Archives for category: missing child

Have you ever seen the sign for a one-way street? Ever wondered what it would be like if you only took one-way streets and never a two-way? I have learned over the past 18 months, a lot of people only travel one-way streets. Some people travel two way streets and thank God for this because my daughter called!!! Yes, folks, that’s right, the Prodigal Daughter has returned and I keep driving to her and her to me! (A two-way street!)

It’s been a whirlwind of activity, stress, love, stress, new beginnings, stress and learning who my daughter is again! She’s great…she’s really great and I have learned not all told to me was exactly accurate, but that’s okay. Like I told her, communicating through others is NOT a relationship, only face to face and phone connections will heal us – and it is healing, and growing, and it’s wonderful. It’s a two-way street!

Her weddings plans at the church she was attending fell through, so my husband and I scrambled to find a venue, food, photographer, etc., and it was truly a beautiful event. The kids as my husband to perform the ceremony, and while hesitant at first, he accepted and truly made the day special, memorable and I read what he wrote often – not only to remind Olivia during difficult marital situations, but to remind myself of what a wonderful, Christian, loving man I have in my life.

But I digress and get off the subject of streets…there is so much to convey, relay, and rejoice about right now, and I have no clue where to begin, but I feel the one-way/two-way street is a beginning. It brought joy to my heart to hear Olivia had been following my blog and so she knew how I was feeling for some time. It would have been nice, I’ve told her, if she would have clued me in at all, so I could know what was on her mind, but we have the rest of my life to explore her thoughts and feelings. I have been told people read my bog and ask Olivia to interpret my feelings. That’s a one-way street – call ME if you want to know how I feel – my child cannot answer for me, as I cannot answer for her, but whatever, like I said, some cars only travel one-way streets.

I have been informed the book I gave my parents to read at our counseling session, that completely changed my life, was given to someone at their church to read and interpret for them. So much for my parents asking me why the book changed my life – how it changed my life – what I learned from reading it – how it grew me, saved me, comforted me. The man who read it doesn’t even know me, nor has he called to ask how, what, why, when about the book…again, there is a perfect example of a one-way street.

So, in the weeks leading to the wedding, we had many small side streets to travel, traffic lights that were only red and highways leading to nowhere – venue, food, photographers and several people dropped out of the wedding for their “Christian” values and morals. My husband and I kept telling the kids, “where is grace?” and explaining to them what we meant by grace. Olivia had some relatives that were supposed to participate in the wedding, but due to my attendance and participation, they dropped out of their duties and/or threatened not to come. My response was the same over and over again. “Olivia, I can, not attend your wedding if it is easier and less stressful to you and Nick”. Her response was the same x 100 “Mom, I want you there, if other people don’t want to come because of you, that’s their problem”. And so, we, not only hosted a wedding, but rejoiced in the union of Olivia and Nick. What gets me the most is the comment someone made to Olivia in the days before the wedding that went something to the effect of “your mom abandoned you and the entire family, it’ll be awkward to be with her”. SERIOUSLY? Thank you Olivia for setting THAT statement straight. I’m glad she had the guts to inform this person that she left me and that I was specifically told “not to contact anyone” in that particular person’s family.

Yes, I was completely overwhelmed the week of the wedding, but my husband I prayed every morning and every night and I had my family in Christ praying for us, the kids and the entire situation, and because of these prayers I knew, the day would be what the kids wanted it to be.

The day before the wedding, we didn’t have the bride, we had the groom and it was completely awesome. The morning of the wedding, my husband fixed him breakfast, we gave him a card, and were able to pray with him. As we were driving to the venue, I wondered how my daughter was feeling, and if she was nervous, we texted a bit, and when I arrived at the venue and found her, she was snippy, grumpy, jittery and looked at me and said “blah, blah, blah – just HUG me” and so I did.

My husband and I prayed the morning of the wedding the day would be exactly what the kids wanted it to be and I feel they did receive the wedding they wanted because at 9:15 p.m. on their wedding night they called from their hotel just to say “thank you” for their day. Of course, that made me cry because you want your daughter to have a beautiful wedding and I believe she did! And for gaining a son, I believe we gave him the best day possible too!

