My truth about Father’s Day
It’s like the irony of all ironies that the first full week of summer is capped off with Father’s Day. It’s like last week was “Kid’s Day er’day” and now, today, one more opportunity for me to recognize my sucky attitude and selfishness, I mean, yay! I get to serve my family. We should have Father’s Day and Kid’s Day all the live long day!
I’m not very good at selflessness. You would think that a husband, four kids, and two dogs would provide ample opportunities for me to die to self. You’re right. I have plenty of opportunity. But, opportunity doesn’t always initiate obedience. Sometimes I deny self. Sometimes I pick me. But, all of the times I have an inner struggle. It hasn’t gotten easier for me. I’ve become more wiling, familiar, and disciplined to serve others, but the initial response of “selfishness and self-preservation” are still as present and active as they were when I was a 3-year-old kid telling another kid, “Mine!”
Father’s Day always reminds me of my selfishness. Weird, right? I’m beginning to sound like a teenager who thinks everything is about them. I’ve been accused of worse.
I’ve been stewing on this post for a while (11 days). Okay, so not that long. Whatever. I’ve been writing it in my head for 19 years. And, every year around this time, I wonder if I’ll ever have the guts to publish it for all the world to see (or the tens of you who read this).
For most of you, June 4th came and went without much thought. For me, it would have been my 20 year wedding anniversary to my first husband…had I not divorced him.
When I was 19, I got pregnant. I got married. I had my oldest, Kaden, 5 months after the wedding. I moved out of the marriage exactly one year and one week after our wedding. I arrived at my parents’ home with a 7 month old son, a few kitchen gadgets I received as wedding gifts (I mean, what does one do? Give them back with an apology note “sorry for wasting your time and money”? Re-gift? Save them for Kaden?), along with boxes and boxes of shame, guilt, and embarrassment.
It has taken years to unpack those boxes. Years! Thank God for a village of people who helped usher in some semblance of spiritual, emotional, and physical health in my life. By God’s divine grace and lavish love for me, I carry scars, but no longer wounds…
Except for one or two that seem to re-open at certain times, during inevitable circumstances, dates, or triggers.
Like June 4th.
I chose me 19 years ago and that choice meant a son would grow up without his father in the same town, or under the same roof. A crucial relationship cultivated, at best, every other weekend and 42 days in the summer. And, every Father’s Day.
Well, that’s a downer.
I like the funny Real V better.
(That was the dialogue I just had with myself in my head).
I always hate when people ask me, “If you could do it over, would you do it differently?”
I don’t know how to answer that question. How does one answer that question? What benefit is there in answering that question? Please don’t ask people that question. It’s a really stupid question.
I think I have sufficiently expressed my feelings about that question.
Here’s what I do know. God has filled in the gaps of my mistakes. He has cleaned up my messes time and time again. He continues to heal me, heal Kaden, heal my first husband, and heal my younger children and Stefan. (There was quite a bit of confusion when they were little–all 3 of the younger kids, at different times, asked “when do I get to go visit my dad?”) God has orchestrated beauty (and laughter) out of my failures. He redeemed the times Kaden missed with friends and family (because he was at his dad’s). God redeemed the times Kaden missed in his dad’s life (because he was with us). God has gifted Kaden with an ability to love me, his dad, his step-dad, and his step-mom deeply, without reservation, without biological ties. We are a beautiful mess of a dysfunctional family because God has made us beautiful.
But, I’m still reminded that my sin has consequences. My sin and selfishness affect innocent (and guilty) people. Selfishness and sin have a way of manipulating a mind into thinking the cost (consequences) will be minimal, or at worst, temporal. Sin always demands a payment. And, that payment is usually some kind of broken relationship. Whether, it’s a broken relationship with God, or a broken relationship with a person.
And, sometimes, we have to sit with the reality that our choices cause brokenness.
I am more than confident that God creates beauty from brokenness. I am also living proof that sometimes the brokenness lingers. Signs of brokenness does not mean that God is not Faithful or He isn’t able to put all the pieces of our broken lives back together. The brokenness that remains in no way disproves His power or miracle-making capability.
The miracle is that He takes the brokenness and makes something completely new out of it. Anyone can put pieces back together, but only an Almighty God can take shards of failure, guilt, and pain and create victory, innocence, and peace out of the broken pieces.
Oh friend, He is not stingy with His miracles. It’s not a struggle for Him to choose us, serve us, and love us. Know that your worst mess, is an opportunity for Him to re-create something new. He not only forgives, He re-makes.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an opportunity to practice selflessness tonight with my family. I’d like to default to the Spirit this time, instead of my selfishness.
Because I did not like having to explain to my younger kids why “they don’t get to go visit their dad on the weekends.”