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Kia Stephens

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January 14, 2017

3 Reasons Women Can Embrace the “S” Word

January 14, 2017 | By | 21 Comments

“If he can lead me then lead me, but if he can’t . . . then I’ll walk all over him,” a popular music artist said in a radio interview.  She said this to the applause of men and women in the room.   Her statement came across as harsh, but I understood where she was coming from.

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Kia Stephens

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December 20, 2016

When Life Is Unresolved

December 20, 2016 | By | 8 Comments

I just love closure. Don’t you?

The End of an Argument

A Paid Off Bill

A Happy Ending

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Kia Stephens

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November 19, 2016

Raising Kids Without Fathers

November 19, 2016 | By | No Comments

In this live stream hangout Kia Stephens of the Father Swap Blog will discuss Raising Kids Without Fathers with Lisa Appelo of www.lisaappelo.com . If you are a single mom or a daughter who was raised in a single parent household you don’t want to miss this intimate discussion.

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Kia Stephens

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September 18, 2016

What Cosmo Won’t Tell You About Great Sex

September 18, 2016 | By | 12 Comments

As a culture we are fascinated by sex.  And somewhere sitting on the top floor of a New York City skyscraper is a marketing executive that knows this about you and I.  Which explains why every time we buy groceries our eyes are bombarded by the latest and unapologetically audacious title on the cover of Cosmo.

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Kia Stephens

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August 23, 2016

4 Reasons Why Men Don’t Father Part III

August 23, 2016 | By | 8 Comments

“I handed him the divorce papers and he just signed them,” she said.  “He didn’t even fight for me.”  With tremendous disappointment my friend questioned the behavior of her ex but I understood his actions with laser sharp clarity.

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Kia Stephens

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August 8, 2016

4 Reasons Why Men Don’t Father (Part I)

August 8, 2016 | By | 4 Comments

It’s hard to imagine why a man would not father his child.  I can still remember the Cheshire cat grin that spanned the width of my husband’s face when he found out we were pregnant with our first child.  I have watched this same excitement dictate his engagement in the lives of our boys.

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Kia Stephens

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June 20, 2016

Exposing the Root Cause of Daddy Wounds

June 20, 2016 | By | 10 Comments

I have a confession.  If given large amounts of freedom – void of the responsibility to feed, clothe, or take care of anyone or anything – I have been known to binge watch old TV shows all day long. I’m not proud of it, but I do own my periodic plunge into laziness.

It’s the storyline that plants me in between pillows.  A sucker for suspense, one hour becomes four as I try to figure out “who dun it”.  Most intriguing are the unsuspecting plot twist I didn’t see coming.

Confidently, I think the business partner is the culprit, only to discover it was actually the mistress.  Each subsequent episode lures, baits, and keeps me glued to a screen wanting to know the outcome.  I am not alone.  

We are a generation of cats killed by curiosity, slayed by the need to know what happens next.  However, this absorption with fictitious situations keeps us from realizing the greatest plot is the one we’re living.  Reality has been reduced to the daily grind, periodic success, events, and conversations, but this is just the subplot of a much larger story.

Set in motion before our birth was the battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, and God and Satan. I say this with the realization that we live in a practical-teaching-megachurch-age, where words like demonic have almost been omitted from the vocabulary of the average church goer. Many of us find it easier to acknowledge the existence of an omniscient God without embracing the reality of a diabolical enemy.  

When we do acknowledge his presence it is often tainted by Hollywood’s interpretation teetering between extremes.  Either he’s the man in a red catsuit with horns perched on the shoulder of an indecisive actor, or he’s a quick witted super hero fighting crime in an Italian suit.  Neither persona is accurate, duping us into believing Lucifer is predictable, likable, and not that bad. The Bible, on the other hand, gives an opposing perspective of our adversary.

 

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8: 44 NIV

 

When measured against the word of God there is absolutely nothing nonthreatening about him. He is described as a deceiver, a hunter and a killer whose sole purpose is to annihilate his prey, us.  And he will stop at nothing to accomplish this task.  

