_Daughter like Esther.
4 days from now is Thanksgiving.
3 days from now is also the official closing date of my Dad’s house.
3 days from now his life will be permanently changed.
3 days from now I can breathe.
For those of you that have been following along in my journey, next to my Dad’s ongoing sobriety (this will always take first place), the sale of the house is the next largest milestone.
I can't tell you how many hours, phone calls, text messages, and tears have taken place regarding the sale of this house. And to think that the day is finally drawing near.
Even as I sit and write this...the anticipation of the last minute items falling in (or out of place) worries me. I’ve always been a worrier. In fact, I promised someone that I would do a post on worry. Perhaps this will be it. I am long overdue to fulfill that promise. (I usually just start typing and see where the spirit leads...hence the uncertainty in what this post will contain!)
I have read many words written by Stuart and Jill Briscoe. One thing that they discuss openly is their differences in “worries”. Jill is a self-proclaimed worrier. Listen now to an excerpt from the book titled “Married for Life: Growing Together through the Differences and Surprises of Life”.
"Now that all the children were off to school, I began to accept more of the opportunities I had taken in small measure while the children had been in their teens. Stuart was the one who encouraged me. Now I began to travel and Stuart stayed behind to keep the home fires burning. I began to find out a tiny part of the other side of the picture: It was lonely out there. And scary. I had more problems with inadequacy than I thought possible. And the biggest fear of all was the way I had to get where I was going. Hardly ever flown at all before coming to the States, I now faced that challenge nearly every week.
If you, like me, are afraid of flying, I won't need to describe my antics-- sitting in the aisle seat if the plane looked as though it needed balancing up a bit, refusing to sit by the wings because they flapped so much, going into a tailspin when the noises changed in the cabin. I literally felt sick every time I got on board and had to clutch onto Stuart's arm. On a particular flight over Vancouver one day, he said, "Jill, you won't go to heaven one day before you're meant to. And it's no good clutching onto me-- I'm going up and down as well!"
His logic didn't help at the time. I knew I wouldn't go to heaven one moment before I was meant to, but my problem was each time I flew I was convinced that was when I was meant to! And even though I felt rather guilty with the thought, I didn't want to go to heaven just yet...
...I wanted to write and dream and dare and do together, and I didn't want it all to end just yet. It didn't-- as you see-- but it took a real leap of faith for me to let God deal with my fear. He did it as he's always done it-- through the Word and by his Spirit. Is there any other way? I don't know any!"
As a habitual worrier, although obvious, that statement that I wouldn't go to heaven one moment before I was meant to comforted me. We all worry about different things. Perhaps some seem trivial, some not. But carrying this little conversation between Stuart and Jill in my head over the last year has brought me comfort multiple times. While we certainly have choices to make, there really is so much more that does not depend on us.
I like control. I like order. I like predictability. I show up to work early just because I think if I am there early enough I can answer all of my own questions ahead of time so that I don’t get behind in the day once it actually starts. Flexibility can be really hard in certain settings...or in most settings actually...unless someone can desensitize their (realistic or unrealistic) expectations which in turn would allow that person to be more flexible to the unexpected and unanticipated.
And now is about the time I need to insert a Bible verse. Enough of my own ideas and words.
Jeremiah 32:27 says “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
Now I should have prefaced- I have been in the book of Jeremiah for what seems like an eternity. I always thought Leviticus was my least favorite but maybe it is just this season of life that I am in but Jeremiah is the never ending story of how Israel always makes the wrong choices and God is very clear that if they do not repent and start making right choices that they will be in real bad shape. This narrative continues throughout a large portion of the book.
Today I opened up my Bible and the inaccurate date of the place I last left off in my devotional. And after 2 really impossible-to-explain days of helping my Dad’s scenario, God had that verse just for me. While I still try to figure out the balance of what am I responsible for resolving and what to I release into the very capable hands of God, this verse lifted me up. Even if 3 days from now this house does not close as anticipated for whichever reason- God is still the God of ALL mankind and of EVERYTHING. NOTHING is too hard for him.
