Posts Tagged ‘father’
my dad: “so after 27 years of life what advice would you give to…for instance…your younger siblings?”
me: “life’s short, enjoy it”
my day: “hmmm…i don’t know about that…54 years…i wouldn’t say it’s short”
me: “yea, but have you enjoyed those 54 years?”
my day: “no. i wouldn’t say i’ve enjoyed them, but i don’t regret anything. do you have any regrets?”
me: “nope…but then it’s only been 27 years”
it’s weird how people want different things out of life. my dad and i don’t have the best of relationships. in fact, the conversation above took place when he took me to dinner on my 27th birthday. i spent the day hoping that something would come up – like work he totally needed to finish that night – and he would cancel and we wouldn’t have to go to dinner. i’ve never really spent that much one-on-one time with my dad, and the few real conversations we’ve had ended really badly – with me in tears pretty much hating him, so the prospect of a whole evening with him was not a happy thought. and i think the reason we haven’t gotten along and we fight so much is because we are very different people with very different goals in life.
my dad is the ultimate academic. he’s pretty much had his head in his books his whole life. he started working as a teacher when he was still in high school. i don’t know how that happened but it did. after high school he would work one year and then go to college for a year then work one year etc until he got his masters, then he got a scholarship to go to the US and do his doctrate. after getting his phd at age 42 (yep it took him that long, but he was determined), he went back to university as a lecturer, he still works for a university today.
i, on the other hand, got my 3 year degree and decided that was enough schooling for me. i find i learn better when i’m actually doing something rather than when i’m told about it. i find research boring…i’d rather work on a problem myself until i get it right than read up on it – not always the fastest method of getting things done.
my dad’s goal in life is to succeed. he sets himself little goals and works at them with drive and determination until he’s conquered them. he’s also a bit of a perfectionist. i think growing up in poverty also had a major contribution to his definition of success. he grew up with nothing, so he wanted to provide for his family so they don’t go without. don’t get me wrong, he didn’t spoil us, he expects us to work hard as well to get what we want out of life – nothing on a silver platter mentality – but he’s worked hard his whole life just so that he would be able to support us financially if he needed to.
my goal in life is to enjoy it. i personally think the best way to show God that i’m thankful for the life he’s given me is to live that life and enjoy it. don’t get me wrong, i’m not talking about partying every night and being selfish and not caring about others and such, i’m talking about being happy…i’m talking about making sure that when i’m on my death bed i don’t look back and think “i should have”. i mean live life to the full. and for me that’s not found in books or material wealth. it’s found in music, and friends, and laughter. and so that’s my goal – love my friends, laugh a lot, make/enjoy music.
i admire my dad. i admire his determination and how he worked hard to get to where he is. i love that he doesn’t have any regrets. but, quite obviously, i am not my dad.
and to end this on a happier note, the dinner went so very well. it was actually a very good evening. i immediately went home and called my sister to tell her how much i enjoyed it and she breathed a sigh of relief cos she also thought it would be a disaster…sheesh…
it has rendered me speechless.
so I have decided to do a repost of my favorite of the last 99 posts so far…i’m sorry…as I said – speechless – unless it’s laziness, then I’m double sorry.
Namibialand – Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you
He is mighty to save
He will take great delight in you
He will quiet you with his love
He will rejoice over you with singing
The whole time I was in Namibia (13 – 19 June ) God was constantly bringing up this verse. He used it to encourage me, strenthen me, comfort me, challenge me and just work so mightily in me.
The Lord your God is with you – whether in Namibia or South Africa, in the church building or at work, in good times or when stress just overwhelms me, HE IS THERE. I was thinking, “right, I’m in nature in Namibia away from work and other distractions and I’m gonna feel God’s presence and hear Him talk to me” and he just so gently reminded me that, he’s always there. All the time. Whether I feel his presence or not, whether I’m listening or not – He’s always there longing to talk to me.
