“Slow down; it’s not a race. There is no finish line.”

I’m over at Alamo City Moms Blog reminding you to slow down, there is no finish line.

The moment she feels her baby move inside her womb, she imagines the life her child will have.
She tries to picture the precious face of her baby and what color her hair will be.
She can’t wait to give birth, to get through the pregnancy and let her new life begin.
The mother-to-be rubs her belly, sighs, and says out loud, “Mom, I just want it to be over. Am I going to be pregnant forever? I can’t wait to finally have this baby!”
Her mom takes her by the hand and gently whispers, “Slow down, sweet girl; it’s not a race. There is no finish line.”

She’s exhausted from long nights and short naps and can’t remember the last time she slept for more than a few hours at a time.
The laundry is piled up, and the sink is full of dishes.
She plops herself in the glider, lifts her shirt, and begins to feed her newborn.
While her baby quietly breastfeeds for the millionth time that day, she twirls one of her daughter’s curls around her finger.
She sighs and thinks, This can’t be what my life is all about. When will she sleep through the night? I can’t wait until she’s able to walk and talk!
Then she recalls her mom’s gentle whisper: “Slow down; it’s not a race. There is no finish line.”

Read The Rest Here

There Is No Finish Line

The Simple Cross Where True Forgiveness Was Found

dads cross 1

Repost.

 

He handed me the reusable shopping bag and it felt empty as I took on its weight. Not only did he not make eye contact as he handed it to me but he didn’t say a word either.

I took a peek inside and there it was.

My dad’s cross.

I’ve only seen it twice and it’s only been through pictures.

My brother let my dad’s ashes go out on our family property in West Texas almost two years ago. It was a day that I struggled with more than I thought I would. He sent me a picture of the simple cross where he laid our dad to rest.

A year later, on the anniversary of my dad taking his own life, my brother went back and took another picture of the cross, sent it to me in a text and wrote “All good”.

The cross sat hours away from me in the middle of a few hundred acres of raw land. I would have never made the trip to see it. I left it as a place just between my brother and my dad and was content to never actually see it with my own eyes.

But here it is was.
In my hands.
Still covered in West Texas dust.

My brother didn’t want an oil truck to run it over or for it to get destroyed somehow so he pulled it from the hard ground last weekend and brought it home to me.

There are two crosses in my life that mean more than I could put into words.

The cross on Calvary where Jesus willing took on my sins so that I can be forgiven and live with my Father in heaven for eternity and the cross where my brother and I were finally able to let my earthly father go and forgive him of his sins. Those two crosses symbolize a forgiveness that cannot be measured.

At Jesus’ cross I leave my sins.

At my dad’s cross I leave the hurt of his earthly life, the hurt it put on me and my siblings and the hurt that it put on him. I will not carry the burden of bitterness, hate or regret. I will not carry his sins as if they were mine or try to make up for his mistakes.

I will forgive and let go.
I will love and not hate.
I will give and not take.
I will be better and not bitter.
I will let God.

The cross where Jesus took on my sins is the ultimate symbol of grace, mercy and forgiveness and the least I could do to honor my heavenly Father is to give the same respect to my dad’s cross.

From today on it will hang in my home as reminder of what Jesus did for me and that it is my responsibility to Him to do the same for others. The cross that will hang in my home, the one that once sat in the West Texas dirt and took on my dad’s ashes will be my reminder that while we are here on earth we must show grace, show mercy, forgive and forget, let it go and let God.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. “ Mark 11:25

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father lift the weight. Lift the weight of sin, guilt, bitterness and anger so that we can live the life You intended for us. Help us to show others mercy and grace so that we may be more like Jesus and less like us.  Remind us that the cross is not a decoration that we hang in our homes or around our necks but rather the place where our sins were taken away and forgiven. Show us how to see others through Your eyes so that we can forgive and love the way that You forgive and love us. In Jesus name, amen.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” Colossians. 3:13

7 daily steps to healthy co-parenting.

