To Read on the Journey

Friday, March 12, 2010


i usually crack jokes about it.

i don't know why i do this.

i think because it's such an uncomfortable thing to say, and i imagine an uncomfortable thing to hear.

so i crack jokes.

and when i do the other party laughs.

and that uncomfortable feeling-sorry-for-me moment seems gone.

but today i'm not going to joke about it.

beth moore says, " you can't amputate your history from your destiny." she is right. i've tried to sever limbs from my story, but God doesn't allow it (how i've wished he would). However, He causes me to live with my wounded limbs- my wounded history.

He wants to, and He does, REDEEM it.

so here it goes...

i've had 7 dads.

(long awkward pause)

joe- is my birth dad. he didn't claim me as his daughter until last year. he was a drug user for 25+ years. he is lives in a state hospital, he is paranoid schizophrenic.
he taught me how to throw a frisbee. he bought me my first car -it was a yellow convertible with pedals. he ducked taped it back together when it fell apart. he liked working on cars.

kenny (k-2nd)- was my first step-dad. i called him daddy. had his last name. he introduced me to jesus. made me a teeter-totter. he put a swing in the tree of our front yard. he'd push me so high my toes reached heaven. after he and my mom divorced he took my sister and i to columbia state park. that day meant a lot to me (columbia is still one of my favorite places to visit). i found a large fools gold rock with him that day. it is 28 years later and i still have that big rock.

manny (3-5th)- my mother was engaged to him. he was a quiet man. kind. he played guitar. he'd sit by my bed side at bedtime with his guitar and sing a song he wrote. i don't remember much else about manny, but this is a lovely thing to remember.

mike (5th-8th)- i called him dad. had his last name. he loved sports. taught me how to throw a football. coached my softball team. took my sister and i to the park, and made us learn how to slide into home base. he was a hard worker. had a lively family. he got us a basset hound, his name was mork. mike smelled like cocoa beans (he worked at the hershey factory).

tim (8th to Jr. year)- he was engaged to my mom. he never tried to be my dad. i liked that. he was a dreamer. he talked to me, listened, cared. once, i showed him a picture of a loft bed in a magazine, he surprised me by making that bed for me (he didn't sand it. he didn't measure the space between the mattress and the ceiling. i'd have to shimmy up the wall to get into bed, then lay flat on my back with my nose to the ceiling. this still makes me laugh). tim still calls me twice a year. he calls on my birthday in the fall, and again in the spring. it means a lot to me that he kept his commitment to be a part of my life.

larry (Jr. year -19)- my mom married him my jr. year of high school. he was stable. had a jolly laugh. he was a hard worker. he too didn't try to be my dad ( a good thing). he provided us with a beautiful home. he liked and built cars. my 65 ford falcon looked good parked next to his 34 ford cabriolet. we had a bartering system-he'd fix my car, and i'd pay by mowing the lawn.

steve (20-present)- hard worker. calls me "kiddo," loves and delights in my kids. i like to watch him worship.

i've had 7 dads.

i can't amputate them from my story.

there is much ache as a result of having seven dads that i have not shared.
just having 7 dads come and go brings enough ache of it's own.

i love each of them.

and i have mourned the loss of each of them.

this weekend i will go to a memorial service and mourn the loss of one of them again, mike passed away.

there is daddy whose loss i will never mourn.
God is the "Everlasting Father" (Isaiah 9:6)
a Father who will "never leave me or forsake me."
His love is unconditional and immeasurable!
He rewrites my story, redeems my life, and tells a better story.


Home's Where My Heart Is said...

Denise, God has done such a beautiful work in you. I love how you love Jesus. When I read your blog and look at your pictures, I see His love. Thank you for being so real, my friend.

Praying for peace and comfort tomorrow as you attend the memorial service and in the days that follow when you remember.


togetherforgood said...

I wish I could give you a huge hug right now. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Michelle said...

I'm sorry that your going through this pain. I pray that God guide you this weekend and give you his Strength and Peace. I too know what it is like to have had so many "Dads." I don't think parents ever realize how it affects their children until we are old enough to tell them.

I'm glad to see that most of your "Dads" were supportive.

Linda Z said...

Oh, Denise... I am not laughing, but I am stunned. And I am in tears for the girl who grew up mourning the losses of so many dads and the woman who carries that past with her. But I know that all of those dads are a part of the beautiful woman that you are today.

I thought about the book of Joel as a promise for you... because your Heavenly Father does repay what "the locusts have eaten." I see your family now, and the heritage you are leaving your children and it is amazing. And Michael seems pretty amazing, too! :)

I am taking Josh and his classmates to Columbia in April... I'm going to think of you and Kenny and that special day! :)

Heart2Heart said...


I am truly sorry for the lose of one of your fathers who had an impact in your life. I am so thankful that like you we share the one Eternal Father who will never die so this is not a form of grief we have to experience with Him. My thoughts and prayers are with you this weekend!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Simply Sara said...

Denise, you are so very beautiful and this was so beautifully written.
Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing yourself, I too wish I could give you a big hug right now!
There are things that I want to amputate from my past too, and yet I know that they are a part of me. A part of who I am now. I can see how God can take the ugly and make it beautiful, for His glory.

May our perfect Father wrap His strong arms around you and hold you while you grieve. May His peace surround you. May you be overwhelmed in knowing today even more than ever that your perfect Daddy has walked each step with you and is holding you now.

Love you friend!

The Writer Chic said...

Oh wow, Denise. What a powerful post. I'm in awe of the grace with which you told this part of your story. I'll be praying for you during this fresh time of mourning.

Lynn said...

What an amazing post full of grace. It's vulnerable and honest. It's amazing that you are able to find kind words for every one of them.

God has done such an amazing work in you.

Alana said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, friend. I really love the BUT in that post, though. So thankful for that. Love and peace to you.

denise said...

Sweet Denise - I never know what treasures I'll find when I visit your blog, but I love what I've discovered here. Thank you.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Erin said...

Wow, Denise! What a hard story. Thank you for sharing & telling about the beautiful thread you are able to see woven through all your years & all your dads.
God does redeem!