Saturday, May 31, 2008

I Will Risk Losing Your Love to Save Your Soul

This was originally posted at the end of last May in regards to our oldest daughter, TP. I am re-posting it because it continues to fit our current situation. I hope and pray that TP reads it, allows it to touch her heart AND soul, and helps to guide her decision-making. Dad and DQ and I love you very much. So does Nana, Papa, Grandma Sarah, all your aunts and uncles and cousins and friends. And so does the Lord. We pray that you find your way back to us, and to the Lord.

With much tenderness, always and forever,


This message was originally written by Pastor Frangipane's oldest daughter, Joy. It has since become part of the material in Francis' Book "This Day We Fight" (published by Chosen Books). I contacted the publisher to get permission to put this on my blog, and permission was granted. I would like to direct you to their website for further information.

Your Children Will Return - by Joy Frangipane Marion
No one can tell me that fathers and daughters can't have close relationships, or even become best friends. People are almost envious of the love my dad and I share. The only time we argue is about who loves who the most. But our relationship was not always this warm. There was a time when I felt I had lost my ability to love my father. I was a teenage Christian in a public high school. My Christian background
made me different. I was new, craving acceptance. My father's rules seemed to be the source of my rejections.
Fueled by my insecurities, in my eyes my dad became the root of my problems. While I set an adequate standard and struggled to live by it, he was strict. I was angry because he refused to back down from the standard he knew was right. He refused to appeal to my ignorance in order to keep my acceptance.
Things were going from bad to worse during those years. We hit bottom the day I looked him square in the eyes and told him I hated him. They were harsh words, but it was a hard time. I didn't really hate him. I hated me. I felt I wasn't bad enough to be accepted by my friends and not good enough to be accepted at home. When these feelings take over your life, you search for something - anything - to blame. I chose my father. He carried the blunt of my pain. He even became my enemy.
In my heart, I knew I didn't hate him. I was angry and confused. I felt he wasn't concerned with how I felt. It seemed he had made no room for compromise with my situation. He risked losing my love to save my soul.
It was a hard time for us both. He suffered the pain of rejection as I did. He suffered the hurt and the loss, but from a different angle. His fear of the Lord withstood his fear of pain. He loved me, but he had a higher obligation than my favor and my approval. I'm sure at times he wondered if he was doing the right thing. There must have been times when he felt like his prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back at his feet.
At times, I'm sure he considered lowering his standards. It would have made things so much easier than wrestling with the power of an independent, strong-willed child. These considerations may have come, but he never gave into them. He stood firm and prayed harder.
The prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Many times he cried out to the Lord in anguish and in frustration: "What have I done wrong?" My father has a wonderful ministry to God in prayer. I think I had something to do with the character God worked in him during those days. Before he ever prayed for cities and nations he was on his face praying for me.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." That verse was a promise that he would hold on to. "Your sons and daughters shall prophesy" was another promise he stood upon. He had given me to the Lord, set a godly standard and held God to His word.
At the same time, I was wrestling with my salvation. My desire to be accepted by my non-Christian friends at school warred against my desire to be with the Lord. James speaks of a double-minded person being unstable in all of their ways. I was completely unstable. I walked on a line between heaven and hell. I wanted the best of both worlds and was satisfied in neither.
Although I had been brought up in the church, the world had taken its toll on me. My eyes had been blinded to the sin in my own life, further separating me from God and parents. It was so hard for me to see my way out.
When a child is brought up in a Christian home, regardless of what may happen, there is a seed that has been planted in their heart that continues to grow. It's an amazing seed because it can grow in the dark without water; it can even bloom in adversity. The reason we can never outrun God is because HE is that seed growing within us. Once you have tasted the presence of the Lord, nothing satisfies you like He can. Sometimes those who seem to be running the hardest from God are doing so because He is so close to them.
On the outside my witness was weak, and I was in bondage to my unsaved friends. But inside, my heart cried for oneness with the Lord. I hated my double-mindedness as much as my father did. My whole life I wanted strong Christian friends to save the world with me. I wanted the support, I just never had it. I did the best I could, but I lost my sensitivity to sin, and the more I was with non-Christian people the more deceived I became.
Paul warns, "Do not be deceived. What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness?" I didn't realize the impact my unsaved friends had on me. The more I was with them the more I conformed to them. When I look back, I know, unless my parents had been praying for me, I would have been on my way to hell.
Sin has a way of moving in and taking control. But love is as strong as death and many waters cannot quench love; love never fails. And prayer is the highest power through which love is released. I had to relearn how to love. My love had become completely self-centered and conditional. I had failed to realize that my father and my Lord loved me unconditionally. I had only to try. I had only to bridge the communication gap to understand that God had loved me before I was even aware of His standards. And my dad love me for me alone, not for something I had to become.
My relationship with my father is wonderful, and that's the truth. God has proven faithful in the working of both of our lives. The Lord has bridged the gap and filled it with love. It took me leaving my environment and being planted with Christian people who faithfully loved me. It also took my will to change, but it did happen.
Listen, please don't give up on your teenagers. Don't sacrifice God's standards of righteousness to appeal to their carnal nature. They can't respect you for it and God won't honor it. Your children were not consecrated to Satan; they were dedicated to the Lord. He has had His hand on them and He will not forget them. He has heard your prayers and He is faithful to your cries. He is God.
Prayer works. I'm living proof of it. I look back now and see how many times nothing but the miraculous dedication of loving parents took me out of hopeless situations. The Lord will not forsake His children. He will not turn His back on them. We are never too far from His reach. Believe the promises of the Lord. He is not a liar. He honors a steadfast heart. Hold on. Your children will come back to the Lord.

