Thursday, 20 January 2011

When God Answers Prayers

I had a pretty rough ride last weekend.  Looking back now I know that it was because I did not like the answer to a prayer that God gave me - very clearly.

My niece (for whom my husband and I kinship care) had some contact with her father just before Christmas.  This was the first contact she had had from him for over 6 months.  During this time he has moved from Lincoln in the UK to Calgary in Canada.  He sent her a letter saying that he wanted to get a better relationship with her.  There followed from that letter and a small gift several days of lots of emails flying between them and then they stopped. She sent him several emails saying that she wanted to know when she could go and live with him and he never responded.

There was then no contact again, she went to her therapy session last Friday and came out saying that her therapist wanted to meet her dad.  This has been brought up before but she has never asked her dad to come (now that he is in Canada it seems even more unlikely that he would).  I tried to explain gently that I was not sure that he would do that, which brought on a torrent of anger towards me from her as to why was I so horrible about him.  Unfortunately I saw red and said it was because I thought he was a *insert rude word*.  That was not supposed to happen but it did.  I then tried to explain how hurt I had been by him for what I saw him do to her mum and how I see him treating her now.  I dropped her back to school and spent the rest of the day all churned up wondering what was going to happen next.

As it happens, there was no terrible backlash (as I had expected).  That evening my husband and I sat down with her and he asked her what had happened.  I then apologised for using rude language about her dad.  My husband did his best to try and explain that we have always tried to not speak much about her dad so as not to prejudice her opinion of him.  If she wanted to know more details of how we have come to have the opinion that we have we were happy to talk to her about them but if she didn't want to then we would continue to try and keep our mouths shut.  There were lots of tears, another step in her grief journey was shown (anger at her mum) and a desire to have her past completely wiped away.  It was very hard, my wise husband then gently prayed with us for her and for her father as well as for us all.

Saturday morning a parcel arrived from Canada.  The letter inside was very nice, showing lots of interest in wanting to know particular things about her life and showing that he had looked at her facebook page.  There was a small gift and a book that he had enjoyed that he thought she might like.  It did not answer any of her questions about wanting to live with him.  THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER I WANTED TO OUR PRAYERS.

I wanted him to just disappear.  Not for any malicious reasons (or not many anyway!) but because I can't bear seeing her hopes continually raised and then dashed.  However she wants a relationship with him and we have absolutely no right to do anything to stop that from happening.  It is hard, very, very hard.  My kinship care support worker is divorced with now grown up children.  She said it sounded very much like an acrimonious divorce situation.  She explained how hard she had to work to make sure she didn't 'diss' her husband in front of her children so that they could make their own relationships with him.  The difference for us is we were never married to her father and we don't know the full details of all that has happened between him leaving the family when she was just 3 years old and my sister dying.

He feels like an enemy (even though I know he doesn't want to look after his daughter, so we don't need to fear him taking her).  I know that God wants us to love our enemies.  I know that God wants us when asked by an enemy for our cloak, to not stop him from taking our tunic also (Luke 6, 27-31).  This is just such hard stuff to do when your emotions tell you otherwise.

Instead of dwelling on this I have decided to find a good side to this story.  My niece has a very delicate faith, she is of the age where she is just starting to step out onto the tightrope which is adolescence.  She does not think she is worthy of being listened to by God.  Her face when my husband said to her on Saturday after receiving her new parcel, "What did we pray for last night?" was such a wonderful picture.  Then when she realised that the parcel had been sent before we had even said the prayer, showing just how much God knows us and what we need, before we know ourselves WOW! (Mathew 6,8).

With my mind set back to God this week is progressing well, long may it continue!


  1. I think that you are doing an amazing job in a very difficult and delicate situation.
    We never know what Gods plans are but you are showing your niece what His love looks like and that is a precious gift indeed.

  2. Thank you for your encouragement Suzy, just what I needed x.