The week has been overwhelming as we lay our daughter to rest. The prayers offered up on our behalf, the texts, the phone calls, and the food have all been a blessing — to know we are loved — to know that Andrea was loved and touched so many lives.
Thank you to all of you who have reached out to us.
I’ll admit that when we heard the news of our daughters death, while a shock, it was not a surprise. For years I have gone to bed with my cell phone turned on next to it. I wanted to be there for her even in the middle of the night. She knew that I was only a phone call away if she needed me and at times either she used the lifeline that we extended or others called on her behalf.
As a parent of a challenging child it is easy to go down the path of the shoulda, woulda, couldas — the lies of the enemy. If only I had done this or said that, things might have been different.
It is easy to play the blame game — remembering those who said something, did something, or didn’t extend the love that we thought they should extend.
But here’s the deal, we aren’t God. God has a plan with each of our children’s lives. After all, He created them — challenges and all.
He is the one who is weaving the testimony of our children.
We don’t have to like it.
We can try to do everything within our power to change it.
But we have to let God be God.
We have to remember that he uses everything, EVERYTHING, for His glory.
As people came to pay their respects to our family on Wednesday evening, I heard lots of coulda, woulda, shouldas from friends and family members. It is easy to feel the weight of guilt when we see our own sins in light of eternity. Trust me, I’ve gone down that path too during this trial. As a parent looking hindsight, there are so many things that I’ve pondered wondering if a different decision, a different word, a different response could have changed the tide that brought us to this moment.
My prayer is that you will seize this opportunity to allow God to change you as a result of our daughter’s death. Ponder the inner turmoil you are feeling and give response to God in how her life changed you for the better.
As my boys are grieving the loss of their sister, they’ve brought many things to the surface on choices my husband and I made as parents. While I’ll admit some of those have a sting to them, I am thankful that they are choosing to voice their questions. As we remind them that we too did our best parenting before we had kids, the healing process has begun. We’re the first to admit that we aren’t perfect parents.
But here’s the thing — we don’t know what we don’t know as parents. Our kids didn’t come with an instruction manual. And our family is living proof that God doesn’t create all our kids the same.
While my daughter’s death has made me painfully aware of choices I could have made differently as a parent, I am thankful that God allowed me to recognize that relationship begins with me. It was through the difficulties with my daughter that God has given me opportunity to speak truth to many parents. The things I’ve learned in the last 10 years in trying a forge a respectful relationship with my daughter in the midst of her struggle have grown me in ways I never dreamed possible.
It is through my struggles as a parent that With All Due Respect was written. It is the process that transformed me as a mom. It helped me realize that I only have the ability to change me and by changing me, I can impact my children in a positive way. The struggles with my daughter taught me that the way to survive was to have God as my lifeline.
Even through the struggles and Andrea’s untimely death, I am grateful for the gift she gave me. Because of her I see the world through a whole different lens. I’ve been given opportunity to touch other parents’ lives who so much want a better life and relationship with their difficult child.
But the biggest gift of all that she gave me were words she actually spoke to my husband a few months ago, “My mom is my best friend.”
As moms, isn’t that one of our parenting goals? My heart rejoices in that at the end, she saw me as her best friend.
While my grieving process began over a decade ago when she chose to move our of our house, I still need to remind myself in the midst of the last two weeks to…
“Let go…and Let God”,
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