Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Jesus- the Saviour for the sinner- the giver of hope. 

"This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." ~Jeremiah 29: 10-12

I love these verses... We read time after time after time in the Old Testament how the Israelites turned from God only to be handed over to their sin and rebellion.  Then in the midst their anguish, crying out in repentance to Jehovah God, and finally ... deliverance.  Even in the midst of their suffering for having turned away from God so many years earlier, God Almighty shows He loves them and gives Jeremiah a reminder of His great promise... even though they turned from Him, He gives them a message of hope- He has plans for them and doesn't want them to be discouraged in their circumstances.  He has a future and a hope for me... and for you as well.

The following message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss of Revive Our Hearts on the story of Rahab gives me great hope.  Like Rahab the prostitute, I don't want to forget from where God redeemed me... don't get me wrong I don't want to dwell on my sordid, sinful past and beat myself up about it... but I always want to remember the state I was in when my Redeemer  pulled me out of that miry clay.  We identify Rahab as prostitute.... though my label wouldn't necessarily be 'prostitute' it would be something.... I'll have to think about it for a bit... if I were in the Hebrews Hall of faith maybe it would say: and Wendy the_____...  What would your label be?    Anyway, take the time to read or listen to Nancy's message on Rahab.



Monday, February 27, 2012

It's the Little Things...

Sometimes all it takes to bring a smile to my heart is to unexpectedly run into a friend while grocery shopping or receive that unexpected phone call...  I love those God-stops so much because they're always an unexpected gift, and always bring joy to my heart...  

My Dad called this afternoon 'just to say hi'...  he hardly ever calls... but it's so nice when he does...

(Just thought I'd share since I had so many posts on him...)



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Courageous- Finale

It was my 18th birthday and I was in California spending a week or so with my dad and Ruthann when it happened.  I removed the wrapping paper, opened the box to see a small box wrapped with Mickey Mouse paper, bound with a small red ribbon and bow... the very small matching tag read:  I love you.   It was the first time those words had come to me from my dad... he didn't say it, didn't even write it himself, but it was the greatest treasure he'd ever given me....  I still have the box in my armoire.  Several months beforehand I was fed up!  For more than a decade we'd played this awkward dance at the end of our phone conversations, you know, that time when normal people would say, 'Love you, talk to you soon.'  So I decided in a moment of reckless abandon that I was going to say that to my dad before hanging up the phone... Needless to say it rocked his world quite a bit, he didn't quite know what to say (I admit, without shame, that I experienced much pleasure at his discomfort).  He has since grown quite comfortable using those three little words...

Quite a while ago I was counseling with a pastor who was going on a cruise with his wife, daughter and son-in-law.  (His SIL is a musician and was performing on the cruise.)  During our conversation, he expressed with much love and emotion that what he was most looking forward to was the opportunity to dance with his daughter.  I was a little taken aback at the deep emotion that came with that statement from him, and I wondered if his daughter took for granted the love of her dad, or if she realized the great gift she'd been given.  You see, he loves his daughter truly, sacrificially- it mirrors the love our Heavenly Father has for His children.  It's a love I've not known from my own dad, but only known from my Father in Heaven.  (Remember, I'm not talking about my dear mother here, just my dad.) 

The Lord still has a lot - A LOT - of work to do in me, but I've learned that my worth is not in doing or saying all the right things;  that my goal in life is not working to please man, but glorifying my Father in Heaven;  that I'm good enough for people to like me for who I am- who God created me to be, and not for what I can 'do' for them.   Do you see a pattern here? 

Through the years, the Lord has allowed me to see my dad for who/what he is:  not so much as my 'Daddy', but as a man who needs a Saviour... my fervent prayer is that the Lord would bring into his and Ruthann's lives strong walking-the-walk Christians... that he would gain salvation through the grace and mercy of our Holy God... 



