I have so much to catch you all up on. I’m so excited to share some things I got out of conference! After work last night I was ready to dive in but it became a situation at home and there wasn’t time. Apparently my parents had gotten into a fight, and he had gone out for several hours. Now for context where I live, with my parents, there is a large parking lot, shared by our apartment, another apartment, and two businesses. One of the businesses uses our parking lot for their fire pit, seating area, and has loud drinking parties on the weekends or really, whenever they can, which God bless them, is more often an annoyance than anything else. But for the most part, I can have my headphones on, or tv on, or whatever and before you know it, it’s over. Or I’m so tired from work that I fall asleep and the rowdy noise doesn’t affect me.
However last night, I was ready for bed. I didn’t care in the moment that I didn’t post my blog, I didn’t care that my parents had gotten into a fight (even though my mom gave me all the details), I was just emotionally and physically spent and ready to go to bed early.
I heard my dad’s car pull in, and before you know it, he was joining in with the laughter, and chanting, and whatever else was happening outside. And honestly, in that moment, it bothered me.
For those of you who are new to my blog and some of my personal life, my dad growing up was a flagrant alcoholic and drug addict. It was not peaches and cream. I spent some time of my life sleeping in other people’s houses when my parents were separated, I saw my dad drunk and rowdy, I witnessed my dad escorted out by cops, the whole deal. Luckily he is done with drugs, but on occasion he still drinks. Not always to excess but it’s not exactly something he’s given up when he has a few glasses of wine every day. You get me?
Anyway, the one business downstairs loves the drama of my household. They know our dirt, they will spy on what we’re doing i.e. tell my dad “did you know they brought a piece of furniture in yesterday”, “did you see they had shopping bags with them?”, and basically things like that where they live to get a rise out of people. Where they hope it’ll rock the boat between my parents. I chalk it up at this point to just being a Christian. Like my dad, they pretty much think it’s hilarious that we believe in Jesus and have been going to church our entire lives.
So back to last night.
My dad comes home and joins right in. I don’t know what they were saying or doing but when you’re in your late 20s and you hear your own father sounding like he’s an immature teen boy, it’s not exciting. In that moment I felt embarrassed not entirely for him, but selfishly for myself. Like, “wonderful, that’s my dad”, “wonderful that’s my dad making fun of me with our neighbors”, etc.
As I’m getting older, I think God has gifted me with partial deafness. I’m dead serious. There are times where my dad is cursing, or saying something horrible, and I literally can tune him out. I hear nothing. And I think after hearing and seeing awful things, God finally was like, “yeah, no, my daughter doesn’t need to hear that anymore”.
But from the tone of it and the chanting, even though I was in my safety net of divine deafness, I still felt some degree of nakedness and shame. Like not only was this happening, but it was outside my bedroom, and I was aware of it. I think Satan loves this. If something terrible is going to happen to a Christian, he is more than happy to give you VIP seats to the event.
I am reminded this morning of this verse in Matthew (MSG):
5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
I don’t know about you but sometimes reading that…can go one or two ways. Sometimes believe it or not it’s a comfort to know there’s not something wrong with you. People go through the same things and it’s not specific to you. But also there is the other way of, “God, this doesn’t sound like a blessing”. In the world we live in people write #blessed if they get to go on an international vacation, they #blessed if their husband surprised them with a Tiffany bracelet on their anniversary, people don’t #blessed when their dad is hanging out with drunks in your parking lot and making fun of you. Right? Haha. It’s a strange world sometimes isn’t it?
I didn’t write this to say, woe is me. I always aim to be as transparent as possible. I’ve found that in being open, you can speak into people’s darkness. I’m sure someone reading this has a similar parent, or both parents, or has mocked someone for being a Christian, or feels like they aren’t blessed because nothing is going right in their lives. But I’m realizing the less things are going right in your life, the better you are probably doing. Satan isn’t going to torment someone who isn’t fighting the fight, he’s going after those of us who are in it for the long haul.
Even though it feels disappointing, and defeating at times, I feel calm after posting this knowing that in some small way I am honoring my Father in Heaven. I was His before I was my dad’s. I was His before I was my mom’s. Be of good cheer today knowing that in your battle “all of Heaven cheers” as you honor God. You might not see me but I’m running that race alongside you.