He is mighty to save – he is…not me. He does the work, I just have to be willing to be used. I was really scared (super excited but scared) about the mission trip after the camp cos I thought I had nothing to bring to the team or to the people of Namibia. And he just reminded me that the work is his, I just have to show up and let him work through me. Not by my own strength or might…but his.
He will take great delight in you – anyone who knows anything about my relationship with my (biological/earthly) father will know why this part of the verse means so much to me. I just got this sense that God was saying He notices when I try. And even though I fail he knows where my heart is and he is pleased with me. Like he has that same feeling he did with Job – bragging to satan that “yea, that one is mine”. Or like the progical son’s father who runs to the son no matter the mistakes that the son makes, the father is just so delighted to have him back. Like…I don’t know, there’s nothing I can ever do that would make him love me any less.
He will quiet you with his love – after the stress I’ve been under at work and the weirdness and sickness my body has been going through that verse spoke so loudly to me when I sat back and just chilled with God. His presence was so evident. Almost like I could physically feel his hand on me. And the rest…the peace…transcending all understanding. He just felt so real…more real than he’s ever felt before. It was beautiful…beyond beautiful. He is AWESOME in the true sense of the word.
He will rejoice over you with singing – I dare you to say that line and not smile from ear to ear. God, the creator of the universe, the one who holds it all together, the king of kings and Lord of Lords, the alpha and omega, the great I AM, parter of the red sea…HE SINGS OVER ME. Such love, such wonderous love. And then I got to thinking, I wonder if God feels the same way when I truly worship him. Like does he get this “all’s good now” feeling when I lay myself down at his feet and worship him in spirit and in truth? And then I started thinking “how often do I do that?” Most of the time during the worship service I’m more concerned with how my voice sounds or whether the other people will look at me funny if I just let it all go before Him (cos you know, I am that important that everyone in church is just listening to me and watching me – yea, I know how ridiculous it all is). I wanna be able to sing to God unashamedly and praise him without inhibitions – lay me and my insecurities before him and just see his beauty and majesty and magnificense.
I wanna be able to say “I will serve no other gods but you” and mean it with every fiber of my being.
I wanna fall in love with him all over again…every morning of every day that he blesses me with.
“in true humility, consider others better than yourselves” – the Bible
true humility: i think the concept of humility has been misunderstood around Christian circles. i know i’ve definitely misunderstood it. i don’t think it helped to grow up in a culture of “children should be seen but not heard” mentality…or just growing up in a home where all you got was critisism and never praise (ie you constantly had your faults pointed out, but you were never told “good job” or “i’m proud of you” when you did good). So i’m dealing with this – figuring out what true vs false humility looks like…what God meant when he said we should humble ourselves…that whole “blessed are the meak” thing…you know?
And well, this is what I’ve got so far:
what it is not
- looking down on yourself
- telling God he did a crappy job with you
- telling God he made a mistake with/on you
- focusing solely on your weaknesses and beating yourself up (or actually, down) about them
(Joshua Davidson was humble, and yet He was well aware of his divinity and his place as God’s son)
what it is
- the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc (online dictionary)
- being able to set yourself aside for the betterment of others (wow, that sounded smart)
- being able to see both your strengths and weaknesses and accept both
- not judging others when they fail to meet your expectations
(phil 2: 3, 8; luke 6: 42; romans 12:3)
false humility, i think, comes in two forms
either you drive yourself down because you don’t think you are deserving of good stuff or you talk yourself yourself down just so that other people can compliment you and make you feel better about yourself
true himility is knowing your strengths, and using them to help others who might be weak in those areas, and knowing your weaknesses, being able to ask for help, and working to improve those weaknesses instead of running away from them
so, not looking down on yourself…hmmm…
i’m still working on accepting the good, which i wrote about at some point here…and i’ve come to the conclusion that it also includes accepting compliments…which is super hard for me to do. when people give me a compliment i want to follow it up with a “but…” (eg complimenter: “you sang well tonight”; me: “yea thanks, but there was that one note…” or “thanks…i guess it was a bit better than i did at practice…oh wow, practice sucked…let me tell you in full detail the sucktacularness of my singing at practice”) – in other words, i tend to take the focus off the compliment and focus on the negative…or if i can’t do that, i drive the focus off me and onto someone else (eg complimenter: “you sang well tonight”; me: “yea thanks, but did you hear Ronel, she led so well tonight…like she was on point for every single song…”)
i love being a member of the “worship” team. however, i hate the sound of my voice and thus end up singing very softly and it kind of becomes a “why are you even here?” type of deal…i don’t know if the other members are all thinking it, but i definitely am…and i’ve thought about quitting dozens of times, but then i know i’ve quit singing dozens or times in the past and only end up going back to it and so trying to stop the cycle. anyway, the biggest reason why i want to quit is because I feel like i’m letting people down…i feel like i’m using up this mic space that someone else could be using to actually do something.
