Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day Proposals

When I woke up, Mary informed me that today is a very special day, leap day. She said that on leap day I can propose to a man... I am not sure if she told me this to encourage the action or not, but I googled it and wikipedia says she is right....

"There is a tradition that women may make a proposal of marriage to men only in leap years, further restricted in some cases to only February 29. There is a tradition that in 1288 the Scottish parliament under Queen Margaret legislated that any woman could propose in Leap Year; few parliament records of that time exist, and none concern February 29.[1] Another component of this tradition was that if the man rejects the proposal, he should soften the blow by providing a kiss, one pound currency, and a pair of gloves (some later sources say a silk gown). There were similar notions in France and Switzerland."
I am not sure if there is a hint being dropped, I know that she wants all of us girls, including her daughter and myself to marry amazing men, as soon as possible... but I am not sure where to go with this leap day thing!

Although I am not sure that I will propose to someone today (unless I bump into Ryan Seacrest),I am excited that today is Friday! Pastor Chris and Pastor Farai are on an airplane right now, on their way to LAX and I cannot wait to have a little bit of home in Huntington Beach.
I have been feeling a little out of sorts the past couple of days, nothing bad. I am definately still noticing the amazing difference that I felt when I returned from Michigan last month, however I do feel in the deep part of my soul, that I am aching for Zim. I am aching for the hot sun and the red sand, I am aching for Ndebele and Shona and chamolia and sadza.

I am aching to wake up and see this, out of my window!

But today I get my pastors. The 2 men that have over the past two and a half years have raised me up, set me straight and loved me into the woman I am today. All the glory goes to God, but it is important to know that these men have worked hard!!

I hope that while they are here, you get to meet them. Tonight they will be here:

MC Originals Studio Show February 29th, 2008 - 6Pm to 12 Midnight
MC Originals Studio
1930 Placentia, Unit A-2
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(if you puchase art, mention ROCK and a portion of the sale will be donated!)

Monday we will host an event from 7-9 at Mariners, I really hope you can be there for that, view the invite here:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maybe because yesterday was hot and sunny (my favorite kind of day) or maybe because I am excited that a little bit of Africa is coming to me tomorrow (Pastor Chris and Pastor Farai arrive) but I spent all day laughing yesterday.

As I hurried around running errands that were more difficult that I thought they would be (how hard can it be to find red leggings) I was having the best time. I was able to collect almost everything we need for the baskets for the pastors, I am just need the gift cards and it is going to be so much fun putting those together tonight!

Julie and I hung out last night.... buying lots of things that were not red leggings, and laughed so hard that my cheecks and stomach hurt! People ask me what I miss about Zimbabwe right now and the list is long... but when Zimbabweans ask me what I miss about the States, i don't know how to describe to them the kind of day that I had yesterday. A day when I have a lot to get done, but if it doesn't get done no damage is done. A day where I drive around in a car singing to the radio that is too loud. A day that I sit around with a woman and giggle like Bridget, the 8 year old who lives next door.

When I am in Zim, I miss sushi and I miss giggling. Maybe that is why my best girlfriend is 8. She still giggles. In both the places that I live, I miss the people. I think I have learned that the other stuff doesn't matter. When I am there I miss you, when I am here I miss them. But I have a lot to laugh about and you better believe that Jules and I will giggle when I find those red leggings!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What a week I have had!! I have felt so blessed during this trip and it is clear to be that God’s timing is so perfect! In the 2 and a half years that I have been living in Zimbabwe, I have never been able to return to the States for this long of a visit. Although I am aching to return, I see that it was good for me to be here. My passion for the work we are doing hasn’t dulled a bit, if anything being here and getting to talk about it so much has fanned the flame!

Last week, my friend Jesika and I went to Disneyland. We did this princess faire thing where you get to hang out with the princesses and dance and curtsy and it was so much fun! This is right up my alley, it is also the kind of thing that makes Jesika miserable! I love how God makes His women in so many different ways. Jesika would much rather be on a pirate ship with Johnny Depp than at a royal party with Prince Charming…the good thing is we never fight about boys!

Although I enjoyed being a princess at Disney, I think my favorite experience of the whole day was climbing into the landy at Indiana Jones and driving through an intense adventure! We were so excited that we were sitting in the front (and I was even in the driver’s seat!) The ride was bumpy and I screamed a lot, and if I squinted a little bit, I could pretend that Jesika and I were back in Zim (She’s been twice) and driving through the bush.

