God answers prayer with respect to a wayward daughter

Background

I was born into an atheist family tree, in Communist country where people believed Karl Marx’s theory "Religion is the sign of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. The culture I grew up in was founded on atheistic philosophy with no room for belief in God, but each one has his or her own god.


When-where - how I met Jesus

In the late 30’s, I immigrated to Toronto with my family of three. My ex-husband left me and my 6-year-old daughter in a new country in a rental apartment, when I was laid-off from work, when my father was sick (that's another testimony, my father was healed and still alive today, please pray for his salvation), with no friends and family around. No one called to check in on us, but miraculously the Lord called and invited us to visit HIS family, His church through HIS children. It was then and there, I knew Jesus, my Lord and my little girl attended Sunday School for the first time, a school I never knew nor attended as a child. From then the mustard seed was planted in my daughter's heart. Looking back, I wish I would have been like Simon Peter and Andrew in Ma.4:19 “at once they left their nets and followed” without hesitation when the Lord said “Come, follow me”. It took me almost 3 years (The Lord is patient) to accept Jesus as my personal saviour and I was baptized on Easter Sunday 2003. That decision I have made is my turning point, where I was called to a new life, just like God’s call to Abraham to leave Ur and go to Canaan. God called me to leave my country, my kin, and my fathers’ house to go to the land he will show me (Gen. 12:1). I saw God’s salvation plan unfold concerning me (Who
am I? 2 Samuel 7:18) that started from a geographical move to a spiritual move, from social and cultural influences of “my country, my people and self-righteousness father’s household, from and through all the brokenness of divorce, unemployment, loneliness, uncertainty, and from all kinds of fears to HIS kingdom, where I have a KING, Jesus who cares for me.” The Lord has plans for me which are stated in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I could testify day and night of every act of mercy and grace the Lord God has shown to me, the life I have now in Christ is a living testimony and a living sacrifice I long to offer to my Savior. I no longer belong to my country where I was born, my sinful family tree and the people and culture which used to influence and shape me, instead, I bear HIS Name, Yahweh, Jesus, the Most High. My identity is not a divorced woman or a single mom (those are my temporary social status though), “You are Mine” says the Lord in Is.43:1, and God made me who I am to show the world who HE is.


Our crisis, HIS opportunity

Growing up, my parents and grandparents never overspent on anything and neither did I (but we
are not holy and righteous). However, while I thought I was “pretty good in terms of everything” especially money management, my daughter’s credit card debts surfaced in 2013 after she was baptized and moved away from home to university. For the first time, she had a lot of money to manage, from student loans, ESF education saving fund, part time jobs to monetary gifts from relatives. Like Proverbs 21:20 described, she “spends whatever she gets” without giving any thought of saving, planning, and budgeting; the buy now pay later mentality and the minimum payment option became the norm to her - something I never taught her nor did myself, but the world. When I asked her what gifts she would like to have on her birthday or for Christmas, she expressed it would be appreciated if I could pay her credit card balance as her friends’ parents did to her friends. I paid her credit card balance a number of times and even suggested to cut-off her credit card, but she still continued to have unpaid balances and piled up interest here and there. The hardest part was watching my girl who grew up from Church (almost every Sunday), drifting away from the truth, being in debt, and experiencing depression and anxiety. They were like mountains over her (also over me), from a joyful girl she became very angry and hard to communicate with. I knew this was something beyond what I was able to handle and fight on my own (in fact we control nothing). I agree with Tom who said, “Sometimes, the root of financial problems goes beyond the financial sphere and into the spiritual” in Financial Management God's Way.


Deliverance through repentance

I don't remember how many times my face was covered in tears behind closed doors, inside my car, during Sunday services, and in the middle of the night. I went to the Lord in prayer as Daniel did in Daniel 9 “Lord, I confess I didn’t train her up in the way she should go, nor did I bring her up with the discipline and instruction that comes from YOU.” Rather than reading the Bible to and with her, I encouraged her to call the toll-free story lines, and I ordered senseless magazines and novels for her that had no divine spiritual wisdom. I sent her to all kinds of extracurricular activities such as art classes, karate, supplementary academic courses - all of which are not bad things, but without the realization that having a relationship with Jesus should have come first before anything else. Apart from taking her to church each Sunday, I rarely prayed for or with her throughout her life, only times when she was sick or struggling. I let television, and pop culture influence her instead of teaching her the ways of the Lord. I admitted to the Lord that I am the one described in Psalm of Asaph Ps.73:22 “senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You”.

For the first time in my Christian life, over a decade after baptism, I committed myself to the Word. I was called to take my sandals off, did my spiritual inventory check, wrote down all the sins I have committed since I was little, prayed one by one with a trustworthy church sister, prayed the cleansing, deliverance and renewing prayers according to 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I was called “go and be reconciled” to my daughter, (Ma. 5: 23-24.) I asked my daughter to forgive me for all my parenting mistakes and all of the unkind things I have done and said, and for being insensitive or even heartless to the hurts I have caused to her emotionally and mentally.