So, of course, at her wedding, I had to approach people first, of course no one would take a step towards me – some family members only gave me “the glare” (there’s the old one-way street again) and really, it’s fine. These people didn’t communicate one bit when Olivia was gone, so why worry with them now? The only people I cared about seeing were my parents, I said my “hi’s”, introduced my husband, and that’s that. I requested my table be set aside from others (mainly for their comfort, not mine), and Olivia agreed and we picked out my “family table” the night of rehearsal. I was surrounded by those who have walked with me through the darkest of times, rejoiced with me during my happy times, and it was such a joy to celebrate my daughter’s return and wedding with them – a beginning of new life for all of us…these people haven’t left my side through the good, the bad and the ugly. They do not judge, condemn, ignore, give books to others to read, question my motives, my sanity, or sit around and analyze me. They love, extend grace, show Christian love and help grow me. A beautiful, two-way street.

In the weeks since the wedding, the kids have been un-friended on Facebook (is this really a big deal, I think not…but…it still hurts at times…and fuels their anger), given ultimatums, been ignored, judged, and have shared their experiences over the past 18 months. It’s been stressful, relieving, insightful, sad, hurtful for them, and it’s hard to see them struggle with my past mistakes, their mistakes, being condemned for talking and forming a new relationship with me, and completely ignored by some. It’s good to know people sat around and discussed my mental state, my thoughts, my feelings, my mistakes, judged me, condemned me, discussed what type of counseling I needed and came to conclusions about my life, my life experiences, and how those experiences shaped me without asking me to participate. (You see the one-way street here?)

Am I surprised at any of this? Nope.
Am I shocked? Not really.
Am I hurt? Of course.
Does it really matter? Not in the way you would think.

The past 18 months have shown me who really cares and who will be there when the lights on the street turn dark. I’ve told the kids – don’t just keep those around who ride with you when you are happy and driving the freeway full of joy and no cares – remember the ones who traveled with you in the dark, dank, scary streets – those are the people who will cross every bridge with you.

Life isn’t perfect – I still have a bit of fear I will offend one of the kids and they will never be heard from again – but I have an understanding with myself – and it was given to me by God and that is this: God didn’t promise life would be perfect, He promised to walk with me through the storms – He promises to hold my hand and help guide my thoughts, words, and actions if I fully rely on Him. And, my husband tells me God has me first, he has me second, he has the kids third, so with that, and prayer – where can I go wrong?

So, I put my trust in those thoughts totally. I may offend the kids, (unintentionally – of course), I may make another mistake – but if I do, and they come to me and let me know, I can either fix it, apologize or both. Being in Christ isn’t a Sunday thing, not a volunteer here and there thing, a pick up my Bible and give it glance or two thing, it’s a daily thing, and knowing HE has me, and I have Him – well, that’s a two-way street with no exit ramp!

So, I find myself angry.  There are those who say I need to start my anti-depressant again, but SURPRISE to all of you, I was angry before I stopped it, I’m sure others will wonder what I am angry about, I can list a few for you!

1.  My parents will not give me one hint as to what my daughter is doing, where she goes, if she is in school, if she is alive, what kind of car she drives, what her cell phone number is, and I can go on and on and on….on this one…

2.  My sister has been known to say she isn’t mad at me…REALLY – what would she have to be angry about?  Did I send her a nasty message on Christmas morning telling her “until you get the help you need I can no longer be a part of your life”?  Nope.  So, my dear readers, why is she entitled to NOT be mad at me?

3.  Evidently, my family – and I am including all family, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, except one cousin, spouse and one aunt and uncle – if you read this you know who you are because you actually speak to me and tell me that it will all be okay and you don’t understand it either…..for you four, I thank you and am deeply indebted to your compassion – however, the rest of my family is in denial about what a couple of 20 year olds have to say…thank you for never asking me my side, and by saying “I don’t want to be involved” well, when you listen to one side and not the other not only are you involved, and you have clearly chosen a side.