We will not stop praying for your safe return home, to the place where you are loved faithfully and unconditionally. We know it's hard for you to find your way out right now, but just know that our arms ache for your embrace, and we will welcome you back in a heartbeat. We love you and miss you, TP.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Welcome to Summer

DQ is finishing up her junior year in high school. One more year! That's so difficult to comprehend. Fortunately, we have the college chosen already, and she will be living at home with us for those four years. So, the transtion from high school to college will be easier on all of us. It will be great to have her here, and we are in the midst of planning her "dorm room" here at home. We have a large guest room which we will convert into her own private sanctuary - complete with a loft bed, work area, refrigerator and microwave. This summer, after she's done at her 3 week camp, we will begin the process of setting up that room.

The next couple of weeks will prove to be busy. DQ has to finish up finals, get her wisdom teeth pulled, take her ACT and SAT tests, and pack for camp. Then, she'll be gone for three weeks. I will take her to Michigan and stay at my in-laws house (all by myself) for several days until my husband comes up for vacation. Do you know how WONDERFUL it will be to have a house on the beach all to myself for 3 or 4 days?! I plan on doing absolutely nothing. It will be a time to start the healing process, to let go of the pain and suffering I have been through lately, to cry over memories of when the girls were young and they would romp on that beach together, a time to transition myself into a new life where TP is no longer the center of my world. It will be a cleansing time. It will be a time to decide what I want to do for the next half of my life.

It will be a bittersweet time to be at that house without the girls - DQ at camp and TP consumed with her own life and not willing to vacation with us (of course, she can find the time to visit the relatives of her boyfriend, but not her own aging grandparents - again, an example of her own selfish priorities right now). It will be a time to try to get used to the idea that I need to focus all of my energy on raising just one child. I feel like a failure with the other one - yet I know I have been a good mom to both, raising them in a loving and Christian environment. It's up to TP now to decide to walk in the truth and follow God's path - but that is not what she is choosing to do. It will be a time to let God work his magic on my heart - to let the anger and bitterness subside so that I do have the energy needed to focus in on my husband and DQ.

I plan to shift the focus of my writing from now on - to go from the loss of one daughter to the nurturing of another. I plan to be more positive, as there is still so much for which to live. I plan to stop wallowing in my pain and let God's peace and comfort take ahold of my heart. I plan to stop begging and pleading with TP and let her just be. She has to learn lessons on her own, and a lot of them will be very painful. Sure, I will be here should she need me - but I am not going to try to cushion her fall. I'm tired of being ignored and rejected. I'm so very tired, and I want to re-join the land of the living. I am guessing that most of you are relieved to hear that I will be shifting my focus - I know I have not been "fun" to be around lately. I appreciate all of your prayers - even though you haven't commented much, I know that there isn't much you can say but I know you've been keeping me in your prayers.

So, I welcome the summer with open arms. I hope it's one of the best ones I've had in a long, long time. God bless all of you.

When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth". John 16:13

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hapoy Birthday, Mom

Today would have been my mom's 96th birthday. She had me later in her life (she was 42), and I was considered an "oops" baby. In fact, mom and dad were in the process of adopting another infant girl when they found out she was pregnant with me. In a way, I wish they would have continued on with their adoption plans because I would have loved to have had another sister!

