Monday, July 14, 2008

The God of Hope

* Important note to friends and family: This story begins with a flashback. I am NOT pregnant!!

OH NO! I can't be pregnant. I am only 26 years old and I already have a 10 month old baby, as well as a 3 and 4 year old! We can barely support the family we have, much less add another one to the bunch! How will it look as I am hugely pregnant, pushing a stroller and being followed by two little ones? What will the neighbors think? What will my family say?

The doctor's can't tell if the baby is a boy or girl but I just know it is another girl! And I have the perfect name.......Lilly Christine. Lilly, because I love it and Christine after my Grandma.

The baby's head is partially delivered but the contraction has stopped. It feels like I am being split open, so the doctor has pushed her head back in until the next contraction, when I am able to push her whole head out from inside of me.

She is a beautiful baby girl, and the name fits her perfectly~~Lilly Christine.

For the first week after her birth I am surprised at how easy she is. She eats and sleeps and hardly makes a peep.

But then she discovers her voice and since about the second week of her life, Lilly has been making herself heard! "Easy" would never again be a term I would use to describe this daughter, she is as difficult and complicated as an advanced math class would be.

Don't get me wrong, I love this girl with all of my heart! She is beautiful, funny and intelligent but she is also a "wild card". A girl who has always longed to keep up with her older siblings and lacked patience with others as well as herself. If she couldn't do something absolutely perfectly, and be the very best, she would rather not try at all. So little by little she gave, sports, academics, church......

In a family where the starring roles already seemed to be taken; the oldest one, the smart one, the athletic one.... where could she fit in?

And then, to make matters worse, more babies came along. Now she wasn't even the baby anymore. She was the middle child, the 3rd of 5 girls. What in the world made her special?

I believe this is where Satan sold my daughter the lie that she could find the attention she craved through negative and risky behaviors; she could be the "wild one". And besides, living that kind of lifestyle is so much more fun than following rules.

Like a used car salesman who spots a little old lady alone on the lot, Satan knew a vulnerable target when he saw one. I have bought more than my share of "lemons" from the enemy but my heart breaks when I think of him being anywhere near my children!

For the past two years our family has watched as Lilly has become ensnared in Satan's trap. The "friends" she has chosen have left her lonely and the "activities" she has participated in have left her empty and dissatisfied. In short, what she thought would bring excitement and fun has left her miserable.

So what is a parent to do? How does one child's behavior affect the rest of the family?
What if it causes friction in a marriage? Where does a parent find help when financial resources are limited? When the roaring lion is in the process of stealing, killing and destroying your precious child, where do you turn?

This is the place I found myself as I returned home from North Carolina last month and was faced with perhaps her biggest trouble yet. I had no idea what the answers were, I just knew that my husband and I were in over our heads and we couldn't help her anymore. We had tried everything we knew (punishment, prayer, rewarding good behavior, counseling...) but she was continuing to rebel. We felt helpless and our future looked hopeless.

Then God showed up.

Lilly's small group leader from church is also our Pastor's daughter. She is young(25), beautiful and fun, and apparently she has had our daughter on her heart for awhile.

So when Lilly called her after this latest round of trouble, Angie came to talk with her. She feels that Lilly is at a point where she really wants to change but doesn't know how. Her desire is to mentor Lilly and "lead her into a REAL relationship with Christ". In her words, "the enemy has beaten our daughter badly and she wants to help Lilly know the true joy of Jesus."

By this time my eyes were spilling buckets of tears. I couldn't believe that just the night before I was crying out to God that "I couldn't do this anymore" and today He was sending me an angel who wanted to help!! Some of my friends and relatives have belittled God's involvement in this situation, chalking it up to coincidence but I KNOW where my help came from......the LORD himself!!

I don't know how this mentor relationship will work. They have started with a mutual "TV Fast" and Lilly is willingly adhering to it. TV was a HUGE addiction for her so not watching it at all is a big deal. The idea is to spend time together 4 or 5 days a week doing anything from shopping to exercising to coffee at Starbucks.

This week we have allowed Lilly (and her brother) to go on our church's youth trip to the beach in Panama City, Florida. She will spend the week with her new "mentor" and learn about things like quiet time and journaling. And they will be doing it all with the beautiful backdrop of the ocean.

My great prayer while they are gone is this:

"Where do I send her to school next year?"- I think the temptations at her current school will be too overwhelming for her if she were to return there. I know there will be temptations at every school but I really feel like she needs a "fresh start" somewhere new. Somewhere she doesn't have a circle of friends we don't approve of and a reputation to overcome.

