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!
It’s been a while since I last posted. This is due to a number of things. For one, I sometimes just don’t have anything to write, but other than that my wife and I recently moved to a new city and it’s been pretty crazy trying to settle in. God has been so ridiculously good to us though! There have been days when we thought there were just no solutions to problems we were facing, but Jesus has hooked us up so amazingly.
We were given a car and have also found a really nice little place to stay that we will move into at the start of next month. It will be really good to be in a little place of our own after having pretty much been gypsies for the last 9 months and living with friends and family (and almost complete strangers) all over the world.
So why has God been looking after us? It’s nothing we’ve done to deserve it – I can attest to that! It’s because He’s good and He’s a father. And because He promised. Check out Psalm 146 from verse 5 until the end and give a little extra attention to verse 9:
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!
He promised He’d look after me and that’s what He does! Pretty simple really. God can’t make a promise and not keep it! He is truth. There’s not much more that I can say about it. God is good and His goodness causes us to change.
On another note – I got an email from a reader today that was super encouraging! It feels really good to know that there are people reading and being affected by the blog.
Please feel free to get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!
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 the rest of this entry »
Right now I don’t have very many regrets, and the majority that I can think of are pretty negligible and have been forgotten long ago – thereby implying they aren’t regrets at all anymore. The way I see it there are varying levels of regret and these levels can be judged by the longevity of the regret in question – it’s lifespan. By that I mean how long I continue to regret a certain action or decision determines how big a regret it is. Like the time I decided not to wear underpants to youth group when I was 17 and someone pulled my pants down in front of all the girls – I regretted that decision for a good year or two at least. So I’d put that at about a 3 or 4 out of 10. Oh, what about the time I decided not to join my friends on a surf trip to the West Coast for the school holidays because I had just started dating Emily Graham – she broke up with me at the end of the first week of the three week holidays and my friends scored mental waves – that regret lasted years. 5 out of 10 (surfing always came before girls after that – until I met my wife of course).
So I’m guessing you’re wondering if there is anything I currently regret and have continued to for a long time. There is one thing and it’s something I think I will probably always regret.
To fill you in we’ll need to go back in time to when I was in high school. I was really good friends with a guy who’s name I’m going to ommit – I’m not sure why exactly, but I just think I should.
This friend and I surfed together just about every weekend and slept over at one another’s houses all the time. OK, let’s call him Simon for the sake of having a name to use.
Simon had two older brothers who also both surfed. I looked up to them both and always loved hanging out at their house – some of my best memories are from times at their house, hanging in their neighbourhood and at the beach near where they stayed. They were a great family – still are I’m sure!
Simon and I were pretty tight and we’d talk about girls and what we wanted to do when we were older. We’d talk about all the surf spots around the world that we wanted to surf and places we wanted to go. I still remember a big map of Indonesia that he had stuck up on the wall next to his bed and he once told me about how he was thinking about doing missionary work there (and getting crazy good waves while he was at it – obviously!). (Ironically I am writing this whilst lying on a bed, under a less than fully-functional mosquito net, on the island of Nias in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.)
OK, lets get to the crux. I don’t remember the exact year that it happened (I think it was my first year out of High School and Simon’s last year of the same – I have no way to check right now unfortunately), but one morning Simon’s brothers went for a surf at their local spot and one of them was attacked by a shark. I won’t go into any details, but he passed away as a result.
Simon needed me (and all his other friends) to be there for him to talk to if he wanted to or to be quiet with if he needed to or even to just do random stuff with if that’s what he needed. I seriously had no idea what to say to him. I couldn’t even imagine his pain and I knew that nothing I could say would help, so I did the worst thing of all. I said nothing. I didn’t call and I didn’t go to see him. I’m still shocked at my insanely poor decision! I get a kind of heavy feeling on me when I think about it – every time.
Why didn’t I call? I know all the reasons why, but when I think of them they become more like excuses than reasons. I was stupid enough to think about myself and how I would feel rather than forgetting about me and being the friend that I should have been. I let my insecurities be bigger than my loyalty. I know where those insecurities came from and I could go on and list them as reasons for my actions, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my biggest regret it’s that I’m responsible for my actions and my decisions and for who I am. No amount of shifting blame to my daddy issues could make up for the fact that I made an extremely poor decision and that I was a bad friend. I’ve realised that it’s me who is responsible for who I am and not my father. I can be the product of the hand I feel I’ve been dealt or I can be the man, husband, father, friend and son I want to be by taking responsibility for my character.