Mom was a devout Catholic who loved her 6 children so incredibly much. She died at a young age (56), and she had written a letter to my dad expressing her sadness over not being able to finish her job of raising their children. Mom was a kind and gentle soul. Her words of advice to me about getting married were two-fold: one was to watch and see how your prospective spouse treated his mom and that is how he will treat you; and second was to marry a good provider. I followed my mom's advice when I chose my husband. He treats his mom with such respect and caring. And, he has been a wonderful provider. He has ALWAYS worked hard - sometimes three jobs at a time - to make sure that we survived at first, and then thrived as we sucessfully got through some rough waters. I've imparted those words of wisdom on to my daughters, and pray that they will eventually heed my advice when it comes time for them to marry. I want them to know what it's like to have a man who puts them first before his own wants and needs, who cherishes them for who they are and not what they can give to them, and who makes sure their emotional and monetary needs are met as a result of their relationship. I want them to have a husband who puts God above all else, and never ask them to do anything which is immoral or which goes against God's teaching - because that man is a true treasure to find and to keep. Anybody less than that is not a man to marry because he will never bring true joy and true love to the marriage.

I am certain Mom is in heaven, watching over me, and praying for my current situation. I do miss her horribly - I wish she could have been here for me when I went to prom, graduated from high school and college, got married, and had kids. I think she would be proud of me, I think she would have approved of and loved my husband, and I know she would just dearly love my kids, and that means more to me than anything in the world.

So, happy birthday, Mom. I love you and miss you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This Too Shall Pass

It's in His hands, now.

This, too, shall pass. . .

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

I have posted this video before,which celebrates the adoption of Chapman's children (and all adoptive children),and I am posting it again because I have just heard of the tragic death of his 5 year old adopted daugther.

I can't imagine anything worse than the death of a child. My prayers are with the Chapman family as they go through this painful grieving process. I am certain God will bring them strength and comfort with the knowledge that their daughter is with her Heavenly Father.

As you know, twenty years ago I became an adoptive mom myself. I have been struggling the past 6 weeks with the rejection of my daughter. But, as the song says, "there is NOTHING that would ever cause this love to lose hope". I am still hoping and praying that TP will find her way home to us. Home.

You belong here, babe. Always. And we miss you so very much. It's like there has been a death in our family - and the grief is unbearable. I know there is nothing we can say or do to change your mind. But just know that you are loved, you are precious, and our love will take you back in as it took you in 20 years ago.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I drove up to Michigan on Saturday and came back on Sunday - I picked up my "Mom" so that she could come down for a visit this week. It's Grandparent's Day at my youngest daughter's school today, and DQ asked her "grandma" to come down and be her guest of honor at all of the festivities.

"Mom" is a remarkable lady. She was my mother's best friend, and I spent a lot of time with her when growing up because she has a daughter my age. She is a social worker like myself. After my mom died when I was 14, we kept in touch until after I got married. About 7 years ago, we resumed our friendship, and I can't begin to tell what it's been like having her back in my life again. I had really missed having a mother figure all of those years, so having her presence in my life especially over this past month or so has been such a blessing. She has been so kind and loving and supportive through this recent crisis. This visit had been planned months ago, but I don't think it's a coincidence that she's here with me, right now, when I need her the most.

So, today, she gets to have the honor of being my youngest daughter's grandma at school. Last night, she gave my daughter a couple of unexpected and beautiful gifts. DQ was speechless as she opened the card and gifts. It's so touching to watch the bond between these two special women in my life. DQ is basking in all of this love and attention, and rightfully so, because she has suffered a lot the past few years.

"Mom" - I love you so very much. And I thank God for your presence in my life.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Farewell, Dr. B

Tomorrow is TP's final appointment with her nephrologist at Children's Hospital. He will be switching jobs and going to a different state to work at the Children's Hospital there. It is with much sadness that we bid him a fond farewell.

He is a gentle soul who genuinely cares about his patients and their families. He took a special liking to Sara, who came under his care at the tender age of 16 with severe lupus nephritis symptoms. Through his medical expertise, and the help of his colleagues, he was able to viciously fight off this disease which was attacking TP's kidneys so agressively. It took him two full years, many hospitalizations, chemotherapy, months of solu-medrol treatments both in the hospital and at home, constant monitoring of bloodwork and blood pressure readings to finally get TP into remission. Through a series of miracles and Dr. B's brilliant expertise, TP is alive and well today. More than likely, she will have another flare. I dread that day because Dr. B will not be there to provide her care, and I don't know if I will be there to help her get through it all.

