How I Met My Dad

Not every little girl can say she met her dad while her parents were dating, but I can.

My dad was 28 and directing an ‘Up With People’ choir when he met my 17 year old mother. This was long before there were reality shows about teen moms on MTV. My mom’s brother played in the band so she decided to tag along one night. That’s when she met the man who would completely change the course of her life.

He was smitten. I remember being told they saw each other a couple more times and was introduced to me. At first he thought she was babysitting. By the time she told him she was my mom, it was too late. He was in love with both of us and like any love story worth telling, the odds were stacked against them.

My dad was a Vietnam vet and a high valued target for a lot of good Christian girls from his church. He led songs at the small Pentecostal church he was raised in, and dating an unwed mother was NOT how the church leadership thought he should be conducting himself. To top it off, my mom was raised as a Mormon and their faiths were a huge problem for both of their families.

Instead of running from scandal, my dad stood up to his church leadership and continued to date my mom even though it meant he wouldn’t be allowed to lead songs in his church anymore. He endured the whispers behind his back from those whom he had respected deeply. Ultimately, he found another church that offered him grace and allowed him to continue to minister in his calling.

And along the way my mom saw a man who wouldn’t run from trouble, but would stand and fight for her and her baby even though it would cost him his reputation. Along the way she saw the love of Jesus in my dad and found Him to be irresistible. She fell in love with both of them and never looked back.

By no means is this the end of their story. Parents threatened to disown, and an elopement was inevitable. But most important, a disgraced young woman was given a second chance at redemption. A little girl was given a father. And the heavens roared in victory over the thwarted plan that the enemy had meant to devastate us.  

I have NEVER once had to question whether or not this man who I share zero DNA with loves me or not. Not once. He is a constant reminder of God’s grace and mercy in my life. He is the only earthly father I’ve ever known and I owe everything I am to his relentless love for our family.

Dad, if you happen to read this…I love you. I’m so thankful for you and how you let Jesus live through you. I want to be as brave as you have been. Your love for us changed everything. I am forever grateful.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

Love,

Your Little Girl

Therapy Sessions

I’ve been spending a lot of time in therapy lately–physical therapy–with my hubby watching his body pushed beyond its physical and mental limits. Some days I wonder how much more he can take. It’s not easy to watch someone you love struggle, even when it’s for their own good.

Two surgeries after dislocating his right shoulder and fracturing the humerus, my man is working hard to regain strength and range of motion in his dominant arm. I can see pain and determination on his face as he tries to do simple tasks like walk his fingers up a wall. Sometimes I sing the itsy bitsy spider song while he does his wall walks. He does not think I’m funny when he’s in pain. Pain pushes him to his limits every single day and I wonder how much more it will take for him to recover.

The therapy process is slow because the injury was severe. I’ll never forget watching the therapist move his arm gently and slowly those first few weeks. Muscle and soft tissue damage in addition to the fracture had restricted him to passive motion only. He wore an immobilizer to strap his arm to his side. Movement was a big no-no because his body needed time to heal.

I listened one afternoon on our drive home from a therapy session as he vented frustrations about how it seemed like nothing productive was happening. The therapist had spent the entire 45 minutes stretching and massaging his arm. It felt like a huge waste of time. How was he ever going to get back to normal when he wasn’t even able to lift his own arm? He was completely dependent on others to bathe, get dressed, tie his shoes, and even cut his own food. He was so over it. He wanted to be independent and back at work. Truth be told, we both wanted those things. I tried to explain that if he did more than his body was ready for too soon that he could re-injure his arm and do more damage than good. I told him that we had to trust that the therapist knows what he’s doing and that in time he would regain some independence. Please, Lord, let the man be able to scrub his own armpit. Amen.

My husband’s body had been broken. Overnight our lives had been turned upside down and we were living in what I call a haze of grace. There was a lot of HGTV, Food Network, and series binging on Amazon Prime. I ordered take out, made ice packs and tried to keep up with laundry. Oh and then there are the medical bills. We survived on the prayers of our family and friends and several pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. But it wasn’t enough. I was falling apart. Again. My world had been rocked and I thought I could pretend that it was all just fine.
The trouble was that I didn’t have time to fall apart. This was not a good time for a breakdown. People needed me and I found myself reverting to a lot of old thought patterns because that’s what I do when I’m in crisis mode. I do what I know, even when it doesn’t help. Basically this looked a lot like beating myself over the head with a baseball bat for not being super woman every moment of every day. I wasn’t a good enough wife. I was the fattest person in the room all of the time. I wasn’t a good enough mom. I wasn’t a good enough Christian because if I were good enough probably none of this crap would have happened in the first place. Jesus was counting on me to suck it up and be a good example of mercy for heaven’s sake!!! I found myself wallowing in a pit of shame for not being enough for this crisis.

