We never stop caring for our children, and we are always affected by their choices. My daughter and her husband moved to Denver nearly two years ago chasing freedom and a certain lifestyle far away from God and the godly influence of family. The blessing is that we can never get away from God (Psalm 139:7-8).
My daughter recently drove from Denver, CO to Alabama, without her husband’s help, to take back their two big dogs which have had a home with my husband and me from the time my daughter and her husband moved to Denver. Though she was in town only for one full night, she eagerly stretched herself in many directions to accomplish a lot in a short time. She planned to sleep at our home but never came home that night, which had me concerned. She had to wait a few hours for her mechanic father-in-law to look over her new car because his truck broke down on his way in from work. While waiting for her father-in-law, she spent time at a so-called “friend’s” home. This “friend” was a drug acquaintance; that’s how they met and why they got along. It’s strange the power we let others have over us; it’s a very easy, effective tool for satan.
After a restless night of little sleep waiting for her to come home, I searched the internet for the address of my daughter’s father-in-law before driving to see if my daughter was there. I was very concerned that she might not be there, that she may have wrecked and had not yet been found or that she never went to his house but instead had stayed doing drugs with her so-called “friend.”
I almost went to the friend’s house first, as memories of the day my daughter ran away from home three years ago seeking a lifestyle away from God and all godly influences flooded my mind. The day she ran away every part of me said to check at a particular person’s home for her, but instead of going with this instinct I ran here and there wherever my daughter said she was, only wasting precious time giving satan more opportunity to convince her that her wrong choices were absolutely right.
Now three years later, with a different dynamic but still with satan’s desperate attacks in light of his ever-weakening hold over my daughter, I went where she said she was the night before to be absolutely relieved as I drove by her in-laws’ home and saw her car safely nestled between a tractor and another family vehicle. A huge sigh of relief and thankfulness swept over me as God reminded me to never be overwhelmed by anything, knowing that He does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I later found out that she had fallen asleep from exhaustion mid-conversation, and the in-laws laid her over on the couch to let her rest.
All the way to the in-laws’ home I listened to Steffany Gretzinger’s album Blackout which leads my heart to worship the Creator and Lover of our souls who has it all in control even when we don’t. I thought I would have to use my asthma inhaler at first, but soon after I began worshiping and praising God, the tightness in my chest subsided. Still, false visions of my daughter passed out after using drugs at her “friend’s” home kept reaching for my focus as I prayed, sang, and worshiped my Lord who has much better than addiction in store for all those who love them with their whole hearts and seek Him with all their might (Deuteronomy 4:29, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 24:7, 29:13, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30).
My daughter’s visit, though shorter than the drive here and back to Denver was a blessing, a time for us to plant seeds of God’s love. Though we planted seeds of love her entire life, we struggled when it seemed all the seeds fell on hard ground to not grow. But even in the darkest hour I had to cling to God’s promises concerning those who live for Him and raise their children to do the same (Psalm 103:13, Proverbs 22:6, Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 6:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:15, 1 Peter 2:12).
My heart leaps for joy to praise my Lord who is strong enough and can always turn satan’s attacks to our benefit when we love God and seek to honor Him with our lives (Romans 8:28). Our God—the one, true God—is perfect as is everything about Him: His love, judgment, advice for living, forgiveness, renewal, justice, and His emotions, to name a few (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Psalm 18:30, Job 11:5-12, Malachi 3:6, Matthew 5:48) .
God’s emotions are real, but they are not the same as ours. Often we make decisions based on emotion, respond to others strictly on an emotional basis, and sometimes fail to respond because we are paralyzed by our emotions. God isn’t subject to any of these as His emotions are very different from our own. He is never paralyzed by fear, nor does He respond selfishly, and He is never overwhelmed. I am so thankful that our perfect Creator by His perfect love for us is bigger, stronger, and far beyond our emotional bounds (1 Corinthians 1:25, James 1:17, 1 John 4:4).
Just as our lives are affected by one another’s choices and relationship with God, our lives are all affected by the perfect love of the one, true God. We can never acknowledge nor deserve all His blessings of providence, protection, and more, but we can seek to acknowledge His presence and bless Him with our prayers and our choices. Our relationship with Him is more powerful than satan’s control in any form. It’s when we recognize this and put it to work that we see changes not only in our own lives but in the lives of those we love and those to whom we are neighbors.