Like I said before, there are friends and neighbors (unbelievers) watching this situation so I am calling on God to Glorify Himself through it! I am waiting and watching for doors to be open and paths to be laid to the right school.

God's word promises that "He knows the plans He has for Lilly, plans to give her hope and a future." So I am claiming that promise for her and waiting for God to show me how to partner with Him, as her mom, in securing that future.


luvmy4sons said...

Oh dear sister. My heart just comes along side yours...parenting Like wearing your heart on the outside of yorr body...It is so hard. Our children must find their own path. They must make their own mistakes. God must mold them in His own way and we just want it all to turn out alright! In the middle of it the view is so obscured. I pray that this new mentor relationship is blessed of God and just what your daughter needs to be inspired to walk more closely with Him. Hugs to you dear sister. Sometimes I will remind myself from where I have come. I remind myself that he who is forgiven much loves much. If God takes my children to places I would never wanted them to go in order to make this faith I have taught them real, living, and active-alive in their hearts- who am I to tell Him it could have been done otherwise? It gives me comfort for a little while. Love ya.

Krista said...

I will be praying for you to have discernment and to recognize the voice of God. I will pray for Lilly's mentor and for Lilly. My heart goes out to you!

Love and prayers,

Teri said...

I will be praying for Lily. Thanks for this honest, raw post. You are inspiring Kelley!

Tracy said...

My heart hurts for you. Know that I'm lifting you, your husband, Lilly and Angie in my prayers. As we've worked in youth group, we've seen a number of families go through this. Can you seek guidance from your Pastor or Youth Pastor? What a blessing that she has Angie and that she's open to a relationship with her! Praying specifically God gives you clarification on the decisions you need to make on school, etc., that God grips her heart this week at camp like never before. Lastly, I'm praying God gives like-mindedness to you and your husband in this process. I pray he guards and protects your marriage, and only brings you closer as you walk this road. Please keep us updated.

tiggerdaisy said...

Dear sweet, Kelley! What a journey you have been through...what a journey is to come! May God's glory shine in this situation and into the lives of the unbelievers around you. I will keep your precious daughter and her mentor in my prayers. Glory to God in what He is about to do!

Prayers and blessings,

megs @ whadusay said...

Kelly - I will be praying for you and Lilly. My kids are all very young (oldest is just starting kindergarten this month); with school for her looming (and my memories of school behind me) I am getting a taste of how hard this parenting thing can be.

Thank you for this post. Parenting is tough, but God is always there isn't He? Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. It is good for me to see the tough side of parenting in a mom more seasoned than myself as well as seeing God's faithfulness in those circumstances.

Like I said - I will be praying!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelley,
You know I left She Speaks knowing it would be hard to leave the mountain and get back down in the valley. I'm so sorry that y'all are going through this.

I'm praising God for His faithfulness. It's just awesome that He put Lilly on Angie's heart, that Lilly's heart is soft and willing to let Angie in.

I'm praying for you and your family and especially for Lilly.

Deanna (from your speaker evaluation group)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thank you, Kelley, for your vulnerability in sharing your mother's heart. Yes, I will be praying for Lilly and for you and your family. Bad choices by one resonate to the entire family. I am sorry for your pain and for hers.

But God is good, and his love for us far surpasses our sin and shame and imperfections. He sees Lilly even now and is faithful to honor your prayers on her behalf.

She may wander rough right now, but there can be holy consecration in rebellion. I know. I've lived it.

If you ever need to email, please feel free to do so. I stand alongside you this day in hopeful and prayerful expectation.


Kelly @ Love Well said...

First, that picture is adorable. What a sweet little girl! Knowing that she's teetering on the brink must tear at your heart.

But how great is our God to bring along this young youth leader at the exact right time! I used to be a leader in our youth group, and stories like this are the reason I mentored young girls for years. (These days, most of my girls are grown up and starting families of their own. But we remain very close. I consider them sisters.) Sometimes, a teen just needs an adult who isn't in their family to tell them the truth.

I will pray God uses this relationship to steer your daughter's heart back toward Him.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

What a true blessing from God in Angie's desire to help Lilly. I think most of the time our family needs non-family to assit them. I have a wayward brother and thought I'd do anything to help him, I don't believe I will be the one to "reach" him. There's just something about an "outside" force that has more power to influence our loved ones into the Hands of Christ.

