Posted by: tlboehm | June 18, 2014

God With Skin On

“Ron’s not really your Dad,” Mom said it flatly, like she’d asked me to pass the salt at the dinner table.  “Only reason I married Ron was to get out of Howard City. You remember George, he’s your real dad. ”  – (Where Wings Come from – TL Boehm)


I’ve been turning those words in the soft soil of my heart for over twenty years. That simple statement that erased half of my known identity and created a hole in my soul called “fatherless.” Whatever genetic truth exists unseen beneath my skin my simple reality is that the man who raised me left this earth without ever definitively defending his position and the man now accused of contributing to creation of said offspring has never fully placed me in the position of “eldest daughter.” Whatever demons my mom exercised by speaking those words – I cannot blame her for my response. Whatever fear, lack or personal shame my “father” has or had over my existence – I cannot assuage. I can only tell you – whoever you are who will listen – that the wound is still fresh, the pain is real and there is no salve or platitude that eases the ache. I am not angry but I am a little broken.


For those of you who speak into my life or perhaps into the lives of others who are staring down the smoking barrel of similar chaos trying to decide if the burn is simply indicative of being winged or mortally injured, your words, though well-meant, are the soul stinging equivalent of slapping a fresh tattoo. “Your father is the man who raised you.” “God is a father to the fatherless.” “What about so and so who was adopted, the product of rape, parents in jail – it could be worse…” I’m not arguing any of those points – but my reality is that I am one living breathing human who only wants to crawl up into the lap of her papa and feel real arms around me and feel against my cheek the strong heartbeat of a spirit in sync with mine. The only words that would matter would be those gently spoken from the lips of Truth: “my daughter. I love you.” To know beyond doubt that the empty place in my soul – the place called “fatherless” is filled. Instead, I am here, without shelter, without protection. With the expectation from those who might comfort me that I am a grown woman of God and should already be able to speak the scattered pieces back in line because I know I must command the mountain to move. Have you forgotten the foundational manifestation of love? Did you skip the words “He gave….” Am I so unlovable that contact would cause you to vomit in sheer disgust? Or is it that platitudes don’t require an investment of flesh. Lip service, even with God is just that. If the words from your tongue conveyed the love of a benevolent Father I would be swept away by the joy. Instead, here I am once again playing the part of Tammy the terrible warning. Don’t talk. DO.


I’m not angry and I’m not picking at anyone in particular. My intent is only to serve as counsel that even though the person in front of you may be a full grown Christian, or a prickly cactus – or both – that does not exempt their basic need for comfort. I do not discount the power of God’s word – but in the heat of battle – for me it will be the touch of another soldier and the words “Fall back. I’ll cover you.” We all battle something and sometimes we all need that very real, very physical manifestation of God with skin on at our side.




PS: if you are a family member, before you pick up a phone or a rope – please read carefully what I’ve said and what I say now. I place no blame on anyone but myself for my personal feelings regarding this situation or any situation in my life. I don’t hate you. I’m not mad at you and I’m not slandering you. Whatever peace you follow is yours and this is all I want for any of us. Peace. This post isn’t a callout about you. It is an admonition for those who may read and may consider themselves Christians. That is all it is.  



  1. For the past few hours, I’ve backspaced every response that came to mind. The things is, I understand where you are coming from; only my understanding is fueled by a slightly different brand of abandonment. Fathers are so very important – so very – and, anyone who has had a father that stood by without leaving a searing brand on the heart and psyche of the child does not fully comprehend what it is like to be used, abused or abandoned altogether by the flesh and blood symbol of what God is supposed to be in our own lives. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling to imagine falling into the arms of God – a rock – a safe place – a sure foundation – but, for some people the absence of that reality in the physical world makes the spiritual world a lot more difficult to navigate. Yes – God is a Father to the Fatherless . . . But, as I read the writing on your heart, I was drawn to tears, because I get it. Beyond that, I have nothing to offer except a prayer that your heart (and mine) will one day be whole.

    • That you get it – is enough – although I am sorry that you do get it in a sense because it means you have that ache and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. That being said – there is comfort in being understood – we get each other and there is a certain solace in that. I so appreciate you

  2. I get it. My father had five or six or more…but I was the daughter of the mother he didn’t want to deal with. I knew who he was and still couldn’t access him or receive his comfort or his attention or anything a little or big girl needs from her daddy. I get it so much. That said…

    I don’t know what others said but Jesus was fatherless. His father was physically absent. The man who took his biological fathers place was a man who originally was not going to claim him. I’m sure he had doubts about this child saving anyone.

    In my experience, it seems that we are given the people we need. It seems this person who created you served the purpose to create you and it may have been all he had worth giving in his lifetime. My mother is not a person I connect with….a woman who put up with me and always made me fee like I was in the way…a hindrance. She said on multiple occasions she wish she never had us….attempted to steal my daughter from me and ….when I finally told her the truth about being molested and raped as a child…all she could say to me was what can I do about it now? Even at 39 years old I can’t say I was surprised she would say this… I knew and accepted who she was. For years I so wanted a mother that would nurture me and love me the way I needed it. But I didn’t get it while my friends had it. There was such a hole there until I decided wanting it wasn’t worth the misery of feeling that way. Not even for a minute. The beauty in this is you get to decide if you want to be led in emotions or if you want to move on from this place and accept more love and to pour it into others.

    Your issue is that you haven’t accepted and truly made oeace with a person who could produce you could just not care. Tam, it could be that the good Lord opted to not live with a destructive person who would do you more harm than good. With or without the man who made you…you’re still amazing amd he is missing out. Clearly the Lord wanted to break a chain/cycle with you…and to do that he has to sever ties…even at this level. You are more than this persons choice to not connect. Perhaps when he is worthy enough he can be introduced. If not…be at peace. Choose life so that you may live. Leave this dry place… Even Jesus left his dry place.

    • Thank you sis. Mom married George after she and dad divorced and at that time I was almost 30 – he has four other children – so I don’t fault him – and they moved to MI soon after they married. I guess part of the issue and why I am still in this dry place – well described- btw is the worth factor – it is my perception of lack of worth

  3. Well of course you are having abandonment issues. Your belief in who you are and where you fit into the world has been bulldozed right out from under you.Your trust has also be shaken to it’s foundations. This is not something that you get over in an instant. It is something that needs time, and love to rebuild. I hope that someday you will be able to do both.

    • Thank you Pamela, nice to meet you

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