All day, everything that we did brought a comment from one of us, “The boys would love
this, wouldn’t they?” Zimbabwe is in my heart no matter where I go, I don’t understand it, I never asked for it, but as He does, God gave me the deepest desire of my heart.
As my time here comes to an end and the adventure there begins again, I can’t help but see all of the things to be grateful for!!

After Disney things got even better! I had the opportunity to speak at a church, Harbor Light Christian Fellowship, this weekend. I was blessed immensely by this service. Ushered into the Holy of Holies by the worship team, I was emptied and refilled. It was one of those experiences where after worship I knew that I had been so ministered to that I could have gone home right then! I was honored to be able to share with them and to meet their congregation. Pastor Chip has become a friend of mine and I was so blessed to be with them this weekend!

After Church on Sunday, Mary Hansen hosted a tea party to benefit Refuge and it was a huge success, everyone had a great time and I think we all felt like princesses at the beautiful tables! Thank you Mary, you are a great friend and I am so very blessed to have you in my life!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Last night I dreamt that I was kayaking down the Zambezi. I have never done that before... I don't even know if I want to. I love rafting, but I am under the supervision of Sean (strong, young , zimbo with gigantically muscular arms that I appreciate when the raft flips over and he makes sure that I am the first one in the boat)!

When I did show an interest in kayaking a rafting guide took me to a pool and we tried it and I was really nervous about the rolling over part.

But last night, I was kayaking! I miss Zimbabwe so much. It is like I can't get away from it. I try to live in the moment and enjoy the OC, I love this place too. But there is something about Zim that has transformed my soul. My family doesn't believe it, but I even get dirty there.

Tomorrow I am going to Disneyland. My grandparents loved to take us to Disneyworld and I am really looking forward to spending the day in a place that has been so special to me all my life. Tomorrow is gonna be a lot of fun, but tonight I am going to bed. Who knows maybe in my dreams I will be back in Zim!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What defines a failure?

This morning I woke suddenly at 4:00. It was dark and quiet and I felt a sense of urgency that had to do with Africa. The battery on my cell is dead so I wasn't sure if anyone was trying to call me, so I prayed as I turned on my computer.

There it was: an email from Arnold.

Newton has run away from his grandma's house.
Arnold was overwhelmed and felt responsible. Arnold is in a place I have been so many times... and he feels alone.

Let me give you a little background.

Arnold is my friend from church, he leads young adults and he works in Pastor Farai's internet cafe in town. One day, when I was at my most broken I stumbled into Arnold's office and wept.

He had no idea what to do or why I was in his office.... he really didn't even know me. He knew who I was, but we rarely spent time together.

We spent the whole day together. Part of the time he listened to me cry and carry on and the rest of the time i just sat and tried to breathe while he worked.

Over the next year Arnold became more and more involved in the lives of the kids and in my life. He brings an important perpesctive and is so great with the boys. He is my rock. I can go into his office and even in the midst of his own chaos he will take time with me. He is my best friend. I miss him. His office has become a safe place for me, and even more so, for the boys. (That's them in his office)

I am sure there are moments when he regrets that first day because we have taken over his life!

Right now Arnold is filing my shoes. Although my feet are little, he is starting to see why I was crying so much! Our life in Zim, with the boys, is exhausting! But as he is also seeing, it is so rewarding!

Arnold was able to get one of our boys, one that has been around since that very first night in Nov 2005 back home to his grandma. It was a very difficult process, especially because I had to walk him through it over email. Because reunification requires travel and arnold has more than one full time job, he has never been able to go with me to see the process first hand.

He did a great job, he did everything that we do. He was as willing and obedient of a servant as one can be. He relied on God and did the best he could. Everything was good, we were all pleased, Newton was home.

Arnold went to visit after a week or so to check in, like we do and Newton was not happy.

This is what happens, life starts to happen and old stuff comes up. We revert back to old behavior patterns and we run. Well last night Newton ran.

Now comes the hard part.

When you have done life with one of these kids for months, as Arnold has, or years as we have in Newton's case, this part hurts. We miss him, we fear for him, we feel rejected by him, we feel disappionted.

