Our Fathers by Bethany Luchetta

Our Fathers – Our Identity | By Bethany Luchetta

Father’s Day Month! Month?! Why did I agree to write about fathers this month!? I will start by admitting that I slept through the Father’s Day breakfast that my mom had planned for her husband (my dad, Thomas). You might be asking yourself why I called him “her husband.” He’s the dad who raised me. And really the only guy whom I call Dad. But he didn’t make me. I also have a birth father, whom I call Chad. Anyway, I was depressed about Father’s Day and how it makes me feel, so I slept through the morning.

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April (younger sister), Bethany, Dad (Thomas), Heather (older sister)

Luckily for me, my dear-sweet-redemptive-father-example (aka my own husband) was home hanging out with our little Livvy Lou. I did eventually drag myself out of bed because Vince had to work some Israeli Defense gig at the Point Loma Synagogue. (I guess the Israelis don’t celebrate Father’s Day?!) After getting myself out of bed and lounging around, I was eventually convinced to play at the pool with my magnificent 3-year-old. So, this is me, and maybe you?

I am trying to be graceful with my sentiments. I am growing, and some years are better than others. I am working on being intentional at finding the good in any situation. In the meantime, it’s hard to pretend how I feel about my identity in relation to the connection—or lack of connection—I have with my fathers. I keep telling myself to write gingerly—family will read this, friends, my community. But, if I am not real, who can

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Vince, April (younger sister with her son), Bethany, Thomas (dad)

resonate with this part of my humanity? I admit, I don’t have the worst story I have ever heard, but that doesn’t discredit my struggle. And it doesn’t discredit yours either—good or bad or indifferent (or somewhere on the continuum). The fact is, I feel displaced on Father’s Day. Trying to celebrate makes me feel fake.

The facts are: I was adopted by my dad (Thomas) and never knew my birth father (Chad). My birth certificate was changed, and I was not even told I had a “birth father” until I was 10 years old. I knew something wasn’t “right” all along, but I could never put my finger on it. I felt displaced, disconnected and alone for most of my childhood. How can someone feel these things with two sisters and a mom and dad in the home? At 18 years old, I met my birth father and then a whole rash of horrible events within my home rolled out against my soul.

When I met my birth father, it brought up old history for my parents—insecurities and both passive-aggressive and aggressive behaviors that seemed to be directed at me for rocking the boat. My older sister, who shares the same birth father, wasn’t ready to meet Chad, and my little sister, who doesn’t share the same birth father, was feeling oddly

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Livvy Lou, Bethany, Chad (Birth Father)

displaced from me and my sisters’ situation. I don’t want to expound too much; they have their own stories. Nonetheless, my experience of the emotional struggles here began to shut down part of my heart. I didn’t feel safe with the world around me, and I started working even harder to gain God’s approval for my worth. I ventured even farther down the road of shame and confusion.

It is said that we get our idea of God from the father(s) we had. I have been in a spiritual crisis; fathers are distant, unreliable, untouchable—they walk away. I can work really hard and do really well, and still it’s not enough! I see how I have put this stigma on God. I am attempting to learn God is indeed good. He doesn’t force us—or our fathers (or mothers)—to do what He requires. He gives us all free will to choose; therefore, we end up with “humanity,” fallible humans walking around attempting to base our choices on our own definitions of right and wrong. I used to say, “Grace given, for grace desired” because I wanted it myself so badly. It seems to be ringing true once again in my ears.

