“Brokenness is not about us. It is about what God can do with our brokenness to help others. You can be beautifully broken.”~Shae
It was Sunday morning. I decided to sleep in and I knew it was past my usual wake time of 4:00 am, as the sun was starting to rise. I awoke to several missed phone calls and voice mails from a number I did not reconize. It was from my eighteen year old daughter. She had left in the middle of the night and telling me via voice mail that she had left and was in a safe place. As soon as I heard that, I bolted from the bed and told my husband, “Our daughter is gone”…. I threw off my pajamas and added my usual tee and leggings. I told my husband that, “I am leaving to find her. I will call you.”. I pulled my car from the garage and quickly realized the number she had called from was from the same city that we lived in. I called the phone number back and the young night shift hotel clerk, answered the phone, “Sleep In?”…I asked her, “Where is your hotel located?” It was located just down the street from our home! Did she walk there? Who would have taken her there?
IS THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENING
I pulled into the parking lot of the hotel, parked quickly and ran inside. I told the hotel clerk my teenage daughter had checked in here and I needed her hotel room number. I ran to her hotel room and knocked on her door. I asked her to open the door and I could tell she wanted to open the door but she was being spoken to by someone through a cell phone.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
My daughter told me through the door that she had filed to get married the previous week and that she was legally married. I knew she seemed different the past month or so since we were moving four hours away. I now realize why she was different. Lies always have a way of coming out. I wish she could have told us what she actually wanted for her own life, instead of stretching the truth to other people, to get what she wanted for herself. I wish she could have told us that she didn’t agree with the rules of relationships in our home. With the craziness of selling our home, moving and finding my husband another job, I wish I would have asked her more questions. We do not remember her telling us that she did not want to move but we told her we would make every effort for her to see her fellow after we moved.
THE SATURDAY NIGHT BEFORE
Saturday, the night before our daughter left, we had decided to rent a new movie. The young man she was courting was going to come over and watch it with us. Our daughter and her young fellow were on our sectional, not adhereing to our rules. One little sister told on them and I asked our daughter to see her phone. That is when I found a marriage license and I asked our daughter to come to our room. My husband asked her young fellow to leave. When asked about the marriage license, our daughter said, “I just wanted to fill out the marriage license to see what it looked like on paper and that we had no plans to get to married right now.”
TELLING OUR CHILDREN THEIR SISTER IS GONE
The realization that our daughter was gone, came to a quick head. There would be no more late night chats or watching tv shows together or talking in the car on the way home. There would abruptly be no more cooking meals together or brewing up ideas on new recipes to cook or talking about the possibilities of what life had to offer her. No more Target shopping trips or adding balayage to her hair. No more family vacations or watching my oldest braid her sisters hair. No more learning Tic Tok dances together or talking about career choices. Family movie night would be no more, as our family of six, seemed to just vanish in thin air. There would be no more holidays together.
It all came to an end so abruptly that I thought I would be sick to my stomach, right there, standing in the hallway of my daughter’s hotel room. My mouth turned so dry that I couldn’t even swallow. I called my husband to tell him that I need him to come here. How would we tell our other children that their sister was gone?
TEARS CAN BE WORDS
We went from seeing and talking to our daughter, every single day, to not seeing or talking to her at all. In the last few months since she has been gone, we have seen her twice. Once for the wedding dress rehearsal and once for the wedding. Well, make that three times. The first time was “forced“ because we told her that it would be best for her sisters to see her once, before the wedding dress rehearsal. Her youngest sister, at her age, reconized that she did not even give her a “real” hug on that first meeting. When I saw her for the first time, I ran to her and hugged her and sobbed and told her I had missed her so much. She looked at me as if what I was doing was odd. That was an honest reaction to not seeing my own flesh for so long!