but i love singing…and i love worshipping God through singing…but i don’t have to do it from up front…right? but on the other hand, God said if you don’t use the talents he’s given you he’ll take them away right? (parable of the talents)
last night we were talking about father wounds (issues caused by the fatherless generation) and one of the things that stood out was how those with these wounds tend to feel one or both of the following: 1. never feeling good enough, 2. running away when the going gets tough, and leaving things half finished. I’ve written about the first one before cos I knew that that’s where it came from…but the second not so much…i think that will be the follow up to this post…so stay tuned.
[my thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment, so this one will be very reflective of my scatter-brain-ness...i mean more than my other posts have been]
So the early church…Brett’s favorite verse ever is Acts 2:42ff and as he said this past Sunday, all the enGAGE people have probably got it memorised by now cos he reads it so often in our services.
The early church was great at doing the whole community thing. They pretty much lived together and shared everything and everybody got along and sang kum-ba-ya together all night…ok, maybe i just made that last part up. All this to say, the church grew in thousands…people were joining the Church on a daily basis because of what they saw.
I think though today, there are more people talking about community but we’ve misunderstood it. Community is a big christian buzz word – the next new thing – at the moment (that and fighting injustice…think i already wrote on this one), everybody is wanting to live in community and they are throwing the word around like it’s going out of fashion (irony: it probably will be as soon as the next hypeworthy thing comes along)…but the concept of community isn’t new and buzzworthy…communities have been around as long as people have been around.
Community isn’t about a bunch of people living in a house together…that’s MTV’s “The Real World”, community is about people sharing their lives together. Community isn’t about excluding those outside your “culture” (including race, social class, education, etc), it’s about including them into your circle. Community is not about meeting once a week in a church building, it’s about BEING Church together…everyday.
[Point of clarification, I don't have a problem with getting a house with a bunch of people and living together a la SimpleWay style...in fact I would really dig to do that...what I am saying is that community is so much more than that]
The early church didn’t just meet once a week and discuss the bible, sing a few songs and then go back to their normal lives. They lived together, they lived on the word, they followed the Way, the gave their lives for the Way, they lived a life that made those on the outside go “hey, there is something different there, and I want me a piece of that”. They gave up their “normal lives” and chose to live Christ-centered, Holy Spirit-filled lives to the glory of the Father…and He blessed them, and multiplied them. We sit in our wonderfully comfortable pews and wonder why the world is not turning to the Father, it’s because they don’t see it in those who claim to be following Him. The name “christians” was first used in Acts and was used to describe the followers of the way because they were “little christs”…his mini-me’s…imitators of christ…reflections of Him…that’s what the word means. And that’s why the early church was blessed…that’s why their community grew…because they were following the Way…they were living for the way…it wasn’t about them believing a bunch of stuff, it was about them living out what they said they believed.
That’s what we as the church are missing today: the DAILY taking up our cross and following him part. We need to be Christ-followers. The world needs to see Christ in us. The world needs to see the God who is love through us. The world needs to see the broken being restored…the needy having their needs met…the lonely being loved…the untouchables feeling the comfort of human tough…and as we do that, as we display His love and His character to the world, they will inevitably be drawn to Him.
I’ve mentioned before that I think the church I am currently a part of (VCF/enGAGE) is really good at doing the whole community thing…so in part 4 I’m gonna expand a bit on that.