My situation is not too hard for him.
My Dad’s situation is not too hard for him.
Your situation is not too hard for him.
And I think we often read this and think- “Yeah, Yeah, of course I believe this. I know that he is capable so I wish he would show me that my situation is not too difficult for him by “handling” my problem.
Oh friends, the next time we find ourselves going down this path...let us remind ourselves that it is in the path of the problem that we are refined the most.
In the midst of working on this issue the past 2 days I experienced a moral dilemma. Not a black and white issue. More of a “gainsboro” gray kind of issue. (This is a light gray on the gray color spectrum...yes, I googled it). And I fully intended to move forward with the gray plan until the moment I had to submit it to be executed.
And I froze.
Aaaand then I called my Mom. She’s my moral compass. Thank God she answers my calls! I knew if she saw a problem, then there was a problem. So- I agreed that my “I just need this done gray” glasses had to be removed and my regular “Even at the expense of causing more frustration and exhaustion or a delayed closing” black and white glasses had to be put on.
My Mom prayed constantly during the next few hours while I scrambled to find a solution. And when the solution came in a way neither of us anticipated; we both cried.
Time and time again, he proves to me that if he eliminates the hardships, then I can’t see his miracles. And if he is not part of the equation, then he can’t issue the rewards he has promised us.
Jeremiah 32:19 says “Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve”.
Once I determined to do the right (black and white) thing; God did the coolest thing. Not only did he come through in a way that was financially better, he also made the solution be the very same thing that he made us out of - dirt.
I know this is hard to grasp without knowing all of the details, but I don’t want to get too focused on my situation because I want you to consider your own more than mine.
God promises us (now I see that there are lots of promises in Jeremiah) that we are his people and he is our God. vs 41 is even more beautiful. “I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul”. I cried a few tears when I read that line. And then I cried even more when I read the one right below it vs. 42: “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.”
Merriam-Webster defines calamity as “a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering”. I felt lasting distress. Much of the last year and a half has been covered with this type of suffering and “dying to myself”. So how much hope it gave me to read and remind myself that God has also promised me prosperity. Merriam-Webster defines prosperity as “the condition of being successful or thriving”.
This is a direct connection to the reason this blog started! I wanted this blog to be an encouragement for learning how to thrive in a season you weren’t expecting or ready for. God promises me prosperity after enduring suffering. God promises you prosperity after enduring hardships.
So let me link this to the beginning where I talked about worry.
If I consciously spend my time worrying, wouldn’t it be better to consciously spend my time praying? And if God uses calamity as a way to bring about prosperity, why do I rush the process? God draws others to himself through our messes. Perhaps your story is touching someone else in a way that wouldn’t be seen if you were not put in distress?
The morning of this particular miracle that I mentioned above, I met with my spiritual mentor. She reminded me that 1 person praying can change history. I’d like to equally say that 1 person praying can change the future. All it takes is 1.
One of my favorite quotes about worrying is this: “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.” Funny, but true.
So friends, let’s start praying instead of rocking.
_Daughter like Esther.
I remember the fear. I remember my selfishness. I remember thinking that I was doing just fine without the relationship. I remember that I just didn’t want to.
I still feel my fear. I still feel my selfishness. I still feel that I would be just fine without the relationship. Many times, I still don’t want to.
The funny thing about God’s voice is that although it comes in softly- it is difficult to ignore. There are many days, even today that I still think of how my life would be easier without the complications of mending a broken relationship. And for the most part, that is difficult to argue. My life would be easier. I am exhausted checking bank accounts, paying bills, navigating through the sale of a home, and always having to filter my thoughts and words so that they are perceived well by an individual with multiple mental illnesses. Yes, my life would certainly be easier.
As I sit here today writing this, I am reflecting on the past year and a half. I was asked to speak to a group of people at church whom might have an interest in serving God and finding Jesus in unexpected places.