Satan is the proverbial below the belt hitter.  If given the opportunity, he has the power to impact every area of our lives: that childhood hurt, lingering habits, dangerous temptations, weight loss (or the lack of it), hang-ups, sweet tooths, jobs, and relationships.  And if you’re carrying an unhealed crater-sized wound from your father, he had a hand in that too.

  According to The Washington Times, “Sociologists say it’s common for people to perceive that God is like the fatherly figures in their lives. If dad is caring, patient and concerned, then children will believe God has those same characteristics. And the opposite holds true when a father is harsh, judgmental or absent.”

This is the perfect smoke screen, masterful plan, and hidden schema daughters are blinded to as they endure difficult and nonexistent relationships with their daddies.  It is not coincidental that countless numbers of women have father daughter relationships plagued by: death, abuse, abandonment, incarceration, drug addiction, distance, divorce, and the like.  There is a supernatural plot in play that substantiates why this epidemic is so pervasive.

So the question becomes what should our response be?  You may think your battle is with your daddy, but it is not. You, alone are not powerful enough to change your father or your relationship with him.  The difficult truth is that he may never change.  It is not up to you, but God.  

Tucked within the pages of scripture is explicit instruction on dealing with difficult relationships.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. . .

Ephesians 6: 12 – 13 (NIV)

When it comes to overcoming daddy wounds, we must be like parasites gleaning from God’s well of life giving sustenance. Our communication with Him must be constant, expressing the ups and downs in this journey through I -can’t-make-it without-you-prayer. Most importantly, our resolve must be cemented, armed with the knowledge that although we have a very real opponent, we have a victorious God who has already won the battle on our behalf.

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Kia Stephens

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June 15, 2016

When Father’s Day Is Bitter Sweet

June 15, 2016 | By | 4 Comments

You celebrate a few men:

Your neighbor,

That random dad in Target with the kids,

Your friend’s husband,

and other relatives,

but when it comes to your own father things gets complicated.

While idyllic images of fathers and daughters flood social media channels, you struggle to find images to post.  Father’s day is just a reminder that things aren’t so ideal for you. And this holiday comes with a broad array of emotions:

Admiration,

Sorrow,

Love,

Rage,

Jealousy,

and Bitterness.

Thus, fueling the temptation to wear a mask for the day, so your true feelings remain undetected. You’d rather suppress your raw emotions then broadcast your pain at a time when no one else is. I have felt like this on a number of occasions, and as a professional stuffer, I can say with clarity, “Don’t do it.”

This method of dealing with pain is ineffective.  Passive aggression is like a fast moving bullet to the soul, leaving it’s victims with a non healing wound.  If this sounds familiar, and your Father’s Day experience is more bitter than sweet, I have three suggestions to help you process your feelings.

#1 Give Yourself Permission to Grieve What Has Been Lost  

The physical or emotional absence of a father is a traumatic experience in the life of his daughter.  Whether the cause be death, divorce, abandonment, distance, or substance abuse, the effect is a loss that must be grieved.  Though difficult to process, it is necessary, in order to heal.

Are you hurting today?

Is your father daughter story so painful you can barely talk about it?

If so, the Bible gives you license to mourn.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Grieve every difficult memory, wound inflicted, word said, moment missed, and rejection felt.  Your story should not be minimized or dismissed.  If it is painful to you then it matters to God.  One of my favorite scriptures says it like this, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

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And you might be saying, “I’ve tried to release it, but the wound is too deep.”  I completely understand. The process of grieving takes time and is unique to every person.  Enlist support on your journey; you may require the help of a professional counselor, or a trusted friend.  Whatever it takes, for however long it takes, you will “be comforted” in your grief by God.  So do not lose heart.

# 2 Choose Forgiveness

The love you feel for your daddy only makes the dagger of his words and actions sink deeper. And attempting to forgive him is like falling down a bottomless pit: never coming to the end of his offenses against you.  I get it.  You are tired of trying to forgive a man that doesn’t seem to deserve forgiveness.  