4.  I am tired of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and doing nothing but work, work, work, work, work…thank goodness for a few close friends who see my exhaustion and the need to be emotionally recharged from time to time.  To you, my most precious girlfriends, I love you more than I can ever mention, and I thank you for your time you invest in me.  Your compassion and silent undertanding means the world to me.  I know you know who I’m talking about.

5.  I am angry because my efforts to reach out to my daughter are fruitless.  I can apologize, ask forgiveness, recognize her birthday, holidays, engagements, send cards, emails, presents, money, and it all goes unrecogized and certainly no mention of receipt is given…AND…if I ask my “parents” they can’t tell me anything because it would violate my daughters privacy.

6.  I am angry because I am being treated like I am a drug seeking, child beating, POS, prostitute that has never done anything to benefit her child.  And, those who believe her story and never seek me out to ask anything of me, think they are so right, when in all actuality, if we read our Bibles and seek God’s counsel, you will see they are clearly wrong.  But you can’t tell them that, because clearly they think they are without sin.  Good for them!

7.  I am upset because I have two diseases that are robbing me of my health, and cause daily pain, bloating, stomach issues, toilet issues and the only one who is taking pains to help is me.

8.  I am upset because I am rowing a boat by myself and all I really want is for someone else to pick up the oars and row for a while.  Would that really be so hard?

9.  I am angry because every parental mistake I’ve made has been raked over the coals of those who shouldn’t judge, and I have not been given the chance to plead guilty, or defend myself.  The charges, trial, verdict and sentence have all been made without the star witness.

10.  I am upset because I am tired of praying and being met with not an iota of a answered prayer.  I know, all in God’s time, and good things come to those who wait and God is working on it, He does all things for our good.  I would just appreciate one hint of an answer.

11.  I am upset because my daughter has gotten engaged and is planning a wedding without me.  Seriously, planning a wedding without me.  My relationship with my mom wasn’t all that great, but I still wanted her involved in every aspect of every important event of my life.  But my daughter’s hate for me right now is so huge, she will take her vows, someone else will walk her down the aisle, someone else will answer the question “who gives this woman”, somone else will light the candles, someone else will pull her veil over her face, someone else will give the toast, someone else will help her with dress, hand her the bouquet and watch her give her first kiss as a wife.

12.  I am upset that not one person has chosen to give her dose of reality, as I would if this was somoene’s child I know, and say, HEY, WAKE UP, you are slowly killing your mom, you will regret this some day, give her a chance to show you how her life has changed, give her a chance to be forgiven, give her a chance to show you anything, and remind her of the fact that I loved her first, I grew her, I birthed her, I prayed for her safety, her dreams, I sacrificed to make her happy, and I will, unlike my family, I will be here for her no matter what.  No matter what, even after all the pain I’ve been in because of her, I would welcome her home in a heart beat, I would take all her anger just to hear her voice, I would crawl through fire for her.

13.  I am angry because she made my worst nightmare come true.  She got mad, walked away and I know I’ll never see her again, and all the the faith in the world will not change that fact.

14.  I am angry that her fiance and his family claim to be such great Christians, yet they allow this distance to continue.

15.  I am angry because I am lonely.  I miss her.  I miss her so much, I ache sometimes.  What do you do without your child who is out there, missing, avoiding you, ignoring you, pretending you don’t exist, how does a mom deal with that?

16.  I am angry because what I thought would be the “friend” phase of our life is gone.  Just gone.

17.  I am angry because people don’t understand that family functions make me sad.  I don’t want to celebrate birthdays and holidays and children’s special moments, sporting events, graduations….does anyone understand how painful they are?  I used to do those things with my daughter, and now they are gone.  There is no time limit on this folks, I feel what I feel and I cannot fake happiness for you or anyone else, I have a hard time faking happiness for myself at times.

18.  I am upset with myself because if I found out some members of my family were deceased, I don’t know that I would care.  I recently talked to someone I am pretty close to about this, and she as has her own “issue” with a family member and she confided in me, she feels the same way.  Does this make us bad people?  I am not sure, but I think God sees the pain more than he sees the anger, and he understands.