I had been praying for you since Lelia mentioned you also having troubles with your children on one of her posts about Allyssa.

Thank you for being honest and vunlerable to show this pain of yours.

Continue to trust the Lord with your child. He will carry her in ways you can longer.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Oh, dear Kelley. He is so faithful, and He's heard every single one of your prayers for this precious girl. I'll be praying as well that she has a complete heart change and that she falls in love with her Lord.

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Oh Sweet Kelley...

I am praying for Lily right now. Just know that when God gets ahold of her heart she will be "wild" for Him

That wildness will be her greatest asset when reigned in by Jesus.


Runner Mom said...

Kelley, I am lifting up y'all right now.

I pray that God will give you His perfect peace as you await to hear from Him as to school plans for next year. A fresh start does sound like it's the way to go. Do y'all have any charter schools where the class sizes are smaller? A friend is going through something similar :).

I will be praying for Angie and Lilly to grow closer in their relationship and in Lilly's relationship with God as they spend time together at the beach. Lilly is what my name tranlates to, so I have a special place in my heart for those sweet Lilly's out there.

Thanks for sharing and letting us pray for you. Blessings, my sweet friend.
Love , Susan

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I could hardly breathe reading your heart of your trials with your sweet Lilly. I think it was really SMART to be "TRANSPARENT" about this. It will give so many people insight into "how" to pray specifically for you and your family. I stand in faith with you and will fast and pray.
God bless ya Kelley,

Kristen said...

Know that you have Siestas throughout the country praying for your family - especially sweet Lilly. Oh how Satan desires to capture our children.

God is going to show up BIG in this sitution... revealing that He is no coincidence!

Lilly will be quite a witness to God's grace and mercy sometime. She will be His instrument to other young girls someday.

I am standing w/ you and your family as you walk along side the Lord.

Kim said...

I will be lifting Lily, as well as your family and her new mentor to the Lord in prayer.

God truly heard your hearts' cry, by bringing this mentor into her life.

Don't ever discount what God can do. Lily may feel as though some of the the choices, and decisions she's made may keep her from her Heavenly Father's Love, Acceptance, and Frogiveness; but God's words teaches otherwise.

Find comfort in Luke 15:11-32-The story of the prodical song..and the power of LOVE.

God LOVED the prodical son SO much, that he forever 'chased' after him, waiting until he was at the end of himself! God's like that...he will always leave the 99 to go after the one who is lost, and hurting. God will not fail this time...he WILL go after your daughter...he will do it through mentors, trials, relationships, and by allowing your daughter to face true brokenness.

My prayer for you, is like the Prodical son's father, you will be in constant prayer, ready to receive your daughter....LOVING her, as though she had NEVER sinned, or fallen into the traps of the world!

God is doing a NEW thing in your daughters heart and life....he WILL restore the years the locust have stolen, and he WILL place your daughter on a FIRM, SOLID foudnation.

She will be FOREVER changed, and she will carry with her a STRONG, amazing TESTIMONY...that God will use, as she mentors other youngs girls.

Be encouraged...God will NOT lead you, where his grace will not keep you!

On my knee's, for your PRECIOUS daughter.


Melanie said...

Oh, Kelley... what a difficult road you have had along with Lily, but, oh my, what blessings the Lord has in store for her and your family! I would say God is definitely to be given the glory for this mentor for her and her willingness to participate. What a wonderful testimony she will be one day to God's glory and mercy and grace.

Keeping you all in my prayers...

Sheryl said...

Through tears streaming down my face, I want you to know that I was Lilly. I can't imagine how hard it was for my mom to watch or how hard it is for you to watch. I don't want this to be about me, but I also want you to know that I have also been "the small group leader". God kept puruing me even when I shoved Him away and then like only God could do, used my junk to help other girls.

Lilly is so blessed to have you for her mom. A mom that will be on her knees for her daughter. You are right this is no coincidence. God loves her even more than you do and He is going to pour His truth into her. How sad we believe those lies of the devil! I am so sick of him, aren't you.

Lilly has been added to my prayers. I have a heart for troubled teens, cause I was one.

With Love,

Terri and Bob said...

Touching story... thanks for sharing it and your message with me. I love having such a vivid reminder of God's love for us all.

On Purpose said...

Kelley, I am praying for you and your family.

God is going to show up pretty darn big in this!

Love and prayers

Susan said...

