Am I Crazy?

I have been struggling the past few weeks with something my mother and sister both said to me in response to my request for prayer over my younger daughter Sarah. We all agree that she needs her mother.

A bit of background:
She’s 14 now, and last school year she lived with her dad 10 hours away from me and her older sister Lindsey. I had very little contact with her because he had had his phone disconnected before he came to get her. He asked if she could keep her cell phone, and assured me that I would hear from her regularly. I let her take the phone so that we could talk daily, but he would take it from her to keep her in line. When she did have it in her possession, she used it to call her friends and send text messages, doubling my bill. He would let her go out of town with friends on the weekends and keep the phone with him for his own use. When I called, he wouldn’t answer, and I had no way of knowing where she was or with whom, or how she was doing.

Lindsey and I made trips as often as we could to visit, and their dad and I would trade kids for the weekend. The time I had with Sarah was difficult, to say the least. She had no respect for my authority, and discussions with her were usually one-sided. I tried to get her to talk with me, but she’d tune me out and shrug when I asked questions. I prayed for God to give me wisdom, to show me how to reach her, pleading with Him to restore our relationship.

On one visit, I took her to a bookstore to let her pick out a devotional that we could do together over the phone. She wasn’t as excited as I was, but she was willing. As soon as we got back to the car, she wanted to get the devotional over with so she could play when we got back to Grandma’s. I asked her if she’d ever heard the verse “Be still, and know that I am God.” She wasn’t sure, so I asked her if she had any idea what it meant. “Not really.” said she, so I explained that we are so easily distracted by the things of the world, by our friends, by work or play that we forget to take time to listen to God. He wants us to spend time with Him in His word, in prayer, in our daily activities, and if we will be still long enough, He will reveal things to us that we might have missed otherwise.

Later that evening, as we were getting ready for bed, I told her that I wanted her to read the devotional, then we would discuss it. Snuggled up together, we opened the book to that day’s passage, and she read “Be still, and know that I am God.” I explained that God had just confirmed that we were doing the right thing.

We continued our devotions over the phone for about a week. Then her dad took the phone from her and told me how much she hates doing them, how I have sent more people to hell than the devil himself, and how he’ll be waiting at the flaming gates when I arrive. I swear he was hissing when he spoke. He said he doesn’t want me telling her how to pray because he told her she can pray for anything she wants. Not long after that, her phone quit working altogether.

Fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend. Lindsey had gone to spend the summer with her dad two weeks earlier, and both girls were to be at my mom’s house that weekend so I could visit with them. My mom shared with me the uneasy feeling she got when he dropped them off at her house and told her (in front of them) “Sarah and I get along real well. I’ve got her. I know I can depend on her. Lindsey’s not that easy. She brought a Georgia (UGA) blanket to put on her bed. I don’t want it in my house.” She said he was kinda laughing when he said that, but she wasn’t sure he was joking.

My mom and I discussed the potential damage to Sarah that he could do with that kind of manipulation. Lindsey isn’t immune to it, but she’s more aware of it, and seems to be a little less affected by it. We again were in agreement that Sarah needs a healthier environment. Yes, we should pray about it. Yes, we need God to handle this. All agree.

So toward the end of our visit, before their dad came to pick them up, I wanted to pray a hedge of protection around my girls. I asked my mom if she would pray with us, and she looked at me funny. The girls and I went upstairs to pray together, and I prayed that God would keep them safe and guard their hearts and minds against evil. I prayed that He would filter everything they see and hear and allow only the truth to get through.

After they left, I told my mom why I had wanted her to pray with us. (Matthew 18: 19-20 says “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”) I didn’t quote her the scripture, but I tried to explain it. She told me that I’m worrying about it too much, and that I should just pray for God’s will to be done and forget it.

Later, I was talking with my sister about it, and asked her to pray for them as well. I told her that I’m praying specifically that the girls won’t be separated again, and that they would return to me willingly, with a desire to be obedient to Him. She said, “Well, you should pray for God’s will and leave it at that. That’s what we did when we were trying to adopt Mary Ann. We prayed that she would be placed where it was His will for her to be, even if it wasn’t with us.”

Now here’s what I’m wondering. Is there a doubt in their minds that my children should be with me? Do they not understand that this is not a custody battle between warring ex-spouses, but that the very souls of my children could be at stake? Their dad is not the enemy, but neither is he encouraging them to turn from the world and seek after righteousness.

Isn’t praying according to scripture in essence praying for God’s will to be done? I’m deeply troubled by their responses to my request. My desire is not to turn my children against their dad. My desire is to strengthen their foundation of faith, to give them guidance, to teach them by example how to fully rely on God. Is it crazy to think that if I pray specifically for these things then God would give me the desires of my heart?

I don’t think so. What do you think?

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9 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Prayer

9 responses to “Am I Crazy?

  1. Barb

    Brenda. I’m telling you. This has gone far enough.

    First, I cannot begin to imagine being physically separated from my child. I thank God daily that I never had to go through what you’re going through. I have no idea how you bear it.

    But to be emotionally separated, in spite of every effort on your part…..