Welcome to my pity party. One night I climbed the stairs to my bed after tucking my husband into his recliner, crawled into bed, grabbed my journal and wrote,
“The pain is really bad today. My pain—emotional pain. My brain is so fuzzy I can barely function. There are so many hoops to jump through on any given day. I don’t have the will to jump today. I’m sleepy. I just want to cry and let it all out. The trouble is that I’m not sure I can. I look at my mental list of things that should be done to make it all better and it’s like a wave of depression crashes over me and drags me down–way way down. It’s no wonder people don’t want to continue to live like this day after day. I wish I could just sleep it all off and wake up to everything being better. God, why does this keep happening to me? What can I do to make it never happen again? I wish there was a reset button I could hit on my life. So many mistakes. So many things I wish I could un-do. If only I could make peace with my messy life. But I can’t. I hate it…
I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse. Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember? When I told my story, you responded. Train me well in your deep wisdom. Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle wonders. My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn; build me up again by your word. {Psalm 119:25-28 The Message}

If this was a song I’d play it over and over again. It’s the cry of my heart tonight.
Jesus, help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle wonders. Build me up by the power of your Holy Spirit and your living breathing word. Thank you.”

I wish I could tell you that I woke up the next morning and everything made perfect sense. It didn’t. But somehow along the way I began to see that I was broken too. I didn’t have the physical injury that my husband had, but I was just as in need of healing. Overnight our lives had been turned upside down and I needed to give this crisis the respect it deserved in my own life as well as my husband’s body. There wasn’t a single thing I could do to make it better. In fact, all of my trying to be better was just making it worse. I needed to trust the Therapist and let Him do his job. I had to stop trying so hard.

For my recovery I’ve been reading encouraging books written by people who dare to use their pain to help people like me see that my messy imperfect life is covered by more love and grace than I will ever be able to sort through in this lifetime. I’ve started praying more than reading my Bible. I’m allowing Jesus to tend to my broken heart and I stopped beating myself up for not being good enough when he is more than good enough. I sleep more. Sleep is good, like really good. I watch Jimmy Fallon YouTube videos and laugh a lot more. People are alive because of Jimmy Fallon. Finally, I told that mean bossy B in my head to leave and never come back and she did. We are all the better for it.

Some wonderful crazy things happened when I stopped trying so hard to be good enough. Joy returned. It had been a couple of years since I’d had any joy. Anxiety was the front and center drama queen demanding ALL of my attention. The slightest misstep would send me into a full blown meltdown. Something as annoying as being late for an appointment took days to recover from. Perfectionism once again had its hooks deep in my soul. I felt hopeless that I could ever get free. Guess what? Anxiety is not front and center any longer. I’m a total freaking mess AND IT’S OK. I’m not doing a single thing I thought I’d be doing at this moment in life AND IT’S OK. It’s really ok. I have peace again, and man, I have missed it. I stopped clinging to the HaagenDazs life raft and have embraced healthy food again. It’s so much easier to love people when peace and joy are actually welcome in my heart and mind…and I’m not jacked up on caffeine and sugar 24/7.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we truly believed how much God really loves us. What if we simply rested in believing that he is enough and we are loved?

Sometimes we have to stop trying so hard and let the Therapist do his job. It might not feel like much is being accomplished, but when we allow for rest and healing to take place in our brokenness we will be stronger for the people and the plans God has for our lives. The Therapist knows what He’s doing. He really does. After all, my man has started to do planks at his physical therapy sessions. His muscles are shaky and it hurts like heck, but I’m beginning to think anything is possible.

Thank you for praying for us. Your prayers are powerful. Don’t ever forget it. Thanks for stopping by.

When Mr. Steady Met Nurse Ratched

A few weeks ago I drove my husband to the emergency room. We didn’t leave the hospital for two and a half days. A few days later we went back for surgery. One moment he was fine, the next he was anything but fine.

My man has always been my rock. He is Mr. Steady. The truest friend. Old reliable. I’m the needy one in our relationship. He has stuck by me through major depression, chronic health issues, pms that would scare a badger, surgeries, and morning sickness that lasted 9 months–twice. On the rare occasion he manages to get sick I have to dig really deep to find enough compassion to nurture him. If he’s lucky he might get 24 hours to moan and groan about whatever ails him. After that I turn into Nurse Ratched. SUCK IT UP, BUDDY! GET OVER IT! He is one lucky man.

It turns out that Mr. Steady isn’t quite as invincible as I thought he was. A severe injury has left him pretty beat up and needy. The bruises are fading and the incision is healing, but we are a long way from being back to normal.

I wish I could tell you that I’ve been the perfect wife and nurse and that he’s been the perfect husband and patient, but this isn’t a Hallmark Channel movie. The truth is that this has left us both vulnerable and exposed to pain and I’m sure we have both responded in ways that would be better suited for an R rated war movie.

In all of those times I needed him to be my rock I don’t think it ever ocurred to me that my pain wasn’t just happening to me, it was happening to him too. Dang. Realizing that doesn’t automatically make me a better wife and nurse, but it sure does humble me in areas that are in need of some fresh humility. Dang.

I wish there was a magic pill we could take to make all of this go away overnight, but there isn’t. We are in this for the long haul. For better or for worse, we are in this together.

Your prayers have meant the world to us. Thank you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Real Time Web Analytics