“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
On the evening of my 50th birthday I climbed into the car for a visit to see my daughter. I'd like to tell you it was to watch her participate in a school event or to see her newly decorated first apartment. But it wasn't either of those. This trip was to visit her at the drug rehabilitation center where she was undergoing treatment. This was a difficult time for our family. The circumstances that led us to this point had strained our relationship significantly and I was deeply frustrated that I was not able to "fix" this situation. As I sat outside the facility, preparing to see her, I struggled to find the words to express what was happening in my heart. I prayed again, for the thousandth time, that God would touch her heart and restore our relationship. And while I could not find a peace in the darkness of the situation, I believe God enabled me to eventually find that peace by taking me through my own journey of suffering.
My daughter completed her treatment and returned home to begin rebuilding our family's relationship, but the road to restoration was a complicated one and shortly after she returned home, we found ourselves at odds again. I was determined to make our relationship work but all my best efforts continued to fail. Months later, sitting in a church service, I found myself once again unable to communicate what was happening in my heart. But this time it was not because of my battered relationship with my daughter; it was because I was suffering a stroke.
The process of recovering from my stroke was slow and required me to lean on the Lord and my family in a much deeper way than I had ever experienced. My daughter began visiting me and I was thankful for the opportunity to be with her. I was still deeply troubled by the brokenness between us but I was too tired to "fix" things; instead I just had to release our relationship to the Lord and trust that He was in control. I didn't feel any fear during this season. Even after suffering a stroke, I could see the Lord moving to restore my relationship with my daughter and that knowledge filled me with a deep sense of Peace.
During my recovery, my daughter's boyfriend accepted the Lord and they began discussing what their future might look like. My daughter decided she would like to return to school and asked my husband and me if she could move home while she pursued her college degree. We agreed and I was hopeful about having her in our home again. Shortly before she moved in I went for a routine mammogram that revealed that I had an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. I immediately underwent surgery followed by six months of treatment to eliminate the cancer. My daughter moved in with us and I began the long road of recovery.
During this time I was deeply dependent on my husband, my daughters, and many of our friends. The Lord continually showed me how his hand was at work in my life. Accepting that my health was completely in the Lord's hands taught me how to fully release my relationship with my daughter to him. He showed me that He was in control and was more capable of caring for her than I could ever be. I fully released my need to “fix” our relationship and watched as the Lord began to heal all of the brokenness between us.
I felt a Peace that I had never known before.
It was a Peace that came from releasing and trusting God to guide and direct my life in His perfect timing. Proverbs says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding." This is a truth that I have learned through many difficult times.
My daughter's boyfriend is now her husband and I recently became a grandmother to a precious baby boy. The Peace of the Lord is a real and sustaining power that operates outside of our understanding. When we release our control and believe that He is good, we become truly free to walk in all that He has for us. This is the only true Peace we can experience, and it’s the only way to live.