The phone rang unexpectedly just as my husband and I were walking out of the door to attend a Bible Study we taught together. Answering the phone, I was met with an unfamiliar voice, “Mrs. Cooke, I am a friend of your daughter’s. I think you should know she is involved with a young man and she may be in some trouble.” I slid down the wall to sit on the floor before fainting and looked at my husband who was adjusting his tie. Without a word I handed him the phone. I could hear him making polite comments before hanging up. Immediately he came and sat down beside me. Unfortunately, I was the one who was prepared to speak to several hundred people that evening inspiring and motivating them to know MY Heavenly Father who was bigger than any problem we would face! However, I literally felt incapable of standing up, let alone proclaiming truth. The weight of the news felt as though a dump truck had pulled up and unloaded on me. I’ll never forget the profound words that came from my husband’s mouth that night, “Rey, now is when we will walk our talk!” Continuing he said, “This problem is not too big for God; I am confident He is able to turn her mess into a message.” With renewed strength I did stand up and teach that night, experiencing God’s overwhelming love and power!
For the next three years I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. I blamed myself for her decision to walk away from the Lord. Satan hurled fiery darts accusing me of helping everybody else, but not noticing the depth of my own child’s struggle. Mixed in with those accusations was ugly PRIDE! Bottom line, I was embarrassed. I was a very public Bible teacher and my husband was Chairman of the Deacons. I wondered, “what are people going to think?”
Shame on you Satan! You are a Deceiver and a Liar! I refused to let him rob me of one more second of JOY. I began to fight back! I have been a prayer warrior for a long time, but when the enemy had lured one of my children into his trap I went on defense instead of offense and that wasn’t working too well. I had pulled away from “the crowd” because well-meaning people could say hurtful things trying to help. What I needed was Jesus’ comfort.
Our daughter had moved out of the house and there was no indication that she knew the Lord at all. However, we continued to leave the porch light on for her, never burning her bridge back to us. As I was praying one day, the Lord began to impress upon my heart that she would come back to Him, but it was going to be a roundabout way! I braced myself for the unknown, agreeing with God He loved her more than I did and my job was to love her, not to fix her. Fixing her was on His list to do! The pressure was suddenly off. This was her journey and her story! I had a clearly defined job—to love. God says love never fails! And what God says, we can take to the bank!
When Christ looks at me He sees who I will be, not who I am now. It all became crystal clear. No matter what my daughter had done I would treat her better than she deserved because that’s how Christ treats me.
When she came home for a visit I began to show interest in who she was dating, asking genuine questions, listening to her tell me about this young man she had fallen in love with. I only responded with kindness and love. I refused to heap guilt on her, and I never accused her of inflicting pain on me. I just loved her like I would love anybody else’s child who came to me for advice. All the while, I continued to pray, “Lord protect her from herself!”
She indeed came back to the Lord and when I asked her what I could have done differently, she answered, “Nothing, I just had to learn the hard way. I always knew you and dad loved me, and I wanted to come home.” Restoring relationships is nothing less than a miracle!
That’s God’s grace! He loves us even when we push Him away! We can deny Him until the cows come home, but he’ll never deny us! His light pierces to the darkest hidden places of our hearts, and it’s His gentle hand that pulls us from the judgment of the crowd into HIS arms of love.
*Due to the personal nature of this post, Rey wants our readers to know her daughter has given her permission to share her story. May God receive the glory and may many mothers be encouraged by these words!
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