19.  I am upset because my daughter now has a full-time job and didn’t have the courtesy to tell me hey, you can stop paying the amount you pay a month in health insurance, I have my own now.  She knows what a money struggle I have, she can’t even send telegram saying, Hey, save yourself some dough!

20.  I am upset because after all I’ve said above, I still just want my daughter to call me, write me, send me a note and say, hey, I’m alive, I love you, I’m just working through some things, but I recognize all you did for me…I know you did your best, I know you made mistakes, I know that!!  I love you mom…

That’s just to name a few things that have upset me, which is clearly just the human side of me.  The Christian side says, it will all be okay, you will see her again, you must continue to pray (1 Chronicles 16:11, Romans 8:26), you must continue to persevere (Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:12), you must continue your journey and rest, reflect, repent and reconcile.  I feel like the little train that could, I think I can make it one more day, I think I can not cry one more tear, I think I can keep the faith (Luke 7:50).

So, I’m angry for the moment, and possibly having a pity party for myself, I think it’s okay, I think those who love me the most will understand.  My dogs certainly understand and I love them so much, they keep me sane these days, Harlie with her snuggling in bed and Jordyn with her never ending hugs.  I will get though this, I will wake up every day and keep going, I will rejoice  in the Lord during this time of trial because I know the path is set by him and I know his love is perfect and I know he is walking with me.

Like God has seen me take ownership for all my sins, mistakes, regrets, and repentance I want the chance to show my daughter.  But I realize she has to give me the chance.  I was thinking about our trip to the beach last year and how we laughed and sang and shared quiet moments….that was the best week ever for me…reminded me of our trip to Clifty Falls and our hikes in the woods, laying by the pool..such great memories for me…all of which she said were faked on her part.

I would love the chance to see her again and tell her again I love her, I’m sorry for my mistakes and would love the time to show her how my life and heart has changed.  But again, I’m not the one not reaching out.  There is no indication how long the prodigal son was gone, I wish I knew a time table, wish i knew the hour of her return, I wish i knew I wouldn’t be old, gray and on deaths door…time is so short, so precious….my anger has subsided while writing.  Now I’m melancholy.  I guess I’ll walk the dogs and enjoy the great outdoors…sunshine and the love of a dog…God’s warmth of the sun, and His unconditional love from a furry face….until later my friends I leave you with Psalm 51…

“…Grant me a willing spirit to sustain me…”

“We pray for blessings, we pray for peace”

Yes, you can hold onto your joy during the sad times.  I know you can, because I do have the joy of Jesus in my heart.  Funny, huh?  What’s funny about this is a statement my boss made to me today, “…and if you did that, you would be happier”…I understand what he was saying, I sound like a bitter old woman at times, especially when I talk.  And maybe when I am writing about this pain I am feeling, I probably seem like Charlie Brown, “I’m doomed”…but I know I’m not because I do have faith.  And…I do have many blessings…so today, we talk about them…

“Comfort for family, protection while we sleep”

One big blessing is my boss, and the law office I work with who are a group of amazing people.  I’m sure you are thinking, “you are calling lawyers amazing?”  Yes, my dear reader, they are amazing…My boss has taken me from a beat up, self confident lacking, “I’m just a piece of the puzzle” type of worker, to someone who finally sees her self-worth in the work place, and now I know I do play an important part in the cog of a wheel.  He is a great Christian who I admire for his honesty, integrity, wise man.  I can literally discuss with him any problem in the world and he will give me not only his life experience, but his honest opinion on anything…and I do mean anything.  Without his support, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.  For him, I would definitely pick the verse 1 Thesselonians 5:12-14 “Now we ask you brothers to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love becuse of their work.  Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

“We pray for healing, for prosperity, we pray for Your mighty hand, to ease our suffering”

