But suddenly (because I am seeking divorce for the second time with full custody and he may have heard through the grapevine that I am planning to leave the area) he is saying that I have made extreme efforts to keep Teenybop from him. That the separation between them rests on me, that I have fostered it. And that since he has been forced to pay support for her he should have rights to her. Like she's for rent.
Let me break away from the point here to state that my daughter has state insurance. Because of this, we are forced to deal with the state human services department, and one of their conditions to providing insurance to Teenybop is that I "go after" Ex-Husband for child support. Frankly, I'd rather him keep his money if he will just continue to leave my child alone as he has for the past four years of her life. I don't want his money, and my daughter is not a bike to rented when it is convenient.
But back to the point. Devastated. I spent Friday evening thinking hard about what it would be like to explain things to my daughter, to explain to her why she might have to go and spend time with a stranger who will require her to call him "Dad" even though he has never been any kind of parent to her. She remembers him walking out on her. She doesn't know why, and she doesn't know who he was (that I know of), but she remembers him putting her on the floor and leaving that day that I told him to come for her or not at all. How could I tell her that suddenly he wants to play Daddy and that we would all be forced to go along with it? And even harder ... how could I spin it in a positive light so that she would not be afraid of this stranger that is her father? How could I spin it happy so that he can't keep saying that I am trying to stand between them?
Because honestly? In the beginning I would not have stood between them. I asked only that he show up to see her and spend his time actually interacting with her. I asked that he not bring his new girlfriend to my home. And he refused to meet even the first of those so we didn't really need to worry about the second. Now? Now my daughter isn't two anymore. She is six years old and she has a Daddy named Private Ryan. She loves him and he is the only Daddy she knows. His family has taken her in as their own and has loved her as if she were born to them. Her whole world would change. And I would be here, forced to play peacemaker and deal with the aftermath.
Friday night I sat afraid on my couch. Afraid that he would be granted some sort of visitation. That it would eventually become the type of visitation requiring me to pack up things that belong to my child, to create a list of the things he doesn't know about her because he doesn't know her ... and to fake a smile while I turn her over to him for whatever period of time is required. Afraid that he will follow through on his threats to take her and run. Afraid that when this is done, I will never see my daughter again and she will believe that I turned her over. That I didn't love her enough, or want her enough to fight hard for her.
Proverbs 18:10 NIV
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."
But I also know that as much as I love my daughter ... Her God loves her more than I ever could. And He knows what is best for her even if I do not agree. He knows what will touch her heart, and above all, He knows what He is doing. I remember when we were told that Teenybop would have to have heart surgery to repair the ASD she was born with. I remember being terrified then too ... and giving it up to God. I remember being filled with peace, and knowing that even if she died it would work out the way God wanted it to. That even if I had to face the heartbreak of losing my child to the grave ... My God loves me and He was looking out for us, even then. Being afraid like that and learning to trust Him brought me closer to Him, more than I had ever been. And I learned a lesson in that time. I learned to turn to God even when I knew He might not do what I wanted. But she didn't die that day during her "minor" surgery. She is still here, right now in front of me dancing in the living room and playing with her baby sister. God has a plan for her ... But it isn't up to me to facilitate that plan. It is merely up to me to trust in the plan that has already been laid out, whatever it is.
2 Samuel 22:21-25 MESSAGE
"God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him. When I cleaned up my act, He gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I've kept alert to God's ways; I haven't taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways He works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I'm watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes."
And still my heart knows fear. I fear the what-if's, I fear the possibilities. I fear Ex-Husband's intentions. I fear for my daughter's heart and for the sense of helplessness this will give her, that she is subject to what some stranger says she may HAVE to do ... for the sake of another stranger's desires.
Psalm 118:6-9 NIV
"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes."
Sometimes people seem confused by the idea that God can use our Bibles to speak to us. People seem to think it is silly to feel fear or stress and turn to the Bible for answers, expecting God to speak to us from words on a page, the very same words that someone else might also be reading and hearing something else. Often this concept is twisted in pop culture, it is turned into "read it how you want, till you find what you want and then God is speaking to you". But that isn't the way it is. As Christians, we know that our God does not fit neatly into a box. He is not bound to do as we please. And just because He doesn't always do what we want Him to do doesn't mean He isn't looking out for us.
But as I read yesterday after breakfast, seeking His assurance that all would be well ... the first story I opened to was David and Goliath.
There are ways that this could still work out the way we have prayed it would. And this complication could actually make things go faster. If it still goes the way we prayed it would. Right now, Ex-Husband is my giant. And he has come forth the way Goliath did, begging to be challenged, confident that he would be victorious and that the Israelites would serve the Philistines because of his powers. He has taken a stand. And when I step forward with my little sling and my little rocks, I do not look scary. But my God sees our hearts. He does not see size or confidence or money or stuff. He sees our hearts. And He knows my Teenybop better than I ever could. He will do what is best for her.
But in my weakness, in my flesh, I still find myself begging God ... "Please, help me defeat my giant so that my people will finally know freedom from fear."