I’ve never really talked to anyone about this particular struggle in my life, so bear with me….I would not be sharing any of this if I didn’t believe in the value of vulnerability and sharing our joys as well as our struggles with each other. Just as much as I long to know that I’m not the only one who has faced these things, perhaps one of you is in the same boat and we can encourage one other. This will not be particular well written and I am far from having answers, but it’s real, so take it for what it is.
In 2006 my dad died of cancer. It changed a lot of us in different ways, but for me I think the most profound has been the way that I’ve found myself searching for someone to answer some of the questions that dad always answered for me. Not “how do I check my tire pressure” as much as “Am I doing life well?”. Likely some of you are scolding me for not getting 100% of my validation from God, and I understand that. I’m not sure that this blog is for you, you may want to move on. Only in recent years have I come to understand how rare it is to have had a dad like mine. I always felt that he sincerely believed that I was capable, that I was strong, that I was lovely. Even through the times that I disappointed his heart, I never saw anything less than love in his eyes. When other relationships made me feel not good enough, weak and ugly I could always go to the one place that I felt safe and like I wasn’t a total screw up. For the first year or so after he died I was dealing with grief, finding my place in our rearranged family, getting through Wes’s deployment and the violence that surrounded it and basically just focusing on getting through the day. It wasn’t until after that season ended that I began to notice this thing in me…this desire for validation. Even though I believe that it is the way that I was created, I’ve still had to fight against hating that part of myself. I don’t want to feel vulnerable to someone else’s disapproval, I don’t want to feel like a little girl, unsure and floundering for a nod of approval. I’ve been blessed to have some strong, Godly men in my life, but I’ve come to almost fear them. I’m afraid to ask too much, to be too needy and to let down my guard. In some cases it’s wisdom, in some fear and in some I’m not really sure. I struggle because a 29 year old woman with a wonderful husband, 2 amazing children and a growing relationship with Jesus “shouldn’t” feel this way. There is nothing at all inappropriate about this and I fully embrace a fathers role to affirm his daughter/daughters whenever possible, but in the absence of a father or an obvious father figure I’m not sure what this whole thing is supposed to look like. And so I go on another day. I seek Father God’s heart toward me, what is pleasing to Him about my life and what is He highlighting for me to change. As a line from one of my old favorite songs says “I sing until I sense a smile upon Your great and lovely face”. I feel like that’s where I live. I want to hide my face when my pastor says that I’ve done well in some area because who is so hungry for approval that they beam with joy at a passing compliment? Not me….
But that is me. And like it or not, that’s where I’m at. My mom, my husband, my brother and some of my wonderful friends are huge encouragements to me. I appreciate their influence in my life greatly. But for whatever reason, it’s just not the same. I’m not sure that this season in my life will ever end. It scares me a little to think of living the rest of my life this way. Perhaps that is just how it has to be. So I will be brave sometimes and others not so much. I will set my face as flint until I cannot and then I will weep in the secret place. I will look for others who are missing a voice in their lives and I will be open to opportunities to meet their needs. I hope you will do the same. You may just have a lot more to offer than you think….