I was Simon’s ‘Christian’ friend and I let him down hugely! I showed him an extremely distorted and false picture of who God is by bailing on him when it counted. Our friendship died back then. I have seen him since then and apologised for my poor form, but it was too little too late. Don’t get me wrong, he was very gracious about it and he’s a truly great guy, but apart from the ocassional message here and there on Facebook we don’t have much contact.
There’s not much substance to our friendship and it doesn’t take much to see why. Would you have a real friendship with someone who bailed on you at a time like that? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.
I’m reminded of Simon’s bedside map almost daily while we are here in Indonesia and I can’t help thinking about whether he would be here doing the things he spoke about all those years ago if I had just had the balls to be a good enough friend to be there for him when he needed me.
Don’t make decision based on what your past or your experience says about you. Be the best version of you by choosing to do the things that the best version of you would do. I don’t get it right all the time, but if I keep trying (and I will) then I’ll eventually be the best me.
Thanks for reading! You’re awesome!!
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
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!!
When I was 14 years old and in my first year of High School I remember trying really hard to avoid the teachers. There was a particular reason for my attempts at avoidance.
I remember my friends and classmates being told that their facial hair was getting to a point where they needed to start shaving and I was noticing that there was a little more substance to the hair on my face than there had been in the past. I knew that the day was coming when a teacher would pick me out and tell me what the other guys were being told. I dreaded it.
Fortunately I am blonde so my need to shave was a lot less noticable than a lot of the other guys – that would give me a few extra weeks, maybe months, of being able to lay low.
I knew I’d be told I have to start shaving and then I’d have to go home and tell my mom and she’d go and buy me a razor and some shaving cream and then I’d have nobody to teach me how to shave. It seems really trivial now that I know how to do it and, like most guys I’m sure, it’s pretty much second nature to me, but at the time it was a big deal and really had me worried because I had no clue what I was going to do.
I still remember one of my teachers taking me aside and telling me I needed get the hair off my face. His name was Mr Coetzee and he was a really nice guy. He told me in a mellow way and didn’t get too harsh with me. I think he knew it might be something that could be an issue for me so he went easy on me.
So anyway, I went home and told my mom and she went and bought me what I needed like I knew she would. I had all the stuff and I had a vague idea of what I needed to do, but I really wasn’t sure. Now I don’t even know if guys who’s dads were around got them to show them how to shave or not, but I know that at that moment, in the bathroom, I wished that my dad was there to show me. I stood there clueless and lonely. I figured asking my mom would be futile since she had never shaved her face (or ever needed to- thank goodness!). I have a cousin who is three years older than me, and who I looked up to a lot, who had been shaving for a while so I thought I could talk to him, but I thought it would be really embarrassing so I gave it a skip. I didn’t want to ask the guys at school because I was scared they would ask why I didn’t just ask my dad.
I felt really alone at that time. Like a lot of things in my life I taught myself how to shave by trial and error.
What’s the point of this story? Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only guy who didn’t have dad around to teach him stuff. I know there are girls who didn’t have dads around to teach them that they are beautiful and how to respect themselves.
Maybe one of my memories is teaching myself to shave and yours is something else, or a bunch of other things, but there is a whole generation of us whose dads just weren’t around for us. We have taught ourselves how to do a lot of things. We are the fatherless.
My question is this: ‘What can we learn from our dads?’
What my dad did hasn’t shown me how to be a good dad, but what he didn’t do has shown me what I need to do to be a good dad.
If I have a son (or more than one) I will teach him to shave, how to pass a rugby ball, how to catch a wave, how to treat girls with respect, how to be a good, strong, kind person and how to be a good dad to his children. I will give him a sense of worth and help him find his identity. And If I have a daughter I will teach her that she is beautiful and captivating, that she is loved and that she should expect to be treated well and respected by boys and that her dad will always do what he can to protect her.
We may be the fatherless, but we are also the ones that can make sure that the next generation – our children – are not fatherless! We know what not to do. We know how not to be. We are the fathers!
Let’s not make the same mistakes our parents did.
If you’d like to chat you can leave a comment or send me an email.
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.
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 the rest of this entry »