I queried my birth father this week for this blog. I got to ask him if he missed me when I was young and what it was like for him as a Father not to have me around. I explained to him how I have an issue with ‘out of sight – out of mind’ based on the fact that I have never resonated with the ‘missing’ feeling. I figured if a Father could leave his daughters,

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Chad (Birth Father), Livvy Lou, Bethany

and not seen them, is it even possible to miss people? Do we just get shut out? Hear me out for a minute. I hear people say, I miss ‘so and so’ and I judge them; thinking to myself that they are being dramatic. People say they miss others because it’s the right thing to say when someone is gone. I’ve learned that. But, I don’t feel that. How can someone really be missed if my own father was out of my life and never connected with me. I am not worthy of being missed, and I wasn’t missed, so how can this be a real thing. The closest thing I can relate it to is grieving the loss of my first husband. When he died, I grieved. I am not sure if I missed him, or I missed the hope of what could have been for him. Or missed how he made me feel or the history we had. But, did I miss him? I watch my daughter miss her father (my husband). I say to myself, does she really miss him? It seems like she does. This is why I had to ask my birth father, “Did you miss me all those years?” He said, “Listen I was pissed off at a lot of people for a long time. It would have been different I suppose if I never saw you, but I saw you, we connected.”  The fact is, I was missed, I am worthy of being missed. I overflowed with crocodile tears. That spoke to my soul.

God is gracious to me. He gave me an amazing husband who is a great father to his three daughters. I tell him constantly that he is raising the little Bethany in me. Jamie Humphrey said in her recent blog, “what is submission, if not by free will.” Submitting to love is our choice, not coerced upon us. What is love if not by a free expression of our soul? God is good alone in the fact that He doesn’t force us to love Him, or anyone else. I am starting to get it. Even with all the daddy issues the people of this world carry, God is still good and available for a relationship to teach us what Father love looks like. That in itself is spectacular to me as I am learning to trust Him as a Father.


IMG_1943Bethany Luchetta is married to her love, Vince. She mothers her growing toddler and two beautiful girls from Vince’s first marriage. Bethany runs her own Property Management and Real Estate Brokerages. The love of personal growth and theology pushed her to explore her deeper calling. Attending Dr Henry Cloud and John Townsend year-long Life Coaching Program in 2013, she was inspired to plan for her future career in Theology and Family Therapy at Bethel Seminary. Bethany is preparing for her revocation through Life Skills International, a 32-week personal growth course in San Diego.

Stay at Home Dad!

Stay at Home Dad! | By Eric Loper

I never thought I’d be where I am now as a father and husband.  But here I am.  As my wife, Christine and I rolled with the punches of life, we ended up not so textbook.  I guess I would say it began when we moved back to San Diego from Las Vegas.  In Vegas, I IMG_0255worked full time in a casino, while Christine had a part time gig in Human Resources.  But you see, I wasn’t going to start over in the casinos and Christine found a reputable, full time job in HR once we moved back to San Diego.  I tried the whole starting my own business thing, but having not put much heart and thought into it, that got thrown into the “never mind” pile.

While still searching for what it was I was going to do, Christine worked the 9-5, Monday through Friday.  We did not want to send our kids to day care, so I watched them while Christine was at work.  This didn’t seem permanent as I was looking for where and what I was supposed to be.  My foot landed in the door of a restaurant/brewery as a delivery driver with the intention of working my way up to bartending while I went back to school.  While bartending, I was given an amazing opportunity to take over as the brewer.  This was perfect!  A job that I had a heaping truckload of passion for, and was flexible.  IMG_0267I could get to work early, in order to be finished in time to pick up the kids from school.  Meanwhile, Christine was tearing up HR.  Her experience and pay kept increasing.  Eventually we made the decision to homeschool the kids.  With my job being the flexible one, naturally I would take on schooling. While this works, it’s definitely not the easiest way of doing things.

On days the kids are homeschooled, if I have to work, I get up at 2am to start working before the word “early” is even awake.  Christine then drops them off at my work on her IMG_2458way into the office.  This way I am usually done around 10am and we have time to go home and hit the books.  Normally, we hit history and literature by noon.  That’s about when I feel the increasing weight on my eyelids, “OK kids, after history you two can have a recess while dad takes a nap.”  These naps justify the 2am alarm clock.  It’s like 30 minutes of heavy heaven.

