Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Another year has cycled by and for girl's/women like me, it's bittersweet.  No father in the picture isn't something I haven't dealt with for many many years, really my whole life.  But it's painful none the less......

Seeing people post pictures of their dads on facebook, giving shout outs to the great men in their lives.  Telling the world how much they love their dad, and for me it's a little painful.

I always think about how unloved I was, how easy it was to walk out on me, how could he not reach out, when I reached out first?  How does it not get painful to think of all your missing out on.  And I remember maybe he does hurt, and if he doesn't he is missing out too!

Someone recently posted about the biggest lesson they learned from their dad, and I guess mine is a little twisted.  My dad taught me all the things I didn't want in a man, the qualities I wanted to avoid.  The life lessons I didn't want my kids to learn.

So it's really bittersweet.  I didn't dance on my daddy's toes as a little girl, I didn't get twirled around, never known as daddy's princess.  No dad to walk me down the aisle and give me away.  No dad to go to for advice.  I don't have a dad to watch my kids grow up, no one for them on my side to know as grandpa.  No old man as time passes to love and worry about.  To joke with, to laugh, to be mad at.

But at the same time I have come to learn to know God as my Heavenly Father.  While I saw growing up and even until recently in my faith walk.  I never even began to think of God in that way.  Honestly I don't think until the past 6 months I even began to really think of him as my Papa.

I always got creeped out when I heard God referred to as Daddy, Papa, Father.  I guess because of the way I was taught to fear God the last thing I wanted to consider God, was someone... who loved me, cared for me, had my best interest in mind.  There has never been a single man in my life that has wanted any of that for me.  And because I blamed God for all that had happened to me, I didn't know him in that way, I certainly didn't fear him in a healthy manor.

As I've grown and seen God's hand on my life, I began to think of him as a loving Father.  Then I decided one day to reach out to him as my Papa, my Daddy.  And simply calling him that out loud brought me to my knees in tears.

He really did love me, I just didn't love him.  Just as a little child I was resentful of him testing me, not being all I wanted him to be.  And because my heart wasn't softened to hear him, I couldn't connect.  I couldn't hear him if I wanted to.  It took a lot of time to learn how to be still and listen for his response.

It was foreign to me because it's unlike any relationship in the physical sense.

But how I wish I had all the beautiful words to share with everyone at how amazing my only Dad is.  I am a lucky girl in the sense of knowing him the way I do.  I am so thankful to have a dad I can have a great relationship with.

He planned me just like other dads plan their kids, he numbered all the hairs on my head, he knew my future long before the parents who birthed me did.  He knew the day I would run to him with open arms.  To be embraced as a woman proud of her Papa.  And I have no doubt he is proud of me too.

I won't lie if I let the enemy get inside my head a little, he tends to weaken the bond and make me reflect on the father in flesh I was born to, or the one who I never really had.  It's a little disheartening to know I will never be daddy's girl to some man here, that I will never have what some girls have.  But in reality I do have what lots of girls like me have.

A man who helped make her very existence possible, I am grateful that because of the father who helped conceived me I am here.  I have given life 6 times, and I get to parent five on this earth.  I am so lucky in a twisted way to have learned to look for what I wanted in my children's father.  Just like people who have great role models as dads do in another sense.  I wasn't as cheated as I once thought.

I have also learned how to seek out great role models for my children in other men.  Because it really does "take a village" to raise children.  And I want my children to grow and learn about all walks of life, thought processes.

I was blessed to have "bumped" into a man whom I look up to highly because he is such an amazing role model of what a man of Christ is suppose to look like.  And the best thing is we still all agree we aren't perfect.  So it makes for a real, authentic relationship.

I get to see yes, what I miss out on.  By watching him with his family, but I also get to see what to strive for.  I can't be jealous because he is a part of my life, when he doesn't need to be.  It wasn't an obligation, he loves my family because he wants to.  Not because he has to.  And that right there is one of the best dad figures ever!!!!!  He picked me, chose to do life along side my family.  He knows who he is, and I thank him with all my heart.  Love you {G} Happy Father's Day!!!

And he always points me to look up!!!

So while father's day is bittersweet, it's a lot more sweet these days than bitter!  All we have to do is be willing to drink from the cup our Papa is offering us.  Not deciding how it will taste, before we give it a try.

So I encourage you to look up, seek out, and get to know the one Father who loves you above anyone on this earth can possibly do.  Remember he numbered the hairs on your head, your earthy parents maybe counted your fingers and toes.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows

is God in his holy habitation.

