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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.

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.

Love Knows No Rules

Anyone truly in love does not have to be told how to love. We love by instinct. We protect those we love. We support those we love. We stand by and care for those we love. We sacrifice for those we love. We risk our lives for those we love. True love does.
You don’t have to follow a list of rules to understand what love is. You thrust yourself into a relationship and you get to know the person you are with. You learn more so you can love more. Your love is not based on what you can get, but more about what you can give. True love is. Love comes from the heart, not the head. True love does.

Rules set limits. Rules set boundaries. Rules will never set you free.
Love does.
Love will never leave you empty handed. Love is infinitely rich, gracious, patient, and true. Love is a keeper. Love is a redeemer. Love is free.
Live and learn.
Give to get.
Be merciful…not just just.
Forgive and forget.
True love does.

The Father Effect

This Monday we’d like to highlight media from the The Father Effect.

This 15 minute film highlights the need to forgive your dad, no matter what the circumstance. These are some testimonies of people who have suffered, abandonment, disappointment, neglect, abuse… you name it.

The wonderful thing about forgiveness is in the freedom it offers the giver. But don’t take it just from me, take a minute to watch this video.

See more on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Father-Effect-Movie/211007652267276

 

“divorce…HAPPENS” by Maranda

Today the DBMH Project blog is honored to feature this story by Maranda. 

I’d like to give a shoutout to her for taking courage and sharing her story so vulnerably with us and the world.  Be sure to check out some of her other work and follow her @mettawageshik for fun tidbits on twitter!

divorce… HAPPENS!

The other day I was reading an article that a friend sent to me about divorce. When I was done reading this article, I mentally relived the time my parents went through a divorce. I saw the images run through my head like a flip cartoon book where it looks like the little stick figure is moving. I have shared bits and pieces of this story with people but nobody knows EVERYTHING. Divorce doesn’t just affect the two people getting the divorce. It affects everyone and everything.

I was a 12 year old thinking about doing unthinkable things to myself.  I skipped school because I was too tired from staying up the entire night downloading music and talking on the phone with my neighbor. I always made myself sick. When friends would come over I would hide and turn the lights off so they wouldn’t think I was home – since we lived in an apartment they needed to be buzzed in. I attempted to burn down the apartment by lighting tissue on fire – if it weren’t for my father putting it because the fire became larger then what I could handle, I wouldn’t be here right now. I argued with every man my mom was friends with. We had to move and this vicious cycle continued. My mom healed her open wounds but my wounds didn’t heal until a long time after that. I hated myself because I was going through puberty and discovered boys all during this time. And thought they were horrible creatures. There was one time, where I was lying on my floor in my bedroom crying and punching the ground because I didn’t think it would have taken so long to get over this physical void.

Throughout this entire mess, my parents didn’t know a thing. I’m glad they didn’t. My life would have been worse. The only person that could have changed it would have been me. I did, eventually.

Divorce sucks. It sucks because you think you’re the only person going through it and you don’t think anyone can help. Throughout all of this you think that nobody in the entire world feels how you feel! Divorce is so hard. You don’t know who loves you and who doesn’t. Who do you turn to?

During this time, all my friends still had parents together. They weren’t broken. My friends also had siblings. I had nobody. I felt so alone. I didn’t even have God. This point in my life, I didn’t even know he still existed.

I pray for the children that are going through this. I pray for the children who don’t know how bad it will be because it does get worse before it gets better. I didn’t have anybody. Find somebody. You’re not alone.

I hit an all time low in my life. I’m glad I’m not there anymore. Anyone who knows me knows that I am open about some things but it takes a lot to express my feelings and emotions to people. I don’t express them. I love everybody – la la la – everything is candy canes and gum drops. But the real truth of it is I’m scared to allow people into my life. I’m not fake; don’t confuse this for that. I am cautious. I have given my heart to friends, family, relationships and have been hurt – many times – in the past.

Read original entry on Maranda’s blog site here.

Props to My Mother

My dad didn’t show up this past Monday. He called 5 minutes after he was supposed to arrive to let us know he was not coming.

“I don’t know why I bother…” I said as I abruptly hung up the phone, frustrated.

My mother gracefully said, “Because it is the right thing to do. I believed he’d come too this time… I’m sorry.”

We girls just decided to have a pizza party at home with my mom. As we were leaving, I told my sister Leila, “I do not ever want to look any of my children in the face and have to say ‘I believed he’d come too’… know why? It’s too much!”

As we drove to the pizza place, I realized that the courage and strength I couldn’t imagine having is my mother’s everyday existence since she separated from my father. My mother has courageously endured countless hardships, injustice, defamation, trickery, and betrayal, and yet she remains whole to support and love us. She lends hope to increase our faith in the pointless cause of my dad ever changing. Why? Because she loves us. Because she’s awesome! Because she’s the strongest woman I know!