Now, while this works, it’s not what we had planned.  I mean I never imaged that I would be working part-time, as well as part-time homeschooling my kids, while Christine worked a full time gig,  Monday through Friday.  I did not expect to be the one texting my wife to see if she was going to be home on time, or making sure the house was clean before Christine got home from work so we could all relax and hang as a family.  We just kind of fell into this.

 

As time went on, this path became more cemented.  There was a bit of panic as the cement hardened.  We felt trapped.  Christine began to struggle with the idea of being a IMG_0165working mom when so many of the people that she looked up to were stay at home moms.  As relatively new Christians, this situation didn’t seem to fit what we thought the Christian family should look like.  As Christine was crafting ideas of how she could make a career for herself at home, her career in HR continued to excel.  She received more and more favor and provision, which was a huge blessing to our family.  At the same time things were going well with my work.  I was also able to be involved with coaching my kids’ sports.  We had time for ministry and the right balance of family time.  Things were actually pretty good.  You’d think we would have seen God’s hand in all this goodness, yet we were searching for a way out.

 

Thankfully, God showed us what we couldn’t see even though it was right in front of our faces.  Christine attended a women’s retreat where Pastor Tracy was teaching on a woman’s identity.  In that, she spoke that the focus isn’t whether a woman works inside IMG_1503or outside her home, but rather where her heart is aimed.  The Holy Spirit showed us this is exactly where we needed to be.  Since then everything seems so settled.  Christine is still amazing at work and just the mom that our kids need.  Sure I don’t get to have the kids yell “Dad!” when I walk in the door from work.  That’s reserved for mom in our house.  But hey, I get to work part time at a job that I love, help my kids learn, coach their sports team, and lead our family.

We’ve learned that marriage is a partnership and “roles” are what you make of it.  I’m pretty darn good at cooking and I love to do it; Christine is great at cleaning.  I’m more of the disciplinarian while Christine is the peacekeeper.  I like to play and be rough with the kids, while Christine is the one they want when they need the tenderness of a mom.  Although some of our roles might seem like they are turned around, it’s very much God’s handiwork at play here in this house.  We love, trust and serve God; He leads, we follow.

 


IMG_0699Eric Loper is 39 years old and has been married to Christine Loper for 14 years and together; they have a 13-year-old son Keith and an 11-year-old daughter Jade. He works at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing in Carmel Mountain Ranch as the brewer. He also homeschools his kids and helps with their sports by coaching. He loves sports, cooking, and gardening.

I Want You to Submit! by Jamie Humphrey

i-want-you-giwy“I WANT YOU TO SUBMIT!” These words give me a mental picture of Uncle Sam with his beady eyes staring at me and pointing his gnarled finger in my face. The word “submit” or “submission” is a loaded word that brings a sigh or maybe even a shudder to women in the Western world. For some women submission is all they know. Submission is a topic that cannot be simplified into a short blog post. But I want to write out some ideas and ask questions for you to respond to. I would love for you to actually email me your thoughts and answers. I will be able to put together all of our thoughts in a later blog.

I looked up the word “submit” in the dictionary.

Submit: verb, accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

The word “submit” is a verb which signifies an action. No one can make you submit to their will. God gave us a free will to have the opportunity to voluntarily submit. God does not force us to obey or to love Him. If someone forces you to do what they want, it is something other than submission. Submission is always voluntary.

After I learned the definition of submit I then went to the Bible to see what it says concerning submission. Oh boy. Here we go (emphasis added is mine…the translation I used is NLT for the Scripture references below).

Job 22:21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.”

Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

Also, 1Peter 2:13 “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority – whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed…”

Ephesians 5:21-22 “Instructions for Christian Households: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

1Peter 2:18-19 “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you – not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.”

