Some thoughts about Fathers Day 2015 (& God)

In July 2014 I turned 30.
I hadn’t been in touch with him since a few years prior. I didn’t even know he knew how to get hold of me. As far as I was aware he didn’t. But he found me – on my 30th birthday.
And instead of celebrating during the day I was thrown into a meltdown of ‘he knows where I am’ and ‘WHY?’
Why now? Why not the many birthdays or Christmases before as he flitted in and out of my late teens/twenties?
We ended up having one or two text messages. He hasn’t been in touch since. But I knew he wouldn’t. He never does until its convenient for him.

And I’ve accepted that.

I’ve also accepted that it’s been painful.
It’s been painful to know he chose to abandon us as young children.
It’s been painful to know that subsequently the times I HAD to go and stay with him during school holidays he was abusive.
It’s been painful to know that I was and am not important enough.
It’s been painful to know that I am and never have been, and never will be good enough for him.

 

Its been painful to know that the dream you have as a little girl of your ‘Daddy’ being someone who would love and protect you was broken early on.
Its been painful to know growing up that the one who is supposed to shield you from the atrocities of life was one of the ones perpetrating some of them against you.
It’s been painful over the years to try so hard to be what I simply can’t be, in order to ‘win’ his love. Or to ‘win’ that relationship that would be functional, loving, and ‘normal’.

It’s been painful in many more ways. It’s been painful. It really has.

And yet today, Fathers Day 2015 I will choose to go to church, and worship God, who is ‘Father’. MY FATHER.

Last year during a seminar series my church run each term, I was challenged to my core, not long before I was due to be baptised. The person speaking said ‘who gave you permission to view your heavenly father in the same way as your earthly father’.
I went to bed crying that night. It hit me that I had spent many years comparing God to my biological father. And if I’m comparing God to him, then am I saying God is an abuser? I used to call God a sadistic Nazi bastard especially when I was being told/was starting to believe He ‘orchestrates all things so good will happen’ (I’ve subsequently learnt God actually weaves all things into good, which is different to saying He makes things happen so good will come of them) because I thought that meant God deliberately makes the horrendous moments exist (He doesn’t)

I couldn’t and still cannot see God as an abuser.
And so I had to separate God and my biological father.
It hasn’t been been easy. It has involved dealing with stuff. It still involves walking through some stuff. And sometimes it’s still painful. But this year, for me it feels like the sting is not quite as harsh.

A few weeks ago, in church I had a teary eyed/lump in throat moment watching a child being embraced by an adult in the service. Being embraced by someone who is a father. A grandfather.
He wasn’t this child’s father/grandfather but this child went to him.
I watched as she held on to him.
I watched as she sought comfort.
I watched as she sat on his knee, as she stayed still.
Loved. Safe.

Its all some of us ever long for isn’t it?
In a world that is often very hard and unkind.
To feel loved. And safe.

It’s all I’ve ever longed for, actually.

But I know I’m never going to find that with my biological father. So I’ve stopped striving for it.

I have to lift my eyes towards my heavenly one.
My God.
Who is safe.
There is no other.

He won’t abuse me. He won’t hurt me. He won’t leave me.
He won’t abuse you. He won’t hurt you. He won’t leave you.

As I wrote in my blog on Fathers Day last year
‘I don’t have an earthly father who loves me. In fact I have an earthly father who has caused untold pain and damage.

But I have a Godly one who does love and is love’

IF today is a day of rejoicing, celebration, happiness and gladness, I am really glad. If you have a Dad, a biological one, or one who takes on the role, as a step, or as a role model, or as a male figure in your life, I hope you are able to enjoy spending time with them/or celebrating them in some way. I join you in wishing those people Happy Fathers Day.

IF today is a day of remembering loved and lost ones, then I hope in your grief you are able to remember the good times.

 IF today is a day of pain, hurt, sadness, anger, darkness or any other negative emotion and IF today does nothing but remind of someone you have never had, or of someone who has hurt you beyond your wildest dreams then I am sorry.

I have am and will be thinking of you today.

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Some thoughts on being a bit sick, being in control and God.

This morning I woke up and within minutes I had burst into tears.

Because I had a blocked nose and so I thought that maybe I had the starts of a cold. Yep, a cold. A bit of an over reaction I hear you say … yep.

But the last time I woke up and felt like I might have the starts of a cold, by the end of the day I was in hospital. Because between waking up and ending the day I had an asthma attack. And then it turned out the ‘starts’ of a cold was pneumonia.

Ive been hospitalised again since then. Not that long ago. That was a straight forwards asthma attack, except it wasn’t very straight forward. It never is.  I don’t respond to drugs well and usually after hours of struggling to breathe and many drugs I end up at the critical point.

I came out of that hospital stay feeling like it was time to plan my funeral. Which I did.

Yesterday I travelled to the hospital almost 90 minutes away which I visit regularly. And spent the afternoon in what felt like a ‘House’ scenario, where lots of Consultants came in and out (up to 12, I think, but to be honest, we lost count – at one point there were 5 in the room).

My body isn’t working. The symptoms are wide and varied and I could be here all night writing about the various issues, the various blood tests, the various things that have come up, and the fact that as yet no one seems to know what is going on except that I am sick.

This makes treatment pretty hard. And it means for the last 18 months I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of being set on a treatment path, stopped, started on new ones, stopped and so on. Being told one thing, or another, then something else.

Its meant side effects like before last Christmas 2013 my hair started to fall out. It means that if I take medication to help me sleep at night I can’t function properly, or be on the ball enough to work the next day, BUT if I don’t take those tablets I get 90 minutes (if that) of sleep because my body goes into overdrive and I can’t sleep because of crazy reactions or pain.

