God makes children in His image, but parents have a way of reshaping that image by how they treat them. This sad letter from a wayward teenager to her daddy reflects the devastating power in parenting and the reactionary choices that teens can make.
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It has taken me a long time to get the nerve to write this letter. Now that I’m on my own and the chaos of your home is in the past, I’ve had time to think about a few things. This letter will be hard for both of us, but I figured if I did not do it now, I never would write what is on my heart.
So, here it goes. I suppose this will come across as a rant from a rebellious teen. Maybe it is. My hope is that you’ll not just read the lines, but read between them too. Yes, I’m angry. I’ve been mad for many years. That’s an understatement, but you know this.
In the past, you focused on my anger and blamed me for my attitude. I know I have a responsibility for my actions. I get that, but our problems go both ways—and much more in-depth than who’s at fault. For once I want you to set aside your blame and listen to mine. Yes, I’m blaming you.
It Was a Bad Trip
I hurt inside. I have struggled for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I saw you as my everything. You were my protector, so I thought. I also thought you loved and cared for me. I guess that is how most little girls believe.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that your protective and loving care was more about my wants than a reality that you offered or even discerned. My earliest memory of you is that of an angry man. I used to think your anger was justified, so when you yelled at me, it was because I did something wrong.
I suppose I did do some things wrong but never realized you were just an angry, miserable man. You needed someone to fuss at, and I was an easy target for you. You seemed to not yell as much at my brother. Maybe that was because he was like you.
You always made me feel different and weird. At first, I felt the guilt for your blame. How could you be wrong? You were the adult in the room, and I was the child—what do kids know? Dad is always right. That is the lie I bought.
It wasn’t until my teen years before I realized you were full of it, and I was not as bad of a person as I thought I was. By that time, I had already given up on you loving or protecting me.
But it was worse than that, dad. I not only gave up, but I was furious because of the guilt you laid on me. You put me on a bad trip that I stayed on for over ten years. TEN YEARS, dad. That is how long I felt twisted up inside.
The Day I Checked Out
Do you know the day when I realized that I was not as bad as you made me feel? Do you remember Jimmie Rodgers? The seventeen-year-old boy who moved next door to us in Silver Springs? Jimmie liked me, which weirded me out at first. I was only thirteen.
I couldn’t believe anyone would like me. I gave Jimmie such a hard time. I made fun of him, got angry at him, and was a pain in his rear-end for the most part. Then one day I realized that he did like me and it was for real. I was so naive, but his “love” stirred something. We began secretly dating, which I don’t know why it had to be hidden. I guess I was trained not to share anything with you because you would say something crass or disapproving.
We dated for two years. Does that surprise you? Do you care? Jimmie was the first person that I had sex with, and, honestly, I didn’t know what sex was and didn’t care one way or the other. He asked me if I wanted to, and I said that I did, so we did it. I didn’t like it, but since he liked me, which is what I wanted, I figured what the heck—I might as well.
That was the beginning of many bad things for me. Once Jimmie got me in the bed, he started treating me differently. He became more rude, demanding, and unkind. He began to become like you. I soon learned all men were the same no matter how old they were.
I’ve Been Setup to Fail
It didn’t take long for me to play the game too. Boys like sex. Girls love attention. I dumped Jimmie and became a player. Boys are so dumb. Their minds are in their pants. I became a little manipulator.
With a smile and wink, you can get pretty much anything you want from a guy. My cuteness became my weapon and my downfall. They would fawn all over me, but after a while, it became a pain. Boys were annoying, and none of them loved me anyway.
Is every guy in the world a selfish pig? Are all these guys that I slept with just their version of what you are? Where can a girl find love and security? The farther I went with boys, the angrier I became.
My anger was not primarily directed toward them because I was using them. I directed my rage at you. You’re the one who set me up for failure; you were the first person to reject me. You’re the one who created this deep, crazy longing in my heart.
Here I sit in my apartment more empty than I have ever been in my life. I’ve had sex more times than I can remember. I drink alcohol and smoke weed to mask the pain, but the pain won’t leave. I have no person I can talk to and appealing to you only reaps your blame.
I’m not even sure why I’m writing this. I guess at some level of my heart I hope you would get a clue and care. I hope you would own the wrongs you have done and admit you’re a miserable, angry man who has created an unhappy, angry little girl.