While I fully expected to “be like Jesus” at James Place I didn’t expect to “find Jesus”. I thought I already had him. 3 years ago I accepted the James Place Director of the Nursing Ministry position. While I was still amidst and recovering from a long-standing postpartum depression, my faith was strong. Jesus was who I clung to the most. I knew that I was at James Place for a reason- it was just a different reason than I thought.
I have mentioned this quote before but it is worth repeating. A friend of mine would often say “The reason why you are there, might not be the reason why you are there”. I know this story might be like a broken record as I write about how James Place was imperative to repairing my relationship with my Dad. But it’s true. It is also true that God is such a divine orchestrator that while we submit to his authority and obediently serve him- he in turn blesses us. He changes us.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak to others on this story of redemption. And to be honest, I am glad that it came now. I am glad as it causes me to reflect on my feelings. I could get in front of this crowd and tell my story from my eyes. But I’d rather God tells my story from my heart. This last month has been extremely difficult and frustrating. I have lost my patience and find it difficult to be at constant odds with someone that you are trying to build a relationship with.
My Dad recently told someone else that he wants me to trust him. That pierced my core. Everything inside of me lit up. “Trust him? What?! Oh sure, that makes complete sense that in all 33 years of my life I was never given a reason to trust him and even in the last year and a half I continue to see poor decision making”. My heart has a lot of healing to do. God is working on me but I haven’t been mended enough by the good physician to not have taken my Dad’s request and expectation personally.
I think that this is it friends. We do not need to trust the person before we say “hello”. All human life is of value. All humans are created in God’s image. My heart still has a lot of healing to go and I still wonder if my relationship will ever vaguely resemble one of a father and daughter. Will I ever feel like he is the parent and I am his child? My thought immediately goes to the logical answer. “No, it is impossible for your relationship to turn into a “normal” circumstance because your father’s maturity and development stopped at the age he started drinking- 13”. So therefore, I will always feel like I am parenting my own daughter, Hadleigh and my 58 year old father who is stuck in the mentality of a 13 year old. But logic leaves no room for an omnipotent God.
Someone asked me the other day what I thought our relationship would look like 5 years from now. I simply don’t know. I would like to think that instead of consistently being in opposition to him we can share thoughts and feelings. I still get frustrated that he knows little about me. He has a deep love for me and my daughter but he doesn’t really know us. Our relationship has always centered around him and his needs. Perhaps it will always be this way. But if I truly believe that God is capable of all things, I cannot leave this out of his scope either.
I was listening to a podcast from Jill Briscoe titled after her book “The Queen of Hearts”. A must read for any woman. During the podcast she said this, “Be as mature as you can be at the stage of Christianity you are at”. We are all on different paths. But since we serve a God who knows us intimately and personally, we can be comforted knowing that he doesn’t expect us to be differently than what we are. But it doesn’t excuse us from being less mature than we could be. It is far easier to base our actions on our feelings. It is far easier to say things that are immature and lacking the wisdom that comes with prayer and petition to the one who can guide us in every situation. How I need more of this. I want to continue maturing and growing. I want to be unsatisfied with remaining where I am today. I think that it is difficult to become more mature unless we are pushed in circumstances that cause us to stretch those maturity muscles.
Photo of Witch Hazel By Si Griffiths - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24363528
I am going to close with an illustration about the witch hazel flower. Most flowers need sun, water and good soil. But what if those things weren’t available? Is it still possible for a flower to bloom in the winter?
The witch hazel blooms red and yellow flowers and omits a delicate fragrance. According to proflowers.com the nickname of snapping hazel was given to the plant because of the seedpods that split and sends the seeds 20 feet in the air! The bark and leaves are then often distilled with alcohol or water and used as remedies for a variety of skin conditions including bruises, inflammation, irritation and swelling.
I don’t think that we have to have everything figured out. I know that we don’t have to trust someone in order to say “hello”. I believe that we can be as mature as we can be at the stage of Christianity we are at. I believe that like the witch hazel, we can bloom characteristics that reflect God’s glory and beauty. When we work on repairing broken relationships, a delicate fragrance is released. Not only can we grow in the winter, but we can also send our story far and wide. Just like the witch hazel seeds that spring 20 feet in the air, so God uses each of our mended, broken, messy relationships to touch many other people. When we bloom and share our story, God uses it to heal a variety of wounds- bruises on our hearts, inflammation on our souls, irritation in our gut and swelling in our thoughts.
