The Hardest Post I Ever Wrote

The Hardest Post I Ever Wrote


So, this is gonna be hard.  I don’t want to write it and I wish I could just hide instead of sharing.  I am sure the post will end up being too long and really difficult to read.  I am sorry for that.  If you don’t want to see inside my very wounded heart then I recommend that you go ahead now and click through to somewhere else.

I am too raw and hurting to be delicate.

In telling you about what is going on here, I want to try to share my own life with you without exposing others.  Their story is their own to tell.  I can only tell you mine.

OK….so here goes.  {deep breath::::feel like throwing up}

On Wednesday, September 24th my life was changed forever.  My 18 year old daughter left home.  She gave us no warning, no signs that it was coming.  She didn’t try to talk to us about it or work with us.  She, with the help of my parents, just left.  And with her she took pieces of my heart that had been torn to shreds.  I cried harder that day than I ever knew was possible.  So hard that it scared my little boys and I had to go in my closet and put a pillow over my face to muffle the sobs.

We have spent the past 11 days trying to make head or tails out of what happened.  Why did she leave?  How can we help her?  What will happen next?

We got no real answers.  Only more confusion as some of the circumstances unfolded.  We discovered that my parents had been planning this with her without telling us (as you can imagine, an additional part of my grief is not only the loss of my daughter but the total end of the relationship with my parents).  We also learned that she has been telling exaggerated stories about what is going on inside our home to a godless woman who has been giving her foolish counsel and encouraging her to deceive us and get out.

These decisions our daughter has made are unimaginable to me and completely out of character from the girl I know.

Believe me, James and I are all too aware that we are not innocent in this.  We played a part in this problem.  We made mistakes and we have apologized to her, genuinely repented and are asking the Holy Spirit to guide us through this.  It feels impossible to think rationally so we have sought counsel from men who give us Scripture to build us up.  We are taking each step carefully and trying to hold on to the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.  I don’t want to paint myself as perfect here.  I am as imperfect as I can imagine anyone being.

We did have a meeting with our daughter about a week after she left and it became obvious when we agreed to give her everything she was asking for that she did not intend to come home.  She had sent us a list of things she wanted to change at home, but because we agreed to all of the changes and she still won’t come home….it seems there must be something deeper there that she isn’t telling us.

I ask myself, “How can I help her if she won’t tell me the truth?” 

And I beg,  “Lord, please help me forgive the betrayal and react with your righteousness and love.”

Yesterday she came and got all of her things.  That tore out more of my heart and if I am being completely honest, threw me into a tailspin that it feels like I will never recover from.  I can’t stop crying and I can’t turn off the thoughts of pain and desperation.  Sleep will not come; I don’t eat; I can’t focus.

But I know the truth.  That I can recover and become stronger with God’s help.

I know that He loves us all so much more than I love my daughter.  I know He is guiding all of our paths and even though I don’t see it now, He did prepare me for this.  I know that His promises are sure and He will never leave me or forsake me.

Not for one second has my faith wavered or my trust in God been lost. 

Not that I feel sure that she will be fine or that she will ever come back or that I will ever see my parents again.  I know that none of that may happen.

I also grieve the selfish loss of wanting my life to be a certain way.  A happy family, loving one another, all of my children that care for each other and respect their parents.  That is gone for me.  I may never have that and you know what?  It’s OK.

May He be glorified through my suffering and loss. 

My morning walks have meant more to me than ever as I pour the broken pieces of my heart out at the feet of God.  He picks them up and gently puts them back in place.  Then they fall apart again….over and over and over.  I know with certainty that one day those pieces will be all put together and they will stay right where they belong…..glued with the grace of a Father that loved me enough to sacrifice his own child for me.  Oh, that I am now experiencing one thousandth of that same pain.

So this tragedy is now a part of the story of my life.

I pray that the glory of God shines through all that I do even in the midst of trials.

His Word has been a healing balm to my soul and given me strength to get through each moment.  It pushes out the despair and washes it away with love and peace and wisdom that I can trust with every fiber of my being.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

I would so appreciate your prayers for not only my heartbreak, but my other children as they cry and constantly ask me why this happened and endure their own betrayal and pain.  Watching them suffer through this has been even more painful than my own struggle.  Their precious lives will never be the same either.  And please pray for my husband as he finds the strength and wisdom to lead a sobbing wife, grieving children and a lost daughter through this horrific event in our lives.

For those of you keeping up with this situation, here is the latest update.

Thank you for reading and praying.  I would appreciate your sensitivity if you choose to leave a comment since we are grieving.   Please refrain from offering your thoughts on 18 year olds and their rights or what you think of our parenting choices.  Believe me, we do not want to keep anyone in our home that doesn’t want to be here.  This is not about whether she should be here or not.   It is about treating the people you love with honesty, honor, respect and dignity.   Any comments condemning our beliefs or criticizing our daughter will be deleted. 


  1. You are giving testimony to the immeasurable love and grace of God in the midst of a devastating storm. For others who are suffering in similar pain, it is a balm of encouragement to know they are not alone. Life was sweet. Life was as perfect as could be. Then…
    I’m so thankful for God’s word and the testimony of His saints. Thank you, Lisa.

  2. Oh Lisa, I completely understand the grief you are feeling as I too have had a child who out of nowhere left our lives. It is a pain like no other. Everyday you walk around wondering how this happened, why did it happen, will this ever be repaired? As a mother the pain caused by a child is so overwhelming you are sure you can never recover, will I ever be able to breath again, will THIS be the defining moment of my life? As I walk through this journey everyday I ask God, how long O Lord? But through tears I know He knows what is best. He knows our grief and pain. He wants us to trust Him in the midst. I am so sorry you are suffering in this way. I pray God will comfort you, wrap his arms of love around you and give you the peace you so desperately need right now. I will surely pray for you. God Bless you.

  3. Oh, Lisa. I am so sorry. We will be praying for your family. {BIG VIRTUAL HUG!}

  4. Melissa (Mel Ann) :

    Oh Lisa, how my heart aches deeply with you. I commit my daily prayers for you and your family.

  5. Oh Lisa! I’m so sorry! This sounds like my life. Our oldest 2 are adopted. On August 10th, our 19 year old daughter left to reconnect with her bio family. I just keep reminding myself that God is sovereign. He knew this was going to happen. He loves her way more than I love her. He is in control.
    Praying for you!

  6. Oh so sorry that you are going through this unbelievably difficult time. I cannot imagine the pain and rejection you must feel. I am praying for your family, and am so glad you have let us know how we can pray for you.

  7. My heart is aching for you as I read this. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  8. Lisa, praying for you and all of your family.
    1 Peter 1

  9. Lisa, my heart breaks for you . I am so sorry. My sister left my mom suddenly and secretively when she was 18, and still in high school, to go live with my bio father. It was so hard for our family. And the toad was very tough for awhile and the move led to even more mistakes by my sister. Eventually they reestablished a relationship. It was hard for me to forgive my sister bc of my mom’s unwavering steady love for us our entire lives in favor of our bio father who was in and out of our lives. But material possessions lured my sister and promises of an easier life. My prayers are with you and your family for healing.

  10. Your heart is broken and you so kindly offered to share with your community. You are brave, you are remarkable, you are strong, you are His daughter. I have nothing to offer except prayer, no magical words, no advice, but I wish I could walk alongside you during one of your morning walks – what a precious time for you right now as you allow work to be done in your family. You are inspiring.

  11. i’m very sorry for your pain, life can be hard, but somehow we have to keep our hearts open. may you have “eye of the hurricaine “peace and centered-ness, to carry on, and be guided to exactly what you are supposed to do/not do. I have a sister who is a prodigal–she has taught me a lot, but it has not been easy.

  12. Praying for your strength in Yahweh.

  13. Kristine Barr :

    Lisa, I’m sorry for what you and your family are going through. I’m praying and hoping things improve soon. Praying also that family ties are not irrevocably broken.

  14. Lisa,

    I understand. Our oldest, a son, left our home around the same age as your daughter. It was no surprise, but it hurt like crazy anyway. He made such painful choices for himself and it hurt us to see it. We do have a relationship with him now, but it took years. We learned so much through this hard time, we clung to Jesus and to truth. We prayed. He used it as He does all things to change us and make us more like Him. More love, more compassion, more trust of HIM.

    I know your pain, and I am praying, for you and your daughter. God is not taken by surprise by it.

  15. Lisa,
    I know all too well the pain and disbelief you are feeling. I’m so very sorry. I think that this is where the Spirit interpreting our groanings that are too deep for words comes in, because in my case, there was much weeping and pain, but not many words except, Father God, I’m hurting so much. Please know that you are not alone. I am going to stop right now and take some time to pray for you. Love to you and your family.

  16. Praying for you. I am so sorry. I have been leaning on Ecclesiastes this year — praying so much for you.

  17. I’m praying for your family!

  18. Elizabeth Tipton :

    God doesn’t say they won’t strike out against you and your rules and beliefs, but he does promise this:
    Proverbs 22:6King James Version (KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    Don’t do or say anything you can’t take back with your mom or your daughter. Maybe she is supposed to go witness to your mom or see why you intentionally live a different way.

    Trust God.

    Remember – Trust God.
    Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
    2 Samuel 7:28 And now, O Lord GOD, you are that God, and your words be true, and you have promised this goodness to your servant:
    Psalms 9:10 And they that know your name will put their trust in you: for you, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek you.
    Psalms 13:5 But I have trusted in your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    Psalms 31:14 But I trusted in you, O LORD: I said, You are my God.
    Psalms 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in you.
    Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
    Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

  19. Oh, sweet Lisa… In the midst of the Refiner’s fire, there is pain and grief but in the end there is victory and beauty. It might not feel like it now, but it will come. Your attitude is so precious and your family is in my prayers.

  20. Oh Lisa – I am so very sorry for this heartbreak for your family. I can’t even imagine the pain and heartache you all are suffering. I don’t know any words to say to bring you comfort, but I have a wonderful Heavenly Father who loves you all dearly and His Word tells me that I can pray for you – for that peace that passes all understanding, for strength in your innermost beings, for wounds to heal, for your faith to be built up, and for grace to carry you through the pain. Sometimes when we suffer such a deep blow, we feel as though we’ll never fully recover – but God is faithful and He will use this for His glory. I know you are drawing your strength from Him. I’ll keep praying.

  21. May God shower you ALL with his grace, peace and love and you traverse this season in your lives. Forgiveness and healing and joy are on the horizon when you clear thru the shadow of darkness.

  22. Lisa, I am SO sorry! We will pray for your heart that Jesus will be ever nearer right now than ever before. We will pray for your dear children, and we will pray for your daughter that she will repent and be reconciled to you all.

  23. My hearts breaks with and for you! My blended family has been/is going through something similar. I have no words of wisdom but please know that I will keep you, your daughter, and your family in my prayers. I pray that through all of the heart-ache and pain your family will be stronger and draw closer to each other. I pray that God wraps you in his loving arms and provides you comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding. ((HUGS))
    Your sister in Christ

  24. GOD has her….HE will not let her go, she is His…. I went through this with my daughter, and the pain is so constant that it seems it will explode out of your chest… He has you…He has a plan you don’t see YET…she will come around…her love for God was put in early and often and she will return to all she was. I wish I could hold all of you until the pain eases…

  25. I am so very sorry. There is a very dear couple in our church who’s only child, an 18 yo girl, did the same thing this summer. Seeing her mother’s heartache these past few months I have a small understanding what you are going through. Praying for reconciliation and God’s loving hand of comfort upon you during these dark days.

  26. Lisa,
    you know bits of our story and what we went through (and are still going through) please, please know that I am here for you! That you can call me or text me anytime! Yes it changes you but you have no idea how it does my heart good to know that during this time you are turning to the Lord, drawing closer to Him. I will pray for you, for your family, your daughter, and your relationship with your parents. Love peggy

  27. Oh sweet friend, I cannot even begin to imagine your grief. I will be praying for your entire family as you each deal with this situation.

  28. Dear Lisa,
    I cannot even begin to imagine the pain your family is feeling right now. I will be praying for healing and restoration for each of you. God is able to restore and heal. I am living proof of that! It can be better than it ever was and when I heard that ! In my situation, I thought there was no way…they are crazy to think or say that, BUT GOD….had another plan! Prayers for you all!

  29. Lisa – my heart is breaking for you. I am holding you and your family in my heart, and lifting you all up in prayer.

  30. I have no words of comfort except what the Holy Spirit has already given you. Your honesty is a reminder that each of us has our own journey, a part of our story the Lord is so beautifully writing. This is obviously a chapter your family would rather have not written, but He will bring beauty from your ashes in ways you can’t imagine my friend. He WILL RESTORE what the locusts have eaten. Prayers and hugs!

  31. Oh, Lisa! I am so sorry. I am praying for you and your family. I am astounded by your bravery in sharing your heart. Please know, that it confirms something I am dealing with right now and I am even more determined to keep my children safe from a family member.

  32. Lisa,

    I am so sorry for your heartache…. I can’t imagine what you are going through. You and your family will be in our familys prayers.

  33. So sorry for your heartache Lisa 🙁 I will be keeping you and your precious family in my prayers!

  34. Lisa & Family,

    We will pray for everyone involved. My heart aches for you as I know the pain y’all are going thru. My 18 stepson (who is my son born of my heart) did the same. Just know that y’all will get thru it, it will be the hardest thing you will ever have to go thru but you will come out on the other side. Our relationship is good and strong now.

  35. Oh honey! I am praying for you and for her. I am sure it will all be lead right in the end but I know it hurts. Huge hugs to you!!