So, Dr. B, we wish you success and happiness in your new endeavor. We feel very fortunate and blessed to have known you, not only as a doctor, but as a person. You are gifted with a skill for taking care of not only the body, but the patient as a whole person, and the family as well. We appreciate your help in getting TP a scholarship. We are grateful that you encouraged her to pursue a nursing career. We are touched by the kind words and support you have given to us as her parents. You shall be greatly missed, kind sir.

Tomorrow will be a day full of a mixture of emotions, and I am certain I will be crying for most of the day. Saying goodbye to a trusted doctor, and saying goodbye to a beloved daughter are very painful things to face. But I still have my faith in God and my loving husband and other daughter to get me through. Thank you, dear Lord, for the miracle of Dr. B. May you bless him with prosperity, health, and happiness for the rest of his life.

Monday, May 12, 2008


This is what it means
to be held
how it feels
when the sacred is torn from your life
and you SURVIVE

Thank you for holding me, Lord.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's day to all of my blogging buddies out there. I just read an article which said that a mother is "worth" $117,000 a year. Bah. You can't put a price on motherhood. Besides, our favorite methods of "payment" would be things like hugs, kisses, obedience, appreciation, respect, and watching our children follow God's will in their life rather than doing what they want to do and disregarding their faith and their values.

It was painful to be at church today without my oldest beside me. This is the first mother's day that has ever happened. I cried for this loss as I took Communion. I know the gift that I want most in the world today will not be given. But my youngest, God bless her, stroked my back and comforted me. She's been through a lot, too, and is feeling the loss of her oldest sister. She cried, sobbed, last night for the first time.

I am still grateful to be my kids' mom. Despite the pain and hurt I have gone through recently, I still wouldn't trade being a mom for anything. Like I said earlier, you can't put a price on motherhood. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat! Thank you, dear Lord, for my children, whom I love very much. Thank you for their birthmoms - wherever they may be. And thank you for this precious gift of motherhood.

Friday, May 09, 2008

At the Beginning, At the End

Twenty years ago, my father died.

I was told over the phone by my sister in Michigan. I was holding my oldest (who was all of six weeks old) in my arms on that cold May morning, and looking out the back door as my sister broke the news. A bird flew overhead, and I felt a warm presence within me. I thought of Dad's soul passing on to heaven at that very moment, which was passing by the soul of my newborn - their first and only encounter, if you will. I felt very sad, but very much at peace. Today, twenty years to the day, my oldest has left the family for good - physically, emotionally, spiritually. I feel immense sadness, but no peace.

How I wish it were twenty years ago today, starting all over with her. I choose this song because it was from a movie which she wached over and over again with me when she was little. It has a special significane to me because of our strong bond, and it chronicles the nature of our relationship. My hope and prayer has ALWAYS been that "in the end, I want to be standing at the beginning with you". I wanted to be standing with her, next to her, as she started her new life as a woman, sharing in the joy of that special moment, and looking forward to watching her blossom.

I miss her so much. I miss her hugs. I miss her smile. I miss her laughter. I miss the way she called me "momma". The happy memories bring hot tears of anguish and not of joy because she is gone now, and she was such an integral part of me. I won't be able to hear her voice everyday. I won't be able to hug her everyday. I won't be able to observe the changes in her as she grows more mature. I won't be a part of her life anymore. I won't be able to watch grandbabies grow and help to take care of them. Other people will become more important to her than I ever will be again.

I won't be. Ever. Again.

Urgent Prayer Request

I am in need of urgent prayers for my family right now. Please pray, my friends. Please pray.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Mother's Prayer

Dear Lord:

You have given to me the incredible gift of motherhood, entrusting two daughters in my care to raise them, guide them, nurture them, and love them.

Today, I am giving one of them back to you. She is Yours, Lord, and I know you love her far greater than I do, and that you will watch over her.

We have tried all that we can do, Lord. We have offered help, we have begged and pleaded, we have bent over backwards, we have loved and forgiven her countless times. Yet, she has rejected us over and over again. There is nothing more we can do at this point, there is nothing more we will do other than pray.

For she has disowned us. She has thrown all that we have to offer back in our faces. She has treated us with utter contempt and disdain and disrespect. She has chosen to not be a part of our family anymore through her words and actions and the choices she has made. She has hurt us beyond the imaginable, and she shows no remorse.

So, we pray that someday she will find her way home - to us and to You, Lord. We don't know when that will be - it could be months or it could be years or it may not even happen in our lifetime. It's her choice - but we are here if she is ready to become part of the family again.

