Healing From the
Wounds of a Father

By Vanessa Horabuena

Acknowledging Pain Allows us to Heal

While all of us wish that our fathers were picture perfect...for many that is not the case. With that said, the goal of this post is not to highlight the failures and faults of our dads, but rather address wounds that lay beneath the surface, while gaining understanding, compassion and allowing for a greater level of healing. I will touch on some specific topics, but not all topics, that fall under abuse or wounds. My goal here is to help us to gain perspective on the role of a father and the impact it may have on you or anyone who has been wounded by their father. I also want to give tools and tips on healthy steps to take to begin that journey of healing and forgiveness.

When we ignore wounds, they fester, but when we tend to them, they heal.

A Father’s Divine Calling

Fathers carry a powerful and God-ordained role. There is something more spiritual about their impact than we will ever know. The enemy understands this, and that is why he works so hard throughout the world, to dismantle the family and in particular, he targets fathers.

If the enemy can take out a father, he can impact the entire family and shake a child to their core. But God...He can restore what was broken, what was stolen, & what was destroyed.

Fathers have a special anointing on them to set and solidify the identity in their child's heart. Their words, their teachings, their presence hold more weight than any other person on earth. While a mother is called to nurture and care for their child, the identity of a child is called out by their father. A fatherless child will struggle in this world with their identity, their value and their self worth.

A Father's Presence

There is no greater attribute of a man than his presence. It is the ability for him to be centered, authentic, and rooted in the confidence of who he is. It is a strong faith, a deep connection and a consistent life led from knowing who he is in the Lord. it is his ability to model the attributes of the Lord.

When fathers are not present, and do not take the time to instill identity into their children, insecurity sets in. The message sent from an absent father to their child is often interpreted as "You're not worth my time." If you had an absent father, you understand that all too well. It strikes at the core of your self value. However, a father who is present and shows up for their child sends the message "you are worth my time, you are valuable to me." This sends a message of validation to the core of who a child is. It is rooted so deep, that the outside world can rage against it, and yet it will not penetrate the confidence instilled by their father.

If a man was not modeled how to be a present man, a good father, or a healthy leader...Even if he wanted to give those things to his children, he may not know how. And this is where the generational patterns set it and the script rewrites itself over and over again.

But, there is hope in knowing who you are...and that ultimately comes from the Lord. He is the father that we all were created by, and our identity lies in Him alone.

Words Spoken, Wounds Created

The Word tells us, "Life and Death are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21) I believe this truth is why the weight of the words a father speaks over their sons or daughters carries so much power. Likewise, the words that they fail to speak can also have huge consequences. The words of a father are to speak life and identity into their children. But when they have been modeled unhealthy ways of speaking, and they themselves have an issue with their identity, it can oftentimes carry over into how they father and how they speak to their children. If they were not modeled how to speak life to their children, they may struggle because they are speaking from a place of lack of knowing who they are. If a son was verbally abused, it will impact his identity and can impact the way he one day speaks to his own children. If he doesn't feel he is enough, he may struggle to say that his kids are enough. Behind verbal abuse is insecurity. But this can be healed when we begin to walk in our true identity.

Science has discovered that in our breath, our very own DNA can be found. And back in 2000, scientists also discovered the YHWH Code written in our very DNA. God, our Father inscribed His name in our DNA. Imagine that, everytime you speak, your DNA with God's name goes out into the world. This is why healing in our identity can only come from the Lord. Because when He speaks of who you are, His Name resonates in your very DNA. You are His.

How to Heal

A great deal of compassion is always required to be present in order to bring about true and lasting healing. Compassion for ourselves, and also compassion for others. Resentment, and anger may feel self-serving, but the truth is, those feelings being harbored are more often than not, feelings that will keep us attached to the deceptive works of the enemy.

I believe the best way to heal wounds from our fathers is to remember that first...they were a son. They were a son to their father, and they may have been hurt, wounded, abandoned or even abused. Understanding the consequences of these failures, allows us to understand how and why our fathers may have raised us in ways that they did.

Even deeper than that...remembering that more importantly than being your father, they are a son of God. And that their identity is, like yours, wrapped up in who the Lord is... but they may have no idea, being so impacted first by their own life experiences with their own dad. Sometimes we have to step back, and remove ourselves from the equation to gain a better understanding or perspective. When we release our fathers from the results of the hurt they may have caused, we can more freely begin the work of healing in our own lives. And it is work.

Having Compassion For Ourselves

Having compassion for ourselves is a huge and important step. Instead of feeling shame, embarrassment or feeling like we are not valid in our feelings, we have to acknowledge for our own sake that our wounds and hurts are valid. I wish I could say that acknowledgment is the first step, but it's only the beginning.

