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Mal. 4:6 (NLT)- His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Break my heart for the things that break yours. That’s always been my prayer. Lately the Lord has been answering my prayer and I’ve opened my heart and allowed Him to break it. I’ve been weeping with a broken heart, but He’s shown me today that it’s nothing compared to what my sisters have had to go through. It’s nothing compared to what these young boys have had to go through. So today I’m just a fountain of tears, broken for the things that Jesus’ heart is broken for. Heavy on my heart and I’m not sure what to do with it. So, I do what I always do when my heart is heavy- I write.

My heart is going out today for all of the unsung heroes that no one writes about. No one makes a movie about them. No one see’s their pain. No one see’s them working day after day, coming home completely exhausted and just getting started with their children. I am crying out and broken today for my single mom friends. I see you. I see you trying to make a life for you and your children. I see you going to school and working to better your life. I see you trying to be a mom and a dad. I know you don’t have enough money to provide sometimes just for the basic necessities. I see your heart breaking when you notice the other dads with their kids. But more importantly, I want you to know God sees. And his heart is broken too.

Let me just start by saying this. I have had more conversations this month than I can count on two hands. Here are just a few of their stories. They are my heroes. One of them shared how her son said, “Mom, will I ever have a dad to play sports with me or take me hunting or fishing? I’m in high school and I feel like my time is just passing me by.” Another single mom friend desperately wants to get plugged into a Bible Study for women but needs a place for her boys. Another mom told me she would love to have her boys learn about stuff like hiking, fishing, and camping & guy stuff.  Another friend said her sons’ dad lives out of state, but when he comes into town, that he doesn’t even come to see his own son. A different friend said that her kids’ dad has never had a relationship with her kids and this summer said he wanted to see them. These kids opened their hearts up with the hopes of starting that relationship with their father. He came and only wanted to see their mom and never even had intentions on building that relationship with them. He said IN FRONT OF THEM, “Coming out here was just a waste of my time.” When he left they wept with a wound so deep, grieving for the father they never had.

I asked. Break my heart Lord for the things that break yours. “You know not what you ask,” He answered. I almost couldn’t leave the house today. My heart was overwhelmed, not only for my dear sisters, but also for their children and the thousands of children that are out there crying out. Not sure what to do with this pain. One little boy in my son’s class makes up doing stuff with his dad- I believe it’s because the desire is so deep, and he hears all the other little boys talking about what they get to do with their dads. He wants it so badly.

My heart cries out for all the kids that see kids like mine with a daddy to go fishing with. I see it in their eyes. When they have Daddy-Day at school and their daddies don’t show up. This happened once in my son’s class in Colorado. It was Parent-Day. All the kids had their work lined up on their desks. The kids had worked hard all week on their special projects. One little girl bragged about how her daddy was going to come and she couldn’t wait (her parents were divorced and she lived with her mom). Time passed and the teacher quickly realized her dad wasn’t coming. The little girl started to cry. She blurted out to her teacher, “But my daddy said he was coming. He promised.” The teacher held her and rocked her and told her how beautiful her work was.

My heart cries out for these boys when they see all of their friends going camping with their daddies, and they wonder why they didn’t get picked to have a daddy. When they wonder in their little hearts if they just weren’t enough, if there’s something wrong with them. God’s heart is broke. This was not His plan.

There are so many things my heart shouts today. It shouts, “Dads, please, step up and be the man and father God has called you to be.” My heart screams, “Will you be the one to break the cycle of absent dads in your family?” “When will you seek out help and counseling and stop seeking out the desires and selfishness that wraps itself around your heart?”

And oh my goodness, my heart just wants to tell these little ones, “You are enough, it is not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong.” “You are so loved by your heavenly Father and I am so sorry on behalf of all of the dads that just can’t seem to figure out how to be there for you.” I am sorry; you are right, it is not fair.

And for all of my friends that are reading this that just stopped by thinking it was just another lighthearted devotion from me, can I ask for your prayers? Will you pray for all of our unseen heroes out there and for their children? We know that we have hope in God. He can restore and heal the broken-hearted.

And second (and this is big)- will you pray for our family? God began stirring something over 20 years ago in my husband’s parents’ hearts for a Ranch called Fathers Heart Ranch. That vision was transferred to his sister, Faith. And that vision has also been transferred to us. It is a huge need out here. We would love to have a place for father/sons, Mother/daughters, and kids that would normally never get an opportunity like this. We would love a place for boys to be mentored by men. To have a ministry in our church called Fathers Heart. We could provide a place where one Saturday a month these godly men could volunteer from our church to fish with them, swim, hike, ride horses, and speak into their lives- make deposits, pray with them and encourage them to keep going and fight the good fight. We would love to have a place that would provide resources for families- speaking, training, DVDs, and videos- to strengthen these families. We want to be an extension of His hand, reaching out to His kids.

We announced yesterday that we are stepping down as the Children’s Pastors at Good Shepherd Community Church. This has been something completely soaked in prayer since the beginning of this summer (2012). Our heart is still for kids and families (and we LOVE our kids here at this church). Our pastor and staff have been completely amazing and we could not be more honored and humbled by their support. We are not leaving our church (we love it here), we are merely moving into a new area of ministry. It’s definitely stepping out of the boat for us. Sometimes we want to know exactly what it’s going to look like, how it’s going to work and where the finances are coming from. But sometimes God will place a dream on your heart that’s bigger than you. And after a period of preparation and much prayer it requires stepping out in faith. I am so thankful to my in-laws who have laid the foundation for SO many years and have had their hearts broken for this way before us.

I believe it’s the Fathers Heart. I truly do. Pray for everything to fall into place, pray for favor, pray for more than enough in the area of finances, and that we would be able to hear from God for every step we need to take- we cry out for wisdom and are very careful to not take any steps without His guidance and direction.

Thank you for listening to my heart, Celeste

Mother Teresa was once asked how we can restore peace to our world. Her answer was simple: “Go home and learn to love your family.”