Mom, I do not take your grace, love, compassion, patience, support, and beautiful spirit for granted! Though we do not say it as much as we should, on behalf of all my siblings and their descendants, THANK YOU! Our dad may be a failure, but you are the standard of what every mother should shoot for!

God bless you!

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Who Cried Watching Footloose? Not Just Me, Right?

After somewhat of a dreary day, with the weather and unchangeable circumstances, I returned home after releasing a bit of steam at the gym. My mind raced and the thought of boxing made me think that perhaps I hadn’t worked out enough at the gym.

Anxious to accomplish something I care about, I began slaving away on search engines and LinkedIn, looking for some missing pieces to fill the puzzle life has become for me these days. Enough. I can hear a small part of my brain that chimes in during times of distress. Keila, enough. Take some time for you! You’ve graduated and you have yet to really celebrate because you’ve been slaving away to finish the Memoir. Now the memoir is done and you’re beating yourself up for not being productive on a work day? Enough!

I sit stunned at the realization that I haven’t allowed myself anytime to relax. I decided to watch Footloose. What better way to indulge myself for the rest of the evening and forget about my to-do list? I’ll admit, the movie began as a 3×3 inch square in the corner of my computer screen as I continued to try and do research. Who are you fooling? Might as well enjoy one thing fully instead of split my attention and get no where anyway.

No one warned me that this movie had daddy-daughter dynamics!!! *sigh* I watch the tragic, but heartwarming story unfold before my eyes and I begin to cry. As the tears fall down my face, I recognize the words they whisper against my skin. I tune in and feel the emotions of loss and longing and I prayerfully stable myself. For years I would silently cry during movies without the slightest coherent idea as to why. But tonight is different. Tonight my tears fall and I’m happy for the girl on the screen. Yes, there’s a bit of jealousy and curiosity.

There’s the rebel girl with two loving parents that she defies to express her grief and independence. She goes from man to man in the film, trying to feel better, and learns from the new guy that she won’t find worth in a “kiss and tussle.” When she gets in trouble with the first no good guy she’s with, her dad blames the good one. At this point she’s yelling at him all the things she’s been feeling for years that cut him so deep that he lights into her. All of this negative energy is flowing between them revealing miscommunication and pain.

Anyway, the good guy she’s talking to talks to her dad and works through bad impressions to win the father’s favor. Now the dad and daughter have the stage to talk to one another about their fight and how they feel…. and I’m looking for Kleenex.

I ask myself, What would it have been like to have a dad care so much about me that I would be frustrated at his over-protectiveness?

My heart is quick to jump in and remind me that God has held me to a standard of chastity that can definitely be frustrating and I can’t help but smile. This is so true. The difference is that the protective commands from God are perfect. I can trust that I am getting the best results possible trusting Him to provide for me. I can rejoice in that.

I imagined tonight would be a bit more footloose, but I guess there’s a valuable lesson in everything. Be thankful for what you have and make the best of it!

 

Music Monday: Heal The Wound by Point of Grace

As Christmas approaches, we can reflect and be grateful for the scars we have that make us who we are. This song was sung yesterday during a young people service and I began reflecting on how merciful God is to us when we reach out to Him for grace. The healing process is a difficult one. But I know people who have overcome and bare the scars of the past upon them. They are the biggest encouragement and blessing to others, many times without knowing it.

Listen to the hope in the song’s message and be blessed.

Verse 1:

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then

I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I’ve been
But it’s the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I’m free

Chorus:

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don’t take pride in what I bring
But I’ll build an altar with
The rubble that You’ve found me in

And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Chorus

Don’t let me forget
Everything You’ve done for me
Don’t let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Chorus

Mr. Legs and The Art of Loving

Mr. Legs in Italy many years ago is now a confused father.

What a way to start a blog… you are probably more curious than anything else but this story is a good one. In the past few months I have befriended this beautiful, five foot tall, Costa Rican girl; slowly her story began to unravel as our friendship developed.

I met this friend, Chela, at the clinic I am at right now. Soon after being introduced, I got her number and invited her to a monster truck rally… I guess you could say that our friendship was birthed out of a hill-billy craze. That Saturday I drove my Honda Civic up her house to pick her up; little did I know this short Costa Rican girl had a story I could hardly wrap my mind around.

Chella’s mom, let’s call her Ma, was born and raised in Costa Rica; at a young age she fell in love with a man but unfortunately was left empty-handed at the end of it. Soon after, she met an Italian, got married, and lives in Costa Rica. They have four children and after a number of years move to the US. From a young age, the children know their father as the man who brought presents home from various cities that his job took him to. He was never around; he knows his children only by the few days he spent with them at a time.

