Finding serenity when my father left {and what it prepared me for}

My childhood was filled with affectionate and devoted parents. My mother and stepfather (I never actually call him that) raised me into who I am today. My youth was filled with bicycle rides on warm, sunlit days proceeded by frosty nights playing Monopoly with too many marshmallows in our hot cocoa mugs, but it wasn’t always like this.

Growing up, I had a father that was in and out of my life. When I was ingenuous and naïve, seeing him was my obsession I looked forward to the most on summers. Hearing from my teacher that my daddy was picking me up early, always provoked the teachers who stood in the elementary hallways due to my inability to walk calmly to the front office. As I got older, things changed and I’d see him less and less. When I’d visit him he was never really there, but I still loved him because he was my dad. Right before I headed to college, I remember calling him to see how he was doing. He never called me back and I remember the gulp in my throat later when I realized I’d heard his voice for the last time through his answering machine. I can’t say I was terribly staggered that day would come, but I will say it hurt like hell. So just like that, I never heard from him again.

Around eight full years have passed by now, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that he’s probably never going to fight for me. The moment I allowed my stepfather to become my true father in my life is the moment I realized that blood means nothing when it comes to love; he never left, never broke my heart, and I still call him the best dad in the world. The feeling of someone you love leaving your life or not fighting for you is painful though. You could say that heartbreak slightly prepared me for my ex-boyfriend that would enter my life eight years later.

He was my first love and first dreadful heartbreak. I thought, there is no way I can possibly love someone this profoundly without him being it. He gave me deep promises he never should have that ended up broken and in turn, broke me. I remember fighting for the relationship in the last week we were together—meaning I was fighting off everything he had said to me that caused me the innermost heartache, because I loved him more than what he’d done. Though he apologized and we were OK, I realized that if everything else were stripped away, my love wasn’t enough for him. My heart felt tossed aside; insignificant in the end. I realized I wanted to be with someone that would love me back genuinely and not just when I met their conditions. I loved him from every vein of my heart and I live with no regrets for that, but I couldn’t live a lie. When I ended it, all was confirmed when he didn’t fight for me. Instead of dashing to another relationship, I ran to God’s arms where I knew I needed to restore the right way—best decision I ever made.

“I know heartbreak is hard. But don’t resist the blessing of brokenness that tills the ground of your heart. Breaking up the unplowed ground of your heart will make it ready for new life, new growth, new maturity in you that can’t be found any other way.” – Lysa TerKeurst 

It was difficult finding full healing amidst the brokenness of my love for someone I fiercely loved not being enough, like it wasn’t for my father several years ago. Granted, it’s been half a year now, God filled the brokenness that was this season, and the light ache I talked about in my last post finally left. When it’s a nice evening out, my sister and I take walks with coffee around our apartment neighborhood and one day we stopped to smell the magnolias. I became overwhelmed with serenity and thankfulness for the vastness of who God is and how He works, especially this year—the people He’s brought into my life are nothing short of a blessing.

There was a painful, raw necessity of endurance that came with this season of heartbreak that has undeniably made my heart deeper, more resilient, and richer in love. Though I had a father leave without reason eight years ago and the first man I ever loved broke my heart six months ago, God has shown me His deepest love every second of my life, and this is where I find my serenity. 

Your heart must always hold onto the fact that when people choose to walk away, it has nothing to do with the worth of your love or the worth of you not being enough. You are enough.

Heartbreak doesn’t alter how I love. I still choose to love fiercely and deeply; it’s the only love I know how to give. I realized some people aren’t meant to fight for you. Sometimes, there are certain people brought into specific chapters of your life not meant to stay through your whole book, otherwise ruining what God has really written for your life story. People come, people go, but never change the depth of your love for people. I certainly am not.

Thanks for this song, Mrs. Kelly Clarkson. It’s perfect.


29 thoughts on “Finding serenity when my father left {and what it prepared me for}

  1. Bev Cunningham

    What a fortunate woman you are to have your forever dad who stepped in and became your father. He’s such a man of God and loves you girls and your mom fiercely. Love you. Beautiful manuscript.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A. M. Yeager

    Though I don’t know what it is like to have a father who left, since mine has always been in my life, I definitely know what heartbreak feels like. Christ definitely has fought for you and for all! Always remember that. God has a plan for you. I went through some very tough times and He led me to a place where I exactly needed to be and now I’m married to my best friend and going to have a baby in a month. It’s amazing how much God can lift us up even in the tough times. I pray that you are blessed with a happy life and always find comfort in God’s Word. :] Many blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Thanks so much for your encouragement. What a beautiful story that even after your own heartbreaks, God brought you to your best friend. I’m wishing you the best in your birth of your little one in a month! Yay! Thanks for the inspiration, for reading my story, and for your kind words.


  3. Chañel Robie

    I read this and found myself checking of things that happened to me too. I adored my dad (even after he died) although he never choose me. This left me with a lot of trust issues and a sad daddy complex. The first guy I loved, broke me although I tried so hard to make our relationship work even after he gave up. But I am so glad that Piece by Piece God has shown me that my past doesn’t define where I will end, or who and that I shouldn’t let it determine my future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Chanel, I’m sorry for your loss. </3 You are such a strong woman who truly knows the goodness of God. Your past is in the past, and God has saved the best for you. His plan is far greater than anything we can even comprehend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chañel Robie

      Sav, I truly believe that. When I see the way that God has worked, I am truly in awe of Him. He has the ability to turn every test into a testimony and He, for certain, will never leave or forsake you. I will surely add you to my prayer list.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fearfully Wonderfully Me

    This is so beautiful. I have a very similar story. My father and I are estranged, and I fight much harder than him for our relationship. I also had to break up with my love of almost two years…the one who said he would fight for me and marry me. Well he didn’t even call me once to ask for me back. But I’m so glad now! Even though I miss him sometimes or feel bad about the rejection of my past, I know God loves me and wants me. He has blessed me and opened so many doors. I’m so glad He’s doing the same for you. He is jealous for you and will always fight for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi sweet Emily. So sorry for the different heartbreaks you’ve experienced. I’ve been reading a little bit of your stories and you seem like quite the strong gal; never lose that! What’s funny is the pain that took so long to leave was simply the heartbreak part where all of my love felt rejected and it wasn’t enough even though I gave it all to him. God is SO good to me for making me realize the truth in the end…He has been doing wonderful things this year for my heart! Especially through the amazing people He brought to me during this season. wow! Is there anything I can pray for you about? Praying you have an incredible rest of your week. Feel free to shoot me a prayer email uptop if you need to!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fearfully Wonderfully Me

      Thanks Savannah! My mom raised me to be strong, but I do have my weak moments lol. God has also helped me by bringing me closer to Him and to the church, as well as discovering His purpose for me through writing. Could you pray for my health please? I’ve been struggling with health issues, but I know God’s got a plan! If there’s anything I can pray about for you just let me know.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Constance A. Buckley

    God must be so pleased with your thoughts and with the vulnerability you offered your readers. I love Ephesians 1. He tells us that He chose us before the foundations of the world. May God continue His song over your life. Zephaniah 3:17, (KJV): The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

    Liked by 1 person

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