Father’s Day For The Fatherless

I flipped through my grandma’s Avon catalog. She was a big believer in Avon, therefore, so was I. I came across all the Father’s Day goods. Cheap cologne, and pens in the shape of baseball bats or golf putters. A golf putter it was. My grandmother placed the order and I waited with great anticipation for it to come in. I wrapped it up, and couldn’t wait to give my prize. Father’s Day came and proudly I walked over and gave the coolest gift ever…to my mom.

She deserved that pen, after all she was my mom and my dad. Although through the years I had a step dad and a fantastic grandfather, I grew up without a dad. In fact, my biological father’s parental rights were terminated when I was eight, and I was never adopted by anyone else. So 29 years ago, I officially became fatherless. Like legit fatherless.

My life has been a struggle of wondering and wandering. Searching for acceptance, fighting rejection, asking myself why I wasn’t worthy enough. Even now I struggle. Especially watching my own kids with their fathers. I hear them call them dad, and I have no ability to even begin to wrap my mind around what that feels like to call someone dad.

As an adult I’ve reached out to my father and he still has no desire to be part of my life or my brothers. I can’t answer for him, or find any reason. He’s not a drug addict or homeless. I see photos of him on Facebook playing with my cousins kids and celebrating Christmas. But still he has no longing to be a part of our lives.

Periodically I’ve had to answer questions from my kids, who have grown up without a grandfather:

Why doesn’t your dad love you?

Why doesn’t your dad want to be our grandpa?

Where is he?

What does he look like?

I show them one of the only photos I have of me and my dad, tell them he lives somewhere in California or Colorado and then answer the same questions I’ve asked myself throughout my life with an emphatic: I really do not know.

As I’ve searched for my earthly dad, my heavenly father has gently drawn me near to Him. The teenage years of crying in my room, God was there, listening. The years of self-destruction as I longed to be loved, God’s grace covered me. The moments I sacrificed my dignity to be accepted, God’s mercy rained–in fact, it poured. When I found the man to spend the rest of my life with, God gave me tremendous love…a love that is patient with my pain, and understanding of my lifelong grief. A husband who is a loving, caring and wise father to all five of our kids.

So to those who are like me and are fatherless on this father’s day, hold tight to hope. You indeed, my friend, are not truly fatherless. God has sent his love to you in some fashion–whether it’s your mother, your husband, your children. And even if not…even if you feel as if you are all alone and unwanted, God has never left you, abandoned you or rejected you.

The pain you feel for yourself is the pain God feels for you, with you. He never wanted this for you… He never wanted this for us.

I cannot answer why, or tell you when the pain will end…but I assure you, the depth of his love for you is immeasurable. He does what every father should do….

He listens.

He quickly forgives.He comes to your rescue.

He is proud of you.

He is patient.

He willingly gave His life for you.

Because He loves you.

So happy father’s day….to all the dads who have loved …to all the dads and grandpa’s who have passed….and to the husbands who love their kids more than life. Happy Father’s day to my Father in heaven.

Happy father’s day to MY husband who has taught me the love of Christ…and gives my kids a better life than mine, a love that I have never had for myself.

Jesus said:

….You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

 

HOW TO DO SOMETHING DRASTIC FOR CHANGE

A fast can defeat you before you even begin. I wrestled with the idea of not having pasta and bread three nights a week, what it would feel like to not have my morning caffeine and all the other reasons I just couldn’t for months before I committed to it. God would prompt me, I would say, “Yes, LORD!” But then every time I would think about what I had to sacrifice or what “events” were going to “get in the way.” I would talk myself out of it. I just couldn’t do it.

My commitment to fast was strictly out of obedience. Jesus fasted. If Jesus did it, we are not above it. I also was in a place where the pain of my circumstances outweighed the fear of the sacrifice, or the change that would become of it.

BREAKTHROUGH CAN HAPPEN WHEN PAIN OUTWEIGHS FEAR

I needed something different and I needed more of Jesus because I was just too much. Even for myself to deal with. And when you can’t even deal with yourself, friend, you better do something drastic. I still stand with an abandoned heart needing Jesus to seep into certain areas of my life.

Do you need Jesus to seep?

Into your marriage?

Into your husband’s heart?

Into your child’s life, so they can be free from that addiction?

Into your bank account?

Into your daily self-doubts?

Into your health?

I implore you–do something drastic with me. Commit to fasting with me –and dozens of others–on

July 1, July 2 and July 3.