And when you think of him, you cannot NOT think of his wife.  Not only is she a fellow co-worker, but she is also a friend.  I don’t know her entire life story, nor do I need too, but she is that person who makes you feel welcome the first moment you meet her!  Her crazy antics, contagious laugh, and her gift of giving for no reason, will undoubtedly make you realize you can call on her for ANYTHING…painting, drinking a glass of wine, shopping (our favorite pasttime but don’t tell her husband when we go!! LOL), sharing a great meal, floating in a pool talking about life, or putting together furniture, she is a great woman, who I am honored to call my friend, and who is my sister through Christ…and  she has been a wonderful support through all my struggles, my joys, we have raised daughters together, and although our girls are all unique individuals, the struggles are still the same, the joys tripled and she has paved the path for me to walk behind in how to and not how to be a great mom, she gives her honest opinion if you ask, and  her advice is truly treasured.  She has hugged me when I’ve cried and continuously tells me I am strong, even when I feel so weak, especially during my most recent loss…Proverbs 17:17 is her…”a friend loves at all times”…she does…always.

“We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear, we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near”

Speaking of friends, there is my BFF from fifth grade.  She is the one who I can not speak to for months and call her up, and there she is…we pick up where we left off and I don’t have one single memory of my childhood or adulthood that does not have her in it.  Be it sharing love notes from our childhood, mothering advice, marital problems, dog stories, aging parent struggles, my gosh, the list goes on and on and on and on…she is definitely the one friend who is more like a sister to me than anyone…and I suspect it’s because she was there for my childhood and my entire adult life…She is my faithful friend, she will never leave me…she is Proverbs 3:3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you…write them on the tablet of your heart”…

“We doubt your goodness, we doubt Your love, as if every promise from Your Word is not enough”

Then there is the first person I ever met as an adult…we taught Sunday School together, we exercised together, she named me the “Walking Nazi” beause when we would walk together I would get mad or excited about something I was talking about and walk faster and faster.  She has included me in just about every aspect of her kids life, she has included me in family functions, holiday meals, family pool parties…She was there for me every moment of my daughter’s life, the good, bad, her cancer days, her struggles with my divorces, and all those moments of teen age angst.  Her family welcomed me with open arms and I love each of them like I truly am “their long lost aunt.”  I know, without a doubt, she will correct me when I’m wrong, call me out when I have walked a not so correct line, and she truly is my Romans 9:25 “….I will call them my people, who are not my people, and I will call her my loved one, who is not my loved one”.  If I could hand pick a sister, she would be it!  She never ceases to amaze me with her strength.

“All the while, you hear each desparate plea, and long that we’d have faith to believe”

And then there is the Paul to my Saul, or the Saul to my Paul…she calls me out on my sinful nature, she does not judge me, she speaks truth to me in love all the time, she sees my very soul sometimes, and while this can be scary, she believes in me, supports me, listens with her heart…I don’t even have words to explan what she means to me…she is definitely my John 3:21 “But whoever lives in the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly what he has done has been done through God”…she keeps me grounded and focused on God.

“When friends betry us, when darkness seems to win, we know the pain reminds us, this is not our home”

There are neighbors, other friends, distant family members who I am so greatfful…the family who lives next door with two boys that I have adopted as my nephews, my neighbor I call “mom” who helps me with outdoor projects, and gives the best hugs and even though we have only known each other for 7 years I feel I’ve known her all my life and our lives intersect and seem so alike, I can only believe we are soul sisters.

There is my one friend I have followed from New Albany to Sellersburg who always, always brings sunshine to any day, and her smile and her stories make me feel at home.  She has also seen me at my worst of times and best of times and always lifts you up…even during her sadest moments, she makes YOU feel better, she is unique, beautiful and she is my CAW – I love her like a sister….

