I have written before about the struggles that I have had in my prayer life and with God regarding the parental alienation situation with my two children, now 18 and 20. My struggle has been to continue to believe that God will change the situation. I know that he can change it and I think I believe that he eventually will change it, but I’m very resigned to the reality that it may take 20 years. This, I am beginning to realize, is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I think it’s going to take that long I’m essentially giving up.
That said, I haven’t given in completely to that thinking. I continue to email and call the kids periodically (usually a couple of times per month) — and I track the views of my email (via a program called hubspot sales — google it if you need something like this). I see through that tracking that each kid usually opens and reads these emails an average of 4-8 times. That is somewhat encouraging. I choose to believe it’s the kids that are reading this and not their mom that is repeatedly opening and viewing the emails. No way to really tell for sure, but that’s the way I choose to look at it. And I’m also putting together the website with memories and letters and notes and poetry and videos from me in it that I hope will be something they can come to and see that their Daddy really wanted a relationship with them the whole time and he was not the man their mom made him out to be.
All that said, I’ve had a hard time praying about them, I’ve struggled with talking much about it to friends and family and I’ve even gotten angrier about it over the last several months. I’m not a very angry guy, so that comes out in snide comments to friends about the ex, typically.
My church is doing what they call a “Brave” Journey this Spring where you get in a small group for 6 weekly sessions, the message is about the journey and there’s some individual work as well. It’s actually pretty cool and I’m leading a group at my house with about 10 friends, some of which are brand new friends for this particular journey. It’s a great group and as each of us embark on our journey, there’s a support team for us. Originally, I was going with a “heading” about my finances and getting out of debt. But then in yesterday’s individual work, there was a line about picking a direction for your journey that you really need God to show up for you to be able to get there. I realized my financial heading (though needed), was really something I could do on my own — and pray for and involve God, but that there was one really significant thing that I needed his help to resolve: My relationship with my kids. THAT was the real Brave Journey.
Please understand. I don’t have any idea about how to change what I am doing to improve the relationship, but I’m going to follow the process in this Journey, I’m going to aggressively pray for God to change this; I’ve asked about 12 of my closest friends and family to pray every day at noon for this; and I’m praying for God to actually help me believe this can change and will change by the end of 2016.
Some of you will appreciate the level of Miracle that this would be for me. I’m not trying to diminish the pain and struggle of the terminally ill, but it feels to me like this is akin to praying for someone in Stage 4 cancer to not die and be healed. It really does feel that drastic to me.
I’m putting this on the blog, because I think it will help me be bolder in this process and I think maybe others of you may need to take a similar coordinated, planned, definite step like this and work hard on your unbelief. I’m reminded of Jarius, the man who wanted Jesus to heal his daughter. To paraphrase, Jesus asks him if he believes that Jesus can heal his daughter. His response feels exactly like where I am at this moment.
“I Believe, but help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
So I step out in day one of this journey, with no idea where my feet will land, but expecting God to do something miraculous in the next 8 months.