A Dad Is Important to His Daughter

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So here is Part 2 to the post I wrote about why father’s are important. If you didn’t catch it, click here so you have a basis of where I’m going with this.

Let me tell you a little known story about my life. Its basis is formed on a lot of self evaluation and counseling and reading and life.

As a little girl I was a daddy’s girl. I liked the things he liked, I admired him, I thought the goofiest things he did were absolutely wonderful. He was the light of my life. He was my safety and my love. That all changed around age 13ish. Suddenly the goofy man who could never remember lyrics to songs so he’d make them up, was irritating. The man who broke out in a falsetto out of tune rendition of a Queen song was embarrassing. I no longer wanted to hang out with him and I no longer really wanted to sit on his lap and all of this is a normal progression of life and puberty. Your parents are supposed become nerds or we’d never the leave home. There’s a post for another day.

Only my dad didn’t know how to take this. He retreated as well. We no longer had the conversations about boys and how they were supposed to treat women. We no longer had secret dates to the mall where he’d buy me something my mother forbade. We became awkward with each other. Not on purpose, neither of us had the tools we needed.

One night, when I was about 14 my dad called me on the phone. It was late about 2 am and I was breaking curfew by talking on the phone and I thought I was busted. Instead he began to talk about how he loved me, missed me and felt disconnected. He said, “I wish I could reach you but you’re so caught up with boys and friends and I don’t know how to make this better.” I assured him I loved him and told him I would be fine because honestly I didn’t know what I needed any more than he did.

A year later I had my first boyfriend. I was doing stupid things, going against my convictions and knowing that I was doing the wrong thing only I didn’t know where to stop. My father was becoming even more distant, sending my mother in to talk to me about his concerns. He was concerned that I was on the brink of having sex with my boyfriend but didn’t know how to approach me. We were creating a chasm in our relationship that honestly still exists today. How I wish we both knew better in these moments but you know, parents do the best they can with what they have. Neither of us had been here before and we didn’t have Dr. Laura and the experts telling us how to do this father/daughter thing right.

My father completely shut down when I became pregnant. When I decided to get married he sat me down and had one of the most profound conversations of my life. He said I had made serious mistakes but they didn’t have to continue. He urged me not to get married. He said it would be a disaster and he also told me that if I insisted he would not attend.

As I walked out of the door to the chapel to get married, my father looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t go.” I smiled at him and said, “Oh daddy, I love you and it will be fine.” Of course it wasn’t.

Do you get why I think dads are important? Because when mine stepped away is when I floundered. When a dad is absent is when a child gets in trouble. And I’m out of time and not finished talking so wait for Part 3.

Daddy Is Home

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My mother created a culture in our home in which our family wasn’t complete until my dad came home. There was always a celebration, a feeling of security and warmth and love when my dad entered the scene. She taught us that he was important to our well-being.

She tells the story of when she was a little girl and her father had to work three jobs to make ends meet. When she would get up in the morning, her dad was already gone off to work and when she went to bed at night he was still working but she says that she always knew he had come home and that they were loved because he’d leave a treat behind. A pie, or pastry. Something to let them know that he was providing for his family.

It was these memories that have kept me thinking about Father’s Day and all of the appreciation of it. Father’s are critical to the well being of the home. A father, in his proper order, guides and leads a home with strength and character.

The latest statistic is that 43% of children are being raised in fatherless homes. Our statistics in America get dismal from there, click here to read statistics

Despite what anyone tells us as women and how we are capable of raising children alone, we simply lack something that dads bring to the table. Yes, we can clothe and feed a child, teach them manners, help them with their homework, love them beyond belief but children still know something is missing.

TD Jakes said in his message Crash Course in Fatherhood, “Anything a man loves he will take care of it, protect it, provide for it.”

Here’s the truth women. You don’t wait until a man loves you and marries you to have his baby. In fact, you’ll have two or three in the hopes he will marry you. Beloved, if he didn’t do it before babies, what makes you think he’ll do it after? Do you think love is sustained by a forced marriage? We all scream about arranged marriages, yet we have no problem backing up our sisters with the cry of ‘do the right thing’ to a man. How about looking her in the eye and speaking the truth in love? Although she may not need a man to help her financially raise a child, like it or not, she needs a man to help her raise a whole child.

I know I know!! This isn’t a popular message. I become a hater to society who says we must do things our own way but could it be that we, woman, are not embracing the biblical principles set before us, and setting up a house where life is complete when daddy is home? Where a man leaves security for his children on his way to making ends meet?

TD Jakes also said, “When a man has no authority, he has no potency. So when you shout, ‘I am woman hear me roar’, you may be roaring alone.”