  36. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You truly are a woman of God, listening to His voice, as He is guiding you to share your life with us. And for reason….. You are His common vessel doing extraordinary things! There are many families going through or having gone through what your family is experiencing. Although I personally haven’t, and can’t imagine all the emotions you and your entire family are experiencing, there are families who have. I challenge your readers….ie friends, to rally around you and comfort you with their own personal stories and experiences. May they inspire you and comfort you, as you inspire others going through the same situation…. Hugs!!! Ok, other readers…let’s show her some love!!!!!!

  37. I am so sorry. I will be praying for peace for your family. I know we’ve never met, but so many of your posts feel like they’re written for me or by me. I wish I could just come over, hug you, and make you some tea 🙂

  38. It breaks my heart to hear your pain. I was like your daughter and left home with no word to my parents, was led far astray and over time and growing up have been led back to HIM. During my absence my mother developed breast cancer and only in her last days was I told about it. It was too late. The pain in your daughters heart is real. I pray that HE leads her to where he needs her to be, heals all of your family’s pain and that the relationship you all share is repaired. I see my parents pain in your story and am calling my father this evening. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers and your daughter (part of your family) is very much there as well. I want to also pray for your parents as well. (((((HUGS)))))

  39. Dear Lisa,
    My heart breaks for you and your family. Reading your story, I feel confident that God will work this out and reconcile the situation with both your daughter and your parents. However, if it was my life I would not. I think that often times we can clearly see in other’s lives what the Lord is doing or will do and believe for them, but then are full of doubts and fears for our own lives and families. So, I am believing for you and your family and mostly trusting the Lord to bring good out of this for you all. I don’t know you, but I so love your blog and FB and feel like I know you. Hugs to you, cyber friend.

  40. Dear Lisa and family,

    We are so sorry to hear of your situation and loss. We have been where you are at and it sounds like many others have also walked this unwanted path before. We can feel the pain you are going through and my mother’s heart is grieving with you. We know what’s it’s like to cry until you can’t cry any more. Thank you for being so open and sharing. We will praying for you.

  41. Sherri Barton :

    Lisa, I am so very sorry for your pain. I will be praying for you and for God’s restoration in this relationship. Praying Ephesians 6:12! This is a spiritual battle for her heart and we will each pray in this battle. May you feel the loving presence of the Lord’s love surrounding you today.

  42. Thank you for sharing your heart, however painful, and being transparent, to His greater glory. Love you my dear sweet friend. Aching with you and your entire family. Praying for you all!!! I love you!!!

  43. Your blog and the honesty with which you share your journey have inspired and encouraged me in many ways over the past couple of years. That you would share such a deeply personal heartache so honestly and with such strong testimony of faith is all the more inspiring. You have been heavy on my heart during my prayer times, and will be even more so now. The only words of comfort I can share are that in my own life, I have seen God redeem a relationship that seemed even more impossible to restore than this. In the process, a very long process, it became a beautiful, unbreakable bond, all to the glory of God. I will be praying for you and your entire family daily.

  44. Christine Johnson :

    I am so very sorry to hear about your daughter and that your parents participated in the situation.

    Our son moved out with no mention to us and moved in with his girlfriend’s family for 1 year and would not speak to us but would talk to my family. Very hurtful season for us.

    I trust that God is sovereign and loves my children more than I do and I trust that God will bring you through this heartbreaking process. Please remember to lift your daughter up in prayer several times a day and you have several people praying for you. I’m sorry you have to walk through this season.

  45. im so sorry, I will be praying for you and your family. I hope it will be encouraging to tell you that my parents and I went through a similar “falling out” with each other when I was younger and it was extremely painful but the Lord restored and helped us work through it and now our relationship is better than ever! I pray the same for you.

  46. Lisa; may I tell you my story? my son who graduated high school in May 2013 soon starting smoking marijuana. We told him several times 1) it was not allowed 2) you were to never ever smoke on our home or you had to immediately move out . This was all spoken very civilly, never any yelling or fighting. This son has always been very respectful, sensitive, this was a difficult situation…the 2nd time we caught him smoking in the house (yes 2nd…) we told him he had to move out. I think the only reason I even did that was because I knew he had a place to go. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have ever made such an extreme move. Honestly I’ve regretted that decision. He moved in with his dad who has zero parental guidance and in fact, has been smoking marijuana with him and buying him alcohol. It’s been 8 months and so many things have happened in my son’s life. We have let him know several times, please come back home..same rules, but we’ll help him re-focus…I’m praying he’ll seriously consider it this time. Keep praying, Lisa. Keep all the wonderful things we know about God as truth; He DOES love us more than we love our children…pray! pray! pray! Stay strong.

  47. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I can’t imagine how you feel, but the Lord does.

  48. I can’t imagine your pain so I’ll just offer prayers. Perhaps God wanted your parents to help your daughter, even though it feels like a horrible betrayal , so that she still has family to lean on. I have no idea. Blessings to you and yours.

  49. My heart is aching with you and your family, Lisa. Though our circumstances are not exactly the same, we walked through something similar in our family a few years ago. Our oldest two left on a mission trip and our own counsel and authority was quickly replaced by the leaders of that ministry in our children’s lives. It was a kick in the gut to have my children pulled out from under us, like a rug being yanked out from under our feet. The breath was knocked out of us, the pain was unbelievable. I fell prostrate, my body racking with sobs the day our daughter married halfway across the world without me.

    You said “But I know the truth. That I can recover and become stronger with God’s help.
    I know that He loves us all so much more than I love my daughter. I know He is guiding all of our paths and even though I don’t see it now, He did prepare me for this. I know that His promises are sure and He will never leave me or forsake me.” These are the promises I held onto, to get me through, to see our family through. I still have questions but I have a God who knows the answers.

    You also said, “I also grieve the selfish loss of wanting my life to be a certain way. A happy family, loving one another, all of my children that care for each other and respect their parents. That is gone for me. I may never have that and you know what?” I understand this! but I’m still working on the “It’s OK.” part. It’s been so difficult for me to let go of those long-held dreams of mine.

    Thank you, dear lady, for having the courage to share your heart and your pain. I am praying for you, your family, and others who may be going through similar trials.

  50. I am praying for you. You are a brave and beautiful woman. I love you!

  51. When I clicked to read this post, never did I expect to feel what I did. My 18 year old daughter left this weekend with my parents. While she did choose to come home for the time being, I’m not sure she’ll stay. I’m feeling very raw, and betrayed right now. Thank you for giving me hope that I can forgive them all and get rid of this toxic feeling inside. I will most definitely keep your family in my prayers!

  52. This happened to me. I thought I was the only one in the world this happened to. Honestly. I had never heard of a grown child doing this before – in a solid, loving Christian family. All the thoughts and emotions you wrote about were mine. Except I was very angry at God. How could He let this happen? It has been 8 years this month. I wish I could tell you all has healed but I don’t see how it ever can be. As you said, I don’t know what I did and I would have done ANYTHING to change it. I apologized over and over and admitted my imperfection. No one cared how much it hurt. All the people (family members) who could have helped my broken heart with some answers, any answers, all refused. The tormenting pain felt worse than death. I finally found out – it was an online romance. But what was done can never be undone and I don’t want people who would do to me in my life. When much time had passed I did realize it was better that the child was gone from our home and in a way that broke our bond. This child was my life and I didn’t see that until they were gone. I had six other children that needed more of me and I had to get to a place where next time something happens I won’t be so angry at God. So I do see a little of how God planned it for our good. But that took years and even now – 8 years later… I have not healed.

  53. Dear Lisa, I am writing to you as the daughter who brought her parents to their knees and kept them there for too long. The length of time will never be insignificant to them, although for this encouragement it is not essential; all time grieving for children is agonizing. Despite growing up in a good Christian home, I grew to resent my parents faith rather than embrace it. When I was old enough to decide, I attended church just to keep my mother off my back and then I dove into the world with gusto. I fell into disappointment, one after the other. Only supernatural understand can explain why in my deepest sorrow I called my mother. Looking back it seems crazy to think I would call her, but the Holy Spirit was alive and well and I know this because I called and I know even more because of how she responded. As a mother, it was impossible not to be disappointed with my life choices, but instead of trying to fix my life, she asked if I wanted to pray; she offered me Jesus. I treated her responses as if they were trite and cowardice, but in truth her responses were more courageous than I think I could be with my own children now. For years I rejected her offers and honestly I wasn’t even kind. Time would pass and we would do this same dance over and over again. My emptiness was getting worse, but her response, her total faith in the only one that could save me, was consistent. For this I hated her! Many years passed and the crowing achievement of my choices had come full circle and my awareness of my emptiness was so vivid and tangibly undeniable that I wasn’t even lucid until I heard the same words “Pam, are you ready to pray?” How many mothers would blame my tired mom for saying instead “Pam, I’ve done everything I can do and now you have to live with your choices!” Instead my mom offered prayer, like she had done in the face of rejection for so many years. Her endurance can only be explained super naturally. As I heard these words, I knew there was only one answer and I said, “YES, I’m ready!” My life was never the same after that point. I recommitted my life to Jesus and there are no right words to explain the pain that followed (now for me and my mom) as the Lord began the sanctifying process that made grace because of Jesus, the most precious thing I have in my heart and life. Jesus has used every poor choice, every consequence, every tear, every disappointment to reveal Himself to me in a way that makes me grateful for His love with every breath. I am sure my parents thought that I was the one who needed to change, but truly we all changed. God is SO faithful! He seems to have a very specific love for mothers who grieve and He seems to meet us in ways that words can only fall short to explain. Dear Lisa! You stand before the Lord and it will be this model, this example that will bring your precious daughter back to truth, back home and most importantly to Jesus. I am a mother now, my oldest is 18. I pray more for him now than I ever have, but I know the One who loves him more than even my mother’s heart can imagine and I am praying that by and through the Holy Spirit we will do more than just survive, we will fulfill all that God has for us in this most important job as mother. May God dry your tears and fill you with His peace today! Love and all the more in Christ!

  54. I am so sorry for all of your family. I know what a trial it must be. I am the younger sister of a child that left home, but not completely without warning. It was so difficult to see my parents in pain, but we did, in time, become a happier household. There was still sadness and pain that my sibling had left us, but you can’t allow that to destroy all of the joy He has in store for you. I pray you all come back together peacefully, and happily.

  55. Dear Lisa, your pain touches a soft spot in me. And while everyone is encouraging you I want to write to you from the perspective of a sibling that lost her brother this very same way so that you may have insight into how your children may feel and what they might need from you. I am sorry if this is long.

    My brother left home when he was sixteen and ran to the open arms of my grandparents. My parents were so devastated and blindsided. My mom stopped home schooling me and my two younger sisters at the ages 12, 6, and 3, stopped cleaning, cooking, laughing, and enjoying us or anything in life. My dad became more comfortable being outside our home, he poured all his efforts into work and when he wasn’t working he would go to pawn shops and flea markets… anywhere but home. When he was home TV was his life, he didn’t seem to want to invest in more children that might one day break his heart.
    They quit on us. I became a mother at the young age of 12 to my two younger sisters, I made sure they ate, did some type of school work that I could help with, I did laundry, dishes and cooked while my mom sobbed in her room for over a year. She wrote my brother over and over and over, she wrote her parents, she lashed out in anger, fear and frustration and never got any answers.
    Then whenever my brother decided to fly in to visit and rub his freedom in their faces, they would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, they sacrificed their morals, values and self respect, and they smiled and laughed. It hurt us girls so bad that he had everything he wanted by being horrible and disrespectful. And when he was gone our parents wound would be freshly opened and back to mourning they would go. This went on for years.
    I am 32 now and thankfully the Lord brought me a good husband at 19 to pull me out of that destructive situation, but my sisters did not fair so well. due to the neglect they received one couldn’t read and one became accustomed to drama to get attention. Each left home at 18 and became strippers and have had trouble with drugs, alcohol and the law. Each had a wound not noticed by our parents because the runaway child was taking up all their time and resources.
    And where did that runaway end up? Jail. I know God is still pursuing him there, but that is where his rebellion led. My parents sacrificed three beautiful daughters to cater to a rebellious child and in the end they lost all four. Because us girls don’t want them in our lives because of the pain, and he had no respect for people that would sacrifice their own values and children for him. So he came in and out of their lives all the way up to last year when my father passed away. He was the one staying with them when dad died. We all visited very briefly, but couldn’t handle the situation and therefore had to forfeit our rights as children that wanted to be there with our father when he passed. My brother literally got everything all the way to my fathers last breath, he took it all from us and after all that, he still couldn’t be a content person. he spent a year robbing and finally got caught and his paying his time.

    I guess I just want to tell you what no one told my parents, remember your children you still have. Be sad, cry and scream and let the pain sink in, but then someday be mom again. God gave you others to keep your spirit and joy alive through the loss of one. And if you and your hubby stand by them and love your daughter when she comes around (she will) do as the prodigal father did. Love her with open arms, but don’t give up your values and other children to accommodate her, welcome her back to the fold, but she should know that the family unit has survived without her around, that it is a home still filled with love and the spirit of the Lord and that the standards and requirements may have evolved, but they have not gone away.

    You will not only be doing a favor to the children still in your home, I believe you will be doing one for the daughter that left. I think my brother kept coming around wanting my parents to draw lines, but because they didn’t he would rebel and leave again only to return six months later.
    Your daughter needs your stability in truth and home life. she may not realize it now, but the day she does you want to have that available for her.

    I believe the author is Barbara Johnson that wrote “When your child breaks your heart”. It is a great read for what you are going through. I read it when my sisters moved out and got into all their troubles. It helped me greatly seeing as I felt more like a mother to them than a sibling.
    I hope I have not come across harsh or judgmental as that was not my intention. It is hard to write about something you feel so passionate about without coming across hard sometimes.
    Good Godly parents can lose children to this world and that is a sad fact. You are a wonderful mother who though imperfect gave all that she could to her daughter. One of the hardest thing as a Christian/parent that we have to come to terms with is that freewill means our loved ones can choose a different path than the one we have set them on. But we know that God goes with them and so do our prayers.

