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My daughter is really opening my eyes to what I believe and why. I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since last Wednesday. Phebe and I were on our way home from her counseling appointment. The topic of forgiveness and love was brought up. She wanted me to explain both words. I did my best. I tried to explain that it’s not something you do just once but that you must continue to love and forgive. Both words are actions not just words. I quoted Matthew 22:36-39 to her.

36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38This is the first and great commandment.

39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour
as thyself.

She became very quiet. After a few minutes she asked if she had to forgive the person who had hurt her for so many years. I told her she did. She asked if I had. I told her that I sure had and continue to do so. She asked if I loved him. I told her I did. I explained that I hated, with all my heart, what he had done, but that I loved him.

All of a sudden it hit me. I say that I love him, but do I love him as myself? Jesus said that I am to love my neighbor as myself. I have to admit that I don’t. I love him, but not as I love myself. Silly me had been so proud of myself for so many years that I could forgive him for what he did to my daughter and other girls, and that I loved him. I have to admit that I don’t want to love him as much as I love myself. If I could lie face down on the floor and stomp my feet and beat my fists in the ground right now I would. I don’t want to love him like that.

I think what makes me want to cry is, that I’m so afraid that because of my unwillingness to love him as I should, that is what is preventing my daughter from getting better. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I have quoted these verses, and told people if we just did these two things everything else would fall into place. Now here I am…needing to love someone and refusing to do it completely. I kid myself by saying, “If he would just admit what he has done and ask for forgiveness I could love him correctly.” That’s not true though. That would be a conditional love and forgiveness. All I know is that I cannot do this in my own power. This kind of love and forgiveness can only come from my Father.

I guess it is now time for me to learn to love him as Christ loves him. To forgive him as Christ has forgiven him. I’m not sure where to begin. I think I will start praying for him. That sounds like a great place to start!
I have noticed over the past few weeks how many things I say without thinking. Such as, “dog ugly.” I usually say this whenever I see something that is, in my opinion, horrifically ugly. When Phebe came out of her regression she had some sort of amnesia. So she only remembers the last 3 weeks to the present. She’s learned a lot during that time. I often confuse her though with all my funny sayings. I had to explain what a dog was when we saw one near our home. So later when I said something was “dog ugly” she was totally baffled. Tonight she said, “Mom, whenever you say ‘sugar jets’ I know something bad has happened.” The other day my mom came for a visit and was talking to Asher, “Come here you little hunka munka.” Phebe asked what in the world is a hunka munka? We are going to have this poor girl so messed up.

I’ve been so nervous re-teaching her things of God and the Bible. I’m not really sure why this makes me nervous since I’ve been teaching this to her for the last 18 years. She takes everything so literally that at times I think I over explain things to her. One day when her migraine was really bad and I had no medications to give her, she came to me and said she had decided to go to heaven with Jesus and Uriah. I asked her how she planned on getting there, and she suddenly realized she didn’t know how. She asked how Uriah had done it.

She now has the mind of a 4 or 5 year old. She LOVES to help me with EVERYTHING!!! She has to stir, taste, lift, fold, carry, clean, and shift everything I do. Tonight in church she was mimicking everything I did. Her Bible had to be open to the same book…even though she can’t read. Her leg had to be crossed. Her hand had to be cupping her other hand. She told me that she had done everything just like me when she got ready for church. She did her hair, put on a skirt (which made her feel like “such a girl”), put on some make-up, and washed the counters down. She makes me smile.

I wasn’t smiling, however, when Jesse called this afternoon. I had gone to visit our old church and to go to an open house, and Jesse had stayed home. He went to church in the morning and was gone for about 2 hours. Phebe has been home alone for longer periods than that so we weren’t too nervous. We have had issues with her sleep walking lately. She has woken up in the middle of the night in the back yard, and the pitch dark basement. She will also do this during the day. Last week she walked out into the living room with her eye mask on. No matter how loud I yelled she couldn’t hear me. When I grabbed her hand she finally was startled awake. Thursday I looked out in the back yard and she was walking around with her eye mask on holding her stuffed bunny. I watched her to see how long this would last and to see what would eventually wake her up. Her arm bumped the post of the clothesline and she about jumped out of her skin. So today Jesse came in the house to discover she wasn’t there. The front door has 3 locks on it plus a thick rug that prevents you from opening the door. She got it open far enough to squeeze through. He looked and looked for her, and ended up calling the police. He checked with neighbors but no one had seen her. To make a long story short a neighbor had seen her a couple miles from the house and drove back to see if we were missing her. Man do I love them for that!

