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Daddy Issues

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Ashley Woods is a Covenant Member of City Church. 

“I’ve been ready,

Since my dad used to tell me he was comin’ to the house to get me

He ain’t show up

Valuable lesson, man, I had to grow up

That’s why I never ask for help

I’ll do it for you [people] and do it for myself.”

— “0 to 100” by Drake

When I was 4-years-old or so, my dad picked me up from my mom’s house. My dad was in & out so let me just say that I was beyond excited that he came to get me. Driving away, I talked excitedly about things in my life (like little ones do). Including my mom’s new boyfriend. Yikes. That hit a cord and I didn’t really understand why. He whipped the car around to take me back to my mom’s. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it!”, I cried. But, it was too late.

He told me to get out but I refused. “I wanna go with you, Daddy.” Nope. He opened my car door, pushed me out, threw my Barbie suitcase out of his sunroof and drove away. He just left me there. By myself. On that gravel driveway.

I know what it’s like to hope that your parent will be there. And, then, they’re not. And, I know the feeling of not understanding why. I know the feelings of fear and uneasiness when the cops come to your house. Multiple times. And, I know the embarrassment you feel when everyone around you sees it. I know what it feels like to not be able to trust anything (and I mean anything) your parent says.  I know the cold feeling of the courthouse. I know the emotions that flood you when you find out your parent is going to jail. I know what it feels like to hope your parent never does show up again. And, I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people who have parents that love them and know that they don’t understand. I know what it’s like to think it didn’t affect me. And, I know what it’s like to work so hard to prove it didn’t.

Rejection, neglect, abandonment – they leave deep scars. Whether we admit it or not. I, honestly, did not see the depth of these scars until recently. If anything, I thought my experience with abandonment made me stronger than everyone around me.

But, what I found is – it greatly affected (negatively) my ability to love and to be loved. It made Truth sound nice but not real. It made me pessimistic, in the name of realistic; if made me fearful, in the name of sensible; it made me cold, in the name of driven; it made me guarded, in the name of wise; and it made me insecure, in the name of independent.

I have lived those Drake lyrics. And, I can tell you that that’s no life.

Really, I didn’t even think there was an alternative to that life. I just thought – “These are the cards that I’ve been dealt. This is what I have to live with.” But, that’s not true. I haven’t found complete victory in this but I have found enough victory to see that you don’t have to live like that.

Issues like this, left untouched, can destroy relationships – with friends, spouses, children, God, you name it.

But, what if you do face the issue? What if you let God touch it? What if you let Him speak into it? What if you let yourself be hurt? What if you grieve what you didn’t have?

Healing would come. Not immediate healing but healing nonetheless. Years of hurt probably aren’t going to be reversed in 5 minutes.

In one of her blogs, Lysa TerKeurst says, “If we avoid the hurt. The hurt will create a void in us… It is possible to be healed. Even more than that, it is possible to live loved.”

I mentioned a second ago that things like this can destroy your relationship with God. But, God is not like your parent. He is not like the person(s) that hurt you. And, I know that it can feel like He is. But, don’t turn your back on God because of what’s been done to you. He wants you, He loves you and the fact that you’re reading this is proof that He’s pursuing you. If you feel like you can relate to any of this and know that you either are or probably are still affected by it, buy Jonathan Edwards’ book “The Struggle to Make Sense of Life When a Parent Leaves" and keep the conversation going.

Adapted from a blog post by Ashley Woods at

Posted by Ashley Woods with
in Race

The Gospel and Race: Where Do I Start?

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The Gospel and Race: Where Do I Start?

In the wake of the recent shooting of Terrence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott in Tulsa, OK and Charlotte, NC, it’s difficult to know what to do.

If you are white, you may wonder, “What will offend? What will get me into trouble? Maybe I should just sit still, be quiet and let this blow over…again.”

If you are black, you may wonder, “Where are the voices of the white brothers and sisters in my church that are supposed to love me? Why do they just go on with their lives as if nothing is happening?”

Here’s my answer.

As a Christian, you should never let injustice just “blow over”. You are called to mourn suffering (Romans 8, Romans 12:15). We are called to cry out to God to end suffering. Jesus was angry about Lazarus’ death, even though he knew he was about to raise him to life again (John 11). Sin, death, and all of their ugly cousins should be noticed and mourned by the church.

As the Church, we are called to be a weird people (1 Peter 2:9-12) not because we constantly mourn suffering, but because of the signs of the Kingdom we show that testify to the hope of Jesus making all things new. 

The Christian’s relationship to death, suffering, violence, racism, and injustice should NEVER be indifference or apathy. It should only ever be the kind of “snorting” (think of a bull) anger that Jesus displayed outside of Lazarus’ tomb, just before he showed a sign of his own resurrection (and the church’s ultimate resurrection) by doing something about Lazarus’ death.

In light of this, many of you are still asking “So WHAT do I do?”

The better question is “Where do I start?” 

Pray without ceasing. In this case, that means don’t pray for racial injustice ONLY when violent events happen. Systemic racial injustice happens in more than the violence in isolated events. It happens in the workplace, in the classroom, even in the grocery store. Injustice is ongoing, and so should our prayers for God to fix it.

Understand the problem. Again, this IS about violence, but it is not ONLY about violence. There are more insidious things happening alongside violence. This article might be helpful

Make friends, change patterns. If you don’t know and love people of a different race and culture, you are far more likely to stereotype their actions and be disconnected from their pain. Neither of those things is Christ-like. This means intentionally breaking up the patterns of your life to put yourself in real relationships that help you see through someone else’s eyes.

Here are some resources to help:

1) My sermon from this summer: “A Tale of Two Sunday Schools: Why Black Lives Have to Matter to the Church”

2) D.A. Horton- “God’s Cleaning His House…the Church” Specifically see his reading suggestions in “Intellectual Equipping.”

3) VIDEO: Grace, Justice, & Mercy: Bryan Stevenson & Tim Keller 

4) SHORT BOOK: The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation

5) Bryan Lorrits’s message from the 2016 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's National Conference: Right Color, Wrong Culture: Pursuing Multi-ethic Cultural Engagement

Photo courtesy of Relevant Magazine

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