Saturday, January 30, 2010

But, But I Don't Like To Cry!

I really don’t. I hardly ever let anyone see me cry. And if there is one thing you will never catch Lauren Lee doing, it is crying in public.

I suppose yesterday was an exception to that rule.

Seated in a Denny’s booth across the table from my father, everything came out . . . Noah’s flood all over again. Now, upon recalling that episode, how terribly embarrassing it was! Although – at the time, I didn’t really care who saw me. I’m afraid that was quite evident; for when the poor waitress came to see if we needed any refills, my attempt at politeness, “NO, thank you” in-between sniffles came out a bit more hostile than intended . . . The unsuspecting soul was quite taken by surprise and scuffled herself back to the kitchen.

It was as if all the weight in the world had just been lowered on my shoulders. Not all at once – but slowly. It was a prolonged torture that finally came to a climax. A slow inflammation of my feelings that eventually led to an outbreak of raw emotion. I hated myself then … For I had sworn to myself many, many times . . . If anyone were to see me cry, my father would be the last man on earth to have that satisfaction. The worst part of it all was that I knew that by crying, my Dad felt some level of control. Control over my emotions. This is a terrible thing to say … a terrible thing to live with. But when he sees his children cry, he doesn’t feel badly . . . he feels powerful. Sitting across that table, he didn’t do anything or say anything to share my feelings, or release me from my obvious misery. His face was cold, a look that had harshness written all over it. When I finally came to my senses, I picked my head up out of my hands and looked at his expression. It was as if I could see right past his flesh into his thoughts . . . His face seemed to read, “What a bother.” This made me cry even more . . . the fact that I couldn’t even cry in front of my own Dad.

Lets go on a rabbit trail for a moment . . .

Aren’t we all guilty of turning the cold shoulder to a person in need? Perhaps not to such an extreme as with my Dad … But Instead of “bearing one another’s burdens” (Galations 6:2) we shrink away from the pain? Empathy is just too … inconvenient. Can’t we just leave it to someone else out there?


It is commanded of us all throughout the Bible that we are to be compassionate to the hurting, and extend helping hands to those who are suffering. Though this situation with my Dad has been extremely painful, it has definitely taught me this, if anything: weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” I believe that God truly has given me these hard times to teach me to cry with other people. To let it out. To weep with them. To understand what they’re going through. I pray so fervently that God might use me in this way … to teach me compassion . . . and show me the lost and hurting, that his light might shine through me. Is this not what Christ did for us? He didn’t have to be tortured! He didn’t HAVE to live a life on earth! But he did – because he wanted to relate to his children, and feel their pain, living in a sinful world.

Off the rabbit trail. ;)

When we left the restaurant, I had an odd sense of peace come over me. Yes – despite the smeared mascara and red nose (the unfortunate by-products) – I wasn’t a total mess. Even though my earthly father didn’t care about my tears . . . I knew I still had a Father that did. Who welcomed me with open arms, saying: “You need a hug.” “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23, one of the most famous in the Bible, put it brilliantly … I had just walked through what seemed like Hell, but despite it all, there was still a “peace that transcends all understanding” Philippians 4:7! What a comfort … that my Father is ALWAYS there, always empathetic, always ready to listen.

Even though it was a tough day, I was finally able to rest in the comfort of my heavenly father. Though I don’t feel like I can “let it out” in front of dad, I know that the Lord, my true Father, is up there saying:

“I am a safe place for your tears . . . come, and I will cry with you.”

Lord, thank you for your compassion. When all else fails, there you are. Thank you for wrapping me in your arms with the intention of keeping me there for eternity … for being the father that I don’t have. Help me to be content in your love! Amen.

~Lauren Lee

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Candle In the Window: Loving Someone, Even When you Can't

Today, my sister and I each put a candle in the window for our Dad.
It has long been an American tradition, since colonial times, to put a candle out for show of loyalty to a departed loved one. Similar things such as banners, and ribbons around trees, have also been used ... to convey a yearning for the return of a dear friend or family member.

Although our father is absent, it is not his physical return that we yearn for. It is his spiritual one. More than anything, Tay and I want to see him return to his Creator in repentance. For now, it is safest to stay far away from him ... but we have never prayed so much for anyone in our lives. Those candles in the window, remind us that our father is lost ... he's departed not only from the house, but from God ... and it is critical for us to pray for his salvation.

Jesus instructs us to love one another, just as He loved us (John 15:12). But how can Tay and I do that, when it is dangerous to be around this person we are commanded to love?

Prayer is the best way to love someone, even when they're desperately hurting you.

I have to be honest. At times, it is hard for me to love my Dad. I don't feel like praying "Lord ... Help him to come to see himself for who he is, that he may repent and have eternal life ..." Instead, I feel like screaming to the heavens: "You know, God. I wouldn't mind that fire and brimstone talk right about now!!!" You know what I'm talking about here?? I can't help these feelings!!

But whenever I get angry, I know that is only by humbling myself, and remembering how great and just God really is, that I can remember to love.