    With all love and prayers for you my sister in Christ!

  56. Shawn Johnson :

    Lisa, tears stream down my face as I read your very courageous article. My heart aches for you, your husband, your children, and your precious daughter. Growing up is never easy and I pray that your daughter realizes sooner rather than later, how much she needs her family. I am so sorry for your hurts especially involving your parents. I want you to know that you will be in my prayers, you and your husband and of course the intense hurt that your children feel as well. None of us have the perfect hand book on how to raise children, we all do the best that we can, and in the process make mistakes. I am praying that God will give you and your husband peace and realize that you did what you needed to do. We are imperfect people serving a perfect God.

  57. I am so sorry to read that you are going through this. Our story is similar and, unfortunately, I know of so many others with this story also. Praying for you all.

  58. Dear Sister, I am so sorry to hear this. I too have felt this pain. It was the hardest trial and heartbreak I have ever experienced. Praying for you. Thankyou for clinging to Jesus. We look and cry out to Him. Praying for trials turned to Gold. ♡

  59. Dear Lord,
    Please be with Lisa, James and all 9 of the Pennington children as they navigate this season of raw emotions and strained relationships. Help the young ones find their sense of security and peace in you. Help them to understand that right now, Mama’s heart is broken, but that she will be whole again by your Grace. Help them know that this pain will ease with time. Be with Lisa and James and guide them as they seek to put the pieces of life back together to find a sense of normal again. Be with Lisa and her parents, as they process their feelings of betrayal and mistrust. Be with Lisa’s daughter, guide her and let her feel your love pouring into her. Most of all lord, pour your peace and mercy into Lisa, give her the rest she needs. Help her to grieve this loss and still be available to her other children. Help her to see your beauty around her as she walks through this dark valley of grief, betrayal and pain. Lord, let your light shine in and through the Pennington family brighter now than ever before. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

  60. Lisa –

    My heart aches for you…sending prayers! Phil 4:13

  61. I have no advice. You already know where your help comes from. I won’t say “I know what you’re going through” because I don’t. I won’t tell you everything is going to be easy and great…..What I will say is that I am so very sorry for all of you! ~tears~ I promise to keep you all in my prayers! And I am believing with complete faith that the Lord will restore the relationship between you all and your daughter some how some way. SJ Horton

  62. Oh, I am so very sorry. I have a brother that treated my parents similarly. I look at my own little ones and am terrified that they may grow up and do the same. I will be praying for you and for your daughter.

  63. I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. God is in control and He has a plan for her life and yours. Just trust and be patient.

  64. This rips open an old wound, I experienced a sibling who unexpectedly left our house and family too when I was an early teen. We didn’t know where she was for 3 days. There was a lot of hurt left behind with me and my siblings — wondering if we were to blame. The following years were rough, watching she and my parents tentatively dance around trying to be around each other during holidays. It’s been 30 years, and I’m happy to say our family is once again whole, wounds have healed, memories faded. Holidays are now filled with laughter. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. And I’ll be praying that you’ll eventually be able to forgive all those involved.

  65. Your post breaks my heart. I can read the heartbreak you are feeling. I wish I had a great piece of advice for you, but all I can offer is prayer and love. This is a dark valley for any parent to go through and also as an adult child. It is not over yet. There is always always hope. Hang in there and keep walking and keep praying.

  66. Donna Threlkeld :

    Oh Lisa, although I can not know your situation God does know and see the incredible heart wrenching rawness of this situation!!! God say we will have trials but He also said that He will never leave us or forsake us. He also said that we are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice and more times than not either we keep our masks on and keep things in or we just don’t know how to take that first step in being real with others but I know because God has told me that I needed to get rid of my trunk of masks and be real and the more I am I more I realize that my biggest fear of rejection is so not even reality but the richness of relationships are being poured into my relationships!!! Our lives never were meant to be perfect but its how we get through those times of trials that our ABBA cares about!!!! James 5:16. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be he healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Even though you didn’t share a lot of details you started to be real and allow others to weep with you and I want to thank you for that, it’s not easy to be real but know as we walk closer to completely humbling ourselves and become transparent with ourselves, God and others Our Abba is always by our side and blessing us for allowing others to grow in the areas and find peace in what He has allowed you to experience and are growing stronger in, finding peace and being healed in Him for!!! Lisa, you have no idea how God is going to use this in your life or anyone else’s but I know it will be used in a mighty way, He turns all things to good for those who call on His name, to seek His face and who love Him!!! Trust in Him and He will give you everything you need to rise up on the wings of eagles to soar in His glory and abundant love for you!!!!
    May The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. May You also see Gods finger prints on and in your life each day as you walk ever so closely with your Abba!!! In the ever precious name of our Lord and Saviour I lift you to the throne of our most high Father and I pray. AMEN

  67. Oh Lisa! My heart is aching for you! Thank you for your courage to share and allow us to pray for you! It’s difficulties like these that cause us to truly rely on Roman 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” And I’m so thankful you know and believe His Word.

    Praying for your family! Love you, Friend!

  68. Any words I have would be inadequate to the pain you’re dealing with. Just know my family is fervently praying for you and your family, sweet friend.

  69. From one mom who has struggled with teens, oh we can chat next time we´re together, to another let me tell you how very sorry I am and that I love you. I´ll be praying for your family. And let me also tell you this – it´s meant to help, not sting, so please take it with the love that is meant – she is no longer your responsibility. By physical law, and spiritual. Even if you raise your children along more of a patriarchal line, she has chosen to break that spiritual bond. And even though it hurts, she will have to answer for that, not you, so try not to blame yourself. Also, though it may be painful for her to experience, and for you to watch, she may have to walk a difficult road to find her way back. And that´s okay, because God is still on the throne and He still loves her. This may one day be part of her testimony. Love and Hugs my friend.

  70. Lisa, tears flow down my face, hurting with you. God is faithful! He holds this in His palm and He is faithful! Parenting is hard and difficult at every age and He is faithful! Raising Christian children in today’s culture seems daunting, and He is faithful! Betrayal and pain can be suffocating and He is faithful! I pray that as you and your family walk this hard road, you always remember that it is HE that sustains and heals through His faithfulness! Much love!

  71. Lisa, My heart is aching for you and your dear family. I am and will be praying for you all. Tears, hugs & prayers.

  72. Echoing what many others have already said – your family (and especially YOU) will be in my prayers.

  73. Lisa, I don’t know you but I know Cheryl and she and I have shared teen struggles for several years now. We have been put through the most horrific of wringers by our daughters–one at 15 and another who got the “I’m 18’s” too. Please know that there are many of us who have been through what you have. It hurts, deep where no one sees and most don’t understand. You’re in my prayers. I will ask Cheryl to add you to a private parents’ group that we have where you will meet more parents who have been there and are currently there. God bless.

  74. Praying for you and your family.

  75. Rhonda Harris :

    Praying for healing and for the sufficiency of God’s grace to be manifested in every area of your life.

  76. I am so sorry. I recognize this pain from my own experience over thirty years ago. My experience was different, but the betrayal the same. God took over that crazy chaotic life and became my everything. The event played out over a lifetime. Nothing has changed except how secure I am in Christ. I pray the same security for you, grace for each day and love so amazing it will leave you breathless.

  77. Oh my, SO sorry for all of you involved!! Will be asking the Lord for His grace, strength, wisdom, healing for each of you!

  78. My heart aches for you!!!! I am here for you….He is here with you, with the kids’, with James, and with your precious daughter!!! He will take this and do things through all of you that right now your brain and heart just can’t wrap around. The toughest thing right now may be to “Be still”.

  79. Lisa my heart and prayers are with you and your family. My daughter is 19 and I can’t even begin to imagine the pain your family is going through. God bless you all.

  80. Lisa…my heart is breaking for you, your family, and your daughter. Please be assured of my prayers… “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, who are called according to His purpose…” Romans 8:28

  81. Lisa,
    I am praying for you and your precious family. I am grieving with you…praying our faithful God will sustain you! Please know you are not alone and either is your daughter. Thank you for your truthfulness and honesty…I know that God will use this heart wrenching circumstance to bring glory to his name.

  82. Praying for you and your family………..

  83. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing with us. Now your prayer warriors can surround you in this time of heartache and sadness… So sorry this is happening!

  84. Praying for you and your family! So blessed by your continued trust in Him Who is all-knowing and all-loving, and trusting that He will meet your every need and assuage your every grief.

  85. I will hold your intentions close to my heart in prayers. While reading your post, I was reminded of St. Monica (mother of St. Augustin of Hippo). She spent her days on earth praying her son would come back to the Lord and her husband would convert to Christianity. Her story is amazing and it gives me hope. She is the perfect saint friend of moms. These names might not be familiar to you, but I encourage you to look up her story and if nothing else, find hope.

  86. Prayers for all of you!

  87. I cannot imagine what you are going through right now. Prayers are going up to the Father of Heavenly Lights who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

  88. Something similar happened to a dear friend of mine (right down to her mother–in this case a solid believer and also my dear friend–lending a hand). Take heart; this beautiful daughter is back home, restored and serving the Lord, with no family division that I know of.

  89. Heidi Potenza :

    My brother left home the day he turned 16 but under much less stable circumstances (we bounced between divorced households and custody battling parents for 11 years before he left). He floundered at odd jobs and sleeping on friend’s couches for a few years before he took his GED and got into the Army (which was the best thing for him). During that time, my parents were angry. I was angry and felt so betrayed as my closest brother – the one I had weathered all these storms with – left me too! We are now in our mid-40’s and closer than ever. He is very close with my mother (my father is deceased). Sometimes when these things happen, the only thing we have to keep us going is our faith. Remember, GOD HAS A PLAN!!! I will keep you in my prayers mama!

  90. I am praying for you and your family, Mrs. Pennington.

    Psalm 55:22
    “Cast your burden on the Lord,
    And He shall sustain you;
    He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

  91. Lisa, my heart is grieving with you today. Thank you for sharing with us how the relationship you have with Christ is sustaining you as you keep running back to Him especially during your walks and prayer time. It is also such a powerful reminder to read how His Word is comforting you. Please know that I am praying for you, your husband, your children, your daughter, and your parents. The Lord is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” Eph. 3:20 May He hear our cries on behalf of your daughter and redeem this situation in ways only He can do. (((Hugs)))

  92. Oh, Lisa, my heart hurts and aches for you and your family. I have followed your blog for years and have referred it to many moms. Your posts have always reflected a deep love for your children and a desire for them to walk with the Lord. I can only imagine the pain and betrayal you are suffering at this time.

    Yesterday my husband preached a sermon regarding the end times. He read from Matthew 24:8-13. He admonished us to guard our hearts and spirits from giving in to the emotions of offenses, betrayals, deceptions, and lawlessness. As verse 13 promises that “he who endures to the end shall be saved.” That is my prayer for your family, especially your children, that you will all be able to endure this horrific time in your life.

    I know words are so inadequate at this time. But, I pray your family finds courage, strength, love and grace in our feeble attempts to let you know we (your internet friends) love your family and stand with you as you face this storm.

  93. Jennifer strieby :

    My prayers and my thoughts are with you and your family! As well as with your daughter and your parents. May God’s glory be revealed and may His peace and wisdom envelop you!
    Much love your way,

  94. As a Christian, a Children’s Social Worker, and as one who has studied the history of the American Family, let me say you are not alone.

    I too suffered this alienation from an eldest daughter. She attended a liberal theology college against my advice. The ideas she obtained were against Scripture. And it became obvious she did not study it daily as before.

    She finally made false claims against me to remove herself from my life. I told her I loved her and did my best to help her understand that a maternal relative had abused her when she was 5. Her mother was there and affirmed the facts I gave her. Still she closed the door.

    At my church I learned of other parents who had this alienation, and others who had to have children leave the home as their rebellion was unbearable. From my social work, I dealt with immigrant parents who lost underage children to the streets and gangs as the kids got ‘Americanized’. And from Academia, I learned that seen in the history of the American family, every 40 years the morality in America gets 10 times worse. Think back 40 years and look at today, it will sink in. Then think ahead 40 years to the America our kids will be in, and consider our current morality 10 times worse. And you will feel an urge to pray for our children and grandchildren.

    My prayers are with you. God bless you for helping so many others with your openness. Thank you

  95. Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m sorry for the hurt and pain your family is going through. May God bring perfect peace upon your household and restoration where it is needed. Love you friend!

  96. Lisa,
    My deepest heartfelt sympathy for what you are going through right now. The key word is “through”. Keep this in mind, as this is a process that God is leading you through. Your story brought me right back to what I went through with my son when he was 17 and suddenly left our home under similar conditions.
    He is now 34 and it has taken several years of not giving up no matter what he tried to do to push us away to finally have a somewhat normal relationship. But it took years, and some of that meant just giving him space, but not too much. Meanwhile, we were dying inside, but outwardly, we had other kids who had to KNOW that they did nothing wrong and we just had a new normal.
    One thing that we did that was a big help, was that we quickly realized that no matter how wrong-headed it was my parents were only trying to help my son out of love for him. So we realized that by not forgiving them we were denying our other children not only access to their brother but the Grandparents that they dearly loved. So we had to forgive and sincerely forgive quickly for everyone’s sake. That way everyone took a small step on the bridge toward a relationship, and the siblings were able to start spending time together.
    Now I am not saying it was not a un-bumpy road with my parents, because there were plenty of pitfalls along the way, but with the help of the pastors at our church (we all got counseling) we were able to work things out. My son is another story, it took much longer, but I am happy to say that we have an adult friendship now. I still miss all those years in between that we will never have back, but it is what it is. Just take heart that it can and will work out the way that is His way.
    Your whole family is and will be in my prayers.

