And yet, when that little girl grew up and became a Mama herself - she determined in her heart that she would break that cycle of dysfunction. She told herself that her children would never have to guess if they were loved by her or not. They would never have to wonder, and they would always know. And she did it. She intentionally raised her kids in a home where the words, "I love you" were freely spoken and received, and where - though perfect she was not - they never ever once doubted their Mama's love for them.
Grace poured out.
And I know this Daddy who lost his own in that pivotal stage of life - when he was just a too young boy himself. And so he grew up into manhood never seeing the husband/wife love and relationship lived out on a daily basis at home, never having the ear of a father to hear his hurts and his fears, and never really getting to see and watch - to listen and to learn - what a healthy day to day husband and father should look like in a home and with a family.
And yet, when that little boy grew up and became a husband and a Daddy himself - he determined in his heart that he would never intentionally leave his family. He would trust the Heavenly Bridegroom to teach him what a loving and faithful husband should look like....and He would love his babies with abandon. He would listen to their hurts and fears, and he would be there for them always and forever no matter what. And so far, that's exactly what he has done.
Grace poured out.
And I know these handfuls of other boy-men who actually did grow up in homes with their Fathers...yet, these weren't Daddies who were present. And they weren't Fathers who knew how to teach their sons how to grow up to be "real men." By their Daddy's actions, the boys read that they weren't loved, and by their Daddy's lifestyle, the boys felt like they didn't matter. And, so now they are grown up men - with the pressures of all of the world weighing heavy on their own shoulders....and yet, deep down inside they are still little boys with hearts bleeding raw. Boy-men, who needed their Daddies then...and who still so desperately need them now...
And boy-men who need to see and to experience that God-grace pressed down and poured out.
Over-flowing and in abundance to heal all of those heart hurts.
And maybe those growing older Daddies need that God-grace, too.
Maybe they need to see and experience redemption. And forgiveness. And mercy shown to them, as well.
And I know these handfuls of girls who are trying so desperately to become women - but they have for so long let culture and society define "womanhood" for them - that they honestly have no idea what a true woman should even look like. One who deserves respect and dignity, and one who can - and who should - have high expectations and standards for a man, because that's what a woman deserves. Yet, these girls, instead, continue to choose from the bottom of the barrel, they continue to exchange sex in the hopes of getting true love in return, and they over and over again have their hearts broken by boy after boy after boy...and are left perpetually wondering: "What is wrong with Me?"
Women -- insecure and unloved little girl-women -- who so very desperately need to see and to experience that God-grace pressed down and poured out. Over-flowing and in abundance to heal all of those heart hurts. And maybe all of those breaking-hearts boys need to see that God-grace, too. Maybe they need to know what a real man looks like...and maybe they need the love of an Abba-Father to show honest and real love to their hurting hearts, too...
Because then what happens when these bleeding boy-men and these searching girl-women find each other and try to make a go at a life together -- in a world that today will do everything within its power to make their newfound relationship crash and burn before it even gets off the ground?
Then that God-grace will be needed two-fold.
Two broken people making a go at living life together...and who both have still raw scars...
And I know these husbands who live life daily - worried about how they will provide for their ever-growing family, concerned about how to keep their bills out of the red, and living life defeated because day after day after day they go to a job that sucks them dry and that drains them out -- yet, for the love of their family, and for the weight of the world of responsibility that rests squarely on their ever stooping shoulders....at least for now, they see no other way. There is no light at the end of their tunnels...
And I know these wives who live life daily -- dying on the vine -- either having buried themselves so deeply in their husband's world or in this whirling life of "motherhood," that somehow, many years ago they lost themselves, and when they look in the mirror today - they don't even recognize the reflection staring back at them. There are some who are craving and desperately begging for babies of their own. Ones who live for the day when they will feel the stretching and the growing - that birthing of themselves into motherhood. And then, there are some who are so deeply entrenched in the thick of mothering that most days they can't see which way is up and which way is down...Mama's who would give anything to really and truly, honestly, raw and ugly be able to share their struggles and their frustrations; their fears and their achings --- without anyone ever judging...
...And I also know these Mamas who would give anything to have just one more day of crazy...to live just one more day with their babies...because all of a sudden, in one life-changing moment, their Love was taken....and now they will be forever changed and left with a forever hole that can't ever be replaced...
Husbands and wives. Mothers and fathers - who are barely hanging on.
Men who are boys and women who are still little girls - lost and alone; and completely torn up inside.
Marriages that are threatening to implode because life. is. just. too. much.
And relationships that once were flourishing that are now teetering on the brink of death.
People everywhere who are daily walking wounded, with smiles pasted on while their hearts are bleeding out and while their guts are twisted wild. People brushing shoulders with the masses -- with most who carry similar, if not the very same wounds -- and yet people who so desperately believe that they are all alone.
And we live this way day after day, year after year...
Because, maybe we were never taught how or "Who" to trust...
Maybe, in our hearts, we believe the ugly lie that God is asleep at the wheel...and that He is not safe.
Maybe we have been hurt one time too many, and we refuse to open up to anyone ever again.
Oh, how God's grace is needed in our lives....
That pressed down, poured out, over-flowing God-grace in this world that is swirling with pain and with heartache.
Because this world is not our Home.
And the end of Our Story is not yet written.
And, Satan does. not. win.
And the God of Heaven - He came down.
And because, Sunday is Easter.
The Day that sin and pain and death were conquered.
And the Day that Jesus won.
If we know Him.
If we trust Him.
If we give up, and if we give in.
But, maybe just not today...
And maybe not for many tomorrows, either...
But Easter is the promise.
And in the meantime, we watch and we wait.
We groan and we yearn.
And while there are no easy answers - we can watch with eager expectation.
We can wait for Him to "show up."
We can expect the God of resurrection to heal us.
We can expect Him to restore us.
And we can know that He can redeem us.
And, also - in the meantime...we can walk alongside.
We can breathe for others when they themselves cannot.
We can be that "safe" someone and that shoulder to cry on.
We can be the tangible hands of hope and the heart of Christ....
...until that one day when He takes us HOME...