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.

Wife – You Are More Than Your Role

Wife – You Are More Than Your Role | By Byron Vardilos

I have the privilege of being married to an amazing woman. I first met Theresa at a coffee shop in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a typical fall night during my Junior year at Texas Christian University. A group of four of my fraternity brothers and I had just finished eating dinner at a local downtown eatery. I was a newer Christian at the time and being part of BYX rooted me in my faith.

Brian, who we called “B-Grow,” announced to the group that he had forgotten he’d promised to meet a girl at a coffee shop and we were over an hour late.  We all piled into a beat-up Chevy Suburban and rushed off to the coffee shop. Little did I know I was about to meet the love of my life!

I’ll never forget the night. I walked in, and there she was. She was beautiful (and sitting at a table by herself reading a Bible!). I don’t remember the conversation, and we only exchanged a few words, but driving home that night was one of the few times in my life I distinctly heard God’s voice. He told me that this was the woman for me!

Byron & Theresa Nov 1998That was over 20 years ago! 20 FULL years of ups-and-downs, success and failures, four kids, two dogs, and over 16 moves!

The first few years of our marriage were rocky, to say the least, but since then, each year we get closer and I learn more about this wonderful woman. With so many things vying for our attention, it’s becoming more and more difficult for wives to keep their identity.

Theresa has had many roles over the years; the role of a wife…the role of mom.  More recently, she is adding many more roles. But the roles do not define who she is.  First and foremost, she is a Daughter of the King!

In the last two years, I’ve witnessed Theresa growing in all areas of her life.  She’s embracing the truth of her identity in Christ. I want to encourage you, the women of The Fathers House, to do the same!  A great resource that talks about this identity is the book, The Secret of Significance, by Robert S McGee.images

With raising four children ages 10-16, running multiple businesses, volunteering and participating in community activities, Theresa and I are at the busiest season of our lives to date. Full schedules blur the bigger picture for all of us.

I’m naturally big-picture thinker.  Theresa is much more detailed, so we complement each other in this way.  Whenever I see her taking on too much or getting caught in the minutia, I remind her to take time off for reflection. I ask her questions like…“What do you want to be doing in 10 years after the kids have left?”  “What is God calling you to do?” and “What is your long-term mission?”

The answers to these questions don’t have to be world-changing, like ending world hunger. But these types of questions have helped Theresa stay focused on what is most important and discover a passion to impact the lives of families and women.

I’ve watched my wife take on these habits and can encourage you to think of some that can help you grow in your identity:

1) Build time each week in your calendar just for you. Theresa is introspective, so once a week, she gets away to the beach or a coffee shop by herself to pray, journal, exercise, and have a time of quiet reflection with the Lord. Find what refuels your tank and make the commitment to do it each week.  If you catch yourself feeling guilty about taking this time to recharge, remember, even Jesus took time away in the “lonely places. Taking care of yourself in this way will bless those you love the most!

2) It’s ok to say “no,” even to good things.  Nothing can tire you out more than feeling obligated to say yes to every opportunity to serve. Having the bigger picture at the forefront has helped her say “no” to things, even good things, that are not part of her bigger mission. This helps her avoid burnout and keeps her focus on what is most important.

3) Know your strengths.  If you haven’t taken a spiritual gifts class, I highly encourage it.  There are also numerous personality tests, including the Myers Briggs and StrengthsFinder.  Learning your natural gifts can help you identify new roles and opportunities you may not have considered before.

4) Know your season. Theresa and I are in, what is affectionately referred to as, “The Long Middle.” But seasons will not last forever. Knowing your season provides perspective which can keep you going, even when you feel like giving up. If you’re in the darkest Winter right now, know that Spring always follows winter!

5) Find mentors; be a mentor. God uses people to grow us up in the faith. The Father’s House and has made it a priority to spend time building relationships. This is a good place to find and/or be a mentor.

6) Work on your schedule as a couple and prioritize. On Sunday night, Theresa and I get together and have a brief meeting to go over our calendar for the next week.  It’s not always perfect, and sometimes messy, but it helps us plan out and make sure that we are spending our time wisely.

7) Plan a weekly date night. Having a weekly date night is a non-negotiable.  It allows us to connect, at a deeper level, and communicates to our kids that our marriage is important.

8) Read inspirational books. Theresa has become a voracious reader.  She also listens to positive podcasts and audiobooks to learn while driving or doing work around the house.

