Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Dad I Never Had

The Dad I Never Had
Father's Day is just around the bend and sadly, I don't celebrate with my natural father. My dad died 12 years ago. But in all honesty, I never spent one Father's Day with him even while he was living. He and my mom divorced before I began preschool, so I don't really have any memories of him, other than the tassels from his dress shoes (I guess I would crawl around on the floor and notice the tassels on his shoes---a memory I still have to this day). As a young girl, I would imagine what life would be like with the dad I never had.

When I was 10, I actually led my dad to the Lord by writing him a letter pleading with him to get his life right with God. After he died, my grandmother gave me a box of some of his belongings, and all those years later that letter was still there! By God's grace, we were able to reconnect shortly before he died. I had long forgiven him for not being a part of my life, and I was right there with him as he breathed his last breath. I had made peace with the dad I never had.

Growing up without a dad left a tremendous hole in my life. I would look at my friends' dads for guidance, protection and validation. Some of these men, like David Martin and Karol Warren will never know the impact they had on my life as I watched them love their wives and children . . . and me! I may not have had a relationship with my own dad, but God allowed these "filler fathers" to show me how a man should behave.  These men gave me the blueprint as to what a loving Father was.

Fast forward and now I am married with children of my own. God continues to show me more of who He is through how I parent my own kids. No, I am not a father, God knows that :-), but I am a parent. And God always meets us where we are. He knew I couldn't really relate to him as "Father," but I most certainly can as "Parent."

Just today, I had to spank one of my kids---something I absolutely hate to do! You should see me. I'm probably more anxious than the child! Why won't this kid just listen and obey?! I scream aloud. I pour out mercy and give warnings, yet they still choose to disobey. In that moment, I understand the Father heart of God more clearly than ever. How many times does He warn us, redirect us and give us mercy and we still disobey? How this must grieve Him!

On the flip side, I am planning a wonderful surprise for my kiddos tomorrow. I'm so excited! I've purchased the tickets and they have no idea! I think of my Heavenly Father. How many times does He have a wonderful, glorious plan in store for us, yet we whine and complain because we can't see how our future looks. Instead of stepping out in faith, we shrink back in fear, not realizing He's already "purchased the tickets" for our hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11)! I see Father God all giddy and excited because He knows our future, and it is mar-va-lous dahlin'! Won't you trust Him?

See, for me, Jehovah, Yahweh is to me the dad I never had. And what a Wonderful Dad/Father/Papa He is!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

Life is a Journey. Keep Moving Forward.
You know, no matter what stage in the journey of life you're in, one thing remains: you must keep moving forward. Life is a journey filled with twists, turns, setbacks, celebrations, obstacles, problems, triumphs, pain, risks . . . the list could go on. At the beginning of any obstacle, you are faced with a decision: fear or courage. Whichever you choose determines how long you stay at that "station" in life.

Say for example, you lose your job. That's a huge obstacle to most people! You might wonder, What am I going to do? How will I make ends meet? How did this happen to me?! You are at the beginning, the genesis of your crisis. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "It's not what you go through, but how you go through." The unexpected happens. That's life. You can't change it. You can't hide from trouble. Trouble will find you! So, how are you going to respond?

That decision is so key and crucial as to how long you will face that challenge. In this situation, some people pout, have a pity party and collect their unemployment check with no plans on getting back on top. Others become angry, blame their boss, blame the economy, the world, whatever. Then, there's the Warrior. This person says, "You know, I didn't ask for this, but there is a reason this happened to me. What can I learn from this?" This is hard. I ask myself this question EVERY DAY! "What can I learn from this?" Having that attitude sets you up for growth, blessing and influence. Let's face it, no one wants to hear your pity party! Now, before you accuse me of being harsh and "compassion-less," believe me, I've had my fair share of pity parties! Some of my parties had a room full of people and during others I was all alone. Cry if need to, but at the end of your cryfest, you need a plan. You must keep moving forward!

Many people get stuck in life because they never mastered the art of moving forward. They get swallowed up by pain and tragedy that they forget that life is a journey. Get your feet out of the mud, dust those bad boys off, make a plan of action and keep it moving . . . forward! Then, and only then will your test become a testimony.

I've got a new best friend, and her name is KIM. (Keep It Moving)! Don't quit. Because just around the bend of that obstacle is a celebration waiting for you to attend!

Love and Blessings, and I'll see you at the top!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Chinese Bamboo Tree

Chinese bamboo tree over 90 ft
What does writing, starting a business and waiting on provision have to do with a Chinese bamboo tree? E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Chinese bamboo is quite a hot commodity here in the US. We use Chinese bamboo for beautiful hardwood floors, place mats, cutting boards, you name it. But it's not their versatility I want to write about. It's the growing process of the Chinese bamboo tree.

You would expect great results from a little seed that has been watered and fertilized, watered and fertilized, watered and fertilized for a year. But to the contrary, nothing happens! The second year you water and fertilize, and nothing happens. The third year you water and fertilize, and still nothing happens. If you haven't given up yet, you're most definitely discouraged!

The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then---suddenly it seems---the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows to over NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS (just one growing season)!

All the hard work and dedication you put into its growth didn't go unnoticed. While you were watering and worrying, life was taking shape UNDERGROUND! You couldn't see it, but life was certainly happening. A favorite scripture comes to mind when I think of this: "We don't look for things that can be seen but for things that can't be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can't be seen last forever" (2 Corinthians 4:18, GOD'S WORD Translation)

Personally, I have begun a new business that is taking time to grow. I'm also continuing to look for writing and speaking opportunities . . . another growth process. Even myself. I am a growth process! I'm not who I was last year and not who I'll be next year.

My Facebook status for today was, "It can't grow if you won't sow!" Many of us haven't sown any seed because we are afraid it won't grow. I used to be like this. Instead of planting my seed, I would hold on to it (which is why it took me years to ever write my first book!) Of course it can't grow if you won't even exercise the small amount of faith to sow it. 

So the next time you contemplate whether or not to sow a seed, think of the story of the Chinese bamboo tree. Success doesn't happen overnight. Rome wasn't built in a day! Sucess takes time.  But remember, "It won't grow if you won't sow!"