True Strength

“Stop trying to be strong and embrace your weaknesses.”               – Pastor Jeremy Deweerdt

We are doing a series at our church. It is entitled ‘Rescue’. In this series, we have been talking about how God rescues us out of many seemingly hopeless situations and how, ultimately, we are (or have been) rescued to be a rescuer (for others). It has been simply amazing and very much eye-opening and life-changing for many, myself included. Today’s message was ‘Rescued from Hardships’. As you can imagine, this is something that many of us have faced at one point or another and something that we may currently be facing as I write this post and as you read along.

There was something very profound that was said in the message that really hit home. Obviously, there were many other great things that were conveyed in this message but I will only touch on this one for now because it honestly made something in my spirit shout “Yes!” My pastor had a number of different hardships that he hit on during this message and then he said the quote above and I knew this was a topic that I needed to do a post on.

Many times, when we are going through difficult times, we try to work things out in our own strength. I cannot begin to tell you how true that has been, in the past, for me. As believers, when we are going through a storm and we say that we “don’t feel God’s presence or strength,” it is many times because we have our hands in the situation and are trying to “fix” it in the way we want it to be fixed. Now, how true has that been for you???

Personally, I have experienced many people that talk about the perceived “strength” of men and women who have found themselves in the role of a single parent. While I do agree there is a strength that shows up in this type of situation, there is also a place where that strength is usually drawn from. I, myself, don’t like to have people tell me how “strong” I must be to have 6 children and to be parenting them alone because I know that is not the truth. My strength, as I have acknowledged before and will continue to talk about until the day that life leaves this earthly body, comes solely and fully from the Lord. I do not parent these children alone because God is my rock and my “co-parent”, if you will. He provides for ALL of our needs. His strength is made perfect in my weakness and I could do nothing without Him. I would not be able to love, guide and care for even 1 child, let alone 6, if it were not for the Lord loving, guiding, caring for and giving me the strength that I need, and being my strength, every single day.

It is kind of funny, to me, that we acknowledge the strength of single parents or the strength it may have took for someone to face their biggest fear and we fail to acknowledge where that strength comes from or what exactly true strength looks like. We are not always quick to acknowledge the strength that it takes to make a marriage work and to parent your child(ren) with your spouse, or the strength it takes to resist temptation, or the strength it takes to be obedient and remain in the will of God, or the strength it may take to continue working a job that you may absolutely hate in order to provide for your family, or even the strength it takes to confess and admit a wrong that we’ve committed against someone. One of the things that I’ve learned, is that we all have weaknesses and strengths. I’ve also learned that many of us like to focus and display our strengths for all to see, while we steadfastly hide our weaknesses. It may be something that we grew up being taught or it may be because we just don’t like those parts of ourselves. Listen, I get it! I grew up being taught to never let anyone see my weaknesses too but I think we need to understand that our weaknesses make us who we are, just as much, if not moreso, as our strengths. And that is okay!

My goal, as a mother, friend and woman, is to teach my children that we all have weaknesses and to not pressure them to ever feel like they have to be perfect, because that is a goal that we can never truly reach on this side of heaven; and to embrace my weaknesses, so that people not only see my strengths but also realize that I am human, I have flaws and that I am, by no means, perfect, although I may appear to be. 🙂 Let’s begin to acknowledge and understand where our true strength lies.

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Freedom Isn’t Free: It Always Comes With A Price

What is a veteran? According to Merriam-Webster, a veteran is anyone who has had long experience in a particular field. Maybe I should rephrase my question… what is a military veteran? A military veteran can be a man or a woman. He/she is someone whoV_Day-Feature-Banner-300x176 may be actively serving, discharged, reserves or retired. A military veteran is someone who has sacrificed much, including: time with family and friends, lost limbs, higher salaries that they could have been making in the private sector and have even, sometimes, sacrificed their very lives for the sake of freedom.

Maybe that is why some people’s first thought is not to tell the young service members “Happy Veterans Day” or celebrate them the way that they celebrate and honor the older generation of military members. Our first thought is typically that a veteran is someone older, right? Wrong.

I think we need to realize that our world has changed and our military continues to be a major part of that change. We have 18-year olds who leave as boys and girls and return to us as grown men and women. 19-year olds who have seen and done more in a year or 2 in the military than most of us have seen and done with our enVeterans-Daytire lives. 20-year olds who are sent to war, who deploy and come back home with all types of mental and physical wounds. These young men and women, just like the 75-year old WWII veteran, are too America’s heroes. They deserve the same honor, celebration, gratitude and appreciation that we display to the older generation of military men and women.