Transformed to a praying woman and mom and servant of God

During those challenging years, I learned to praise the Lord for my daughter's life, not to accuse her as she is wonderfully and fearfully made with God's very image. I thank God for protecting her from the very beginning of her life from abortion (that's another testimony) as she is truly not my plan, but God’s. As it says in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you”. So I prayed, “Lord, may your powerful hand reach down from on high and take hold of your daughter, draw her out of deep waters and rescue her from her powerful enemy of credit card debt, depression and anxiety and those underneath the surface I am unable to know and see, those she doesn’t want to let me know, they are too strong for her”. The Lord responded to me with 2 Chronicles 20:15 “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

During those challenging years, I asked my pastors and trusted church members to pray for my daughter, I asked my mother (that's another testimony) and her church to pray for my daughter. I was also introduced to Stormie Omartian's “The Power of a Praying Parent” book, which starts with Lamentations 2:19 “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children”. So, I learned “Always Keep on Praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 TLB) and stayed in contact with the Most High in “all occasions, with all kinds of prayers, and all kinds of requests”. The Word of God was and is my weapon as it is written in Hebrews 4:12. My bedroom closet, my car, kitchen, bedroom, living room all became my “war rooms” and altars built to the Lord.


The Truth sets us free

On my daughter’s side, there were a lot of good changes that happened, which exceeded my expectations or what I could ever imagine. She started asking me and other church members to pray for her, started attending church, praying for herself, and reading the Bible. Long story short in the new year of 2019, she re-dedicated herself to the Lord, consciously prayed the sinner's prayer and made a conscious declaration to accept Jesus as her Lord and saviour again. She was re-baptized and shared her testimony before the presence of the Lord, her heavenly Father at Connect Church. Later on, when she graduated from University, God heard her prayer and granted her a very promising job as a new graduate. She was set free from the bondage of credit card debt, and she learned to plan and budget. She tithes faithfully, and amazingly, the depression and anxiety were cured with almost no medication. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31). She sponsored a 12-year-old boy in Africa with the income Father God gives her. In mid 2021, God also blessed her with a property of her own to manage. During the pandemic, God called her to partner with HIM in youth ministry at Connect Church. She studies the Word and shares the understanding that God revealed to her with me all the time. Our dining table has become our altar of thanksgiving, prayers have become our first choice, resort, and our lifeline to God.
On my birthday this year, instead of going to a restaurant, my daughter took a day off, spent 7 hours preparing a party of 7 with a budget of $70 dollars, and the final cost was $67.03. Instead of buying a birthday card, she crafted a beautiful one, she wrote:

“Mom,
God knew you long before your birthday, He knew your life and He knew you would be called out of the land you knew into a far and foreign land. Who could have imagined that this is our life today? God has redeemed us and been faithful to us. He had not broken a single promise. I was reading 1 Samuel and Hannah's prayer spoke to me. In her sorrow she went to the temple and prayed for a child so intensely but so simple, and then she promised that her son would be dedicated back to God. When she followed through on her promise & dedicated Samuel, the Lord blessed her with 5 more children. I know you prayed without ceasing for me, a simple yet desperate prayer for God to move in my life, and HE has. Because God has been faithful to keep His promises, I will be faithful to serve. God knows the desires (needs) of our hearts, and He will bless His children because He loves us....”

While I was reading the card, I saw Luke 15 replaying in slow motion. “when she (mother and daughter) was still a great way off, her FATHER saw her and had compassion, and ran and threw His arms around her neck, and kissed her”; I heard the FATHER say to his servants, “bring out the best robe and put it on her, and put a ring on her hand and sandals on her feet”; I heard David Leonard singing his song "I will wait" that says:
“In the morning, I will rise up, shed the darkness, and bathe in Your light. And I recount all, every blessing. The words You've spoken, that bring me new life. I am reminded from where You have brought me. And where You have placed me for today. And I won't forget that Your hand will hold me. Your love sustains me through the wait. Oh the burdens that I've carried. They are heavy, oh too heavy to hold. There's a river, there's a sunrise, I will wait on You, Lord.”

In that moment, I rose up and embraced my daughter and four hands held together I prayed “Father God, thank you for your generosity and loyalty chasing after us, thank you for making us be right with you and thank you for fighting for us in the heavenly Realms…Pray for us Lord as you have prayed for Peter, so our faith may not fail. We wait on YOU till the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we love YOU.”


Ps.
I am a born-again Christian and attended Financial Management God's Way for Singles hosted by TCM on Zoom during Aug- Nov 2021.

S.L.

New Tecumseth, ON, Canada