  97. Oh Lisa, my heart hurts for you. I can only imagine the pain you are feeling at this moment. The fact that your parents are involved makes this even more heartbreaking. At some point you have to let go and let her live with the choices she’s making. It’s not easy, living with a broken heart that you did not choose. It doesn’t just heal over night. Some pieces will never fully heal. But there’s hope Lisa. Amazing hope that you cannot possibly imagine. One day the sun will shine again. I will pray for you my friend.

  98. My heart grieves for you because my family walked a similar path when I was a child and my older sister left home in defiance and anger and destroyed the family I knew. My family did not handle it well and sadly, more than 30 years later, we still bear the scars. I watched my Mother break into pieces and always believed it was my job to make things better. I didn’t understand what was happening and I couldn’t make anything better, no matter how hard I tried. I will say a prayer for healing for your daughter and for your relationship with her to be restored … I will say a prayer for your broken heart … but I will also say a prayer for your younger children and that you and your husband will be able to teach them truth and guide them through this painful time for your family. It just makes me sad to watch another family walk through this particular heartache. Hugs and prayers from someone who has been there, not as a mother but as a sibling.

  99. michelle riffe :

    I will be praying for you and your family , God can move and make a way when there seems there is no way, and may He comfort you in this time of grief it is hard and a hard trial to walk through but Joy comes in the morning ….

  100. Lisa, I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I look at my little girl who is only 10-years old and pray that we never have to go the path that you are walking right now. God is still in control and I know that there is nothing that He cannot overcome.

  101. I have no words… just tears and prayers for you and your family.

  102. Dearest Lisa
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May Gods mercy and grace give you wisdom and peace. My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with All your heart Your sister in Christ. Michelle

  103. Love you, Lisa. Say prayers for you right now.

  104. Donna Threlkeld :

    Oh Lisa, thank you for allowing us to come together and lift you and your family up to the Throne of our most faithful ABBA!!! God knows all the details and that’s what’s important. He is our everlasting Father who if we seek His face we will see His finger prints all over our life even when we are in the depths of complete darkness. God says in Roams that we are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice but more times then often our pride, our fear step in the way of being transparent to those around us and the masks go on and we selective choose to show only the parts and the words of the situation to others, even to ourselves and to God. In James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other so that you may pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
    God is so faithful, He is our greatest healer, our most abundant provider and He collect each tear we cry. He knows before things happen the entire out come. He is by your side, keep reaching out intentionally to seek His face and He will show you His faithfulness, He will show you all you need to in it’s perfect timing. The beauty in sharing others our struggles and the more transparent we can be the more He can heal us while He works through us to touch the hearts and lives of others who need exactly what you have experienced. It is in the times of the most transparency that we can become so intimate with our Abba and He can show us the beauty of others He puts in our path. As you seek completely His face and the things He provides may you find great peace and refuge in the shelter of His wings. God has created each member of your family and it is His plan that each knee will bow and each tongue will confess before him so hold onto His promises. May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace.
    Richest Blessings Lisa!!!

  105. Dearest Lisa…..when I read your title to todays post, my heart completely sank. I was praying that it wasn’t anything with your husband. I was relieved when it was not. I am very , very saddened about the happenings with your daughter, and most of all your parents. I would never speak badly on either of them , as I don’t know them. You and your family are going through enough of hurt right now. You have so many people praying for you, including me! I will continue to keep you in my prayers, and hope that there is a resolution to all of this for your family. May God continue to bless you all!

  106. Lisa, I am praying fervently that everything will be resolved soon. ❤️

  107. Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing and giving me the opportunity to lift your family up in prayer.
    Like someone else who posted, I too walked through a sibling choosing to leave our family for a season. I remember the emotional struggle but today she of the six siblings, is one of the closest to my parents and to me. But God….!!!

  108. Michelle Waite :

    You story breaks my heart. I have recently had to sever relations with my abusive non- Christian parents. The events that led to it were very traumatic and it is hard to turn away and let God deal with them. I am praying for a Lazurus style miracle in my family and I pray for one in your family too.

  109. I have no words. I am so deeply sorry. All I know to do is to pray for you and your precious family over this hurt that is felt to the very core of your being. God is faithful. He is good. all. the. time. Praying for comfort and peace that only He can bring.. Thank you for trusting us with this. HUGS from Washington.

  110. I’m so sorry! I know how hard the teen years can be.


  111. How heartbreaking 🙁 praying you are hugged by His comfort today and always x x x

  112. I am so sorry, I will be praying for you and your family. I hope there is healing and restoration for you and your daughter, even if she never returns to your home. 🙂

  113. Dear sis, my heart is aching with you. I know firsthand how you much you are hurting and grieving for your daughter and your family. We are as well. We have 8 daughters & 2 sons, ages 4-17. My husband and I currently know the sleepless nights, the questions, knots in the stomach, the nausea, the heartbreak, the sobs & tears, the fears, the hopes and dreams shattered, the seeking to know where we need to repent, where we need to change & grow. And like you, we know the hope in the Lord! We have no idea what lies ahead. Our fears for our 15 year old child and the grief has us leaning more heavily on Him than ever before. As I pray for our family I will pray for yours, as well.

  114. oh Lisa, my heart is broken right along with you. My oldest daughter ran away from home 10 years ago at 16 years old. The heartache and deep grief just cannot be explained. Yet, Romans 8:28 was my strength even then. She is still a prodigal, but the Lord has been slowly bringing healing. Your family will be in my prayers.

  115. I am so sorry you are going through this. I can’t imagine how betrayed you must feel to have your parents involved s well. Our daughter did something similar at about the same age. She did not want to live by our rules. She left and we did not know where she was for a few days and then found she was at a friend’s house and her parents had not given us the courtesy of letting us know. She was back in a few weeks but it took quite some time to rebuild our relationship. She is 22 now and a graduate student. She lives with my parents which is closer to her university and attends church regularly. She still makes choices that we don’t agree with but things are much better. I pray your relationship with your daughter and your parents is restored. I also pray for comfort and strength for you

  116. Oh, Lisa, you are not alone! I KNOW this gut-wrenching pain, the sobbing, the cries to our Abba Father. As I read this post, it was as if I/we were reliving our dark providence from 4 years ago…Yet through it ALL, I wouldn’t trade any of it for none of it. Why? Because God has proven (and continues to prove!!) His graciousness, mercy, faithfulness, and trustworthiness. It is a very s.l.o.w. journey, I will not lie, but with prayer and the faithfulness and love of dear friends, God WILL make a way and He alone will be glorified. Isaiah 43: 1b-2: “…Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” ~hugs…tears…hugs…~

  117. I am praying for your precious family, Lisa – asking that God will restore you and that what the devil means for your detriment will not stand a chance against the goodness of our all powerful God – for His glory, in Jesus’ name. So thankful that you know and have your faith and trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our ever present help and hope in times of trouble. Asking that your daughter will be protected and gain His Wisdom and be the prodigal that returns home to you and all of those who love her, very soon, and that your parents will see the error of their guidance and become a source of help instead of division in all of your lives – that they, too, will be saved through Christ Jesus for the glory of God, in Jesus’ name. God bless you all, Lisa – I will be keeping you in my heart and prayers. ❤ in ✞

  118. I am so sorry for your pain and loss. It hurts when a loved one rejects you and all that you hold dear and precious. As we watch our almost 19 year old son go down the path of rebelliousnes I remind myself that I am not alone. Even Adam had a rebellious son, Cain. Adam and Eve were righteous and loving parents. I am sure they made lots of mistakes, every parent does, but in the end Cain
    willfuly rebelled against all his parents taught him and against God himself. God knows what it feels like to have a son rebel. Many righteous and good parents have lost their children to other influences and I am not alone in my pain. None of that fixes the problem but it does help to put it into perspective for me. I am probably rambling. So many thoughts, yet I can not seem to make the words convey what I want to say. I love you and your family. I hope and pay that through time you and your daughters heart’s will be healed, that you will be able to communicate openly and honestly with each other. I pray that forgiveness is manifested by all involved and that your relationship with your parents will also be healed. Hold onto your daughter. Show her continual love no matter her actions or decisions. Someday she will want to “come home”. You and your daughter and family and parents are in my prayers.

  119. My heart breaks for you and your family. Your love for the Lord shines through the pain and sings His praises…what a beautiful breath of fresh air. You are such an encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing your story, for sharing your heart and by doing so turning our eyes back to our faithful God. When the circumstances of life are overwhelming we have to fix our eyes on Him. A promise that I cling to is 1 Peter 5:10, ” And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” He is good and He is faithful. I am praying.

  120. Lisa, there are no words. I’m sure you are in a very difficult place but the Lord is your Anchor. We are praying for you, James and your daughter.

  121. God bless your family.. I will pray for you.

  122. A caring sister in Christ :

    I have followed your blog, Facebook and Instagram for some time and have always been blessed by it. I am in a similar situation and would like to share some words of wisdom that have been shared with me. Someone who gave me godly counsel said, “Just love her and let God take care of changing her heart.” I’ve also been told, “don’t focus on the soil; trust the seed!” You’ve planted good seed in your daughter’s heart and that will come forth in God’s time.

    Psalm 126:5-6
    “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I will include you all in my daily prayers for my daughter.

  123. Barbara Goodwin :

    I’m so sorry for your pain. Your daughter made her choice. God will not forsake you and all the years you have planted seeds in your daughter. Now it’s up to God .Let Him do His work and write her testimony.

  124. I will keep you and your family in my prayers!

  125. Shelby Reeves :

    Praying for peace, healing and restoration in your family.

  126. Debbie Dunbar :

    I am so sorry. I can only imagine the pain you are experiencing from your situation;n but I know from experience that our children can hurt us like no other.
    Nahum 1:7

  127. Praying for you and your family, Lisa. We’ve been walking a similar path with our oldest daughter for several years, so I feel your Mama pain. I know God is faithful and He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it. He will carry you and your family through this.
    Love and Prayers to you, my sister.

  128. My thoughts and prayers are with you! I cannot imagine your pain. May God help you and all your family to weather this storm — may He also help your parents and daughter. I am so very very sorry to hear of what happened. My love to you all as well. Hugs to your entire family!


  129. So sorry for your family’s troubles. Praying for all of you <3

  130. paul and jane :

    Almost 2 years ago my youngest daughter ran off to marry a young man (yet considerably older than she). It took us by surprise and the night she left was torturous. I KNOW how you are feeling.

    We knew the man for some time and he faithfully attended our church. We actually liked very much and I ministered to him often. Yet I believed he was not necessary right for my daughter. (My mistake)

    God had other things in mind…and in all the hurt, sorrow, anger and shame…He worked it out.

    It is true that these children need to grow up, sometimes without us and our help, to really understand how much we love them and have done all to teach and protect them.

    The Scripture tells us that if we raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord WHEN THEY ARE OLD, they will not depart from it.

    My daughter and her husband now have a beautiful baby boy…our first grandchild, and our relationship is a blessing. Of course this did not come about without some heart to heart discussions, repentance and forgiveness mind you…but it is well now.

    They worship with us, visit each Lord’s day with us and are always close at hand.

    Here is what I learned: I have learned that I have a lot to learn. I made many mistakes along the way becasue I could not see through to God’s providence. I used the lens of my emotion only and it deceived me. But the Lord worked it out despite it all.

    The end of the matter is simple, while not at all easy: Trust God, keep His commandments and have patience.
    Be always ready when that opportunity come around to forgive. God bless you.Time will begin to dipell the fog so that you might see the Lord in His infinite wisdom.

  131. Susan McCurdy :

    You have my prayers. (and I will pray for your parents and daughter as well). Life can be so humbling ….and I think things with our children humble us the most. You are right in that things won’t ever the be same but can I encourage you that “this too shall pass” ….keep breathing prayer’s and waking up and walking forward in love and “this, too, shall pass.” You won’t be the same again but you will get “sea legs” that help you walk straight at you try to keep you balance in the midst of this horrible storm. May God give you a sense of his love and peace as you put this situation and your child in His hands. He is faithful.

  132. Lisa, no one can empathize with you more than someone who has been through a heartbreak with a child. I have; I have a prodigal and my heart aches for you. God has been faithful to show up and soothe pain, provide comfort, and fill the wounds of a broken heart. He is enough during this time, and I am praying that you are finding peace. God bless you, Susan

  133. Lisa – you have been unknowingly there for me through so much of my own pain. In that, you have shown me that pain is actually joy. Strangely, congratulations… built a woman through faith – that is in her soul and she will return. She may not return soon, but your roots you planted in this young woman are in there. They are roots and roots grow. I pray you see the wonder and amazement that you are raising your children with faith. Pain comes because we have joy. As you grieve, believe. Believe in yourself, your husband, your faith and what you have given….your roots. You don’t know me, but I love you.

  134. Jill Vutpakdi :

    Lisa, I am so very sorry for the pain you are going through. Praying for you, James, your beautiful daughter, and the rest of the family.

  135. *hugs and cries with you*

    I’ll be praying for everyone in this situation. I can only imagine the sorrow your household is feeling right now, and I’ll be praying that the Lord is glorified in this.

  136. Praying for your situation…..the enemy seeks to destroy 🙁

  137. Oh Lisa I have no idea where you live but I just want to drive all night to give you hug. I cannot even begin to fathom the depth of your despair and the level of pain you are in. I am just absolutely speechless at the actions of your parents. Such a deep and hurtful betrayal. From the bottom of my heart I am so very sorry for this situation.
    Here is what I can say that I know in my heart to be true. Our God is bigger than anything. I know that you know this. I am giving praise that you are keeping so strong in your faith. It will carry you through during this difficult time.
    I promise you the sun will shine again. Our family is still in recovery and will remain so for a good long time from an absolutely horrific event that occurred over two years ago. In the early days the only thing I could pray was “Lord, help us to see what you want us to learn from this trial.” We are still waiting… but there is peace. There is love. Because there is Jesus.