These are a few of the verses that stuck out to me. The Scriptures are telling us to submit to God, the government, husbands and wives to each other, wives to their husbands as their authority, and to our “masters” aka our bosses. Even if the person in authority is unjust we are supposed to submit. That is really unfair. That makes me mad. We should be able to buck the system if it does not line up with what we believe in and what we think is right. I can totally relate to the frustration that these scriptures create. But what is God getting at with His instruction for submission?

Do you want to know the epitome of submission? Look at the life of our Savior, Jesus. He knew He would be tortured to death. For something He did not do. How UNJUST is that?! How unfair and cruel? In Matthew 26:39 (NLT) it says, “He went on a little farther and bowed his face to the ground praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” And it says in Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV) “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

Jesus submitted to a temporary suffering for an eternal purpose. What more can I say on the subject?

I would appreciate if you would email me your thoughts on any of the following questions:

  1. What was a time you chose to submit to your authority even though you thought it was unfair and wrong? What was the outcome?
  2. Where do we draw the line in submission? When is it okay not to submit?
  3. To whom is it hard for you to submit to?

SUBMIT your thoughts on SUBMISSION to jamiebhumphrey@gmail.com by 7/1/17.

I cannot wait to hear from you!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jamie
Jamie Humphrey has been married to Eli for almost 10 years, and together they have two children, Serenity (8) and Justice (6). Every single day Jamie is trying to grow in her relationship with God and with her husband and kids. It is not easy but it is worth it.

A Father’s Day Guide

A Father’s [Dad. Daddy. Daddio. Pops.] Day Guide | by Stacy and Lacey Brown

Dad. Daddy. Daddio. Pops. What is it about the love of a father that makes us feel so covered and protected? Similar to how our Heavenly Father unconditionally loves and cares for us, His children, our fathers here on Earth are entrusted with nurturing and New Photoguiding us from the time we’re born, all the way through adulthood. As tiny humans, we typically know our dad as the leader and provider for our household. Dad is the one who teaches you how to ride a bike, start saving your money early, and to not take “no” for an answer when pursuing your dreams. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that my own dad is not only my biggest fan, but also one of my best friends. A father’s role is all-encompassing and for this, he truly deserves all of the respect and admiration from his family. Proverbs 20:7 tells us,

The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!”

Yes, and amen! I can certainly attest to the integrity of both my dad and my father-in-law, and feel deeply privileged to have been raised by men of such virtue.

Lace and DadIf you’re like me (Lacey), maybe you’ve struggled with knowing how to honor your dad on Father’s Day. It’s hard when you want to give him something that will let him know how much you appreciate him, while simultaneously being too old for crafts, and having no desire to search for another tie (sigh). Or perhaps you’re like my brilliant mama-in-love, Stacy, who somehow manages to always to give the most amazing, meaningful gifts—usually something that’s way better than what you could have picked out for yourself (#notkidding #sorrynotsorry). As Father’s Day approaches, we thought we’d team up to compile a rather practical “gift guide” for the day in which we let our dads know just how much they mean to us. As we began searching for some of the more “materialistic” gifts, we pondered the way in which we shop for our own dads and/or spouses. How does my husband, dad, grandpa, (you fill in the blank), feel loved and acknowledged?

We couldn’t think of a better way to explore this than by incorporating The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This book provides insight on each of the different languages in which people share/receive love, which include: Physical Touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts. You see, not only are love languages something to examine in terms of your significant other, but they are equally as important in any relationship. The following are some specific examples of ways to bless your dad on Father’s Day.

 

Receiving Gifts [For Dads from young children]

Does your dad or husband share/receive love via gift-giving? Moms, think about giving your child a budget and let them pick whatever they want as a gift for their dad. Note that this is where self-control comes in (☺). The kids know the budget, and they get to pick the gift. Something homemade is always a good idea too! (Macaroni necklaces from 5-year-olds never get old).

Quality Time (For Dads from adult children)

As many parents do, I know my own father receives love by spending some “QT” together. Why not take him to a Padres game or other sporting event? Stacy recently took her father to Spiritivity, a local “paint and sip” art studio, which turned out to be an outing they both thoroughly enjoyed. Not very artsy? How about a homemade picnic on the beach? Moms, maybe you can help facilitate lunch with your teenage child, but let them go alone for some one-on-one time.