Arnold has tasted this before, but never in a situation in which he devoted so much of himself.

He didn't know what to do for Newton, his family or for himself.

This morning at 4:00am I read his email and as I have frequently over the past year, I felt blessed beyond measure. But I also ached with a deep pain. I know this burden. I am grateful that others know it as well, although at the same time I am sad because I know how much he hurts right now.

But we will keep moving forward. One of the things Arnold and I talked about today, and the thing that I am most excited about since being back in the States, is the parenting curriculum that we are working on bringing back to Zim to sue with the families that are taking care of the boys. Because they have such special needs due to the behavior patterns that are established on the street, parenting is made more difficult. I am confindent that this biblically based parenting curriculm will make a difference and am hopeful that we will see a reduction in the amount of kids who return back to their life on the street.

Arnold is feeling the sting of what he thinks is failure...I have learned different. Just like Thomas Edison did, we are finding the ways that don't work. With each kid it is different. People are difficult, relationships are messy. We are making our way through. I think my friend is a huge success, one of my fave quotes about failure is from Lloyd Jones, "The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed." Arnold is trying to do something that most people where we live wont even consider. I am proud of him.

As for today we do what is in front of us, please keep Newton in your prayers, and please pray for my friend Arnold. More than that pray for Refuge, pray that as we face difficulties that we continue to be faithful and obedient to the burden on our hearts and to the call of our God.

(That's arnold with yara during one of our trips in July 2007)

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day!

What a fun President's Day weekend!!!
Friday Jules and Jill took me to Knotts Berry Farm, it was my very first time there and we went on every rollercoaster and I screamed my head off!! I love rollercoaters and The Excelerator made me so happy!!

If you want to see all the fun to be had a knotts, check it out at

So many great things about this weekend:

* Love Letter From God at The Crossing

* Spending the whole weekend at CPC

* Hanging out at Deb's with tons of friends eating too much and playing Guitar Hero!

* Learning what makes the coleman men special, I will never stop laughing about that one!

* Fruit salad for breakfast with Deb and Christie


*Getting the sneak preview of Debi's testimony

* Sunday naps

* Did I mention CPC?

* The new group meeting at Deb's house Sunday nights, soooo much love

* Holidays where my girlfriends get the day off..... I love monday pedi's with the girls!

Overall, it was a weekend filled with lots of love!! I hope yours was too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Still running over.....

I am still overflowing!! I cannot even explain the lightness I am feeling. This does not mean that I am unaware of irritating things around me or disappointments that I encounter, it just means that nothing is annoying enough to mess with me!! I am just feeling the grove (that's for you lauren!!)

I had another great day today. I spent the morning running errands that needed to get done. I needed to get some banking things taken care of and I had to get my international driver's license renewed.

Then I had lunch on the newport pier with Wenday and hung out on the beach. It was a beautiful day and we laughed all afternoon. 2 marines from camp pendleten let us use their towels to lay on while they tossed the football around and it was one of those "movie perfect" afternoons!!

Tonight I got to hang out with one of my fave California families.... My friend Deb has the greatest family. She was even nice enough to have a whole bunch of the girls over and it looks like it's gonna turn into a Bible study!!

Christie and I met with Pastor Rod about my time with the high school kids at CPC tomorrow. I am really looking forward to talking with them. I think that we have an amazing opportunity to encourage an entire generation to step out and do better than we did.

Christie sent out a reminder that I would be talking and as I was reading it these words hit me "full time ministry". WOW! Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I think of the twists and turns of my life. My life is such a rad example that if I do things my way it sucks, but if I do it God's way it is amazing. I live an adventure that I am passionate about and fulfills my hearts desire. How many people get to say that?!? And yet, to me, most of the time I take it for granted because I am just living life day to day wondering how I will make it through!

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

Last weekend I was at my cousin Noah's 6th birthday party. I was laughing inside as I had a total 'Bridget Jones' moment.

There was an odd number of kids there so I had to partner with a little girl in some of the games... me and 15 six year olds running around a gym with out clothes on backwards and a hula hoop around us! :-)

As we finished the games we had to walk to a different part of the building to be entertained by a magician. The kids were in line using the buddy system. I was at the back of the line making sure all the kids got where they were supposed to be. Noah saw 2 of his friends talking to me and he dropped back to the end of the line.

