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I am Healed

I’ve shared my testimony of healing and forgiveness a couple times over the past couple days and I’m so grateful for the heart of love and forgiveness God has put within me. Even though I came from a broken home with a neglectful dad, I’ve learned how nothing anyone else does is about me. Nothing is ever personal.

The problem is sin. People do the most backwards things to ease their guilt and the backlash on others is never fully recognized or considered simply because the first offense is against God, the Almighty. Who are we to be offended? We are to love as vengeance. We are to forgive with open arms. We are to pursuit with purpose and never wish for harm against any person.

Though it sounds hard and unrealistic, it’s my experience…a freedom and divine inspiration with unending encouragement to keep going to the end of me and all I can do…and let Christ continue His work through me.

To start from the beginning of it all, visit the DBMH Project, Inc. website, and explore my path from hurt to healed.

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Look of Longing

After posting the Wonder of Watching, it hit me that this disposition of observation is evidence of growth from a very different place in my experience.

Forever, I have had the look of longing. How could I not be somewhat envious of girls with dads to hold them when they’re sad and rub their shoulders when they feel uptight? How could I not be jealous of the girl excited for her daddy/daughter date? How could I not stop from crying when I’m watching a movie with a dad risking everything to the very inch of his own life to rescue his daughter? (Even though the movie Taken portrays a dad that is grossly unrealistic… there is only ONE Liam Neeson. lol) How could I not feel slighted by the lack of any great fatherly advice or protective stories from childhood?

I’ll tell you how I could. Gratitude. I have come to a place where I realize that for every good dad/daughter relationship, there’s a dozen I am thankful to not be part of. Whether your dad is a drunk, criminal, bully, or deadbeat… there is always a worse scenario. How can I long for something more than what I already have? Do I not trust I have all I need? If I have been slotted for less than the next, it is for a reason. If I have been given a harder test, I have the wherewithal to overcome. God gives strength to us to meet the challenges with confidence. There is grace to see others with more and still be content. Your lot is yours for a reason. Live knowing this.

If you have a look of longing, reset your focus, think of 100 ways things could be worse, and be thankful instead.

Gratitude is the remedy to a longing heart.

Wonder of Watching

Today I watched a dad surprise his two girls (who appeared to be about 10 and 12) with two MacBook Air computers. No occasion. No reason other than that they’d wanted it for a while and he wanted to surprise them.

I watched the girls squeal in disbelief and begin hugging and kissing him gratefully. He stood stiff as a wooden pillar, turning red in the face. He just wanted them to know he cared without saying so.

I sucked in my breath as I watched. These girls have what every girl needs. The MacBook Airs can be easily replaced by froyo on a hot day or a new beach ball. The gift is not what’s important… it’s the loving adoration of a dad that cares about what you want… not just what you need.

To every girl who has never had anything close to a moment like what I witnessed today, take heart. Your father in heaven loves you more than any man ever could. Though the human aspect of relationship is nice, it is not altogether required for an enriched life with God as your father.

As quickly as my heart sank watching… knowing I would never experience what the girls obliviously cherish, I am encouraged to know I have the BEST father there is in God and he takes care of much bigger things than computers on a wish list. He gave me a clean heart, he takes care of me and keeps me from the defilement of the world. Not to mention the car, puppy, jobs, and other countless things a natural dad can only go so far to provide.

I’m thankful for what I have and hope I’ve encouraged someone to see things through a different lens.

Music Monday: New Man

How much clearer can it get? Without dad, there is a listless sense of misdirection that creates an emotional cloud that fogs the vision of introspection.

Listen in and embrace the solution… With a New Life comes a New Father.

Here’s some commentary about the song from the lead singer and author.

