Did you know it's Father's Day?
If you are a Facebook junkie, like myself, then there is no way you can miss the fact. 9 out of every 10 posts are about Father's Day, and how fabulous of a father or husband my friends have. And I am glad for them... I think. I am glad there are those that have great father's that they get along with. I am glad there are those that have wonderful husbands that make great fathers. I am glad that there are children who have wonderful fathers to look up to.
Unfortunately I am not really one of those people. I have a father, who did his best, and I am thankful for the sacrifices he made for us. My children have a father that is worth little more than the sperm he donated. He has done, at best, equal parts good and horrible in our lives. We do have a Heavenly Father that loves us beyond comprehension, but to me EVERY day is Father's Day for that father. On the home front, I am mom and dad and everything that comes in between, so this day, once a year, is kind of like salt in the wound to me. I pray daily for a role model for my children, for Godly man to walk through life with, for the fulfillment of God's promises, but for now, it' just us!
But this year my heart is totally burdened on this Father's Day.
I want to take a second to share that burden with you, and ask you to commit to pray over it with me.
In my time here are Children's Hospital Oakland my eyes have been truly opened to a horrible problem in our society. A problem I knew of before, but I never felt at a heart level before. A problem I want to shine a light on, call out of the darkness, and ask my brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray with me over. I can't explain to you how in the midst of our own journey through the storm my heart has been burdened for another group of children, but it totally is.
We are here at Children's Oakland because of a health issue that Nathaniel has. It is a trial and a storm for us, but it is something that NO ONE caused, it just is. And as much as it hurts my heart that our whole family has to go through this, it is just one of those journey's in life. But some people are here on journeys BECAUSE OF others. This week God has been introducing me to situations that break my heart. I have time and time again run into children here BECAUSE of their fathers. And that is a concept that I can't wrap my mind around. There are two stories I want to share with you.
*please excuse my horrible pronouns... I want to protect these kids as much as possible.. so they are its... but they are SO NOT its in real life. They are children with stories, lives and passions.*
One family we have had contact with over and over again is here because of a horrible accident. An accident where a 10 year old child was playing on the roof of a building while under the supervision of its father. The father KNEW the child was playing up there, and was inside watching TV while the child played. The child fell off of the roof, hit their head hard enough to give itself a traumatic brain injury and laid there for Lord knows how long before the father found the child. That child was taken to medical care (there is a question of how quickly that transport happened, the stories differ between the parties involved) where the child actually died in the ER. The medical team was able to resuscitate the child after 10 minutes! Oh my. Now the child has had multiple brain surgeries and is learning how to live all over again. A 10 year old child. A child who was running, and playing, and laughing and LIVING just before the accident. An accident which could have possibly been prevented by firmer boundaries, an accident who's severity could have possibly been less with proper supervision and attention to timely medical attention. Now I see this sweet little one, and the rest of the family trying to come to terms with the consequences of this accident. And it is HARD. And this child will FOREVER be changed by this situation. My heart goes out to all of them.
That story number one has a happy ending compared to another story God has shown me.
While at the family house the other day I came across a man crying over his bible. An older man. With tears of agony. Being a believing and compassionate sister myself, I asked him if there was anything I could do for him. He told me he had been asking God for someone to pour his story out to, that no one wanted to hear it. So I turned my listening ears on, and asked God to give me strength. Little did I know how much strength it would take....
This man was a grandpa, and he was here supporting his daughter and her child. It seems that his daughter had this child with a not so nice man. The child is young, very young (like less than a year). It seems that the mother had second thoughts after she got pregnant and didn't want the child's father involved in the child's life. As happens so often, they ended up in court. The court didn't see the same danger that the mother did and granted the parents joint custody. On the FIRST unsupervised visit the child's father had with the child, the father severely beat the child. As this child's grandpa poured out his story all I could do was pray for strength to keep listening as tears poured down my face and my heart broke.
The grandpa showed me pictures of a PURE, INNOCENT ANGEL. The child was so beautiful before this evilness happened. Then the grandpa asked my permission to show me pictures of the child now. I stared this interaction asking what HE needed, so how could I at this point say no, if what he needed was to share the whole story? So I gulped big, prayed hard and looked at some ABSOLUTELY evil images. My heart shattered. This man I had JUST met and I sobbed together for the hand of evil in this world. And we just laid it at the throne of Jesus. What else could we do? Grandpa shared with me that the medical team had just broken the heart shattering news that this angel would be dying very soon. There is just no more human physicians can do for this child, the injuries are too sever and the damage too far gone. So this grandpa and his daughter are now walking the road of saying an earthly goodbye to their angel, all because of evilness in this world. Really, what could be worse? I just can't comprehend it.
After this interaction I asked God what I could do with this information. Yes, being a listener and praying for this family is important, but I really sensed that God wanted me to do MORE with these stories, and all of the other stories he has shown me while I am here. And honestly, I still don't know the full answer. But I do know that I can share my heart break and beg you to pray with me.
Pray for the children of OUR world, OUR country, OUR states, OUR counties and even OUR TOWNS who don't have TRUE parents (because it really can go both ways).
Pray for mothers and fathers everywhere to step up and recognize the GIFTS they were given in their children.
Pray for fathers to be men of God and show love, compassion and understanding to their children. That they may stand in the gap between evil and their children.
Pray for mothers to be women of God, to show love, compassion and understanding to their children. That they may always protect their children from the evil of the world.
Pray for protectors of children everywhere to have their eyes open to the evil around them. That they might realize the evil before it damages children. That they may be able to bridge the gap and PROTECT children.
Pray for the families devastated over the touch of evilness on their children.
Pray for our courts to better discern what is safe for children.
And pray PROTECTION of children from the evil one.
On this day when we celebrate fathers, lets take a moment to pray for those without real fathers too.
This is the burden of my heart today.
This is where my prayers will be today, and for many to come.
Won't you join me?