Posted in Family, People, Relationships, Religion, Spirtituality

Letting Go

I celebrated my birthday on yesterday, October 15th.  My Facebook notifications began chiming as early as 12 a.m. Text messages a few hours later. Birthday wishes from my husband, son, daughter, other family, and closest friends.  A beautiful brunch of fine dining with my husband at a historic mansion in our city of Detroit. A gorgeous bouquet of fall flowers and a scrumptious cupcake from my daughter added to the festivities. It was a wonderful day. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Why, then, on the morning after such a wonderful day was my heart saddened that my own father didn’t call or text, at the very least, to wish me a happy birthday? Though I’m not surprised, my feelings are still hurt. Hurt that my father willfully didn’t acknowledge my birthday. Who does that to their daughter who has only shown him love, kindness, forgiveness, and respect?

I wouldn’t be surprised if he was waiting for me to call him for a personal invitation to tell me happy birthday. Honestly, I considered it, then decided not to. I’m in the midst of raising a 13-year old soon-to-be young man, caring for and dealing with the often bad attitude of a chronically ill spouse. There is no time in my schedule to hold the hand of the man who should be the strong shoulder for me to lean on.

daughterdad

According to him, he lost me and my two siblings in his divorce from my mother 5 years ago. Five years ago, meaning all of us are good and grown. He didn’t lose anyone. Instead, he cast us away in the guilt that he feels for intentionally losing our family home to foreclosure so that mother wouldn’t get it; the guilt he feels for turning his back on the daughter he had with another woman at the onset of his marriage to my mother; guilt and shame that he can no longer declare himself  to be one of the last good men around as we know much of his dirty deeds.

Rather than admit that he can’t handle being around us in his unveiled, flawed state, he projects onto us, claiming we have deserted him. In the case of my brother and sister, they haven’t deserted him, but stopped chasing behind someone who will keep running away and blaming them for the distance.

The sympathizer amongst us, I hadn’t gotten to that point…yet. I loved my dad so much and I know that the messages that he hears in head are from the pit of hell, designed to keep him alone, angry, bitter, and filled with resentment and un-forgiveness. I had made it my mission to be there for him no matter what.

“I’ll never let you push me away Dad,” I declared to him a few years ago.

Fast forward to the present, that declaration is slipping from my heart like a freshly peeled mango slipping from my hands. Worrying about whether or not my father will accept my love and my willingness to have a relationship with him is as emotionally taxing as trying to get my husband to stop saying, “This could be my last Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday, etc.”

Last week I purchased a book: Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls. Interestingly, I bought it for spiritual guidance for loving but letting go of some of my husband’s wayward ways. Hadn’t considered that I’d need it for letting go of my father’s waywardness, too.

By the completion of the book and steadfast prayer, I hope to have the following questions answered:

Am I wrong if I don’t call my father again?

Am I acting out of hurt and frustration?

Am I contributing to the problem by letting go?

Will my father ever understand the effects of his behavior on his love ones?

Do I continue to pray for him while keeping my physical distance? Or is it time to trust God to answer the prayers I’ve already prayed?

 

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Religion

Spiritually Speaking–Not My Will

On the first Sunday at my church, we partake of communion, do baptism, and have a time for God-glorifying testimony. Today, I was supposed to be sharing my own testimony of how God delivered on His promise of meeting my need and desire for my new house. But things didn’t work out quite how I thought. We didn’t close last week, as scheduled. Nothing on my end, but the sellers. I was pretty distraught to say the least. Spent most of the week, trudging through the days that I was supposed to be excited about closing eating junk food.

“What’s up with this Lord?”, I asked my God. “I did everything You asked. I prayed.  I sought guidance. I walked in faith, even writing the date of September 1st as the date we’d be moving from our apartment on a vision board of sorts in my bedroom. Closing was set for August, 30th. How could it NOT happen?

Over those days that I held back tears while eating sugar and salty foods, I felt like a fool. Wishing I had never mentioned the move to anyone. Wishing I’d never gotten my hopes up.

Then I thought about the story of Job. The story of satan and God talking about that good, God-fearing man Job, who God knew to be faithful. That man who satan told God would break, turn against God if he could just have his way with him. God allowed satan to do everything to destroy Job except kill him. All to test Job’s faith.

I figure that’s what’s happening with me. This is a test of my faith. Am I going to doubt what God has for me because it didn’t happen when I wanted it to. Who am I to tell God when this deal is supposed to happen, when my family is going to move.

It’s not about my will, but His. My role is to trust that it will be at the appointed time and to walk in faith, which is of the thing hoped for and not seen. So guess what? We’re still packing and preparing for the move to come!

