Posts

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2 Months In

It’s been just over 2 months since my beautiful wife and I made the move to Johannesburg. We moved up here because I was offered a job as web designer and video production guy in the church that Lindsay grew up in.

The decision was not a small one for me because my heart burns for the coast. I was born at the coast and lived there until I was 28 and I just love the sea and the coastal culture and lifestyle so moving inland to a massive city like Joburg was a tough thing for me to imagine. Lindsay and I prayed a lot about the decision to move and we both knew it was the decision Jesus was leading us to make. Even knowing that I still wrestled. ‘Would God really want me to live somewhere I don’t want to live? Doesn’t He want what’s best for me?’. These, and many other questions like them filled my thoughts for weeks.

At that time we were staying at my Mom’s house and we were effectively on holiday, which was great, but it wasn’t a time free from concern about the future. I read a lot of books, prayed more than usual and got into God’s Word a bunch. I realized a lot of things in that time. Here are a few of those things:

  • God really is in control! (Col 1:17)
  • We can’t expect to be free from suffering or difficult times because we are children of God. Jesus is proof of that. He suffered more than we can really know and we should not think we are better than Jesus that we should be exempt from difficulties. (Jas 1:2-4)
  • God disciplines the child that He loves. Now the emphasis here is not on discipline, but rather on love! (Prov 3:11 & 12)
  • God is good and He does want the best for me. Since He knows everything there is to know it’s more than feesable that my idea of what’s best for me really isn’t what’s best for me and falls short of His ultimate wisdom. (Matt 7:9-11; Isa 55:8-10)
  • God is more interested in my character and my growth.
  • God sees my future and He leads me the way that He knows will be best for me. (Jer 29:11; Eph 3: 14-21)
  • He uses anything and everything for my good. (Rom 8:28)
  • I love Him and His Kingdom!! I love Him more than surfing or living at the coast, more than I thought I did. And I trust Him more than I think, or feel like, I do. These were both good realizations to come to for me.

Don’t get me wrong, moving here has still been tough and there are days when I miss the sea so much that it hurts and seeing photos of waves births a powerful longing in me, but I know why we are here and who it is that has us here.

It has been tough for us in Joburg for a number of reasons, but it has been really good in a lot of ways too. It’s been good for me to meet new people and to be more heavily involved in a good church for the first time in a long while.

It has been seriously awesome seeing my wife thrive in what she loves. One of the reasons I decided to move to Joburg is that Lindsay is a Sign Language interpreter. Yes, she can speak deaf. There isn’t much deaf-people-stuff for her to get involved in at the coast and she loves it and is really good at it so I knew that moving up here would be good for her. She has been doing so well! She interprets at church and I often find myself staring at her while she does and it makes me feel stoked to see her doing what she loves to do. She also got a job teaching at a school for deaf children and the story of how she got the job is really cool, but for another time.

God has really looked after us here (as He always does) and we wait to see what the future holds for the Rielly’s, but what I do know is that God is good, He is the ultimate Father and He wants what’s best for us!

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Is ‘fatherlessness’ really a problem?

I speak to a lot of people about the fact that their parent’s got divorced or that their dad bailed on them and a lot of those people say that they aren’t affected by it and never have been. I can’t say that they are all lying, but in my experience most of them are guilty of creating the fact that they are okay with it all. I find myself wanting to ask, ‘Are you trying to convince me or convince yourself?’ when they’re explaining.

Most people don’t want to seem weak or be vulnerable so they pretend that it’s all good. Or they don’t want to feel the emotions that go along with the experience so they tuck them away and convince themselves that the feelings never even existed to begin with. I did that for a long time. Now I don’t have any form of psychology degree or training so I’m not claiming to be and expert on this stuff, but I do have experience in the area and I can be pretty perceptive even if that is in my own opinion 🙂

The only reason I came to the place where I dealt with my emotions and insecurities Read more

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Thoughts about the blog

I was thinking about this blog yesterday and just running through a bunch of stuff in my mind. Things like ‘Why am I doing it?’ and ‘What if my dad reads it, or my brothers?’.

With regards to the first question, let me fill you in. I am under no illusions as to how many people currently read these little posts that I write and I figure I probably have somewhere between six and ten regular readers. That really isn’t many considering that one of the main reasons I started the blog was to hopefully help people to face up to the issues they have with their dad’s and to encourage forgiveness and even possibly reconciliation. Am I okay with number of readers? I definitely am. Would I like more readers? Yes, but only if what I write would be of value to them.

I sometimes think about how I can get more readers, and being guy who has worked in web design and development for the last six, or so, years I have know of a bunch of ways that will work. So why haven’t I been doing any of those things? Well, I could have emailed everyone who I have an email address for (and I have a lot!) and asked them to pass it on. I could have posted links on a bunch of forums and done a whole bunch of other things, but when I first started the blog I decided I didn’t want to push it in those ways. I decided I would rather let God grow the blog if it was a valuable resource and encouragement to people and something that He could use. I also figure that if the few people who do read the blog, or find it through the search engines, like what I’m putting out then they will keep coming back or subscribe to the RSS feed and they will tell people they know about it if they think those people need to read what I’m writing.

Another reason for the blog is that it’s good for me. It’s a way for me to consistently evaluate my state of mind, my feelings about my childhood, my attitude towards my dad, my relationship with God and my progress through life as an adult. It’s an outlet for what’s in my heart and mind, so even if nobody reads it, it’s still worth my while.

One thing I do know is that I should be posting more often. The truth is that sometimes I just don’t know what to write. My wife and I are also traveling for the next 3 months so that is going to make posting a little tougher.