We weren’t meant to do this alone. Wait for Part 2, ’cause I’m not done yet.

Watered

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This morning I woke up to doves calling on the rooftop of our home. The wind was blowing, the sun was coming up. I opened my eyes and could hear Lulu the Wonder Dog snoring on her bed, my husband was snuggled up in our blue comforter, his hand gently on my arm. The great part about this man of mine is he always needs to know I am there even if it’s just his foot touching mine. I lied still and said “Thank you Jesus”. In this brief moment before treadmills and agendas and meals and real life I am watered in the beauty of the life we have built, in the garden of our Creator. I wake up slowly, grab my gear and head downstairs to start coffee, start a load of laundry and get on the treadmill. If this were the sum of the good in my life, I am blessed.

I have lived in this little town for 20 years now. I have deep friendships, favorite places to go, neighbors whose names I know, clerks at the grocery store whom I know by name. I am part of this community. The community however didn’t come out to embrace me, I had to embrace my community.

Yes, we don’t have a lot of services that many bigger cities have. Yes, we are in the poorest county of California. Yes, we have a huge disparity between the haves and the have nots but what are those things to someone who can make a difference? I have a choice to make each day. I can choose to move forward and make a difference, or shut my curtains and complain. Face it, even in this town, we suffer in luxury. I can choose to water, or I can drink it all and not share it. My choice.

I remember when I first moved here. I loved the amount of house I could afford on my salary. Yes, there would be an almost 2 hour commute one way but what did that matter? I was going to own a home. The reality of that quickly set in but we muddled through and our neighbors helped. In no time I had people who I could count on to help in a pinch.

My children were raised here and they are people of good character. They have been shaped by a community who took care of their children. I heard a story a friend told recently about how the bus driver would tell her parents when she didn’t get on the bus for school, after her parents had sent her to school. These are things we can count on when we live in close proximity. Yes, sometimes that ‘everybody knows everything’ attitude can be annoying but it can save lives as well. Small town living is not for everyone. Some people complain daily about their plight.

My husband tells a story of an old dog on a porch howling in pain. A man walks up to the dog and says, “Why are you howling? How can I help you?” The dog says, “I’m sitting on a nail and it’s stabbing my side.” The man says, “Why don’t you get up and move?” The dog answers, “It’s easier to sit here and howl.”

I live in a small town with many people who enjoy living here. I am well watered in this field. If I didn’t like living here I would move. I am not a victim. No one twisted my arm to live here. I am not a tree and I can move if I’m unhappy.

Up and Down Emotionally

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Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

People who know me say I don’t like emotions. That’s incorrect. I think emotions can lie and we need perspective. Think about it, I can be having a good day, have one bad thing happen and emotionally crumble into agreements of “I never have a good day” and “Something always ruins my fun”, then receive good news and change again. I become a shaky person who doesn’t have control of situations when my emotions are guided by circumstances that are temporary. Of course we cry and grieve when we have a deep loss, but if not getting our way causes a good cry we have a problem. Of course we rejoice at weddings, the birth of a baby, and celebrations of many kinds but if that is our only high point in life we have a problem.

I read this today and thought it was so right on so I wanted to share:

Out-of-control emotions are the product of a heart which is not saturated with Scripture. The way to control our emotions is to control our minds, renewing them by the daily input of scriptural principles, the knowledge of God, and meditation on His attributes. Then the Holy Spirit, along with the Word of God, will bring about appropriate emotions based on truth. When we immerse ourselves in the only means of our sanctification—the Bible—we arm ourselves with the only effective weapon against out-of-control emotions. Then we can control our emotions instead of them controlling us. In themselves, emotions are not unbiblical, but they are indications of what is in our hearts. ~Matthew Houdmanm

Often the overreaction we have to people emotionally is not in what they have said to us but rather it’s filtered through a mindset of the unresolved issues we have about how we feel about ourselves. Sadly, this is not something God caused or created in us. This is something we are refusing to let go of in spite of the Holy Spirit’s work in us.

Unfortunately, as our society becomes more self-absorbed, we will continue to be extremely emotional. When we are taught that we get a trophy every time we go up to bat we are in for a big wakeup call when we go to our first job and they tell us not to do something the way we’re used to doing it. We will take it as a criticism and crumble and quit. When we don’t get to leave our toys on the floor and not have someone calls us on it, we develop a ideal where everyone needs to accept our behavior and any type of correction to the contrary, regardless of how it is conveyed, is processed through an overly sensitive mindset as evil. We need to teach how put things in perspective. It isn’t always that serious of a deal. Unless we are ruled by our emotions.

