“O, Jerusalem, if only you knew… O, Jerusalem, my plans for you…”
Sad regret tugged at my heart as I listened to the poignant lyrics that drifted from my husband’s study. I knew the reason why Jack had written this song. I also knew why he was singing it so tenderly on this particular day.
Yes, we understood how the Lord felt when he gazed longingly upon the city that he held so dear - the city that would reject Him.
As I listened to my husband sing, my thoughts flew back over the years. Dawn was eighteen months old when she was carried through our front door by her mother, my sister. She was picture perfect with blond curls and expressive blue eyes. Having recently moved back to our hometown, she was the first little customer in our home daycare.
Soon, it became apparent that my sister had little interest in our niece’s life. Dawn was a hindrance to her mother’s lifestyle of waiting tables in the evening, partying all night and sleeping late in the mornings.
However, Dawn was a blessing to us. This charming little girl filled our home with fun and laughter.
As the years passed, Dawn became the highlight of our life. Her mother began to leave her with us at night as well as during the day. We were glad to have her. We worried abut the dark influences that she was often exposed to in her mother’s care.
We took her to church on Sunday. When she was three, she began a ten year stint of volunteering at the nursing home, where Jack ministered on Sunday mornings. That same year, we enrolled her in classical ballet. I became the back stage aunt. Those were fun days!
When Dawn’s fifth birthday arrived, we were alarmed at her mother’s plan to enroll her in public school. Jack and I looked at each other in dismay as we envisioned our niece standing at the school bus stop alone in her mother’s somewhat seedy neighborhood. Who would get Dawn ready for school? Who would pack her lunch and help her with homework?
“We’ll home school her,” Frank offered. As a former teacher, he had all of the credentials. Our city boasted a large home school association offering lots of group educational and extracurricular activities.
Dawn thrived academically under Jack’s tutoring. She excelled in piano. At the age of ten, she was giving power point math demonstrations at home school exhibitions. I loved taking her shopping and buying her cute clothes. Dawn loved her Uncle Jack and they spent hours swimming at the pool or jamming with their instruments.
Jack and I began to research the Christian high schools in our area to see which one would best prepare our girl for college. Jack was looking forward to teaching Dawn how to drive and helping her pick out her first car. Dawn’s future looked bright and our dreams for her were endless.
Unfortunately, as Dawn approached her teenage years, she began to have dreams of her own – dreams that did not include us. She wanted a “real” family. She loved us, but we could never be her mom and dad. We were just her aunt and uncle.
“O, Jerusalem…How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me…”
At thirteen, Dawn moved home to live with her mother and new stepfather, full time. Within months, she had embraced her mother’s life style of smoking, drinking and all night partying. She began to fail miserably in school and dropped out all together.
She was cordial whenever she saw us at family gatherings, but she rejected all of our attempts for a close relationship.
Then, one day, we heard that she was gone. Dawn had moved to another state to live with a young man whom she had met on the internet. We heard from her occasionally, but lately, not at all.
Today was Dawn’s twenty-third birthday.
I realized that the music had stopped and Jack was standing beside me.
“Let’s pray for her,” I said, taking his hand.
“Remember,” my husband paraphrased with a smile. “We know whom we have believed and we are persuaded that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him until that day.”
The Lord replaced our sad feelings with hope and peace as we prayed for Dawn.
Scripture references: Matthew 23:37 and 2 Timothy 1:12
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