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  • Feb22Fri

    Good, Good Father

    When I felt lost and alone, God met me in my brokenness. February 22, 2019 by Tamara Randlesome
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    “God is using my story to bring hope and courage to others,” says Tamara Randlesome
    “God is using my story to bring hope and courage to others,” says Tamara Randlesome
    I didn’t see it coming when my father left. One day, he just told me he was leaving, that I couldn’t go with him and that he wouldn’t be back. I was seven years old.

    My mother stepped up and did whatever it took to raise her family as a single parent. She always put us first, sacrificing her own hopes and dreams. She taught us about God, and faith has always been part of my life.

    But it was hard for me to see God as a good father when my father could so easily walk away and never look back. I grew up feeling abandoned and unloved, and it made me look for love in the wrong places.

    When I was 17, I met a guy who seemed to be my knight in shining armour. At first, he said all the right things and treated me well, but then my fairy tale turned into a nightmare when he became abusive. Those were some of my darkest days. It felt like God had forgotten I existed.

    After the relationship ended, I moved to Vernon, B.C., with my family, hoping for a new beginning. I worked while my mother went to college to better her career, planning to go myself once she graduated. But things didn’t work out that way.

    A few weeks after she graduated, when I was 21, we received news that changed our lives forever. My 14-year-old brother, Jesse, was diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer, and needed treatment at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. While my mother stayed with him, I worked full-time and took care of my three other younger siblings.

    Throughout his five-year battle with cancer, Jesse always had a smile on his face. He never let cancer define him. In the midst of dying from a painful disease, he was still able to praise God.

    I felt so alone and unsure. Although I reminded others about God’s love and promises, I couldn’t convince myself. My head knowledge couldn’t seem to find its way to my heart.

    I sensed that God wanted to do some work in me, so for several years, I stayed single, focusing on my family and being involved at church. I started reading my Bible and praying more, wanting to learn about God’s character and what he thinks of me.

    Eventually, I decided to try dating again. I met someone, and even though something didn’t feel right, I didn’t want to face my brother’s death alone. I thought we were going to get engaged, so I moved to a new city so we could be closer.

    Jesse died in November 2014. I was devastated. A few months later, my boyfriend broke up with me. And then I lost my job. It was all too much to handle, and I broke to the very core of my being. It was my season of Job.

    For the next three months, all I did was cry out to God. I would scream, cry, pray, listen to worship music and read the Bible. And God met me in my brokenness.

    I asked him why I kept making the same mistakes when it came to guys, and he showed me that I was trying to fill a void in my life that only he could fill. After my father left, I kept looking for love and acceptance through a relationship. I realized I needed to get to know God in a new way, as my Father.

    This was a hard concept for me, but I started reading everything I could find in the Scriptures about God as Father, and listened to worship songs like Good, Good Father. During this time, he also showed me that hurting people hurt people, and instead of being angry at the men who wounded me, I should pray for their healing.

    I repented of my anger and started to pray for them, and it felt good. I no longer feel shame or anger—just compassion. God is using my story to bring hope and courage to others who have gone through the same thing.

    I come from four generations of Salvation Army officers, and was a junior soldier as a child, until we moved to a city without a corps. So when I was invited to try out a new Salvation Army church plant here in Kelowna, B.C., it felt like the right step.

    It has been a long journey to healing, but God has taken all my broken pieces and made them into something beautiful. If he can take a lost, broken soul like mine out of the ashes and give me a new song, a new hope and love for all who have hurt me, then he can do it for anyone. I know who I am—a child of God. And he is a good, good Father.

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