Til Next Time,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Lifestyle, Religion

Spiritually Speaking: Round and Round We Go

This morning started like many Sunday mornings. My husband, Kevin and son, Nate lay sleeping while I walk around our home assessing all that didn’t get done on Saturday. Folded clothes that need to be put away. Clutter from the week spread across the dining room table. And finally my favorite place–the kitchen, which seems to never be free from something I need to do.

You should stay home and get all of this together, is usually the first thought. Honestly, if I wasn’t on duty in my church’s trustee office, I’d be very likely to follow that suggestion.

Now last night our family had a trip to the emergency room. Kevin, who suffers with a lung disease has a cold and feared it was becoming the pneumonia, which could turn deadly for him. We left our home at 8 p.m. and didn’t get home until nearly 11 p.m.

Late night, right? Another excuse to skip out on church.

You need to look after your husband. Never mind that he’s sleep and will probably be sleep until I get home. Then my mind travels to Nate, who hung out with us in the emergency room. He was resting so peacefully.

Maybe you should let him stay home.  That way Kevin won’t be alone and he can start on this cleaning up and finish him homework.

On the surface that seemed like a good idea. After all, I wouldn’t be sitting in the sanctuary with Nate. I would be in the trustee office, working. And, it would be very helpful if he got started on the ample housework that needed to be done.

Interestingly, though, I didn’t consider these option on Saturday when he had a bowling match to get to. Not one time did the thought cross my mind to skip the bowling match so that he could finish homework  or clean up the house. I promise you…not one time. So what makes Sundays so darn tempting to want to relax, sleep in, or catch up on housework instead of going to church?

Actually, whether it’s Saturday, Wednesday, or any other day that you are choosing to be pleasing to God, the enemy will swiftly begin whispering all of the other things that you could be doing. And they’ll be spot on. But scripture indicates that the flesh and spirit are in constant conflict.

“The spirt indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NKJV)

None of us are immune. Throughout the week, my car radio is tuned to Christian programming. I listen to preachments and Christian centered talk shows throughout the day. I read Christian books, and of course, my bible. All of this to feed my spirit, my longing to know more about God, and grow deeper in my relationship with Him.

Some may think that on Sunday mornings, I’m one of the first ones at the church doors. I have my times when my flesh is working overtime against my spirit.

But the more I seek God, the more the enemy and my flesh try to interfere. It’s  a cycle that won’t end until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. Reminds me of an old school gospel song, “I’m on the battle field for my Lord.”

That’s exactly what it is…a battle. One in which we already have the victory! Now, that’s comforting. Nevertheless, choosing to follow Jesus Christ is a daily requirement.

I’m glad to report that I followed the willingness of my spirit and went to church. And I dragged my son out of the bed to go, too. “Train up a child in the way that he should go.” Right? When I came home, my husband was sleeping peaceably. Within a few short hours, we enjoyed brunch,  Nate finished his homework, and some of that housework got done.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday. Hope you enjoyed yours too.

Spiritually Speaking,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Religion

Spiritually Speaking–Train Up A Child

On the drive home from my son’s school about a week ago, I asked him how his day had gone? I asked the same question everyday but this day, as he’d left his backpack at home, I was particularly interested in how he’d gotten along since I couldn’t and wouldn’t go home to get it. A middle school student needed to learn from their mistakes.

Anyway, the story of his day unfolded quickly. I was listening, excited at his excitement. Then he got to what would be my favorite part of the story.

“And, Ma. I was so lucky in Ms. Boykin’s class. She usually reviews our notes from the day before and I was so scared because I didn’t have mine. I didn’t want her yell at me. But guess what?” He gushed.

“What?” I said on time.

“She started a whole new lesson so I didn’t even need my old notes!”

I was happy for him.  Glad that his day of unpreparedness hadn’t been as bad as he thought it was going to be, but I was happier for what the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear. “Teach him.”

“No baby.” I transitioned smoothly. “That wasn’t luck. That was God working things out for your good.”

A quizzical expression crossed his face so I expounded. “God is always working things out for the good of those who believe in Him, even children. You leaving your backpack at home could have made for a bad day at school but God saw fit to turn it around for your good. What happened today is also a testimony for you as to how God works in your life.”

He nodded understanding and the conversation for the ride home came to an end. My heart was warm from the opportunity to teach my son about God’s goodness and how it was evident even at his young age.

Proverbs 22:6 tell us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old, he will not depart from it.” I used to think this responsibility ended with taking my children to church on a regular basis, sometimes Sunday School, and teaching them right from wrong. As I’ve been growing spiritually over the last few years, the Holy Spirit has made it clear to me that it’s so much more than that. My children, and yours need to see  you living a Christian life, must hear you speaking as a Christian should. And not in a holier than thou kind of way, either, because none of us are perfect. In fact, we’re far from it. Like the experience with my son, it’s even better when you can make God’s word relatable to their level of understanding when opportunities present itself.

I can’t wait for the next time! How are you training up your child? Share in the comments below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.