From the moment she was conceived, I have loved my daughter, and yet, I know that there has been a constant tug of war between our hearts right from the moment I first held her in my arms. I wish that our relationship had been different, but God has created each of us uniquely and exactly as He has planned. 

My daughter is fiercely independent. That is one of the things that I truly love about her. She faces a challenge head on and rarely shows weakness or fear. And yet, that independence keeps her separate from me. It feels as if my emotions and need for connection drive an imaginary wedge between us. She is a strong woman who has overcome much. However, as a byproduct of the difficult situations she has faced, her once strong faith has weakened until it has become unrecognizable.

As parents, we strive to teach our children right from wrong and give them the skills needed to face disappointments and challenges. We teach them morals, our faith, and what is important in life. And all this is taught with a love that cannot be contained – an unconditional love so great that it cannot even be explained. So, when a child strays or when they turn their back on the belief system they were raised with, the parents’ hearts break.

“Train children to live the right way, and when they are old, they will not stray from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

What is amazing to me, is that, as an onlooker to her life, I can see God’s fingerprints all over it. The difficulties that she has faced are obviously covered with miracles that cannot be explained besides by acknowledging they were orchestrated by our Divine Creator. My husband and I find it unfathomable that our daughter cannot, or chooses not to see that.

I know she has had hurts that have scarred her deeply. I know that people have not always come through for her. But I can also see that our God always has.

“If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

I have even wondered if, as a child, she put me on a pedestal and when I fell from it, her opinion of life and of those who love Christ changed. You see, years ago, I did fall. I allowed the enemy to lure me into a situation that tarnished me in my daughter’s eyes. Her mother, the one who loved her and taught her right from wrong, failed. I crashed and it was ugly. Ironically, my “crash” came not long after her own. I had forgiven her, but she found it difficult to forgive me. In her eyes, I had gone from a wise mother whom she could look up to, to a weak woman with many faults.

But still, I cling to my hope in Christ. I can see that God has His eye on our daughter. I know that He will relentlessly pursue her, so, I am entrusting her into my Father’s hands. I know that He has a plan for her that is far better than any I could dream of myself. Our God is so good, and I am trusting in Him for the pursuit.

In His grip,

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  1. Joan,
    I could have written this same story about my oldest son (although i know i would not have worded it so graciously as you have). There is nothing that causes as much pain and heartbreak as one of our children choosing the wrong path. It is only by the hand of God that our son has made it to be 34 years old....truly a miracle. He loves the Lord but is still chooses his own way most of the time. I know the Lord is working and like any other mom, I want Him to work MY time. I am learning and growing because of these trials and pain and trust that our God will carry us all through. Praying for you and your daughter... who sounds a lot like my son. Thank you this post.


  2. Hi Joan, thank you for sharing your heart with us. I'm sorry you and your daughter are going through a difficult time. I think the mother, daughter, relationship , has many beautiful facets, but can also potentially be a very difficult one to navigate.

    That pedastal is a dangerous place to be; for both the one who is sitting there, and the one who placed them there. Both come with un-realistic expectations that neither can match or achieve.

    I'm so thankful we can hold onto the One who is love, who has a perfect plan, and will never abandon us.

    You are both in my thoughts and prayers xx

  3. Our heavenly Father hears every prayer!

  4. ...and catches every tear. I am so thankful that God is by our side. We can always count on Him.

    Trusting, Joan

  5. Thank you, Anita. Being a parent isn't always easy. Sometimes it is accompanied by pain. However, I know that in everything there is a purpose and I am trusting God for that. I know He loves our daughter even more that we do, for His love in immeasurable. I am looking to Him for strength. Thank you for your prayers.

    Blessings, Joan

  6. Hi Debby!

    Thank you for your kind comment. I am so sorry that you have had heartbreak surround your child, too. We are blessed, though, aren't we that we have a God who understands? Today I'm thinking of the heartbreak we as humans have caused Him over the centuries...and yet, He still loves us and doesn't give up. He is so trustworthy and I am so glad that I can rely on Him and His plan for our daughter. Our daughter is 26 now and I must remember that it is never too late for her to turn back to the Lord.

    Praying for you as well!

    In His grip, Joan

  7. absolutely...and amen :)

  8. Oh Joan, how my heart cried over this post. All I can say is that God does not let go of His children - even if they also happen to be ours. My sons also saw some *mom-tarnishing* happen in their lifetime, and I so regret it. But, I am absolutely convinced that God is MUCH bigger than my mistakes. I will pray that He reaches your daughter with HIS grace, and that He will show her His love. May He be the mediator between your heart and hers.