Week 2, for me at least, of the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com…
o praise him (david crowder)
Great in Power (Russell Fragar)
You’re Beautiful (Phil Wickham)
let me found at your table (brad klynsmith)
Above all else (Vicky Beeching)
Be the center (Michael Frye)
The same team that led last week led this week, which would account for the repetition of the songs from last week.
Went to youth again this morning so missed out on the sermon. My heart was broken in youth…one of the girls broke down as she told about the difficulties she’s having with her dad… aaarrrrgggg… everytime I hear another story about another youth person that has to deal with father issues it makes me want to scream…I don’t know if I could deal with this on a regular basis…don’t think I will ever go into full-time youth ministry…my heart just can’t take it.
Anyway, Brett was back this week so he led youth and he talked on relationships with emphasis on true (real) love…it went great, the youth were very interactive, which always makes it more fun.
Evening – enGAGE
Lord reign in me (Brenton Brown)
We cry out (Brian Johnson)
From the inside out (Joel Houston)
Consuming Fire (Tim Hughes)
O Praise Him (David Crowder)
The Wonderful Cross (Chris Tomlin)
Oh Lord, you’re beautiful (Keith Green)
Tonight was great. We had a whole lot of first time visitors, which is weird…I mean cos it’s in the middle of the year…you expect a lot of visitors at the beginning of the year, and maybe a couple during the year (it’s a student service so most peple who come there have been around for the year and you’d presume by now they’d have found a church to call home) but tonight I think half the people who were there were visiting…interesting.
Worship was great…I felt it was one of those services that we did not do all that well as the worship team (I for one made a whole lot of mistakes) but God kinda took over and made it a worship-filled service so it was really great.
Then afterwards, a friend was giving us a lift home and when we asked him how he was doing he just broke down and so we just prayed for him right there and then as he was driving…It was such a beautiful God-moment.
I have been super encouraged lately by the people in my church who have just taken a stand and become Church when others are in need. enGAGE is totally reminding me of the early (acts) church and giving me hope we can really be that in this day and age.
How is it that some guys grow up without father’s in their homes, see the pain and hurt it causes and resolve to be better people, while others grow up without a father, and become their fathers?
for instance, i met this one dude once, B-rad, he grew up without a father…and because of that saw the need/the importance of a father in his life, and i’m sure he is going to make a great father…i’ve had chats with him in the past about fatherhood…and wow. my other friend, Ryan, grew up with his father but didn’t really have a good relationship with him and he also resolved to be a better father to his kids and i’m so sure he will be…cos i know his heart…
on the other hand, you get guys who grow up without fathers…their mom and dad were never married or got divorced or whatever and they didn’t have a relationship with their fathers and then they grow up, have children, and abandon their children…how does that happen…how do you not see the destructiveness you are causing…do you really want your kids to grow up with the same pains and insecurities and feelings of worthlessness you did?
the fatherlesss generation thing has always been heavy on my heart…mostly cos my dad and I’s relationship growing up was not that great…it was actually pretty bad…but it’s all good…God is dealing with stuff in my heart and my life and all that…and my dad and i have started on some reconstruction…but, having grown up with that I would never want my kids to.
i was reading from this one book last night and there’s a section that talks about father issues (aaaarrrrggggg!!!!) and they were saying how all boys grow up wanting to hear the words “i’m proud of you, i love you” from their fathers and girls “you are lovely and precious and worthy and I will always cherish you” and when that doesn’t happen you “go into a strnted state of childhood” where you don’t grow up or you go out seeking those words from other people – guys tend to want acceptance from their mates so they fall into peer pressure, girls want to feel appreciated(?) so they jump from guy to guy trying to find that.
At some point this has to stop…at some point fathers have to recognize their role and how much hurt not fulfilling that role causes…at some point guys have to take a stand and say we will not take this anymore…at some point guys have to take up arms and be mentors/role models to younger fatherless guys in their neighbourhoods/communities, teach them the life lessons that only guys can impart…it’s possible…I hope it’s possible…another world is possible, let’s go out there and make it happen.
