My family has been hurt, heartbroken, disappointed, and dragged through the mud. Not just one child, but all of them. When you hurt one of us, we all hurt. But in this case, not only one, but all of us have been targeted and wounded....yes, that covers from the head of the home in my strong husband to the baby of us, in all of his precious one year old innocence. That's alot of hurt, even carried amongst the shoulders of all six of us. Pain and things that aren't of God have a way of seeping out, reaching their self seeking tendrils to any and all who they can. That's happened here. Other people ache at the opportunities lost and the exhaustion they see in us to continue standing and fighting for what is right, for what is important, for what the Lord has told us to do.
Why? Because we love our oldest child. A child that was not born of me, but of my husband. A child whose life is so intertwined and woven within this family that we aren't capable of letting her go, nor have we ever considered doing so. I love her because she's my husbands daughter. I love her because she's my children's sister. I love her because she's my daughter too. And of course, I love her simply because she is her. This child IS mine also, because God has given her to me to love, protect, nurture, and parent in a way that He has intended. I've never tried to take her mother's place. No. I've only intended and acted as to play MY role in her life (yes, it's important too). That role includes supporting and nurturing her relationship with both my husband AND her Mother. She needs her Mom, she loves her Mom. A child's place is with their Mother. Until a mother chooses not to really be a mother.
Horrible things have been said about us. The most important parts of my family, our values, who we are, and the way we live our lives....those are the things that have been twisted, lied about, and dragged through the mud. For all to see and look upon. I've gotten to where I don't defend us. No, I step away and I pray. My hope is in the Lord, not in anyone elses opinion or ideas of who we are.
What's been going on for years is not okay, to anyone other than her mother. The rest of us, our oldest daughter included, we are the ones who pay the price. The more we try, the more we fight for what's right..... the worse things get. And the more we are persecuted. I fear. I have for a long time now. As a Mom and wife, my job is to protect this family. And she continually tries to tear it to the ground.
The risk of losing her only child didn't make her change her behaviors for the better. No. Instead, they've gotten worse. There is no regard for the heart of our oldest daughter, and certainly no concern for my other three children, my husband, myself, or even the court system and it's orders. As much as it hurts us, my husband and I have always known this isn't about us. But is IS about these children, ALL of them. And it certainly IS ABOUT the way the Lord intends us to protect, care for, and shepard the little hearts that have been entrusted to us. To ALL OF US!
My children....she has attacked MY CHILDREN! Did you catch that earlier? Physically, or even to their faces? No. But words are sharp and there's just some places even the lowliest of men don't go. She has verbally assaulted us in front of our children. They fear her. I can accept fear and deal with it, these children shouldn't have to.
My ministry work....she has attacked that too. How much more personal can her actions be with our Lord? But that's not for me to decide.
Remember...I have prayed. I have cried out to our Lord. I have begged and pleaded with Him to fix this. I know He will. I also know that His timing is not my own. That His plan is bigger, better, and beyond any of my simple understanding.
In the meantime, we still hurt. We are robbed of things that should be ours, including parts of our children's innocence and our family's ability to be a whole family, even if that's to be just every other weekend and holidays.
Now let me share perhaps my biggest struggle in all of this. Praying for her Mom. Yes, the one who uses, persecutes, hurts, and attacks us for doing the right thing. The one who takes from us, not for the sake of the daughter we have in common, but for her own desires. The one who hates us. The one who has led us to believe she will only stop if we have nothing to do with the child she's making so vulnerable to the world's ways. The child she's failing to care for, to lead, and to protect....even when her role in her life came into legal question. Yes, her.
I've KNOWN I'm to pray for her. She hurts us. I spoke to my pastor a long time ago and he assured me that God knows my heart, to keep trusting in Him. She lies about us. I've studied at length God's words and promises, to be sure I haven't been led astray, that our righteousness lies in Him alone. She attacks. I've turned this to our Lord, to be sure our actions are in harmony with His will for our life and family, and not our own. She drags us through the mud. Years into this painful struggle, I STILL. TRY. TO. PRAY. FOR. HER.
Most of the time, I fail miserably. My heart is able to force out the thought, a tiny prayer that God's will be done in her life. Sometimes even the prayer that He be with her. But do you know how hard it is to pray for someone who is ACTIVELY HURTING your family? Someone who is exactly what the Bible describes as the type of person we are to have nothing to do with. One whose only fruits are those of wickedness, even if she brings herself to church on many Sundays? To pray for the person whose failing the one child that God has blessed her with? It's almost impossible in my human, fleshly heart. So usually, my heart resorts to lowering it's head in defeat and asking God to forgive me for not being able to do what He has commanded me to do. And somehow, I try again.
I try again because I KNOW that the things I can't understand are STILL HIS TRUTHS that He has commanded me to cling to, to trust, to believe, and to act upon. He has cared for my soul in giving me just a couple of rare, precious moments where I've been able to pray for this woman. To really pray for her. These moments have been filled with tears, the release of any fear that this prayer will make my family vulnerable, and the overwhelming, all consuming love of our God. The God who loves me. The God who carries me. The God who accomplished what I myself can never do. And that includes being able to pray for her. So yes, I will try again. For I know this is right.
While we were sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
He didn't only die for those who loved and followed Him. The key here is in the word WHILE. Not after we were sinners. Not when we got our lives together. No. He paid the price for us, suffered for us, and died WHILE we still willfully chose to disobey Him. He died for those who used Him, persecuted, and hated Him. Isn't it the least I can do to pray for her who hurts us? It is.
I'm not capable of doing this on my own. I'm too human, too scared, too worried about this family to lift her up in prayer on my own.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded, is life and peace. Romans 8:6
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:10
Only through Him, I can. I am reminded that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Christ's strength takes over where I can't succeed. He carries this weight for me, just as He carried the weight of my sins on the cross. And I can rest in the peace of obedience. I prayed for her today. I really prayed for her. Not in my strength or ability, but in His. With the spirit He has allowed to lead my heart.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14
Because I couldn't, I can't, do it on my own. I don't know if I'll ever be able to. But I will be obedient and reach for the things He's told me to. Even those impossible things. Simply because ALL things are possible in Him. It is not mine to decide what our God can accomplish in us, in our families. No, it is only ours To obey. To trust. To follow. Even when it hurts.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Luke 6:27-28
Those are Jesus' own words. He died for me, for us all, for her. All He's asking me to do is pray.