_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.