Hanging up the phone, Tammy reached for a framed snap-shot sitting on the top of her desk. Holding the beloved picture at arm’s length she examined every little detail even though she knew them by heart. The picture was a candid shot of Sadie, her daughter; then age ten, at the beach. In it, Sadie’s thick blond hair swirls around her freckled cheeks and big green eyes, both pushed up into the most beautiful, lighthearted smile. She reached out and touched Sadie’s smooth cheeks, smiling back at the image, amazed at how Sadie’s carefree smile and spirit had both been captured. The framed snap-shot had been sitting on Tammy’s desk for 10 years providing proof of happier times. Smiling, Tammy hug the picture and whispered, “Thank you God.”
Tammy and Sadie had been through a lot since the summer that picture was taken. First there was the divorce which started out amicable but ended in bitter dispute about investments and parenting plans. Within a year of the divorce Tammy received a promotion that required them to move to another neighborhood miles away from Sadie’s friends. The move was hard on Sadie and by the time she turned fourteen that sweet, smiling face had morphed into a scowling teenage mask. By the time she was sixteen, Sadie had become that girl with too much makeup and too many piercings; all done without Tammy’s permission. Sadie was angry and out of control and Tammy wondered where her sweet little girl had gone.
Tammy had always considered herself a prayer warrior. She spent hours praying for her marriage, before it ended in divorce. While pregnant with Sadie, Tammy started praying for her child and continued to pray through all the sad, troubling, difficult times. However, the last few years had started taking a toll on Tammy’s faith and she found herself questioning whether God was listening to her prayers. For so many years she had chosen to believe God would answer them. Daily she deliberately chose to place her hope in God’s promises and not in all the discouraging situations that played out in her life day after day. However, as her daughter’s rebellion increased and the trials became harder Tammy found herself losing hope.
During Sadie’s sixteenth year Tammy discovered she had been cutting herself. Terrified for her daughter’s wellbeing Tammy found a highly recommended counselor and bribed Sadie into going. Unfortunately, after four sessions with the counselor Sadie declared her a quack and refused further treatment. After graduating from high school Sadie received a scholarship to a state university but didn’t attend most classes and ended up leaving the university to become a waitress. Six months ago Sadie moved in with her drug addicted boyfriend. Broken hearted and defeated Tammy cried out to God for help then yelled at God in rage and great disappointment, “Where are you and why won’t you answer my prayers?” Tammy’s heart was sick with disappointment.
Then, after months of minimal and strained communication Sadie had called this morning to say she moved out of the apartment and into a small studio of her own; not too far from Tammy’s home. Not wanting to sound overly excited Tammy took several deep breaths and avoided asking any questions that could be controversial. For the first time in years Sadie was openly talking to her mom; sharing her thoughts. As the conversation wound down Sadie said, “mom, would you pray for me, I’m tired of messing up.” Tammy’s heart skipped a beat as tears slid down her cheeks, but she calmly replied “sure.” Just before hanging up Sadie hesitated then said, “Mom, I love you, thanks for not giving up on me.”
Tammy let the tears freely run down her face as gratitude to God filled her heart and hope for the future started to burn brightly in her mind. “Thank you God for not giving up on me or my child” she whispered “thank you for loving us and giving us hope for tomorrow.”
Debora Shelford Hobbs
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
Isaiah 43:2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (NLT)
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.