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

 

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. 

 

 

When Life Gets Complicated, Eat an Egg

Every year I have this tradition.  One I don’t think my husband even knows about.  At Easter time, when I’m called by the chocolate bunnies to the candy aisle, I spend way too much time walking up and down each row picking up little candy chicks and convincing myself that I don’t need to buy all the PEZ dispensers. But when I stumble across one of these babies, I buy it.

cadbury egg

After spending all my money on juice and mac and cheese, and my Cadbury Creme Egg, I load it all up. As I leave the parking lot I unwrap the pile of sugar, brace myself and take a bite.  I can handle the chocolate.  One more bite, and now the creamy sugary egg-like center.  I choke it down, then roll down my window and chunk it.

It’s pretty much disgusting.

I pretty much hate them.

But every year, I buy one, take a bite and then gift it to the birds.

Easter has always been my favorite.  I love the spring, I love the flowers, the bunnies, and oh the chocolate.  When I was younger these little hunks of sugar were a staple in our house for the season.  My brother could inhale them.  I always enjoyed one or maybe two.  They were never really my favorite, but they just remind me.

They remind me of a simple day of being with family.

They remind me of the sunrise services where we would place fresh flowers in a chicken-wired cover cross, bringing it to life.

They remind me of new Easter dresses and patent leather shoes.

They remind me of the smell of the grass as I would hunt for eggs.

They remind me of one of the most influential days of my childhood.

They remind me of being a child.

Life gets so complicated.  We pay our taxes and try not to worry about what we owe while our kids are hunting eggs that we dyed the night before because we didn’t have time during the week.  We hope our kids embed their own memories of family and carry on tradition someday in the far away future.  We pray, just pray, that our kids really grasp the meaning of what happened on the cross…and what it means that Jesus got off of it.

But nothing brings back those moments of being a child. Not even a bite of those nasty eggs.  In fact, every year with the toss out the window, those little eggs show me how to embrace the beautiful life God has given me…the life with hopeful children, and fresh mercies and new life, every single day.

So blessed.

What is one of your favorite childhood Easter memories?

LG|LP

Tiff  

 

Jesus Doesn’t Care About Middle-Class

I am being vacuumed slowly and painfully into the vortex of suburbia America.  This was one of my fears when deciding to move here. In Florida I lived in smaller town where I knew people and saw familiar faces. I was able to get to know my neighbors and the cashiers at the grocery store and the lady who worked the counter at the pizza joint.  I also intimately knew the lives of the teenagers, their struggles and their pain.  I prayed over them and dried their tears. Their lives kept me immersed in the realities of the world.

At one point I served as staff of a church who’s property backed up to a poor neighborhood.  Children would come out on Wednesday nights in search of some community.  I would walk nine year old girls home at ten o’clock at night when it was pitch dark out only to find their moms say things like, “I was wondering where you were.”  Those same kids would show up on Sunday, not feeling like they quite fit in, watching through the windows at the “churched” kids. Barefoot, dirty and unfed.

Now I”m back in the bubble of the city.  A bubble filled with children living with a narrow worldview, thinking their lives are difficult.  I’m living in a city where your attire is important, and everyone pays hundreds of dollars to get their hair done.  I’m surrounded by people who take regular expensive vacations and teenagers consider $150,000 houses the “ghetto”.

nice house

 

And all of this “lifestyle” is sucking the life out of me.  I find myself wishing I had more “things” and comparing myself to the trendy women who walk about with their babies ducktaped to their bodies.  I find the time and energy to reason with myself about buying clothes and shoes. I desire things now that I did not desire eight months ago.

shoppin

 

I completely understand that some people work hard to have nice things and own their homes and do their nails and spend $200 on their hair.  I get it.  But I don’t want to be that person if it costs me what matters most.

I see myself losing perspective.  I see myself allowing the world and my flesh to drown out the purpose of my life.  I feel myself allowing God to be at arms length because the suburban lifestyle is oh so comfortable.

Friends, it will suck you in.  And it’s strong…oh so strong.  Convincing you and enticing you.  The seductive dance of wanting and buying and needing skews the picture of the why Jesus came in the first place.  Your bubble- life you live without disturbance, focused on yourself and your own needs and wants, completely shelters you from the Kingdom of God.

Pop the bubble.

Take off the blinders.

Remove the night vision.

Change the way you look at things.

Alter how you think of your circumstances.

Most of us don’t have it that bad.  In fact, most of us have it pretty damn good.  Don’t let middle-class America determine your relationship with Christ, if it hasn’t already.

And I’m not talking about donating a few things to Goodwill, or helping load a food truck.

I’m talking, be sold out for Jesus instead of worrying about what’s on sale or how you’re going to get more of something you already have way too much of.

I’m talking, stop being in a hurry and start being still in His Presence.

I’m talking throw everything you think you know about your neighbors & all that gossip out the window and really listen and be a friend.

I’m talking stop just showing up to church on Sunday after going to the bar on Saturday.  Don’t go to the bar and serve, give, love.

Do more, be more.

Jesus doesn’t care much about your middle-class or upper-class or wealthy status.  Jesus cares about the condition of your heart, your intentions and the love you have for Him and His people.

 

LG|LP 

Tiff