9) Pain is part of the process. Psalm 30 says that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  The transformative process is not all sunshine and rainbows.  Theresa has encountered many challenges in recent years with all the demands upon her and in building her business.  But I’ve watched the challenges make her stronger!  Like weight training, where you tear muscle fibers to gain strength, the hardships she experiences are building her into a much stronger version of herself.

10) Make wise decisions about health. “I want to work out and eat healthier, but I just don’t have the time.”  We’ve all been there.  I think the biggest revelation for Theresa and I recently is that the time and energy we spend on exercising and making good food choices will come back to us ten-fold in the form of increased energy, health, and clarity of thought.  Don’t feel guilty about taking time to work on your health!

I want to encourage you to take some time this week to seek the Lord and ask him to use you in a new and fresh way.  Then take action and go for what God has put on your heart. Stir up your gifts and trust Him for the great reward!


Byron & Theresa TCU GraduationByron met Theresa over 20 years ago at Texas Christian University where he played baseball and studied business. Married for almost 19 years, they have four children Jacob, 16, Hannah, 14, Caleb, 12, and Abigail, 10.  Over his career, Byron worked as a Business Coach in the Real Estate industry, as well as in sales and entrepreneurship.  He is committed to Christ and helping others live out their full potential. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing piano and guitar, mountain biking, trail running, weightlifting, the ocean, travel, and any sport involving a ball.

Speaking Up For the Voiceless

How Going on The Freedom Challenge Impacted My Life | By Brandi Richardson

IMG_1414Last summer, Brandi Richardson participated in a Freedom Challenge trip to the Grand Tetons National Park starting from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The trip was five days and required Almost 30 miles of climbing with fellow women from The Father’s House while raising more than $525,000 going directly to the fields to aid in fighting human trafficking. Here, she shares more about how God tugged on her heart to go on the trip, her biggest challenges, and the lasting impression the trip has had on her life.

 

How did you hear about the Freedom Challenge?

When I heard about the Freedom Challenge through TFH, it seemed a little crazy to me. Seeing pictures of women on top of mountains huddled together, freezing? Nope, not for me! However, I was interested in the local hikes they were training on, and I wanted to train and encourage the women who had decided to do the Freedom Challenge.

What made you want to sign up?

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.30.09 PMI actually didn’t want to sign up at first. I had gone on a mission trip to India in January 2015, and this year, 2016, our family had planned a family vacation, so all funds went to this. We had nothing. I wasn’t sure I could raise the money or take more time off of work as I had just done the trip to India the year before.

After a couple hikes and talking with the women on the trails, I started seeing/feeling that God wanted me to take on this challenge.  He put peace in me that would make this possible for me. On my trip to India, I had seen what The Freedom Challenge funds went to, and now I wanted to be a part of raising more funds to help. I felt God wanted me to complete the circle, so to speak.

What were your biggest challenges?

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.29.46 PMThe biggest challenge for me was the hours of training and being away from my family. I loved the physical part of hiking but missed being with them. I’m so blessed to have the support of my husband, allowing me to focus on the physical aspect of hiking and training for the hours I did. I physically challenged my body and mind and accomplished so many things. I learned a lot about what I am able do physically and mentally. I learned how to fuel my body and mind. The months of training allowed me to see the beauty of God’s creation all around me. This calmed my mind and brought a sense of peace to my spirit–to take life in, slow down and enjoy the beauty around me.

What lessons did you learn from going on The Freedom Challenge?

Fundraising and bringing awareness to everyone I came in contact with sparked a fire in me to make a difference in this world. I knew the funds would come in and allow me to take this challenge. I knew I would have to work hard for it, and I did because the fire was burning strong to fight for this cause.

Now, looking back, how did the experience change your perspective?

I’m so glad to have taken this journey. The friendships I’ve made and experiences I’ve had is something that I will cherish for years to come. I’m glad I listened to God and did what He called me to do. We are His hands and feet. He asked me to speak up for the voiceless, so I did and will continue to do so.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_1413California native Brandi Richardson has been attending The Father’s House almost 11 years. She’s been married to Steve for almost 15 years and has two sons (Tyler, 21, and Zakary, 12). She works as a patient care coordinator for a home oxygen and respiratory company and as a massage therapist. She’s lived in Illinois and Germany and currently lives in Escondido, California.

Healed and Whole

After years of hearing only silence in my conversations with the lord regarding a chronic condition, i’ve been healed

BY Tori demaria


Walk in my shoes for a brief moment: My entire life, I have been known as the “sick kid.” From a very young age, I’ve struggled with various infections, very frequent bladder infections and trips to the doctor just to be put on antibiotics once more. Minor infections like these don’t seem like that big of a deal to someone who does not struggle with chronic discomfort. These things have never been life threatening, and I have never had any cancers in my body—just small, annoying ailments. I was missing so much school every year because of so many bladder infections. The doctors diagnosed me with chronic UTI with no clear solutions except for years of antibiotics and reassurances that “you will grow out of it one day.”

