With Open Arms
Nov 24, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
A little over a year ago, our 21-year-old daughter started dating a young man. It was a bit of a whirlwind relationship and did not start off on the best of terms. But since she was of age, we really had no say and let her make her own decisions. A senior at the University of Houston, our daughter was an exceptionally good student who always attended class. She was a very loving daughter who enjoyed her family, especially her two brothers, pets and friends.
Very early on, we saw some red flags! She moved in with her boyfriend within a month, against our better judgment. Suddenly she stopped coming by, never accepted dinner invitations and was very unresponsive. Her world became all about him. Slowly but surely, we saw her losing sight of herself.
On December 15 last year, they showed up at our front door at 10 a.m. with her jaw broken in five pieces! They claimed that she fell “up the stairs” because of losing her footing due to drinking. We have never dealt with domestic violence, so did not know what to look for. I was suspicious, but after seeing how loving she was towards him and because of all the opportunities she had to tell us the truth -- we accepted the story and focused on her recovery.
As 2019 began, things got worse! She stopped attending class as well as becoming belligerent and irresponsible. After several failed attempts to talk to her, our Christian counselor suggested that we have her come to our house for a “Come to Jesus” meeting. This was on April 18th. Her boyfriend was with her, and she refused to speak to us alone. He was vulgar and disrespectful. Even though we took her phone and car away, she chose to leave with him. Communications with us were blocked and we were told not to consider ourselves her parents anymore!
In one year, they lived in seven different places. Each time they had to leave because of his extreme disrespect and temper. Our daughter was trapped in a relationship with an abusive narcissist and there was nothing we could do to reach her! We tried everything to get to her, but she refused each attempt; she loved him.
So we turned to God in prayer -- and enlisted everyone we could think of to pray! That included our LIFE Group, family, friends and the Prayer Team at The Fellowship (submitting requests sometimes several times a week via the app)! After days, weeks and then months went by, we were mad and frustrated! Why was God not helping us or sending a sign?
In time we noticed strangers showing up in our lives. We now call them our “angels” or “prayer warriors.” When I confided in them how angry I was, angry with God for letting Evil win, I was pointed to a book about how to trust in the love and goodness of God in the midst of the deepest despair and disappointment. This book changed my entire outlook! So much so that I became thankful for this time because I was not walking close to God before – but, boy oh boy, I am now! I realized that we, as well as our daughter, had to be brought to dust so the Lord could mold us into what He intended us to be. So, every single day I thanked Jesus! Not easy to do -- but I did and meant it!
On October 3, I got a call from someone who had witnessed my daughter fighting with her boyfriend and saying to him, “You broke my jaw and made me lie to my family!” This was confirmation of our worst fears. I consulted a private detective, but hesitated before signing on the dotted line because my daily devotional day after day kept emphasizing, “Be still; trust in Me.”
On October 13th our daughter came home. She pressed charges and the man was arrested on October 18th for aggravated assault. She is healing, she is loved, and she is the bravest girl I know. Her remorse for hurting her family brings her to tears; she is ashamed. But just like the Prodigal Son, she has been welcomed home with open arms and has nothing to be ashamed of.
We are grateful for all the prayers and for our church family. She thanks everyone who prayed -- for that is what brought her home. Emotional, mental, and physical abuse is an epidemic, and I know some day our daughter’s amazing heart will help save others! She is a child of God!
…now for a little while you may have had to suffer
grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your
faith -- of greater worth than gold -- may be proved genuine
and may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7