He looked at the boys and said, "That is Gigi. She's my cousin. She is 28 and she's not married."
I don't know if he was trying to hook me up or if he was just wanting to make sure they knew me! But either way, I am glad that I am in a place where I am enjoying my singleness because i know that in that situtation some of my friends wouldn't have been laughing like I was!!

2 days later he was asking me when I was going to have a baby!! :-) I love that kid!

This weekend I had the most fun I have ever had as a Christian!! :-)

First of all, I have to say that since I got off the airplane I have had the honor of fighting in another battle, this time I am fighting on the behalf of my friend and my little sis! She is in a tough situation and just needs someone to show her that she is worth fighting for and to cheer her on! I am overwhelmed with gratitude that she selected me to be that person!

On top of that, I spent the weekend with my girlfriends and we had such a good time!!

Friday I got to spend time with Rita, and although I only met her recently, I love her already! She is quickly becoming one of my special favorites! My only complaint is that we didn't get to spend enough time together! After I left her I spent the night laughing until I cried with Lauren! I love that!
Saturday was the most fun ever!! A whole bunch of the girls: Jill, Anna, Shannon, Jules, Jesika and Lori took me to the Toby Mac and Jeremy Camp concert. I have to say that I love Jeremy Camp and Toby Mac, but I never thought I would have this much fun!

Before the show even started we were eating sushi (my fave) at the same restaurant as JEREMY CAMP!!! He was so great and even came over to take a picture with us! (That is me with him and Cody the songwriter) After that we were all smiles and we made our way to the ampitheater! From the time that Toby Mac went on stage until the time he finished his encore, I did not stop dancing for a second!! I shook my booty and praised God the whole time! It was so great!!

Toby Mac is so great and Diverse City is AMAZING! I have loved hip hop my whole life, and I wish I could on tour with them and listen every night! (Especially if it meant having to see that bass player frequently!!!)

On the way home we giggled so much! Sunday we woke up to a beautiful day and after church had lunch with all of our friends from the Crossing and then walked around the backbay getting some sun!

It was so fun to just be surrounded by my girlfriends! I know that eventually things change, we get married, we have babies and our friendships change. I don't think that they become less special, but we do spend less time together. I know that this will be one of those weekends that we will all look back on with a special fondness!
I am so blessed, I think that there are so many special things about being a single christian woman, but I think the gift of singleness is that I can get together with a group of girls and laugh until my stomach aches and my cheeks hurt ALL WEEKEND!

I also know that the joy i have felt all weekend is the direct result of my obedience regarding my relationship with my dad.

Obedience is best and tonight my cup runneth over.

(Jeremy with the best girls I know!!!)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Victories and more

When I went to Michigan, I had it in my heart to change my relationship with my dad. I hoped that in doing so my dad's heart would change and his life would be different.

I battled the enemy, my flesh and the habit of treating my dad badly for a whole week... It was not easy. There were moments when I was sure that I had blown it. There were moments when I was carried through by you, the people who were praying for us...

But I saw victory.

When I left Michigan things were different, my heart was different, my thoughts were different and most importantly to me, my actions were different.

I hoped that my dad's life would be different, but what I know is that my life is different, I am different!

The last time I went home, I got on the airplane carrying a burden regarding the way I treated my dad. This time I got on the plane feeling free, knowing that the burdens had been lifted.

The most important thing that I learned, is how to operate in the spirit, and not in my flesh. I think that this week has taught me more about how weak I am, than any other time in my life. It became so clear, so obvious:

Everything I said to my dad from my own strength was mean, hurtful and ugly.
Everything I said to him relying on the strength of the Lord was loving and kind.

As I return back to California I feel so blessed and so free. I cannot even explain how much this experience has changed me because I am not sure that I understand it yet. I do know that God is smiling, and that obedience most important.

I get the sense that this act of obedience has lead to a major breakthrough in the spiritual realm and that God is leading me into a new place. There is no doubt that I am different, more prepared for whatever this next place is. Every battle teaches and prepares us for more. I am learning to override my feelings in faith that in doing what God asks and commands I will have a life better than I would have found on my own.

Thank you for you support, encouragment and prayer. There are so many wild stories about how I felt the power of prayer, but for now I will just say that it made the difference. We do not go into battle on our own. When we do it is a mess. You all were fighting right along side of me. You are a part of this victory and all of the glory is given to God, the creator of our warrior hearts!