Love is what those candles stand for. I love my Dad enough to pray for him constantly ... And one day, I know God will answer my prayer. Either by bringing him to repentance, or keeping him depraved - both will show the glory of the Lord in some way. In this, I must trust.

Forever in the arms of her True Father,
Lauren Lee

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which suprasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6

Monday, January 25, 2010

Turn, Or Burn ... the Issue of Repentance

My father has been fighting for visitation rights over the past couple months, and the judge recently ruled in his favor. Mandated by the court system, Taylor and I are now forced to visit one who has hurt us so deeply.

Our Dad has always been dangerous. Emotionally, and at times physically. Not only is the idea of spending so much time with him inconvienient and upsetting, but it's also frightening. He's a scary scary scary person! Thankfully, there is a court appointed supervisor to oversee the visits ... if not for that, I don't know what I would do.

Our most recent visit with him (our second since he won visitation priviledges), was held at a local Denny's. Taylor and I didn't order breakfast ... we weren't hungry. We just sat there. He started off the conversation by asking us flippant questions about school and even about our braces. He wanted to avoid, at all costs, having to discuss what he's done to the family. Somehow, I was able to ask him a question ... I asked, "Dad ... what does a relationship with us look like, from your perspective?" I wanted to know if he truly wanted reconciliation. "Well Lauren, right now, it looks like forced visits through the court." He said it very coldly. I turned away from him and just looked out the window. This doesn't seem like a man who wants to love his children.
I went on to tell him that we were scared of being with him, and Tay and I didn't want to see him. I begged him to stop forcing us. He replied, "Lauren, I really don't care ... This decision isn't up to you." Stone cold.
The week before, when we had our last visitation with him, I gave him my Bible. I outlined it with several verses, hoping that the Word would convict him. Hebrews 4:19 says: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." However at Denny's that morning, I was disappointed.
"You know Lauren. I was reading your bible and came across a verse on how we shouldn't judge other people ...."
He went on and on then about how I was judging him and how no one can know if he's repentant for all the things he's done to his family (theft, adultery, and countless other hurts) except for God. He preached for a while, and I didn't say anything. But he went on and on about how he can have a vertical relationship with God, one that is repentant, that on a horizontal level people can't see. This was shocking to me, and completely unbiblical! Romans 12:18 says, "as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men." My Dad has never even asked for my forgiveness.

Turn, or burn. The title of this post is very ... honest. Unless we turn from our sins, and repent of them, man can never enter into the kingdom of heaven. One of the most famous verses in the Bible, Galations 5:22 says: The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. The fruit of the Spirit! Just as an apple grows from a tree, these characteristics will necessarily grow from a heart watered and fed with the Spirit of God. If there is no fruit, there is no Spirit.

I used to live in a house on a 7 acre piece of property. In the backyard, there was a huge, beautiful pond. Skipping rocks was always one of my favorite past-times with Taylor! We had contests for who could find the smoothest rocks, who could skip more times, and who's went the farthest. No matter how we threw the stones - there was ALWAYS a ripple. It is impossible to throw a stone into a pond without some after-effect! The same principle applies to Christianity. We honor God because we want to, and that vertical relationship has a ripple effect horizontally.

I love my Dad so much ... and I want him to turn, not burn. I pray for his salvation always ... And it is true that I can never truly know the condition of his heart. However, a believer is known by their actions. Repentance isn't just the empty words "I'm sorry", but actions that ask, "what can I do to restore us?"

Until we see that from our Dad, we cease to have one. True love doesn't put others through the things he has put us through. We ask you all for your prayers, that God will wake him up and help him to repent, that one day we might have a Dad again. That is our hope! However, for now ... we rely on God to be that Father. He is the best parent ... a perfect one.

~Lauren Lee

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Certainty in a Bunch of IDKs

“When I’m old, will I be rich?”

“Outcome uncertain.”

“Will I die and go to heaven in the next 10 seconds?”

“Cannot Determine At This Time.”

10 Seconds Later.

I chucked the small, black 8 ball across the room. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’re about to do something risky? Say, singing in front of a group of people, giving a speech, or stepping outside the norm? This was one of those times. Only this feeling wasn’t derived from a sense of self-consciousness. To put it frankly, I didn’t care how others saw me. At that moment, I would have sung “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in front of Brad Pitt without caring. The emotion I had was one of insecurity … and the thought running through my immature, shallow brain was: “somebody, kill me.”

I remember the day well. It was just a week or so after my dad left. I was depressed, unhappy, and really grumpy. So I sat in the corner of my room – not taking advantage of my cozy bed or fluffy chairs. No … I wouldn’t turn to any of my electronics, animals, or food sources for comfort … I just sat there, in the deepest corner I could find, and put my head in my hands.

I've heard kids describe the feeling as “wanting to pull their hair out.” Only I felt like that to the extreme!!! But I can’t describe it that way because, quite frankly, I see my hair as a prized possession.

So I’ll describe it in a different way: I felt like giving up.

Or at least my feelings were pretty close to that. Although the idea of actually taking my own life was simply horrifying, the whole concept of “having it over with” seemed appealing compared to my [then] current mental state.