Last but not least, there is my Naomi.  There is always that ONE person you open up to finally, after years of holding all the “bad” in…

“what if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy”

the one person who sees you at the best of times, and worst of times, who saves you times and time again, not just figuratively, but literally.  She saved me from an abusive marriage, made me see I was worth WAY more than what I was receiving, she kept me from self-destructing, from going crazy, from checking out when I wanted to check out, who has held me up when I have cried too many times to count

“cause what if your blessings some through raindrops”,

who has forced me to get up every day during some pretty trying times and told me to pull my act together and go to work, stay the course

“what if Your healing comes through tears”

she tells me – like everyone above – that I am worthy no matter what ANYONE in my past has ever said, has stayed up late with me to talk even when I repeated myself 100 times, and has supported every dream I’ve ever had.  She also includes me in any family gathering and her family has accepted me and loved me like I never knew family loved.  She loves my friends, and has the biggest heart I’ve ever know.  She nutures, cares, loves everyone, supports her family and friends equally, no judgement, no expectations…she is my Ruth 1:16…”don’t urge me to leave you…where you stay, I will stay…your people will be my people…”

“And what if 1000 sleepness nights are what it takes to know You’re near?”

So you see, I have many blessings and I recognize them, apprecite them, and love them unconditionally, I don’t judge them…

even during terrible pain – when I know i seem I lack joy, I seem angry, bitter, unhappy…

“the rain, the storms, the hardest nights”

when you are surrounded in every aspect of your life by people who love unconditionally, who show you and tell you – you are worth my time!  When you are at your lowest, when you think you are all alone, these blessings overflow your heart with love and life…

“What if trials of this life, are your mercies in disguise.”

So, it has now been almost two months since I have seen my daughter.  I feel sad.  While I’ve been walking this journey i have sought the counsel of many….God, my family (who all turned their backs on me), my friends, who welcomed me with open arms, my counselor, my minister, God, a youth minister, my senior minister, the director of my Sunday School Group, my boss, my co-workers, my neighbor, my “work daughter” and God again.  All have the same advice:

Stay strong, it’s not you – it’s her

don’t let her see you sad

don’t let her weigh you down

don’t let her consume your thoughts

stay in contact with her – send her cards, write her notes, send her emails

don’t talk to her – quit emailing, stay silent

do what your heart tells you to do

open your door and heart to her

keep reaching out

focus on who does love you

search your heart and what you may have done wrong

pray

I’ll pray for you

I’ll pray for her

Pray for wisdom and guidance

Pray for God to show you what you’ve done wrong

don’t be sad  (the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want)

don’t worry  (I will fear no evil)

It may be years before you see her again

she will contact you soon

she will need you

something will happen that will remind her of you

Should I go on?  Does any of this help?

Well, I’ve prayed for wisdom and I’m still as dumb as I was yesterday.

I have prayed for guidance, and yes, I still need my guide dog.   (He guides me in the paths of righteousness, for His name sake)

I’ve prayed for God to show me what I’ve done wrong and even confessed all my sins for the past 12 years to about as many people.   (He leads me besides still waters, He restores my soul)

So far, nothing has worked.

So I am sad.

I am sad because I’ve been smacked in the face with the reality I already knew – sometimes those who say they are Christian, do not act in a way Jesus would want them to and to me, this is sad.  (He prepares a table in the presence of my enemies, He anoints my head with oil)

I am sad because I am being persecuted for normal mother-daughter issues that should not be blown into the mess they are in.  You see, I was always told, you are a single mom, I’ve raised two daughters, I know how kids are, so if you need help, just ask.  I did just that, and I am being punished for it.  And that after 30 days of not speaking to two, 50 for another these people see nothing wrong with what they did or what they have done or even have a clue what the truth is.

I am sad because I put my heart, soul and life into a child.  My world revolved around what she wanted out of life and what I could do to help her life be easier, and I am being punished for it.

I am sad because everywhere I go, I look for her, and she is no where to be found.  I want so bad to put my arms around her and hear her voice and laugh with her, cry with her, rejoice with her, listen to her stories, go shopping with her, listen to what she wants for her future, all the things we used to do.  They are gone.

I am sad because I was the single mother of one, and now I have none.  (even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, because you are with me)

I am sad because I have searched my heart, mailed her cards, clothes, Christmas gifts, money, a Valentine with a coffee gift card – all with no response or even an ounce of forgiveness.

I am sad because while talking with fellow parents of “lost children” before me, it may be years before I ever see my daughter again.

I am sad because I miss her.

I am sad because I love her.

I am sad because reality is she does not miss or love me.