God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Silent or not so silent prayers

A week or so ago someone on one of my baby loss boards posted about how upset she was that God allowed people to have babies who clearly only care about themselves, or abuse and neglect them.  Or maybe even kill them.  But take children from parents who yearn for nothing more than to be a mom or dad.

And it put me back into the place where I stood 5 years ago, so angry at God.  Hurt beyond belief that we tried for a baby to end in miscarriage early in 2007.  Then got pregnant again only this time, we got past the 12 week safe mark.  Then past 20 weeks, we had it all so it seemed.  In a naive blissful reality we thought we were bringing home our baby boy in a few short months.  Then the unthinkable happened.

Our son died in utero at 34.5 weeks.  His little heart stopped, he was gone.  And this wasn't suppose to be this way.  He had a healthy text book pregnancy, we wanted Ethan, we tried for him, and darn it we were good parents.  Way better than others.

And I was angry so very angry God let my sister have a baby and took mine.  Who cares if I already had two healthy boys, that's not all I was asking for.  I was a good mom so I expected to bring another baby home.  And my sister struggled to be a mom, having issues with alcohol.  And she got her son.... What sense did that make?  And then all of a sudden your eyes are ears are peeled to hear horror stories so much more than before of babies being thrown into trashcans, killed by their parents, dropped off at a hospital and left alone.

Those things have always been around.... But now that my baby has been taken from me, I see and hear it so much louder and it's a stab in the heart every single time.  I remember laying in bed, just telling God how jacked up he was that he would allow children to suffer this horrible beginning and he had the chance to take those babies from a life of pain, and yet he took mine who would have been loved.  It was all ass backwards (excuse the language) but it was.  I couldn't wrap my head around any of it.

If I could change the world and have it my way I would have taken the life of one who would of suffered.  And given life to the one who was loved.

Well recently, God has placed it on my heart to share the story of the one who wasn't loved, suffered and should of died.

God can do good things with ordinary people but he can do extraordinary things with extraordinary people.  Those who have suffered greatly.

If God did just what we ask and beg him to do.  Then I would have been one of those babies who should have faced death and spared pain.  I know if we all take a look we have crossed paths with someone who from infancy or conception have suffered greatly at the hands of parents.

I never understood growing up why God allowed such painful things to be weaved into my life, and still to this day I am going through painful things.  he never promised us a life of fun, joy with no pain.  Instead he has offered us JOY among the pain.

I was abandoned by my father from infancy, my mom was a young 18 year old not sure about life, the dad figure I did finally get died when I was 4, the next dad figure I got molested me from the age of 10-14, I was rapped at 20, I was told by my mother she wished she would of had an abortion with me when I was 16, she was a good mom in the fact she never left us, but she was emotionally unavailable and we suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of people who every child trusts.  Then I lost 5 little babies to miscarriage, and one little boy who I was able to hold in my arms.

I felt robbed like I got more than my fair share, God kept picking on me.  He really hated me.  That's what my heart thought about God.

And sometimes I even wished death upon myself growing up, it seemed easier than facing the life God planned out for me.  And a few times I tried to take my own life.

I am no Saint, ask those around me.  I am one heck of a messy person.  Lately I've done my fair share of hurting people.  Not because that was my intention but because I am broken and I have been hurt.  Hurt people hurt people.  Especially those who they love.  And when you've been a hurt person I think when trying to figure out who really loves you, you hurt people to see if they will really stay.  And to test their love for you.  It's jacked up!

But among the hurt I've caused.  God is using me.  He uses all those whom love him and are willing vessels to be used.

If God took babies like Angela who he knew would suffer from the start.  He would be taking people who could make a difference in the world.  Who could bring others who have been hurt and shammed to the foot of the cross.

That's what happened to me two years ago.  I didn't know how to approach the foot of the cross, until a special woman who had been through hell helped bring me there.  Had she not been through the hell of losing her own son, she wouldn't be who she is today.  Still messy and broken and having sin, but God has used her in amazing ways.

In my opinion the people who God uses need to have had to suffer, because then and only then do we start over with a foundation that consists of HIM.  Mighty things can only be done through those like myself, a baby who was hurt, abused, neglected at the hands of someone who was entrusted with life.

If God took babies like me, there would be no Angela.  No one to give the love I give to other broken people.  I love hard and well, and deep.  I give a love to people that they have never known before I was put into their path.  There wouldn't be people who are a voice for children who suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.  There wouldn't be people who could foster children who need a home, there wouldn't be amazing women getting fresh water to countries where children die all the time because of a lack of water and food.