Encouraging Words [For Dads from children of any age]

We can’t think of a more sentimental way to express your love than by writing it out for your dad to cherish forever! Creativity is encouraged, but remember, specificity is best with these types of gifts. Try writing out ten things you admire about your dad, or a classic acrostic poem (great for kids). Go the extra mile and frame it for him to keep in his office.

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Acts of Service [For Dads from children of any age]

Who wouldn’t love a getting good book of coupons for chores/errands nobody likes to do? Mow the lawn, get his car’s oil changed, clean the rain gutters, the list could go on. Scratch a few things off your dad’s “honey-do” list. You’d be surprised by how taking care of simple, very practical things can be super helpful— especially for dads who are older. Remember, it’s easy to give this kind of gift, but execution is crucial!

Physical Touch [For Dads from the wifey]

A good foot or shoulder rub for your dad is a nice gesture, but who are we kidding? Moms, it’s all you for this one!

Although many of these ideas seem pretty fundamental, it’s often simple actions that end up having the most significance. We hope this is helpful as you reflect on your relationship with your own dad this Father’s Day!


About the Authors

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Stacy and Lacey Brown are a dynamic mother and daughter-in-law duo, established in 2010, when Lacey married Stacy’s oldest son, Zac. Stacy is wife to her honey of thirty years, Tom Brown, and mama to four children; Zac, Gabe, Jake, and Megan. Lacey and Zac were high school sweeties and married after nearly six years of dating. They reside in Escondido with their fur-child, Charlie Brown.

 

 

 

My Child Would Never…

My Child Would Never… | By Lauren Stark and Chrissy Grissom

A Mother & Daughter Co-Write on their Story. 

Lauren Stark: When I look back on my life some parts seem like a lifetime ago. I’m currently 32, married to an amazing man, I have three beautiful girls and a job that I love. I love Jesus, my church, my family and my friends. I’m genuinely joy-filled and excited about my future, but it wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always perusing Jesus and going to church. I wasn’t always happy with my life.

I grew up in a Christian home, attended a church my whole life and even went to a Christian school from kindergarten through eighth grade. My parents provided what they could and did their best to raise a Christian kid. But as much as they wanted me to have their Jesus, it was exactly that: their Jesus. I had to come to him on my own and unfortunately that meant walking through some drug problems.

I went to Orange Glen high school from 1999-2003 and tried to fit in and be one of the cool kids. I went to parties and started hanging out with the wrong crowd, desperately trying to fit in and be accepted and wanted. I look back and think “why”? Why did I so seek their approval? I dabbled around with alcohol and I got pregnant right out of high school. 18 and a new mom. When things fell apart with Aliyah’s biological dad, I began a five-year chase to make something work. I needed a husband, I needed to get out of my parents’ house, I needed someone to help me through this way-too-expensive southern California life. I was seeking friendships and relationships to fill the void deep within my heart. A single mother knows loneliness like no other.

Sometimes I drank … a lot. I turned 21 and got a DUI. What a loser! You can only imagine how the enemy played on me. I looked to drugs and more alcohol to satisfy me and they did but only for a moment. The thing is, no matter how high you get you will ALWAYS come down. The biblical principle is true: you reap what you sow; and if you chase after drugs, you will reap destruction. The wages of sin is death! But you’re not thinking in biblical terms when you are using drugs. All you care about is yourself and how you can feel better. Your better judgement is gone entirely.

