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They sat before me at the brink of tears saying:

“Why was I not valuable enough for my father to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day? Oh, that's right his girlfriends were more important.”

“My father told me that he loved me for the first time over the phone as I said goodbye when I was 32 years old heading to a deployment to Iraq.”

“My father always does things for everyone else but never for our family, he was never there for me.”

“I wanted my mother to leave my father because all he did was mistreat and beat her, I wished he would just die, so he was diagnosed with cancer, only then did I feel sorry for him.”

"What possible reason could my mother have for leaving me to now come years later with excuses I should accept?


In each of these cases there were parents physically present yet so engrossed in the responsibilities of the household or their own priorities they missed benchmarks in their children's lives. Those children now adults, recollect memories of their parents as "pain pockets" from their past. I claim one of the statements cited yet thank the Lord my mother was the ever-present parent making up for my father's shortfalls (I have forgiven him—Thank you Lord for your help, it was not easy.) The sad truth is children are left pondering assumptions about incompetencies within themselves which later festers into vengeance-filled indignation projected toward their parents. How can a child reconcile the fact that they were brought into a situation with people whom they rely on for love, protection, and security to become discarded like trash, replaced by strangers, and forgotten as yesterdays news?

The question of theodicy arises here clearly: "How would God allow a child to have to suffer by their own parents? The thought is appalling yet is the reality many sons and daughters face. Those of us who listen to such comments would immediately think those parents don't deserve to have children! Thank God his volitional love for us is not nuanced with conditions. In spite of the fact substandard parents exist, God still allows the gift of conception, child bearing and rearing to happen allowing someone to break the cycle of pain.

"That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past."

Ecclesiastes 3:5 NKJV

History repeats itself, in some cases ultimately destroying the adult repeating what became "acceptable behavior" witnessed as a child continuing the legacy of pain. Some parents substitute the love and attention of a man or woman for the love of a child. Other parents attenuate the importance of a child's needs by indulging in their own needs. However, the life we were gifted by God has a story in current execution and we are required to fulfill the role of our life. Just as the end of the verse in Ecclesiastes states we will be held accountable for our actions. Although in some narratives the details involve a life filled with suffering at the hands of parents it does not etch in stone the requirement to repeat their mistakes by making them your own.

"A daughter needs a Dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men."

This question merits repeating in concise form, how does a child reconcile having endured a childhood of parentlessness? The answer: by establishing a legacy of the extreme opposite; be the difference you did not experience as a child for your children. A condition of living in this fallen world is sharing residence with the evil surrounding us. But God.....oh how I love "But God statements and moments! Scripture shows how God steps in when parents don't

"Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless..."

Psalm 68:4-5 NIV

This question also merits repeating in its entirety "How could God allow a child to suffer by their own parents? The answer: its not his choice, although he is all powerful and able to intercede on those ocassions there are times when suffering is allowed to strengthen a person's character with the expectation of fostering change. A parent is accountable for their own actions just as the child will be accountable for theirs. In the absence of a responsible parent God is there to fill the void.

For my father and my mother have left me. But the Lord will take care of me.

Psalm 27:10 NLV


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Meet the Writers


Doris Santiago

Doris was born in the United States in 1970; she is 53 years young. She is married, mother of two, stepmother of two children. She studied Psychology at Columbia College, Missouri and obtained her Master in Pastoral Counseling at Liberty University, Virginia. She has been in Women's Ministry since 2008. She is a retired United States Army veteran currently residing in Columbia, Tennessee and manages AmaTodos Ministries as Pastoral Counselor in private practice.

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Carmen Serrano

Carmen is native of Puerto Rico. Born in 1949; she is 74 years young. She was married for 24 years, mother of two, grandmother of four. She studied Christian Ministry iin Mizpa College in San Juan, Puerto Rico. her main calling has been "missionary to her family" She arduously worked in church ministry as General Secretary, Youth and Adult Bible School Instructor, Bible School Superintendent and Marriage Counselor. She currently resides in Seattle, Washington and actively functions in Women's Ministry providing administrative support. 

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