Won’t you consider starting to mend a relationship with 1 simple word?
I am praying for you friends as you step out in faith, being as mature as you can be at the stage of Christianity you are at and blooming like the witch hazel.
_Daughter like Esther.
_Daughter like Esther.
It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
With a toddler around we often see very simple disappointments turn into catastrophic disasters. This morning, Hadleigh requested her favorite lately- waffle towers with whip cream.
As Jerry was constructing the magic, he did what we always do. Nothing was different. Waffle in the toaster. Waffle comes out of the toaster. Cut the waffle into strips. Stack the sticks like a Lincoln log fire…. Add whip cream dollops. Not rocket science.
But today. As Jerry brought his beautiful creation (including a circle of mandarin oranges around the tower might I add) she lost it. Hadleigh feels all her emotions in very big ways. I am sure those of you with toddlers feel the same way. Hearts are broken and tears flow at the smallest of “disasters”.
When she finally composed herself she mustered out the words “It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”
Oh how my own soul felt this. I wrote down the situation immediately so I could remind myself to do a post on this subject. So here we are.
These words have lept off my lips and heart several times. Actually, it is the only thing that makes sense to me when I apply it to my parents divorce back when I was 5.
My Mom and biological Father were married for 11 years. I was born in year 6 of the 11. My brother was born in the first year. So while I have heard bits of pieces of the 11 years, I only have the smallest remnant of the recollection of a 5 year old. Actually, I have little memories at all and the ones that I do have don’t make a whole lot of sense or they just hurt. So while I know some of what the marriage was like based on conversations, my firsthand experience or memory is brief.
After the divorce, my Mom met my Step Dad and married him shortly after. She said that she knew God told her that he was the one she was supposed to marry and that was that. And if there is anything about my Mom that I trust- it is what God tells her. She is so much of the reason why I am the way that I am. But I will leave that for another post.
So here is the strange place where my heart wrestles. Had my step dad not entered into our (my brother and I) lives, my story would be so drastically different. While it is impossible to give the full narrative if my parents had not divorced, no one would be able to convince me that I would have been better off if they remained married.
So here is where this all gets so raw. I meant it when I said it before- I am not holding things back. I am processing out loud (or on paper) in hopes that someone, somewhere can hear the words and either know that they aren’t alone or perhaps they can be encouraged to persevere or take a risk in a relationship.
My step dad entered our lives and has not only said repeatedly that we are his kids but also he showed us this by his actions. He treated us as any other parents would as he raised us with my Mom. Not once did he ever say that we were not his responsibility or that he didn’t love us. He made choices throughout my childhood and into adulthood that my biological father did not make. I am forever grateful. As I aged and knew of, heard and saw other step-parents and step-children make other choices- I realized that I never had to wonder what it would be like to have a Dad. I had one. I know that this is why I ignored much of my biological father’s existence because I didn’t feel a void. I had a Dad.
Recently I had a moment of truth during a conversation with my Step Dad. It was a good one. One that needed to be had and I now treasure it. I was worried as my relationship with my biological father progressed in whatever way that it did, that it would make my step dad feel less than or replaced or anything less than what he should have felt for choosing to love us all these years. So as I started to cry (wonder where Hadleigh gets it from), my Step Dad said all I needed to hear. He supported this journey I was embarking on. He said that he was my Dad but also that my biological Father is also my Dad. He said that my Biological Father needed me and that he was proud of me for what I was choosing to do.
That conversation made all the difference to me.
So backtracking to how this all started… It’s not the way it should be.
Since Genesis, this world is not the way it should be. God intended this world to be entirely different. So, that means that there are things (many things) in this world that aren’t the way it should be.
This statement is how I felt about the divorce. Although I know that my story is probably better and safer by the way that it turned out, I believe that God did not design us to be anything but in unity with him and each other.