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A few months back I had some friends ask if I would write about the birds and the bees. It was uncomfortable for some but I did it.  Now I’ve had a few friends ask that I write about co-parenting. It could be because I have a not so common co-parenting situation. It will be uncomfortable for some but I did it. I’ve been co-parenting with my ex-husband for 14 years and while we’ve had a few speed bumps along the way, we’ve had an oddly easy road. I honestly can’t remember the last time we had a disagreement and have no idea when the last time we actually verbally argued . I can say with certainty that it takes maturity on both sides to make it work and it has to be ALL about the child. I’d say when it comes to co-parenting ,on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, we’re a solid 11. I’ve learned a few lessons over these 14 years that I think are pretty vital to assure that co-parenting works. I’m aware that there are unique situations that might not fit into these 7 suggestions but I also know that the majority of co-parenting situations can be so much easier than we make them. This is simply what I think are vital qualities to a healthy child in a co-parenting situation.

1. Brush your teeth and don’t forget to scrub your tongue.
Rule number one is to keep your mouth clean and to never let nasty words about your co-parent leave your mouth and enter the ears of your child. Bad mouthing your child’s other parent is toxic to the child and you are essentially bad mouthing half of who they are. You’re also making yourself look mean and bitter while slowly grating away at who your child is. My ex and I have always made it a point to hug each other when we are in front of our daughter even if we wanted to wring each others necks. She has never heard a single negative thing out of either of our mouths about her other parents, never and that includes step parents. No matter how solid you think your relationship is with your child, no matter how right you think you are in your feelings towards your co-parent, if you bad mouth them your child will resent you for it at some point in their lives. It might not be tomorrow or even 5 years from now but I promise it will happen.  Bad mouthing your child’s other parents falls in the category of Parent Alienation Syndrome and you don’t want to be that crazy parent do you?

2. Do this  math problem everyday. 1+1= 1
Your child should have one family. Co-parents need to be strong enough to accept each other as family and not make the child feel like they are living two separate lives.  A child should never have to pack an over night bag to go stay at their parents house. A child should have everything they need at both houses and shouldn’t feel like a guest or overnight visitor in either home. All extended family members are equally family members, even if you think your side of the family is better than theirs. Our daughter has 4 half sisters, a half-brother and a step sister but our family doesn’t use those words. In our one big family she has 5 sisters and a brother. Step parents are just as responsible and respected as bio parents. We do not have separate birthday parties and we all sit together if our child has an event we need to attend. We are her family, one family.

3. Do yoga every morning                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Stretch it out, you’re going to need to be flexible. My co-parent and I threw out custody papers a long time ago and decided to simply be adults about it all. We don’t believe in “my time” and “your time”. She’s our daughter, not a possession. In or eyes it doesn’t matter if she’s with me or him, as long as she’s with family. We do every other weekend but in the summers and holidays we kind of just do whatever. This year she spent Mother’s Day at his house, not because I didn’t want her with me but because she was staying that weekend with him and he wanted to cook dinner for his mom and have her there too. She was with family and that’s what matters.  We simply share in the joy of raising her with out the stress of a schedule drawn out by lawyers who don’t really know our family dynamics. If you are all about sticking strictly to the papers then I hope you never have anything come up where you might need your co-parent to work with you bending them a little. You can’t have it both ways.

4.Wash your laundry everyday, empty the dirty laundry hamper.                                                                                                                                  Let it go. Stop airing dirty laundry.  If you’re still bringing up what your co-parent did wrong 2, 5, 10 years ago then you are carrying a weight that is crippling you and the healthy growth of your child. Let it go.  And really, how clean is your closet? Be honest. There is no perfect parent so if you want to point out your co-parents flaws, you might want to get a mirror.  Life is much better for all involved if you learn to encourage each other as parents instead of bash each other or try to win as the better parent.  The parent who’s keeping score will always end up to be the loser.

