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.

Stress, Anxiety, Panic

1475973_10152423323564097_804826418_nBeing a single parent with 100% custody comes with a lot of responsibility.  Sure, there are people that help out, but ultimately no one cares or invests to the level of a parent. I find myself responsible to pay the bills, unable to tag team in the raising and disciplining of my children, and without support when I just can’t take it anymore. I have found myself in positions where I had worked a seventy plus hour week, had to choose which utility bills to pay vs which ones I could stretch out until the next pay period – no child support here, no idea who I would be able to find to watch my children while I work, short on sleep, a messy house, no clean laundry… and the list goes on – not to mention the judgement I have faced from others. These things that I face seem to have no resolution other than enduring until my children reach adulthood. I feel as though I have been robbed of my motherhood, and missed their childhood. It used to be a regular thing to carry a diaper bag slung over my shoulder, one sleeping toddler in each arm, and trek across a block or two of parking lots to my apartment at two in the morning – just getting home from work.

What I am trying to say is that I am familiar with an overwhelmingly stressful amount of responsibilities. These are not the things a typical twenty-three year old American female faces – but I was facing them. So how are we to deal with stress? What about worry? What is it that triggers panic, gives us anxiety, and straight up scares us to death?

I can’t do it anymore.

I will never be enough.

I am going to get an eviction notice.

I am going to mess up my children’s lives.

I am falling short of the pinterest housewife.

I am not making the six figure income the other fathers are making.

I can’t stay awake.

I am suffering physically because:

I don’t have time to take care of myself.

I don’t have time to be a mother, a father, a provider, and a housewife.

I can’t go to the gym because:

I can’t afford a babysitter for pleasure.

I am alone.

I have no one that cares for me.

I can’t do this anymore and I definitely can not last until they are 18.

I will be lucky if I live until 40 with this amount of pressure on me (Yikes that’s not very long!!!!!)

All these worries. All these stresses. Many are legitimate. All off the seem hopeless, and all of them have something in 60457_10150095322499097_1982694_ncommon. They all start with the same letter, the same word. “I.” Recently I had the epiphany that these stressful moments are merely what I have labeled “selfish attacks.” There are so many concerns that seem like they are ok to have, but ultimately if you take yourself out of the picture, how many of them are really left? The crazy thing is that we don’t even have to be concerned about ourselves. We have all that we need through one source. I would never put my children in harms way. So why would my heavenly Father do that to me? I remember coaxing my little Carter to jump into the pool years ago. I can hardly keep him out of the pool now, but there was a time when he would be brought to tears at the thought of jumping in to me. I had him. There was nothing to worry about. Mommy would catch him – and never let him drown. Carter was worried that he would die. I had to convince Carter to let go of his worry, and give his worry to me. His job was to move forward. My job was to catch him. He had nothing to worry about – that was my job. Carter had to stop thinking about himself and all his worries and focus on my direction.

There is Rest

1001754_10152039268089097_219248586_nPsalm 55:22 proclaims “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you.” Over and over the Bible tells us not to worry. Matthew 11:28-30 records Jesus’ precious words; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Nowhere are we told to worry. In fact, we are instructed quite the opposite. We are told again by Jesus in Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” There is one more precious gem I must include from Matthew 10:29-31, straight from the caring lips of Jesus “ Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[b] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

When we do as instructed, we are never to worry. He will take care of any needs we have.  My God will supply all my needs. Our earthly concerns are essentially centered around ourselves, and our own selfishness. When we stop focusing on ourselves, and start focusing on greater things – loving and serving others and glorifying the one that takes care of us – our stress vanishes, our anxiety ceases to exist, and our panic is starved to death.

Do not worry my friend, simply rest in His care – have peace knowing that His grace is sufficient. He is more than enough.

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…

 

 

 

3 Reasons Good Girls Like Bad Boys

niceguy2

It happens all the time, without fail. The sweetest girl goes for that terrible worthless bad boy – AGAIN! She has so much to offer, the perfect catch, yet she chooses a boy (we can’t even bear to call him a man) a handful of notches below her level. We cringe when we see our girlfriends, sisters, and daughters make the same mistake of picking up bad boys over, and over again. It isn’t usually a one time slip up, but some type of pattern that repeats itself – one jerk after another, always resulting with a broken heart and a swollen face full of masquara infused tears.

As we watch these relationships repeat themselves like a chapter on a scratched DVD, we figure there has GOT to be a reason for all of this madness. What could possibly cause a beautiful, well rounded, bright-futured female to stoop to the levels of an unaccomplished unqualified bad boy, that would treat her nothing even remotely close to what she is worth? Well, in reality there is an endless number of reasons that could cause a good girl to fall for a bad boy, but there are three major reasons that seem to be the most common triggers:

Scream and shout: Two girls scream as they face a downward spiral of fear

1. The Good Girl emotional adrenaline junkie. Bad boys tend to be more adventurous, and less predictable. Go back to the time when your significant other told you they loved you for the first time. Remember that emotional high, the euphoric sense of being free from all gravity, and savoring those sweet words you have waited so long to hear. There will never be a first time of “I love you” again in that relationship, never again will you feel that same high… unless… unless you can get to a place so low and so dark that even the dimmest ray of hope will be enough of a contrast that you will feel as if you are inches from the sun, giving you that same crazy high you experienced before. Let’s face it the lower the lows, the higher the highs seem to feel. These emotional adrenaline junkies can’t bear an even keeled ride.

2. He’s a really great guy with a good heart. Or, better said – he looks really good, and he’s a charmer. The excuse: “He’s a really great guy underneath that bad boy exterior.” The fairy tale: “I will change him, he will change for me, he just hasn’t met anyone worth changing for yet. He just hasn’t met anyone like me.” The reality: Although your ego tells you otherwise, this guy isn’t changing for anyone, and guess what; you can’t change him. Until he decides to make a real change for himself, he is unrescuable from the life of a bad boy.

3. They associate love with hurt. This is my least favorite reason, and perhaps the most common of them all. It could be a parent, sibling, friend, or even a past hurtful relationship that breeds this association. The one that loves them the most – or is supposed to love them the most – hurts them the most. When the one that is supposed to be meeting the need of love in their life begins hurting someone, that is where the association comes in. The role of a lover becomes distorted. When a good girl gets hurt by a bad boy, she associates the hurt to the same hurt her parent/friend/ex lavished her with, and expects that because she is feeling the same hurt, she will also feel that same love – which she will, but it will never be the right love, and it will never be enough.

What are your thoughts on why good girls go for bad boys?

 

© 2016 Leah J. Dillon
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