But there is hope. So I know that my story is not all that unique. There are divorced families all over. But I cling to the day when all will be as it should.
The other night at our small group Bible study, a friend said that she heard a simple quote that can really be applied here.
“Perhaps, today”. Friends, we do not know when the world will become as it should be. But it will. And I don’t know about you, but I know that we can bring little bits of how it should be by choosing love instead of hate. Instead of ignoring people and past relationships, we can forgive and reconcile with them.
So let’s not waste time. Let’s make today a “Perhaps, today” day.
Praying for you all.
_Daughter like Esther.
_Daughter like Esther.
Have you ever been able to relive a childhood moment as an adult?
Sometimes those experiences are great...like each time you eat your best friends' moms' chopped meat and creamettes recipe. Or when you hear "We didn't start the fire" by Billy Joel and you can see yourself dancing and spinning in circles without a clue of what the lyrics were about. Or when you see the Facebook posts that say "click here to relive your 90's childhood". Ok, these are some of my happy memories... and unless you are my bestie Amanda, you probably don't share these same experiences. But you catch where I am going.
I had another similar experience this weekend when Hadleigh and I went to the church library and to my surprise, she pulled out a much condensed, children's version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Immediately, I remembered how much I loved the story. I think as adults we crave the type of mystery that an enchanted world through a standard wardrobe tells. Let me find that on Wayfair!
As I started to read through the pages that were quite densely populated with tons of words, I expected her to get bored and lose interest. Instead, she not only sat through this first book that told the first child's story but also Edmunds, Aslan's and another version that was the entire story. I actually had to tell her that we needed to finish the books at home because the library was closing!
As I sat there reading this story to her, I fell in love with it all over again. Oh how much symmetry to the story of Jesus and his love for us. A story laced with love, suspense, action, redemption, and restoration. All the feels. So...why is this important...apart from the obvious parallels to God's plan for this world.
I'll tell you friends... it spoke to me and my story with my Dad. You'll find it on the page in the photo above. The second paragraph states this "Here is your brother," Aslan said, "and-- there is no need to talk to him about what is passed."
Yup, you read it. Aslan just skips past the fact that he rescued their brother, Edmund, who told the wicked white queen [in desperate need of bronzer] the exact location where his brother and sisters were at so that she could kill them all.
And if that wasn't shocking enough... he says the most important part of this sentence. "and-- there is no need to talk to him about what is passed."
Oh how many things I would fit in that hyphen. This one will summarize them all.
"Here is your selfish brother who traded you each over to the wicked queen for more Turkish Delights AND-- I think we should take at least 3 chapters to discuss what your brother did wrong to you so he can fully grasp what he did and how he can take responsibilities for each and every wrong decision.
That's what I would have said.
You all are smart. I think you can see where I am going with this.
As I read these words outloud to Hadleigh they bounced right off my lips and straight to my soul.
I started blogging to help me work through feelings and emotions that I had trouble naming. When I reached out to my Dad initially, my brother went with me for the first visit. He later shared with me that he thought that I had intended to get answers, discuss my Dad's decisions and maybe get closure on our past.
Here is the interesting part friends. No, I take that back. Here is the straight up God being God part.
Since I initiated [or God helped me initiate] this relationship Easter 2018, I have not once discussed the past with my Dad. I have not shared how I felt unimportant, insignificant and forgotten. I have not said how his actions spoke so much louder than the few words that were said. I hated each decision that he made over being there for his kids. This is raw truth friends.
But here is the beauty in letting God be God. He will take care of it. I've said it before and I will repeat it again. If you show up and do your part.. however small of a part that is; God will do his.. no matter how big of a part that is.
God said to me "Here is your Dad, and-- there is no need to talk to him about what is passed."
I know that in some scenarios, conversation and closure is a necessary part to healing. Please don't get me wrong. My situation may not be like yours. But perhaps it is?
