment, men, or money.

I eventually settled down to marry my high school sweetheart and start a family of our own. This is when it became more apparent that I had deeply-rooted and unresolved issues. Once I began soul-searching, I realized what had been missing from my life all along was Jesus.

On a cold winter morning in December 1992, I accepted my sister’s invitation to attend her church. For the first time I discovered my Heavenly Father’s love. Despite my poor life choices, inadequacies, and sin, Christ accepted me just as I was.

 

{Please continue to the conclusion of Dana’s story.}

P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two  books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen

Dana Arcuri is a faith-inspired writer, contributing author, blogger and licensed beauty expert.  She is a passionate, heart-felt writer who provides her readers encouragement, hope and inspiration as she shares her love of Christ. Her articles have been published by Escalate Media for TotallyHer.com and she has been published as a contributing author in Inspired Women Succeed, released in 2011. Dana can be contacted by email at dana122163@comcast.net or by visiting her blog at http://writing4theheart-n-soul.blogspot.com/.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

4 thoughts on “Search for Significance

  1. Dana,
    Thanks for being honest & sharing your journey – I look forward to reading more tomorrow…. I understand how it feels competeing for attention you’ll never feel you’ll get – not by 7 others (or was that 7 total) women, women at that!! To be a child of divorce myself, it’s not just the father I tried to gain approval from, but my mother too. Once I thought gained, then & now still realizing its just fake… I still have a lot to work out & am praying my way through, as that’s all I know to do. Thankful for a mostly understanding hubby, but just waiting for him to pull the rug out from under me too. Needing lot’s o faith, trust in God, and love & prayers.
    Hugs, HL

  2. Heather, I appreciate the time you took to read and comment on my post. An important daily reminder is that we are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect fallen world. People will disappoint us, hurt us and frustrate us.

    Our hope is not in the world…rather, our hope is in Jesus. He said, “In this world there will be trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

    Therefore, no matter how troubling our earthly relationships, we must run to Jesus who graciously provides abundant peace, love and reassurance. My prayer is that you run to your Heavenly Father who is waiting for you with open arms. His constant faith will never let us down and is overflowing!

    Warm Hugs,
    Dana Arcuri

  3. Dana, your “dad story” is much like mine with my mother, except you get to experience a restored relationship before it is too late. Praise God that He led you to this place of peace, and has given you back the father that you had lost for so many years. Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey with us.
    Hugs,
    Susan

    • Susan, forgiving my dad never would have happened if God left it up to me to make the decision. In our own flesh, we fall flat on our faces. But with the grace of God we are able to see things in a whole new light. It’s humbling, empowering & life-changing!

      Warm Hugs,
      Dana

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