A victorious warrior princess

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Today I climbed a mountain...

It might not have looked like Everest, but it sure felt like it...

The first time I went to Disneyworld, it was with my grandma, grandpa my cousins don and tracy, my brother jimmy and me... Oh yeah Aunt Sissy was there too, but only to do the boring stuff like bath us and whatnot. She's only in one picture (and that's only a reflection of her taking a picture) so I don't think it really counted that she was there!! :-) My mom made us these name tag pins with Disney Characters on them in case we got lost, I think... mine had minnie mouse on it (i loved her red shoes). But anyway, I was in awe when I discovered what I consider the best ride of all time: IT'S A SMALL WORLD. I rode it 57 times with my grandpa that day. Everyone else couldn't appreciate it for what it was: a miracle for a little girl who loved dolls and had an innate desire to travel the world. We would get off and get right back in line to do it again. I didn't want to stop! I was so happy!

I have lived on a roller coaster of emotions regarding my parents for 28 years. It felt more like 'The Demon Drop' than 'It's a Small World'. Tonight, the ride came to an end and for the first time ever I did not get back in line. I think I made the decision to get on another ride.

For a long time, probably since she died, I have hungered to know more about my mom. A while back, in a very brief moment of courage, I emailed my mom's brothers and sisters and told them that I wanted to know about my mom. Not the memories I had of her, but the ones that they had. Mom before she was a mom, mom after she couldn't mother anymore, Linda Marie Jones (Potrzuski). They agreed and were happy about it, but I didn't push it and not a whole lot happened. Tonight that changed.

And God's timing is so perfect.

We sat around for about 5 hours talking about my mom, my dad, my life.

What was revealed to me was the truth, that the story will never make sense. How could it, I have never told the story of my childhood and not found the person listening in tears. It's not the worst story, but it is painful...

What was revealed to me is that it doesn't have to make sense. It's okay for life to be messy. To have some memories that are the float that my mom made for my brownie troop's first parade. It was the coolest thing, a camping scene with a tent, campfire and tons of cabbage patch kids in brownie uniforms hand made by my mom! And to have some memories that are ugly... my mom leaving. Life is not easy. Each of those moments has changed me. Each of those moments prepared me.

What became so obvious as I looked at a few pics of me as a baby, pics of my mom and dad as a young couple, a couple in love, is this: that man and that woman are human. They lived, they laughed, they messed up, they are no different than me. They are in desperate need of grace. That amazing grace that says, "You don't deserve my love, my forgiveness, my trust and my time. But I am not concerned with what you deserve, I am in the business of love. I am here, and I love you...just like you are."

God's timing is so perfect....

I came to Michigan not to learn about my mom, but to forgive my dad. And this is how it happened...

By confronting the most ugly part of him: He beat my mother. He beat her in front of their children. He shattered my little girl heart with a violence that I never understood. I couldn't talk about my mom without talking about that. It was ackward at first, but then my uncle, my mom's brother changed everything. All of the hate I have carried around with me for the past 20 years was washed away by this brief conversation:

Me: "What was he like, my dad, what did you think when you met him."
Uncle Tom (Mom's big bro): "You know what Gina, your dad was a good guy. I really liked him. We spent a lot of time together."


My Uncle Tom lives in the same neighborhood that I grew up in. At the end of the street that I lived on with my mom and dad. As I left his house, I drove home in sleet and snow and I slowly drove past the place we lived. Our house has been torn down and 2 have been built in its place. Part of me longed to see it so I stopped and closed my eyes. It is there in my heart, when I opened my eyes I was glad it was gone. I think it is time to let those memories stay in my heart. The one place that can handle them. The part of me that has been changed by grace, softened by forgiveness.

Tomorrow I will get back on a plane and head back to California. But first, I get an opportunity to look my dad in the eyes and love him. Tomorrow I get to see my dad for the first time through the lense of understanding, forgiveness and love. I never thought that this would come from a conversation with my mom's brother and sister. How special that the healing happened less than a block away from the place the wound occured. In between that block was a really big mountain. Tonight I climbed it! Tonight all of you who have been praying stood in front of me, next to me and behind me. Pushing me, pulling me and cheering me on. Thank you.

