As a teenager, I rebelled badly and our relationship deteriorated. I left home and moved in with a boyfriend. It broke my dad’s heart. By the time I studied the Bible in 1983, I had so much hatred in my heart towards my father that I almost did not become a Christian. It was the hardest thing for me to repent of.
I did repent though, and I started repairing my relationship with my dad. I remember thinking that if I did not make it, then my family would never have a chance. Everyone else in my family became a disciple, but my father held back. He fought his own demons for many years before finally getting baptized in 1999, 16 years after me.
I now realize how alike we were, which is probably why we clashed so much. I also realize that in spite of the extreme discipline measures, my dad instilled in me a love of hard work, integrity, and a passion for whatever I do. He also taught me to love the underprivileged and to fight for justice. I am also grateful for the fact that he never held me back. When I announced I was becoming a Christian, he was shocked, but he did not try to stop me. Three years later when I told him I was moving to India, he never tried to convince me otherwise. When he only saw my children and I once a year at most as we lived on the mission field, he never complained.
In fact, he told me often that he loved me. He also repeatedly told me I was beautiful, smart, and I could do anything I set my heart to do. Those words sank deep into my heart growing up and I credit my dad for many of the things I live by today and for the confidence I feel. I have two brothers, but my dad never made me feel any different or less capable because I was a girl.
My father passed away ten years ago after a long battle with cancer. He went to heaven. I am so glad we were able to reconcile and actually do much more than that. We became really close. That was only possible through the blood of Christ.
When I think of my dad, Gerard, looking down from heaven, I am glad I decided to become a disciple.Nadine is a member of the Dubai Intercultural Fellowship.