I doubt that will ever happen. You’re an angry old man, and I’m not your little girl anymore. To be eighteen and this broken is not right. I don’t know what right is, but this is not right. I’m messed up. The more I write this letter, the more hopeless I feel.
Sacrificing Morals for Love
Yes, I’ve done cutting too. I’ve found a few other girls who are about as miserable as I am, and that is what they taught me. It was scary at first, but after a few hits of weed, it wasn’t that bad.
To feel the blood running down my arm while high was relieving. For a brief moment, I felt as though all the pain was gone. It was like the anger was dripping to the floor. But when the trip was over it was back to the same old hell.
Are you feeling bad now, dad? I hope so. In some sadistic way, I hope you care about me and what I’m telling you makes you feel guilty. If that doesn’t, then brace yourself. I’ve done a lot worse than what you have read thus far.
Do you know how you used to rant about gay people? Guess what? Your little girl is one. How does that make you feel? Ever since I had sex with Jimmie Rogers and a dozen other guys, it never felt right. Those guys were just like you: little, angry, selfish men.
They cared for me the way you did: they didn’t care. I’ve never felt loved in my life until I met Sarah. She is the first person to ever care about who I am as a person. I have never cared a lot about sex, and I don’t care a lot about being a lesbian, but there is something I do care about and long for—to be loved by a kind person.
I was willing to give up my body to find love, and that didn’t work. I tried alcohol, drugs, and cutting to hide my cravings for care from someone—that didn’t work either. Then I met Sarah. She is kind, compassionate, and loving. She encourages me and takes an interest in me.
I don’t know how long we will be lovers or what our life will look like in the future, but for now, it works. We call this pragmatism. Do you know what that means? Probably not. It means the only thing that matters is the result. The process is irrelevant.
For me, only one thing matters—I have been waiting all my life to be encouraged, loved, cared for, and protected. Sarah is as close as I have ever come to it. It feels good, even better than I ever imagined.
Created in the Image of Dad
I’m sure you’re having a coronary right now. Oh well. I hate it for you. Every time you yelled at me and sent me to my room, you were driving the wedge between us. What were you thinking?
Each time you stayed out all night or missed one of my events, how did you think that was going to end? When you called me a whore, were you expecting me to get saved? Were these some of your evangelistic methods? Hey dad, it didn’t work.
I’m your creation—your little girl made in your image. You can float that around your men’s group. Go ahead; tell them what a whore your little girl is, and now you found out she’s a lesbo too.
But don’t forget to tell the whole truth. Tell your buddies about your double life. Tell them about how you have never loved me and how you even called me “the mistake.” Maybe somebody will ask you how that made me feel. If they do, give them a copy of this letter. Your mistake is not your little girl anymore. I’m all grown up.
The Battle Is Not Over
This letter is fictional. It is not about any person, but a compilation of many teenage girls that I have counseled. If you’ve never tried to help anyone like this, I’m sure it is hard-hitting. I’m also sure it weighs heavy on your soul, as it should. Friends, this letter is genuine. There is nothing made up or out of the ordinary—in the sense that it is real for more teenage girls than you may imagine.
My soul grieves for them. I hope your soul does too. As we go to our local church meetings this Sunday and sing our beautiful songs and enjoy each other, let’s not fool ourselves. Everything is not okay in the body of Christ. There are families in our churches who are being ravaged by sin. There are millions of dads who are messing up their little girls (and boys).
While I love Christ with all my heart and have an optimistic perspective because of the gospel, I’m a realist too. And though I will always put the accent on the grace of God, I will not bury my head in the sand while doing so. People are hurting in unimaginable ways.
There Is One More Love out There
If you are a young lady who has had a similar experience as my fictional friend in this story, may I appeal to you? There is one more love still out there who you have not tried. His name is Jesus. His affection is pure, non-condemning, and everlasting.
Perhaps you have been ripped off by your earthly father. Maybe you have chosen to walk on the dark side of life because you felt as though it was the only thing you could do. It’s not.
There is another answer. My appeal to you is to lay your anger, hurt, bitterness, and disappointment down—give it to Christ. Let Him take your sin, and you receive His righteousness. Let His life envelop you—become born again.
If this resonates with you, talk to us and let us know. We can put you in touch with a counselor who would love to walk you through what it means to become a Christian. Perhaps you are a Christian, but you have lost your way. Maybe you were born again, but the past still haunts you, and it seems impossible to shake the bondage of your hurt and anger. There is hope for you too.
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If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things. Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Romans 8:31-35).