You see, as my parents were contemplating divorce, and my dad was making provisions for himself elsewhere, my mom, sister and I didn’t know what we were going to do. Everything was uncertain. My dad would always say, in that odd tone that I had come to know all too well: “Everything’s going to be alright in the end.”


But reality still existed. And I felt alone, abandon, and unloved. Uncertainty hit me like a ton of bricks, sitting there in that corner.

Where were we going to move too? What would I tell my friends? Sheesh, this is embarrassing. Does this mean I can’t go shopping anymore? Well, duh, Lauren. So many questions ran through my head. And this "poor me" mentality couldn’t handle it all.

Thus I sat in the corner, with an 8-ball in my hand. And it wasn’t giving me any answers. Obviously, even my little fortune telling friend was all mixed up.

So I attempted to answer my own questions:

"Will dad ever turn around?"

…. I don’t know.”

“Will we get to keep all our stuff …

…. I don’t know.”

“all my friends have fathers ... What will my life be like without one?" …

… I don’t know ….

See a pattern? I do. “I don’t knows” were invading my life. Everything I was – and was known for, was suddenly an “IDK” (Texting language for “I don’t know”, for all you non tech people out there).

My self-confidence had gone down the tubes. I felt like I could never be confident again. My family was torn apart, my social life was becoming more and more complicated, and I was sitting in the corner for 1, 2, going on 3 hours.

Just so I don’t leave you all hanging, I did get out of the corner. My butterfly-infested stomach eventually led me to the kitchen and I think I ate some granola bars or something.

But the feeling continued. Day in and day out, constant insecurity. Finally, I changed. And I would learn to adapt. In fact, I don’t think I adapted on my own. Someone Else adapted me. He adapted me. And as this blog grows, you will be able to read the story of how that happened.

Standing there, His arms were open wide. Right when I was sitting in a corner thinking about death, there He was in his fullness, a picture of life. Right when my 8-ball was reading “Ask Again Later,” there He was, ready to answer all my questions.

There He was. Certain and unmoved.

God was the one being I could put my entire trust into. He would never change. Christ was the one solid truth to which I clung - my Father, when I didn't have one! He was my certainty amidst a bunch of IDKs.

~Lauren Lee :)


Nehemiah 9:17: But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding insteadfast love ...

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Post Ever! :)

First post ever! This is exciting! If you've read the "About Us" section you know a little about Taylor and I. We are Daughters of a Heavenly Father and trust him as our true Daddy. But ... what led us to this point? What happened, that my sister and I now find ourselves ready to share our experiences and thoughts with you?

A little over a year ago, our world came crashing down.
My earthly father was found out to have been involved in absolutely detestable things such as embezzlement, adultery, and fraud ... all these being long-term patterns hidden by him throughout my parents marriage - all of this unknown to my trusting and faithful Mom. The story is long to tell, and as Tay and I continue writing you will no doubt learn more about the details. However, to explain briefly ... My fathers lies and deception (to this very day) have hurt us deeply. When he refused to repent and continued to harm us emotionally and at times physically, separation was inevitable and he left us ... completely abandon, homeless, and alone. Until just about a month ago when he decided to fight in court for visitation rights, he hadn't even called me once since he left.
My Dad was sadly so good at manipulating people that even some of our closest friends turned against my Mom, sister and I. Our church there for a while was also caught up in the web he had woven ... and even now there are people in our church who refuse to see the truth. The lies from my Dad kept coming ... and the situation kept building. It happened so quickly! Everything seemed to pile on me at once.

For a long time, I stood still. It's a little like standing in the middle of a hurricane, but doing nothing. Or seeing a tornado come spinning at you, yet - not doing anything to protect yourself. A disaster had come upon me bigger than anything I had ever had to face before, and I was so shocked that I just stood there ... ready to let the whirlwind of the situation consume me. Now that it has been a year since the start of the storm, I've been able to come around and realize that complacency won't help anything. Now that we're not having to live with friends and (YAY!) have a house of our own and now are able to attain some level of normalcy, there really is no excuse not to get back on the wagon. Even if it just means starting a blog, or helping more at church, or grieving with others who grieve ... I need to be proactive instead of hiding away while the tempest persists! :) It is SO, so easy to sit back and excuse yourself from reaching out to others ... especially when you yourselves are in less than comfortable circumstances. It's like we put ourselves in our own little "protection bubble" that all of a sudden allows us to live for ourselves whenever we feel put down, or hurt. That is the idea behind this blog my sister and I were doing. We sat down one day and knew we needed to do something. We couldn't let these hard times with my Dad go to waste ... we couldn't stay inside our bubbles. God is on a mission through it all ... He has a plan, He knows how this is all going to end ... and He wants His children to go out and shine His light even when winds are blowing.

Lord, send me!

So this is just the beginning ... starting this blog for my friends, for my extended family ... who I know wonder, "where is Lauren through all of this?" "How is she handling it?" "What is going through her head????" Now you'll know :) And Tay should be writing up a post here in the next day or so, and the same types of questions she will seek to answer as well. I pray the Lord will use my sister and I and bless the things we write here ... that your hearts may be encouraged. :)

~Lauren Lee

Romans 8:28: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
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