"Happy Birthday Mom; Everyone thinks their mom's the best, but they can't all be right; (inside) Just me." Then she wrote: "Even though most our lifes together we've been on a roller coaster of chaos...you've always been there for me through the best and the worst times. You'll always be my #1 Mom! I love you with everything. Happy 38th Birthday!"
I will tell you right now...I cried. My number one goal as a mom is to be there for them, to love them unconditionally, and for them to know that no matter what they do, I will always stand by their side. Not everyone understands this or agrees with it, and it certainly doesn't mean that we just sit back and let them do whatever they want. We discipline, train, teach, give appropriate consequences, but through it all I want them to feel and know LOVE and GRACE just like Jesus has always shown me LOVE and GRACE!
This card was such a blessing to me because the past year has been a roller coaster ride, and we've had some rough moments. She's told me she hates me, she's told us "f*%k your rules", she's thrown God and our faith back in our face. But through it all, we have loved her. And now, a year later (one year ago on Monday she disappeared for the first time for 30+ hours), I feel we are on the right track again, and her message to me on my birthday is testimony to that.
Are we "in the clear"? Absolutely not. Is she the "perfect child"? One does not exist. Are we "perfect parents"? IMPOSSIBLE. BUT, we are headed in the right direction and for the first time in a year, I SEE the hope. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1) and we've had faith that God would bring her through all this, faith without having anything of substance to base it on, and now, God has brought us hope. We will NOT grow weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up! (Galatians 6:9) God is good. God is faithful. God is worthy of all our faith and trust. And to HIM goes all the glory and praise and credit for everything good in our life.
To quote a family who set this example for us, who showed us how to be parents who never, ever, ever give up hope and faith...