A Letter to my Dad…A Letter to My Father (very long post)

Hello all!

I pray you are well, and you enjoyed your weekend. Today’s blog post is a bit different from ones I have written previously. I wrote this in June, read it over and saved it. But three weeks ago, I opened it and felt led to make it a blog post. I did not want to, but I felt strongly that I should. So here goes…

If you are reading this post, I want you to know that God loves you. He hears your cries for healing and deliverance in whatever area you need it.  God is always near to us, even when he is silent. God desires you to be healed and whole. But we must follow His plan to obtain healing.

…“If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I AM the LORD, who heals you.” – Exodus 15:26

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Dear Dad,

It is your daughter Darlene. It has been several years since we last spoke. I want to talk to you, but since I do not know where you are, I decided to write. The first time we spoke was over the phone; it was in 1998. I was eighteen, so nervous, but excited. I am sure you do not remember, but the first thing you said to me was “Don’t get pregnant.” After you said it, I did not want to continue our conversation because I was already pregnant. I thought you would not accept me, so I never told you. We continued the conversation for a couple more minutes and you told me I had brothers and sisters, but I was your oldest daughter. I was excited to learn I had other siblings. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet them and that was the last time we spoke…twenty years ago.

I am now thirty-nine and a few months ago, I discovered how much I missed you. I miss what you didn’t give me. My childhood was not a good one and I often wondered where you were. I wondered if you thought about me sometimes. Did you care about what I was experiencing? I was so insecure growing up. At age twelve, I experienced my first heartbreak by a boy. I wanted to know where you were. I had so many questions to ask. I wanted to know what was wrong with boys. I thought I wasn’t pretty because the girl he dumped me for was much lighter than I was.

When I saw a picture of you for the first time, I was angry. I was angry because I realized where I got my dark complexion from. Of all the things you could have given me, you gave me the one thing I hated the most.

When I was fifteen, I started seeing a twenty-three-year-old man. I am grateful for the wisdom God placed in me at an early age. I knew I needed to get out of that situation or it would turn into something worse, so I did. When I was sixteen, I was violated by one of my mother’s boyfriends and it was a secret I held until I told my husband at age thirty-five. Later that year, I began dating the father of my firstborn son. Deep down, I knew I should not be with him, but he was light-skinned with green eyes and it made me feel special that I could attract someone who looked that way. At eighteen, I became pregnant and I was depressed. My light-skinned boyfriend with green eyes dumped me and my life was ruined, or so I thought. I told my mother, but she could not offer me any advice. I was on my own. In those moments, I mourned you most.

I remember the day I saw you for the first time.  I was nervous and excited and if it were not for my mother and husband, I would have opted out altogether. It had been six years since we first spoke. I was about twenty-six and by then I was married for six months. You met my husband that day and I could tell you liked him and surprisingly, he liked you too. When I saw you, I could tell you still had your own issues to deal with. I knew there was no way you were ready to be what I wanted. I said hello, shook your hand, smiled, and quietly walked away as I forgave you in my heart. As I walked away, I knew that day would begin my journey to healing from so many things.

When I was young, my mother told me how sad she was that you left her to raise me alone. She did not know how to handle that pain, so she inflicted it on me…I forgave her years ago. Did you know my mom passed away five years ago…Probably not?

Dad, I wrote this letter, not to make you feel sad or regretful, but to let you know, I love you and I am okay. I forgave you a long time ago. I respect you because you gave me life and I am grateful for it. I have absolutely no ill will against you. I want you to see God’s grace in my life because it is the only thing that has kept me all these years. I serve a GREAT God. I am hopeful and prayerful that the Lord would allow us to connect so I can learn who you really are, and you can learn who I really am. And I would love it if you could meet your ALL your grandchildren. Whatever God’s will for our relationship, I want you to know I love you. You were the best Dad that you could be to me at that time.

I love you with the same love Christ has shown me.
Your daughter,
Darlene
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Dear Heavenly Father,

You knew me before you formed me in my mother’s womb. When my mother and father forsook me, you took me up according to your word. You have been my comforter and my friend. You were the One I called on when I was being abused. You were the one I called on when I had to sleep outside on my front porch because my mother had an outburst. You have always been there for me. But Father, I realized I never had a conversation with you about my biological father. And this year, I realized it is time. I am so glad you were there for me when he wasn’t. I do not know what I would have done if it were not for you.

You have been my everything when I had absolutely nothing. You were the one who dried my tears when all I could do was cry. You were with me while I grew up in a halfway house with my mother and others, who had their own issues. You protected me when demons tried to kill me at night. You were the first man to tell me I was beautiful and fearfully and wonderfully made. You were the first man to love me unconditionally and forgave me when I made mistakes.

You loved me so much, that you sent me a wonderful husband; something that I did not expect. You sent me a man who loved me through the pain I did not know I was still carrying. He held me when I cried for no reason. He prayed over me at night while I slept, although he thought I was asleep. You sent me someone who told me I was beautiful. Thank you for giving me a husband with patience beyond anything I have known. You sent me a husband that loved on me and walked with me through my process. Most importantly, you sent me a man who loves me like Christ loves the Church.