The work of healing takes time. Learning to separate the wounds of our fathers, from the character and intentions of God, takes time and patience as we learn how our Father in Heaven views us, and desires that we be treated. It can be uncomfortable at times to lean into and understand that He is the one who sets the bar, He sets the value, and He paid the price for your order to call you His own.

The enemy is the one who works to destroy the family. But the Lord restores. I have personally seen that in my own life with my own parents. The Lord got a hold of them and turned their lives around when I was in my late 20s. They remarried and God has turned them into new people. If we want to be a healed generation, we must also extend that gift to the previous generation. Sometimes that can mean letting them go, and giving them to the Lord as we press on in our walk. We cannot control others, we can only love them and hope for the best, and celebrate when God's love wins out!

He can turn the worst situations around and all He asks is that we take His hand and allow Him to walk it out with Him.

Healthy Environments

I believe we underestimate how important healthy environments are. God first created the environments on earth, making sure that they were good, and able to sustain life before creating the creatures and people who would fill this place.

Setting up an environment for growth and healing is more than just making sure your house is a peaceful place. It also is important that your relationships are healthy: that the community and company you hold are healthy individuals who are helping you to grow as you walk in your healing. Surrounding yourself with encouraging and compassionate people will expedite the healing process. They will model to you how you are to be treated. They will model it through how they treat others and how they allow others to treat them. Through that experience you can begin building your confidence and your self worth.

Healthy Father Figures

Pray and ask God to send healthy father figures into your life.

Pray specifically for safe and Godly parents who can help parent you along in a healthy way. It doesn't matter what age you are, we need the older generation to help guide us and share their experience. Ask the Lord to send people who will love you, and gently help you to grow as you walk out your journey. Seeing how healthy fathers operate can show you a whole new world and a whole new perspective on how God intended fathering to be.

Putting Your Heavenly Father First in Your life

One of the saddest results of abuse is that it impacts our relationship with the Lord. Men were made in the very image of God, to walk in His ways and in His likeness. In many ways, a father is to model the Lord: His love, His gentleness, His Wisdom, His kindness, His protective nature, His provision, His Loyalty, His commitment and His faithfulness to his children. But we live in a fallen world. And when that modeling is skewed and abusive, hurtful or negligent, it can oftentimes cause us to think, without realizing it, that God is the same way. But, God is above the imperfections of man. He is perfect. While the enemy may try to use hurt to throw a wrench in your relationship with the Lord, the truth of who God is, makes Him the safest relationship to have.

I would like to challenge you to take a piece of paper and write down the unhealthy attributes of your father that you may have carried over into your belief system of the character of the Lord. Take your time and be as honest as you can. Take time to pray, and ask God to show you the truth of who He is, of His character, and of His love for you. This may be one of the most impactful conversations you have with the Lord. Who He is, is truly the core of who you are.

Earlier in this blog I talked about how the Lord inscribed His name in our DNA. His DNA is inscribed in yours. The good news is, that even if you had the healthiest father in the world...he would still fall short, but The Lord does not. To hear a Word from the Lord, to have Him speak directly to your heart, no matter what upbringing you is life-changing. Spending time with the Lord, and hearing from Him, is the ultimate goal in Know put Him first...and to walk in the identity that He has called us to walk.

Honoring Your Earthly Father Despite Hurt

The wonderful thing about healing is that it begins a work in our life and in the lives of others that is unstoppable. It has the ability to go deep into our hearts and to change us, and change how we view ourselves and how we view others. I find that the biggest impact in healing the generations is the impact made from the children to the parents. This happens when, despite hurt, pain and wounds, children extend truth, love and compassion to their parents. This Father’s Day I would like to challenge you to take a step back and view your father through the lens of compassion and understanding of how the Lord sees him as his son. If your father is still alive today, write down all of the great things that you admire about him, and more importantly write down how the Lord sees out his greatness and break the cycle in your family. If your father has passed, and is no longer with you, I encourage you to take time in prayer and for you to also write a letter to your dad. Write the things you admire about him, and also the things that God saw in him. This letter is for you more than for him. One of the top ten commandments is for us to Honor our mothers and our fathers. This is more about you walking in His likeness than about your parents earning or deserving a certain treatment. Honor them...and walk in the Light of His Likeness.

A Visual Reminder of the Intimacy and Closeness We can Have in Him

Below is a painting I created called Intimacy with God...It is a picture of how close we can be despite the pain and disappointment of life.

Also, here are a few blog posts that might help you further in your journey.


Intimacy with God

It is common amongst abuse survivors, especially pertaining to those who have gone through childhood abuse, that nearness to the Lord can be difficult. For me, it had the opposite effect. In fact, the safest place for me to be is in the presence of the Lord. His intentions are always good, and are never to harm those in His care. He didn't create us to be abused, but created us with the ability to cope, so that we could survive if we needed to. I want you to know that the Lord loves you, He is safe, in fact He is the safest place you could ever find yourself. Your heart is always securely held in the palm of His hands.