5.Take off your tiara  and pack it away                                                                                                                                                                                          It’s no longer about you. Your days of reining over your world are over. It’s now only about the child and what’s best for them.  What is truly in the best interest of your child might not match what you feel is in your best interest. Sorry for your luck. If you are currently arranging things to ease your feelings then you’re doing it wrong.  Your job is to nurture the relationship between your child and your co-parent without letting yourself get in the way. What!?  Yes, they aren’t puppets, they’re people and trying to control their relationship is a hopeless battle. Instead try encouraging them to have their own unique relationship and not one you designed for them.  If one of your parents bad mouthed your other parent or tried to control your relationship with them, break the cycle instead of continuing a toxic tradition.

6.Upgrade your cell phone plan                                                                                                                                                                                                          Communicate with each other, respectfully. Talk about things, talk about everything. Talk to each other, not through your child. Don’t bottle issues up only to explode later or pull them out as a weapon when needed. Just communicate and work things out like adults.  You are not always going to see eye to eye and that’s okay, it’s normal but it doesn’t have to be World War 3. This is when the yoga things comes in handy again. You’ll have to bend and compromise. You can’t always have your way. Have enough respect for yourself, your co-parent and most important your child to sit down and work out issues before they cause friction in your family.  NEVER EVER EVER involve your child in adult situations, they are children and need to stay that way. They should not shoulder the burden of adult problems.  Involving them in adult situations is extremely selfish and immature.

 

7. Take a daily trip.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     So remember that one time when you really really liked your co-parent, maybe even loved them.  There had to be a time at some point when you thought enough of them to lay down with them if you know what if you know what I’m saying.  Remember that daily.  Gross right? Not really. Remembering why our child’s here in the first place can take away negative thoughts about your co-parent. I mean really, look at your child and remember that they wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for your co-parent. Try thanking them for it today.

 

I think my most rewarding moment as a co-parent was when I got a call from the school counselor when my daughter was in second grade. She told me that she had my daughter and another little girl in her office just chit chatting about different things. The other little girl said that her parents were getting a divorce and she was mad. My daughter chimed in and said “So what, my parents are divorced and they love each other”. The counselor was calling to tell me congrats on whatever it was that my ex and I were doing because our little girl was clueless that divorce can cause major issues. She was just completely confident that no matter what her mommy and daddy loved her and each other and that’s all that counts. That’s not to glorify divorce or say that we want our daughter to think divorce is easy or good. It says that we have done everything possible to not let our choice for divorce to negatively affect her. It was our choice, not our daughter’s.

 

Cross Of Forgiveness

dads cross 1

He handed me the reusable shopping bag and it felt empty as I took on its weight. Not only did he not make eye contact as he handed it to me but he didn’t say a word either.

I took a peek inside and there it was.

My dad’s cross.

I’ve only seen it twice and it’s only been through pictures.

My brother let my dad’s ashes go out on our family property in West Texas almost two years ago. It was a day that I struggled with more than I thought I would. He sent me a picture of the simple cross where he laid our dad to rest.

A year later, on the anniversary of my dad taking his own life, my brother went back and took another picture of the cross, sent it to me in a text and wrote “All good”.

The cross sat hours away from me in the middle of a few hundred acres of raw land. I would have never made the trip to see it. I left it as a place just between my brother and my dad and was content to never actually see it with my own eyes.

But here it is was.
In my hands.
Still covered in West Texas dust.

My brother didn’t want an oil truck to run it over or for it to get destroyed somehow so he pulled it from the hard ground last weekend and brought it home to me.

There are two crosses in my life that mean more than I could put into words.

The cross on Calvary where Jesus willing took on my sins so that I can be forgiven and live with my Father in heaven for eternity and the cross where my brother and I were finally able to let my earthly father go and forgive him of his sins are two crosses that symbolize a forgiveness that cannot be measured.

At Jesus’ cross I leave my sins.

At my dad’s cross I leave the hurt of his earthly life, the hurt it put on me and my siblings and the hurt that it put on him. I will not carry the burden of bitterness, hate or regret. I will not carry his sins as if they were mine or try to make up for his mistakes.

I will forgive and let go.
I will love and not hate.
I will give and not take.
I will be better and not bitter.
I will let God.