There wouldn't be photographers who could take pictures of babies passing away, who have already died.  The world would be so much less compassionate and empathetic.  IF we had it all then we would never want to leave.  We cling to God when we are going through hell, not when life is grand and he answers all our prayers.

He doesn't allow our children to die to hurt us but rather to bring beauty out of the broken ness of the world.
We have to be willing to open our hands and let him use us.  I have seen so much beauty in families who had to do the unthinkable and bury one of their children or their only child.

Luke 22:42
42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

My arms will always ache to hold Ethan, to kiss him one last time.  My heart will always wonder what Ethan would be like today.  A photograph will always be missing a little boys smile.  Occasions will come and go that remind me this is not my home.  And milestones will always pass that I will not get to experience with Ethan.  But my heart is so filled with JOY.  All because God didn't answer my prayer 5 years ago when I begged him to take the life of another baby and not mine.

I am so thankful God has weaved his love into my pain, and reminds me all the time that this is not my home.  That Ethan was never mine to begin with, Ethan was his.  He was just gift borrowed to me.  And through my pain as a child, he will use me to do big things, no one else but a little girl like me was planned to do.

It won't make sense and it never will we aren't meant to understand his plans.  Just open our fists to what he cling to as ours and what we deserve and allow God to use us, when we allow it we do big things.  Life is messy and painful I know that, I am experiencing that right now.  I don't get it, but this time I am trying not to be angry and to ask him if he is willing to please take this pain from me, and if it's not in his will then to help me to accept his will for me and to help me do it well.

Friday, June 7, 2013

At the foot of the cross..

Lately I have either A. forced myself to be at the foot of the cross or B. Found myself on my knees at the foot of the cross.  That is where our father wants us.

It's been one heck of a ride the past few months.  Last week I had a procedure done to hopefully remove all the cancer this time.  And it didn't go as I planned, well the procedure did I guess but not the support.  Last minute I ended up going by myself.

At first I was pretty bummed to put it lightly, to go into something so big all by yourself.  It's scary, granted and so very thankful I believe in a God that is mighty and amazing.  But tangibly I was alone.  And really I think it was a huge punch in the stomach at first.  The moment in my life where I sat sobbing at the foot of the cross, for the very first time knowing so well the God I serve and for the first time realizing people will never be at your side all the time.  They are human made of sin filled flesh, so no one can possibly mean what they say.  And in the end it was a good thing I was all alone.  Good in a spiritual sense, not so good in a medical sense.

I don't think I was bummed that I didn't have someone to listen to me, to be sad with me, to worry about me.  I didn't have that in the first place and you cannot make people do those things for you.  I was bummed I was going to walk into a hospital all alone, they would ask me who was with me and I would have to say no one.  I cared far too much about what they would think of me.  A woman with no support system at that moment.  Would they think, what's wrong with this girl that one is here with her? IS she really messed up?  Stupid things flooded my brain.   As always I am far too concerned about what others think of me.

I got called back and got met by my amazing nurse Janet, who of course asked if I had anyone with me, when I told her no.  I saw the look of compassion in her eyes.  And she reassured me that they wouldn't be able to let me leave until I was ok to go home, she asked me if there was anything she could do for me, took my belongings and asked if there was anyone I wanted to update?  I just told her that if anyone called or texted in regards to the procedure she could keep them up to date otherwise not to worry about it.  I joked and told her not to give me my phone until I seemed normal again.

I had a pretty hard time waking up from the anesthesia but she stayed with me the whole time.  She tried to be comforting and yet, do her job.  I could tell she felt bad I had no one there.  Which was hard, because I think I got comfortable in thinking for the first time in my life, that I would never be alone again.  I never thought that way before then, and God I think wanted to remind me that I cannot rely on others.  Parents fail us, husbands fail, us, children fail us and friends fail us, friends that become family fail us.   It's sinful nature.  And I too am a sinner!  And I have no doubt I have failed someone, or many.

And she was so amazing, not the support I would have pictured that day, but just the support God knew I would need besides him.

In this past week God, has been so present with me.  I have learned what an unfailing love my God has for all of us but for me.  His love isn't earned, or based on my behavior, actions, and he doesn't with drawl his love from me when I hurt him.  I don't think I have ever been able to receive that so clearly as I have the past few nights.

 Just the other night I laid in bed thinking of all the pain I have caused someone, thinking about how I could maybe earn my trust back, prove I am worthy of their love and presence in my life.  And I was in tears, because I screwed up and I didn't know how on earth I could get things back to semi normal.  Could I do something specific, could I apologise more, differently, do something that would prove by my actions that I really was deeply sorry.  I just cried I begged God to please soften their heart, to help me learn how to be different, better, or if this wasn't what he wanted for my life to please reveal to me what he wants me to do.