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Courageous 4

There is one whose words are like sword thrusts, but the words of the wise bring healing.  ~ Proverbs 12:18

Well the years passed, and I compensated... I compensated by learning to be a bit of a chameleon, becoming the person I thought I needed to be so everyone would 'like' me.  I became totally numb to my father's harsh words (which were always spoken in a joking manner)- "Hi, Wen, Ruthann made me call...."  or "So, you really *!@#* that one up didn't ya?" (another regular phrase that still graces our conversations to this day)  and so on and so on (as well as numb to the harsh words of others).  But I still loved him dearly, and longed to be "good enough" to really feel (or at least know on some level) that I was loved by my father and not just a burdensome responsibility.  Not once did he say 'I love you' when dropping me off or ending a phone call*, not a band concert did he make it to, not a prom dress did he approve, not a date did he have a 'fatherly chat' with... he essentially missed my entire life, and I missed his as well.  The teen years came and with it my interest in boys grew so that I was dubbed "a boy-crazy teen".  What is so sad about that is no one realized that I really wasn't all that 'boy-crazy' I just desperately wanted/needed to be loved by  my dad.  Statistics show the unhealthy patterns of girls (and boys to an even greater extent) whose fathers are MIA, and I was no exception.

Many years ago I watched the movie "Hope Floats".  In it the main character, played by Sandra Bullock, finds out her husband was having an affair with her 'best friend', after which she and her daughter move back to her childhood home with her mother.  *spoiler*  The woman's mother dies and her husband comes to the funeral only to deliver divorce papers.  The daughter is totally set on going with her father, though he has no intention of taking her along... she packs her suitcase and puts it in his car, only to have her father take it out again and again.  He hops in the car and the little girl is sobbing, "but.... you want me!  You WANT Me!!"  He ends up driving away with his daughter screaming/sobbing after him, "YOU WANT ME!!!!!"  In that moment, I realized I was that little girl.... and sobbed ... and sobbed ... and sobbed... the Lord had used a silly movie to break through the wall I had been building since I was tiny.   I had only been a Christian a short time, but God spoke so very clearly to me and here is what He said, "Dearest Wendy, I Am your Father...never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."  Total peace.  Total comfort.  With that one simple statement, He released me from the emotional bondage which characterized my entire life up to that point. 

*He did eventually learn to say, "I love you", a story I'll share at another time...I was 18...

Blessings ~


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Courageous 3 and a *Disclaimer*

I have to say that my purpose in blogging about my father, I in no way, shape, or form wish to dishonor him.  He is simply a man who is lost to the Lord, who was carried away by his own rebellious nature, who fought in Vietnam (2 tours) and is still haunted by the memories of what he did and what he witnessed there, who had a poor relationship with his own father, and who battled various addictions throughout his life from alcohol to spending... all of which lead to very little time for a daughter...  My only purpose is to show by real-life example the brokenness that happens when a father is not "Courageous".

One day shortly after I turned 5, my dad came to pick me up to take me to Gaylord for the day to ...  meet his new wife.  He had gotten married.    What????    Married???    I was shocked, to say the least.  I had no idea that he even had a girlfriend.  Due to other circumstances in my life during the previous year and a half or so, I had learned to stuff any thought or emotion that would lead to an emotional response of any kind, so I quickly put all my hurt and all my tears in a little box, saying little.  Words cannot express the hurt I felt, though.  A wedding, one of the most important events in a person's - my dad's - life... and I, his daughter, wasn't invited.  On the way there, my stomach was tied in knots... the only thing I knew about step-mothers was that they were supposed to be ugly and mean.  At least that's what I had learned in the movie Cinderella.  I was in for quite a shock.  Ruthann was a beautiful woman, with a gentleness I was not at all prepared for.  I had been prepared to dislike her... but much to my confusion and alarm, I actually really liked her.  The most important thing she said to me was that she did not intend to try and take my mother's place, but she just wanted to get to know me and be my friend.  Phew!  However, I then faced another dilemna...  I was torn in my loyalty to my mother.  I felt I had betrayed her somehow by liking this 'new wife' that had taken the place that was supposed to be reserved for her.  My father returned me that day and I went straight to my room sobbing... for a couple of hours, according to my mother.  Finally, she coaxed me out of my room trying to get me to tell her why I had been crying.  Finally she asked the right question, "was she mean to you???"  (This only started my sobbing all over again, by-the-bye)  "NO!"  I croaked. "She was nice!"  I am so very thankful that my mother gave me permission to 'like' Ruthann, and never said a cross word about her (or my dad, for that matter), and that Ruthann never sought to take my mother's place in my life, but simply showed me kindness.

Now that I am an adult, I understand a little more all the 'stuff' surrounding that time in our lives, but I still see his wedding as incredibly selfish on his part... and even still a faint glimmer of the hurt from that day arises every time I see their wedding picture hanging on their wall. 

