The Light In My Darkness

June 4, 2015 — 14 Comments

31st May 2015_Rod Lampard

In spite of my mother’s disapproval, as kids, my father would chase us around while wearing a witch’s mask. He gave himself away by his laughter, but in utter fear, my young sister and I would hide all around the house. Once we started attending school, his use of the mask had withered down to a threat, used only as a tool to pull us into line.

My family was dysfunctional.

Whenever we visited other families who had kids, my sister and I were forced to sit and not make a sound. It was rare that we’d be allowed to play. It was understandable, the environments weren’t all that great and my mother knew it.

We were a family stuck on welfare, living in government housing, growing up in a government housing estate.

It’s evident to most that my father had some minor emotional and mental health issues he never could shake free from. He wasn’t always there, shutting himself off in a world of his own, dragging us as a family into it. We were never quite sure when or where we’d land.

At one time he considered himself to be a private detective, proudly displaying his suspect, distance-education, mail-to-order qualifications on the lounge room wall.

These sat alongside mug shots and fingerprinted profiles of my sister and me, there “for our own protection.”

To our chagrin, he became the local neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, setting us all at odds with the demographic of every street other than our own.Sometime later he joined the Royal Australian Army Reserve. By this time my parent’s relationship had hit the rocks.

My father soon met and then married another woman, with whom he later had three amazing children. My parents divorced and a whole new dance with dysfunction began. My father and stepmother would have continual problems within their relationship, themselves divorcing sooner than some had predicted they would.

After living with my dad for a few years, our relationship became more and more strained. This ended abruptly, with me moving back to live with my mother. She arrived at his house to find my clothes in bags on the lawn. He choose to keep the CD stereo, he’d given me a year earlier.

A couple of years later, my father and step-mother’s infant son died. The day this happened my father rang my mother and we went over. Unable to revive the little man, my little brother was pronounced dead by the paramedics. His death later determined to have been caused by SIDs.

Before the ambulance took him away, my father wanted photos taken of us with him. This was hard to do, but the photos were taken anyway.

Situations like this one had a major impact on me. Other events such as link } or being dragged into court  before a magistrate, for eating food from the fridge, after my father accused me of stealing. Although his relatives tell me, he loved us. None of his actions prove this and no manner of excuse is factually adequate enough to dismiss or justify my fathers abuse or his absence.

We’ve shared a rough road.

In March of 2015, after an eight-hour road trip,  I saw my father for the first time in eight years. Having had extended my hand of friendship to him for the past ten, we had put in place boundaries and were on relatively good terms.

But, my father was dying. He had been sick for some time and finding the right time to make the eight-hour trip was always difficult.

After our visit, we were told that he was the best he’d been in two weeks. He was vibrant, talkative and pleased to see us. God’s quiet provision in this difficult situation was evident. When our meeting ended I prayed with him and said our goodbyes.

He’d hoped that he would have had more time, but five days later he passed away.

Over the years, it’s been difficult to process all that took place. It’s been even harder working out the right way to communicate it, without bulldozing people over with too much information, all at once. I admit I stumble over this more often than not.

Any forgiveness towards my father is made more complicated by the ongoing struggle to navigate and reconcile the consequences left in the wake of his decisions. He was unapologetic and felt entitled to forgiveness, without any real attempt to take responsibility for his decisions.

Even now, without him and more so because of the absence of apology, we wrestle because of the lack of his repentance. My extended family still struggles to relate to one another. In many cases the cycle of abuse continues and therefore, so does the need for tough boundaries.

I believe, however, that through Jesus Christ and His example of forgiveness we are enabled to forgive. Enabled to forgive the absence of apology. Enabled to grasp the fact that we are firmly held by grace above the abyss, for

‘Grace is that which holds humanity over the abyss of nothingness.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) [i]

Only through grace can the ‘creative power of forgiveness’ [ii] breathe, reconstruct, transform and free us.

In line with what Reinhold Niebuhr said, Christian forgiveness, like Christian prayer, is not stoic detachment.[iii] The past is far from forgotten, but I am able to forgive and as a result move forward in that forgiveness.

The evidence of God’s presence and guidance in this situation is real.

His forgiveness became mine as I was lead to befriend and establish boundaries with my father ten years ago. That same forgiveness enabled me to meet with my dying father at the right time, crack a joke, have his grandkids talk to him about school, give him a hug, pray with him, and say my goodbye.

‘For you, the Lord my God lighten my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.’
– (Psalm 18:28-30, ESV)

Set your eyes towards Christ. Inhaled grace ignites.


[i] Bonhoeffer, D. Creation & Fall, DBW Vol.3

[ii] Bloesch, D. 2006 Essentials of Evangelical theology Hendrickson Publishers 2006:62

[ii] Niebuhr, R. 1945, Discerning the Signs of The Times

14 responses to The Light In My Darkness


    and somehow you turned out okay. At least okay enough to continue praising the Lord and writing about His goodness. What a crazy childhood?

    Liked by 2 people


      Yeah, and this the short version! 🙂 Kinda heavy. My own effort towards healing plays a part, but I believe that Jesus Christ is at the beginning of that effort and He will be there at the end of it.

      Liked by 2 people


    Rod, What a frustrating and difficult path to navigate. I’m so sorry for the pain and insecurity you’ve had to endure. May God give you the wisdom to provide for your own family the fulness of love, joy, and truth! It sounds as though He is doing that.

    Liked by 2 people


      It was all difficult. Especially the battle against insecurity. Affirmation was rare in my family, so self-confidence wasn’t a familiar trait. Put downs and covert put downs were the order of the day. It doesn’t get any easier when you have to stand up against the cycle of abuse, as it continues in extended family. A victim status can be a hindrance to healing. But for the grace of God… heh? 🙂 I’ve certainly got Him to thank for empowering change in my life.

      Liked by 2 people


    “Christian forgiveness, like Christian prayer, is not stoic detachment. The past is far from forgotten, but I am able to forgive and as a result move forward in that forgiveness.” A truth, beautifully spoken.

    Liked by 2 people


    You are a huge blessing to me and our children and I am grateful for the man you are.
    Your childhood is so confronting and disfunctional, it still shocks me.
    This blog post is only the tip of the iceburg and reminds me of the wonder of God’s grace, salvation and healing.
    I am very proud of you Rod, for sharing some of your story.

    Liked by 1 person


    It says a lot about God that your dad still had amazing children including you, Rod. I’m so sorry you had to endure all of that, as the pain is not fleeting. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person


      Thank you. There’s a lot more and I’d say more, but such is the nature of social media. Maybe one day I’ll write about it. I appreciate your support. [insert two thumbs up].


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