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All that to say, around 12 or 13 years old, I did in fact grow out of it. I did not have any infections for quite some time. I don’t think I even went to see a doctor once, except for the occasional flu. I went through high school fairly healthy and active and normal. It was not until after I graduated that my health began to be an issue once more.

The first struggle came again in January 2014. I was in the Immersion internship program with The Father’s House at the time, so I viewed it as spiritual warfare (I still think it is). My mom (bless her soul for always selflessly taking care of me in my sickness!) took me to the emergency room, where the doctors told me I had a severe kidney infection. They sent me home with medicine and told me everything I had heard before. I have continued to wrestle with recurring bladder and kidney infections since that day in January to present day, and I have gone to the ER three times in the past year and a half. It has interfered with my job, my personal life and my spiritual life. The doctors just kept telling me that my body is changing and that it will fix itself. For whatever reason, my body and the doctors have never agreed on this issue.

Between being raised in a Christian home, attending a Christian school and having amazing friends, I know the heart of Jesus and I know He cares for me. He wants us to be whole beings. He suffers with us in our suffering, mourns when we mourn, rejoices when we rejoice. I have seen these things firsthand throughout my life. I know for a fact that our God is a very good God. I have been covered in prayer by my family, my pastors and my friends. I have had hands laid on me, fasted and interceded for my own health, and I have come up empty and discouraged for such a long time. It has affected my walk with the Lord at times and made me question His love for me. “What can I possibly learn from this?! I am not dying, or even in severe pain. I just want to go to the bathroom in peace! It isn’t fair.” These are the daily thoughts I would have—the conversation I would have with the Lord month after month. I would hear only silence.

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The last time I had a bladder infection was just less than a month ago, so normally at this point in time I would be expecting another very soon. I sat in my mom’s room a month ago, crying out of frustration just asking “why?” Antibiotics make me more sick and my immune system more weak. I was angry with God. I couldn’t engage in worship or in the service on Sunday mornings. I was distracted, uncomfortable and confused with no answers.

Until Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016.

I was standing in church during worship, finally having a moment with the Lord. No discomfort or distractions. I felt His presence and peace for a moment, and with a very clear mind I just enjoyed His nearness. Worship leader Ryan Reyna was in between songs, and just for a second he paused and said something like: “I feel like the Lord is healing someone with long-time bladder issues. I just want to let that person know that the Lord is healing you right now.” He moved onto the next song without any fuss or emotion. And in that moment immediately following what Ryan said, I felt an intense but gentle heat from my kidneys and throughout my entire urinary tract system. Overwhelmed and honestly in disbelief of what had just happened, I began to cry and talk with Jesus. “Did you really just have a grown man say the word bladder during church?! Did you REALLY just heal me?” Yes, HE HEALED ME!

It sounds silly but let me say, it burned every time I use the restroom. Every time is not an exaggeration—whether I have had an infection or not, the damage has been done to my poor urinary tract system. Since that Sunday, I have had not a single moment of discomfort or pain. He has healed me and restored me thoroughly and completely.

Still, I am curious as to why the Lord has had me struggle with such an odd discomfort for so long, but I am choosing to focus on how He heals. I witnessed so many aspects of our Jesus through this. Not only did He meet such a specific need of mine, but the way He did it was so personal to me! I got to see how our worship leader was so in tune with the Holy Spirit and how the Lord can use anyone to speak if they are open to it. He healed me in such a way that wasn’t special for anyone but myself. I have used this testimony to encourage my friends and family. But He has used this longtime struggle of mine to greaten my faith and to suppress my doubt that He indeed is a healing Father. For these things I am grateful and thankful for my pain. It was no walk in the park, but I am healed and free and whole. Our God sees us and hears us. Although it may seem small and insignificant to others, it isn’t to the Lord. Praise and honor be to the Ultimate Physician.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tori De Maria is 21 years old. She lives at home with her hard-working parents and two younger sisters, who double as best friends. She was raised in a Jesus-filled home and has had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ her whole life. She has known her two best friends since she was 8 years old. She did the third year of Immersion directly after high school. Tori has just recently completed her last season of life being a barista in San Marcos and is looking forward to attending Bellus Academy in Poway this month.