  138. Oh, Lisa – although you don’t know me, other than through our IG feeds and blogs, I feel like we are dear friends. There is not much I can add to all that has been written. Some strong words of comfort and support have been said. You have done well with your daughter. You have planted the seed. It is her turn to tend to it. Although she may be going about it differently than you prefer, she may very well be doing just that. I obviously don’t know the story, but I do know that God has a plan for all of us. He has a reason, that is unknown so far, as to why all of you are going thru this. He will not forsake you, your husband or any of your loved children. Being a mom of 25, 22 and 12 year old daughters, I have experienced the teen years. They are not fun. I have had to do it alone, as a single mom. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. When something like this happens, I don’t know about you, but I immediately try to look in the past and see what I may have done wrong, or what I did to lead my daughter to do the things she’d done. I blame my self, far more than I should. I’ve learned a lot! And while going thru the trials, it’s difficult to remember, but there is always a purpose, always a lesson, always a reason. Please know that I am praying for you, James, your daughter, your parents and your children. I’m praying for peace . . . that peace that passes all understanding. I’m praying that you and James will find the guidance and knowledge as to best handle the situation, not only with your daughter, but with your parents, as well. It would be hard not to feel betrayed. Then I go to the 5th Commandment and have often had a hard time with that one. I pray that you will find the strength to be there for your children at home, when they need not only an extra hug, but answers. It’s not an easy task. I pray that you will find time to spend alone with James. Lean on each other. Love each other. Know that the two of you have done a stellar job as parents. You only have to look as far as the rooms in your home to know that you are loving parents who only want the best for your children. You have taught them well. Your daughter is smart. She leaves you with the knowledge and the love that you’ve given her, her entire life. That part will never change. No matter what she does, the love you have for her will never diminish. My daughters have done some things I NEVER thought they would, but my love for them is stronger now than ever. Please know that you are loved by so many. You have been there for me (and I’m sure for so many others out there) more times than I can count, without even knowing it. By your words of compassion and support, by your lessons, by your laughter, by your tears. Love to you my friend. It will get better. I promise. God bless –

  139. I will pray for you et you’re daughter. I don’t know you personaly but God kows you personaly. You are His daughter.


  140. I am praying for all of you.

  141. I know. All of it. It happened to us 8 years ago. By writing it here, and walking it out publicly, you WILL glorify God in it. I know, because it did for me.

    Please know that the Lord lessens the pain. He will give you words to speak to your other children. He will help you show them how to pray for their sister. In my prayer for you, your precious family and your daughter, I remind the Lord of the good seed planted in your daughter that He will cause to be tended and flourish. Find the promises of God that reflect the wonderful life of loving and serving the Lord and speak them over your daughter.

    8 years later, my son is making his way back. The Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.

    Cristy S.

  142. I have felt so much of your pain over the last couple of years. My daughter moved out of my house at 17 years old, because she was mad that my husband (her step-dad) had accepted a job promotion that would move us out of state. My daughter has zero coping skills, so all she does is run away from her problems. In the past 2 years, she has moved no less than 10 time, been arrested, admitted herself to a psychiatric ward to avoid a court date, and now she is pregnant. While she has not excluded me totally from her life, most of her conversations with me are riddled with lies (all making her out to be the victim, the one who is being wronged in whatever situation she has gotten herself into)…she has told lies about me and my husband to other family members. So on top of wondering what happened to send my daughter flying over the deep end, I know also have a grandchild to worry about.
    And I also have an 8 year old who doesn’t understand why he has a sister that wants nothing to do with him…
    I say all this to say, you are not alone! Many parents out there know the pain you feel. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have the betrayal of your own parents thrown on top of that.
    You and your family are in my prayers tonight…I pray for peace, comfort, and understanding.
    God Bless you for writing such a difficult post.

  143. A verse that gives me comfort and release so often is this…
    Psalm 32:10
    the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

    Praying you are able to trust.

  144. I am praying for your family. Over 20 years ago my oldest child left home under similar circumstances. I will not sugar coat it for you. It was very, very hard and many mistakes were made by my child and by me. But, God is faithful in spite of our weaknesses and especially in our weaknesses. He protected my child through many wrong choices and brought him back to our family. My son is now 40 years old, a faithful husband and a wonderful father. God has blessed us with a good and loving relationship. I would like to be able to say that he is also a faithful follower of Christ, but God is still working on him. His teenage children are faithful Christians and his wife is searching with an open heart. God protects, sustains, heals and restores. Love to you and your family.

  145. My heart ached reading this because I know the pain you’re feeling. When we adopted a sibling group of 3 (we have two bio kids as well) we had no idea the grief and anguish that would be our lives. From sexual abuse before she came to us to false allegations our oldest daughter ripped our hearts out and I thought I’d never recover. The happy family we pictured was missing one when she left to go to a facility for sexually abused children and never came home again. Her younger siblings were unattached as well and we spent years putting the pieces together again. It was a decade of heartache. Add to that taking care of my elderly parents and my mom dying due to nursing home neglect and you have a prescription for devastation. Yet somehow we got through it because our hearts desire was to glorify God. I’m so sorry for your pain but God can redeem these days. God doesn’t ask us to be perfect, just available. Praying for your heart and your family.

  146. Shirley Lafayette :

    Dear Lisa and James, my heart breaks for you and your daughter and your parents. I’m sure they must be as devastated as you are. It makes parents sick to their stomach when there is strife between them and their children. I know you know that I have had my share of grief for many years but I read something in an obituary yesterday of a Catholic priest I had admired by knowing him through some friends in Wimbledon. He passed away a couple of days ago and he quoted this. He said God’s enduring message to each of us is to “Choose Happiness.” “And when the storms of life seem overwhelming, “Don’t pray the storm away, just invite Jesus into your boat.” May God bless all of you & lift the heaviness from your hearts. Love to all of you.

  147. Here is a scripture to pray for your daughter, inserting her name, until she returns to you, as our Father in Heaven has promised… “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:17-21

    Here is a prayer, inserting your daughters name and even yours, if you would like, combining 2 scriptures from Ephesians 1:16-21 and 3:14-19…
    Father, in the Name of Jesus Christ, I ask that you would give to ____________ the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, that the eyes of _____________’s understanding would be enlightened; that ____________ may know what is the hope of Your calling, what are the riches of the glory of Your inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of Your power toward us who believe, according to the working of Your mighty power which You worked in Christ when You raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at Your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And that You would grant to ____________ , according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with might through Your Spirit in their inner man, that Christ may dwell in their heart through faith; that ____________, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that ____________ may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    And as acknowledgment that God’s Word does not return unto Him void, but accomplishes that for which He sent it, knowing that He watches over His Word to perform it…
    Father, I thank you in the Name of Jesus Christ, for giving to ____________ the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, thank you that the eyes of _____________’s understanding are being enlightened.

    Jeremiah 31:16-17 “Thus says the LORD: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work (raising of your children, prayer) shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they (your children) shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope (something you can expect) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border (place of peace and safety and well being).” NOTE – Don’t place your focus on how bad it may be now, instead look to the the promise of the Word and the power of the Lord to bring it about and begin to rejoice – their coming back!!!

    Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” You have done this, therefore you can claim it in the name of Jesus, the NAME above all other names! Praise God and I praise with you. When it hurts the most sing praises to Him.

    For your other children… Isaiah 54:13 “And all your children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of your children.

    Psalm 138:8 “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me (my children);Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

    Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage (inheritance) from the LORD.” NOTE – Your children do not belong to the devil, as this Scripture clearly states, they are an inheritance from the Lord. So command the devil to take his hands off and begin to proclaim that they belong to the Lord!

    Isaiah 59:21 “As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: [the people of God] My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.” NOTE – Accept this as a promise, and begin to see in your minds eye, your children and your entire family line serving the Lord and proclaiming the Word of God. Instead of fear or dread because of what might be happening in the natural, begin to look beyond to the eternal, and begin to praise Him for bringing this promise to pass – after all, it is a covenant!!! Remember, it takes just as much energy to worry as it does to believe God. So aim it in the direction that will do the most good – worry is always unproductive and operates in the realm of unbelief.

    Deuteronomy 30:6 “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. NOTE – Because of your dedication and walk with the Lord, because of the covenant in which you have entered into with Him, His favor and grace goes out to your children and He will draw them in.

    I pray God’s loving kindness and tender mercies over you and your family and for His strength to be manifested in you during this difficult time. I hope this helpful to you at a time when it may be too hard to find words to pray.

    God bless you fully and completely, Tina

  148. Dear Erma,

    I know The One Who knows the pain you feel and attempted to describe. I’m going to talk to Him about you and your wonderful family. Please know that I’m so very, very sorry for what has happened. I believe with all my heart that God will prove Himself to you in greater measures than you ever could imagine.

    I follow sweet Patience’s blog. What a great help she is to me and my camera, and what a sweet spirit she has. I pray for her and all her siblings, parents and grandparents, too.

    You are a good mother, Lisa. You and your husband have done your best. No, you are not perfect as you stated; no one is, no parent is, and no child is. So, oh, how grateful we are that our Lord loves us, no matter what. I have a lump in my throat, trying to fathom your heartbreak.

    Here’s a hug from Hawai’i. I’m on my trek back to Guam and Manila, my friend. May the God of all peace surround you. Underneath are His everlasting arms.

    Love you, sis!

  149. Oh Lisa, my heart is sore reading this. I have no words, but please know that I am weeping with those who weep right now. I hope you will feel sustained by the prayers of your sisters in Christ. Flee under the shelter of the shadow of His wings … easy for me to say, but I will be praying that the God is is *called* Comforter will comfort you in ways I can not begin to imagine.

    I can truly say that I’ve never loved you and your family like I love you today.

    Psalm 57:1. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee; yea in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities by over-passed”

  150. I’ve been reading your blog often lately…enjoying your posts about decorating, along, and parenting. Thank you for opening up to your readers, and allowing us to pray for your family. I will be praying for you.

  151. Mary Beth Elderton :

    I am going to be the one who says something different to you. You called your own mother “godless” and called her advice “foolish.” Your own mother. That might be a point that needs reflection while you deal with your own daughter.

    • In case anyone else also misunderstood, I was not talking about my mother there. The godless woman was someone else. I would never say that about my own mother as it would definitely be dishonoring. Lisa~

    • Lisa, I am so sorry. Makes me want to throw up for you. I can’t stomach unresolved relational issues. It is so hard to live peacefully in the midst of this. I can assure that God will fight for you. He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children and children back to their fathers. His promises are true in the midst of this weary land! You can hold fast to the truth. Capture your imagination and believe God. Don’t give any energy to this rebellion by aligning your words with it. Align your words with Truth. Let God be true and every man a liar! I believe for full restoration in JESUS MIGHTY NAME!!
      Love you my dear friend.

    • Mary Beth Elderton I hope you have apologized to Lisa. You offered no words of encouragement.

    • Mary Beth, that was very rude. You jumped to a conclusion. Since you posted publicly I think you should write Lisa an apology publicly.

      • No, it’s really OK. I think she was just trying to help. Social media and online is so hard to communicate. Thanks friends for being supportive though. I really do feel it. Lisa~

  152. Lisa, my heart is broken with you. I haven’t had a child leave likev you but, with having 6 kids at home have been faced with heart ache over wrong choices they have made. God knows your heart and He cares more than words can convey. Don’t ever give up hope! You are in my prayers! !

  153. Praying for you.

  154. Dear Lisa,
    I am so sorry you and your family are suffering so much pain. God is greater than all of this and He will come forth the Victor. He knows the beginning from the end, and He has your best as well as your daughter’s best as part of His perfect plan.
    I have been praying for you all ever since I first read this last night. This morning my husband and I prayed together.
    “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.”” Isaiah 12:3,4
    Our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His Son provides us with wells of salvation. Drink deeply today, sweet friend, and be refreshed!

  155. Sending prayers and hugs your way.

  156. Grieving especially over the betrayal of your parents. Thank you for your courage in sharing; your honesty was a great encouragement to us as we struggle through some difficult parenting as well. Praying that your older grown daughter and your adult son can have an influence on your absent daughter’s life.

  157. hi lisa. My eyes filled with tears not only for you and your family but remembering what I have gone through with my son. Times like these leave you exhausted, confused and sad. I am so sorry you are going through this rough patch with your daughter as I’m sure she is struggling also. It’s so hard as a parent to watch our children doing things that we wish they wouldn’t. One of the best comforts that I had was I knew I raised him well and things were out of my controll. So I focused on how I would react. And trust me when I say I didn’t always react well but I’m learning. It truly hurts your heart. But stay strong, pray and love. Sending you and your family a virual hug.
    Lesley Ann

  158. Lisa, I am praying for your family. I hope you don’t mind if I ask a question- What were some of the things she wanted to change? I ask because I, too, try to instill Godly values to my children and struggle with the disconnect between that and the rest of society. I’m wondering if it is anything along those lines.

  159. I know it was God that lead me to your post today. I went through a betrayal from my 19 yr old this past summer that rocked me to the core. My heart grieved. Your trust and faith in God encouraged me. I didn’t react as nice as you did. I just couldn’t understand how God could have allowed this. It rocked my faith and grieved me so. Thank you for sharing the truth that only God can see us through this and I must rely on Him. You have no idea how much your post has encouraged and convicted me. I’ll be praying for you!! Thank you so much!!