I’ve been thinking about starting to write little stories about my childhood as a type of series, but I’m not too sure yet about what is okay to put online and what isn’t. Maybe I’ll just start out with some funny stories about what my friends and used to get up to?

Another thing that might help is if people asked me questions or something like that, so maybe I will add a page for questions – let me know what you think? Guest posts are another thing I have been thinking about so if you have something you’d like to write about on the blog then let me know and we’ll see if it fits. Do you think guest posts are a good idea? I have some friends and family that I have been considering asking to write some guest posts so I might do that soon.

‘What if my dad reads it, or my brothers?’

This is something I’ve thought about on and off since I started the blog, but I really thought about it quite a lot yesterday. I’d be okay with my dad reading what I write. Why is that? Well, I’ve spoken to my dad about my childhood and about how him not being around has affected my life and I’ve told him that I love him and that I’ve forgiven him. He knows that I don’t have any hard feelings towards him, but that doesn’t change the things that have happened to me as a result of his decisions. I have dealt with the majority of my feelings about it all, but there are people who in the situations (or worse ones) that I have already lived through and there are others who have lived them already too, but haven’t confronted the past,or the feelings or their dads and it is for them that I write this stuff. So if my dad does read my blog [which is unlikely since I doubt he even uses email :)] then I hope he understands the reason behind it and doesn’t see it as an attack on him – because it definitely isn’t that!

I have two brother’s (they’re technically half-brother’s since we share only the same dad) who are more likely to find their way to the blog than my dad (probably through Facebook) and I wondered what they would think if they read my blog. I really don’t know, because they have experienced my dad in a very different way than I have. He has been around for them. They grew up in the same house with him and he has taken them fishing and watched them play rugby. So they wouldn’t identify with my feelings or experience at all and might find it confusing, but they are good guys who I get along with very well and I like to believe that they would see the blog for what it is.

I know I could be stepping on toes with this blog, but I passionately believe that in a world where the divorce rate and fatherless homes rates are higher than ever before, we need to unite and deal with the situation. I am sold-out in my belief that where there are no father’s God is the ultimate Father and that His love can fill the void left by any absent earthly father.

Thanks so much for reading and please feel free to let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day! Really? Historically Father’s Day hasn’t been a great day for me and I’m sure it’s the same deal for heaps of others – even you maybe? In fact, this post was inspired by a friend of mine – a really great girl called Kate – I spotted her updated on Facebook about how she hates Father’s Day and it got me thinking…

Starting a good few years back and over a period of a few years Father’s Day gradually became a bearable day for me, then a day that didn’t really affect me at all, and now it is slowly progressing on from there. Let me explain some of the reasons why.

I have been married to my super-awesome wife for just over three years now and she comes from such a cool family and has a great dad.
When Lindsay and I decided to get married I got a pretty hard time from her dad – his mission was to make sure that she was marrying a good guy that would take good care of her and treat her well so he put the pressure on. At the time it was difficult, but I appreciate the experience now and realise how much it helped me grow and how much it has strengthened my relationship with him.

The way Lindsay talks about her dad and the way that he treats his daughters (and the way he looked out for her and protected her when I wanted to marry her) shows me how a man can be a good dad and shows me a little bit more of how God sees me as his son. My relationship with my father-in-law also teaches me more of the same. This has improved my perception of God (which admittedly can still use a lot of improvement), my relationship with Him and my knowledge that I can be a great dad one day despite my lack of education on the subject.

That brings me to the next reason that Father’s Day isn’t all that bad for me anymore – me becoming a dad! No, my wife isn’t pregnant, but we have been speaking pretty seriously about making babies so it’s only a matter of time I guess. Thinking about being a dad makes me so amped! And then Father’s Day will be a whole different story won’t it? I’m super-amped to be a dad, but I’m also super-amped to feel what it feels like to love your child with that hectic fatherly love. I’m amped to get a better understanding of how God feels about us as his children so I can know Him more and trust Him more than I do today!

Oh, by the way – I said happy Father’s Day to my dad today. Maybe you should too if you can? Just throwing it out there…

Happy Father’s Day everyone! It’s a good day!!

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At times like this…

It’s at times like this, when things go horribly wrong and I feel so alone that I struggle to see God as a Father. I know in my mind who He is, but in my heart I have so much doubt and find it so hard to trust that He will look out for me and provide for me.

It’s at times like this that I feel so angry at my own Dad for disappointing me so much and contributing so greatly to my skewed view of who God is.

It’s at times like this that I realize that I need Jesus even more and that it’s me who needs to change and not Him.

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Fathers Discipline

I often find myself being jealous of what others have or with how their lives are. I compare myself to my friends and people I meet and far more often than not I feel inferior. I compare my achievements to those of other men my age and I feel so left behind. I feel very unsuccessful.

A few weeks ago, in one of these states, I found myself properly envious of where a couple my wife and I are friends with are in their lives and just how easily things seem to happen for them. Before I could even start complaining, God he showed me some scripture and swiftly brought me some discipline. Having grown up without the discipline that a father should bring I still find it difficult to accept discipline – even though I know how much I need it.

Check out what God had to say: Read more

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Fight or starve?

So this is my first official post. Let’s see how it goes…

I don’t know about you, but I take an extremely long time to make decisions. I often (if not always) over-analyze situations and what the consequences of decisions I make might be, so a lot of the time I just end up doing nothing and avoid deciding altogether. This is especially true when the decisions I have to make involve trusting people and believing that they will really do what they have said they will.

This stems from the fact that when a was a child my dad would regularly make promises to me about Read more