Daddy Issues

This past week, we had the pleasure of listening to Pastor Cole Brown, founding pastor of Emmaus Church, a multi-ethnic church in Portland, and now serves as a missionary helping plant churches in Mexico City, Mexico. Pastor Cole expounded on Daddy Issues, the topic of his recent book. The importance of acknowledging past hurt and recognizing how they inform how we do community with God and people.  

Taina Ramos, Women's Ministry leader, shares thoughts and reflections on Pastor Cole's sermon.  


“I’m not saying daddy issues disappear, I’m saying they don’t have to be your slave master ever again. I’m not saying you’ll never hurt again, I’m saying you don’t have to be controlled by them ever again. “
— Cole Brown

As an altar call was made, I was glued to my chair, face full of tears (and mascara) as my body was trembling. I was afraid that if I stood, my legs would not hold me up. My mind flooded with so many thoughts and questions. I thought I had dealt with my daddy issues. I thought I had forgiven my father and moved on. It had been more than 10 years since I started my journey to forgiveness towards him so why is this sermon affecting me so much if I’ve already forgiven my father?  I speak to him at least twice a week, and we have date nights at least once a month. How could I still have daddy issues?

Pastor Cole began to list the 6 general effects that daddy issues have on people…

  1. Unclear identity

  2. Authority Idolatry

  3. Fear of Failure

  4. Doomed to Repeat

  5. Shame

  6. Anger & Bitterness

yes, I have forgiven my father and am working towards reconciliation, but my response to the hurt my father caused is still there...

One by one they revealed my deepest wounds, some I’ve shared with people and most I haven’t. Pastor Cole helped me realize that yes I have forgiven my father and am working towards reconciliation, but my response to the hurt my father caused is still there and I find myself dishonoring my father in the most subtle ways. I don’t always consider him, he’s not been made a priority and any time spent with him is treated as an appointment I’ve checked off my list of errands. Jesus said, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). I am not honoring my earthly father the way God has called me to. I often find myself justifying my actions by saying, "He doesn't deserve my time" or "I wasn’t a priority to him when I was a child, why should he be a priority to me?"

I realized I was repaying my father by treating him the same way he treated me and my mother and siblings years ago. I was unconsciously making him pay for all of the hurt he had caused so many years ago. I was taking vengeance in my own hands, I was playing God.

I realized I was repaying my father by treating him the same way he treated me and my mother and siblings years ago. I was unconsciously making him pay for all of the hurt he had caused so many years ago. I was taking vengeance in my own hands, I was playing God.

It’s been a few days since this sermon was preached and my mind and heart are still working overtime to figure out how to work through this. I thought back to when I began the process of forgiving my father which didn't happen until I was in my early- to mid-twenties. The year my grandfather passed (my father’s father) I asked my father what his childhood was like. The stories he shared were both comical and heartbreaking. He was not shown much affection or attention. He was considered somewhat of the “black sheep” of the family. My father isn't like his siblings and is often still treated, I think, as if he does not matter or is not good enough.

I am my father’s daughter.

I’ve been to family gatherings and observed how some of them speak down to him, how they dismiss him, how he often says nothing and turns the other cheek. My father adores his family. He has always taught me family is the most important thing after God. My father made sure I knew he loved me, he always told me to never fear any man, he told me I was beautiful, he told me I could do anything I wanted to, that I was the only person who could stand in the way of my dreams. He taught me to never let anyone make me feel less than who God has called me to be- the head and never the tail. My father is a loving, passionate, affectionate, outgoing, fearless, loyal man who never gives up, fights hard for what he wants and never accepts defeat.

I am my father's daughter. Some would even say I am the female version of him; I used to hate that people said that. I’m growing to love it! My father is a dreamer, a visionary, he comes up with these crazy ideas and somehow makes them happen, he is never afraid to fail. I’ve come to admire that about him. It seems to me that my father at some point in his life swore to encourage, build up and love his children ferociously, but in his own way.

Yet he was rarely physically present which drove me to anger and bitterness. How could my father encourage me and build me up to be this fearless women, then leave me to figure it out alone? I didn't understand until I began to ask questions about his childhood, about where he came from, about his relationship with his parents. I began to listen to my father. I no longer demanded answers. I instead decided to listen and understand that my father didn't know any other way because he was raised the same way, if not worse.

listen to your parents’ stories...

I urge you to listen to your parents' stories, to ask questions about their childhood. It’s time to break the cycle, the generational curses that have been passed down from father to son and daughter, from mother to daughter and son. It's time to stand against, not our fathers and mothers, but against the principalities and powers of this world, against one of satan's greatest tools- division amongst families.

It affects how you see yourself, how you relate to others and most dangerous of all, they affect how we relate to God.
— Pastor Cole Brown

Invite people into your life that will challenge you. Pastors, leaders, counselors/therapist. Anyone that would guide you to forgiveness and peace in regards to your daddy issues.

And if you can not speak to your father because its not physically possible, for whatever reason, please fight to believe that our father in Heaven is your father, the father you've always yearned for. So many times in His word God promises He will not forsake us. I see now that He knew we would need to be reminded. I have repeated Psalms 27:10 to myself since I was 16. 

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
— Psalm 27:16

There is no greater father than our Father in heaven, and because I know this, it has made it easier to forgive my earthly father and see him through the eyes that Christ has seen me. But it’s a process and journey, one you do not have to go through alone. Let people in, let the community God has blessed you with walk this narrow path with you. You’re not alone!

I’m not saying daddy issues disappear, I’m saying they don’t have to be your slave master ever again. I’m not saying you’ll never hurt again, I’m saying you don’t have to be controlled by them ever again.
— Pastor Cole Brown

To Papi:

I love you with all of my heart and soul. I’ll never let you go!