It felt like we were grieving a death. The very first night after she left, I sat in bed with my other three daughters. We held each other and cried and cried. At times in life, tears are words that we can not express. On the second night after our daughter left, her little sister believed it was her fault as to why her sister left because she had told on them the night her sister left. She began crying and had a panic attack. We told her that nothing was her fault and that even though her sister was wrong for leaving the way that she did, that her sister was just ready to be on her own. The days following, I openly cried with my daughters and my husband. One of the most painful things to go through as a parent is to watch your children suffering or in pain; knowing you can’t take that pain away from them is heartbreaking.
THERE IS HEALING IN GRIEF
Learning through my own grief has had me one step ahead of my children, leading them as I learn. I wrote a blog on how to help children deal with grief, as grief can come in many forms. Grief will teach you things about yourself that you didn’t even know exsisted. It can teach you to appreciate more, to love harder, to be kinder and to give unstoppable grace, as our Father has so graciously given to us.
DOES GOD ALLOW THINGS TO HAPPEN?
This is the day that I WANTED to stop believing in God. “Who is God?”, I asked myself. Is God just someone, that I was taught to believe in, while growing up in church or at Sunday School, as a child? Was He real? Was this book, the Bible, real? I asked God, “Why would you allow our family to suffer?”At times, I felt myself so angry with God. If He were real, why would He allow such these things to happen? I decided that I would stop believing in God. After all, I was programmed to believe in something that I wasn’t sure was even a real thing. I asked God to help me see His “supposed” good works. I asked God, “Can you show me, the good in people? Please allow me to see other people’s good works and allow it to be such a light to me, that I know your the one showing me.”
GOD BEGAN SHOWING ME THE GOOD IN PEOPLE
God began showing me in moments that would just pop up! I had courage to tell a friend what has happened. Do you know what my friend Charlene did? She opened her Bible and began a video, telling me this, “HE IS ABLE to protect what He has protected me with that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12. She prayed this with me, “Father, in the midst of hectic schedules, we come to you. What was supposed to give us more time seems to take more time to run. What was suppose to free us up seems to imprison us. And Lord, there are times when the only stability in the world is the Cross of Christ. So to that cross we turn, praying that you would give us the courage to do only what needs to be done in your eyes, through your power.”
I had another friend tell me that she had been praying for our family. I told her what has happened. Cindy told me this, “I know how hard it is to feel like God isn’t there at times. We want to know today or tomorrow but it will come. It is in our sinful nature to doubt things. I am sorry for what your family is is going through.”
My aunt told me this, “I know it is hard, all you can do is the right thing. Don’t look back and have any regrets. Lean on your faith and it will all work out.”
When my daughter called my Daddy, her Grandfather, to tell him that she left and was married and planning a wedding, my Daddy cried. He was just begining to get over covid. He was so sick that he thought he was going to die. My DADDY called me and told me this, “If I could die for you, right now, to take away your pain, I would. We love you and are praying for you.”
My best friend told me, “Give yourself grace. This isn’t an indication of your parenting or a failed attempt at parenting. It’s a decision she made all on her own.”
My husband’s sister, my sister in law, told me, “I know your Mama heart is hurting. I can’t even imagine. We are praying for ya’ll.”
My oldest daughter came up to me tonight, as I was writing this blog, gave me a hug and said, “I am sorry you are hurting.”
Another friend, Suzanne, reached out because she knew our family was going through something hard. Here is what she told me, “I am praying for you precious girl. If you hit a point you need specific prayer or just need someone to listen, call me and I’m always here.”
This experience has truly shown me the love our family and friends have for us. If it were not for this experience, I would not know how much they truly do care for our family. For that I am uterly grateful.
MY OWN SCARS
I have many scars from my own life. My scars have taught me to never trusted anyone. Can you imagine never really trusting anyone during your whole existance on this earth? Could God help me to begin to trust again? Are there actually good people in the world? This past year, I have realized, the reason why I have not been able to trust others in my own life is because of my own life experiences. Those life experiences have taught me, over and over again, to never trust anyone. I can remember from very early on in my childhood that I was constantly taught by experiences, to not trust adults. As I became an adult, that learned behavior has always stuck with me. Whenever someone would hurt me, it taught me or showed me that they didn’t really love me, so I wouldn’t trust anyone.