  160. Just sending peace and love your way ~

  161. Lisa,
    i can only imagine how much your mama heart is breaking right now! can i just say THANK YOU for your transparency and honesty – it’s refreshing and encouraging and such a great reminder that our children and their lives do not belong to us. they are on loan to us from the Father and we do our best love them and be faithful to our calling as parents… but even if we WERE able to do everything “right” there are no promises that they will make all the choices we would make for them. they belong to the Father, your daugher belongs to her creator, and HE is faithful and HE loves her even more than you, and none of this was a surprise to Him so he can handle her heart and he can bring healing and comfort to your mama heart and the rest of your sweet family. praying for healing and for reconciliation…

  162. Lisa, I want to offer you some encouragement…I haven’t been in your exact situation as I am a young mother, but I do know a little of what you are going through. You see, my mother left me when I was 10 years old…she divorced my dad and disappeared, and I didn’t hear from her again for over 8 years. When I did hear from her again, I found out that she was in a place that only pulled me down, and I had to cut off communication with her so that I could be the best mother that I could be to my children. The pain is still there. It has never gone away. But neither has God or His love for me. With His help I have made it through, and I am stronger and wiser because of it. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I do know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him. Keep the faith!

  163. Two things. When this happened to us, what got us through the long tough years was the examples of the patriarchs. God’s promises were always fulfilled, and they remained faithful even when they did not see that fulfillment in their lifetimes. I’m praying your child is building a testimony right now, and down the road, there will be a sweet reunion. It was 5 years for us.
    Secondly, we were blindsided by this in our family. It shook our foundations, and left behind a big mess of our whole family. We made some bad choices early on in reaction to this. We didn’t see it coming, at all. We no longer had any faith in our ability to parent or to discern what was going on with our kids. Please guard your hearts against this enemy attack. Keep in mind that God has allowed each of us free will, and it’s not our parental jurisdiction. Wish there was something to be said that would really comfort, but it is a long hard road of daily ,often hourly, returning to the lap of our Great Comforter.

  164. Praying!

  165. “But I know the truth. That I can recover and become stronger with God’s help.”

    Yes. That is the wonder of walking with Jesus: He brings beauty from ashes.

    (sending up a prayer)

  166. A friend of mine sent me your blog post knowing that I have been through what you are going through. I used to have a website called Mothers of Prodigals, but now just a blog Helping Hurting Parents of Prodigals. I know your pain. I know what you are going through and so do many others. My prodigal was gone for 6 years, we are now reconciled, which was just a miracle of God’s grace about 3 years ago. It was the most painful thing I have ever gone through, and I am sitting here sobbing for you, because I know just how you feel. My parents also commended his behavior. It took me a long time to forgive them, but we must forgive, because they know not what they do. I hope my blog will be helpful to you. I longed for understanding and encouragement during those years.

    I really felt like it helped me to heal by writing and reaching out to others who were hurting in the same way. I hope you find some comfort and hope, and I would like to say that it sounds like you have a strong faith to keep you focused in the storm.
    This is my first post on that blog…

  167. As a mother, my heart aches for you. Trust in God. Remember being 18. At that age you think you are a grown up and that you know everything, neither of which is true. Trust that you raised a smart and responsible young woman who right now will be learning life lessons. It is not easy to let go but hang on to your faith and let it guide you. Let your daughter know you are always there for her “no matter what” and hopefully she will find her way back to you. You and your family are in my prayers.

  168. Thank you for sharing this heartache, burden and trial in your life. God hears the vast prayers of His children on your behalf. Keep trusting in the Lord, this event is no surprise to Him. I will be praying for all of you especially your daughter’s heart in all this.

  169. Lisa,

    I am praying for you.

  170. Oh, Lisa, I’m so very sorry to hear about what you and your family are going through! I am praying for your entire family. I admire your faith and trust that God will lead you through this even though you don’t know what the outcome will be. Also, I pray that you can live without guilt knowing that we all make mistakes as parents. Blessings and hugs to you, my friend!

  171. Dear Lisa, I am so sorry for you and your family. I have been through something similar with my first born son. At one point, we didn’t even know where he was laying his head at night!! He was a prodigal for some years. Last week, he moved back into our home. Tonight, he and I and his younger brother are going out for burgers at Red Robin! 🙂 There may be a different outcome for you all but from reading your posts, I am assured that you know the one to run to for help! The Lord and some of his precious people got me through the darkest time of my life. I understand the crying into a pillow while hidden away. I wish I could reach out and hug you and pray with you. I really had a hard time beating myself up, blaming myself and regretting so many things. Some of the things my son felt about us were absolutely shocking! I know it was all a scheme of satan but prayer has turned our situation around. My son hasn’t returned to church but his speech and interests seem to be circling back to spiritual things. We love him unconditionally. Hang in there sweet sister in Christ.

  172. Dear one, your story sounds much like mine. Tears, prayers. It is indeed a journey with grief. Praying you will be continue to keep your eyes on Jesus. Praying for balm for your hurting soul. If you ever want to email chat with someone, I am available. I will be following your journey on your blog.

  173. My heart hurts with you. Praying for you and your precious family.

  174. Oh Lisa! I have been a follower of yours since you taught a class at Snap ’13. My heart breaks for you and as I read your story, it makes me realize that I have a story I have been wanting to share. Not because its a happy story but because I hope that I can help someone or have someone feel like they aren’t the only one going through troubled times. Short version of a much longer story my 19 year old (step) son, told us a year an a half ago that his girlfriend was pregnant. We have spent countless hours praying for him, his girlfriend, and their baby. The baby was born healthy and momma recovered well. Since then my son has chosen to only finish his first year of college to come back this last summer and marry his girlfriend. I can’t help but worry and stress over the troubled relationship they have and the future life they’ll lead. He is now awaiting test scores and a bootcamp date for the army, in the mean time they have 6 months we are allowing them to live with us. We are trying, really trying to not pass judgment, not complain about her and her parenting and especially about the negative way she treats our son. But I have to remember that no matter how rough it is, God has a plan. God knows what he is doing even if we don’t. Sorry to leave a short book, but I felt compelled to share my story, maybe one day I will have the courage to share the whole thing. God bless. xoxo

  175. Lisa,
    I have been through this , please feel free to write or call me.

    I have a LONG list of prodigals I am praying for.

    I will write more later. I love you and begin praying now for your family and your broken hearts.

    In Christ Jesus,

  176. I will surely pray for your situation. God gives us grace each day. And He is sufficient. Your heart must be breaking, but the Lord says He is close to the broken hearted. You have a great community of sisters here who are doing the same.

  177. Oh Lisa I am so sorry to hear about your family troubles. I barely go on Facebook any more and I’m supposed to be asleep now but it seems GOD had other ideas. A verse from Proverbs came to mind…teach a child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will not part from it. That is a promise! Whatever is happening in your precious daughters life and whoever is influencing her right now God has promised that she will come back to you and hold fast to your teaching. I’m sure you know as well as I do that you have to have troubles to appreciate the good we had/have.

    I have been trying to get my parents a house to rent near me (they live 400 miles away) and in the nearly 2 years since I last saw them important family events have been missed/spent apart. It’s caused a lot of asking GOD why and tears every time a house falls through. The stress has caused my psoriasis to get worse and I feel as if I’m in a cross between a rollercoaster and a tornado. My faith has come to the very edge and I came very close to turning my back on GOD. I made it through my teens and lots of bullying at school without losing my faith so for me to come so close was huge! The point I’m making is its great you are holding fast to God through all this and not doubting him. At the end of the day he is in control and we just have to take a deep breath and decide to trust him once again. I can imagine how hard it has been to share this with us and be completely open and honest. You are an inspiration!

    One final thing…while you won’t be able to stop the soul searching and questioning every decision you made in your daughters life and seeing maybe many mistakes made remember Jesus died on the cross so you can have unconditional forgiveness. So recognise those mistakes, apologise if you can and then leave them at the foot of the cross. I will be praying for you. I pray especially that God will show you how and when to rebuild bridges with your daughter and maybe even your parents and how to support the children still at home. May God’s presence be oh so close to you all right now. I pray you literally feel his arms around you and the warmth another body gives off. May it be a comfort for you and all your family. Much love, Teri xxx

  178. Prayers. No advice. I can tell your internal compass is pointed north to Heaven and you are getting wise counsel from The Word and from wise counselors. I will tell you that we went through torment that had some of the same markings. God was so near and so precious and personal and saw us through. No storybook endings but lots of comfort and eventually a life beyond the raw grief where we are fulfilled and thriving again. Precious sister, I’m praying for you.

  179. Dearest Lisa,
    That was incredibly brave of you to put this out here. So many of us out here are, or have, gone through things, like this that have rocked our whole world and seemed to tear it apart. I can offer no words of wisdom, there is no way to ‘fix it’ but I hope that you can draw some small comfort and lean on our strength as well. You and your family are doing your best to get through the grief (and it is grief) and trauma associated with your situation. Take hold of your faith and give all that you can to the Lord, I know that is what you are doing right now and trust that you and your family will be in my constant prayers. Love and Hugs, Caroline xoxoxo

  180. Alisa WHITING :

    All we can do is try our best. No recriminations, no second guessing. It is soul destroying. Accept, breathe, move forward.

    My son walked out. I called, chatted, met for a lunch here, a dinner there. No fighting, no pleading, no drama. Just let him know my door was always open, always said I love you, treated him no differently other than confirming his participation at holidays, plans for birthday get togethers, etc. Two years later- he came home. He has since told me that he had felt so guilty about leaving he was uncomfortable to be around me. Since I didn’t argue or try to change his choice, he was able to relax while we chatted about mundane items. His communication with me became better, our bound strengthened until he felt I accepted him as he was and my love was unconditional. So he figured he may as well come home.

    I am sending you strength, healing and hugs. I pray that your relationship with your daughter, your heart, is able to withstand the current changes. May you find a happy resolution for all of your children somewhere down the road on your journey. Give it time, give them all love and attention and don’t lose hope.

  181. You are not alone Lisa!! I have, now as of August 10th (the day after my second daughter’s 18th birthday), two prodigal daughters. God would not have put the prodigal son story in the Bible if He didn’t think we’d need to read it (for various reasons). Also, 2 Timothy 3:2 addresses it as well. She is HIS daughter first. You just have to release her back to Him. Praying for you!

  182. Lifting you and your family to the Father in prayer. Run to the peace…the Peacemaker. We will never understand some things that we are made to bare in this life. Only on the other side will the pain we have to endure make sense. Jesus was betrayed and His heart broken. Run to Him for comfort and peace and let His peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. There is a video I wish I could post for you here that helped me not long ago to understand how to stay in perfect peace when all hell is breaking loose around us. Praying He leads you and your family into a brighter tomorrow and peace through the storm.

  183. Phyllis Sandoval :

    Dearest Lisa,
    Transparency like yours is rarely seen. I was deeply moved as you described your feelings of loss and betrayal. I am writing today to encourage you. My daughter left me suddenly and unexpectedly in the company of a godless, foolish older woman. No parents involved. I was bereft, heartbroken, cast down, and sitting in the Lord’s lap for a long time. Here is the scripture I hung my heart upon:
    Isaiah 43: 5-6 “Fear not, for I am with you; from the east I will bring back your offspring, from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north: Give them up! and to the south: Do not hold them!
    Bring back my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.”
    I believed this promise, even though there were years of unanswered texts, phone calls, cards not acknowledged, flowers sent never acknowledged. Letters sent to her by well meaning relatives were unanswered.
    After two unbearable years she finally answered a text and said she would see a counselor with me. We are now reconciled. Glory to God, alone. She does not walk with Him. But there is hope for her….and for you with your beloved daughter. Praying for you. I hope it helps to know others have walked this long and painful road, and had a good outcome.
    With Love,

  184. Praying for you and your family my dear friend. {{hugs}} from Colorado.

  185. I share a similar story as your daughter. I do believe through it all, God has kept His hand , watched over me, kept me safe. So many wrong choices I made and yet I am here today, very blessed and grateful. Married with children. I love the Lord with all my heart. Regardless of my mistakes, He’s made it right.

  186. Dear Lisa,

    as a mother I feel with you and pray you will find, over time, a way to reconcile with your daughter.

    Let me share two things with you, I hope, that could make the situation a little easier:

    As a mother, you have the power of giving life. This is the second hardest thing, I have ever done in my life. but its a gift god gave me and it its my duty to pass it on. The hardest thing in my life will be, to let my son go, when he is old enough. I will not only give life to him, i I’m going to hand it to him like god did to humankind when he gave us free will. Now it is up to us /then it will be up to him to live the right life.

    The second thing is my own experience as a daughter: my parents aren’t bad people or divorced or anything like that, but they have spent many years together and changed in different directions. Very often they would fight over things, bicker etc. As a young adult that drove me crazy, togehter with all the little things like my dad being so canny, that I felt cold in the evenings when the heating was out, among other things. I was probabyl the only person in the universe being so freezy… I needed to move out, little things that, on their own, were minor problems. But they turned to a big problem, because I had them EVERY DAY, and I started to get mad even befroe they actually occured.
    I was old enough, many of my friends moved out to study a year before when they got 18, so I moved into my boyfriend’s place. It took a few years and disctance, but now my parents and I are best friends again. I don’t have to cope with their little things, and we actually enjoy so much the thime we are together.
    I am very glad to have them in my life.

    What I want to say is, that when you accept, that your daughter has started to make her own decisions, an give her time, this is a chance to improve your relationship. God gave us free will. We decided freely to love him. I’m sure, you will be loved again.