And if it had not been for the selfless act of a Jewish carpenter, I might encourage you to forget about forgiving your daddy.  But because of Christ, my forgiveness is not conditional and yours either. We forgive because we have been forgiven, period.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

And this is more easily said than done, but it is doable. Christ is the impetus for, and the enabler of forgiveness.  Without Him it is impossible to willingly and consistently relinquish my right to hold a grudge towards my offender.

Every time I forgive with my mouth I ask God to help my emotions to follow suit.  And if the pain resurfaces, or a new offense is made, I continue to lean on the power of my heavenly father to forgive again. 

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Kia Stephens

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June 14, 2015

When You Feel Fatherless on Father’s Day

June 14, 2015 | By | 26 Comments

“It’s just another day,” she said in response to my question about Father’s Day.  She, being a 30 something friend of mine, who has never met her biological dad.  I assumed the day would conjure up feelings of sadness for her; but I was wrong.

It was more like being a foreigner on the 4th of July; the day came and went with no emotion.  And when the same question was asked to different people, they echoed this sentiment as well.  There was no sadness or anger, just indifference.

I am acquainted with their response, even though I know who my father is.  At one time I felt detached from the warm fuzzies associated with this day.  There were no memories of daddy daughter dates, late night talks, or boyfriend interrogations.  My less than ideal relationship left me feeling like an inside outsider.

I was not alone, a growing number of women stood on the periphery with me – and still do.  And sometimes, on the outside looking in, Father’s Day seemed like an exclusive club for the lucky few, rather than a national holiday. But I am now convinced that this day can be celebrated by every woman, even if she has a difficult or non existent relationship with her dad.

It happened for me.  Like that moment after a thunderstorm, when the clouds part and the sun shines through; I noticed a change in my attitude.  There was no longing, bitterness, disappointment or indifference; it had been replaced with perspective.

The impact of this new found state was shocking.  Was it really my brain those thoughts were coming from?  For so long my negative emotions were like gum sticking to the bottom of my soul.  I felt indefinitely cemented to my view.

Then, after years of prayer, periodic counseling, and many times of digging through the Bible in search of scriptures that applied to me, I changed. The prayer the apostle Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus was realized in my life. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling. . .” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

When Paul said “the eyes of your heart”  he was referring to their understanding.   And although I spent most of my life on a pew, I needed the panoramic enlightenment found in that scripture to comprehend the hope found in Christ.  My faith was limited to the basics: confession of sin, faith in Jesus as God’s son, and a belief in eternal life.  But I did not see how the hope of His calling impacted me and my father.

I struggled to believe this hope pertained to the broken hearted daughter; but it does.  Nestled in the truth of that scripture is hope for those who feel no connection to Father’s Day.  Through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we have the promise of acceptance and adoption by God.

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We are like children on the sidelines waiting to be picked for the team, when God says,”I choose you.”

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 Yes, you who:

Were mistreated by your daddy,

Feel abandoned,

Lost your dad to cancer,

Long to be loved,

Never knew your father,

And feel indifferent on Father’s Day.

You are the one I want.”

He repeatedly communicates this truth in His word.

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”

Psalms 27:10 (NIV)

“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6: 18 (NIV)

“He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”

Ephesians 1: 5 (NIV)

“…The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry Abba Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NIV)

And please don’t be distracted by the word sonship;  know that if we (His daughters) are followers of Jesus Christ, God is our Father too.  

 This Aramaic word for Father is the term Christ used in the garden of Gethsemane.

As He approached the bloody culmination of His earthly work, He touched the heart of God by crying out, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 (NIV) And because Christ chose to endure the suffering of the cross, we too, are afforded that same level of intimacy with our heavenly Father.

Whether our earthly dad is physically present but emotionally absent, deceased, addicted, or missing, we can have a relationship with the perfect Father.  This is why Father’s Day matters; celebrating this day is not dependent on the relationship we have, or lack with our earthly dad.  On this day we can choose to honor God our heavenly Father.  And so, to the sovereign, almighty, merciful, and loving God who chose me – the woman on the sidelines – Happy Father’s Day!

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