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Hidden in Plain Sight...


Hey there… so as I continue this journey to wholeness, I have been peeling back the layers of the onion getting to the root of my perpetual feelings of unworthiness. As previously mentioned, my perception of God as a loving father had been limited to the realities of my relationship with my earthly father. For most of my life, I have felt cheated and sad when other’s talk about having father’s that protected them, provided for them, would jump in a car to come to their rescue no matter the circumstance, were proud of them (even in their failures/mistakes), and set a standard for how they should be treated in a romantic relationship.


I couldn’t wrap my mind around that level of security and dependability because unfortunately my father provided none of those things. I often referred to him as Santa Clause because he would show up with expensive gifts once or twice a year but was not present when it mattered. Further, having also been abused by him, I lacked that sense of safety and security that we desperately desire. I watched him both physically and verbally abuse my mother and IF I ever heard that he was proud of me, it was through a third party when he wasn’t present. So, it’s not hard to understand why I would struggle in this area.


HOWEVER, I’ve been reading Pastor Steven Furtick’s new book, “Do the New You” and one of the mindsets he talks about is that “God always gives you what you need in the season that you’re in.” Well, I could accept that concept in most areas except for this one, until this week. On my long drives to work in the morning, I often talk to my mom on the phone and on this morning, she shared a conversation that she had with one of her brothers. She shared that they had concluded that they had practically raised themselves because their father was not dependable or emotionally available to them. Yet, we also talked about her Uncle Leonard, who lived next door that she was blessed to have in her life. He stood in the gap and gave her and her brothers the things that their father could not.


As the conversation continued, I too shared that I was grateful for the men that my sons have in their lives that stand in the gap in their areas of need, but I didn’t speak about myself. Late that night, in my prayer time, I thanked God for all the ways He stood in the gap for my boys through my messy marriage and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had the NERVE to part my lips to ask God who was that person for me. It was like the scales fell off my eyes.


When I was five years old, my mother entered a relationship with who eventually became my stepfather. His name was Manuel, but in later years we all lovingly referred to him as Pop Pop. When I was a child, I saw him as my mother’s boyfriend and then my mother’s husband, not my father. For many reasons he was the right partner for my mother, but until now I never saw him as a gift from God for ME. Looking back, I was so rebellious and argumentative that I know I gave them both the blues, so I didn’t realize that what I was craving from someone who couldn’t give it to me, was right there all along hidden in plain sight.


I asked God to remind me of all the things that I gained from that relationship. Here are just a few highlights…


  • He taught me how to play the flute, how to roller skate, ice skate, ski, and wind surf. (Yep, black people windsurfing… go figure).

  • He bought us a boat and taught me the value of relaxation and that there is a time and place to both work hard and play hard.

  • He taught me how to write. I dreaded his red pen messing up all my school papers until I mastered grammar and written expression.

  • He taught me how to change my own tire and oil in my car so as a woman, I would never be helpless on the side of the road.

  • He taught me about financial responsibility and how to plan and save for the future.

  • He taught me how to stand up for myself eloquently and articulately when injustices occurred and to always be bold enough to stand up for what’s right.

  • He fought to protect me by confronting my now ex-husband when he saw the red flags early on, yet helped to pay for my wedding and supported my family until his death and never once said I told you so.

  • Although he was the king of practicality, he supported me when I took big risks like moving to New York city by myself with no street smarts in my 20’s or starting a nonprofit organization with no experience and even less money in my 30’s, but he patiently taught me what I needed to know along the way.

  • He demonstrated fidelity and commitment in his marriage to my mother.

  • And… he was the proudest Pop Pop on the planet to my two sons. There was nothing they could do wrong in his eyes, and he showed them unconditional love and support. He even made a book of their greatest hits… a collection of his favorite things that they’d said as kids and things that they’d done that brought him pride and joy. He passed on his love of boating and playing musical instruments to them as well.


I could go on and on, but as these memories were brought back to my attention, I realized that I had been given a real personal example of all the things I felt I couldn’t receive from God. For 40+ years I had the love of a father that had no obligation to do so, and I couldn’t see it because I refused to accept him, while I was focused on the relationship I didn’t have with my biological father. Although it saddens me that many of those years, he didn’t get to reap the benefits of my gratitude, towards the end of his life, I hope that I honored him in all the ways that showed him how loved and appreciated he truly was by me and my boys.


This message is twofold. First, we must recognize the blessings and resources that God provides in each season of our lives and second, this is proof that in what I considered the most painful and broken area of my life, God did NOT let me down. I can be grateful for my father’s love at the capacity that he could provide it, as well as the love I received from my bonus father who made up the difference.


One of Pop Pop’s documented favorite conversations with my oldest son when he was in preschool when asked, “Quentin what did you learn today?” He answered, “Math… you know, one stuff plus another stuff equals some more stuff…” In this case that math is mathing perfectly and I am forever changed by this revelation.


I have spent my whole life believing that I had to earn the love, protection and provision from both God and man but that’s a big fat LIE. He loves me and takes care of me because I am HIS and that’s all I have to say about that! 😊

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