    I’m trying to remember that this is a public forum. But as I read this, I feel my mama bear ferociousness building up. Your girls are still minors. And it scares me that their father is manipulating them away from you, a God-loving and fearing Christian. What he did with the cell phone you provided, as an almost desperate plea for contact, is so obvious. I told you before, he’s playing juvenile “they love me more” games and it’s obvious he’s a child — otherwise he’d put their emotional wellbeing before his own selfish need to “win.”

    I’ll stop. I feel so angry and frustrated for you but perhaps this isn’t the best forum.

    I’d hire a good lawyer, my friend. Ir’s not too late to rescue your children.

    I will not STOP praying for you until I hear that this has been resolved. My prayers, constantly.

    xoxoxo

  2. Diane

    Brenda, I agree with Barb. I see your point, too. It’s not about the fact that it’s the kids’ father, it would be the same problem if it was ANYBODY you had to share custody with that was manipulating the girls and poisoning their minds against you and against God.

    And I believe the Bible teaches us to pray specifically. Jesus prayed if it was God’s will, that the cup would pass from Him, but if not, God’s will be done. There’s our example. Pray specifically, then if that is not God’s will for the situation, that His will be done.
    I hope this helps affirm your beliefs according to the Scriptures.

    I will be praying for you and your girls, Brenda. Keep us posted. We care, Sister.

  3. Dawn

    I so much appreciated it when you added me to your prayer list. I so much believe in your connection to God! I am saddened by your family’s reaction to your request. God will honor you for your faithfullness in praying for your children. We have sad issues with the mother of our grandson, Annekin (his blog name). It is very sad.

  4. Mandy

    Brenda, no you are absolutely not crazy. What I see is that on your end, you are concerned about the well-being of your children, both emotionally and spiritually. Their father seems to be concerned with who they like better. The fact that he said to your mother “I have her,” quite frankly scares me. It sounds dangerously close to “I’ve duped her.”

    I am not a mother, but I am a daughter, and I cannot imagine being in the situation your girls are in. I will continuously pray for you and your girls, and I will pray for them both to return to you. God wants us to cry out to him, so be specific with your prayers, for your children and his.

  5. Brenda

    Thank you for your prayers. I would appreciate it if you keep them coming.

    Barb, it is nothing short of amazing what God can get you through.

    Diane, thanks for comfirming what I thought I knew. 🙂

    Dawn, I am so happy for you that your son is safely back home, and I will continue to pray for him. I will also pray for Annekin and his mom.

  6. Praying for your Prodigal

    Brenda–I am in complete agreement with the other commentors. You are doing exactly what Scripture says you must do! And God will honor your faithful, mother’s heart! You have many prayer partners in this journey–we will join in protecting your children–praying a hedge around them and their hearts.

    Secondly–there is nothing to say that hiring an attorney to deal with the juevinile behavior on your ex-s part isn’t a wise thing to do. When dealing with anger/revenge in actions–I believe we should be able to nip it in the bud as soon as possible! Damage control! I’m not sure you are ready to contact an attorney–but until he is legally required to stop playing games…..don’t forget old fashioned snail-mail. I know as a mother I would be hardpressed to not be in contact–one way or another–with my children. My heart aches for you.

    I am praying that you will find peace and solutions to this. And that your girls will be protected from the impending drama.

    I think, too, that your mom and sister’s response is simply ignorance. Ignorance in a nice way–It’s like the book title, All I needed to know about life I learned in Kindergarten–well some Christians never get beyond kindergarten. Their natural temperments are to avoid conflict–they’re psychological maturity is to hide or deny. I don’t know your mom or sister–but they sure sound like they fit into these categories. People who love you and your children–but people who are still in kindergarten.

    I know the printed word does not always translate well–and please know–I type these words, covered with grace and mercy.

    Diane

  7. Addie

    First Brenda, let me say how heartbreaking this was to read. I can only imagine how much this hurts you.

    To answer your question….in my opinion. You should most definitely be praying specifically for your children. All throughout the Bible, God’s people prayed specific prayers. Even Christ himself, asked ‘may this cup pass from me’ BEFORE saying nevertheless, not my will but thine.

    Yes, We most certainly want God’s will. But we do have the power to change things with prayer! Moses’ prayed on Mt. Sinai, that God would change his heart and give grace to the nation of Isreal. If Moses can pray specific prayers that change things…so can we!

    I will be praying with you in this. Your little girl needs you right now.

    God Bless!

  8. BooMama

    Okay – I came back to finish what I THOUGHT I started comment-wise in wee hours of the morning yesterday, but I guess in my sleep-deprived stupor I never hit “publish comment.” So.

    What Diane and Addie said. 🙂

    And seriously – it breaks my heart for you and your girls. I can tell that this goes way beyond you being frustrated with your ex…this is an issue of their well-being (and these “feelings” you and your mama have had lead me to think that there’s some spiritual warfare going on, too). It will be my privilege to keep all of you in my VERY SPECIFIC prayers.

  9. Grafted Branch

    Oh…um…ahem…o.k. I’m done with my self-hosted pity party now. You have actual, truly serious issues to cry out to the Father for.

    I wouldn’t even begin to presume I had any counsel to give on this. But I will pray for you, Brenda, and know that EVEN really, really unproductive teen-years can be used for His glory!

    My heart breaks for you. Cleave to the One who isn’t not shaken, moved or surprised. I’m so sorry.

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