I can remember when he left
It’s still pounding in my chest
The pain I felt when he said goodbye
All the nights I tried to call
Cause I needed a father’s love
To cheer me on, to lift me up, to be my guide

I try to find my worth
In things that didn’t work
My confidence was broken
I was hopeless

But God, You have made me new
You’ve restored my heart and
Turned these ashes into life
Oh God, You have pulled me through
And everything I was is gone
And washed away for good
I’m a new man in You

I’m trying to walk as a new man
I want You to show me who I am
In You when I forget that I’m Yours
Now I find my worth and it’s set in stone
And it’s done for good

Cause God, You have made me new
You’ve restored my heart and
Turned these ashes into life
Oh God, You have pulled me through
And everything I was is gone
And washed away for good
I’m a new man in You

Oh God, You have made me new
You’ve restored my heart and
Turned these ashes into life
Oh God, You have pulled me through
And everything I was is gone
And washed away for good
And everything I was is gone
And washed away for good
I’m a new man in You

Full Music Video of New Man Below:

Love is a choice.

A worthy reflection on one of the first blog posts written for the project. Love is (always and without exception) a choice.

Daddy Broke My Heart

Even though as infants and toddlers we were trained to love our blood relatives, as we come to an understanding that love goes beyond the words and hugs. Love is a commitment to put someone else before yourself. Love is a promise to look out for someone and keep their name from being marred or misused. Love is vulnerability.
Love is something we can help, simply put, a choice. Once betrayed, you choose to stop loving. Your vulnerability is treated as a weakness and manipulated. When Anaïs Nin stopped loving her father, you would think she would have found freedom from the negative energy of that relationship. This was not the case. She succumbed to what she describes as a “pattern of slavery.” A “pattern of slavery” to suppressed emotion, feelings of neglect, gripped in the chains of her own bitterness.

We can choose our friends. But blood dictates who is in…

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Fixated Loyalty

Once you know what it’s like to be left without a cause, you can react to the abandonment by staying away from any commitments so you can avoid the possibility of failure or you attach yourself to people, things, and processes that make you happy – fixating yourself with a dog-like loyalty that is not easily broken.

I’ll discuss avoiding commitment next week. Today, I wanted to start a dialogue around this concept of fixated loyalty. As with anything, balance is a MUST to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Channelling the tendency into good things can make you a better person than the privileged people who have never suffered neglect from their dad.

From my own experience, I’ve found my tendency to fixate my loyalty to be beneficial to living my life to the fullest. I am committed to serving God, no matter what the cost or where it takes me. My love for Him is deep and true and not anyone or anything even slightly compares. My fixation blinds me to alternatives and keeps me focused on being obedient so I can be blessed and life a good life. Because anything less than a good life would include heartache and grief and I’ve suffered enough already…I trust God to keep me from breaking down, being my helping hand and comfort through any times of difficulty. And He has been that and so much more. Simply knowing that God would be devastated if I walked away from Him and went my own way is enough to keep me connected.

The same goes for my health, friendships, projects… anything! The balance comes into play when betrayal and deceit enters the scene and compromises the connection. A friend and mentor was struggling through some personal issues and disconnected herself from me. In the midst of my hurt and disappointment, I was determined to prove myself… prove that I was good enough, that I was worth loving. Though the disconnect had nothing to do with me, I was being sideswiped and stripped of any power to maintain the connection. Years passed before I was able to realize that nothing is ever personal. If someone chooses to live life without you when you planned to stick it out till the end, you have to let them go. Loyalty, after all, is a two way street.

You cannot allow yourself to be so loyal that you empower people to take advantage of the fixation. Know that you are worthy to receive the same time and dedication you put out. Don’t sell yourself short obsessing over staying connected. Most times you gain more in letting go than you ever could stubbornly holding on.

Humility Heals

Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Proverbs 13:10 NLT

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. NIV

No matter the relationship, when contention arises, pride is nearby.

Pride points fingers. Pride gives up trying. Pride simply refuses to take the humble side.

The conflict you are experiencing in your relationship with your dad or whomever is the direct result of arrogance.

You might be sitting there, reading this, nodding your head in agreement saying, “That’s right, his/her pride is hindering our connection.”

Let me add one more definition to pride: Knowing there is a rift in the relationship and waiting for the other party to do something about it. Feeling like you’ve done all you can is equal to calling it quits. Putting off the responsibility to the other person is pointing fingers!

Take the humble side. Humility heals the breech and it’s worth the trouble.