I became a beggar in a different way.  Then I remember a sermon a few week back at church where the pastor talked about being that beggar, who could show another beggar where to get help.

Then God so powerfully filled my being and reminded me, I've done all I can do.  I am forgiven I don't need to keep beating myself up for what I've done.  Just as I have forgiven other's for their hurts, I have been forgiven.  And I may never be forgiven fully by the sinful flesh of this world.  But I need to quit seeking for more than I can be given by them.  Christ has forgiven me and I am so worthy of love, I am not a bad person.  I am a person with a loving heart like Christ, I know my heart came from him.  There is no way I could have gotten through the life I have of constant mistrust, hurt, abuse, emotional abuse.  And allow all these people grace and love when they sometimes didn't deserve it.

And I will keep loving in such a way, but I need to learn to protect my heart and not give my all to people.  I need to be a little more cautious and wise.  And know that if I get hurt then it's ok.  My papa will mend that hurt.

I think I am learning slowly that I cannot keep beating myself up for the things, hurts, broken hearts, behaviors I have done in the past.  I can say I am sorry, and really really mean it.  And I can prove it by my actions.  But I do not need to prove to the world I am worth loving.  This is going to sounds nuts.  But darn it I do deserved to be loved.  I am a good, hard working, Christ loving, people loving person.  And when I say I will do something I do my best to do it.  I will not keep trying to prove to anyone but Christ that I am worthy.  And I will only keep trying to prove to him I am worthy because I am so unworthy of his prefect love.  He has done nothing to me but everything for me, and everyday I hurt him.  Everyday I do something sinful I am sure.  I think those that really love me, will love me because I am messy, I am really messy sometimes but I am worth having in their lives and I am love able.  I don't think until tonight's teaching at shift I really believed I was love able.  I always thought yep, so and so is.....but me...nah!  I have to prove it.

I've always since I was little struggled with appearance, never felt like I was beautiful.  And honestly I still struggle with that.  But I always thought I was a little beautiful on the inside.  And I thought what I had on the inside, the love I had for people.  Made up for the lack of outer beauty.  Then lately I've begin to question even that. Tonight during a random prayer, I felt God's hand over my heart telling me not to question that.  I am beautiful on the inside, really beautiful to him.  I think refined and hard pressed through the trials, God can clearly see his image in me.  That's all he wants....

Thank you Jesus for filling me tonight for letting me see you, feel you and really let you show me through the fire lately

Tonight I was reminded if we get too comfortable with anything/anyone, we take it for granted.  And I think I did take it for granted and I think there have been times I've been taken for granted.  I will change that about myself.  I won't allow myself to get too comfortable with the flesh anymore.

I have taken the gifts God has given me and I have done great things with some of them, others I have been selfish and only shared with a few people.  I've been greedy and shashed all my gifts with a select few.  It's time I use those gifts and go meet those God has me planned on sharing them with.

I never thought as a little 10 year old girl, hiding under her covers from her dad, that I could use that to help someone.  I never thought with all the lies, of how ugly I was, how horrible my tears were, how no one else could love me if my own parents couldn't show it, how not having a dad made me so different and unworthy.

A year and a half ago I let some of that go, I took a huge risk of letting people in like I have never ever on any level done.  And it's been hard pressing, challenging and at times I questioned myself as to why I did it.  I knew I would get hurt.

And yes I got hurt, let down...... But oh the glory and grace that came with it.  The lessons and gifts God has shown me through those hardships.  No regrets here.  It was a risk and in the end a delightful one, no matter the length of the blessings I've received.

If I have hurt anyone.... By an action, a comment, a look, pushing you away.  I am sorry, really really sorry.  Nothing I can do or say will change that.  NOTHING... But do know I am a woman of my heart and I do not say things like this publicly if I don't mean it.  I wish I could change a few things, mend the heart I've hurt, get trust back I've lost, laughter that once was and now diminished back.  But I cannot change anyone else, and I won't try to anymore either.

I am going to live life differently.  As I was told tonight.  Take each day as it comes, not borrowing anymore time that was never promised.  I love deeply I say I love you everyday in case it's my last.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.  And I don't want to regret what I did or didn't say.

And those frailties and cracks in our clay pot? They are not to be despised, for they now serve a purpose! They allow the life of God, our cherished treasure, to seep out for all those around us to see.

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.