A Father for the Fatherless — How it really works

10537040_10153125381214097_5653480763681563782_nIt was just us three. I was twenty three, my son had just turned one the week before, and my daughter was two and a half.  Carter was taking his first steps, and Kaylee was the motherly encourager. I tried to keep their father involved when our brief marriage ended, but he eventually just dropped out completely.  There they were, the cutest, blondest, happiest little toddlers. I was so proud to call them mine, and I couldn’t figure out why someone wouldn’t want to call them their children. They were obvious the cutest kids in the world.  To me I thought most people would give anything to have kids this cute, and this great.  But there they were — fatherless. The big milestones were hard for them. Kaylee started going to preschool at four, and started asking “How come everyone has a dad but me?” Carter didn’t notice the absence at first, because he was too little when he saw his biological father last, but the void missing was obvious. It was only a waiting game until he started feeling the hurt of an absent father.

Nothing hurts more than watching your children’s father completely abandon them.

sad“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Psalms 68:4-5

What a beautiful passage. It has the warm fuzzies. A promise for the fatherless — but that doesn’t pay bills, tuck the kids in, or show up for the father-daughter dance.

I taught my children that even if they didn’t have a father here with them, that their Heavenly Father was all they needed, and He in fact was a better father than any mere human.  I wasn’t sure how that would work. But I believed it, and I seized the promise, and held on to the promise faithfully for fulfillment.

The fulfillment came.

The fulfillment came in ways that are unexplainable to us. We didn’t really have a choice but to believe and seek our Heavenly Father’s care. Suddenly the Father appeared as he mowed our lawn through the hands of a caring church member. The Father appeared when I didn’t haven’t enough to pay rent — through a friend, tithing the exact amount to me in the name of the Father. The Father supported us by providing washers and lawnmowers through the hands and feet of His church. The Father provided us with peace, comfort, and stability by showing us housing far below normal pricing. The Father  took care of us in so many ways — daily!

We talked about it together. I remember telling Kay and Carter that God mowed our lawn, sometimes they would object, but eventually they learned to lean on their Father for their needs. They started saying things like “Wow mom, isn’t God so sweet to us?” They still had a hole from the absence of an earthly father, and the hurt was and most likely always will be there, but they have been able to experience God’s goodness, and the qualities of a great father through Him.  While at a bon fire with some friends, it was told to me that Kaylee explained to some of the kids “Well, we don’t have a dad…” Carter abruptly cut her off: “Yes we do, God is our Father!” Quite a beautiful disaster!

A few years ago, Kaylee had her heart set on a Barbie doll house for Christmas. The doll house had an elevator. The doll house was about $250 and about $200 out of budget. She wanted that doll house so much. I was broke. I was struggling to get by, and like any parent, I would have loved to give her the world. She talked about it for about a month.  I would tell her every time that although I would love to give it to her, she would not get it for Christmas.  She is very empathetic, so she would bring it up, and then explain how she knew we couldn’t get it.  I almost started to get mad after a month of hearing about this stupid, over-priced Barbie house. I asked her to stop talking about it — it was out of the question. About a week before Christmas, I was driving home from picking up my kids after work. It was dark, I turned the corner about two blocks before our house. It was trash night, I needed to remember to put mine out on the curb. My lights shown on a trash can, a recycle bin, and… A Barbie dollhouse with an elevator!!!! It was in perfect condition waiting to be taken away the next morning by the trash men. Of course I immediately pulled over and loaded it into my car (or rather balanced it halfway inside the trunk of my car for the rest of the short way home).

I was so overwhelmed with joy, and provision. I saw on Facebook later that night someone had purchased a Barbie house a bit smaller and it took them hours to assemble. The Father assembled ours before dropping it off for us. What a good, good Father!

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
Matthew 7:9-11

996704_10154420442464097_2685115542443039281_nNot only does our Heavenly Father supply all of our needs, but He loves us so deeply that he provides the things we don’t need.  He is a picture of the most beautiful, caring, selflesslove.  He gives us what we wouldn’t even think to ask, He knows the desires of our hearts, He loves us.  Psalm 104 is full of blessings that He has showers us with. Two verse that really touch my heart are verse 14 and 15: “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”  We don’t need wine, but He gives it to us to make our hearts glad.  Oil was used in a way that we use makeup today — to make their face shine.  Another gift completely unnecessary, but because God loves us so deeply, He provides as a true Father does, and then beyond, healing our hearts, and cradling and protecting us through hardships.

Today, Kaylee and Carter are cared for by their Heavenly Father. One of the ways He has blessed them is by providing a new earthy father.  Through their season of fatherless-ness, they have experienced closeness to the Father, what it is to be cared for by the perfect provider.

As our perfect provider cared for us there were many instances when He would miraculously drop provisions off for us, such as the Barbie doll house, money, clothing, or other needs. Other times He used His hands and feet, the Body of Christ, the church.  Romans 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” I charge you — no, Christ charges you — be His body. If anyone calls themselves children of God, let him show it in his reflection of His image. Let us be the hands and the feet of the Father to the fatherless, and so fulfill the commissions of Christ.

The Broken Crib

crib

Rivers of tears.  Rivers and rivers, accompanied by some sniffling, and a wet hand trying to smear away the bursting streams that flooded – refusing to cease. My tears. The crib was broken. My son Carter had outgrown it, he was sleeping in a cute little toddler bed – perfect for him. My oldest daughter Kaylee was a good 18 months ahead of him. I had no reason for a crib. I had envisioned giving the crib to someone that needed one but was having a tough time financially. I didn’t have anyone specifically in mind yet – no one was at a loss.

I was working hard at getting divorced. I hadn’t shed a tear about my divorce since I had moved out of state about nine months prior. I was surprised at how good I felt about it. I was waiting for a melt down. People would give me their sympathies, but I didn’t even feel sad about it. I had escaped a terrible situation and my life was getting better! In fact it had already gotten quite a bit better! It was amazing how I did not miss my ex-husband. I thought I would feel a huge loss, but instead I felt cold, tainted, and anything but emotional. At this point no one, or nothing could hurt me.

Then the crib broke. I had refused to get rid of it claiming I would give it to someone in need – which I would have done. But someone broke it when they were moving it while in storage. The breaking was more than I was able to handle, and exceeded anything I had been prepared for. It was just an old crib. Why the big fuss?

We all know divorce can be pretty terrible. We talk about losing a spouse, some children unfortunately lose parents, houses, finances, lifestyles, possessions, you name it, it’s taken. Your identity is ripped from you and you are left to “start over” – which starting over is essentially a joke if you are just trying to survive juggling single parenthood.

We had always planned on having more precious little babies. Carter would be such a great big brother, and maybe we would have another little girl to take shopping with Kaylee and me. I tried not to let those thoughts run. I had enough to think about and those thoughts were just absolutely silly and ridiculous. Of all the loss I was going through, the future of more children was absolutely absurd to me. I already had two healthy babies, and I had even been so lucky to have one boy and one girl *perfect.*

splinter

This was it. The final. No baby would ever lay there again. There would be no more late nights, early mornings, no more baby cooing, no more baby smells… Just like that in an instant it all became final. The past can hurt us, and leave some pretty heavy scaring, but letting go of something the future once held can surprise you and cut you up just as conivingly. Carter would be my baby. Our family was broken, but also pre-maturely cut off. I finally felt the loss. There lay splinters of the crib in little pieces. The crib was now just as broken as our little family. The one last thing I had from their baby-hood was gone, as was all momentary hopes of a future…

 

 

 

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