Heather Bellamy talks to Tracy Williamson about her new book 'The Father's Kiss' and her journey of healing of father wounds.
Heather: You've recently released a book called 'The Father's Kiss', what is the book about?
Tracy: The Father's Kiss is about God's love and how He longs for each one of us to know and live in the reality of that love. It is expressing the confidence that He can enable us to experience it, even if we have not known love and affection from our earthly fathers. He is the Father to the fatherless and as such it is His passion to enable us to experience His deep affection and life transforming love.
Heather: What do you mean by the Father's Kiss, and where did the idea for the title and book come from?
Tracy: The phrase The Father's Kiss refers to the many ways that God gives us love and affection and transforms our lives. Just as a human kiss is full of affection, demonstrates love and passionate desire, God's kisses are the ways He shows us His tender affection, demonstrates His love and reveals His passionate desire for us to know Him and belong to Him.
The title came to me when I was on a Christian retreat. I was praying one day and the phrase 'Receive the Father's kiss' came to my mind. I felt He wanted me to grow in His Fatherly love and then to write about it for others. I wasn't sure at that point if it was a particularly biblical concept so I prayed for confirmation. The very next day the retreat director gave me the story of the prodigal son to meditate on. I was amazed to read 'The father ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him!' There was my confirmation! Also, following the retreat I went to my own church. My pastor was about to lead worship but suddenly stopped and said that God had put on his heart that He wanted us all to receive His kiss of love. He spoke for about 15 minutes of how Father God wanted to kiss us with His love! I was overwhelmed and knew God had confirmed His word to me.
Heather: Please could you tell us a bit of your own story, both with your earthly dad, and your journey of healing of father wounds as you got to know your heavenly Father?
Tracy: Like many of us I had no real experience of a loving father figure in my childhood. My real dad was a good man but died when I was seven and I had very few memories of him nurturing or cherishing me. He was also deaf and maybe that restricted his ability to show emotion?
After he died my mum met another man but he was a very angry person who constantly shouted demeaning words at me and had manic rages. He also abused me sexually over many years.
I became a Christian at 18 when I was at college. I had attempted suicide and a few days later a Christian student invited me into her room and told me that God had given her a message for me that He wanted me to know Him as Father. I was stunned by this as I had never thought much about God before. I ultimately gave my life to Him about a month later. The healing journey into the joy of knowing I was His beloved child began then and is still continuing. Step by step as I learnt to talk with Him, hear His voice, accept His love and receive healing prayer and care from other Christians my heart was healed. It is an ongoing work as there are always things of the past hurts that can crop up but He lovingly restores me each time.
Heather: How would you describe who God is as a Father, or what a Father is and isn't, or does or doesn't do when it comes to God? Because we all come to Him with a concept shaped by our earthly experiences, which can so often be far removed from who He really is.
Tracy: We all have different father experiences some good some average and some awful. But even if we grew up with wonderful parents their ability to love us unconditionally is flawed. We may have a dad who works really hard to provide for us and he is showing us love and care in that work, but a part of us may feel the lack of his presence with us and quality time together. God as Father provides for us and also nurtures us, He affirms us and guides us. He is kind and compassionate in His dealings with us. He promises never to leave or forsake us, so unlike many fathers is absolutely committed to us always. He is strong and stands up for us yet is utterly gentle and true in all He says to us or in His actions.
Heather: The poem you wrote at the start of your book really moved me. Please could you share it with us now?
Tracy: Yes I am very happy to share the poem.
The Father I Never Knew