Oh Father’s Day.
Father’s Day was not always a hard time for me. But the past few years it has been.
One of the beautiful things about loving Jesus is that he does not waste life. He saves it. Even before proclaiming Him as my Savior and the love of my life, he wove a story together. A story that I did not even know was happening. Though I am no longer ashamed of my story, I am not vocal about it.
There was never a doubt in my mind, even at a young age, that I did not see myself as a mother. But I never, until recently, saw myself as a wife. I never wanted that role. Before Christ, I strategically planned on how to be a mother. Sperm banks are common, right? And adoption was always a part of the plan. And I would mother the heck out of these children and they would never need a father.
But, after being fathered gently by the Heavenly Father and other figures in my life, I realized that fathers are an absolute necessity. There are tons of literature, secular and non secular, on the importance of fathers. My point is not to convince anyone of this.
The past few years, the Lord has forced me to look at how I interact with men. The main way I interacted with them, was by running away from them. The male friendships that I did have were because these men were intentional and pursued a friendship. They peeked through the walls, saw a friend worth having, and dug under or climbed over the walls. Besides those handful of men, I did not have many male friendships.
The past couple of years, the Lord showed me how unhealthy it is. The scariest part was that he put the desire of marriage in my heart. And he whispered how I won’t meet my husband if I don’t know how to interact with men.
He strategically put a few men in my life that have changed my perspective of men, helped me heal the wounds that made me bitter towards men, and showed me how to love and interact with them in a healthy way. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for these brothers. Because though I have been hurt, I know what Godly men look like. I know what kind men look like. I know how Godly men pursue friendships and relationships.
This post is a late Father Day post about four men that have taken that role in some shape or form in my life. Because, through all the hang ups, these stories are glorified because Christ wrote it for me. The good, the bad, the bitter and ugly parts, too. The Lord has recently given me His heavenly and perfect perspective to hold on to, rather than the seething bitterness that has formed in my heart.
1. My biological father
I would literally not exist without my biological father, Remigio Tiongson. The last time I saw him was on my 5th birthday. Somehow, we got in touch through Facebook when I was 25. And I asked him all the questions I wanted to ask him. I had only ever heard my mother’s version of their story. I learned his version. Through these long conversations, my story changed. From an abandoned girl, to a man who tried to get in touch with me, but was never successful. The letters to him never reached him. The phone calls to me were answered by answering machines. But he tried. And that was enough of an answer to all my questions. Unfortunately, we lost touch once more. Life is just that way. But I will always be his first child. And four Father’s Days ago, he even thanked my step father for doing what he could not do, care for me. I learned about pursuit from my biological father. That it may take 20 years, but pursuit for something or someone you love is so important.
2. Lolo Gonzalo
Look at this fellow. He was a hipster in the making. My second father figure was my grandfather. And even though his time on Earth is finished, his lessons will last a lifetime. Hopefully not just my lifetime, but my children’s as well. My grandfather taught me about the importance of a hard work ethic. My grandfather taught me about the importance of having a servant heart. My grandfather’s strength showed in his naturally kind and gentle demeanor, which balanced out my grandmother’s loud and sassy one. Even after he passed, I heard stories of how he loved my grandmother and how he served her, and I slowly learn what to look for in a future husband.
3. Papa Rico
Oh Papa Rico. I adore him. He passed away three months before my grandfather did. And I’m so grateful I got to see him a month before. Papa Rico was our next door neighbor when I lived with my grandparents. And I loved Papa Rico and his family. They accepted me as one of their own when I was 4 years old, which is truly the sweetest. Many of the pictures of me and Papa Rico are him usually carrying me or him giving me a piggyback ride. I’m not sure what started my relationship with this family. But I love them. And I love that they shared their dad with me at that time. As a family, they knew my story, and loved me through it. Papa Rico was a humble man. He worked hard and so diligently for his family. He loved his family fiercely. His love was so deep that he loved me, a random neighborhood child.
4. My step-dad
This man accepted me as a daughter when I was 6 years old. And to say that there have been ups and downs in our relationship is an understatement. Unfortunately, I did not come with a “how to be a step father” manual at 6 years old. And he did his best. The risk of being vulnerable with another human being is you open up a chance for them to hurt you. And with my relationship with my step father, there was love, but there was a lot of hurt. Hurt that Christ is healing. Hurt that Christ is glorifying in His name. And this hurt was the main reason that I did not have solid male friendships. This hurt was the main reason why I ran away from men. But from ashes comes absolute beauty. My relationship with my step dad gives me a consistent chance to bow down to Jesus and ask for His perspective. Our relationship is not perfect, nor will it ever be. There is anger and bitterness. But I am surrendering it all to Jesus. I am grateful for my step father and the lessons that our relationship has taught.
I have seen the roots of bitterness in my heart, and I no longer want to be a woman that is angry and bitter. Especially around Father’s Day. At the end of the day, I would not trade my story for the world. Not any ounce of hurt. Not any ounce of confusion. Not any ounce of rebellion. Because at the end of the day, it boasts about the love that Christ has for his broken child. It boasts about the miracles that he performs every. single. day. It boasts about how he can take wounds and heal. Because he’s good. Through it all.
The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of our God’s vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,
to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,
planted by the Lord
to glorify Him.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins;
they will restore the former devastations;
they will renew the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,
and foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers.
But you will be called the Lord’s priests;
they will speak of you as ministers of our God;
you will eat the wealth of the nations,
and you will boast in their riches.
Because your shame was double,
and they cried out, “Disgrace is their portion,”
therefore, they will possess double in their land,
and eternal joy will be theirs.
For I Yahweh love justice;
I hate robbery and injustice;
I will faithfully reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations,
and their posterity among the peoples.
All who see them will recognize
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.
I greatly rejoice in the Lord,
I exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,
as a groom wears a turban
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth produces its growth,
and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.