Its meant days before going away to run the additional needs team/work at a family church conference I had to pull out because I was not well enough. Its meant bailing out of plans on a regular basis, cancelling going to day events, dates with friends, and other things.

Its meant time off work. A lot of time of work, and at the moment its meaning not working.   I like to be a busy person. I’ve always worked, and worked hard. And so for the last 18 months/2 years each time I get sick, I go back to work as quickly as possible, as if nothing has happened. Because thats what I do. And because I am already on a low wage, and have no other income.

And also because I haven’t wanted to accept my body cannot keep up. And that it does not function at 100%.

Because accepting its sick is hard.

Accepting my GP told me the other week that I need to start considering this all may be classed as ‘chronic’ and that life will be about ‘managing’ instead of finding that one treatment that would sort it all out.

Accepting its sick and may never be fully healthy again means accepting life has to change. is changing.

And its meant accepting, once again that I don’t understand what is going on. I really don’t. And I would like to. As would my Mum. And my friends. And and and. But we don’t.

Its meant having to think about physical ‘healing’ and how God works, and does not work in that sense. Its meant avoiding conversation with the trigger happy ‘Jesus WILL heal’ you people because I just want to say ‘what if He doesn’t?’ or scream at them, and its meant having those gentle, but painful conversations with friends and tissues, and with people wiser than I am.

The conversations that go ‘Does God heal, Yes, but sometimes He doesn’t. Why?’. The kind of conversation there isn’t any answers to. And thats OK because I prefer the ‘there are no answers’ answers to a load of crap. Important but painful conversations that will have to continue to happen for the foreseeable future.

The other thing its meant, which actually makes me teary eyed just typing out now, is accepting I am not in control.

I am not in control of my body.

I am not in control of what it is doing, not doing, when it is doing it/not doing it.

I am not in control when I can’t breathe. I am not in control when its gone into stupid allergy mode in the middle of the night and my skin is red raw. I am not in control when I am in pain and I can’t stop it.

I am not in control when I end up having to go into hospital. And I am not in control of what they do to me whilst I am there.

I like to be in control. Its important to me. And I know some of you will be reading this going ‘of course, its important to everyone’. It is. I agree.

But having survived things being done to my body over the years in which I had absolutely no control over, over the years, especially the last 8 I work harder than maybe some people do at maintaining some kind of control. I hold it tightly. People don’t always ‘get’ it. But thats ok. Because I manage it. I control it. Pretty well actually. I choose who I let touch/hug me. I choose who can do that without even asking now. I am in control of it.

But when I am sick and in hospital I am not in control.

In fact I am not in control of anything.

I am not in control of yesterday, today, or tomorrow.

I am not in control of the days, months and years to come.

So where does leave me right now?

Well, right now it leaves me clinging on to the One who is in control.

It leaves me clinging on to the God who I know is faithful, and has my life in His hands, even if I don’t know what that means.

It leaves me having to look at the tattoo on my wrist every day and remembering I am clothed with His strength, and dignity and that I can and will laugh at my future days to come. Whatever those future days to come look like.

Because He is control. And has ‘got this’.

I don’t talk about ‘spiritual battle’ often. In fact I’m not sure I ever have. Yet something someone said at the weekend (although I’ve heard it all before, many a times in different contexts and usually switch off) which I actually heard. And it made sense.

I’ve realised over the last few months, in fact more and more so over the last 18 months since re engaging with God that He is in control.

But I’m realising with that comes the ‘enemy’. Who also wants to be in control.

I text a few people Wednesday night before yesterdays appointment – amongst other stuff I wrote I said this

‘… I’m not letting/refusing to let the bastard drag me down totally. I know that God has got it, whatever ‘got it looks like’.

And so tonight, after someone rung me and asked me how I am, I sit here, still with all sorts of emotions, but refusing to let this get the better of me.

And refusing to ‘spit my dummy out’. Which I’ve done a few times in the last few weeks.

Ive decided that on Sunday instead of going in to church late to avoid people, and sitting alone to avoid talking to people, and trying to be shield myself from difficult conversations and instead of sitting and asking God why why why? I will go to church with my head and heart held high.

I will go to church, and choose to worship Him for who He is. And for what He is doing in my life. And for what He has already done. And for what He is going to do, even if I don’t know what that looks like.

I’m not saying I’m not gong to continue asking the questions. Sure I will. I’m not saying I’m not going to cry. Sure I will. I’m not saying I’m never going to ask why? again, sure I will.

But I feel like the battle line is drawn. And for the first time in my life I am giving up control.

I am choosing to choose to let God be in control.

Posted in God

Here is love

Here is love
For He has heard my cry, night after night,
Here is hope
For He has heard my cry, day after day.
Here is peace,
For He has heard my cry, week after week.
Here is grace,
For He has heard my cry, month after month.
Here is forgiveness,
For He has heard my cry, year after year.

Here is love,
For He has heard my cry, and He has come.

‘You make beautiful things …’

I’ve been rediscovering some Christian music the last week or so. Some old stuff I knew but had forgotten. But also lots and lots of stuff I had no idea existed.

My most favourite discovery has been ‘Gungor’.

‘Beautiful things’ is really moving, for me.  I’m a big believer in other peoples beauty and ability to rise from ashes. I’m now trying to believe it about myself. This song feels quite affirming and that slowly life is being found in chaos. And that one day something about myself and my story will be made beautiful.

‘All this pain, I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth, Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground at all?
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us’

“All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

-Gungor ‘Beautiful Things’