The cross where Jesus took on my sins is the ultimate symbol of grace, mercy and forgiveness and the least I could do to honor my heavenly Father is to give the same respect to my dads cross.

From today on it will hang in my home as reminder of what Jesus did for me and that it is my responsibility to Him to do the same for others. The cross that will hang in my home, the one that once sat in the West Texas dirt and took on my dads ashes will be my reminder that while we are here on earth we must show grace, show mercy, forgive and forget, let it go and let God.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. “ Mark 11:25

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father lift the weight. Lift the weight of sin, guilt, bitterness and anger so that we can live the life You intended for us. Help us to show others mercy and grace so that we may be more like Jesus and less like us.  Remind us that the cross is not a decoration that we hang in our homes or around our necks but rather the place where our sins were taken away and forgiven. Show us how to see others through Your eyes so that we can forgive and love the way that You forgive and love us. In Jesus name, amen.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” Colossians. 3:13

What my dad, my daughter and the toothfairy have in common.

pouch

My dad was homeless.
I don’t mean that he didn’t have a roof over his head and four walls around him. I mean that he was homeless. He didn’t have a roof, four walls, pictures of family hanging, hot meals in the oven, the sounds of laughter from his children or the comforts of a true home.

He was a gypsy and shacked up wherever he could. Occasionally his home was our city homeless shelter but he mostly found people that he would convince to let him stay with them.

He was homeless.

My mom once told me that she always gives to our homeless shelter as her way of thanking them for taking care of him if even for a short time. Nothing has given me more peace than that.

My youngest triplet, age 6, has developed a huge heart for our homeless community over the last few years. We often stop on the street to give what we have to the homeless and we try to serve at our Church Under The Bridge where we praise and worship with the homeless and then serve them dinner.

I’ve watched this little girl give of herself, with complete abandonment, to the less fortunate and my heart swells.

After my father took his life, a friend of mine made small pouches out of his shirts so that my daughters could have something tangible to connect to him. We use them to put their teeth in for the tooth fairy.

My little girl has no idea that my dad was homeless or that he even struggled through life. She has no idea that his life ended in suicide. She never had the chance to meet him. She is clueless that our heart for the homeless somehow stems from any of this.

She simply loves the least of these.

Friday morning after tucking her tooth tightly in that pouch the night before, she sat up and frantically searched for what the tooth fairy had left for her. She carefully opened the Velcro and pulled out a crisp dollar bill. Her eyes lit up. She held the dollar so that I could see.

“Yeah, a dollar. Now I have more money to give to the homeless!”

I have to thank my heavenly Father for somehow using my dad’s life to make my little girl a better person.

Maybe one day I’ll tell her how it all connects or maybe I won’t.

I will remind her everyday that God makes beautiful things out of the dirt.
I will remind her that the troubles that we face form our faith and that we have a choice in life to be bitter or better.

My little girl has taught me to toss out the bitter and focus on the better.

“Heavenly Father thank you for turning our trials into our testimonies and our burdens into blessings.  When our hearts are heavy gently remind us that the most beautiful flowers have to push through a mound of dirt. Help us to focus on the beauty that comes from the ashes and to let go of the burn that lingers from the fire. Thank you for the beautiful cross and what your son’s death on it means to us. In Jesus name, Amen. “

I Choose.

I choose

“Wake up, get out of bed. Pull those covers across your head”
The sheets would come flying off of us as we yelled at him to stop.

My dad loved to irritate us and loudly waking us up in the morning was his favorite thing to do. It was most rewarding to him when we had friends spend the night and he got to mess with them too.

He would insist that we get up and eat breakfast. There was always a skillet of sausage and eggs ready to go by the time we shuffled our way in to the kitchen. Lots of orange juice, he loved orange juice.

Even though my friends didn’t want to wake up with the roosters and my dad, they thought he was so cool and would laugh at his morning song. They always thought it was cool that he would cook for us and want to hang out with us.

Not me, I was just mad.

