Today is my man's birthday!
And as Salt and Peppa said, "What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man." Truly, I feel so blessed to have him as a partner.
But I promise this isn't going to be a "barfy" blog all about my rosy life and how I have the most perfect partner ever. That would be lame and untrue. No one is perfect and life is not always rosy. AND YET.... this will be a blog about how good God is and how grateful I am to be partnered with someone who has helped me heal from a tremendous amount of pain.
Fatherhood is Powerful
When Glenn and I first started talking over the interwebs four years ago, one of the first things that drew me to him was how seriously he took his fatherhood. The love he had for his children and his desire to see them be strong, functional, God-fearing human beings left such a strong impression on me, I knew that if we were ever blessed with babies of our own they would be in very good hands. They would be loved as Christ calls us to love.
This criteria—this sacrificial love demonstrated toward a child—was something I had prayed for in a partner for so long. I wasn't sure if I would get it. And perhaps you are reading this and thinking, "Duh, everyone wants their partner to love their child. That's a given." And I would agree, it should be a given, but that's not always our lived experience. It certainly wasn't mine.
Happy Birthday to my Abuser
As some of you may know my father did not love me or my family with sacrificial love. Not at all, not even a little bit.
I sit here and type this blog on the eve of my husband's birthday, October 2, but this date also happens to be my dad's birthday. The closeness in these two dates has caused me tremendous anxiety and confusion over the last few years. Every year I gear up to celebrate the life of one of the kindest men I know, all the while wrestling over whether or not I should reach out to my father—one of the meanest men I've known—and acknowledge his birth. His life and how he chose to live it, have left me marred, feeling unworthy for too long.
I'll confess, some years I acknowledged him and some years I didn't. It's always hard on the abused to know how to relate to their abuser, yes?
But this year I don't have that wrestling match. This year.... I sit at my computer, write a blog and weep; going through another wave of grief over my dad's passing this July 4.
My dad, my abuser, is dead. Have my pain and trauma died with him? I'm not sure.
But I wanna go back to the waves of grief. Goodness. Lord knows I bawled my eyes out (surprisingly) on July 4 when I got the call at 7:00 a.m. from the East Coast that my dad had died. Alone. Unseen. Literally left for dead, outside. No one should die that way. No one. And I wouldn't wish his death circumstances on my worst enemy. Sheesh—I don't think I have worst enemies and if anyone would be that for me it would be him. :: Daddy, I would never wish that death on you and I am sorry that you died that way. Not even you, in all your brokenness and mess, deserved to die alone and unseen. I wish I could have held your hand and looked at you to say that I forgive you, even though you have never once asked for it. ::
I am bawling at my computer, y'all. Shaking with pain.
But the pain—death—is really not the point of this blog, a blog that is celebrating the life—the joy—of my husband! I just wanted to give you a picture of why these two dates, back to back, are hard for me. Today, this year, this season, these dates are particularly hard in a whole new way. I guess I wanna honor both lives. Even the former life has always left me bereft and confused. So happy birthday, dad....
But This is Not the End
Two days ago I shared this confusion with my sister. I confessed to her how I hate this timing. I hate that dad's birthday comes before Glenn's. I hate feeling reminded and tormented on the eve of my man's bday. She quickly pointed out to me something that I had journaled about earlier in the day, but still clearly didn't understand: It's a gift from God that my dad's birthday comes first and Glenn's comes after.
:: It symbolizes the redemption that God always grants us after the pain. ::
It is remarkable to me that the two most significant men in my life were born one right after the other for they couldn't be more opposite. Glenn has been the counter to every dark deed of my dad. Where my dad never gave love, Glenn gives love more abundantly. Where my dad never delighted in me, Glenn delights to delight in me. Where my dad never showed up for me, Glenn always shows up. Where my dad never helped me, Glenn helps me in all things. You guys, I could go on and on. And, again, I am not saying my partner is perfect, but he is and has been my kinsman redeemer. Where my father failed me, literally dropped out of my life leaving me without an inheritance, Glenn stepped in and picked up the mantle.
What (the Heck) is a Kinsman Redeemer?
For those of you who have made it through my blog thus far—through all the pain and biblical references—a kinsman redeemer is a commandment God gives to the Israelites in the book of Leviticus. It's the action of stepping in for your brother, your family, and ensuring that their bloodline, their land, their hope isn't taken from them due to tragedy, but is restored to it's rightful intention, function, and purpose. It's a beautiful concept. It's what the book of Ruth is all about.
This concept of a kinsman redeemer—this reclamation—has been most powerfully seen in my life through my husband. Have I done the work in my life to heal my father wounds? Absolutely! Was I still a whole, worthy, and beautiful person before I met Glenn—MOST DEF. I am not saying Glenn has completed my personhood. I am saying that Glenn exemplifies God's lovingkindness toward me. How? God delights to always go one step further than what we can ask or imagine. He wasn't going to just settle for healing my pain. No. God decided to reverse my pain through Glenn's love. And for that I say, "Thank you, LORD!"
Happy Birthday to my Kinsman Redeemer!
Glenn, happy birthday. :) You are a mighty good man.
Thank you for the ways you redeem and cover me and my life experience. Thank you for loving me as Christ loved the church. Thank you for daily exemplifying that divine mystery to me. I friggin' love being your partner in crime—you are too silly and fun. I love watching you parent and be a rock star daddy to our kids. I pray and hope that one day we will have a baby of our own for you to love. I love watching you show kindness to all my friends. I love your heart of faith and your adventurous spirit! Thank you for loving me bravely when my father couldn't. I was a stranger to you and you took me in. He was blood to me and he shut me out. Thank you for being the real thing to my dad's counterfeit.
In a world where a good man is truly hard to find, in a world where men's sins are continuously coming out into the light, I just wanna shine the light on a man who is the opposite of #metoo. He is the very reversal of my #metoo daddy. Good men still exist. For girls like me with some extremely painful parts, this is amazing news. For any woman, this is good news! I am grateful and humbled to be married to a good man who brings my heart deep peace. This blog is for you, Wachter, and if only you read it, that's good enough for me. xoxo.
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y, G W W! I love you, CBBG ::