Yesterday was a tough day for me. I am the step-mom to a beautiful 12 year old girl, and have been for the last ten years. While this role has brought plenty of joy, co-parenting with someone who has a very different set of ideals has been one of the most difficult things I’ve faced so far in my life. In the last ten years, we have had our ups and downs with the co-parenting relationship. We’re currently going through a “down” time. Yesterday brought a few situations that left me revisiting the anger and frustration I’ve been through many times before. Perhaps even the word “wrath” would be a better description. My heart was pounding, my palms were sweating, my thoughts were speeding around into dark territory.
We live a ways down a private drive, and I decided I needed to take some time out of the house, away from my children. I started walking, then running down the road, all the time trying to figure out how in the world I was supposed to “give it to God”. The intense anger and frustration was kind of like how it is when you lose a tooth as a kid. You can forget about that squishy place where your tooth used to be for a minute, but before you know it, your tongue goes back to the place. I was pushing away the bitter feelings for a minute, but they’d come back in a flood, trying to pull me under.
These feelings aren’t new to me. In fact, they are part of my testimony of how I came to Lord. Several years ago, we were going through a custody fight that was both emotionally and financially draining. The worst of it all, though, was that I was morphing from a fairly happy and positive person to a person whose mind traveled to dark and threatening places. As days passed and I spent more and more time filled with hate, animosity and thoughts of revenge, I went deeper into a pit of darkness. At the very bottom of it, I realized that I hardly recognized myself. I realized that I needed help and I couldn’t get out of the hole alone. My husband had been going to church for a little while and I decided to reach out to this God he suddenly believed in. I prayed, a desperate prayer sent out as a last resort. “God, if you are real and you are there, I need you. I need your help. Please reveal yourself to me.” He did, in many personal and unmistakable ways. Thankfully, praise God!
Yesterday, I felt the cold chill of those dark feelings in my soul. I ran, maybe trying to outrun them. I found myself at the end of our road, at the mailbox.
Inside, God had sent messages that were like sunshine through the clouds. We received four letters from our Compassion International children as well as the added bonus of a photo from our Precious girl in Ghana. The anger left my heart and I was joyful to hear from our children.
This picture of Precious’ family shows what part of a Family Gift we sent a couple of months ago was able to buy. The huge bags of rice and sugar will be divided up and sold and traded in order to build up the family’s business. The soda and biscuits were a treat for the whole family to enjoy. The rest of the money left over was used to start a bank account to provide for the children’s needs in the future.
Some excerpts from Precious’ two letters:
“She says that she can only say a word of thank you and leave the rest for God to bless you abundantly in your daily living. A big thank you for all of what you have done for her in her life….She wants to pray for you to be wise, bold and strong all the time so that you can achieve your heart’s desires.”
We also received two letters from Rodrigo in Bolivia (BO281) which were written 4 days apart. Some excerpts:
“I thank you for the birthday gift you sent me. I bought with it a coat to keep warm in the cold weather that is in my city now. In school we aren’t doing classes now because of the cold and most of the children have a cold but I am well of health. I thank God for everything that he does for me and because you help me a lot and you are very kind to me… I thank you for the many letters and stickers you sent to me. My family and I read it last weekend and they were very happy. For vacation, I went to the country to visit my grandparents….Our school was suspended because of cold but I am studying in my house. I read books from my school. I finished my homework but I don’t understand all of my math but my tutor teaches me and I learn. I go to the project on Thursday and Saturday.”
These sweet letters brought joy to my soul on a day when I really needed it. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of the lives of these children. They are a reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit and the blessings to be found in trials.
Last night, my husband came home after a tough day on the jobsite and he ministered to me. How thankful I am to have his support and spiritual leadership. We prayed through tears and read the Bible together. God opened the page to 2 Timothy and the passage found in 2:23-26:
23Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
It is so clear that God is ever present in my life. His reminders are timely.
I am still struggling, though. The anger and pain is just below the surface and flares up throughout my day. I would humbly ask for your prayers. Not only for me, but for my step-daughter, her Mother and my entire family.
Thank you so much.
Closing with a video of a man I love, respect and admire ~ Shaun Groves. A song that rose up from the slums of Guatemala and soothed my weary heart when I needed it.