I’m not a morning person, never have been never will be. That’s why I get up an hour before my family and have my cup of coffee. It’s for their own safety.

What I didn’t know back in those days was that my dad wasn’t getting up early, he had never gone to bed.

He was an addict.

He was addicted to ….well everything.

He wouldn’t just wake us up to eat sausage and eggs in the morning, he would wake us up in the middle of the night and drive us around in his stolen car for hours. He would wake us up in the middle of the night to sit in the kitchen and talk to him. He was high and needed someone to hang out with, that’s where we came in. He was addicted to drugs, money, cars, women and anything else the devil offered up on a silver platter. He lived in 100 different houses and several different cells.

I’ve spent most of my adult life being angry at him.
I’ve spent many months being bitter.
I’ve spent weeks crying in abandonment.
I’ve spent days pretending not to care.
I’ve spent hours wishing ill will on him.

It took me only one minute to forgive him.

About four months before he took his life I wrote him a two page email. I hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years. I let him know that I had forgiven him and I begged him to create a better relationship with my younger siblings than the one he had created with me. I begged him to do right by them. I begged him not to make my 12-year-old little sister search for the love and acceptance of a man the way that I had.

His exact response:
“Thanks for the letter and thanks for the forgiveness”

I’ve never heard from him again and never will.

Never.

I wish I could rewrite that email.
It might go a little more like this.

Dad,
I’ll empty my bank account and hand it over to you if you come over and play with my kids just once.
I’ll search the streets, buy a bag of cocaine and give it to you if you sing that stupid morning song to them just once.
I’ll steal a car for you if you make a skillet of sausage and eggs for my girls to taste just once.
I’ll do anything dad if you would just give them one moment, one good memory, one kiss, let them run to you and wrap their arms around your neck just one time.
Just one little moment dad.
I truly, honestly forgive you. I forgive it all.
Your daughter.

I get to make a choice, that’s the beauty of our lives. I get to make a choice how I tell my daughters about their grandpa. I get the choice how I tell my stories about him or what stories I don’t tell. I can choose to start growing that seed of what becomes bitterness and hate by planting in them stories to crush their hearts. I can make them hate him.

I won’t.

I get to make that choice.
I won’t hold on to the memories that make me sad.
I won’t hold on to the memories that bring up anger.
I won’t hold on to the memories that disgust me.

I’ll tell my little girls about the time there was a horse harnessed to a tree outside of our house on Christmas morning.
I’ll tell them how he would keep the car slowly rolling while we were trying to get in and laugh hysterically as we trotted next to the car.
I’ll tell them how he would hand us a $20 bill, let us go wild in the convenience store and tell us to keep the change.

I get a choice.
I can be happy or sad
I can forgive or carry a grudge.

I’m going to be happy. I’m going to forgive. I’m going to let go.

I’m going to wake my little girls up today by pulling the covers off of them and singing
“Wake up, get out of bed. Pull those covers across your head”.

You have a choice.
You can let it go or you can crush beneath it.
You can put it away or pass down.

You can forgive.
You can.
Forgive.

Let’s Pray

Merciful Father thank you for giving us a choice. We can follow your son or try to create our own way. I choose You. I choose to follow Jesus. When we get off track gently help us refocus on what truly matters. You did not design us to be angry, sad or weighed down and sometimes we need help remembering that. Help us to leave a legacy of love and forgiveness and to not pass down the trials. Be our guide, our light and our path. In Jesus name, amen.

 

Good Friday Forgiveness

good friday

My heart wants to burst for Jesus today. I will sing no other name. Thank you sweet Savior for Your cross and what it means to us. Thank you for this cross where I was finally able to let my father go. Both crosses changed my life. Forever grateful. Thankful for the cross.

dads cross

Speaking Of Jeans

levi

Today is a repost of an earlier blog but God directed me to it so I’m reposting.

Speaking to the crowd

I’m not one for public speaking. I am just not very good at it. My early life was spent bartending and training staff so you would figure that I might be good in front of crowds but I’m not.