My birthday and Mother's Day will be difficult this year, but I shall make it through. I have the love and support from my husband and my other daughter, and other family members and friends. And, of course, I have received my comfort and strength from you, Lord. Thank you for all you have given to me.

You have given me the incredible gift of motherhood, Oh Lord. I am still "my kids' mom", even though one of them has decided to turn her back on me. The twenty years I gave to her are not lost - rather, I know in my heart that I gave her my very best, and hopefully what I gave to her is still living within her heart. Hopefully, what I gave to her will whisper to her in the darkness of night while she's thinking of me, and she will remember all the closeness and love that we shared, and she will long to return home.

Keep her safe in the palm of Your hand, dear Lord. She is yours now, and that brings me peace.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Congratulations, DQ!!!!

And now, for some good news!!!

DQ has been accepted into the Interlochen Arts Academy Summer Arts Camp for Creative Wrting!! We are so thrilled for her, and extremely proud of this accomplishment. She is on her way to fulfill her dreams of becoming a writer. In the meantime, she has decided she wants to pursue her Masters Degree and become an English teacher at her current high school, and devote her spare time towards writing. We are going to convert a room into her writing studio - not sure how we're going to do it yet, but we'll do it sometime this week. Luckily, we have enough bedrooms that we can do this kind of thing.

Last week, she won her THIRD medal for the International Latin Award. Her freshman year, she won a gold, and her sophomore and junior years she has won a silver.

She went to prom on Saturday night and looked exquisitely beautiful. I will post some pictures as soon as I can.

And while she has been in a great deal of pain throughout all of this with TP, she has also been a great source of comfort and strength for me. Her hugs have held me together when I though I was going to fall apart. She misses the sister she used to know an awful lot.

So, thank you, DQ. You're an amazing young lady! May your gift of writing bring much joy to the world! I love you very much. . .

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Believe in Miracles

Twenty one years ago, when faced with the possibility of cancer, I prayed for second chance at life. God granted me the miracle of good health.

Twenty some years ago, despite my infertility, I prayed to become a mom. God answered my prayers, and two miracles appeared in my life over the course of three years - my two adopted daugthers.

Over the past twenty years, I have witnessed many miracles - a baby's first steps, being called "mama" for the first time, and the recovery of my husband after a major heart attack at the age of 40 when the girls were 6 months and 3 years old. The most amazing miracle I have been witness to was when TP was lying in a hospital bed in PICU over two and a half years ago, and I wasn't allowed to be with while they were working over her for awhile. I sat in the hallway, sobbing, praying to Jesus and to Mary for TP's life. A half an hour later, they called me back to her section, and she was sitting up, smiling her beautiful but weak smile, and saying "Hi momma".

I've been praying for a miracle for almost three weeks. And while my prayers have yet to be answered, I still believe that God will touch my daughter's heart, and through His grace, she will find her way home. I still believe that she knows down deep that what she is doing is wrong, and she wants to make it right - but pride or fear of shame or control by another is holding her back. I still believe that the "old" TP is still very much alive, and that she loves me very much - but she's caught up in such a web of deceit and sin and pain right now that she doesn't know how to break herself free from it all. Perhaps she's in denial and doesn't want to break herself free because she is tasting what "freedom" is all about - but what she doesn't realize is that this "freedom" is disguised as independence from us, when in actually, this "freedom" has enslaved her and placed her under the influences which promise you great things but which are actually stealing away bits and pieces of your soul every minute you are around them. I fear for her emotional and spiritual safety, just as I had feared for her health two and half years ago. But the demon I am fighting against right now is more powerful and sinister than that illness ever was. The demon is taking her away from her family, her values, her relationship with God, and is destroying her soul.

Nonetheless, I still believe in miracles. I pray constantly throughout the day for her safety and protection against these influences, and that she will eventually begin to recognize how badly this is affecting her overall well-being. I am beyong the shock phase, and I'm now into the feeling numb phase - which is a dangerous place for me to be. I'm also mourning the death of a daughter who once called me "momma" and who once held me in such high regard that she wouldn't dream of hurting me like this.

I'm wondering if I'll receive a miracle by the time my birthday rolls around next Saturday or possibly Mother's Day. I'm not going to hold my breath, but I am going to pray for that miracle to happen. May God grant me the miracle of the return of my daughter.

Here is my prayer for TP today - Lord, enable my child to walk with wise friends and not have to experience the destruction that can happen by walking with foolish people. Amen.
(prayer by Stormie Omartian)