Dear Kelley. Having gone through and come out of a trial with our only daughter (she's 17), I can relate to your fears, thoughts, prayers. I have no real advice as all situations are different. You seem to be doing all of the things my husband and I did. Letting our daughter know how much we loved her and that we would do anything to fight for save her...including taking her out of public school and moving her to private school and sticking to her like glue...all seemed to finally get through to her. Not that she didn't know she was loved before. But she, like your daughter it appears, wasn't sure of where her "place" was in our family. She followed (11 months and one day) behind "the golden boy" and was five years older than "the Momma's boy/baby". Even as the only girl, she just seemed lost in the middle.

I agree that this new mentor could be God's answer to your cries for help. Praying it is so and that she is turning the corner, to come back home in every way, this very minute!

Susan (found you through Teri's Facedown blog)

Amy said...

I'm saying a prayer for you and your Lilly.

God Bless,

RefreshMom said...

Oh Kelley, I think this type of thing must be one of the hardest parts of being a parent (serious illness is the only thing I can think of that would be harder to deal with). I can only imagine the heartache. It's good to hear that Lilly is open to making some changes.

I'll be praying for you and Lilly and Angie and the new school situation for her in the fall.

I have a feeling my youngest will be the one who tests us as parents in this way. Thanks for being open with your trial and what you're doing to help create a path for her to find her way back.

(I'll also pray that God will use all of this to reveal himself to those who are watching that don't know him.)

krista lee said...

My heart aches for your family. I was a "wild child" once much like Lilly. And, now that I am a parent myself I can see how much I hurt my parents during those difficult rebellious years. God brought me through with more grace and mercy than I can even describe. God is so good and He is faithful! Please know I am praying for all of you!

Joyful said...

Kelley, thank you for sharing your heart. I'm rejoicing at how God is already at work and He who began a good work, will complete it.

On your trip to N.C. you experienced God as Provider. He has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will provide.

I love what Lysa wrote about Lilly becoming "wild" for God. God will use her testimony.

Love, hugs and prayers,

Carol said...

I'm still praying for you and Lily and this whole situation.

Nancy said...

What a beautiful girl! God has a special plan just for her. Your efforts to guide and direct will not go unnoticed by God. He truly is the God of Hope! Keep the faith.

Jerralea said...

What a blessing that Angie is willing to mentor Lilly! I truly believe the Lord will be with them in this situation.

Prayers for you and your husband as you go thru this trial. Remember the Word says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of them ALL." (emphasis, mine) Psalms 34:19

Why 2nd Cup of Coffee? said...

She may be your child who walks closest with the Lord for the rest of her days; you never know. I'm praying for her this week.

Lelia Chealey said...

Let's lock arms and go through this together dear friend! I love how God brought us together..."for such a time as this"! I feel like we've known each other for years. Laughing with you comes so naturally. Let's continue to just push towards God on behalf of our own lives and our girls. Beauty from ashes is what our King will make from their choices. I believe that both Lilly and Alyssa will have quite the testimonies to share that will bring other wild child's to the Savior.
You know I'll be praying for both kids at the beach! Can't wait to meet them all next week.
Love you much!

Yolanda said...


I simply want you to know, that I am praying for you.

We serve a MIGHTY GOD!


Darlene said...

I understand what it is like to have a rebellious girl. We have really been through alot for the past 8 months. God has been with us through it all. I don't have the answers but, I can tell you don't give up hope. It is a struggle we are still dealing with.
God will be victorious in both of our situations. I will be praying for you and Lily.

Kathy S. said...

Kelley, what great sword fighting is going on here on behalf of you and Lilly. Satan doesn't stand a chance. Victory has already been won on the cross. I am reminded of the story of Jim Cymbala's daughter and her deliverance through prayer...
The prayer of righteous (wo)men avails much!

Ephesians 6. Stand your ground and when you have done everything to stand, stand firm then....Praise God our children are sanctified through our faith. Set apart unto God. HIS!!

May God strengthen your faith as you wait on Him.

Laurie Ann said...

Kelley, my heart breaks for what your daughter is going through, and for the heartache you and your family have faced. I rejoice that God sent this angel to mentor her, though. God's handprints are all over this and what potential she has! I will specifically be praying for her to grow into a real relationship with Christ and into a new creation. I'll also be praying for your wisdom in deciding on the school issue, as well as for your family.

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

I've been away for a few days and am just now checking in on your blog. I'll be praying for your daughter and your family. God and His love are so amazing, praying He will receive glory in all of this. Thanks for being willing to share. Your willingness to be open has blessed me.