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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: Grace for Being Real
By Robyn Burke


Oh, God, why?
I'm not accusing you God. I'm not saying "why did you let this happen?" But I don’t understand why she did this. I need some understanding in order to make sense of it!

I am in a hospital chapel. And my daughter, my beautiful daughter, is down the hall fighting for her life. More correctly, the doctors are fighting for her life. She seems to have tried to throw her life away.

Didn't I raise her to value life God? Does she see life as just a game? I taught her about you and how much you love us, love her. Why would she commit this senseless act against herself?

For as long as I can remember though, my daughter has wavered towards the dark side of life. Her happiness came in short spurts that quickly fizzled in the day to day pressures. She told me once that she felt lonely even when surrounded by family and friends. I thought I understood but maybe I didn't fully grasp the severity of her isolation. I blamed a lot of her depression on the divorce. What child doesn't struggle when her parents split up?

God, I tried so hard to be there for her. But it wasn't enough.

The day she was born, when they first laid that precious little bundle in my arms, I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming fierceness of love I felt. And watching her earlier as her body thrashed involuntarily against the drugs warring in her system, I felt that fierceness again. I wanted to climb inside the IV and help fight the battle.

Lord, I just feel so helpless. She looks so helpless. Why didn’t I pay more attention to the signs? Her sadness, the perpetual cloud of gloom that followed her everywhere. Was I in denial over it?

When she spent most of the time in her room, moody, refusing to talk, I chalked it up to teen age angst. When she started hanging out with the wrong crowd, I blamed it on rebellion against a mom who was trying to set boundaries. When she ran away I viewed it as a way to punish me.

Oh, God, maybe I’ve been the one who’s been self absorbed?!

But then she had some good years. She settled down, got married, and started a family—normalcy at last. She was involved with church and making new friends--other moms who offered support and friendship. Yet, just under the surface, lurked a quiet despair. When I held my granddaughter for the first time, my eyes met my daughters, and I recognized a new level of understanding between us. It made me think of my mother. It made me see more clearly the circle of life.

God, my relationship with my mom has always left me wanting. Is that what my daughter feels about me?

But haven’t we been able to talk about things I could never do with my mother? Have I been too busy to spend time with her and really listen or has she been shutting me out?

Oh, I am so confused Lord! Please just help me see some truths here. What do I take responsibility for and what do I let go of?

The nurse finds me and tells me they’ve stabilized her. Thank you Jesus! I can go sit with her if I like.

Lord, my daughter needs you more than ever. Will she let you in? Will she let me in too?

I sit at her bedside, holding her hand. She is not conscious but the nurse encourages me to talk to her anyway.

What do I say Lord? Give me words! Words that comfort. Words that speak healing and offer hope.

And suddenly I see them as if written on a page before me.

“I see your pain and it breaks my heart. I want to know what’s going on with you and know how to pray for you; please don’t shut me out of your life. I don’t want to lose you. I want something better between us. What I desire most for us is grace. Grace for not being perfect. Grace for not always having the right answers or the right responses. Grace for whenever we fail or we fall. Grace for being real.”

Breathing prayer, I lean forward and speak. “I see your pain and it breaks my heart…”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/18/08
The raw emotion in your piece speaks to the heart of every mother seeking with Jesus' help to be what her daughter needs. Very well written.
Anita van der Elst09/18/08
You've expressed yourself with eloquence & authenticity. I feel like I've been given a window into your heart & my heart is broken for you & your daughter. I felt like I was in the moment with you. Thank you for sharing with such intimacy. An excellent read!!
Lisa Keck09/18/08
"I want to climb into the IV and help fight the battle." What an awesome line that speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing and keep writing.
Rachel Stone09/20/08
I would find it hard to believe if this was not from true life experience. You wrote with such clarity and authenticity. The grace to be real is one of the greatest priviledges Christ died to give us. Thanks for sharing this story.
Celeste Ammirata09/25/08
This is heartbreaking, and yet you leave us with a positive message...to turn to and listen to God in times of overwhelming sorrow. This reads like a true story. If it is true, my prayers are with you and your daughter. You have talent. Keep writing. God Bless :-)
Anita van der Elst09/26/08
Congratulations on placing 7th! I told you you'd pass me up! Sooooo proud of you! Keep up the good work!