OUR DAUGHTER’S WEDDING DAY
She had invited her sisters to be flower girls and a bridesmaid. Her Daddy would walk her down the aisle. Her sisters did not want to be apart of her wedding because of her actions. They were and still are hurting. If my daughter is reading this, I know this is hurtful to read. Just know that I made sure to keep you a postive light in our home. I kept encouraging them, telling them that it was the right thing to do and that we didn’t want to regret. At one point, on the day of the wedding, as we were getting ready, my oldest daughter broke down in tears. I asked her to take a walk with me outside and I told her this, “I know today is hard. We knew it would be, but let’s just get through it and be apart of it with no regrets.”
The bride to be didn’t want her mother to be apart of anything. I asked to help with decor or purchasing things for the wedding. The answer was no. I didn’t get to go with my daughter to try on wedding dresses or help her with any wedding planning. I didn’t get to help my daughter, as she got dressed on her wedding day or have the opportunity to get ready with her, on her wedding day. I knew it was my daughter’s way of hurting me. People that are hurting will hurt other people. I know now that it was her way of getting back at me. I had hurt her by calling her names during the previous year. After all, I derserved it and I am glad she treated me this way. I NEEDED to be hurt by her, so I could understand how much I had hurt her.
BROKEN PARENTS OF ONE
Do you think that parents can be broken by their children? I feel broken as a parent to our daughter. I love my daughter with all of my heart but she has always been strong willed to get what she wants for herself and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. This began emerging when she was about ten years old. The older she got, the more she lied to get what she wanted. A phone, at age ten, because she told us that she was the only one at school without one. As a teen, we had rules set into place about dating. She broke those rules, over and over again about dating and communicating with boys. She began lying to get whatever she wanted and it seemed like there was nothing we could do would stop her. Grounding her from her phone, tv, ect. She didn’t care because she only cared about getting what she wanted. The older she got, it seemed that we could not trust anything she said anymore. As she became an older teen then into her adulthood, her Daddy and I would literally tell her the same thing, over and over again, only to have her lie again. I finally realized after she was gone, that she had literally broken us, as parents, to her. There were several times during arguments that her Daddy and I called her names. This did not happen her whole life, only in the past year or so. We have made mistakes with her as her parents and have asked for forgiveness. Her cold shoulder was what I deserved on her wedding day as her mother.
WHAT IF OUR BROKENNESS ISN’T ABOUT ME
So often when we are forced to endure hardships and as humans, we have a tendancy to make our brokenness about us. We ask God, “Why, me?” Hear me when I say this, may be, just may be this is the wrong question. What if instead of asking God, “Why me?”, we ask Him, “Who for?”.
There are several examples in the Bible about brokenness. I am going to list a few but there are many more.
Peter denied Christ three times. Naomi was a widow. Jacob stole his brother’s blessing. Jonah ran from God.
I have experienced brokenness a time or two or three in my life.
* I have been rejected, betrayed and neglected.
* I have been hurt, mocked and shamed.
* I have dealt with a child having multiple seizures daily and searched hell and high water to find a doctor to help her.
* My husband and I divorced and re-married.
* I have experienced the loss of a home.
* I have experienced job loss, when my husband was the bread winner and lost our only income.
* I have suffered the painful loss of one of my pregnancies.
Yes, I have experienced brokenness, but I have come to understand that my brokenness is not about me. As a follower of Christ, we are called to be a blessing to other people. But, what if the blessing lies in our own brokennness?
”Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall unto the ground and die; it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
In Matthew 14:19, it says, “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass and he took the five loaves, the two fishes and looking up to heaven, he blessed and brake and gave the disciples the loaves to his disciples and the disciples to the multitude.”
It is interesting that Jesus first gave thanks and blessed the loaves, BEFORE He broke and distributed them. I think that in order to comprehend the significance of this is to understand the definition of the word, blessed.
Blessed means to consecrate; to make or declare something sacred. To dedicate to a divine purpose. I believe it is necessary that the life be blessed or consecrated first because life that is broken without being consecrated, remains broken, empty or stale. A life that is sanctified, when broken, will become food for the multitudes.
