Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Tough Stuff...

The past couple of weeks I have been in the Repentance chapter of Seeking Him. *Sigh* Good, good stuff...too overwhelming (for my writing capabilities) to put into words. Through it though, God has been nudging my heart to do something it DOES NOT want to do...and I've decided to share it with you. I know I've got some praying ladies out there...and I'm SO gonna need them.


I mentioned here that my parents divorced when I was 21. It was traumatic for everyone involved. The most painful aspect of it all was that it was revealed that there had been years of adultery, lies, and deception involved, on my father's part. When given the choice to reconcile and choose his family, or this other woman and his "freedom" ....he chose her...he chose himself. It absolutely rocked me to to the core. I could not understand it...and it hurt me in ways that I cannot describe.


How did I respond? At first, pleading and begging were involved. I was SURE that if I could just make him see what he was doing that he would change. It did not work. That's when I decided to fight fire with fire. It was ultimatum time. I was sure this would work. I sat him down, and very logically said to him, "You choose her and I will have no part of it. I won't hang around and be a part of that life." Again, he chose her. I was sure he was calling my bluff. So I set out to prove that I meant it, and I did. For close to 5 years I had no contact with him. I had my first 2 babies...celebrated many mile stones, all without him. If we saw each other in town, we acted as though we were strangers...which we were.



My dad and I have had contact now for the past few years. His life has not changed. None of the circumstances have changed. Along the way, though, I have felt God's nudging...it's always met with resistance from me. At first, the nudging was to reach out to him...and I did. I did the minimum of what God required (which is basically not really obeying, by the way.)


Here's what God has revealed to me the past couple of weeks: At the time, I really thought that by withholding a relationship with him, that I was showing him love. That he would see that I was dead serious about how wrong his choices were. God has now shown me that in part that was true, but the other part was just me withholding my love from him in order to punish him. Oh...it get's worse....He has also shown me that the love I am showing to my dad is not enough. He is asking me to lavish my love upon my dad. WHAT!?! My flesh HATES this. My flesh tells me my dad doesn't deserve it. But God's still small voice is so powerfully saying..."Sarah, you do not deserve it either....but I lavish it upon you ALL the time, show him love..."


So....I'm going to do it. It will be a supernatural work...it will involve all of Jesus, and none of me. It will be a battle, for me....and now you're in on it. Please pray for me...for all of the above stuff...and pray for my dad...that he would stop running from Jesus, and experience true joy and freedom.



Below is a pic from Christmas...me, my little bro, dad, and sister Lindsey.
(I like visuals...so you get one :)




I'll keep ya updated...

28 comments:

  1. I had a similiar moment while going through that study in regards to my parents. I bet ya it was the same lesson. I, too, thought to myself, "You've got to be kinding me, God! How can you expect me to do that?"

    I applaud you for being so honest and real. My dear friend...that is what I love so much about you!

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  2. I am proud of you for chosing to work thru and respond in obedience to the "tuff stuff".
    Thanks for leading by example!
    I will add this to my prayer list for you!

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  3. Wow! I can't imagine how difficult this is for you. God be with you as you seek to honor Him by loving as Christ has loved- "while we were still sinners"!

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  4. Sarah,
    This is a hard and yet life-changing study. I so respect you for bringing it to the ladies of your church. This was a hard lesson for me too, but this is where Jesus is, in the hard stuff. I love it and hate it when He reveals the hard stuff, when he nudges us along (or pushes us) to confront those places in our hearts.

    It is not to hurt us, but to free us. The freedom may not be evident right away in your dad's life, but you will be free and able to love him freely. It will become a joy to love him. He won't understand it, but you will.

    I know from experience. ;)

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  5. ugh, now I am cryin! but that will nudge me to pray...for you...for him for Jay and Lindsey.
    This is such a beautiful post!

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  6. Thank you for being so vulnerable and putting yourself out there like this Sarah. Wow, this is such a powerful post. I am at a loss for words.

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  7. Oh, Sarah. I wish I knew what to say. But everything you wrote hits a little too close to home for me.

    I will say this though: thank you for sharing.

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  8. You go girl! Isn't it scary to step out and obey sometimes? Just living what we say we believe is hard. Just imagine the things that God is gonna do through your obedience.

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  9. Whooo Hoooo!! Bring it on baby! Go God Go!!!

    I can envision your dad on God's rope... and God is pulling him in...slowly...and....surely.

    I'll be praying for you Sarah. I know how painful this is for you.

    I love you.

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  10. That is some tough stuff. I appreciate you sharing and keeping it real. I will be praying for you!!!

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  11. Surrender is one of the hardest parts of following God. When we have been hurt by the wrongs of someone else it is so hard to not just blame them and ignore our sin. I hate having to see the real, selfish me and admit my sin.

    Thanks for being brave & sharing.

    I'll be praying.

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  12. Dear sister,
    Good job with the writing it is deep and I have some of those same feeling but have always been around him, but it's ok because we all look really good! well expecially me ;) your favorite little brother.

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  13. man Sarah, that is such tough stuff.
    there is this guy that i read about in africa, his dad was the worst of the worst. he would drink and when he did he would beat his fam almost to death. this guy hated his dad for what he did to his mom. eventually the tribe got involved, to the point that they were going to stone him. as his son watched, he couldn't allow it. he knew his dad deserved it, but all he could see was a man that needed Jesus. standing up to the tribe could cost him his very own life, and his dad didn't deserve any love, but the son stood up and begged for his father's life. his father was sparred and eventually came to serve the Lord. he still is today along with his son in Kenya working in his son's childrens homes. i think of the unlove and bitterness i have for my family, and this makes me see there is such hope for them, and for me!!
    love to you!