Jesse took me to the spot he had found her…nearly 3 miles from our house. I asked her tonight what had woken her up. She said someone had honked their horn at her. She woke up and looked down at the yellow painted line. She was walking down the middle of the road. I shake my head and wonder how many people drove past her and never bothered to check to see if she was ok. Yes, she is 18, but the girl was wearing pajamas, carrying a stuffed animal, wearing earplugs, and WALKING DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD…barefoot. When she had told me she was in the middle of the road I just stood there with my mouth open. Every night she asks me to pray that she won’t sleepwalk. I pray for that along with IF she does sleepwalk that God will protect her. She said, “Mom, He answered our prayer. I didn’t sleepwalk for 2 nights AND when I did He protected me. That’s a God thing, huh???” “Yes Phebe…that is definitely a God thing!”

I didn’t want to admit to her that I had been a little upset with God earlier that day. In fact, I’m puddling up now just thinking about it. In my heart I was screaming at God, “Why didn’t you keep her from sleepwalking? Why didn’t you just let her sleep through the night so she would have been awake while we were gone?” On our way to church this morning the radio announcer was reading the verse about God caring about the sparrows that fall, how much more does He care for us. As I sat in church today singing and praising Him, Phebe was walking blind down the middle of the road. It angered me. Not until Phebe pointed out that it was a “God thing” did I realize how He had protected her. Shame on me for not having the faith of a child. Phebe’s 5 year old brain figured out His sovereignty while my 40 year old heart got it all confused.
My kids and I have played a game for years. We started playing it when one of them could never find anything good about their day. They both feel like they’re too old to still be tucked in at night so I climb in bed with them and ask them what the best and worst thing about their day was. I in turn have to come up with answers too. “I don’t know” cannot be an answer. Tonight Phebe’s best thing was being able to watch Asher learn new things…like climb the steps into the kitchen. :o( The worst being her migraine. Abner’s best was playing basketball with his dad and the worst was not being allowed to play Playstation. The best part of my day was being able to go to church. The last time I was actually in a church service was 3 months ago. The worst part of my day was seeing the disappointment on Phebe’s face when we got to church. She has some type of amnesia and can only remember things from the middle of June to present. So we have been re-teaching her EVERYTHING! God and heaven really amaze her. She has been looking forward to going to church for quite a while now. I think she is excited because we are so excited about church. She was watching Pollyanna the other day and turned to me and said, “I don’t want to go to church anymore.” I laughed and told her that our church wasn’t like the church in the movie. So as we pulled into the parking lot tonight Phebe said, “This is the house of God, right?” We told her it was. She said, “I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see Him.” I asked her who she was talking about, thinking it may be one of the pastors. She said, “God.” I smiled and told her that God lives in heaven, but that we go to church to worship Him. She asked, “You mean He’s not going to be in there?” I didn’t really know how to answer her. I mean of course He’s going to be there, but we aren’t going to be able to see him. It’s very hard to explain something like that to someone who takes everything so literally. When I did explain that we wouldn’t be able to see Him I thought she was going to cry. Phebe gets a migraine every day starting around one in the afternoon. It doesn’t go away until sometime in the middle of the night. She started to get one today about the same time, but when it was time to go to church she said she didn’t have one. I knew she was lying and just really wanted to go to church. I figured we may as well go since she’s going to be in pain one way or the other. Then to see the disappointment on her face when she realized that God wasn’t even going to “show up” was a tough pill for me to swallow. I hated it for her.

I then wondered why it was so important for her to see God. Is it because we have made Him sound exciting or unreal? Is it a natural feeling for her to want to see Him? Then I thought I better figure out a way this week to let her see Him in us…in me! I want her to know Him. He’s so good. He’s so true. He’s so just. He’s full of grace. His mercy is everlasting. His love is unmerited. His forgiveness is unlimited. His salvation is everlasting. He’s the king of kings and lord of lords. He’s the sinner’s savior. He’s supreme. He supplies all our needs. These are things plus many more that are true about my God. It reminds me of the speech by S. M. Lockridge.

This last week has been difficult. I had a friend get ahold of me and remind me of God’s grace. I shared with her that there are times when I wonder when God will bless our family since we have had to endure so much. She said, “The fact that He has carried you through these times is blessing enough.” That is NOT what I wanted to hear, but it is what I needed to hear. She is 100% right. It doesn’t matter what we must endure on earth. We will be spending eternity in Glory with Him! Life is hard and can be discouraging, but God scoops us up and carries us to the finish line - or until we are ready to run the race again alongside Him.

Do YOU know Him?