I am sad because knowing all this and feeling all this is overwhelmingly sad.  (surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life)

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, because there is great peace, comfort and love with Him.

So, you know how sometimes people really hurt your feelings and you have a choice? You can let them in and let them ask for forgiveness, or you can bottle it up and continue to be angry. Well, I definitely fall in the first category. I’m a “let me tell you what’s on my mind” kind of gal and let’s work it out. I tend to surround myself, however, with the latter. I also carry guilt. Yes, I am a guilt carrier. I feel guilty for each and every bad thing that EVER happens in my life or anyone elses. I know why I do these things…I was raised this way. I was raised to always “think about what the neighbors would think” or any other person who I don’t know would think about what I am doing or not doing. I don’t ever remember any member of my immediate family ever apologizing to me for anything – to be honest, I am not allowed to tell anyone in my family anything they have ever done to hurt me, because, frankly, they do not want to hear it. I understand why, it’s hard to admit you have done something that might have hurt someone, and the truth hurts. Sometimes the truth hurts so bad you feel it from the top of your head to the pit of your stomach. But, truth, when spoken in love, can do one of two things…it can help you see an aspect of yourself that could potentially harm you or others, and gives you an opportunity to rectify a situation. Or, it can hurt you so bad, you do nothing. And when someone tells you – “you hurt me” I truly believe you should apologize, ask for forgiveness and reconcile the relationship.
I like to think of myself as a very forgiving person…I have forgiven the abuser for the child abuse I suffered, I forgave my first ex-husband for the abuse I suffered at his hands and by his word, I have forgiven past co-workers and friends for what I believed to be harmful situations from them. Most times, without people even knowing I was hurt.
I recently saw my missing daughter, and yes, I have forgiven her for leaving me, I did forgave her the night she left. As I sat and listened to what she had to say the othr night, I have to tell you, I was completely blown away. I had NO IDEA she felt the way she felt about things, and I must say, yes, I was hurt by some things she said, and I also believe I now have a few things to work on myself, because if she is hurt, and it’s because of something I said or did, I want her forgiveness and I want to reconcile our relationship.
Seeing her was an answered prayer. I prayed and prayed she would call, I prayed and prayed she would answer an email, and every Sunday as I sat in church, I prayed I would look up and there she would be standing next to me. None of that happened, and I found her by pure God intervention.
You see, I was at my Wednesday night Table Group Bible Study and I wanted to see her at her college age ministry and asked a minister to go with me. We walked over and I peeked my head around and didn’t see her, which brought me to tears, and as I turned to walk away, he gave me a huge hug and said a prayer for us. I then went to my car and decided to get a coffee. I was extremely excited to see her beautiful face the coffee shop window. And I have to say, I couldn’t wait to walk in and give her a huge hug and tell her I love her.
You could tell, however, by the look on her face she was not thrilled to see me and truly didn’t want to see me. Which, in and of itself, hurt me. She then, or maybe it was her boyfriend, proceeded to text the man she was staying with and he promptly showed up without a hello, how are you, good to see you, NOTHING. This didn’t surprise me, however, because he is one of those people who will never admit he could have wronged anyone…at least he has never admitted that to me. It’s been 46 years, I would think an “I’m sorry” would be in there somewhere, but I guess not, and yes, I forgive him, too, but I am not in the place where I can forget the hurt I feel he has imposed. I’m sure it will come in time. But that is not the relationship I am worried about or wanting to concentrate on.
So I listened to my child, and the pain she feels, and asked for her forgiveness. I also reiterated “I love you, I miss you, I would never do anything intentionally to hurt you”. I told her how she is my heart. My entire heart.
Matthew West has a song about forgiveness. He talks about how forgiveness is the hardest thing to give away, and that it goes to those who don’t derserve it, I believe this is true in some cases, but not in others. It’s the opposite of how we feel – when the pain they cased is just to real – I totally believe this to be true, does it take everything in me however to say the words – no, not when it comes to my daughter.