A few months back I delivered the sermon at a friends church. It would have gone just fine if I didn’t have three of my precious W3 sisters sitting in front of me crying their eyes out. I did everything that I could not to look at them but they were my support and I needed to remind myself that they were there.

The congregation said it was a success but I suspect that they were just being nice. They were after all some of the sweetest people who I have ever met.

When I spoke in front of my own church my hands were literally dripping with sweat. My daughter was there and it made me extremely nervous.

See, now I’m just making up excuses.

Preparing a Eulogy

When my father died I knew that it was going to be up to me to arrange a funeral service. I don’t think that there was anyone that expected to have a service for him.

He wasn’t very popular and he had taken his own life so the circumstance surrounding it were already uncomfortable.

My oldest brother and I had talked about what we were going to do when that day finally arrived. We figured in the end we would be alone, responsible for handling his body and any other responsibility that come with someones death.

I knew that my brother would never stand in front of anyone and speak about our dad, not because he is hateful or mean, it’s just really not his thing. So, I was in the driver’s seat.

I figured that there would be a few people who would show up to my church in support of my brothers, sister and myself.

What in the world was I going to say. I would be standing in front of a group of people who didn’t like the man I was going to speak about. I also had my minor siblings that I had to honor and respect. My little sister was only 12 at the time and my brothers were 15 and 17.

Here was my chance. This was the one time in my life that what I said would truly matter and I knew that I had to choose my words carefully.

I had to not glorify a man’s life that didn’t earn glorifying. I also had to let my little siblings know that their daddy meant something and that he was loved by someone despite his flaws.

I was about to stand in front of people and needed to make sure that I said something that made sense and made an impact. As it turned out, the church was pretty full that day.

It wasn’t just me and my brother after all.

The people who came to support me and my siblings were more than I could have ever imagined.

I ended up talking about my dads Levi jeans, because I am an idiot.

I had a choice the day I spoke. That day is the one day that I had to make sure I said the right thing and make sure that it mattered. Maybe I wasted half of it talking about those stupid Levi jeans that he wore or maybe that’s exactly what people needed to hear. I wanted to remind everyone in that room that he was a human, he was a dad, he was a brother and a son.

For some reason his jeans seemed to make that connection. I also needed to remind everyone that forgiveness is the ultimate healer and it was time for everyone in that room that was holding on to bitter feelings for my dad to finally let go.

Silver Tongue

What would you say if you had one chance to speak in front of a large crowd. If you could talk about anything that you wanted to would you take a chance or play it safe? Would it depend on the crowd? Would you say what you thought they wanted to hear or would you say what you thought they needed to hear?

When crowds gathered around Jesus he didn’t go for the popular vote. He went straight to the heart of the matter. There was no candy coating when Jesus spoke. He was pretty straight forward.

He told people what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear.

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life—” (John 12:23-25).

Basically Jesus took his time in front of this crowd to let them know that our earthly things do not matter and that they need to let them go and be followers of Him so that they can be with Him in heaven. He was letting them know that they needed to die to themselves and live through Jesus Christ and without that they would produce no fruit.

What Jesus? Let go of our earthly things? Are you serious? Haven’t you seen all the cool stuff we have? Haven’t you been on Pinterest?

The point is, Jesus didn’t go for the popular vote, He went for the truth and to make an impact on whoever He had a chance to be with.

Would you do the same?

Would you rather get the popular vote and make everyone comfortable or would you rather spit the truth and possibly make everyone a little uncomfortable. It’s not just about your words for large crowds. Your words mean something every time you use them. They matter in front of a larger crowd and they matter in a personal conversations.

How will you use your words today?

Let’s pray

Heavenly Father thank you for giving us the gift to be able to spread your word. Help us to have strength to speak the truth and to take a chance when we have it. When we get tongue-tied and scared gently remind us that our reward is in heaven and not here are earth. Give us the courage to stand in front of a crowd and tell them what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear. Make us your hands and feet. In Jesus name, amen.