    PS: I’m now happily married to said boyfriend and we have the best son on earth.
    Please excuse my mistakes, english is not my first language…

  187. Deborah Gullett :

    I am praying for you and your family! The best advice I can give is to forgive everyone you think wronged you. If you can’t right now then pray for them until until you can.

  188. I am so sorry for what you are going through, but thank you for writing about it. I needed to read this. I too suffered a betrayal but my prodigal was my husband. I had some problems with my mother and felt she had also abandoned me during the difficult months following the discovery of his betrayal. All can be restored! I love your faith. God got me through horrible times just like He will you. One of the hardest things for me has been letting go of what I thought my life was and how I wanted it to be. You called it grief over a selfish loss, and you’re right. It is selfish. I needed to read that this morning. Thank you.

    It’s been four years, and my husband is still with me. He is an amazing, loving husband and father. He has become better than the man he was, the man I thought I had lost forever. My relationship with my mother has also been healed. I know you feel hurt by them, but your parents need your forgiveness, too. All can be restored by He who is able “to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

    I am praying for you and your entire family.

  189. I’m so sorry that your family is going through this trial and grief. There is a book that may help you in your healing process (when you are ready and not so raw). It is: The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell

    This is a powerful book that has helped me to deal with pain, forgiveness, and healing. My prayers are with you .

  190. Prayers!!! My family experienced something very, very familiar. It was tough! Let me share with you that my daughter is now 26 and in a happy place and we have a wonderful relationship!! We didn’t get here overnight, but we got here! God can and I believe will restore your relationship!! Keep trusting God and keep praying!!! It’s hard to feel and show the grace needed toward your daughter and parents and even the woman who gave bad advice, but with prayer it will come. Grace and forgiveness is crucial to restoring the relationship. That being said, boundaries are important too! I pray you and your family find the wisdom to handle the situation and come through it stronger and in a better place! Don’t give up!!! Hugs!!

  191. Hello Lisa,

    Can I give you a little advice? I have experience with this kind of thing which is why I feel I know what you are going through.

    This is what comes to my mind:

    -firstly: remember how much your daughter loves you. How can I say this? Because children always love their parents, not because their parents do or don’t deserve it but because they need to have parents to love, it is a biologiqcal need and you are the only ones they are ever going to get. No one else will ever be mom.

    -secondly: because of your understandable pain, you aren’t seeing things realistically. Your relationship with your daughter is in no way over. She is 18. Give her time. What she is going through is not going to last till she is 80. Somethings children have to fight certain situations alone. It is a well know fact of life. Trust her capacity to come through with time.

    -third thing: be as positive as possible when discussing what happened with sibblings. A lot of our experiences can be dramatic or not depending on how we preceive them. After all, moving out when you are 18, in some families is quite normal and while everyone would hope it to happen more smoothly, it is not as if she was 13. Maybe it was fear of your refusal which pushed her to operate so dramatically, but maybe there is nothing else wrong at all.

    It seems to me a lot of your pain, is not so much due to facts but due to what you imagine the situation to be. We need to learn to accept the cross God places in our life but refuse the cross the devil places in our imaginations.

    As you said, you don’t know why she left. So leave her to God and apply biblical hope. We are not to ignore facts as christians but we have every right and duty to hope the best until proved wrong. God blesses his children as a rule and puts them through suffering only occaisonnally in a measured way. (He is suffering too) It is therefore unlikely this will finish the way you feel it will when you are in pain. Flee feelings which are the devils play ground and stick to facts.

    -“Forget” your 18 year old for now, and concentrate on your younger children who still need you and reconize it. You raised her, it is done, you gave the best you had to give, you weren’t God ‘(absolutely perfect), but she isn’t either and sooner or later life will teach her this and she will come back for certain. The more she feels you are in peace with the situation, the easier it will be for her to make the step of recontacting. The more dramatically the family takes this situation, the harder it will be for her to come back as she will fear your reaction and fear facing dramatic consequences of what she did. Therefore don’t allow the situation to have dramatic consequences. If possible write to her and tell her you accept that she needs this time, you love her but don’t begrudge her a time a little distant, tell her everything is fine and tell her to let you know if some time she wants to pop in for a visit or have a friendly phone call to give her news. Dedramatize the whole situation and forsake putting any pressure on her it will help sibblings, it will help her, and it will help you.

    Just to add, it sounds to me like you handled this situation perfectly, you have nothing to feel bad about. God allowed this and he is in control, forgot the past and concentrate on your reaction.

    God bless,


    • Thank you for that advice Elisabeth! Something I needed to hear too… since that is exactly how I’ve handled things with my daughters. Sometimes it seems the “less-dramatic”… seem to be the “less caring”. And that’s not the truth at all. I care very much. But why force relationships? Especially when I still have other children to raise.

  192. Lisa,

    I’m pretty much a heathen, but read and enjoy your blog. My heart goes out to you, your husband and children who are still at home, and your daughter. I hope you look to your faith and just take each day as it comes and let time heal you and yours and, perhaps, bring you all closer together. I am thinking of you all and hoping for brighter days for each of you.

  193. Chelsea Keesler :

    I am not a mother, so I can’t fully understand what it is you’re feeling and going through right now. I am a daughter, though, who moved out on bad terms with my mother, and I can tell you this. She’s an adult now. So, she will either go and learn to be an adult in the world, and probably come back to you some day with better understanding of who her parents are as people (not just “parents.) … or she will realize that she’s not ready to be an adult on her own, and come back to you sooner. Lots of love to you.

  194. {{{Hugs}}} Lisa, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you sharing this post. (I have been reading your blog for years, but have never commented.)

    I have an 18yo son that is straying further from what we have taught him every day, and I can’t believe the pain and stress that it is creating in my heart and home every. single. day.

    Thank you for reminding me that God is at the helm, and that I can trust in His timing and His comfort.

    My prayers are with you and your family during this terrible time. May the Lord’s grace heal all pain, and His Spirit comfort you.

    Mama Rachel

  195. Lisa, this is a hard situation… It’s clearly very painful for you and your husband. I am very sorry to hear it and grieve with both you and your daughter.

    I will offer this for consideration – not because I know this to be the case, but because it could be something to consider. Many times devoted Christian parents who have a very high view of familial and pastoral authority don’t necessarily allow their children the freedoms to pursue their own choices. They oftentimes miss how much their own ideas / goals / values / beliefs they are “enforcing” on their kids as they reach critical teenage years. Sometimes kids have a much more liberal view of God and the scriptures – whether because of their culture, or because the truth in scripture lies somewhere between conservative and liberal mindsets. Christ can never fully be grasped. God gives us both the unmitigated and undeserved grace in Romans as well as the call to live out our faith through works in James. True Christians often disagree on very serious points.

    I know you have considered this, but I offer it as reinforcement, recognizing that you might delete this post. It sounds like this caught you out of the blue. It sounds like your parents, whom you at least previously respected, played a big part in this. As an outsider looking it, this could mean there is a blind spot in your life – perhaps a pervasive one that requires radical evaluation – that made your daughter feel like she really couldn’t approach you and needed to plan a clandestine exit.

    My wife’s family of 7 (5 kids) had very authoritarian parents. They have lost most of the relationship with all 5 of the kids – but the 5 kids have not lost relationship with each other. One child completely left the faith – the others are strong Christians, my wife included in that latter group. But the relationship between the parents and children is exceptionally strained – and with at least 1 daughter, scorched. My wife’s parents literally cannot accept what the kids have told them about their upbringing… They are blind enough to the situation that upon confrontation following a Matthew 18 approach, they were unwilling to accept any kind of correction. My wife is now 36, and the loss of the relationship is sad…

    You have openly admitted to being far from perfection. Aren’t we all! So glad that God’s grace is big enough for all of our flaws. I certainly am no parenting expert. I struggle every day with how to be the best possible dad to our kids.

    I pray that the truth will be found midst the chaos here. I pray God will keep your daughter. And I pray that you will have restoration – and if that means that you and your husband face some type of real introspective evaluation and change is needed – that you will have the courage to go through it and that God will give you true wisdom and insight to do that.

    Again, I don’t know your situation – so I am coming at this from one more familiar to me. Please take the words kindly as that is how they are intended.

    All the best,


  196. Dear Lisa,

    I am so sorry you are all enduring this right now. I have also gone through this and it was devastating. Even now at times it still hurts and it has been about 8 yrs. After going through this I thought if I would of done this better or that, things would be different. I had done my best before the Lord. I made many mistakes but I did what I could with what I was given. I also apologized to my daughter and I tell her how much I love her whenever I can. I believe that has helped. My other children thought I did not need to do this nor should I but I felt it was important. There are no perfect parents and I felt it important step in our relationship. I also did not hide my pain. There was one mother’s day in particular when she came over and I just could not stop crying or come out of my room. My husband made excuses for me. She and everyone else that was over knew I was a wreck . I was embarrassed but also I was just grieving and could not stop. So much changed after she got married and became a mother. There were things she did not understand until then.

    The enemy (satan) is walking around as a roaring lion but the story is not over and Christ is the victor. Through your pain, your families and your daughters I believe He will work this to His good! It will not be easy but the lessons you will ALL learn will be life changing for the better. After much soul searching and years of observation it was not all me or the family. It was what she wanted and wants and still is to this day.(meaning she wants what she wants and when; she is her own captain) I love her as she is and she has shown me much love through the yrs. by doing special things for me to. She just wanted to be on her own. It is hard to remember back in the day and we were that age. I know I fell into the lie that if I raised my children a certain way things like this would not happen. My daughter is now 30 yrs. old and we have watched other good godly families walk through really hard things! Some were missionary families who entertained many other missionaries,pastors etc…… but some of their kids chose a different way. Our kids have free will. God will use it in there lives and ours . Your story is not over yet! It may not have been your or our ideal but our kids are all so different , they have there own ideas , desires.
    If you ever want to chat I would be more than happy. We also had another person involved in our daughters parting. Unfortunately that has never been reconciled because they believe they did nothing wrong. I will be praying for you and your family! You don’t need to post this. Not the most cohesive writing . I just want to know I was praying and a little of our story. You are not alone and have many prayers with you!

  197. I really have nothing wise or comforting to say but my heart breaks for you and I just wanted to offer you a cyber *hug*.

  198. It’s been a blessing just to read all these comments from other hurting parents! I wish I had had that 13 years ago when we walked through a similar valley. I did learn that the strength of sin is in its secrecy and it was good for me to share, as you have done, and publicly admit failing. But God is so full of lovingkindness, it’s unfathomable! Our son is restored to God and to us and we are closer than ever. Here are some of His precious promises that sustained me during that time.
    “All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
    And great shall be the peace of your children…” (Is. 54:13)
    “Refrain your voice from weeping,
    And your eyes from tears;
    For your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD,
    And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
    There is hope in your future, says the LORD,
    That your children shall come back to their own border.”
    And a special comfort to you, Lisa:
    “In all their affliction He was afflicted [He feels your pain!],
    And the Angel of His presence saved them [the Israelites];
    In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
    And He bore them and carried them
    All the days of old.” (Is. 63:9)
    You and your family are all in His unfailing hands.

  199. I am so sorry, Lisa. My heart aches for you. I know the God who can bring beauty from ashes and gold from the fiery trial is there beside, behind, around you all. Sending love and a hug.

  200. I re-read this post again for the third time. I keep coming away blessed with your belief in God – no matter what. Isn’t faith wonderful? To KNOW and BELIEVE nothing can shake our faith in God is such a blessing. I remember a friend who got news she had cancer. Naturally, our church prayed for her on many occasions. She said “if God never heals, if God never blesses me again, if God never done another thing for me, He is still God and I will love and trust Him.” Isn’t that marvelous? I could not agree more and thank you for posting such a difficult part of your life, but more importantly, your trust in Jesus.

  201. Hang in there! You have already gone to the very best person for help. Remember that He more than anyone knows exactly what you are going through during this time and He will give you the strength and guidance to get through it. As someone who experienced major loss as a teen I want to encourage you to not hide your grief completely from your children. It will help them to know that they are not the only one suffering during this trial. Not only that but a burden shared is a burden carried together. The loss my family experienced when I was a teen drew my family together. Now even twenty years later my brothers and I are very close.

  202. Lisa, thank you for sharing something so incredibly personal. It has been awhile since I read your blog, but for some reason I felt compelled to read it today. I have always believed that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. We may never know the reason, but He has a plan. When I am going through difficulties, this belief has helped carry me through. As a mother, I can’t even imagine the pain you must be enduring. I will be praying for you and your family.

  203. Praying for your family. This will be a very difficult journey for everyone involved. My oldest daughter ran away at age 17 and was lost and confused for 14 years. I became deeply depressed and was just going through the motions for years. Satan was attacking our family daily. Thankfully, God heard our cries. Our daughter has turned back to the Lord and reunited with her family. It has taken time to mend our relationship. It is good that you realize how much your younger children are hurting. Be there for them as they deal with their anger or sense of betrayal. God is in control! Keep holding on to his promises!

  204. angela gaddis :

    Lisa, I’m praying for you family. This is every mother’s worse nightmare and I’m so sorry you are going through this. I pray as well that God is glorified through all of this.

  205. While I can’t even begin to fathom what you’re going through, you have my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing what’s going on, despite how personal and heartbreaking it is for you. You have my admiration that you cling to your faith through such circumstances. You are an example of praising Him even during the storm.

  206. We’ll pray for you, for all of you, including you, your husband, your daughter, your other children, yous parents and any other person involved and/or suffering for this.

    In my country we say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You know that He is your Stregth. Hold his Holy hand and keep walking. He will lead you where you have to go, maybe not where you would have wanted to go, however.

    And don’t loose hope.

    My father was very angry to me when I encouraged my sister to emancipate (different situation, she had already finished university and was working) because they had a very hard relationship and he thought that he would never see her again. But they were unable to stop fighting and it was not a healthy relationship. I knew that they needed some distance.