Although the process was long, you healed me from my pain. You helped me to forgive so many people who broke my heart, especially as a young child. God, you allowed me to be a mother and raise all my children with ALL the love I did not receive. You were the only example of love that I knew. And I learned you were the only example of love I needed.

Father, I love you so much. Thank you for this journey that I would not trade for anything. It made me strong, wise, loving and softened my heart towards others who have experienced similar pain.

There are not enough words to express my gratitude. Thank you for loving me….now and FOREVER

Your daughter,
Darlene

Scriptures
Mark 11:35 – And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins

Psalm 27:10 – Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Ephesians 5:25-26 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her; to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word

 

Marriage Lessons- Week 12

I am overjoyed. This is the final week of the Marriage Lessons. God is so good. I have been encouraged and uplifted as you have read, liked, commented, and followed my posts. I am grateful for every obstacle I faced in my marriage; whether it was my fault or just our journey. God has once again proven himself to be faithful. Today’s final lesson in the series is…

Lesson 12. NEVER GIVE UP

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR MARRIAGE. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When I look back over the most tumultuous circumstances my husband and I faced, I am grateful we trusted God and walked through it. Sure, I did not feel that way while experiencing it, but I am better for it and so is my marriage. Those trials made us stronger as individuals. Our faith was made stronger and our commitment to each other deepened. Your marriage is worth fighting for. Your children are worth fighting for. If no one else is on your side, God is! Ask him for help, ask him for guidance, and ask Him for grace to get you through…when you don’t want to.

The scripture I leave with you today is found in Romans 12:12 and it says, Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

My Marriage Lesson & Your Lesson
1. Never give up

Scripture:
Romans 12:12

Now, let’s recap on the eleven lessons discussed over the past twelve weeks….

Marriage Lessons-(12-week-series)-Week 11

Happy Labor Day! Today is week eleven of the Marriage Lessons.

Lesson 11.    Being married to someone called to ministry is another level of sacrifice…work together

I was already in love and engaged for over a year; there was no turning back. We had faced so much in just one year of being engaged and I had no idea why. But I remember the day God revealed the reason and I remember it well. Someone I loved and trusted looked at the both of us and said, He’s called to be a pastor, and God has sent you to protect his heart and his blind side.” We both stood there stunned, eyes wide open.

After I let her words settle in, I became angry because long before I dated, I told God I did not want to be married to someone called to ministry. Truth is, I wanted my husband all to myself. I did not know much about ministry, but I knew I would have to share, and I knew there would be a level of sacrifice. However, the day I stood at the altar and said my vows, I knew my husband was called to ministry and I accepted it. However, I did not realize that meant I was called too.

I learned early, by way of watching successful married couples in ministry, the demands of it all. I learned women may be attracted to my spouse and not because of the calling God has on his life. I learned that when your spouse gets attacked spirituality, it will affect you too.

I learned it’s not always about you. I learned you must be mature and know who you are in Christ, so you can fulfill the destiny God has ordained for your life. I learned that understanding your spiritual gift will make it easier to understand your spouses’ gift. I learned to pray and ask for patience to deal with my husband when he is experiencing different emotions or mood swings because of the demands of his calling. And I learned to pray for my own emotions, so I can help him and not hinder him. Thankfully, I learned all this before anything became official.

Finally, I learned if your mate has a calling, you do too, and it will mean compromising, but not all the time. When it comes to marriage and ministry, there is no blueprint, but I have learned over the years to seek God’s wisdom and Godly advice. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” One way to have success in marriage and ministry is understanding there is a time for everything. A time to minister, but also a time just for you and your spouse.

In some ways, a minister’s role is like being married to a doctor, lawyer, or any other professional that touches people’s lives. You must learn to balance it all with God’s help. Some professionals deal with the body, while a minister of the Lord deals with the soul.

Don’t expect to get it right all the time. Strive to do your best while keeping your marriage first and God at the center.

My Marriage Lesson & Your Marriage Lesson
1. Know who you’re marrying and prepare
2. Seek God for wisdom if your spouse is called to ministry or any other demanding career
3. It will take time and understanding; ask God for patience – Seek out Godly people with the same scenario
4. Your journey is your own

Scriptures
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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Marriage Lessons-(12-week-series) Week 10

This is week ten of the Marriage Lessons. The lessons are wrapping up quickly. I hope you are being encouraged!

Lesson 10 – Sexual intimacy is a special part of your marriage-ORDAINED BY GOD-…keep it alive

Before marriage, most of us are excited about the intimacy. We look forward to date nights, romantics trysts and everything in between. In my opinion, it seems intimacy would be the easiest aspect of marriage; however, for many reasons, it is not. For most, the beginning is wonderful and full of excitement. But, over time that excitement can fizzle. This can happen because of children, careers, or anything. But to be honest, nothing should get in the way of the intimate aspect of your marriage.

