Sharing custody of our two little girls was unbearable. I longed for my daughters' presence in my life. I no longer took for granted things like watching cartoons while lying on the floor, fetching 100 drinks of water at bedtime, hugs, kisses, exploring bugs, and making messes.
One morning I stared at the green numbers on my alarm clock and got up before the alarm sounded. Had I even fallen asleep that night? On autopilot, I showered and went through the process of getting myself ready for work. I was ready in a record 30 minutes and headed out the door alone — another reminder that my two little girls were not with me. They were at their dad’s house for two weeks.
There was no need for me to fix them their favorite breakfast or to choose their outfits for the day. No need to head to the babysitter’s house first to drop them off. No chatter in the car, which at three and five years old was the norm. No giggles. Just a silent drive to work by myself. As I drove into the office parking lot I counted the days until I’d see my little girls again. Nine more days…
“Lord,” I prayed as I sat down at my desk, “What are my little girls wearing today? Do they miss me? I need You to help me through this pain.”
As their mom, I was sure no one else could love my girls adequately. I wanted — no, I needed — that job. Would it be “my day” on their first day of kindergarten? Would I be the one to buy them their first bra? I wanted to be the one to stay up late with them talking about their friends at school.
Yes, I had my own girlfriends and my extended family, but nothing could replace the emptiness I felt when I was separated from my daughters. I felt alone and obsessively compared myself with other moms who had their children full-time — moms who could give their daughter or son a hug each and every day before heading off to work.
My sadness deepened as I trudged through my daily routine at work. I continued to smile at those I worked with but felt as if I were bleeding to death internally. Break time came and I headed toward the donuts and coffee. Where was God? I had accepted Christ a few months prior and remembered feeling excited, like I could conquer the world. Now it felt as if He were a hundred miles away. My prayers seemed to evaporate into thin air.>
Upon returning from break, my stomach was full but my heart felt empty. Suddenly, I spotted a yellow sheet of paper on my desk. It was an invitation to a church meeting being held nearby in one hour. I looked around but no other desks had notes. I asked my colleagues if they had given me the invitation but no one knew where it had come from. I decided to go. A friend and I left at lunch and headed to the mysterious meeting. On the drive there we listened to a radio program. It was a sermon on how God uses His angels to protect and comfort His children. The message soothed like a salve on my wounded heart. Could God really be hearing my prayers?
We arrived at the building and went inside. The speaker was a woman named Caroline. She told her story of how her teenage daughter was hanging out in the wrong crowd, drinking, and doing drugs.
Caroline shared how every morning she would go to her bedroom, kneel down on the floor, and beg God to intervene in her daughter’s life. This went on for several weeks.
“Then one morning while praying, God whispered, 'Do you love your daughter?'” The room fell silent as Caroline told her story.
“Why yes of course I do, Lord. I love her more than anything,” she replied.
At which point the Lord tenderly said, “Do you trust Me with your child? Because I love her even more than you do!”
The tears coming down my face were tears of peace. I understood God’s message: I could trust Him with my girls. He wanted what was best for them too. He would be their comfort when I could not be there for them. He would make sure they had what they needed. He would be my comfort and could fill the hole in my heart.
I wish I could say that all my pain went away that day. I wish I could say that I never had to be away from my children again, but we live in a real world. I can say, however, that over the years, God has been with me every step of the way and whenever I let go and let Him control my situations, I feel His peace and comfort. He reminds me daily that these are His children and that I can trust Him because He loves them even more than I do. And what better blessing could a mother want for her daughters?
God is always waiting for us with open arms, wanting to meet our deepest needs. Yet, trusting Him is not always our first instinct in difficult situations. Thankfully, He has given us His Holy Spirit — our Guide, Comfortern and Counselor — to direct us and empower us to live a Spirit-filled life.