This Daughter and The Fiery Trial

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I dropped my daughter at her friend’s house and blew her a kiss goodbye. “I’ll be without you for eight hours,” I said.

“It’s like a day of school,” she said, nonchalantly closing the car door behind her.

As I watched her walk away, I thought, eight hours without her on this Saturday wasn’t like any other school day.

In 2012, on Mother’s Day my gift from her: the decision to live with her father and visit me when she pleased like her nineteen-year-old sister did. Then I was crushed, eight months later, I’m still reeling from her decision, my mother’s day gift.

Despite the signed divorce stipulation, joint custody, five days on five days off, every other weekend visits my daughter, fifteen, doesn’t visit. Her father said, “He wants to keep the peace, he doesn’t want to be the bad guy.” Her sister said, “I can’t tell her what to do.”  My best friend said, “A daughter needs her mother.”

I wept.

I couldn’t understand her reasoning, and when I asked she had no explanation.

Six months prior to her choice, this daughter did not contest living in two places when I moved out of the martial home. She showed no remorse saying, “I knew in the third grade you and Dad would divorce.” She added, “Mom, I plan to have enough clothes at both homes so I have less to pack.”

And by May, she did.

This daughter did not hid in closets or walk away when she heard her parents argue. She stood in the doorway watching and listening to us bark at each other exchanging harsh words we couldn’t take back. This daughter told me the things her father said in my absence.

I wept.

Simultaneously, this daughter was the one who believed her father did not love her. I remember our daily discourse. “Your father loves you, he just has a lot on his plate.”  “Your father doesn’t like the house messy.” “Go show your father, he will like it.” “Pray for him, God hears the prayers of children.”

I’ll never forget the Sunday morning this daughter refused to go to church. “If Daddy doesn’t go, why should I?”

My only response, “Because I said so.”

Before her decision to live with her father, my daughter and I did not have a disagreement or a fight. Our habits were the same: in the mornings no talking, while reading a book no talking. We played scrabble on Sundays, which we’d been playing since she was three. After church, we went to breakfast, and sometimes a friend tagged along, in which I let them roam the stores in the mall, while I graded papers in the coffee shop.

One day while playing a card game this daughter said, “Mom, when I get friends, I’m not staying home with you.”

“That’s what teenagers do,” I said.

Three months after her decision to live with her father, God showed some relationships are worth fighting for. Despite a lack of visits, I met her at the bus stop on Tuesdays or Thursdays. We went to the pizza parlor. Another time after pizza a visit to the library or shopping for knickknacks. On Columbus Day we shopped in New York City. Although we were making great strides, she did not answer my question: “Why don’t you want to live with me?” (I don’t ask that question anymore.)

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So, on this Saturday, she had been with me for a week. The last thing I wanted: eight hours without her on a Saturday knowing our only time together hereafter would be one or two hours on a Tuesday or Thursday or a shopping trip to the mall.

For some reason my suffering for Christ’s glory became a fiery trial I didn’t want to bear any longer. Yet I could understand even better Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane asking God to let the cup pass knowing God’s will be done.

As much as this relationship pains me, knowing my daughter doesn’t want to live with me, I try to absorb the words of Os Hillman, founder of Marketplace Leaders and Today God is First devotional, “When we go through a trial of adversity, we need to understand that God is performing radical surgery on our life. …not to destroy us, but to give us a new heart. God is making a fundamental change in who we are and who we will be. And, He will always reveal treasures from these secret places if we are willing to walk through the process patiently.”

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6 thoughts on “This Daughter and The Fiery Trial

  1. Ang, life throws us curves sometimes we just don’t understand but only by faith can we make it through. Your words are so heartfelt and bring back memories of my own, similar yet quite different. Our oldest and youngest daughters walked out of our lives over seven years ago. I did not hear from them and very little about their lives through the years. My husband and I did not understand what happened, why they left, why they hated us (or so we thought at the time). During that time, we did receive word of the birth of a grandson and two granddaughters. It was heart breaking and there was not a day I did not lift them up in prayer…prayer that they were well and taken care of. Last spring when Jim was so ill and I truly thought he was not going to make it, I posted a message to family on Facebook. It was within a few hours we were on our way to the hospital 40 miles away where he was put in intensive care.

    To make a long story short, I was told that I could not stay with him. It was now close to midnight and I had to drive the 40 miles back home. I had been told by a nurse to wait a few minutes and I could tell him good-night. She did not return. As I turned toward the elevator knowing I needed to get on the road, there stood Wendy, our youngest daughter. Seven years, Ang, we hugged, we cried, we hugged, we cried. Since that time we have met our granddaughter and had wonderful visits with the family. Found out she had been living 34 miles from us.

    My point: Stay strong for what we do not understand comes to light when He is ready for us to begin again. We found out via Wendy her sister had been in a bad abusive situation but is managing well in a new relationship. We, too, have talked by phone but have not seen each other. At least I know they are well and to my knowledge in good relationships now. My heart is at peace but still aches for the warm fuzzies we enjoyed while they were children.

    • Sharla,

      Wow. Thank you for sharing intimately, honestly, and spirit-led. I had to read this twice. A message that I did need: “Stay strong for what we do not understand comes to light when He is ready for us to begin again.” Praise God for your peace and the reuniting of your family, but most of all using your suffering for God’s glory as you minister to me. Thank you Lord for social media.

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