In this interview with Daja M. Rice, author of Daddy’s Girl, she discusses her path to healing and how she chooses freedom in her relationship with her father.
Who is this book, Daddy’s Girl, for?
Daddy’s Girl is for anybody who wants to experience freedom, total and complete healing, redemption and anyone who is ready to take responsibility for all of those things. I know that the cover and title of the book may evoke a certain audience but if they can look past the aesthetics of the book and the fact that it is a woman telling a story, giving a woman’s perspective so I speak a woman’s language; they’ll see there is a universal message of healing, redemption and love underlining it all.
Being that this book is so deep, did any of these emotions manifest in your process of writing?
I experienced a lot of nostalgia. As far as the negative feelings that I used to feel growing up those didn’t resurface for me. I’m firm believer that whom the Son sets free is free indeed. And so those negative feelings didn’t have the opportunity to resurface, thank God. But the feeling that I used to feel seeing my dad come in after work and riding in his work truck, those feelings definitely resurfaced – warm, fuzzy, and even tears to the point where I had to put the laptop down because I was getting too emotional.
You talk about when Johnathan, your now husband, said “you want me to your father, and I can’t be.” Which I believe many women do. So, explain how you received that?
At first, I thought he was crazy and very insensitive. For a second I had the thought maybe you’re not the one because you’re not willing to be what I need you to be. But after I let it sit for a couple of weeks I realized that he was right, that I was placing on him very unrealistic and idealistic expectations because of the void from my relationship with my father. I realized he could only do what God placed him in my life to do. Everybody has a place in the lives of other people and that place looks very different from the next person. But when you try to stretch them and make them operate outside of their place it becomes very difficult for them to have impact and effective in what God meant for them to be. I compare it to a rubber band. They’ll do exactly what they’re supposed to do but when you try to stretch them too much, eventually they’re going to pop. And people are just the same way. So allow people to be who they’re supposed to be to you and let that be it don’t try to make them be anymore and don’t take any less. But you have to be aware of what that role and be in tune to the one who’s pulling the string and that’s God.
How long was the healing process? Do you believe it varies from person to person? And by healing process I mean how you came to a healthy relationship/view of your father.
When I made the decision that part of the disconnection between me and my dad was hugely my responsibility, my fault, that is when I started my healing process I have to be completely honest, even though me and my dad have established a healthy relationship, there are still some things that I am not 100% healed from. It has been a process that has brought me to a great and liberating point in my life and our relationship. The healing process is different for everybody. It will take some people 10 years, 10 months, and some 10 days. But you have to realize that it is a process. It may not happen over night. It starts with a decision to commit to the process and from there you have to let the process take its course and be led by a power higher than yourself. I’m Christian, so for me it’s Christ. But I believe, even if you’re not a Christian, just be led by a power higher than yourself to do the necessary work in order to get to total and complete healing because it feels much better on this side.
Many women refuse to love their fathers even though they ‘have the capacity to love’ because they think their fathers don’t deserve it. Explain the process of you getting quiet with God enough for him to speak this truth to you.
God revealed this truth to me in reference to what I was about to do after I was honest about there being a brokenness and me wanting to heal from it. God revealed to me that I needed the capacity to love. I’m not talking about the ability to give love, I’m talking about the capacity to have all of the qualities of real, unconditional, agape love. Corinthians gives us the best definition for love for the believer and when you look at all that love is and all that love isn’t – it is a lot. So we have to realize there are certain things in us that are occupying love’s space. Then you have to go through a purifying process saying, “God please take away all the things that are residing in my heart that are taking up space for your unconditional love to reside there.” God’s love – total and complete- cannot coexist with hatred, pride, and things that are not like him.
Once you have that you can start to look at people a little closer to the way God looks at them and that’s at their heart – not putting unrealistic expectations on them. But really looking at their intention and allowing them to be who their supposed to be to you not who you think you deserve. So that goes for father’s and anybody that comes into your life. You have to let them be who they are. Because you’ll start looking at people externally and you’ll do what I did, start placing unrealistic expectations on them and then get disappointed over and over and over again. And if you never have a moment of ok I need to change my expectation I need to change my approach. You’ll always put the responsibility on them to fill you in ways they can’t. And eventually, you’ll die at disappointment. I’m not talking about a natural death I’m talking about a spiritual death that leads to a natural death. We have seen people whither away physically because of their spirit being so tainted.
You say some women “died at disappointment” in their process of loving their fathers. How did you choose to keep going after disappoint?
You choose to see them as they are and not place idealistic expectations on them. There are two ways you can pull a person out of their place: place them on a pedestal, and that’s not good because then they’re supposed to be perfect they have no room to make mistakes, the minute they do something wrong you deem them unworthy of your love; or you can place people in the gutter, they have no room to be great because you’re constantly questioning their intentions and motives. We have to learn how to accept people for who they are.
Sometimes we [my siblings and I] would call my dad for money and he wanted to be like super dad so badly that he would say, “I got it. I’ll send it to you tonight.” And when we wouldn’t get it we would be so disappointed because he lied to us. But what we didn’t know was he really didn’t have it. And he was only lying because he wanted to be able to do it for us. If we would have opened our eyes beyond the vile of expectations we would have realized and accepted that. There were many more times we would become disappointed by our expectations, not by my father, but our expectations not being met. Some people just get disappointed over and over again and have a spiritual death (die at disappointment) and there are some people who say, okay, let me step back and see what can I do different or change about the way I’m approaching this situation? When you begin to take responsibility then you can move past disappointment and go through the process of redemption.
How do you choose freedom in your relationship with your dad everyday? Is there still a happy ending after this book?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve accepted that fact my dad is not perfect. He is a living, breathing human-being. He’s going to make mistakes; he’s going to do things I don’t like. And what I have to do as an adult is learn how to express my feelings to him when its necessary. You have to open the lines of communication, be willing to talk and express yourself in healthier ways then harboring those feelings in your heart and acting out in immaturity. As an adult there comes a point in your life when you are able to identify your brokenness and at that point when you are able to identify where you are broken you are then responsible for your own healing you can’t put it in the hands of other people.
I don’t put the responsibility on my father at all. If my dad does something I don’t like I charge it to him being a human, a person who doesn’t always get it right. Freedom is a choice and I choose it.
Do you think you will write another book on this topic or others?
I didn’t think so. When I first started out it was like oh, I have this testimony I want to share it with people and I want people to be blessed by it. But its been amazing, in the process of releasing this book, God keeps dealing with me on extensions ofthe matter. I don’t know if that will be produced in form of a book, or some other type of project but there is another message that is connected to this particular topic stirring up in me. You can expect to see more from the Daddy’s Girl brand, if you will, outside of the context that you see it already.
How can readers get in touch with you (social media)? How can they find the book (pre-order)?
The pre-order is available NOW on my website at https://www.thericesent.com/shop/daddys-girl-pre-order
June 17, 2018, Father’s Day, is the book release. You can find it on Amazon, Kindle, and get it on my personal website.
I’m so excited about this assignment that God has given me. It’s an honor that he has entrusted me with this project and I really want people to be blessed by it. I’m completely open to people contacting me to tell me how it blessed them.
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