Before I married my husband, we discussed this part of our marriage and what we expected of each other.  We were very excited about what was to come. However, I never considered how difficult making time for intimacy could be. One of our biggest obstacles was blending our families. Before marriage, my husband had two sons ages six and ten and I had one son age eight. His youngest son did not live with us, however, he visited bi-weekly and was autistic. This entire dynamic (that I signed up for) added another layer of stress I did not expect.

There were times I was so exhausted by the time nightfall came, intimacy was out of the question. Not to mention working full-time as well as outside activities. We were eager to be with each other regularly, but there was so much stress dealing with our circumstances that we were both drained. We took time to get away, but for us, it was not enough. After our second year, I realized this part of our marriage was declining and I was not pleased with it and neither was God.

Looking back, I realize no one shared how difficult this part of your marriage could be no matter what the reason. Maybe I could have been prepared (probably not).

Perhaps your issue is not blending your family but making time for your spouse. Maybe you place your job/career ahead of your marriage. Maybe your ministry is first and not your spouse. Perhaps you and your spouse currently do not see eye to eye. Whatever the reason, if you do not take care of this part of your relationship…YOUR MARRIAGE WILL SUFFER because you will give room for the enemy to come in.

So…what do you do if this happens in your marriage? First, pray…ask God to help you and to forgive you. The Bible says in I Corinthians 7:3-5, “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.”
I encourage you to read the entire scripture here.

Second, have an open and honest discussion with your spouse. Communicate your emotions and pray together. Ask God to help you get back on track. Finally, go back to the beginning. Remember when you could not stay away from each other? You talked on the phone all night, took walks, went on as many dates as you could, spent all your time together, and enjoyed each other’s company. Go back to that! It may not be easy depending on how long you allowed issues and circumstances to overshadow the intimacy, but work at it! Don’t give up! It took time to dig the hole and it will take time to dig out of it. Stay with God and stay with each other and you will reap the benefits.

My Marriage Lesson & Your Marriage Lesson
1. Work at keeping the intimacy alive (if you are not careful, it can die)
2. Keep it fun…keep it spicy
3. Pray when the intimacy is good and when it is not so good (either way, you’re keeping God involved)
4. Counseling is your friend…embrace it; especially if the intimacy in your marriage has gone too far off track

Scriptures
I Corinthians 7:3-5
Proverbs 5:19
Hebrews 13:4

Marriage Lessons-(12 week series)-Week 9

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great weekend!! Today is week nine of the Marriage Lessons. Last weeks lesson focused on “A nagging wife.” I hope you will read it.

Lesson 9. Communication is a skill and you must learn to master it daily

Communication definition: the imparting or exchanging of information or news

Fifteen years ago, when my husband and I were in marriage counseling, our counselors asked me a question. They asked, “How will I work things out when there is a conflict?” I remember saying “By communicating.” Their response was “Communication works both ways.” “And what will you do if you communicate differently?” I recall thinking, “That won’t be a problem for us, we always talk to each other.” After year one of marriage, I realized talking and communicating was two different things. Talking to each other was very easy, however, communicating our emotions meant going beyond the surface; something which was difficult for us.

Effective communication avoids confusion, misunderstandings, and conflict. In school, we learn subjects such as reading, writing, and arithmetic; however, we are not taught how to effectively communicate. In most cases communication is a skill that enhances over time with practice and patience.

My husband and I communicated poorly. In some ways, communicating was more of a challenge for me as I was still overcoming the effects of abuse from my childhood.

One of the first times we experienced a miscommunication was within the first few weeks of our marriage.  Usually, when I came home from work, I changed out of my work clothes and sat down for a few minutes to gather myself before cooking. One day, I was sitting on the couch when my husband walked in. He came in, gave me a kiss and went into the kitchen. I did not think much of it until I heard pots and pans. I walked into the kitchen and asked, “Are you making dinner?” He said “Yes.” I immediately got upset and walked out of the kitchen. Later that night, he noticed I was quiet and asked if I was okay. I did not want to talk about it, but I did anyway (internalizing). I said, “You made me feel like a bad wife when you went into the kitchen to cook.”  “You made it seem as if I was taking too long.” He looked at me and said, “That is not what I was thinking.” He said, “My process when I come home is to go directly into the kitchen to begin cooking.” He told me he had been doing things this way since becoming a single father.

It was at that moment I realized I needed to deal with my emotions as well as communicate what I felt instead of shutting down. I am grateful we were able to resolve the issue quickly. We learned we needed to discuss our expectations of each other to avoid other issues.

On a daily basis, we continuously work on communicating our emotions. I learned it is important to say what you mean and mean what you say. Sometimes as wives, we expect our husband to read our minds, which is a mistake because they can’t. As I learned, communication goes two ways. I encourage you to communicate with your spouse. Express your emotions, be clear, be direct. Matthew 5:37 says, Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

My Marriage Lesson & Your Marriage Lesson

  1. Discuss your expectations to each other at the beginning
  2. Be clear and direct in your communication
  3. If you or your spouse has trouble communicating, ask God to help you (He will)

Scriptures
Matthew 5:37
Proverbs 25:11