It’s not Thanksgiving…and yet I am so thankful.
I am in the middle of Wedding season…my oldest son got married in the Spring. My middle child, and only daughter, will marry in the fall. It’s early summer now. I am in the middle.
Both have had rocky relationships in the past. Not your usual teenage drama, but serious, scary, run-for-your-lives relationships. I have cried, prayed, begged and let go…then grabbed hold again. I watched and waited, praying we would all come out of them unscathed.
And the miracle of it all is, we did... I am so thankful.
I publicly and privately gave my son to God when he was a baby. And it’s a good thing I did, because it took God’s daily help to raise him. Every day, some days every hour, he was a challenge. I loved him greatly and disciplined him greatly. And prayed.
He was always the leader of the pack, whether on the football team or church youth group…he was the instigator and the inspiration. He was strong in his ideas and beliefs. Which is another way to say he was stubborn. I loved him with all my heart, even on the days when he broke it. A child like that is a challenge and a joy. The joy just takes patience sometimes.
As a young man he drifted away from God’s plan. He had the wrong friends. He did the wrong things. He was in a serious long-term relationship that wasn’t right for him. I watched the path of destruction he walked on. I talked until he wouldn’t listen. Cried until I was dry. Gave up and tried to quit many times. But moms don’t get to quit. We love too hard.
My daughter was born two years after him…and as happens so often, she was his opposite in almost every way. Blond hair and green eyes, tiny and sweet. She was a joy from the start. Sitting quietly for hours, watching her whirlwind of a brother entertain her. She didn’t talk until she was three because he talked for her. She was eager to please. A follower, loyal and true. She hated conflict of any kind. She was our laughter and joy.
Our divorce messed her up…she was thirteen. A hard age to face the things we faced. She got caught in the crossfire, swept up in the whirlwind. Deposited in the debris that was the life we had left when the dust settled. She didn‘t complain. I thought she was okay, but she wasn’t. She just didn’t tell me. And I didn’t understand. But I prayed. More than ever before.
What followed were several years of the biggest heartbreak of my life, as I watched my baby girl struggle. She also left God’s will…in a much quieter and less rebellious way.
So now I had two in crisis. In very different ways, one publicly, one privately. Both just as heartbreaking. I felt helpless and overwhelmed. Out of my element and over my head. Some days I couldn’t breathe. I was in a battle. Spiritual warfare. If you don’t believe it’s real, you haven’t been where I’ve been. I prayed and I cried. I screamed and I begged.
...Alone with my God. Many times He seemed far too silent. But I prayed some more.
Hours passed, one by one, then days, months and years. There were not any simple solutions, not any quick fixes. Daily, continuous, soul-wrenching prayer. That’s what saved us.
It’s been many years as I write these words. We are in the middle of Wedding Season at our house. But, as you can imagine, it feels more like Thanksgiving.
Both of my children have chosen mates well. My daughter-in-law grew up far away from us, being molded and shaped into an angel for my son. They are a good fit. And she handles his stubbornness like a pro. She told me this week that he has been starting to share his testimony with the youth group in their church. I could only smile. Bet those kids are in shock!
And as for my precious little girl, I prayed so often that God would send the “Perfect Guy.” Someone to cherish and love her unconditionally, someone to show her what a healthy relationship could be. I could only laugh when she introduced him and his name was actually Guy. My God took my prayers literally. As he so often does. I couldn’t have chosen anyone more “perfect” for her, even if it was up to me. Glad it was up to God instead.
So I am in a thankful phase…just sitting back and watching answered prayers walk up church aisles to marry. Seeing God's big picture unfold. The "mess" become a "message." Seeing my babies restored and stronger than ever. Believing in miracles. Believing in prayer. Believing in God’s promises.
Love Never Ever Fails. Neither does He. I’m Thankful.