Single parenting is hard enough, but having to get through the teenage years without a dad around... especially if you are raising a girl, can easily drive you into a place of worry and confusion. In a world that is still a bit double standard and somewhat "for the man", molding and guiding a daughter into becoming a responsible, successful, independent, wholesome lady who carries herself in a respectful manner is quite a challenge.
In this day and age when sexual impurity is in their faces from television to Instagram and songs are all about girls being objects of good looks and rockin' bodies... the job can feel impossible. Raising a boy, your concerns are isolated to him, however when you have a girl, your concerns include all the boys out there that will use her, abuse her and leave her heartbroken.
My oldest daughter, now 23, went through "that stage" of boy craziness from 12-14, and although we both managed to get through it, so much has changed. As I raise my second teenage daughter I simply cannot keep up with the fast pace of the internet, YouTube and phone apps and all they can corrupt her with.
It is times like this when I am so thankful that God lead me back to my faith through all of my own poor decisions and adversity. I can at least pour into my children the truth of what having a strong faith means, and how it can be used as a guide through the tough times of temptation and inevitable inner struggles they will go through.
About a month ago as we drove home from church one Sunday, my 13 year old daughter Baleigh says to me... "Mom, I don't think I believe in God." Trying not to show it, my heart literally sank, as I remembered my own history and how I stopped believing in God around the same age. My reasons were different than hers but I was still able to relate. Her comment started a conversation and I asked her why she felt this way. Her answer was "Because I can't see Him or feel Him, even though we are supposed to feel Him. I say prayers and they are not answered, so I just don't get it."
I began to tell her my own faith story and how I felt the same way she did and that I chose a path of being a non-believer for a very long time and that I struggled a lot in life. I shared the story of how I was eventually led back to belief in God and that it was through that miraculous moment when "God showed up and showed off" that I finally "felt" He was there for me.
I told her that one day something would occur in her life to give her that same feeling and that I hoped it would not take as long as it did for me. I encouraged her to continue to believe, and to continue to pray; that one day He would show up and let her know He was with her.
Over the past few weeks, I have been reading a book called "The Circle Maker" which is a spiritual book filled with stories and scripture about "praying through" and the power of praying in circles. I am thoroughly enjoying what I am discovering through reading this book and admit that as I have been using the prayer techniques it teaches over the past several weeks; miraculous things have happened. I have "felt" His presence more than ever before and developed an even stronger feeling of closeness, seeing my prayers being answered so quickly.
This past Thursday, my daughter Baleigh got on a plane to Kansas to visit my brother for a month. Part of the reason we chose to have her visit was because her choices have not been the greatest lately and my concerns have grown. My brother felt that maybe some time with a "father figure" could help. He's that "fun uncle" that also has that reality check authority when it is needed. She listens to and respects him , so we gave it a shot.
For the past two weeks since Baleigh shared that she was not sure God was real, I have been praying for my her in great detail asking God to allow her to "feel" His presence,.. to show her in His way that He was with her. The night before she left, I prayed again... this time even more specifically and at the end I thanked Him in advance for what He would do to show her He existed as if it had already happened.
On Thursday morning, my oldest daughter Cierra was going to take Baleigh to the airport but did not get a good night's rest, so plans changed and I ended up taking her. We had a few frustrating delays in leaving for the airport and I had to stop at the ATM to get her some cash, but we finally arrived with only an hour before her 6:35 am flight. The line to check baggage was awful, and I was worried we would not get through it in time, when suddenly they asked all people who were on her flight to jump ahead in line. Relief came over me.
We approached the counter and I announced that she was an unaccompanied minor. The ticketing lady handed me paperwork to fill out while she checked her bag in. She then proceeded to say "That will be $161.00 plus tax" I was shocked... asking why I was having to pay more, she said anyone traveling alone under 15 had to pay for attendant assistance. I had only gone to the airport with my drivers license and my cell phone TOTALLY unprepared for this. I looked at Baleigh and said, I guess you won't be able to go.
As I stood there not knowing what to do, the time was ticking and now we had only 30 minutes before her flight left and had not even gone through security. I stepped to the side to make a call to my brother to see if he could pay for this over the phone and just as I did, the ticket lady looked at me and said "They are taking care of it." Puzzled, I said "Excuse me?" She pointed to the people standing at her counter and said " They are paying the fee for you." Shocked, I told my brother never mind and hung up the phone after telling him the people behind me were paying for it.
I was truly blown away; I am the type of person who has done things like this many times... I have purchased food, shoes and clothing for homeless guys standing on the side of the road, reached out to people in need, paid for people's gas, groceries and even tolls, but this was nearly $200.00, nobody had EVER done something like this for me. I looked at them and said... "All I can say is thank you, I do things like this all of the time... now I know what it feels like to receive such a gift. Please let me repay you, can I have your mailing address?"... to which they said no. The ticket lady was smiling and said I will call the gate and tell them you are on your way.
We rushed towards security, stood in a long line and finally headed towards the gate. Tears began to roll down my face... and Baleigh asked me what was wrong. I shared with her how I had been praying for God to show up and show her He was real for weeks... and that I felt that this moment was just that. She laughed and said, "Really mom?" And I said, sweetheart... yes, and I told her what I had prayed for the night before.
As she boarded the plane I was filled with gratitude, and headed back to my car. As I was driving, I began to thank God for showing up... and asked Him to continue to show her His grace. A few moments later I got a text from Baleigh...
"Mom!!! you are NOT going to believe this!!!! The people that paid for my ticket are sitting in the seats next to me!!! CAN you believe that???"
As another tear and flood of emotion came over me, I typed, "Yes, Baleigh, YES I can! God is with you sweetie, He is real. Don't doubt His existence."
HE WANTS US TO SEEK HIM
I remember a time when I did not believe... God was imaginary to me because so many bad things had happened to me and my family,starting with the death of my sister. I felt that IF there was a God, He would never would have let those things happen. Life has taught me that until we understand that being grateful for ALL He gives us even when we don't understand the pain, grief and suffering or when we feel we deserve more... we may have to hit a dead end, make some bad decisions and go through some pain, so that we will seek Him. If we never knew hard times, we would not need Him.
However only when we need Him does He have the opportunity to show up and show off... no other explanation is believable in those moments; I know, I have lived through several of them now and I feel closer and closer to Him every time it happens.
I am not here to sway you... I am not here to change you.... I simply share what has happened to me in hopes that it inspires you, touches you, and makes you feel less alone.
Until next time...
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