I Met My Dad for the First Time


The word itself isn’t that big, just to say it. It is a lot easier to say the word “closure” than it is to obtain it.

Closure is elusive. It is something we all desire but don’t always know how to find. Closure is the nice pretty bow we perceive others have tied around their story.

People read our blog, hear us speak, follow us on Instagram and think we have closure. Our marriage made it. We overcame an affair. We wrote a book. We help others. The perception is Trish and I have a nice bow around our story.

So we get questions…What do you do when the ending isn’t happy? What do you do when the story is still being written and you have no idea if it will turn out good or bad?

How do you find closure then? How can you find closure in the midst of chaos?

That is what I went searching for on Sunday. Closure.

I found out four years ago that my dad wasn’t my biological father. I processed the information of my situation but never sought healing for this wounded part of my heart. I thought if I ignored it long enough, I wouldn’t have to deal with the reality of not meeting or knowing my birth father.

I assumed closure would just naturally happen over time.

Time doesn’t always bring closure.

A few weeks ago, I ran out of time and excuses. I received a phone call letting me know my biological father had terminal brain cancer and only had a few weeks to live. Closure was coming. I would either make the decision to pursue it or the decision would be made for me with my biological father’s death.

On Sunday afternoon, I met my biological father for the first time. pic

I really wish I could tell you, now 36 hours removed from that situation that I have closure, but that isn’t the case.

In many ways I have more questions than answers. My heart aches in ways I had no idea it would. I’ve cried and questioned and cried some more. I have never felt so unknown and out of place. The few questions I had going into Sunday have been replaced by 100’s more.

I don’t have the closure I was looking for. There is no pretty little bow to tie around my story.

One thing God is teaching me right now is closure and healing are two different things.

Closure implies the end of something, but God is constantly making all things new.

Healing comes in layers and even though I feel more jacked up than I’ve ever felt, more of my life is exposed before a new-creation making God.

I don’t need closure, because closure means I’m done. I need healing. Healing means God isn’t finished.

For some of you there is no restored marriage. For some of you, your spouse did choose the other person. For some of you, you long to be married, but marriage is not even remotely close. There is no bow to wrap around your story.

Life is hard. Your circumstances are unfair.

Time doesn’t heal wounds, Jesus does.

There is no magic formula to healing…no 5 happy hops to a pretty bow. It’s just one broken layer at a time.

Jesus heals one layer at a time. He’s isn’t asking you to find closure today, but to simply offer him the next layer. Not all of them, just the next one.

Faith in Jesus doesn’t mean life will be easy.

Faith in Jesus means we will have the strength to navigate the not-so-easy days with a Savior that brings healing along the way.



19 Responses to I Met My Dad for the First Time

  1. Nikki Brungard

    Thanks for sharing this, Justin. I pray God continues to heal those deep parts of your soul. I’m sure others may have recommended Christine Caine’s book “I’m Not Who I Thought I Was” to you, but it’s a beautiful story of someone who can identify with you from a very similar circumstance. I am done reading it so you’re welcome to my copy. Email me your address and I can send it to you.

    • Justin and Trisha

      I have heard of that book…but thank you for the reminder. I am going to order it today.

  2. Carissa

    May God pour out His healing on you. I am so encouraged by your complete openness to your hurts. Your book is a blessing and shows how God uses ALL things for His good. His promises are all true.

    • Justin and Trisha

      Thank you so much Carissa. Really appreciate your encouragement. Thanks for reading our book too.

  3. Aunt Maria

    Just want to say if I added to your sorrow by not telling you then please forgive me. I do believe God worked out the timing. I’m sure in your eyes that doesn’t sound right. But, from my knowledge the timing is right.
    I admire you for your courage. Let us know if we can help in any way. We love you!!!!! GOD IS GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

    • Justin and Trisha

      Thank you so much Aunt Maria. I love you and know that God timing is perfect. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. Beautiful post. I love how you differentiate between closure and healing. Such a great post. Praying you can hand over that “layer” you need to hand over today. He does do the rest.

    • Justin and Trisha

      I never thought about the difference before until Monday night. Thanks Eileen.

  5. Jeremy

    I definitely struggle with finding closure. My wife left me for an old high school boyfriend that she dated when she was 16 and he was 21. We moved back to her hometown and that was the end of the marriage. I don’t know what went wrong and she won’t tell me. Trying to make sense of it has been both frustrating and exhausting.

    • Justin and Trisha

      Wow, Jeremy. Thanks for sharing your heart. You continue to be in my prayers.

  6. I can relate to this writing, I met my own dad after a 30 year separation. It was a bit strange, and surreal and good at the same time.

    • Justin and Trisha

      Thank you for sharing your experience Sharon. It encourages me to know your journey.

  7. Chris

    I am really glad that you got to see your dad Sunday. I hope that you can start to heal. I know it is hard when you have so many questions that have not been answered, and may not be answered. I am praying for you. Thanks for sharing your feelings and insight.

  8. Amanda Gifford

    Thank-you so much for this message. Spoke directly to my heart, exactly what I needed today! Thanks for being willing to share your lives in such a real way with us.

  9. Love this. Thank you for your authenticity, and vulnerability. I’m really glad you went and met your dad. I hope it leads to much healing, for both of you.

  10. diane1230

    Wow. Just wow. Praying for you as God peels back the layers of healing in your life. & giving thanks for the words you said as I am also going to send them to a friend who needs to allow God to peel some layers.

  11. Wow… Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t imagine…. I really appreciate both your and Trisha’s willingness to be so real. I agree – closure and healing are two totally different things. Thankful for you and Trisha’s ministry to so many!

  12. Brenda

    Thank you for posting your very vulnerable and honest thoughts. So glad we have Jesus in our lives as He is such a great Physician and Healer. Praying for you!

  13. I always appreciate your willingness to share your struggles and wisdom…both you and Trish. Praying for you as you process and heal…thankful for these words this morning, Justin.