I thank you all for your prayers... please keep praying. Tomorrow is important. I want to leave this place in the way God would have me leave. I want to walk in victory... His victory. Isn't it funny the way He works? He gives us just what we need, not a minute too soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today is a big day

Today God is doing something pretty big in my life and with my relationship with my parents. Please keep praying, i know our breakthrough is SO CLOSE!

Also, Uncle Frank, my grandpa's brother, is in the hospital. He and my Aunt Letha are amazing, godly people. I accepeted Jesus in their church when I was a little girl (I went to Sunday school there from age age 2-12).

He is 80 years old and still preaching and is as active as pastors 25 years younger than him! He has been in and out of the hospital this year, many times please keep him in your prayers!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's getting better

Thank you for your prayers... please keep praying, I am here until Wednesday!

Good news is: it is getting better.

He didn't come to church with us this morning, I was a little disappointed, but we had some conversation tonight and he even gave me a hug!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stayin in the Ring

Please keep praying.

I am in the middle of a fierce battle. The enemy wants me to think I am losing... he wants me to give up and run the other way, because I have been a quiter in the past.

I am not quiting. I am reading your emails and I know that you are still praying. I feel it.

Last night I put my words on paper for my dad because I just couldn't get them out in conversation, it wasn't working.

Tonight I felt some of the fiery arrows. Satan hit me in some old places that really stung. I didn't react like I used to. I am still a warrior princess in training, but I know a little bit about what to expect. His attempts are pathetic.

I stood firm on the truth that OUR FATHER loves me. He wants me, He pursues me. Nothing will ever change that. I wrapped myself in that loving truth and I rebuked Satan in the powerful name of Jesus, and after a while Satan fled. When he did I felt an immense peace.

My friend Nick, my biggest fan, reminded me that my battle strategy is complete surrender to God. The real battle is happening inside of me. My flesh is trying to do one thing and my spirit another. I want my spirit to win. Tonight I felt surrender. I am reminded that I all have to do is to stay in the ring. I feel beat up, I feel like I am losing, but my feelings lie. God has already claimed victory, I just have to stand firm and wait to claim it in His name.

The battle is fierce, I am not going to lie. This is like nothing I have experienced before... I am excited. I know that what lies on the other side of this is spectacular! I am expecting a miracle.

I need you to keep praying. Keep emailing me... I am reading your words over and over and over.

Our God is so good and mighty.

I am keeping these close: Psalm 24:8, Psalm 144:1 and Psalm 18.

I am inviting my dad to church tomorrow. PRAY - PRAY - PRAY!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

I am going to war

I am on an airplane going from L.A. to Detroit. I am going off to war. I am a girlie-girl. Although my only sibling is a brother 14 months younger than me, I never enjoyed playing G.I. Joe, truthfully I never even understood she-ra (but I did like her white and gold outfit with the boots). I was more interested in Barbie and her dream house, and cabbage patch kids. Even my little pony, but not war games or sword fighting.

This past year, Matt, a Zimbabwean friend has taught me a little about what it means to be a warrior princess. The first time I heard that title was in the book Captivating. This book changed my life, however almost all of the other chapters seemed more important to my journey than #11 ‘Warrior Princess’. I never skip over it, I always read it, but not nearly as much of that chapter is highlighted, underlined and scribbled next to as the others. Until now.

Matt reminds me on a regular basis that I am a Warrior Princess. The first time he said that, I bought the princess part. Anyone who knows me gets that I embrace my desire to be a princess, but a warrior? That sounds tough, like a girl who works hard and doesn’t mind getting dirty. (That does not sound like me).

Over the past three weeks God has been working overtime on my heart in regards to my relationship with my father. The last time I saw him was three weeks ago when I left my family in Michigan and returned to California. The pas few years, I have gotten better with how I deal with the pain of our relationship, but on this trip I felt really convicted after I left in regards to how I treated him. I wasn’t loving.

My dad never fought for me. As a young girl I can remember my dad fighting. I have seen him fight verbally with harsh, sometimes cruel words. I have seen him fight physically, sometimes against my mother and other times against other men we knew. I know my dad can fight, but I have never seen him fight for me.

When my mom and dad lost custody of me and my brother, I needed him to fight for me. He didn’t, he let go and turned away. That rejection shaped how I viewed myself for the next 20 years.