If you get the chance to speak to a large crowd I have two pieces of advice. Don’t picture the crowd naked like everyone says and don’t talk about Levi jeans.

If you’re curios about what I really said at my dads funeral there is a copy in the notes section on the W3 facebook page titled Now I Lay You Down To Sleep.

Father Daughter Dance

daughter-dance

Practice makes perfect

I was a cheerleader in highschool. Lets just keep that between us okay.

Every year at the end of the year the entire spirit group, dance team, cheer, drill and pep squad, also known as the Lee-ettes, had a spring show. We would all dance and cheer in each of our separate groups and then at the end  all of the senior girls would dance with their dads. Obviously it was called the father daughter dance.

We would dress up in formal gowns and the dads would dress in a coat and tie. I had already cut off my relationship with my father. Actually, the school got a couple of police officers to attend just in case he showed up, that unfortunately is not one of my jokes, its real.

I had dreaded this day for years leading up to it. My dad sent me a letter in the mail, yep that’s how old I am, and he asked me about the father daughter dance.

I never responded.

At that time, my mom had been dating the man that is now my stepdad for about a year. I asked him if he would dance with me.

He said yes.

You would have to know my stepdad to know how simple he is and how he does NOT dance. We had two practices leading up to the big night and my stepdad did not show for either. In his defense he owns his own company and was a very busy guy.

The night of the dance I put on my bravest face as I stood there in my formal gown in a line next to all the seniors facing their dads and the space across from me was empty.

I felt like a waste.

Once again I wasn’t even good enough for a father figure to show up and dance with me for 2 minutes.

But because God is cool, my stepdad showed up at the very last minute dressed to the nines and danced the night away with me.

Maybe I wasn’t a waste after all.

Not A Waste

The second night of our performance when I was getting ready to leave my house, my stepdad called me in to the living room. He told me that all the other girls at the dance were very dressed up and fancy except for me, he said I looked plain.

Ouch.

He then pulled a jewelry box from his pocket and said “so I bought you this.” It was a beautiful diamond and pearl necklace. I was definitely not a waste and my stepdad proved it to me that very moment.

In my eyes I was the luckiest daughter at the dance that night.

Always There For Me

I have those moments with my heavenly Father all of the time.

Have you ever looked up and said “where are you Father, why would you not be here for me”? I have, more than I care to admit. Just like my stepfather did, our heavenly Father always shows up at just the right time.

When we are standing there thinking that we are a waste, He rides in and shows us how much he really loves us. It is so hard to see that He is always there when you are in the moment of despair  but knowing that He is there is what faith is.

I know that when it comes down to it, my stepdad will be there for me and when it comes to my heavenly Father I know that He is always with me.

I wasn’t standing alone that day of the dance while all the other girls stood across from their dads, my heavenly Father was standing across from me filling in until my stepdad had time to get there.

When you feel like you are standing alone, look harder, pray, breath.  He is there.

Lets pray

“Dear Lord thank you for never leaving me. Help me to remember that You are a;ways with me. Comfort me in the moments that I feel like a waste. I love You and love the sacrifice You made for me. In Jesus name, amen.”

As my heart filled with pride while my stepdad led me around the dance floor, there was a heart breaking way up in the balcony of that auditorium. My dad had slithered his way in and hid up there. He watched from afar as I danced with the man who took his time to make me feel worthy and beautiful. Twenty years ago I thought that it was pathetic, now I just feel sorry for him that he wasn’t capable of dancing with me.

You Make Beautiful Things Out Of The Dust- Thanks Be To God

I wanted to thank each of you for the sweet comments and messages that I received yesterday and today. I thought that over these few days I was going to be reminded of the sadness of my dads death but instead I was remind of the good in people. God remains good and faithful. He has made beauty out of ashes and for that I am forever grateful. My husband blessed me today with a new bible and wrote a beautiful message for me inside, my kids have reminded me of the innocence of faith and my friends have showered me with love and support. I’m not sure what I have done to deserve such an abundance of mercy and grace but I know that I am blessed. Thank you. God is so super cool.

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