Carol and her husband helplessly watched their sixteen-year-old daughter who had attended church and week-end witnessing missions change from a happy teen, to a sullen, uncooperative, school-skipping rebel on drugs. She became cold and hard, rejecting all they stood for. When they came near, she physically avoided their touch.
The rejection began to get to Carol, and she found herself withdrawing from her daughter. After one painful incident, she ran to her hiding place, and poured out her sorrows to God. In time, an inner calmness indicated her petition was heard. Her cry changed to praise and to singing.
Finally, she listened. God spoke to her heart in His still, small voice. First, He comforted her but then told her she was being niggardly. She hadn't a clue what it meant, so she headed for the dictionary. "Niggardly: to be selfish, stingy."
"How, Lord?" Carol asked. "Aren't we giving enough?"
She heard Him tell her to open her eyes. Her eyes fell upon a beautiful snowfall. Each flake landed with no expectations or preconceived destination on the surprised October grass. "That's how I want you to love your daughter," God told her. "Gently, like my blanket of snow, softly covering her with your love, holding nothing back."
Engulfed in peace, Carol resolved to trust God. She and her husband avoided preaching, but in her presence, they cheerfully shared God's faithfulness in their lives. God had set Carol free to show her unconditional love again.
He also gave her insight into how to pray. Hopelessness was replaced with confidence in Him for whom nothing is too difficult. Longsuffering overcame self-pity. One and a half years later, the world released its hold on their daughter.
Months after this turnabout, their daughter said, "Mom, if I hadn't known you and Dad would welcome me with open arms, I'd never have made it back."
Thank You, Father, for giving us Your thoughts when we seek You with our whole hearts.
"Love must be sincere" (Romans 12:9)