Women in Community

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This saying hangs on a plaque in my office. It’s an homage to my mom and her sisters.

I was raised by a mother who had three sisters and seven brothers. Those four women were extremely close, my Aunt Margaret has passed away but they still miss her profoundly. I was raised right alongside my cousins. Although we are cousins, we are a lot like siblings in the way we were raised as the sisters had no issue in mothering each other’s children. I began to think about this community of women recently. How each of them have poured into my life and shaped the woman I am today.

Women have the ability to shape and influence a tribe and these women certainly did. They were all very different in their approach to mothering but they all had one common goal to make sure we were loved.

There is a strong bond between these women. None of us will ever know the secrets these sisters have kept for each other. They have their occasional arguments among each other but they have always worked them out… among each other. I can call my aunts with a problem even today and the question is always, “Have you told your mother?” They have fierce loyalty. It is nothing to walk into a room and have them all look up from a serious conversation and stop talking. Their topics are their topics. Yet, when I have found myself in trouble, I could run to any of them and find love and comfort and advice.

I remember as a teen, the first person I told I was pregnant was my Aunt Margaret. She gasped, burst into tears and held me tight. Her words to me were, “Don’t worry. We’ll get through this.” Then later after the shock wore off she said, “You big dummy.”

It was just recently when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that my Tia Pearl, called me on the phone one morning and said quietly and seriously, “Susie, your mom told us about what is going on. Now I need to hear from you what is happening.” When I explained, her next words were, “Why didn’t you call me?” When I explained she said, “Okay Mija (my daughter), do you need me to come up? I can go to the doctors with you.” At the end of the conversation I heard, “Next time call me okay?”

My Nina Delores handled the tumor news in a completely different way. She sent a card. She loves to send and receive mail. Her card read, “Susie, your mom told us what is happening. I am praying and you need to call or come over. We are family.” It’s the same message, different approach.

From these sisters I have learned to be a friend. I have learned to tell the truth even when it isn’t popular, and to stand strong when someone can’t. I have learned to be a voice when someone has no words. I have boldness because these women were never afraid and I have strength because these women are pillars in their family and community.

I don’t know what makes sisters so close. I’ve seen sisters who are in constant competition with each other. I just know I was blessed to be my mom’s daughter and to have aunts who have loved me generously.

When I talk to my friends about “The Sisters”, they laugh and tell me I make them sound like the Joy Luck Club. I don’t know about that, but I know I have some pretty high heels to fill and I know they have prepared me to walk in them.

Despite It All

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Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

I read a post on Facebook recently how happy posts were fake because people chose to post that their lives were good despite the fact that they had real problems. It made me think about how you can still be happy and positive despite difficulties, or you can judge others in your unhappiness. Not everything in life has to be a major catastrophe to your well-being.

I am in a really happy place right now. I’m sure my life, speech, and yes, Facebook posts show that. It took me a long time to get here and I am relishing in it. I was a pregnant teen who raised children to the age of 48. I had never had an adult life where it was just me. I had never written out a monthly budget that didn’t include children’s lunch or field trip money, a college fund savings, or a extensive food budget. I can leave home on a moment’s notice and not worry about babysitters or dinner. I can clean my kitchen spotless and know when I get up in the morning it’s going to be exactly how I left it. I can turn the music on as loud as I want to and dance without fear of someone saying, “Mom! Stop! It’s so embarrassing when you act like a kid.” I can buy tickets to a concert or a play and not worry about what is being taken out of the budget.

I have a man who loves me beyond measure and is close by my side. We like the same things and we very rarely even argue these days. It’s a peaceful season in our life. My job is going well. I have a lot to do but I’m no longer so driven towards it. I am enjoying the work that I do at a new level. I have a dog that I think is incredible, she is pure love and she is a total spas, who I think has the Young’s A.D.D. problem.

Do I have problems? OF COURSE I DO!! Everyone does. My problems big and small have always been there, not the same ones but isn’t there always something? I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes miss being a mommy. Sure, I like the freedom, but there are those days I want to watch Sleeping Beauty with the Princess Casey. The great thing is my age and life experiences have put them in perspective. They no longer rule my every thought. I’ve learned to be content. If you want to learn to be happy, click here for an article I found profoundly useful.

Here’s the problem with judging the heart of someone and determining their motives; you aren’t always right. A person can be happy in the midst of pain. A person can be upbeat even in the midst of chaos. Happiness is a choice. Be depressed, angry, resentful, or petty, if you choose to be, but don’t expect that everyone else will be. It’s entirely up to you. As for me, I’m going to live out this last little bit of life in happiness, I’m going to let go and plunge into the deep things of life and experience freedom, despite it all.