“FIRST FRIDAYS WITH VAL”
“Trust is a key issue in our faith. We may not trust our adult children – or even ourselves at times – but we need to trust that God is always in control. We also need to trust that He can speak to us through our parental instincts.” Allison Bottke, pg. 139, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children
At the conclusion of my last column, I was at the beginning of my journey of letting go and letting God. I was fearful of what the result was going to be now that we had set firm limits with our daughter – no contact with us until she apologized and until her relationship with her boyfriend was over.
A series of events have shaped a different approach towards our daughter.
I prayed so long about the boundaries and conditions which we set up in regards to our daughter. I was in such pain – missing the contact with her, knowing she still wanted a relationship with us but that we were saying “no”, thinking about the future and dreading not knowing what was going on with her in her life. I kept on going back to the conversation I had with God when my daughter was first diagnosed with lupus nephritis when she was 16. I asked him why he chose me to be her mother, out of all of the woman who could have adopted her. He said “Valerie, it is because you have what she needs to help her through this situation.” And then, in April when we found out some news about our daughter, again, I prayed to God about what to do. His reply was “She needs you now more than she ever needed you in the past.” So, when we decided to cut off all contact with her at the end of April, I felt as though I was cutting off my promise to be with her to help her through her current situation in which she has no idea how destructive it has been to her. So, I prayed to God once again, and asked him what I needed to do. His answer came in two forms – one was a dream, and the other was a direct response to my prayer.
My “parental instinct” was on high alert after we cut off contact with our daughter, and as Allison said in her quote above, we have to trust God to speak to us through those hunches or those instincts. I knew that my daughter was in deep emotional and spiritual trouble. She was and still is surrounded by negative and evil influences which are dragging her down and keeping her captive in her situation. Yes, she has choices, but I wasn’t so certain she had the power to make different choices to pull her out of that situation. I kept on getting this vision of a lifeline. One night, I had a dream that she was in the middle of swirling quicksand, being sucked deeper and deeper into the suffocating quagmire, and surrounding her where the people with whom she is now living. They weren’t helping her at all. I was yelling at them to help her, but they wouldn’t listen to me. I found a lifeline to throw to her – but she refused to grasp it and hold on to it for dear life. She was refusing my help to save her life – which is exactly what she is doing right now. But, later on after I woke up, I realized that she has to WANT to be saved, and until then, there is nothing I can do about it.
Knowing that she is surrounded by the negative and evil influences, and knowing that she is refusing to be helped, made me realize that she desperately needed a guiding light. As not only her mother, but also her spiritual mother, it was my obligation to provide that light to her. She still needs the option of grabbling onto that lifeline if she so wants to someday – so I couldn’t take that lifeline away from her. God nudged me by letting me know that I was to stay in the background of her life – just as a gentle presence who was ever-ready, so that when the day comes that she needs me, she knows I will welcome her with open arms. God asked me to forgive her, and to be that lifeline to her, despite how angry and hurt I was. God told me she needed me so much right now, even though she won’t admit it, and that I needed to be her “watchman” (as Diane likes to put it) until the day comes she wants to come home to us and to her Lord. And, He reminded me that I must yield everything to the Lord. In Allison’s book on page 148, I was reminded of Paul’s admonishment in the letter to the Ephesians “to be alert and persistent and to put on the armor of God.” So, my job now has become to be that lifeline and guiding light to my daughter, shielded by the armor of God.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:10-18) (pg 148, Allison Bottke, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children.)
I couldn’t abandon my daughter in the time of her greatest need. I fought for her physical life when she was so gravely ill; now I had to fight even harder for her spiritual life when she is under the attack of so much evil influence. So, I decided to speak with my daughter to let her know that yes, I did want a relationship with her, but it had to be qualified by certain boundaries. There was to be no more lying on her part. She knows my opinion and stance about her relationship with her boyfriend, and we were at a standstill over that one, so we would just have to agree to disagree about it. However, that did not mean that I approved or condoned the relationship, and it did still mean that I would be praying for her eventual return home to us and to her Lord – and without the boyfriend. She knows she is welcome back home at anytime without him in her life. But, in the meantime, I will stand here, waiting for her return, and offering her my love and comfort and support and prayers, to stand up against all of the negative influences in her life in hopes that she will eventually grab my lifeline and turn away from the grips of evil. My prayer is that God will give her the strength and courage to get away from these unhealthy relationships (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), and back on the path again towards a life that is filled with love and peace and stability and God’s promises. Please pray that I may remain her beacon of light, her lifeline, and her spiritual warrior.
~Valerie Wolff, June 2009