December 5, 2016

Dear Esther,

I have four children in Texas and I am in Illinois. They are not Christians and I am. They don’t speak to me and I have three grandchildren down there that I want to see! Every time I go down there it is very difficult; to put it bluntly they don’t like me or respect me.

I’m not sure what to do about going to visit. I’m not allowed to talk about my faith and staying with my daughter is like staying with the devil; she is very angry and mean. Please help me to know what to do. I pray daily for their salvation!

Thank you.

Patrice

Dear Patrice,
Your prayers are the best “weapon” against injustice. God knows every detail regarding your situation and He is not going to abandon you. It may feel hopeless right now but in Christ there is always hope. Sometimes it may seem that our prayers are not being answered but we know that God’s ways are not our ways, and He orchestrates things for our benefit—even when all hell can be loosed around us. This is where faith really comes in.

The moment we start focusing only on the physical outward situation and not the spiritual one as well, it is very hard to see past our troubles. You know we live in a fallen world and God has given us all free will. At the moment your children are choosing to behave disrespectfully and are not honoring you or God.

We are fighting in a spiritual battlefield every day; some days are worse than others. Some situations are worse than others. But God is always there to carry us through any circumstance.

It is quite an alarming testimony that not one of your four children do not speak to you. Are you saying this is because you are a Christian and they are not? I cannot tell from your letter if that alone is what is causing them to ignore you. For now, I will assume that is the reason.

Have you considered writing a heartfelt letter to your children? You could write it as a group letter. In that letter, whatever you think may be behind all of this dysfunctional behavior could be addressed—in a loving way. It is important that you acknowledge their right to be individuals, and tell them that you accept them for who they are—and that is all you are asking of them; that they accept you for who you are and that they do not hold your beliefs against you.

You might want to point out to them in that letter that they probably do not always agree on every point in life amongst themselves, and no two people will ever agree on everything. Now I suggest this tactic hoping that there is at least some semblance of decency in at least one of your children. Explain that you simply want to be a part of your grandchildren’s lives and are not trying to be a burden anyone to or cause any type of hardships.

We know of course that parents don’t pick their children, and children don’t choose their parents. Some parents are an abomination to their children, and the same is true of how some children treat their parents. Sometimes no matter how hard one tries, some people are impossible to deal with.

Some people are just plain mean-spirited and self-righteous. I see it in my own ministry work, even amongst professing Christians. Sometimes people have an ax to grind and will twist the truth to suit their own agendas, and even insult others with their need to prove their own self-importance. It is a sad commentary on those who profess Christ but behave instead like godless heathens.

At least in your situation the abuse is obvious; it is not veiled in Christian jargon. Nothing is worse than calling oneself a Christian and then putting down others who are doing the Lord’s work. Ignorance is also a factor in unkind behavior. In your case, your children seem to be blinded by the god of this world. Your continued prayers are so important!

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the]light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.

Instead of travelling to Texas, have you considered inviting your grandchildren to your home? It is an unlikely possibility but perhaps if you can break through to even one of your grown children, then there could be a small opening to change the current dynamics

Or instead of staying with your daughter or other children, if you do go down to Texas, it might be better to say at a hotel, rent a car, and take the grandchildren on outings and avoid as much interaction with your children as a possible. A carefully, well-organized trip could possibly work out for you if you can get your children to agree to taking your grandchildren out to various places around town. Even if it took a short trip, you could still bond with your grandchildren to some degree.

In your letter you did not mention if any your grandchildren are possibly living in compromised situations or unstable homes. If so, then you might have a chance to gain grandparental rights to visit with your grandchildren. Each state has different laws. My suggestion it is a long shot but it might be something worth looking into.

Patrice, at this time of year sometimes people are more willing to make peace. Offer your children an olive branch, even if they don’t deserve it. Tell them if you have hurt them in anyway, that you are truly sorry, and that carrying anger and malice is not good for the family, and certainly not good for the grandchildren.

If they refuse to accept your peace offering, then you will have to do your best to let go emotionally, so this situation does not destroy you. We serve a great and merciful God. Continue to go before Him in prayer and ask Him to open a door of communication with at least one of your children—in a way that will bless all of you.

Never give up on people. The Bible is filled with people who were once very lost and then came to faith and did great things for the Lord. While you are trying to sort out the unpleasant circumstance with your grown children, I see no reason why you cannot create your own surrogate family in your home state.

It must be very hard not to be able to see your grandchildren but God has a way of working things out in unexpected ways; it could be later when your grandchildren are older that you will be able to get to know them better.

There are so many single mothers, some single fathers with children who would love to have a grandma to call their own. Please consider looking into finding people who would welcome the love of a Christian grandma, and build your own network of love and family life.

I have communicated with so many people over the years, and a great number of them have surrogate families because of problems with their flesh and blood relatives. Sometimes when a door seems to be tightly shut, it may not be a permanent closure; perhaps it is a way to get us to do something else that God has in mind for us until that door can be reopened in a new beneficial way.

Timing is everything and when God says it is time for something all the demons in hell cannot stop His will from being realized. That said, I wish you the very best and I will pray with you for your situation. But I urge you not to let your loving heart go to waste; so many people would love to have you as a friend and adopted family member. Ask the Lord to guide you to where you can best serve Him.

Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. Be strong in the Lord and He will surely direct your paths.

In God’s love,

Esther

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).