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  14. Ouch Sarah. That's tough.

    I appreciate your authenticity, my friend. May God continue to woo your heart -- and may you be soft enough to follow His leading, even when it's the farthest thing in the world that you'd want to do.

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  15. I will be praying for you, your dad and your siblings. You've touched a chord in my life that I will need to think and pray on. thanks for being so transparent.

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  16. I'm pretty sure this (you) is what Jesus had in mind when He said we'd have to lay down 'us' and take up His cross. And that cross was a bloody mess, and yet so beautiful. May you find the beauty in your mess and may God bequeath to you His strength. That's how I'll be praying. And I will be praying.
    -J

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  17. Hi Sarah. I recently found your blog via another blog (can't remember who now...). Just wanted to say I prayed for you when I read this post. I specifically prayed 2 Tim. 1:7, which is the first verse I memorized when I was a child. Mom taught it to me because I was afraid of many things. She is such a wise woman, and I can't tell you how many times I say it to myself now! :) Anyway, the part I specifically prayed for you was about having the spirit of power and love.

    Here is the verse in the Amplified Version: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."

    Blessings to you today, Sarah!

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  18. Thank you for sharing your heart so openly. I shook my head as I read your heartbreaking post. Know that you have my prayers as you seek to lavish the love of Jesus on your Dad. So very true the insight God gave you...NONE of us are deserving of His precious grace and love. May God strengthen you supernaturally to see your Dad through the loving eyes of Jesus and may your Dad be so overwhelmed by that love that he finally stops running. I'm awed by your yielded heart today and I'm privileged to pray on your behalf, dear one.
    Tracy

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  19. Sarah I am so overwhelmed with Love for you. I know how hard this is for you but I also know that with Jesus and the prayers of your friends that have read your story here and a mom who has been praying for this for 9 years there is supernatural work going on here.

    I have always known that God would be there to walk you thru when you were ready to reach out to your Dad who broke your heart.

    God has taken the bad and brought good out of it and even though we are divorced I am so thankful for the good years and If I would of known what I was getting into at 18 years of age I still would chose this path joy and pain because I have 3 of the most beautiful kids any mom could ever ask for. I have been and will continue to pray for your father and for your time together Friday Love,mom

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  20. Thanks for sharing this Sarah. I've been in a similar situation in my family and have made the same decision - to have that person in my life even when I don't agree w/their decisions. Really love people the way we should is tough sometimes. I love that you are being faithful even when it is hard.

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  21. Oh Sarah...this post tugged at my heart. How hard it is to forgive and lavish love on others. It is only by God's grace and actually through HIm that we can do this at all. THank you for sharing your tender heart.

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  22. Dear sweet Sarah,
    You are in my prayers-I went to my Bible to think of what would lift you up and help -I came to Romans 12-and do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Let love be without hypocrisy Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly afectionate to one another with brotherly love,in honor giving preference to one another,not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope,patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer... Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Repay no one evil for evil If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.... do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    This chapter became real for me as I left an abusive husband- I intended to have one husband for life for better for worse, even today he has never turned from his ways- but I pray for him and you cannot have anger or malice or didain for someone you pray for. I know you know all this- you are a beautiful woman of God- I just wanted to say I'm praying for you and God is faithful.
    Be blessed!
    Lorie

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  23. Jeff Daniels is you DAD?? lol

    Obedience turns into beauty. WAY TO GO!!!

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  24. Sarah,
    Thank you for being so open with us. This post really spoke to me and has helped open my eyes a little more. Over the past few years I have done the "tough love" thing with my sister. Why in the world I ever thought that by not speaking to her, or when I did I was yelling at her , telling her how awful she was, that somehow she would know how much I loved her and she would love me for it, even thank me for setting her straight. What a fool I have been. It's still hard and when I see her somethimes I get upset all over again. But it has gotten easier to talk to her.
    You and your family are in my prayers. I was reading over the comments ~ what a sweet mom you have! Oh, and thanks for the sweet reminder yesterday.
    Michelle

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  25. Sarah, I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you right now. I can let you know that I will be thinking of you as you continue to look for guidance from our Lord.

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  26. Sarah, I prayed for you immediately when I read this. The comments I have read on this post have brought tears to my own eyes and spoke to me as well. Thank you. Press on.

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  27. Hey, I'm right there with ya on this one. Vent to me anytime. It's a choice I make each week to call my dad, who never calls back, it's a choice I make to come see him several times a year, even though he's rarely been to Omaha. He had quit drinking which made it easier for me...then on my wedding night, of all nights, he decided to drink on the balcony of my honeymoon suite! I could go on and on...but I feel it's my duty to stay in touch with him. I feel I'm his only shot of love and even though it kills me I keep on trying to love a man that usually appears to want nothing from anyone including his daughter. But there are the occasional break throughs when I know he cares and that it means something to him, then I know it's worth it. Hang in there and never forget you are his daughter and his family and there is a reason for that!

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  28. Oh Sarah! I'm at a loss for words. Lavish, you say? Gosh, how convicting. I'm like you, I'd MUCH RATHER do the bare minimum. You know, just enough to get by and get the guilt off my back for a little while.
    My Dad and I are strangers too, through different circumstances, but every year I feel a tug at my heart... call him, go visit, make a stronger effort at relationship. But every year I'm disappointed and hurt and it makes me want to go back to my corner and give up on him. In my heart though, I know he wants relationship and doesn't know how to do it either. That thought helps to soften my heart.
    Thank you for this post. It's so transparent of you - and just what I needed to hear.

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