Tag Archives: God

It Was Up To Me

Several years back, I wrote a poem inspired by Joyce Meyer‘s testimony. I remember thinking about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her own biological father and how it went on for 14 years. I thought about how difficult it had to have been to forgive him…what an insurmountable impossibility in a person’s life; and yet, she chose to forgive, believing God would give her the strength to move past her feelings and thoughts and hurts and scars.

In a previous post, I mentioned how God led me to greener pastures than I could have ever found on my own. I believe that when people surrender and choose to forgive, it lends itself to the enjoyment of a fulfilling life. On the other hand, unforgiveness paves the way for bitterness and hatred and an existence that becomes dependent on tearing others down with criticism and judgement; blind to the fact that they are the ones who are harsh and judgemental and hateful.

Wagging fingers can become so pointed toward others and “what they did to me…” that they are completely unaware of the three fingers aimed straight back toward their own hate filled hearts. Then, it’s only a matter of time before they themselves become someone else’s perpetrator; and the cycle continues…

Forgiveness is the only remedy that ends the cycle and perpetuates healing.

Here is my poem…

It Was Up To Me

There’s a strength required to just let go,

That will allow the real me to show.

I can live happy and free.

All along,…it was up to me.

Feels so good to look you in the eye

And really mean “I love you” when we wave goodbye;

To feel strong and empowered by extending mercy

Instead of the resentment and pain in the midst of controversy.

I don’t know who I was trying to kid,

When I pointed my finger at all that you did.

I have faults and failings and sins of my own,

But I can’t go back. What’s done is done.

For so long I sat as your judge and jury

As I feasted on my rage and fury,

But as I sit here, I am stunned…

As I discover that I too, am the guilty one!

I’m reminded of a long time ago

When you asked for forgiveness…but I just wouldn’t let it go.

I was blinded and weak and refused to see

That the choice was mine because…it was up to me.

 Traci Haney – 8/17/07

Praying that today, you don’t let the temptation of holding unforgiveness keep you from the greener pastures God has waiting for you.

Comment below and tell me how unforgiveness has affected your life, or how you’ve found the “strength required to just let go.”

Traci


He is a Father to the Fatherless

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.     Psalm 68:5

I was cleaning my bathroom a few days ago, and since this is a task that doesn’t really require much brainpower, my mind began to wander. There was a song that my daughter wanted me to hear. It was a song by a popular band entitled, “Colder Weather”. It’s a song about two people who can’t seem to get it together because he is always gone; on the road. It made me think of my dad. He’s been a truck driver his whole life. When he and my mother met, she was waiting tables in a truck stop and though they were never married, they lived together and ended up having me. But because his being on the road further complicated an already complicated situation, she left him before I was a year old. And she left while he was…on the road.

Fast-forward many years to find me; a little girl/young girl who had never met her biological father. I don’t really remember how old I was when I first became aware that I didn’t have a dad. I do remember one time, when I was about 4, referring to my mom and my oldest sister as my parents. I remember that like it was yesterday. Maybe that’s when I started realizing something was different about my family. I’m still not sure. But nonetheless, somewhere along the way it became evident to me.

I did have a step dad. He and my mother met when I was 4 and married when I was 7, so he was the only father I ever knew. Although he provided for us, he wasn’t much of a safe, inviting, and soft place to land. In fact, I remember being afraid of him the first time we met. He was big and strong with a gruff, intimidating presence that seemed to loom over my 4-year-old frame as if he were 7 feet tall. Of course he wasn’t, but it felt that way to that little girl.

As time went on, we meshed and grew into a family…a DYSFUNCTIONAL family, but, whatever. I wouldn’t call our home a happy place to be. There was always arguing and yelling and cussing. But in some strange way, the man that probably always had a hint of regret that he took us on (me and my mom) became one I would look to as my dad. It’s safe to say that I never felt affirmed by him, although I do know now that he loved me. Looking back and as a parent myself, I can see him as a real person with his own childhood that he probably wished had been different.  I can look back and see hints and traces of his parental protection, love and concern that he kept hidden behind a domineering and controlling exterior. I can also see now, all of his emotional baggage from the hurts in his heart, abuse he suffered and the loss of his mother when he was a young boy. For whatever reason, he couldn’t risk the vulnerability that showing honest love requires. So, there I was, little girl without her birth daddy, living with a step dad who didn’t know how to do the job of “daddy” either.

Fast forward again to present day. I’m 43 yrs. old, married for 25 years with two adult children ages 22 and 21. I find myself very passionate about parenting and family matters and how those things have an impact on our society as a whole either positively or negatively. I love the topic of parenting and have always approached it from a two parent perspective, until recently when I was asked to be a part of ministering to the single mothers in our church. Feeling certain that this is something the Lord is telling me to do, I said yes.

