Lately I have spent a lot of my time thinking about the things that really matter to me-the principles that I refuse to waiver on. I have learned so much about the things that I am passionate about that I never realized before. The thing that is first and foremost on my list at the moment is standing by someone who is being hurt or persecuted in some way.
As a young girl I was extremely shy. I remember a time when I only spoke in front of around 7 people who were all part of my immediate family. I probably wouldn’t have spoken aloud in front of them if more than 3 of them were present at one time. I remember being so afraid to talk to my aunts and uncles. I never remember speaking directly to my paternal grandfather aside from common pleasantries-and then only when absolutely necessary. My granddad was a man of few words and I guess I perceived him as being cold, harsh, and unapproachable. Looking back I am not so sure I was right about him. We kind of danced around each other every weekend that I spent in his home while visiting my dad which is really sad to think about.
I guess being a child of divorce caused me to have a victim mentality. I wonder if I would be the same person I am today if I had not experienced the pain of living a broken family life. Would my self esteem and confidence be stronger? I don’t think I will ever heal completely from the hurt I endured silently, unnoticed by everyone around me. However, it was all allowed by God. He knew me before I was even conceived. He knit me together in my mother’s womb, taking special care to create me uniquely and perfect for the purpose He had in mind for me.
I went through much of my life feeling victimized and bullied. I was timid and vulnerable. That may sound like a bad thing to you because it did to me until recently. Looking at it now I am beginning to see God’s purpose in planting me where He did and in allowing me to experience the hurt that I did. In the course of the last few days I have seen that I have a passion for protecting the innocent no matter what it may cost me personally.
I recently found myself in a situation where I was forced to make an instant decision to stand and listen to a verbal rant about a person I see as a victim or to come to that person’s defense. I chose to bear my claws and come out fighting. I now see why I reacted so strongly. I see myself in that young girls eyes. I see it in the way she carries herself, the way she talks, the way she tries to please those around her. Just like me she is looking for acceptance. She is searching for a way to fit into a world where she doesn’t belong. Alone, afraid, silently carrying her burden. Unlike me she is not alone any longer. I stand with her. I take up her fight even though she may never know what I did for her or how very much I was required to pay when I stood in her place. I know someone else who stood in another’s place. It cost Him His life. When faced with the decision to stand for those too weak to save themselves He stretched out His arms and allowed the attackers to nail Him to a cross.
I am a weak, fallible person. I make mistakes day by day, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute but I serve a God that understands my weakness and loves me in spite of it. Just as He stood in my place I will stand for those I see in need. I will daily take up my cross and follow Him. I am not a victim. I am not alone. He walks with me.
This summer brought lots of changes in our family. I (finally) graduated from college, Trey graduated from high school and moved away to college, we practically destroyed our home and are just now getting it back in some semblance of order, and we took Sweet G out of public school to homeschool him. I am still trying to catch my breath and wrap my head around all the changes that have taken place. You see, I do not like change. In fact, in the words of my papaw, “I dispise change.” It doesn’t matter if it is a good change or a bad change; I just don’t handle change well. I get depressed, have bouts of panic and just do not feel like myself. I thrive on consistency. I like to have a normal, day to day schedule and know what is coming next. I don’t like it when Joey works a lot, but once I get used to it I panic when he doesn’t.
I want things to be like they were when I was growing up in the 70s. Things were so simple then. We had a routine that was very rarely broken. Things were very much the same from day to day when I was home during the week and on Saturday at 12:00 my dad would drive up to take me to his house for the weekend. There was definitely a routine at his house since he lived with his parents. The same old same old week after week.
One thing I did not like about growing up was that my parents were divorced. I absolutely hated the fact that I was always away from one of my parents. I was never with them both and if I ever was for some rare occasion like a school function I was miserable. Joey and I were talking last week after we heard Brad Paisley’s song “If He’s Anything Like Me.” I was wondering if T ever gets homesick. I doubt it but it got us talking about being homesick. I asked Joey if he was ever homesick when he was in college and of course he said, “No.” I then asked, “have you ever been homesick?” He thought about it for a minute and finally said that he gets homesick now when he has to go away for training. (Smart man.) But as I began to explain to Joey about my experience with being homesick I realized that I spent my entire childhood homesick. When I was at home with my mom, stepdad, and siblings I missed my dad and grandparents. When I was at my dad’s house I longed to be at home with my mom. I had two homes and in reality they were each just half of a whole home that had been split. One was never enough. I was always slightly haunted by the one or the other.
So, if you are divorced and are reading this think about how your divorce may be affecting your children. Maybe I am the exception to the rule. Maybe most children of divorce don’t experience the same feelings that I did. Hopefully that is the case.
While thinking about Father’s Day I reflected on how blessed I have been to have had two Dads. My parents divorced when I was just a toddler and my mother remarried a wonderful man when I was three years old. My step dad never tried to take the place of my Dad. He quietly stood in the shadows unless it became necessary for him to step in for my protection. One of my earliest memories was of a time my biological father came to pick me up for his weekly visitation drunk. I was too young to understand what was going on but sensed that something wasn’t right. I don’t remember being angry at my step-dad for telling my Dad I could not go with him that day. I just remember being scared and confused by the actions of my Dad. My Dad shielded me from his drinking pretty well apart from that day. I was a preteen before I discovered that side of my Dad.
My step dad is a very patient and good man. He never said an unkind word about my father. He was the voice of reason when my mom was at her wits end with me. He often sat quietly and patiently talking to my siblings and myself about the choices we were making. I always hated those long talks but now I am so grateful that my mom married a man who treated her children as if they were his own. Not wanting to interfere in our relationships with our fathers he never let us call him Daddy. I thought then it was because he didn’t love us but now know it was because of the wonderful man that he is.
When my relationship with my biological Dad was suffering a few years ago my step dad was very hurt for me. He often told me how sorry he was for the choices my Dad made in the way he treated me. He was very disappointed. It was during this time that my step dad had a heart attack while working on a cabin he and my mom were building. He was alone miles from help when it happened and after hours managed to pull himself onto a bobcat and drive the distance to the nearest house for help. I remember how scared I was that night when we received the call. During that time I suddenly found myself calling him Daddy. At forty years old I realized that I loved him like a Dad. I still find myself perplexed as to what I should call him.
He provided me a home, food, and whatever else I needed without complaint. He took in three children who did not belong to him and became their Dad without the acknowledgement that a Dad receives. He loves me unconditionally. I am sorry that it took me so long to see how much he means to me and how much he sacrificed for me when I was growing up. I wish I had realized it when I was younger and could have had him walk me down the aisle along with my biological Dad when I got married. He is the best Dad and Gramps that there is and I am so thankful that God sent him to be my Daddy.