With that said, if you have not already done so, tell a service member ‘Thank You‘ today. And, if you are a present or former military member, let me take this time to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. I know, from experience, that it is not easy and you deserve so much more than we can ever repay. Also, to the men and women who have found their place in standing beside a soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coastie, please know that you are never forgotten. I, also from experience, understand the difficulties that you face as a spouse, child or other loved one of someone in the military. I truly honor you on this day for your service and sacrifice and for continuing to stand and support your service member through it all. We salute and honor you all on this, and every, day.

Past, present and future…

Happy Veterans Day!

Will All The Real Fathers Please Stand Up?

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What do you say to a child who has gotten their hopes up time and time again only to be let down? What do you feel, as a mother, when you know that hurt is an inevitable part of life and you see your baby hurting in ways that a child never should know? How do you explain that dad is not coming to get them, once again, because he had something “more important” come up?

20130505-lifeclass-fatherless-sons-quotes-1-600x411This is my reality.

This is what I stay up at night wondering about.

This is my children’s reality.

This is what I witnessed, for the umpteenth time, over this past weekend.

This is a true story that has no happy ending.

We waited for over an hour and he did not show up. No call. No email. No text. Nothing. Six o’clock came and went. Seven o’clock came and went. Finally, at 7:11pm, to be exact, the phone rings. It’s him. My oldest daughter answers the phone. We are still waiting in the vehicle at the exchange spot for him to come. He asks what the kids are doing, to which my daughter responds, “We are still waiting for you.” A moment of silence before he asks who are you all with… “Mom.” I guess he feels ashamed or does not even care because he just says, “Okay. I will call you all tomorrow morning.”  fathershurt

No apologies.

No acknowledgement of fault.

No reassurance that he still cares for them.

No nothing.

Tomorrow morning comes. Tomorrow morning goes. No phone call from their dad. Finally, at 3:14pm a text message is received. It reads, What r u doing? To which one of my children respond. The next text, from him, comes a few moments after he receives the text from the children. It reads, I cannot talk to you about adult stuff. Tell your mom to give me a call today or tomorrow. That’s it. He’s gone. No phone call, as he said he would do the day prior. No more texts for the rest of the day or the rest of the weekend.

Now, ihavingkidst’s Tuesday.

No communications received from him at all since Saturday.

How do you live with yourself? is what I begin to wonder.

Many of you already know how it breaks my heart to see my children cry or suffer, in any way, and to know that there is really nothing that I can do to change their reality. Many of you also know how much I truly wish that there was some way for me to erase the past and start again with a clean slate; a blank canvas.

This is not possible.

This is reality.

This is our reality.

I cannot control the actions of my ex-husband but I can control my actions in (and beyond) their presence. I always find myself feeling like there must be something more that I can do to shield my children and guard their hearts from this unnecessary, externally inflicted pain.goodfathers

But what?

Do you know?

Does anyone know?

If someone does, please reveal this long lost secret to me because I cannot begin to fathom how someone who claims to love their children – their seed, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh – can truly be so destructive in their behavior and actions toward those same children. Not to mention how they can destroy what little relationship, and trust, that they may have built.

Where trust once existed, is now a field of distrust.

Where certainty, now only doubt clouds those skies.

It’s mind-Father-to-the-fatherless1blowing to me how some men can father children only to leave them when the marriage or relationship fails. This is not adult behavior and it is not mature behavior, in the least. Why do we have so many men who want to play house but choose to skip out on their responsibilities and are nowhere to be found when the real “storms” come? Who said that it was acceptable for them to leave families shattered, homes fractured and hearts broken?

Enough is enough!

This will no longer be our reality.

Sometimes, I wonder what it will be like when my children become adults. How will they be with their own children and spouses? Will this affect their lives beyond what I can see right now? Lord, I sure hope that it will make them closer to You. I hope that this pain will reveal strengths to them that they did not even know that they had. I hope that through all of this, my children will learn to let their yes be yes and their no be no. When they are grown, successful and living out their purpose on this Earth, for all to see, I pray that they will not shun their biological father. If they do, I pgodslovebookray that he will understand and se
e how all of this time that he is missing contributed to their cold hearts toward him. I pray that at that time he will acknowledge his failures, apologize for his lack of affection and consider this misuse of his time. Above all, I pray that my children will understand and walk in forgiveness – to know it for themselves, to show it to others and to freely and graciously give it to their dad someday.

Humility.

Forgiveness.

This will now be our reality.