My child had me absolutely stumped. I was beyond frustrated. I had moved onto desperate weeks ago. I just didn't know what to do. I had tried everything. Being gentle, being strong, being understanding, being strict. I had tried to coax, threaten, reason, beg. But I was just not getting through. Nothing changed. I had prayed about the situation, of course, and God had responded but I still didn't know how to effectively implement what He had said. I began fasting a day a week for breakthrough for this child. And I was getting tired of being hungry!
Last weekend, my husband and I had meetings in Cape Town, and I took the chance at the end of two of the meetings to ask for counsel from two couples who are living godly lives and have a deep understanding of the gospel and how what Jesus has done for us changed everything. I knew God could use them to help my husband and I to see things from a fresh and grace-centred perspective.
At first both couples deferred, unwilling to speak into a situation they could not fully understand, but as we asked more questions they could see we were desperate for help. Although they know and love our child, of course no-one fully understands the depth of a person's heart and why they do what they do. But they began to gently pour on the oil of grace: soothing, healing, bringing fresh insight. They reminded us of Christ's view of our child, of His endless grace, of His gentle compassion, of His steadfastness and commitment to their wholeness. One of the suggestions was to stop fasting for our child, and start fasting for ourselves, that God would help us to see correctly - to see with His eyes.
And as they talked, and in the days that followed, God revealed to us how to see our child correctly, how to apply the gospel in our situation. And as we began to change the atmosphere in our home and in which this child was living, she has begun to lift up her head, and we see signs of new life in the situation that we were fasting for. We are still praying for more evidence of the breakthrough, but we are confident that breakthrough has happened. We have hope again.
Oh, how we love our children! They drive us crazy sometimes, and we are too often desperately unqualified to steward their lives. We have far too much power, holding the little sapling of their lives in the palms of our hands. Heaven help us not to let go too quickly or to hold on to tightly! And praise God, heaven does help us! I am so grateful for community, for wise counsel, for caring friends, and for the truth of the gospel that takes all of us - bruised reeds, the lot - and pours strength into our bones and causes us to become like oaks of righteousness besides deep waters.