When first faced with the effects of addiction, my prayers were for specific outcomes. I was not “letting go and letting God” do His work in my family. I was telling Him what we all needed, and we needed it now!
Life is a series of events that we have no control over, and that’s a blessing right there. If I were allowed to determine every outcome and fix everyone I care about, I would be depriving them of their own growth and altering their journey. I would be robbing them of valuable lessons and better outcomes. Lessons come from choices that often cause regret, pain, and shame. But without those, we could not receive forgiveness, healing, and redemption.
In 2010, my youngest daughter fell prey to a dangerous gang leader. A detective revealed to me that she was being trafficked. The gang’s activities were being closely monitored by the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation. I was powerless to change the FBI’s course of action or to hasten the attorney general’s timeline. Eventually, she was rescued. What happened to her was unconscionable. In time, my Higher Power provided me with a healing perspective.
The lengthy ordeal of gathering evidence did accomplish a stiffer sentence and put the leader away for 40 years vs. 10. If my prayers had been answered during my time frame, this predator would have been back on the streets far too soon, preying on the vulnerable.
The trauma of that experience has been a major contributor to my daughter’s ongoing drug addiction. She is currently not sober, but I know her experiences have often helped others and I believe that God will turn her pain to good and her trauma to hope. I have seen glimpses of that already.
Unfortunately, the disease lured my middle daughter as well. She was in a relationship with a drug dealer for seven years when she became pregnant two years ago. They were living together when a SWAT team broke down her apartment door. The early morning raid was part of an area sting. Her “boyfriend” was charged with various counts and sentenced to five years in prison.
Up to that point, we’d had a decent but strained relationship. But that day, I made a conscious decision to change my approach moving forward. I chose to not look at the past. I could not undo his arrest or change that he was the father of her baby. But I could choose to be whatever my daughter would allow me to be. I didn’t even know what that would look like, but I knew I had the power to control and change my own behavior.
I was supportive and encouraging, not worrying about the future. I made it my number one priority to be a maternal role model and the most positive influence in her child’s life for as long as it would last. That has paid off.
My relationship with my daughter is the best it has ever been. Our adorable grandson is now two years old and the joy of my life. My husband and I live four hours away but visit about once a month and connect through FaceTime daily. She has turned her life around, and I am so grateful she has allowed me to be part of their world.
If my prayers had been answered, her boyfriend would have been gone years ago. Therefore, I would not have the same grandson I have today or maybe any at all. I would have missed out on this precious angel who has showered us with countless blessings. My daughter would not have had the need to FaceTime with me each day, and this incredible bond would not exist. I thank God for those unanswered prayers!
We all just want what’s best for our children, but we don’t always know what the process of getting there is supposed to look like. So, whether I’m faced with devastating circumstances or everyday concerns, I now pray for virtues like courage, patience, wisdom, and discernment, instead of specific outcomes. I leave that to my Higher Power.
I don’t know how life will look when the baby’s dad returns from prison. I don’t need to have that answer right now, and it no longer concerns me. I’m living in the moment and taking it one day at a time.
Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.
Aldous Huxley (paraphrase)