Here’s to Hope in Love…
Time to get real:
My relationship with my dad sucks. the only thing we ever talk about is soccer. Fortunately, my grandparents were huge soccer fans so I got into it at a very early age (for the first 8 years of my life we lived with my grandparents). Anyway, a lot of people know my dad. And for a lot of the students from Cape Tech’s Catsville residence he’s sort of a father figure to them…especially those that grew up without a father around. And they are forever telling me how fortunate I am to have a father like him…and how sucky their relationships are with their fathers or how sucky their life was growing up without a father. And I just smile and say “yea, I know I’m lucky”. And it kills me inside.
People don’t get it. They think because I live with my dad in the same house (or did until last year) and because my parents are still together than means everything is all honkey-dory (yes, I just said honkey-dory).
I started living with my dad the year I turned 8 – it was just for six months, but it was hell. Before that he was either off studying or working or whatever – see he had this idea that as the man he was the provider so he was always chasing the best job so that he would earn enough money to provide for his family. I truly believe in his heart of hearts, to this day, he believes that that was what was best for us. After the six months it was just me, my mom, and my sister. Then when I was 11 we moved in with him again. This time it was in a different country where I didn’t know anyone except for my immediate family so there was no going “home” to my grandparent’s house for the weekend when things were tense at home. There was no going to friend’s house because, well at first I didn’t have any close friends, and then when I did make some friends I wasn’t allowed to go to their houses because they were either percieved to be a bad influence or their parents just didn’t make the cut.
That’s when I learned to love my room and my bubble space. I would get back from school and go straight to my room. I would only come out to eat dinner (we weren’t allowed to take food into the bedroom) and then go back as soon as I was finished. The only time I was okay to come out and just chill with everyone else in the house was when my dad was not around…which was kinda a lot cos he is a super worker-holic and so he was at his office a lot of the time.
It’s not that my dad is a bad guy or whatever, he wasn’t like physically abusive or anything…he just wasn’t there emotionally for me growing up so we never bonded. He’s super strict too. And on top of that he has a very short temper and he’s a perfectionist, so one wrong move and…well…let’s jsut say I spend a huge part of my life while living with him trying to avoid that temper. I tried to be perfect. I tried by all means to please him. If I got a B on my report card I was afraid to show it to him, cos it wasn’t perfect. So, I learned to be the perfect daughter – do well in school, be a good little Christian, and do as I was told.
Until I didn’t…but that’s another story for another day…
I met this girl a few years back named Wendy. She is one of the coolest people I know and her love for God is just inspiring. Wendy used to tell me how much she envied me and how much she wishes her dad loved her as much as mine loves me and how she wishes her dad was as proud of her as my dad was of me…and everytime she said it I’d feel like crying. That is exactly what I needed to hear…but it would have meant so much more coming from him. Everytime she would tell me about how my dad was boasting about something I had accomplished I would think “wow that is so cool, I just wish he would tell me himself that he’s proud of me, or that he loves me…just once”.
I find I have a hard time grasping the love of God. I believe that God loves me, I really do, but it’s hard to actually believe that there is nothing that I can do to make him love me any more or less. That his love is just unconditional like that. It’s very hard for me to be real cos I feel like I gotta constantly be on guard…be perfect…do more in order to please him, and keep from his wrath. I find in God the relationship I wish I had with my earthly father, and yet I fear that one wrong move could change it all. I don’t know how to break away from that fear. I don’t know how to just live in that love and not ever worry about it not being there. He’s proven so many times and in so many ways how much he loves me…and yet…
So that’s why I’m passionate about working with youth…especially those who belong to the “fatherless generation”. I know I’m one of the lucky ones for having my dad around. But I also know what it’s like to not feel good enough…to not know your worth…So I wanna work with young girls…those who don’t have a father around to let them know that they are a princess and they are worthy of a prince and that they shouldn’t settle…or think they are not good enough…or doubt themselves or their worth…or doubt love.