Growing up, Kia Stephens longed for a true relationship with her father.

"My mother and father met on a cruise ship. It sounds romantic, but it was short-lived, and they got a divorce not too long after they got married," Kia explained.

Kia was just three years old when her parents split. For the first while, she says she had visitations with her father regularly. As she grew older, the visits became less, and instead, he would leave gifts for her on her grandparent's front porch. 

"That was what I thought life was for me, and I just accepted it until I was face to face with someone else's normal. And then you can see the differences. You can compare and contrast and say, wait a minute, maybe this isn't healthy. Maybe this isn't a good way to function."

Kia decided to welcome her father back into her life, but it didn't go as planned.

"It would take me realizing that my father is who my father was, and I can't try to force fit him into this round circle. If he's a square peg, he's gonna be a square peg, and I can't make him who I want him to be."

Stephens says it took disappointment and wrestling with God to find peace and acceptance.

 "I realized I have to look to God to meet my needs," Stephens explained."I can't come to my father with the eight-year-old or 16-year-old needs."

Kia shares her full story in her book, Overcoming Father Wounds: Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love.

"I share my own story of father wounds, along with offering eye-opening examples from wounded women in Scripture who were transformed by the love of God."

Today on Connections, Kia shares how she went from deep pain to finding God's perfect love.