I’ve thought about how I would react to seeing her for the first time, what she would say, what I would say, I invisioned being able to wrap my arms around her and say, “I love you, I’ve missed you” and her saying “i love you too, Mom”. But that didn’t happen. Instead I got a “I’m not ready for that yet” and “if you do xyz, I will consider having a relationship with you again”. Wow, talk about something that really, truly hurt, and as a mother, who looks at herself as a pretty good mom, I was deeply wounded.
I was also told a few other things, she believes to be true, and asked forgiveness for those…so, I will take those words to heart and change those apsects about myself. Do I feel they are totally true, no, I believe she heard PART of what I had said at times, and in her teen aged mind, that’s how she interpreted it. Will I always VALIDATE HER feelings and try harder? YES. See, to me, part of communicating and listening and forgiving is validating and truly hearing someone. When someone is telling you how they feel, you do not interrupt them or tell them they are wrong, you listen to their truth in love.
What hurt the most was when she told me the past four years, to her, have been “all for show”. Seriously? You want me to believe all the times you crawled into bed and we watched TV together, the ice cream and donut runs, the hugs, the sitting on the vanity and talking to me, the crying on my shoulder, the time at the beach, the unsolicited hugs, the times you have said to someone “my mom is really cool!”, those were all lies? You never meant you love me? You never wanted to spend time with me? You never wanted to watch TV and be quiet? The four days at the beach and the car ride listening to Christian music was all a lie? The times you hugged me in church and told the head of my Sunday School Department “my mom is great with kids” that was all a lie?
All these moments were so special to me. I cannot fake my love for my child. I cannot fake my feelings, the smiles, the hugs full of love – I am not built that way. But, if that is the way you feel, I will take you for your word and work through the pain I feel at basically being told you don’t love me, and move forward. And…I forgive you because I do not want to feel any bitterness towards you – forgiving you sets me free of being held a prisoner of my own feelings.
It’s very hard for me to see our life through her eyes at times however and maybe that’s because I’ve been a single mom for so long, and had to be mom, dad, friend and maybe at times, I’ve made her feel she had to be those things to me. Was it intentional? No. Have I already asked God for His forgivness? Yes. Do I want her forgiveness? Yes. Did I ask her to forgive me? Yes. Do I feel forgiven yet? By God, yes, He truly sees my heart and always have. By her? Not yet, but I know in time it will come. At least I hope it does.
I think the hardest part of forgiveness is forgiving yourself. These past 40 days, I have beat myself up one side and down the other – I have been made to feel like I am worthless, a bad mom, and an evil person. I have been shunned, blocked out, given stipulations from my family on what I need to do for them to be in my life. I have not been asked my side of the story, I have not been given an explanation about what is wrong with my child and why she is so upset. I have been told to leave my family alone, I have been screamed at, cussed at, and been told I am unappreciative for what they are doing to “protect my child” and “keep her off the street”. And…before all that, I was told, “I don’t want to be involved.” WOW…and then I learned the story of the weeks before my child left, things were grossly exaggerated and not entirely true. And…instead of anyone coming to me and saying “hey, can we talk” I was just shut out. I am sure my family feels they are “doing what’s right” and I am sure they believe in their hearts I am this evil, terrible person because I hid child abuse and spousal abuse and a few other very painful parts of my life, but that does not make me a bad. What I did, was protect myself from being hurt again. It’s amazing to me a counselor, three ministers, friends, neighbors, my boss, co-workers and church peoeple can look at me and tell me what I have done to protect myself and things i have said to my child are all normal. I am normal. I am well rounded, I am an honest parent, I am a good parent, I am a strong parent, I am a strong Christian. I am seeking God’s heart every day. I always have,
For those who say they never struggle, for those who say they never wrong anyone, for those who say they do not need to ask for anyone’s forgiveness, or are unwilling to offer forgiveness – I feel pity on them. I know I love the unlovable, I know I have tried to reach the unreachable, I know I ask for help every day in doing the impossible. And it’s all because I have God in my head, my hands, and my heart.
For those who are unwilling to forgive me, I say, don’t you want to be set free? Don’t you want to see what God’s mercy sees? Don’t you want to give what God gave to you?
Forgiveness. Forgiveness.