Karilee Hayden •

My soul is . . . very vexed; but thou, O LORD, how long? (Psalm 6:3)

When our daughter Wendi became pregnant at age 16, Dan and I found ourselves thrown into a life-situation we were totally unprepared for. A death-grip of the world, the flesh, and the devil had seized our daughter’s heart and began to squeeze the very life out of her. Emotional pain such as we had never experienced before sucked the joy out of life. Peace seemed elusive. Instead, sorrow, fears, and even moments of despair clung to us like smelly wet garments. Nine months later her beautiful boy was born and placed up for adoption. With broken hearts we continued our prayer vigil for Wendi and hoped for a new dawn in our storm.

What a long, agonizing year! Would the experience of bearing a child be Wendi’s wake-up call? Would her heart turn back to the Lord as she faced this heart-rending consequence of her rebellious heart? Ah, no . . . another spiral downward would cast her into a level of drugs and alcohol that nearly destroyed her. Where are you, God? I thought you cared! Please hear our cries. How long, O Lord, how long?

God did answer our prayers. But His timetable was different than ours. A total of 20 arduous years would slog by before Wendi came to the end of her self—to realize her need for the Savior. The whys of that long interval of heartache is a topic for another time. God’s purposes are never fully understood this side of heaven, but I do know that He pursued Wendi each step of the way, and He personally taught me deep and beautiful lessons during our painful journey.

Keeping the flame of hope burning in the midst of heartbreak isn’t an easy task. Much of the time our eyes leave the magnificent love of God to focus on the problems. We fasten our thoughts on each wrong action of our beloved child . . . we dwell on our fears and pain. Sometimes we even emotionally pull back to a place of despair. It need not be so.

Dear parent, during your child’s rebellion, choose to actively seek the Lord. Daily set aside time—time each day without disturbance—to draw your heart to Christ. Learn of His love for you and your child. Learn of His ability to bring beauty out of ashes of pain. Learn of HIM. He offers rest for your soul.

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…; and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).