    Today they were together celebrating my parents anniversary, calling us to share the happiness of being together with us.

    I don’t say that your daughter made a wise decission or that your parents were right not telling you. I just say that maybe she needs to be further to understand how important you are for her and to come back and rebuild her relationship with you in a more open and sincere way, because it is clear that, for some reason, she wasn’t telling you what was really happening in her heart.

    As I said, we pray for all of you, so that you will find the way to get reunited again by God’s Love and Wisdom.

    Now everything looks dark and frightening, but you know that He who loves you will lead you to where you have to go and give you the streght to be who you need to be. You’ll keep crying, as Jesus cried for Lazarus, but there is a happy ending for this story, although it can be an unespected one. Never loose hope.

  207. Prayers for reconciliation & restoration. Also, for your health during this trial. God bless you.

  208. Lisa, you and your family are in my thoughts. I know the pain when your 18 year old walks out the door and I also know the pain of betrayal and separation from the souls who raised you. Sending you hugs.

  209. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
    I admire your faith and strength in God. This was all planned for some reason or other and when it is time pieces will be unveiled to you. Satan is out to steal and destroy our seed, praise God that he is not in charge but God is and NOTHING can happen without His say. Stay strong in your faith! ♡ Prayers for you, your husband, the children amd your daughter.

  210. We are pastors and are in a similar situation with our son. The shame, grief, disappointment and aching hurt are all there. We have made mistakes just as you mentioned. But we love our children and we all make mistakes as parents. After all, it’s the hardest thing a person can ever do- raise a child! She is responsible for her choices which are not necessarily a direct reflection on you. I read the book Losing Control and Liking It. It has helped me to sort out who’s responsible for what in the parent/teen relationship. I hand this book out to everyone! Maybe it could be a blessing to you as well. Praying for you. You’re not alone!

  211. Thank you for sharing your heart is breaking for you….Jim Cymbala (pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle) and his daughter, Chrissy Toledo, just shared their testimony of how God answered prayer when Chrissy left home, living a life of sin. I think you might be able to watch it on the Revive Our Hearts app, but if not, Chrissy’s book is coming out soon and you can be encouraged by what God did through prayer. Going to pray for you and your whole family tonight. The Brooklyn Tabernacle has a prayer team that will pray for your daughter for the next 30 days on:

  212. Cortney Stiles :


    I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray your daughter’s heart will be changed. She was raised by Godly parents. Train a child up in the way they should go and when they are old will not depart from the faith is so true and a hope to hold on to with your daughter.

    I did something similar to her, I left at the age of 21 to California and didn’t tell anyone but my sister but not for months later. It was 7 months until I talked to my mom over the phone, which didn’t go well.

    I was broken, deeply wounded by my childhood and blamed my parents at the time for all my problems, plus I was dealing with demonic oppression ay the time.

    The reason I am telling you this is because now I’m 34 married with two boys 11 months and 2. It took me a long, long time to get past the pain and hurt I was feeling towards my parents. After having a family of my own helped change my total perspective on how I viewed my parents and childhood. I see now even though they made huge mistakes they were sinners just like everyone else and raising kids is extremely hard. They did the best they could do at the time. They were dealing with there own pain and struggles and still loved me unconditionally and never stopped praying for me and were always there for me when I needed anything. Not a lot of people can say that about their parents.

    Whatever it is that your daughters hurt from only God can change. Like He did for me. Maybe she will have to be married with children of her own to have a diffrent perspective and apprecition for you and your family. Only God knows what that is that she is needing healing in.

    As for responding with her with love is the best way to handle it, for its not easy. I pray for guideness and peace for you whole family.

    God Bless.

    With love,

  213. Cortney Stiles :


    m sorry if my previous post offended you or your family. It was not my intention.

  214. Lisa, I am new to your blog so just getting to know you via your blog. If your daughter had come to you and said she planned to move out would you have given her your blessings? Is it her leaving that has you so upset or was it the way she went about it? It is pretty normal to leave home after high school. My daughter left at 18, my sons at 21 and 25. They all did well in establishing their independence. What age did you leave home at? It sounds like you have older daughters still at home. What are their plans for establishing their own lives? In time I’m guessing you’ll be reconciled with your daughter and have a relationship based on both being adults.

  215. Thank you for sharing this with us. See, several years ago I believed in the whole, “Stay At Home Daughter” spiel. I wanted my extremely outgoing daughter to stay at home, not go to college, be under our roof until marriage. My husband wisely told me this. You can do that, but you will lose her. Is it REALLY worth it to you? Several years have passed and my daughter is now a sophomore at a MAJOR university in a large college town, living her dream. We pay for everything for her, including a lovely apartment. I have NEVER been prouder. We talk every day, and we are extremely close. I am so glad I listened to my husband. I am glad your parents were there for her!! Many girls aren’t that blessed.

  216. Lisa,
    So sorry for your struggles. This reminded me of a movie I saw recently that might encourage you…Grace Unplugged.
    Praying for everyone’s hearts to tune in to God’s love, mercy and His will.

  217. Sweet lisa…. iam hurting alongside my sister in Christ. I am so so sorry for the pain you are feeling right now:( I have never left a comment anywhere before so iam not even sure iam doing this right but I felt the Lord prompting me to do so. You don’t know this but I found your blog through researching if I should homeschool or not and you have been such an encouragement to me. I have been crying for 2 months debating on homeschooling. I feel led to but too scared! I always look to your blog for the courage I need to do it. I really appreciate your transparency with your family. We are all just Gods beautiful messes, ok sinners. But I love your heart, I love to hear that you are choosing to trust when you don’t feel like it….an encouragement to all of us:) by the way….The situation with you daughter doesn’t steer me away from homeschool. If anything. …it inspires me to be a courageous woman of God like you are doing. I want to pray with you….God you are a healing God who brings peace to the hurting. I pray you encompass lisa and and her precious family with your special presence, so she can feel you so close that she can almost feel your sweet breath on her cheek. Lord, I pray you bring her husband unshakable wisdom and hope as he leads all the hurting hearts under his care. Father, I pray you bless and honor this family for being so open and vulnerable bringing you all the glory. Lord, soften all hearts involved protecting all against the enemy and that everyone has their eyes and hearts on you. God we trust you and we thank you for all you are going to do in this family. In your very powerful name…Jesus…Amen. I wish I could give you and all you family a big hug including the daughter that has left the home for now because I know she is hurting too. Big hugs to you lisa, I feel like you have been a friend to me for a while so iam sad with you. Lots of love. I would love to keep praying for you.

  218. Dear Lisa: Your daughter could have been me, without the help of grandparents. I rebelled against my parents, against God, and anyone else who did not tell me what I wanted to hear. I ran from God, and from His will. It took me years to come to my senses. I am sorry if this does not start out as sensitive as it is intended to be. Eventually though, God did start working in my life. He allowed me to become about as broken as a woman can be. Today I have a good relationship with my parents, am married to a wonderful man and have two daughters that are near and dear to my heart. But that all happened through God’s gracious mercy. If He can fix me, there is hope for anyone – especially your daughter. I will lift her, you, and your family up to Him to comfort and heal. God is able and SO good. Hugs from NC.

  219. My Dear Sister,
    I will keep your family in prayer as I know all too well the pain you describe. We went through a very similar situation with our son when he was 16 ( so similar, I am taken back to the very day as I read your post ) I offer no advice, just my prayers and what the Holy Spirit told me during this time……..He said be silent, and let Me have control. It was the hardest thing I had to do. I wanted to restore our family, our reputation, and our peace. I wanted to hurt the people who were hurting us, my parents. I wanted to start a campaign to tell all the people who had heard lies, and slander about our family but I was told to be silent. The weight and the seriousness with which the Lord dealt with me was overwhelming and I had no choice but to obey. I learned a lot in that season…I could write a book. My son is about to turn 21 this Saturday, He is coming HOME. God restored our relationship and I have placed Him in the Fathers hands. It has not been an easy journey, and my son still struggles with great sin but he calls us when he is struggling. He comes home when he is on leave because it is the only place he can find peace. He longs to walk in the light of the Father but consequences from sin have left Him with many scars. I am grateful to have my son and I am trusting that the one who is faithful will set His heart ablaze again, and deliver him from the bondage of sin. Again I do not want to offer advice, just prayers from another sister/mama in arms. Blessings and comfort to you.

  220. Lisa I feel for you in this situation. Have you all been able to discuss it with each other at all or is she not talking to you? I’m wondering if the reason she left without discussing it with you first is that she didn’t know if you would really listen to her side. Sometimes kids feel that their parents are not really listening or won’t really listen, so they just don’t even try to communicate.
    One thing that stood out to me is that you said she has been telling exaggerated stories…please, please re-think this…putting on your blog or telling other people that her stories are exaggerated makes it sound as though you are accusing her of lying…you may think she IS lying, but, if you want to restore communication with her you cannot accuse her of lying..or tell others she is exaggerating…whether she is right or wrong, she feels what she feels and it IS the truth TO HER. Her story IS the truth TO HER. Please listen to her feelings about what has happened, without jumping to conclusions and without saying to her or to anyone else that she is just exaggerating. For whatever reason, she feels this way. Her feelings are real..Sometimes children have a VERY different memory of what happened than what their parents memory is. Usually this is because the child was smaller, weaker, frightened etc, and so what they remember is much scarier than what the parent thinks happened. A parent may remember an episode of discipline and think it was just to teach the child correct behavior, yet what the child remembers is feeling small and feeling terrified for their safety, feeling rejected by the parent, etc. Children’s memories can be very different from what the parent remembers. Just keep this in mind.

  221. I submitted a comment (which I didn’t realize our last names would be public ally displayed, oops) but wanted to add onto it. I put advice/other perspective in my previous comment, but, I did not sound as encouraging as I meant to…I stand by my advice, but I also want to tell you to have courage.. We don’t know why things happen the way they do, but, remember that God can keep working through us and prayer works….There is still work to be done, and in time, this could end up being your daughter’s beautiful testimony of how God called out to her , met her where she was, and worked in her life. Her story is not finished being written yet.

  222. Lisa –

    Thank for your honesty … You are in my prayers!

    Love, ~B

  223. Lisa, a friend of mine shared this post with me and said it reminded her of me and my son. And it does. My son ran away from home on April 7,2013 as we were preparing to leave to celebrate his 5 year old brother’s birthday. He is completely consumed with his girlfriend and with the counsel of her and her parents, he has had no relationship with us since that day. We have tried communicating with him many times but he gets disrespectful and so conceited that I can’t stand it. He was raised in a Christian home but has chosen to be with an unsaved girl. He was supposed to go to a great Christian college after he graduated (last June) he didn’t go. He is working 2 jobs and has enrolled in an online college while she goes to the college she wants to go to and he I’m sure is visiting her as much as possible. I am so worried they will end up married. My heart hurts and breaks daily. I have 4 other boys all younger than him and I wonder what will happen when they turn 18. They are also heart broken and used to ask daily when he will come home, why did he leave,….. how am I supposed to answer that when I don’t know myself. It is great to know you have not lost your faith. I have not either although I have struggled with my faith and still do. All I ever wanted to be is a Mom and now that world is being rocked to the core. Thanks for sharing your heart it’s good to know I am not alone in this heart breaking journey.

  224. I have not read your blog in a while and just know that I am sooo sorry. I have girls, one 19 and one about to be 18. I am sooo sorry. I wish that I had words of wisdom spoken from experience of everything turning out ok, but we all know that things don’t always turn out ok, but that in no way takes away from the fact that God loves us and is absolutely perfect and good all the time. He can be trusted whatever the outcome. So thankful that you can rest on His eternal promises. May God richly bless you as you go through this trial and draw you closer to Him than you ever dreamed possible.

  225. :'( My heart connected with you and breaks for you. My parents, too, now have a broken relationship with me (because they projected on to us what they want for our family, instead of respecting our right to choose and our diligence to carefully choosing.) I will pray for your daughter, -that this would be a time of genuine reflection and growth, not wasted but rather producing good fruit in her life, though it is causing so much anquish and uncertainty at the moment. She surely knows you deeply love her and want the very best for her, in spite of the disillusion she may be experiencing. May God guide her heart, and yours, to a future place of reconciliation.

  226. Hi, Lisa. It seems once again, we have something in common. I feel very close to you right now, even though we have never met. Our daughter is going through a difficult time too and I could relate to what you wrote. I will be praying for all of you as you try to heal and understand this situation.

  227. Lisa,
    I hurt for you and what you are going through with your daughter. When I was 18, I also left home. However, I spoke to my mom before leaving, and never intended to be gone long. Our talk didn’t go well (her reaction was not good) and I ended up being gone much longer than I planned. Our relationship, already strained, was worse after that. Thankfully, we now have a close relationship, and speak several times a week. It’s been more than 20 years since the day I left. The healing has taken time, and sometimes the old wounds resurface, but time has lessened the pain. I share that to just encourage you to keep praying for her (I know my mom did), and keep loving her. Now, as a mom of many, and dealing with some teenage “angst”, I understand even more clearly how my decision(s) affected my mom. (((Hugs, mama))) God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good. His mercies are new every morning…

  228. Lisa ~ I am so sorry to hear this. I know it has to be hard when its your own parents assisting inthis matter. I want go in to detail….but I too had to do away w all contact w my biological mom ( my grandmother basically raised me…that’s who I bonded with ) but its was just to much heartache….I was the one being hurt & couldn’t do or allow anymore. But you have a beautiful family !! I will keep you in my prayers. ..the whole family. Love ya Lisa 🙂 keep us posted when you can.

  229. Praying for you and your sweet family as you seek God’s comfort and direction through this difficult situation.