I don’t remember what year it was, 2001, 2002 maybe. I think it was one of those summers. Mike, Phil’s son, had come to visit and decided he wanted to live with us, so we discussed it with his mother–which wasn’t easy–and settled on a “trial basis” of sorts. We drove Mike back to Missouri to get his stuff, dropped him off at his mom’s to stay the night before we headed back, and Phil and I went to visit Phil’s mom.
Less than 24 hours later, Mike told us he wasn’t coming back with us.
I’ve seen my husband in pain before. He broke his hand and it hurt so bad he cried, both for the pain and for the pride that slid off him when he acknowledged how stupid he was for punching that wall. Knowing his boy wasn’t coming back with us elicited something I’d never seen in him. I’ve held his hand through some dark times, we’d always come out the other side broken and pretty bruised up, but this was different.
We were in the car sitting in some parking lot, Mike, his sister Jessica, Phil and I. I guess Zane must have been there, but it’s odd, I don’t remember him there. Mike told us that he went to church and God told him to stay in Missouri.
That’s about the time I lost it. I listened to him tell me something about going forward to pray, people laying on hands, oil and God talking. On top of the hurt I saw in my husband’s eyes, this was just too much. Mike then laid the straw on my back. A girl in the parking lot gave him a word from God, told him he needed to stay in Missouri and that was it, his mind was made up.
This was not my most shining moment in history. I don’t remember most of what I said but I do recall quite clearly I was furious. I was in “protection mode”. I saw Phil in a place I don’t ever want to see him in again and I didn’t believe God could or would talk to anyone, let alone a child. I’m pretty sure I yelled a lot. Jessica was so upset she got out of the car and started walking around the parking lot. I think Mike followed. I know Phil shot me a dagger-laced glare and got out.
Since then, I think Phil has had to pay the price for my mouth and my temper because I can count on my hands how many times Jessica has called him since then and she hasn’t visited at all. We even went down to Missouri a week before her graduation two summers ago and rented a condo with extra rooms so that her and Mike would come stay with us. Jess came to see us for about twenty minutes and Mike for a few hours. I think it’s my fault his kids don’t want to spend more time with him. My lack of compassion, my ignorance, my mouth, and my temper.
I haven’t been able to tell them how much God has shaken me up since then. How much He’s worked on that ugliness that I had, how much grace He’s poured over me and how much I’ve regretted that day in the car.
I’ve always lived my life with no regrets, save this one, and I didn’t really even know it was my fault until recently. No one told me, so I guess I could be wrong, but I have this suspicion I’m right. It seems that maybe Mike has forgiven me, maybe a little anyway. I’m pretty sure Jessica has hated me from that day on.
I’ve thought about writing them letters and telling them how sorry I am, but I don’t know if it would do any good. Jessica’s turning twenty and getting married in a couple of months and Mike’s graduating this summer. It one of those situations that I just don’t know how to handle.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more sorry in my life nor caused so much wrong. I’ve messed up, to be sure, in a lot of ways. However, most of those situations caused me the strife. I hurt my husband by trying to protect him and wanting to save him from the pain, I hurt the kids by saying things that belittled their faith; I hurt our family and I am so remorseful. I pray for God’s grace and mercy.