LaurenI feel lucky with my story since my run with drugs wasn’t that long. I ended up with a broken repentant heart that was met with forgiveness and mercy. Mercy is undeserved favor. Undeserved. I didn’t deserve mercy when I was disobedient to my parents in high school. I didn’t deserve mercy when I had sex before marriage. I didn’t deserve mercy when I wasn’t being the best mom I could be. I didn’t deserve mercy when I was using drugs. But that’s the God I found when I hit my rock bottom, a God of mercy. I wasn’t in trouble, I wasn’t grounded. He didn’t say “Well if you get better then I will let my work on the cross work for you.” He died and forgave me when I was my ugliest. He was whipped while I stole money from my parents. He took a crown of thorns stuck in his head while I took some crystal meth and smoked it in abandoned parking lots. He carried a heavy cross that dug into his bleeding back while I cooked heroine and shot it up.

Oh, the risk I took! But the risk Jesus took! He went to the cross for me but what if I never got to know him? What if I never “got right”? What if I never repented? God took a huge risk on me sending his only son to die on the cross for my drug addiction. Wow! I’m forever grateful he did because I did come to know him. In 2008, I finally hit my rock bottom. I was so broken and humbled that I went home and told my family the truth. I ended up in a Christian rehab in Huntington beach. My life changed. I realized that all I had been missing was my relationship with Jesus. My true daddy, my savior, my restorer of life, my healer and my provider!

Looking back, I see God’s patient love for me. His grace and mercy over my drug deals. Over my shady scary police encounters. It is amazing that all I have are some fractured relationships and embarrassment to clean up. I should be dead, in jail, without my kids Lauren Familybut God spared me. Today I love Jesus with every fiber of my being. I seek him for my approval and acceptance, the God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth who holds the stars in place knows every detail in my life and his thoughts of me are more numerous than the grains of sand at the beach. What the enemy was trying to kill, steal and destroy all those years the Lord has renewed and traded it with abundant life. I don’t share my story to brag about some dangerous things I’ve done but to boast in my weakness since there the lord has shown his strength.  

Walking with Jesus on “this side” of my story is so much better than before. I can list at least 5-10 people just like that who are struggling with addictions. I know it is hard for parents or loved ones to draw the line between tough love and grace but I will say this: when I was truly sorry and repentant and humbled to my core, my dad showered me with grace and forgiveness like the prodigal daughter I was. He reflected our heavenly father and that’s when I met Jesus.

 

Chrissy Grissom: As parents we often feel our children are an extension of ourselves. When they do good and great things it must be because of our sweet parenting skills. So it stands to reason when they don’t make good decisions, it must be our fault. Did I not love enough? Did I love too much? Not enough discipline? Too much? What did I do wrong?

The hardest thing we a parents witness is our kids making bad choices – knowing what consequences await them. The enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy but I didn’t think he would be after one of my own. Or at least I never thought one of MY kids would EVER do any dangerous drug. MY child? No way.

Pride.

I was in denial. My husband wasn’t. He knew something was way wrong. But he also knew if she ever wanted help and wanted to come home, he would help her. What an awesome example of our heavenly father he was at that time.

Lauren & dadAfter a lot of praying and fasting I came to the realization she isn’t really my daughter, sort of. She is our Lord’s daughter. I had to give her over completely to God. God loves her more than I possible could ever love her. I am so grateful. God is all about redemption and reconciliation. Even though I didn’t know exactly what she was doing at the time, I had a strange peace knowing she is God’s child.

The best day ever came on a cold Sunday morning looking out my window, squinting and seeing…is that Lauren? Walking towards out house? Is that really her?

Thank you Jesus that her time in that world was relatively short lived. I want to say to any parent out there: trust in God. He loves your child more than you do. Fast and pray.

I want to add a warning. I hope you never think (like I did) “My child (young or grown) would never do anything like that.” Or any other harmful thing. Our enemy is good at what he does. But the good news is God is greater.  


Lauren & Crissy

 

Lauren Stark is a happily married mother of three beautiful girls. She works full time at Henson’s Fix Auto. Chris (Chrissy) Grissom is Lauren’s mom. Chrissy also has three children. She is the school secretary at Escondido Christian School, where she has worked for twenty-five years.