As you begin to prepare, here are some things that are true about fasting:

  1. You can always talk yourself out of a fast or doing anything that requires any level of self-discipline.
  2. Events, holidays, birthdays are always right there. You might have to forge through.
  3. You can’t think about what you have to sacrifice, you must focus on what you will gain
  4. You really can’t do it. If you can give that food up on your own, you need to consider sacrificing something more difficult.
  5. Fasting is about sacrificing FOOD.
  6. FASTING is a form of deep prayer. If you give up food and don’t pray you are simply starving yourself.
  7. Fasting is NOT a diet or a means to lose weight.
  8. Your dietary sacrifice can be anything that is challenging to you. You don’t have to go all out and not eat at all. (Especially if you haven’t been cleared by a doctor.)
  9. You must begin praying NOW about what your fasting commitment should be.
  10. You must be specific in what you are going to pray for.

Can you do it?

Yes

Because…

We don’t do anything alone.

We do life together.

Jesus commits to being there, to helping, to loving, to listening, to bringing freedom.

 

Let me know if you are IN by commenting. And then share this and challenge 3 friends to fast with us!

To our lives changing, because they will, my friend, they will.

Tiff

HOW NOT EATING CHANGED ME

At the beginning of May I entered into a 21 day fast. It was the second time I've done this crazy thing. But what I found even crazier is that there are people who have been Christians forever and ever and ever who have never ever fasted before.

Now I'm not super Christian who fasts all the time and does everything right and who is always obedient–in fact I'm quite the opposite. Just a few nights ago you could have found me fully clothed, sitting in an empty bathtub with the shower curtain closed screaming at God because he doesn't seem to be listening.

This was the very reason I began my 21-day fast because I needed God to listen, and more than that I needed Him to speak. I have been drowning in grief and confusion and every voice I heard was muffled and water logged, so I exhausted myself wondering if it was God speaking, or simply one of the echoes of my temper tantrums that daily emerged. I needed to empty myself…to empty my stomach…to remove distractions and caffeine and all the things I love so the sounds of my heart could maybe become audible.

This fast: no bread, no sugar, no meat and water only. Not quite as strict as my last one, but no less difficult–I love me some caffeine…I LOVE me some bread, I adore, absolutely addictively adore, sugar. I knew my soul needed Jesus more than my tastebuds needed anything. And so I embarked.

For twenty one days:

I prayed and prayed.

I read scripture.

I cried.

I yelled.

I discovered some really ugly…like really ugly parts of me.

And He answered.

Not every single thing in the way I hoped, or in the timing I wished for. In fact daily I'm still going before the throne and praying for a specific miracle. But I emerged with a new perspective, well..mostly.

With every fast comes the specific requests. Mine were personal and filled with hope.

Please lift depression from my daughter and give her vision for her life.

Please give me some sort of vision for my own life, because why do I wake up every morning?

Please please please break this financial bondage that we are in. Too many years, too much stress, too many curses.

Please just fill us. Empty our lives of us and fill us up with you.

God has answered my prayers for my daughter, given me a new hope in him, even though I hate it here still. He has filled us up, drawing us each nearer to him–however, we are still broke.

Fasting isn't realllllly about having Jesus wave his wand and bless you, answering all of your prayers because you so sacrificially deny yourself of something you love. What it's reallllly about is you becoming less like you and more like Him. He will answer prayer, but only if it's in your best interest. He will answer prayer but only if you have a heart change first. He will answer prayer but only if it transforms you–making you less and Him more.

Him more. In your mind…your heart….your thoughts…your requests.

I'm not hating because he didn't methodically check off my list of requests. I'm loving because I am free in a way I wasn't free on April 30th.

I'm a work in progress–and so are you

So plan on fasting with me.

For three days:

July 1

July 2

July 3

And the rest of this week I will convince you why …. I will show you how he worked in my daughter's life. I will envision you with the vision He gave me. I will explain the importance of obedience and fasting and obediently fasting. And we will do it together…Changing our hearts, and changing the World…solely for Him.

Are You In?

Comment and Share with me your emphatic or reluctant “YES!” And stick around the blog this week…

LG|LP Tiff

 

Donald Sterling Can Teach You Something

Our family is pretty big basketball fans.  Even my girlie, cheerleader daughter has her opinions on players and loves watching–most of the time.  I am more of a college basketball fan, loving every minute of the Final Four.  But now that the NBA playoffs are on, so is our television, non-stop, game after game.  All  I can say about that is: Go Spurs Go! (but we all know it’s rigged, anyway.)

spurs

The entire nations basketball fun of hoping their team has been picked by the gamblers to win this year was temporarily ruined by the Donald Sterling Scandal.  In case you don’t know, or care about the NBA, I will bring you up to speed.  Donald Sterling is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.  His net worth is $1.9 BILLION—yes Billion.  Not only does he own the team, he has convinced himself he owns the players.  He made horrible racist statements that, in my opinion, were leaked by his mistress to most likely get back at him for not divorcing his wife so that she could have his BILLIONS.  Yes, Billions.