God is stitching together my heart and healing the wounds. I don't even think that if I hashed out everything I felt I once needed to say it would do any good. I could never properly convey it all anyways. My words are tainted with selfish motivation and pride. What good would it be if I just sent my flaming words straight to my Dad's soul?
So instead...let's hold on to "But God" and give a whole lotta grace friends.
Today at church, our Pastor and dear friend, Jason sent this home in his message on Ephesians 2:1-10.
We were part of this world but because of God we are made alive with Christ so that He could unite us to himself and show us his immeasurable wealth of grace for we are God's glorious inheritance created for good works through him.
That's hard to condense an amazing sermon into 1 really long run-on sentence!
Just as I received the gift of underserved kindness [grace] so am I called to GIVE that gift to others.
By giving the gift of free grace to someone who doesn't deserve it, it opens the door to a relationship. Just as Christ did for us. How amazing that we can do this for others?
Just remember this... None of us got into the family because we deserved it.
Who do you know that doesn't deserve your grace, but because God gave it to you, you can choose to give it away too.
Praying for you all my dear reader friends!
_Daughter like Esther.
_Daughter like Esther.
Everyone was taking pictures and posting of their kids going back to school today.
Today, our family hit a new milestone. My Dad has moved into a new apartment that is closer to us. I can't believe that this day has actually come.
For anyone else who has walked through the path of helping an aging parent, a friend with mental illness and addiction, or a relative with hoarding tendencies, Hi friend. I can meet you right there in the middle of it all.
For what seemed like endless hours, days and weeks I have spent sorting, dumping, selling, organizing and with what energy remained- cleaning. I can't tell you how many times my emotions got the best of me. I have yelled and vented. I have cried more times than I can count.
I am so thankful for the close friends and family that have given me safe spaces to process all of what is happening....[welcome to my close friends group. I treasure you too now that I feel led to share these deep feelings with others].
Oh but friends....listen in. I have so much to be grateful for. I have ideas upon ideas for different posts to tell you about. Here is one sweet perspective that I have gained from this particularly difficult weekend.
I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor as I scrambled to finish today. As my muscles screamed for me to stop and my eyes swelled up with more tears- I said for the millionth time "I am never doing this again".
Then it happened.
God whispered to me. He said. "This is an example of my love for you. I sent my son to clean up the dirt of your life, your mistakes, and your choices. In his perfect sacrifice, he only needed to do it once. But my child, he would choose to do it over and over again... for you".
I'd like to say after that revelation, my heart completely changed and I could say that I would take on this challenge again if my Dad needed me to. But instead, I am embracing that I cannot imagine doing this again. Instead, I am giving praise to God that he has chosen me and that in his perfect love- he would AND does choose me again and again...every time. WOW. What a love that is.
Onward into tomorrow friends. Say those words back to yourself tonight. God would do the worst thing imaginable, again and again. Because you are worth that much to him.
_Daughter like Esther.
_Daughter like Esther.
In the book of Esther we are told that her father and mother had died. While my biological father did not die, the relationship did.
As I have mentioned in other posts, I felt many feelings towards my father- Abandonment, unimportance, disinterest, anger, indifference and sadness just to name a few.
But isn't God great?
He works with what we have. He didn't wait until my feelings changed. All of those feelings I just listed still remained when I reached out to my Dad last Easter. Some of those feelings still remain today, but not nearly at the intensity that they were a year ago. That is the amazing thing about grace. If you choose to give it to someone else who doesn't deserve it, you let go of the feelings that held you back without even addressing them individually. This is why I think God has a name as Counselor. The other amazing thing about giving grace to someone who didn't earn it is that it allows Jesus to shine. In order to make a serious difference in this world, we have to do something that is seriously different than what we see in the world. I would also like to say it is good to focus on progress, not perfection my friends. If we waited until the perfect moment- there never would be one.
This photo is a picture of 3 Christian books that relate to 3 specific medical conditions that my father has been diagnosed with. The first one I have shared since it is the biggest part of our journey together but the other 2 will remain hidden for his privacy.
I found these books when I was at the church bookstore looking for a devotional for him...…..funny how God wanted to work on me rather than me trying to work on my Dad....