As God has grown me in Christian maturity, the Lord has made me increasingly aware of the depths of my selfishness- especially when it comes to my children.  I've been so blessed by my husband's example and have learned through it, with the Lord's help, to put aside my selfishness for the betterment of those around me... I definitely do not want to continue handing down this heritage of selfishness and detachment to these two precious gifts Jon and I have been given!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking only to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~ Philippians 2:3-4

Important life events should be shared within a family, even if it's more convenient to not have to compensate for young ones to tag along.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Courageous 2

As I was growing up, I really didn't see my dad much... maybe once a year, though there were a couple of years when I did see him a few times (he was in the military and so moved around the country quite a bit).  Phone calls were few and far between, and always at the prompting of my dear step-mother.  How would I know that, you might be asking?  Because every phone call began like this, "Hi, Dad."  "Hey, Wen.  Ruthann told me it was time to call..."  or some such variation.  It was always said somewhat jokingly, and my response was always some joking thing about doing what his wife said...

After years and years... a lifetime, really... of hearing that, a person becomes numb to the affect of the words, but the message becomes crystal clear with each passing year:  'I'm not important enough to you for you to think of calling me by yourself.'

I've been so convicted of the affect my words (and tone) have on others (mostly because I have a tendency to say the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time), and especially the affect my words have on my children... my desire is to practice daily Proverbs 31:26 ~ "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."  and to be aware of Proverbs 12:18 ~  "There is one whose words are like sword thrusts, but the words of the wise bring healing."



Sunday, February 12, 2012


It's a tad late for me to really get into writing/blogging about what's on my heart, yet here I am.  So, I think I'll just start by saying that we've watched the new film by Stephen and Alex Kendrick entitled "Courageous"- if you haven't seen it, GO DO IT, especially if you have children.  This movie is very moving and thought provoking on many levels, but to me (and to many others, I'm sure), there was the additional element of my own relationship with my father. 

During one of the scenes of the movie, the young officer asks one of the other officers if he really thought not having his father in his life while he was growing up 'messed him up'.  The senior officer replied, "more than you know."  Having grown up without my father playing a significant role in my life was very damaging to me personally in many different ways, but it wasn't until I was married with children of my own that I realized just how damaging it was.  Quite honestly, my relationship (or lack thereof) with my father has affected every aspect of my life, from my friendships, to my marriage, to my relationships with my children.  Sometimes in good ways (thank You, Lord), and sometimes in things I struggle with daily (thank You, Lord for Your redemptive work in my life!)...

I'm looking forward to someday having the freedom to write my story - God's story, actually- but for now, it has to come out in little boxed snippets.... one of those snippets will be posted soon...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll

From the back cover:  "While a wonderful wedding day is important, it's the last day of marriage that really counts.  Will the last day of your marriage come prematurely through divorce?  Will it be filled with regrets as you sit at the funeral of your spouse?  Or, by God's grace, will the last day be a day to rejoice in the life you lived together? 

Marriage is such a wonderful gift from God, but it is also perhaps one of the most difficult relationships into which a man and a woman can enter.  That being said, we all need encouragement.  In the 11-week DVD driven study "Real Marriage: the Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together," Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace delve into these topics and many more providing just such encouragement.  Each session is done in a conversational style between the two, who are sitting comfortably on a love seat together in a large church's sanctuary discussing their own marriage and the many things God has taught them over the years. 

The DVD-based study presupposes the participants are either currently reading or have already read the book of the same name.  Each session in the Participant's Guide is broken up into several parts:  Introduction, Video Response questions, Scripture passage for reflection, Group Discussion and Prayer during which the group breaks off into men's and women's (most weeks), Homework for the Husband, Wife, and Singles (there is a  men's and women's section), Connect during which those who are married would come together and discuss what they've been learning, and lastly Experience during which the couple (or single) will have something to do together, a date night, dinner with a mentoring couple, writing letters to one another, etc.  There is also a comprehensive leader's guide providing additional guidance in leading a small group.

All-in-all this study is one I'm not sure I would recommend, there are quite a few others out there providing more 'meat'... though some young-in-the-faith believers who are single wanting-to-get-married, engaged couples, and younger married couples might enjoy it.  

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*