Donald Sterling

As a result, the NBA has banned him for life from any NBA activity ever, he has to pay $2.5 million (a drop in the bucket) and he is forced to sell his team.  His nasty remarks offended people who most likely once called him “friend”. The very people who play basketball for him were insulted. The night those comments came out to the public, his team lost big. And here is why:

WORDS MATTER.

No matter how much money you make, or don’t.  No matter what your background, your nationality, your race, your gender…words matter. 

As a counselor I’ve worked with so many victims of abuse who have been bruised and battered.  Those wounds have healed, but what lingers are the words, the hurtful, hateful words that the enemy uses to taunt and torture.  Words have tremendous power:

The tongue can bring death or life;  those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21

Sterling’s words brought death, to himself and to other’s.  But something that is even scarier is that the words we say are a reflection of what is within is. 

 

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart… Matthew 15:18

Is your heart full of hate like Billionaire Donald Sterling?

Is your heart full of unforgiveness, making you sarcastic and cynical?

Is your heart full of gratitude, allowing you to give of your time and treasure to those who need it?

Is your heart full of love, showing comopassion and love to those around you?

Not sure?! Spend some time reflecting on what you said to your family today, or your co-workers or friends yesterday.  Once your words have been spoken, the power of life and death or unleashed.  Donald Sterling may have been banned and fined, but what’s worse is living knowing that his heart is filled with hate and entitlement.  His consequence is minimal compared to the irreversable damage already done. 

Live with no regrets, speak life.

Thoughts?  Let me know!

LG|LP Tiff <3

A Pug-napping From a Dog Hater

On Friday I was driving home and received a call from my husband.  The conversation went something like this:

Him: “Umm, Precious is Gone.”

Me:  “What? You’re kidding right?”

Him: “No, someone stole her and her kennel right out of the garage.”

Me: “NOOOO!” (the hysterics began)

Him: “Yah, Cody had given her a bath and put her in her kennel in the garage. He left the garage open, of course.  Someone must have come by and taken her.”

Me: “No, No NO!” (Alyssa, in the passenger seat begins her hysterics.”

Him: “Yah me and the boys are gonna try and figure this out but Precious is gone.”

I hang up and weep as uncontrollably as possible when driving down 1604. My daughter begins asking all the right questions through her tears, “Why would someone do that? … Do you think they will hurt her?….Where is she?….Is she scared?”

She would cry loud, then I would ball.  Then I would weep, and she would wail.

Precioius the Pug

Right as we are exiting, my phone rings.

Him: “We found her, she was at the neighbors. She’s fine.”

Me: “What the hell?” (Immediate calmness)

Him: “Some teenagers rode by on their bike and thought we were abusing her and she was wet with sweat.  They pulled out the kennel.  Our neighbors saw and took Precious from them.”

Me: “Ok, I’m glad she’s okay.” (trying to sound like I hadn’t been howling and bawling over my dog.)

What the hell?  is the question I really asked myself.  Has I just became totally out of control hysterical over a missing pug?  If you’ve really known me for any length of time you know that I have spent most of my life as an animal hater.  I don’t hate them like in wanting something bad to happen to them.  I have just never had any compassion, tolerance or patience for animals.  I have never loved them….until now….until Precious.  I mean who can blame me?

2011-07-30_13.40.03

I see people at the gym, friends who are losing weight, and even me, I’m trying to shed a few winter storage–I asked myself,”Where do all the pounds actually Go?” The changing of a body is pretty miraculous.  But the changing of a person is, well, divine.

I thought of all the other ways in my life that I’m not anymore…

-The Liar

-The Thief

-The Yelling Mom

-The Compassion-less

-The Cynical

-The Fearful

Instead, God has redeemed me–Freed me…and I’m now…

-The Seeker of Truth

-The Giver

-The Patient Mom

-The Understanding

-The Forgiving

-The Faithful

There is not one self-help book or show of Oprah that changed me.  I didn’t try harder, or just simply grow older…No it’s so much more.  I have been transformed –changed into something new.  Over the last 15 years of my life, I’ve gone through a conversion.  And like our bodies, when our pounds simply disappear, my old ways–and the desire for my old ways–have completely vanished.  And they’ve been replaced with something new, and hopeful and filled with life.  I once was…but now I am….  Praise God!

How about you?  Comment and tell me …. I once was ___________ but now I am___________.  Praise God!

LG|LP Tiff <3

 

NOTICE: No Pug was harmed in the making of this blog post, nor during the kidnapping.  Precious is alive and well, currently in the middle of her six hour daily nap at my feet.