Here is where it gets interesting; of those four children, only one looked like an Italian. As the children went to school and matured in the US, they began to wonder why they did not look like their father. Although genetically confused, they only knew one man as their father, an Italian traveler. A few years later, he retired; the world caught up to him and, at last, he stayed home only to realize being a dad meant more than buying gifts. He has to actually show love in a different way.

He never did.

Fast forward to today. Chella now lives with friends after moving out of her father’s house. The old Italian man told his daughters he should not have raised them, he left them feeling abandoned even with his daughters there next to him.

Chella’s dad is the italian… she didn’t pick him, he is not the donor of her genetics, and she loves him in the midst of who he is.

We can not choose our fathers and our fathers don’t choose us. Love can be easy, but it is also a choice. At no point did Chella decide to have a father who wasn’t there or disconnected biologically. She loved him inspite of his absence and in spite of his view towards them.

As for Mr. Legs, it must be horrible knowing you didn’t seed the children you tried raising but that does not mean they are not your children. Love them. They need you.

 

Love, Anger, and Forgiveness

Thinking back over my childhood, I realize that I’ve had many experiences that I’ve chosen not to revisit often. Sometimes the memories are not ones that make us feel good and at other times it’s just the personal nature of it that makes you want to clam up. The scripture tells us that “no man lives unto himself.” Everything we go through can help and/or hurt someone else, it’s not just about us.  I’d like to share bits of my story. I pray that I will be a help to those that read.

I love my Dad. I always did and I always will. I spent most of my young life wanting to spend time with him. I had an unwavering love for him that was there against all reasoning. My encounters with him that I can remember were few. My mom said he was around the first two years of my life (that must be when we bonded). I remember the nasty break-up between him and my mom, I was very young but being in the middle of it left me with a  lasting memory of him trying to take me from my mother. It is a bitter-sweet memory. Two people I love so much fighting over who will keep me. Needless to say Momma won. I didn’t see Daddy again for what seemed like ages. I remember getting new Easter clothes and Momma saying they were from my daddy, but I don’t remember seeing him. I had a 3rd grade teacher, an older man, I loved him so much because he reminded me of my daddy. When I got in trouble at school, I would get the paddle and it made me feel even more like “this is what it was like to have a daddy discipline me.”  It might sound strange to some but, the discipline made me happy.  I knew Mr. O’Neil cared about me and wanted me to obey.

A couple of years later I faced what I thought was a tragedy! Momma was getting married! I didn’t need a father! I had one already. I wanted MY father. I began desperately writing my dad letters pleading for him to come see me.  NOTHING. Never got any answers.  I nursed the idea that my dad loved me and would take me away if I asked, but I never asked. I didn’t want my fantasy to be shattered. I was 10 years old, trying to find my personal identity and I was overwhelmed at the details thrust on me about my birth. It left me feeling like I had no value. I needed my dad to tell me he loved me. I was hungry for it. He remained absent.

When I was 13 years old he showed up. Wanted me to visit and gave me some attention. I received a pair of lilac colored brushed leather loafers in the mail as a gift from him. They matched nothing. I didn’t even really like them but I wore them ragged because I was so glad my dad sent them to me. I told everyone that they were from my daddy. After that I was in my own little heaven. He bought me a birthstone ring, a pair of jeans and came for me the next summer as well.  Momma was being so nice about me visiting my absentee Dad, I thought everything was finally getting on track. Then right after school started back I turned 15 and a month later my Daddy died. All my hopes for the future with him was gone! I was hurt and I was angry. Angry that he didn’t tell me he had cancer. Angry because he only spent time with me to ease his conscience. Angry because Momma was being nice out of pity. Angry because I couldn’t go to his funeral (his body was shipped south and only a wake was held locally). I was angry because my family who talked negatively about him all the time was now being so nice. Why couldn’t they think of nice things to say when he was alive? The whole thing just made me mad. At fifteen years old I was experiencing all the conflicting emotions teenagers typically experience and I wasn’t making good decisions.

As time moved on, my bad decisions showed me how much I needed guidance so I sought God for forgiveness for my sins. A few years later I married young and started a family. It was during this time that I began to understand the dynamics that had taken place in my life.  I began to understand the kind of man my dad was and accepted the fact that in spite of who he was, he was my dad.

I learned to accept him, and not measure my self-worth by how he treated me and the things my parents did. I saw the mercy of God that had been with me cause I could have ended up in a much worse condition.  Acceptance freed me to be myself, not hiding or being ashamed of my parentage. It healed the hurt. God let me know that he would be a father to me and I’ve experienced that!

To God be the glory.

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