In Captivating, John and Stasi Eldridge write, “The horror that abusive fathers inflict on their daughters wounds their souls to the very core. It breaks their hearts, ushers in shame and ambivalence and a host of defensive strategies that shut down our feminine hearts. But at least the assault is obvious. The pain that absent fathers inflict on their daughters is damaging as well, but far harder to see.” (Pg 65)

Each time I read that paragraph, I expect it to sting less, but it never does. The damage inflicted to my heart because of the abuse and loss of relationship with my father has surfaced so many times, in so many ways. The most obvious in my relationship with men: teachers, boyfriends, bosses etc.

I have been to therapists, I have become a therapist, I have prayed, I have read, I have journaled and through it all I have been surprised when something would happen and that feeling surfaces from deep inside and says, “I hate my father.” Those are not words that I am proud of, but they have been there.

Today I go to battle.

I believe that I have an enemy. I believe he is called Satan. I believe he wanted my soul and is angry that he lost it. I believe he wants to see me in the bondage of anger, pain and unforgiveness. I believe God has called me into a place of forgiveness. I have been forgiven of so much, so I know I am expected to forgive for so much.

The enemy of my soul wants to attack my relationships. He tries with my friendships, my peer relationships, my romantic relationships and especially my family relationships. For 20 years I have interacted badly with my father, although not frequently, it has been consistent, whenever we saw him. I have been rude and disrespectful or at a bare minimum I have been cold and distant. He probably deserves this, the world tells me that. The world lies. God has forgiven my dad for hurting his children and his family. The truth is: I must forgive him too, and act like it.

For 19 years I have been unaware of the enemies tactics, but not anymore. Today I do not go into battle unaware. Captivating and my friend Matt have taught me that I am the Bride of Christ, a warring bride. My heart is needed and I am needed in the war we collectively are engaged in.

“Women are not meant to be helpless creatures. God has given us a fierceness that is holy and is to be used on behalf of others.” (Captivating, Pg 196) I have gone to battle before. Some of you have seen this, some have heard about it, and some have battled along side of me. I have no problem going to battle for my friends, my family and even strangers. But I have been tricked. My whole life I have been confused. I have been fighting against my father instead of for him. Tonight Satan loses. Tonight on this airplane I take a stand and I declare war. I am going to battle and the enemy of my father’s soul is weak. He who is in me is strong, we will win.
My father was supposed to fight for me, but he was unprepared and unable. I have to be okay with this now, Captivating tells me:

“Men are warriors. It is a powerful good when a man battles for a woman’s heart and stands between her and her enemies. But often, there is not a man present in a woman’s life to fight on her behalf. And even when there is, God desires the woman’s spirit to rise up in his strength as well.” (Pg 195)

The authors teach us that this is one of the ways we grow in Christ: warfare. “Women need to grow as warriors because we, too, were created to reign.”

I have believed a lie. I have believed that being a warrior reduced my beauty and my femininity. Made me less tender and merciful, that it took away the special qualities of my girlie princess-like heart. Today I believe that women warriors are strong, wise, beautiful, courageous and victorious. Women like my heroes: Mother Theresa, Ester, Mary, Kay Warren, Beth Moore and my friends Julie and Deanna.

“Women warriors are strong, yes, and they are also tender. There is mercy in them. There is vulnerability. In fact, offering a tender vulnerability can only be done by an incredibly strong woman, a woman rooted in Christ Jesus who knows whose she is and therefore knows who she is.” (Captivating, Pg 199)

A Warrior Princess puts on the full armor of God each and every day and takes an immovable stance against the power of darkness.

So tonight as I am on the airplane going home for battle, I ask that you pray for me and my dad. That you pray for me as I put on the full armor of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. That you keep praying because this has been a long time in the making and I don’t expect it to be easy. I am battling for my own heart and the heart of my father.

Tonight I prepare for battle, and I have never felt more strong, beautiful, feminine, courageous, tender, merciful, loving and engaged.

Tonight I prepare for battle, I am a Warrior Princess.

Who knows, when the battle is over you might just find me getting a manicure…. I will probably need it :-)

And do me a favor... if you haven't read captivating, go out and buy 2 copies... one for you and one for your best friend. Read it....more than once, i have never met a woman who wasn't different opening that book.