Friday, October 24, 2008

Stretch Armstrong

Do you guys remember Stretch Armstrong? He was this toy or rather 'action figure' I should say. lol. You could stretch out his arms and legs and they would go back into shape. You know when you've chewed a piece of gum so long it has that hard feel too it? Yea, he was kinda made out of that stuff. We'd pull his legs and arms really hard as far as we could (usually an inch or so, hey, we were young, not strong, lol) and they'd pop back into place.

God kinda does that with us. He stretches us. Makes us uncomfortable. Helps us grow. But, instead of us going back into shape, we stay in the new form. Actually, that's how it's suppose to go. Lot's of times as He stretches me, I go right back into shape but He keeps pulling and pulling, and pulling, and eventually, I listen and am stretched into the new shape He created.

A good friend pointed out something to me a few weeks ago (thanks, Kim!). Basically, I'm the Father's Loving Care witness for the St. Mark's CRHP in January. I should not be this bitter towards my father, Joe. Wow. I don't think I've ever said his name to you guys. I've said 'my dad', 'my father', but I don't think I've said Joe. That's gotta be progress, right? Anywho, I prayed a couple of times since then that God would do whatever He needed to to help heal the bitterness or help me deal with whatever it is so that the witness will be what He wants it to be. Here's what happened.

I called my dad tonight. He was just back from one of his trips with his wife, Sarah to the Panama Canal. In the course of the conversation, I was being a smart alec (kind of hard not too) and said I learned it from my dad. He said "Sure, blame me for everything. Your past. Everything is my fault." And, he was serious. What surprised me was my response. I told him I didn't blame him for anything. Wha? Where did that come from?! Surprised, he said that was nice to hear. And, I jokingly told him I spent a ton of money on therapy to be able to say it, lol. He laughed a little. The truth, as you all know, is I did blame him for my past. For my childhood. For not letting me do *anything*. For not being there. Being present. For not being the dad I needed him to be. For not loving me the way I needed to be loved. Is this what the road to forgiveness looks like? Is this me being stretched yet again?

I prayed (and still do occasionally, hey, I'm working on it) to love my father for who he is right at this moment. With no expectations. That's hard b/c he is my dad, and I am his child. I will always have expectations. Although, I went from being a child and expecting him to be there always (he never was), to being an adult and expecting him to constantly let me down (he always did) to now. Now, I don't know what to expect or rather how not to expect anything. This is new territory. Scary.

This passage came to me twice today. It's incredibly beautiful and the whole thing is my favorite but there is a special part that speaks to me I'd like to share. If you have time, read the whole thing...Isaiah 43:1-7..

...6 I will say to the north: Give them up! and to the south: Hold not back! Bring back my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth: 7 Everyone who is named as mine, whom I created form my glory, whom I formed and made...

God is so awesome! Chapter 43 is so beautiful. It talks of God's love. A father's love for his sons and daughters. He has paid a ransom for me. For you. For each of us. He loves us with His very being. He named us as His. He created us for His glory! Doesn't that just give you chills. You were created for His glory! Man, if you ever feel unloved, the bible is truly the place to go (also for other good nuggets too! lol). He is the ultimate father! And, since He's the ultimate father, a little stretching every now and then really isn't too much to ask, is it? (okay, some days it is. We're human, but that's okay!).

Until next time,
check out Isaiah 43:1-7, hug your spouse and pray for all the men who went to Rockin C!


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