Friday, March 04, 2011

Be Glad That You Have a Dad

Her eyes sparkle when she sees me, and she gives me a hug. "Tia," she says warmly, "Te quiero mucho." She is a sweet girl, beautiful inside and out. Her thirteen years of life have thrown her enough heartache to turn any girl into a bitter and hurt teen, but by the grace of God she radiates nothing but joy.

Once after spending a day with our family, she came to me for help in answering a question from my girls. "Tia," she began, "They don't understand how [my brother] and I can be brother and sister if his dad isn't my dad." She was still smiling, concerned more with their confusion than hurt by their remark. As the conversation continued, the subject of her dad remained.

"He left. He left my mom and me, and he never came back." She said it with a tinge of sadness. Then she turned and look straight into my daughters' faces, which were wide-eyed with dismay. "That is why you need to be so glad that you have a Dad."

Sometimes a few simple words from a friend are more powerful than any lecture from us.

That conversation later led to others, including one in which my daughter Eva asked with surprise, "You mean people will have children together even if they are not married?" How she could have missed this fact - considering the world in which she lives, the circumstances of her own birth and adoption, and the home lives of many of her peers - astonished me, yet I was touched by her still-innocent view of life.

I pointed out that this is not God's perfect design, but that his perfect design is for a man and a woman to be married and committed to one other before having children together. This design is meant to protect us, because those who get hurt most when it isn't followed are the children.

My daughter nodded in complete agreement, not because my words were so persuasive but because she had just witnessed with her own eyes and ears the pain in a friend's heart.

This friend is a blessing to us and a living, breathing example of how God can turn evil into good. Abandoned by her father and facing a complicated situation with her mother, she was placed in the care of a grandmother who in her adult years came to Christ and now loves and serves Him with all her heart. Her grandmother sees in her the opportunity to redeem the mistakes she made with her own children and the bond between the two of them is beautiful and strong. More importantly, together they love the Savior. Recently this girl brought her younger brother to saving faith in Christ and always she is in prayer for her mother, whom she loves and respects despite having been failed by her.

A short time ago I was purchasing the last few items for school with my daughters and this young friend. As she looked around the school supply store she remarked, "It's no wonder my mom is so stressed. She still has to buy me all of these things!" And then she added in a tender tone, "Mi pobre mamita." I listened to her words and once again was amazed. How could she love so much this woman who did not stand up for her when she needed it most? Yet she loves her unconditionally despite all her shortcomings. Her love for her mother is a daughter-love and a Christ-love. My own sinfulness rose up to slap me in the face, for I knew that in my heart I had judged the woman who hurt this precious girl.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me ... for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." His words remind me of the lessons learned from the life of a young girl, who at an age where selfishness blossoms has chosen instead to love others more.

I only pray that I learn to do so nearly as well.


Erin said...

aahhh steph, this is beautiful! you brought me to tears! what a beautiful young girl, your girls are lucky to have someone like that in their lives... i pray daily for friends like her in my own childrens lives. it's so nice to hear stories like these when it seems so much of the time, that teens these days are growing up to be selfish. thank you for sharing this uplifting story! love you my friend!!

Life with Kaishon said...

It makes me so sad. I work with so many children that are fatherless. Often I feel despair when I think of their circumstances. Of the sadness they endure daily because they are without a papa.

I am glad your children have a good daddy! A daddy that loves them! What a blessing.

Deborah said...

Praying for this sweet girl & her family...and for you as you parent your own blessings. <3