I began having some doubts about how I was going to talk to these ladies about parenting from a single parent perspective. The closest experience I have to compare would be when I was working full time, my husband worked full time and went to school full time for 5 years starting when my youngest wasn’t even a year old. I felt like a single mom at times, but that doesn’t even come close to what these moms experience day in and day out. What a lame example to hold up to these women in an effort to try and say, “I understand.” Truth is, I don’t understand. I still had financial support and emotional support at the end of every day. The whole purpose of my husband being gone was because of his love for and commitment to giving us a better and more stable financial future. Yes it was hard doing dinner and baths and laundry and housework and discipline and everything by myself on a daily basis, but I knew my husband would walk through that door every night…even if wouldn’t be until 11pm or midnight most of the time.

I do want to go back and say that I do have a lot of good memories of my step dad though. He could be very funny and witty and wow!…what an amazing cook he was. But I had to choose to remember those things for they were a key part of my journey of forgiveness toward him, which was the key to my emotional healing. Just a few years ago, I became a first hand witness to how much that forgiveness was really more for me than for him. This complicated relationship with a man that hadn’t been in my life for years had not culminated in our reconciliation here on this earth like I had hoped. Because he pushed everyone who truly loved him away, he died alone and there was no one to claim his body,so he was cremated by the state. We claimed his remains and held a ceremony. There were only about 12 of us there. I can say that because of the gift of forgiveness that I had given him years before in a letter, where I explained that I would choose to remember the good things, I was able to sincerely and freely celebrate the life of a man that no one else cared to celebrate.

But this day, standing in that bathroom, cleaning and thinking of my own dad who wasn’t there while I was growing up, I remembered a time when I felt broken because of his absence. But that’s just it…the broken feeling was a memory. It no longer held me captive; it no longer consumed my thoughts; it no longer made me feel inadequate.

That’s when I realized that through all the pain of growing up “fatherless” in a way, God had truly been a father to me. As I stood there I realized, for the first time, that I no longer even wish I could go back and change any of it! What a miracle had been performed in my own life. It is a miracle that gives testimony to God’s incomparable ability as Father.

Maybe I don’t have anything to offer these single moms in the way of relating to them as another single mom who has “been there and done that”, but as one who can relate to their children as one who knows what it’s like to grow up never having a daddy’s arms to run to for either consolation or celebration. I’m the kid whose dad didn’t call; I’m the little girl whose dad wasn’t there for the father/daughter dance; I’m the kid who didn’t know what it was like to  be held on the shoulders of a man who was trusted to the ends of the earth and back with her heart. But if all that had to be so that I could stand where I am today…so be it. I can say I am content. For although I didn’t have an earthly father or daddy to rely on, I was cared for by the creator of the universe and He also holds another title that is and will always be more dear to my heart; He is a father to the fatherless.


Until the Work is Finished

Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

I think it’s safe to say that in my life, I have always had difficulty finishing what I start. Even now as I sit here, there is a load of clothes in desperate need of folding, not to mention the bathroom cabinet that I tore apart…not literally. But, in an attempt to purge all that isn’t needed, I’m now left with the aftermath of deciding how to organize the surviving items of said purge! I think the problem may be in the details…or should I say the discipline of the details…

Right now, I’m working on a book… and you guessed it! I’m having some difficulty carrying out some required work for this project. You see, there has been a bit of a decline of my initial surge of emotions that caused my leap of faith into this feat to begin with. Anyone who has written a book with the intent of pitching it to a publisher knows about the…book proposal. Having always had a knack for writing, I was always successful t turning out a great paper WITHOUT having to do the dreaded outline. But not THIS time; this proposal is like a giant outline to me. (this is a little more involved than just writing a paper!) It’s the monster under the bed that wants to eat me if I dare get too close! So, the only thing that makes sense.. is to RUN!!! Run for your life!!….now back to reality; and the reality is this.

It’s too late to turn back now. I have too much invested, so, I will keep plodding along until it’s done. (with some much need prodding from my writing coach I might add) But in all of this, here is what I’m reminded of.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.   Philippians 1:6

God knows that lasting change isn’t something we can carry out in our own strength. And guess what? He doesn’t find the “discipline of the details” to be such the daunting task that I do 🙂 So here are a couple of things to remember:

  1. It is His work, as I surrender fully to Him, to make me more and more like Jesus…and all the detail work that requires!
  2. He has too much invested in me to run away! Romans 5:8 says that “God shows and clearly proves His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He died for us! I call that a major investment! He is in this thing with us until the very end. His word says that He will never leave us or forsake us.

So even during the times when I feel like I’ve failed and I’ve missed the mark and I want to give up, I can take comfort in knowing that He is finishing what He started in me and HE never gives up!


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