While it is certainly foundational to obtain an understanding about a person's diagnoses it is just as important to gain insight on how to love that person with that diagnosis. Sometimes we have to change the way we love in order to make it more effective.
While our relationship is far from perfect, I am just praising God since I can honestly say it is a miracle that it even exists.
The letter pictured here is a 10 age poem my Dad wrote for my brother and I. Sometimes I forget that he has feelings too. And that his feelings are just as real and valid as mine- even though they differ. This poem reminds me that he too is on his own journey, we just happen to be sharing the road together. This too, I will keep.
_Daughter like Esther.
_Daughter like Esther.
Just the beginnings.
May 2016. I started a new job as the a Director of Faith Community Nursing. Oh my how my heart changed in James Place. Shortly after I started, God whispered to me "My child, how is it that you can care so deeply for these strangers but you have no feelings or care towards your own Dad?"
So what did I do?
Ignored that repeated whisper for 2 years of course.
March 4, 2018 Journal Entry reads- "God, you are growing me. So many areas of my life seem to make sense right now- all but the relationship with ___ (my Dad's nickname. I couldn't even say "Dad"). It's so complicated that I am grateful I don't even have to try and think of the right words to go here. You know it far better than I could ever attempt to explain. Why is praying for him so hard? But in obedience, I will try".
Sunday sermon notes from that week are immediately below that entry. "Do you believe that God can? That God is able?"
Bitterness and rebellion ravage the soul like a flesh eating bacteria. Sure you can ignore it, but you aren't better off for it. Friends, I encourage you. Listen. Listen to that still small whisper. What is it trying to say to you this day? Perhaps like me, you have heard it before. Perhaps not. But don't let bitterness, rejection and fear of what the future holds win the battle over your heart.
Easter 2018. I stopped ignoring and acted. While my feelings towards my Dad did not change...or even exist at this point, I just picked up the phone and texted. Do not wait to figure out your feelings. God will do his part....just begin yours.
This photo was colored by my Dad on his 65th day of sobriety. As a minimalist...I don't keep much.
But this...this I will keep.
_Daughter like Esther.
_Daughter like Esther.
This looks like a plate of bad food. Fried, unseasoned, unhealthy, unappetizing and cheap. It wasn't very good. But to me, this plate has significance.
This meal was the first meal at a restaurant that I have ever shared with my biological father.
Since Easter 2018, God has been moving mountains. These mountains had to be moved closer to me in order for me to start the climb up them. So while this journey of reconciliation comes with it's challenges. I know that God is at work.
Since my parents divorced when I was 5 I have been estranged with my Dad. I never really felt like I needed him. My Mom married my stepfather and he chose each and every day to love my brother and I. He is my Dad. Only recently have I needed to identify which "Dad" I am talking about in conversations. For the rest of this post and most that will be in this category, when I say Dad- I will be referring to my biological father.
You see, my Dad is complicated. I didn't invite him to my wedding. Didn't intend on my children ever to be around him. We were never close. I expected little and received even less growing up. My memories are vague and really none smell sweet to my soul. It was easier to avoid the issues and ignore him all together. Oh my friends- this is raw.
This will not be the last post about my Dad but it is the first. You see, he is a recovering alcoholic. The meal took place when he was 78 days into his sobriety. He has never been sober a day in his life until April 3, 2019. So this picture is much more than what it seems.
This meal is about a daughter and a father talking. This meal is about a relationship repairing. This meal is about emotions, fears, triumphs, and frustrations. This meal is about reconciliation. This meal is a step- a leap towards stitching broken hearts.
We don't always have to understand why God calls us to do things. We also don't have to wait until our feelings catch up. Love starts small. Love starts in actions. Love starts in picking up the phone to text. Love starts with a simple hello. Love starts with listening.
God is working on me. God is working on my Dad. This journey continues. 141 days into sobriety, I can't deny that there is a Creator who is cheering us both on.
More to come on this story... so much more friends.
But this is the beginning- not the end.