The Aftermath: a guest post

This is the follow-up post to October 20th: a guest post. I want to thank Stephanie for being so honest and willing to share her heart through these posts. It is my hope that this will not just tell you what has been going on with us lately, but that it may offer a bit of encouragement to people who may be feeling lonely and distant from God and their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dan left work and we dropped Danny and Lily off with my grandparents. We went home to wait. Pray and wait. A few hours later a woman from DHHS and a detective from the state police showed up to “interview” us. It was more of an interrogation. We were questioned separately and our interviews could not have gone more differently. I collapsed inside without Dan near me. I sobbed through the questions, repeatedly asking why this was happening, when I could see my daughter. Dan, on the other hand, was strong and defensive. He demanded answers and refused to be walked on. If I hadn’t been on the verge of a mental breakdown I would have been proud of him. They told us Gracie would be interviewed by professionals later in the week and in the mean time would remain with her father. Obviously, this didn’t sit well with us since we were sure he had been coaching her to say these things. I begged for them to take her away from him, but they had no authority to take her from him. They told us there was not enough evidence (there was zero evidence!) for her to be kept from us either and that our original custody agreement should be followed, but Gracie’s father refused to let us have her, and as the days past I slowly died inside.

A week past with no progress with Gracie’s dad. Her birthday came and went and the heartache our family felt was agonizing. My baby turned three and I wasn’t able to share her special day with her. It was a long day, filled with tears and pathetic prayers.

A month later, Gracie was home with us again. We are now in the middle of a custody battle that will be long and dragged out. We pray God will give us wisdom and peace, and that He will change our hearts so we can love the people who have hurt us.

Through this trial Dan and I leaned on each other for strength. Together we trusted God was faithful and that He would bring Gracie home. We prayed all day, every day. Then we would pray together at night. God gave us peace and we made it through the darkness. It was once Gracie was home that things became gray and unclear. I remember thinking that if I trusted God enough to bring her home, that once she was home God would reward me by drawing me so much closer to Him. I would feel His presence and I would feel whole again. These things didn’t happen, and I was left feeling alone and tired. I had no interest in praying. No interest in reading my bible. I was spiritually exhausted. It took all of my energy to completely trust my Lord and when He pulled us through the storm, I was too tired and confused to rejoice. I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel closer to Him. I didn’t understand the lonliness I felt. Hadn’t I trusted Him ( kind of.) ? Hadn’t I been faithful (not really.)? I grew resentful. I grew cold. I was angry and I couldn’t understand.

I eventually broke down and confided these feelings in my husband. I was shocked to hear that he had been struggling with the same feelings. We talked for a long time. He explained to me that we weren’t faithful to God. We doubted Him constantly. That it was easy to trust God when we were desperate for Him, but when things were easy it was another story.

After Dan told me this I realized how wicked and selfish I was. God has pulled me through every bad thing that has ever happened to me. And he has blessed me more than I ever dreamed He would. This entire heart wrenching trial, that sucked every ounce of energy and emotion out of me, has been an eye opener. I am wicked, and God is faithful. The closer I become to my Savior, the more evil I find I am. The more undeserving I find myself. Having a closer relationship to our God doesn’t mean that we will be filled with unending joy and that everything will be wonderful. It means there will be times when we will be overwhelmed with how much God loves us, and heartbroken over what vile, selfish creatures we are.

So this is what we have gone through. It doesn’t seem sufficient enough to write it down. I’m not articulate enough to convey the hurt that was suffered or the joy we experienced in the end. There will never be words to describe the peace God gave us or the way God brought me and my husband so much closer to each other. And I will never be able to truly show my gratitude to each of you who reached out to us and kept us in your prayers and thoughts. We are so grateful to you all. I will leave you with something I have sketched on most of my journal entries, a sentence that holds more power and more truth than any other I know:

God is faithful. Always.

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

6 responses to “The Aftermath: a guest post

  • Kirstie

    ((May I send you a cyber sister-in-Christ hug)) … Thank you for blessing me through sharing how God is working in your life and through the circumstances you are experiencing. God is faithful. Always.

    Love,
    Kirstie

  • Lew Ayotte

    Thank you for sharing this with us… I am sorry you all are going through this right now but your story is strengthening. As always, we will be praying!

    God Speed,
    Lew

  • Jason

    Thanks Stephanie, you will never know how much you are ministering to us (and probably to many others) through your experience. Praying for you all. Hab 3:16-19

  • Dan Allen

    Thank you all for your responses and prayers. They mean the world to both Stephanie and myself.

  • Mark

    Stephanie,

    You sell yourself short, sister; or rather you sell short Christ that is in you! I think you have yet to realize the gifts God has placed within you….powerful gifts. You write well. Your two posts were powerful. I started reading the first post, and then got called away. I found myself sort of nervous about what I was going to go back and read. Your honesty is beautiful. I read Dan’s post before yours, and could never have guessed the horror you were both living through.

    When I first began learning about God’s grace, one of the first things I came to grips with was the degree of my own depravity, like you talked about. Truth is, we are all depraved in our own flesh. Unfortunately most Christians never are able to admit it freely. The good news is that our flesh, or sin nature, is defeated, and we now live in newness of life in Christ! This is easy to say, but obviously has to be lived out day to day as our minds are continually renewed. I find Philippians 3 to be incredibly helpful along these lines, because I have learned to glory in my weakness, as it is in my weakness that He shows himself strong. My strengths are the things I’ve had to give up, so that I can even find that strength in Him.

    I speak encouragement and peace over you both in Jesus name. You are both faithful, whether you think so or not. The truth is, if you weren’t faithful you wouldn’t be where you are now. I am sure you had plenty of opportunity to give up, but you stayed the course, even if your FLESH fought against you at every step.

    Please forgive the long-windedness.

    God bless you both, and your family. He will give you victory in your every battle.

    In Christ,

    Mark

  • Mark

    OK, so I’ve already been long-winded, but I just read something on Keith Gile’s blog that I thought was appropriate. The post was about faith, as discussed in Hebrews 11. The emphasis in this passage, regarding faith, is on ACTIONS. When we purpose in our heart to follow God’s directions, our actions show forth that faith. Even though our flesh may doubt, and our flesh may scream and cry that we are going to fail, by continuing to speak what we know in our hearts to be true, and continuing to walk that out, we prove our faith, and His faithfulness and grace will more than make up for the doubt that comes from our flesh. I firmly believe that faith, in our spirit man, can coexist with doubt in our flesh. It is a war between the two. The question is, who will win? At the end of the day, if we stay true to what we know, no matter how our path may twist and turn, our actions will show forth our faith, and God will honor that, as He has with you. A lack of faith brings retreat from a given course, and you and Dan did not retreat.

    Again, sorry for the verbosity. I just thought it appropriate.

    Mark

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