Through the Fire
Jun 6, 2021 | by The Fellowship
Growing up, I heard many people say that children do not come with a manual. When my daughter was born in 2003, I did not understand how understated that was and how unprepared I was for what the Lord had in store for us.
My child’s struggles began at an early age. Chronic asthma, ADHD, anxiety and depression are just a few of the challenges we had to navigate over the years. But her life took a dark turn the summer after seventh grade when she went through one of those horrific experiences no girl should ever go through. As a parent, you feel helpless and desperate, unable to contain the impact that such trauma inevitably has on your child’s self-esteem and what she will soon believe about herself, people, and the world around her.
My daughter’s horror quickly gave way to a deeper depression and unmanageable anxiety. Her inability to cope despite all the help she was getting eventually led her to experiment with drugs and alcohol. She slowly started favoring unhealthy new friendships over old ones. She started sneaking out and lying. Her grades suffered. She withdrew from family. The situation escalated over the months, and by the time she completed eighth grade, I had a child who was self-harming and seriously contemplating suicide.
I sold our home, switched schools, and was convinced that life was about to take a turn for the better. But the struggle was not over. Over the next two years, we would not only battle my daughter’s demons, but also my own. My marriage was ending due to abuse, and the circumstances at home only served to trigger my daughter’s condition. By the time she finished tenth grade, we were on our own again and starting over.
The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful church home that has provided an amazing extended family. Through The Fellowship and our Prayer Ministry, I have made strong friendships with beautiful women who have encouraged me in my walk. I truly believe that the Lord strategically chooses the people that He brings into my life. These women are no exception. I have deeply felt God’s love through them, and it goes without saying that I would not be here today without them. Over the years, these women have listened, counseled, encouraged, and prayed with me. They have reminded me of God’s truth when my faith was failing; they held me up when I did not have the strength to make it on my own. Together, countless times we stood in the gap between what was reality and what was God’s perfect plan for my daughter and me. And together we witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness - time and time again - as He provided resources, finances, tools, teachers, counselors, a new home, work, and so many other blessings. We stood in awe of His greatness as He delivered my daughter from drugs, alcohol and the desire to end her life. We praised Him for every battle won. And we continued to pray for the war that was being waged in the spiritual realm -- the war for my daughter’s soul.
The last two years have not been easy, and COVID did not help. My daughter left home last summer and eventually returned to finish her senior year in school. The last year of high school did not come without its challenges and I have literally lost track of how many prayer requests have been turned in and how many people have prayed over my child, literally across the country, in the past 12 months.
My daughter moved out again at the end of March and, up until the third week in May, was not on schedule to graduate from high school. On that Wednesday night, my friends, my family and I pled our case before the Lord one more time. We remembered and declared the Lord’s promises in Exodus 14:14 and in 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 that the battle belongs to Him! On what was nothing less than a miraculous display of the Lord’s mercy and power, the review committee the next morning overturned their decision and announced that my daughter would graduate. We are overwhelmed with humility and joy!
My daughter is not walking with the Lord, and I have no idea how long it will take for her to return to Him. She continues to make poor choices, and I am unable to spare her from the consequences that will inevitably follow. I know the war is not over. So, when I fight, I fight on my knees. I lay every care, fear and concern at the foot of the cross, and I chose to trust Him. Even in the middle of my circumstances, He is still faithful, He is still good, and His promises are still true. I know He will not rest until His plans are fulfilled.
The lyrics from the praise song, “Goodness of God,” say it all: All my life You have been faithful. And all my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I’m going to sing of the goodness of God.
A Mother Overwhelmed with Gratitude
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.