Never Alone

Do you believe that hope can help others but somehow does not apply to you? Do you think of yourself as the exception? I am always thrown through a loop when people can encourage others to believe in hope and see beyond their circumstances but the same people are unable to see the truth for themselves.

There is no anomaly on your silent suffering. There is always support and help available to you. Never assume someone does not understand what you’re going through… talk about it. Write about it. Get it out of you!

Every message of hope and encouragement applies to you just as much as it applies to the next. Do not isolate yourself or your condition. Strength comes in numbers… you’ll crumble standing alone. Connect. Share. Embrace hope for yourself.

Listen to this throwback song Never Alone by BarlowGirl. No matter how you feel in the moment, God is never too far away. Never. Even in the silence if you refuse to connect with others, God is still there in the darkest moments. Don’t be afraid to reach out to Him… His hand is always reaching your way.

I waited for you today
But you didn’t show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You’d be there
And though I haven’t seen You
Are You still there?

[Chorus:]
I cried out with no reply
And I can’t feel You by my side
So I’ll hold tight to what I know
You’re here and I”m never alone

And though I cannot see You
And I can’t explain why
Such a deep, deep reassurance
You’ve placed in my life

We cannot separate
‘Cause You’re part of me
And though You’re invisible
I’ll trust the unseen

[Chorus]

We cannot separate
You’re part of me
And though You’re invisible
I’ll trust the unseen

False Strength

Pretending is encouraged in our society.

“Fake it till you make it”

“Put your game face on”

“Don’t let your feelings get in the way”

There are endless lines of encouragement with a subtext communicating the need to ignore the negative, inconvenient hindrances and get to where you’re going.

In some cases, like pressing to work, church, or the gym, and ignoring how you feel is self-discipline. Very important distinction between self-discipline, which is strength, and denial, false strength.

Pretending you don’t have a broken heart after being rejected by someone you cared deeply about is not going to help you. Acting like being stood up is no big deal to ease the sting is dishonest. Saying that the absence of your father has not affected your life negatively does not make it true. You can’t fake away bruises. You can’t game face your way out of already being broken.

Real strength and self-discipline requires the expression of true feelings amidst different situations. Many artists do this through music. Others through their own chosen art form. I have chosen words to express myself and have been tons better for it.

Do not let what you wish to be and strategic appearances of being strong cripple you. Be honest about where you are. Be strong in being vulnerable. Pretending to be strong will only cause your true weakness to blindside you.

Get angry. Get sad. Feel. Cause being true to how you feel is being real.

Ignorance is not bliss

Whoever coined the phrase “ignorance is bliss” must have been replying to Solomon when he wrote, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” (Eccles. 1:18) If you consider the idiom from a broad perspective, anyone who adopts such a frivolous perspective is quite selfish. Sure, knowing children are dying everyday from hunger, sexual abuse, and abandonment is a rough fact to stomach, but not knowing does not change the facts.

I’m taking this a step further. Knowing is not enough either. Is it worse to know there’s a homeless person freezing just beyond your door and leave him there than to know he’s there and call and inform a shelter or offer a blanket? Of course the former is much worse than the latter. Knowledge must move us to do something. Knowledge requires action. Perhaps you have no money to donate to a cause that alleviates the misfortunes of our world. What you do have is a voice. Knowing creates the obligation to share and spread awareness. Awareness then enables other players to change the game with the resources they have… a domino effect of good. So, how then, can ignorance be accepted as blissful?

All of my adolescent years were spent in the false world of bliss, ignorant of the deep searing pain of being abandoned by my dad. The problem with false worlds is that one day truth comes to demolish every square inch of deceit, leaving you in the ruins of confusion.

I wish I could go back and tell my dad I did indeed miss him… even if I’d shut off the feelings of missing him. I wish I could return to the day he left, to cry tears where he could see each violently fall to the floor instead of silently soaking my pillow in the middle of the night. I wish… I wish…

What can I do now? Explore my emotions, know my feelings, and express them now.
Every relationship is worth my fair shot of honesty in the moment.

How do you express yourself honestly in the moment?

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