  9. Mary GemmillOctober 13, 2013

    Joan- so much of this post might have been me writing about my daughter, and my heart goes out to you as well. Is there anything she needs to forgive God for? My daughter has come right back to God now, but there were some agonising years when I prayed all the new testament prayers over her daily. Eventually God showed me where the enemy had gained a foothold, and my daughter agreed that we pray about it together and things have only got better since that day. I pray to Almighty God that He will hover over your daughter's heart as He did over creation, and saturate her heart with His love, and draw her, woo her, back. I thank God that he never gave up on me, and He will not give up on your daughter, either. Many of us here praying in agreement for the salvation [ solution] of your daughter's attitude towards Her Maker. With love, Mary.
    If you would like that prayer from all the New Testament email me at

  10. Thank you, Sharon. I am hanging onto the fact that God got a hold of her at an early age and He's not going to let go. There is nothing that I can do except to pray for her and love her and trust her to the Lord. Even though she has decided that she doesn't want to have a relationship with me or her dad, I know that our God has a plan for her life. I can trust Him, for He is far wiser and far stronger than I. I seek comfort in the Lord, knowing He loves her, too.

    In His grip, Joan

  11. Thank you, Mary. The pain of a child who has turned her back on God is deep, but I know that God is doing a work in her. I may not see the outcome, but I know He is always busy at work fulfilling His plan. Yes, there are things that she is bitter about. And there are things that she has done for which forgiveness would ease her soul. I will never stop loving her or praying for her and would love the prayer you mentioned (I'll write you). However, I'll have to pray from a far as she has decided to cut off her relationship with both my husband and me. But, even though we are not there to watch over her, I know the Lord is. And I can trust Him to relentlessly pursue her, for He died for her.

    Trusting Him, Joan

  12. Oh, how I understand your pain, Joan! As a mother (and step-mother), there has been lots of heartache and pain, as our relationships with our children has become strained and there is lack of forgiveness. I have longed for a close relationship for MANY years with my step-daughter, but just as we start to grow closer, she pulls away. Unfortunately, She never got over the pain of her parents divorce when she was 5 and when I married her father at 10, she felt betrayed and crushed. She became jealous of my time with her father, and their relationship also grew more distant over the years. I never wanted that to happen, especially if I was the reason. For years I attempted to stand back and draw them back together, but without success. Yes, she brings the family around now and then, but once we start to get close, she disappears again and we don't hear anything from her/she doesn't respond to our calls. She, like your daughter, is extremely tough and hard-headed, refusing to deal with the deeper issues. I, like you, wear my heartstrings on my sleeve. I totally relate to your statement, "It feels as if my emotions and need for connection drive an imaginary wedge between us." All we can do is trust them in God's hands (as I know you have) and keep pursuing them is our love!!

    Blessing to you, my sister in Christ!

  13. Thank you, Ann. Though the thought of others going through the same or similar thing is not nice to think about, it is still good to know that I am not alone. As I struggle to understand what has happened, coming to the realization that I may never know, I can at least take comfort knowing that my feelings are not unusual. God is in control and I am trusting Him! Friends are a true blessing - thank you for your encouragement.

    In His grip, Joan

  14. Oh Joan, my heart aches for this daughter of the King of Kings who is temporarily blinded to His pursuit of her. Trusting that the One who chose her and called her from the very beginning will stir her heart back to Him. He is faithful and YOU are an amazing mother! Hugs!

  15. Mary GemmillOctober 13, 2013

    a postscript to my earlier email:

    “And you, because of my blood covenant with you,
    I’ll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells.
    Come home, hope-filled prisoners!
    This very day I’m declaring a double bonus—
    everything you lost returned twice-over!”

    ~ Zechariah 9:12 The Message

  16. Dear Joan,

    Love and hugs my friend! How I remember that as a parent, I was worried what would happen if my daughter's didn’t find their way back-(they both strayed during a time in their lives)- all I could do was pray hard and diligently remind God of His promise from Proverbs 22:6. Be encouraged and know that your daughter will draw upon your unconditional love, and also God's love when the time comes. Trust the power of God’s promises and His Word!! You are beautiful inside and out, and she will come to see that (hopefully) one day very soon.

    Hope and prayers!

  17. Thank you for writing of the hope that I am clinging to! I am trusting her to Him and know that He has a plan through this. He is always working and I know He will never give up on her. You are so right...He is faithful!

    In His grip, Joan

  18. Oh, Denise! I am praying for that...She doesn't want to see us or hear from us anymore, so we can only love and pray for her from a distance. It is heart-wrenching. But, I know that God is in the business of working miracles. I can't see how this will be resolved, but I know that God can. He can do anything! I pray that her heart softens to Him and she lets him back in - that is what is most important. And if God wills it, I pray that she will want a relationship with us as well.

    Trusting Him, Joan


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