It seems lately, that I have SO much to write about....that I get too overwhelmed and end up writing nothing. Thus, the lack of updates. A lot of intense and heavy things have happened in the last few weeks.
My dad could have died. Could have...but didn't. Looking back at how it all played out, I'm amazed at God's involvement. I was visiting Tiger Mt for a friend's graduation. I don't keep my phone on me while I'm there, I leave it in my purse, locked away in the staff area. That afternoon, on a whim...I asked to check my phone. I had several missed texts and calls from my mom and sister. My dad was in the emergency room. He collapsed in the back yard and my mom called an ambulance. Turns out, he had a blood clot in his leg, and several clots in his lung. My mom was really upset with me for not being reachable. The last thing she said to me (before hanging up on me) was "This could be fatal, keep your phone close." GAH!!
Cue emotional hurricane. People die from blood clots! It can be instant. I didn't know what to think and I was suddenly feeling everything. I felt a sudden pressure to hurry up and deal with the issues between my dad and I. I needed to make amends, forgive him, fix our relationship and make everything right again! This triggered a huge wave of grief. It was definitely a good thing that I was in my safe bubble of Tiger Mt when this happened.
It seemed like God rolled with the opportunity to lead me through something both painful and healing. He very obviously guided my thoughts. Since it was a graduation, Freddie was there. He's.....how do I describe Freddie?? He's a genuine, kind hearted man. He does church at Tiger Mt on Sundays, and is usually there for special events like graduations or alumni days. I doubt he's even aware of the impact he's made on me, even the first day I met him.
The first few weeks I was at Tiger Mt, we watched a church service online. This was hard for me, but I tolerated it and was open to whatever God wanted to do through it. Just as I was getting accustomed to the idea that I was "doing a church thing" every Sunday morning, they decide to change things up. RAWR!! Saturday afternoon I was told that Michelle's husband was going to do church with us in person. I was NOT a fan of this idea. I was both petrified and pissed off. How dare they!!?? lol Sunday morning, I sat on the floor against the wall, as close to the door as I could get....and I stared outside while some guy I didn't know sang, and talked in between songs. No matter how much I tried to not listen, God kept focusing my attention on what Freddie was saying. He apologized to us on behalf of all the men who had harmed us. I remember staring coldly out the door while he said that...trying to will my heart to not shatter too noticeably. He told us a story about a song that he wrote for his wife....about what God would say to her about her history and about His heart for her. The song was about safety....how Jesus is a lighthouse, a focused beacon of light....guiding us and providing a safe haven in the midst of a storm. Hearing Freddie sing that song....was like God singing directly to me. Hot tears rolled down my face and for the first time, I was able to uncover a piece of my battered soul in front of a God who desperately wanted to heal me. When church was over, I put my walls back up and purposely avoided people. I slept the afternoon away. It took a few weeks for me to warm up to Freddie and the whole church experience. I maintained my rebellion against the "institution of church" by wearing my roommate's Slipknot t-shirt and sitting on the floor in the back of the room while everybody else sat in chairs and actually participated. I would stare at the floor and pretend like I wasn't paying attention, but in reality, I was hanging on every word....and crying out to God inside my head. He told us often that he saw us as his own girls, daughters. This was tough for me to hear...my immediate thought of a father is not somebody like Freddie...a guy who very obviously has a protective and loving stance toward not only his own girls, but all of the hurting women who cross his path.
**end of side story
Back to my dad, and the visit to Tiger Mt....Freddie was there for graduation. My inner six-year-old threw me into a bear hug when I saw him. The significance of this didn't hit me until hours later, after I got the news about my dad. I will never be able to hug my own father the way that I hug Freddie. Hugging Freddie is safe, I don't have to be guarded when I'm around him. For some reason, this realization hit me really hard that day. In a way, it felt like my dad had actually died. The weight of this....was heavy. Even if (when?!) my dad and I sort through the abuse (aka: incest), I will never be safe with him. I will never relax when I hug my dad. I will never feel the safety of a father's love when I'm around him. This is a very harsh and painful reality for me.
That evening, I cried and prayed the entire drive home. I mentally shook my fist at God for not giving me a dad that I could trust, yet I cried out to Him to please spare my dad's life.....give me a chance to mend things, to find peace, to forgive him while he's still alive. I think God started answering this prayer long before I even prayed it.
So where am I now in all of this? I've been talking to my dad a LOT the last couple of weeks. He was in the hospital for a few days, and is now at home, with an oxygen tank and blood thinner medication. I called him on the phone two or three times a day. Was it triggering? YES! Was it necessary? Yes.
The sweetest part of all of this is that in the midst of some really intense pain, God provided a source of comfort and peace. I'm able to face the fact that my dad is not a safe person for me...because God has proven that He can (and will) fill that emptiness through other people.