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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Praying for my daughter

My wife and I made it a point to pray with each of our children, and to pray for them as often as possible. My wife would write out her prayers, claiming God's promises for each of the children. When No. 1 Daughter announced that she wanted no longer to go to church, it was devastating. "I don't know if I believe in God anymore," she said. "I have tried to be a good Christian, but I just cannot live up to the standards." When confronted, she admitted that she had been sexually intimate with her boyfriend. That revelation hit her Mom like a wall had fallen upon her. Her Mom was stunned beyond belief. She was confused and upset that all her prayers seemed to have been to no avail. Mostly she was just sad. And shocked.

I was deeply disappointed. Why is it that we have not been able to pass on our values to her? What went wrong? Everything! Everything about you is wrong! The accusing voices inside my head were screaming at me. I took all the blame. I hadn't been home enough. And even when I was, I wasn't there for my kids. I was wearing a mask all along! You hypocrite!

No. 1 Daughter wanted to talk to us further. She wanted to tell us how she felt and what it meant for her to feel heard and that she needed to grow and to be independent. But neither of us were able to talk to her. We were just too hurt to be able to listen to her. We were too engrossed with our own worlds. Our own self-pity and our own hurts. Finally she couldn't wait any longer and announced she was moving out.

We prayed like we never prayed before. Before she moved out, she was still coming with us to church. Each time we were at church, I would pray that God will make my daughter listen to the message and that the Holy Spirit would work in her heart. Even after she moved out, when she accepted our invitation to come with us to the church services, I would pray again that God would speak to her. Each time the preacher talked about God's grace, I was praying she would get it - that God's grace is free. Each time the preacher spoke about committing to the Lord, I would pray that she would make her decision to come back. I prayed like I never prayed before.

Until I heard God whispering back to me, "It is you to whom I want to speak, my son." I heard the Holy Spirit prompt, "Listen." I was humbled. I realized that God wants me to be the instrument of His peace for my daughter. He wants me to show by example that I trusted in my God, that God who is Sovereign will woo and win her. That God loves her unconditionally and I reflect that love for her. It was a long process of learning and growing. I started to pray that God will speak to me. When I read the Bible, I found messages for me, when I listened to sermons, I asked God to open the ears of my heart. It was a humbling experience, but one that I needed to learn.
This past year may have been a year of my duaghter's rebellion, but it has also been a year that has shown me so much about God's love for me, and how He wants to work in and through my life. It has been a year of learning, of listening and of trusting.