There is a direct correlation between the act of being broken and the production of fruit in our lives. The bread is broken and THEN multiplied. I do not believe we can have one without the other. They go hand in hand.
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20
Our brokenness is not about us. It is about what God can do with our broken pieces to feed others. I believe we can be beautifully broken.
WAYS THAT GOD CAN USE OUR BROKENNESS
”The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18
When we are broken, we are more open and more willing to listen to God. He will use these moments to reveal defects in our character, that would otherwise be difficult to see; and because we are willing to see those flaws, we are now able to ask God to help us have victory.
This reminds me of a story in the Bible about Peter who denied Christ three times. The Bible says that he “went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:54-62). In Peter’s sorrow, he was able to see his root issue. When he realized his flaw, he was convicted and broken in spirit. His brokenness led to true repentance and God was able to use him greatly.
Have you ever noticed that when we have tests and trials that it tends to draw us closer to God? I believe it is because we realize that our pain will not go away without God.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
In our brokenness, we seek Christ. Our testomony give hope and stregthen faith. It is evidence of God’s faithfulness and his redeeming power. Our testimony helps believers and non-believers, see physical evidence of what God can do in someone’s life. It is actually the message of Christ made visible for everyone to see and believe that He has come to set the captives free.
LOST WITHOUT YOU
The song, “Lost without you” by Frey’s Ridings can describe how I have felt these past few months. I know this song is about a lost relationship between a man and woman but if you can apply it to loosing a relationship with your child, it will describe the heartache that is felt.
“Our job is not to deny the story, but to devy the ending-to RISE strong, RECONIZE our story and RUMBLE with the truth until we get to a place where we think, yes. This is what happened. And I will choose how the story ends.”-Brene Brown
I have no control over the outcome but God does and I believe that He will use this for His purpose. It is extremely painful to have people, all of our family and friends, come to me, telling me all the things, that my own flesh and blood, my daughter, has said against her Daddy and I. My heart is heavy for her. I pray for her heart, that God will convict her of her wrong doings.
This is my story, this is my truth and I choose what happens with my life. I accept that I have the possiblity of never having any contact with her again. Our family has accepted this as well. Instead of being angry, I choose to pray for her daily. I choose to pray for the adults that are now in her life everyday. I pray for her spouse daily.
YOU ARE THE REASON BY OLIVIA PENALVA
My daughter, if you are reading this, I WOULD CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN AND SWIM EVERY OCEAN (and I’d drown because I can’t swim) JUST TO BE WITH YOU, TO FIX WHAT IVE BROKEN, CAUSE I NEED YOU TO SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU!
There goes my heart beating
‘Cause you are the reason
I’m losing my sleep
Please come back now
There goes my mind racing
And you are the reason
That I’m still breathing
I’m hopeless now
…I’d climb every mountain
And swim every ocean
Just to be with you
And fix what I’ve broken
Oh, ’cause I need you to see
That you are the reason
There goes my hands shaking
And you are the reason
My heart keeps bleeding
I need you now
If I could turn back the clock
I’d make sure the light defeated the dark
I’d spend every hour, of every day
Keeping you safe
And I’d climb every mountain
And swim every ocean
Just to be with you
And fix what I’ve broken
Oh, ’cause I need you to see…
TO MY DAUGHTER
If you are reading this, I love you. I am sorry. I have, at times, failed you, as your mother and just like any other person or mother, I am human and I am beautifully broken. I have made mistakes, as have you, my daughter. Please do not allow mine or your Daddy’s mistakes that were such a small portion of your life, to define our relationship, as we will not allow your mistakes, to define your relationship with us. We have had plenty of good memories over the years. Lots of birthday celebrations and holidays, dance recitals and graduation, along with family vacations., plus so many in betweens! I hope that you account our “rights” and not just our “wrongs”, as we have done for you, as well. You are worthy. You are forgiven. You are loved. Never forget that.
I choose to be beautifully broken and so can you. I love you!