My Child is (NOT) My Enemy

I am going to kill her. Yup, I am going to dismember her and bury the parts.” I was calculating how I could take my daughter out with no one but me knowing. Well…no one but me and God knowing. I could take my daughter out and she would disappear for having had the audacity to curse at me, yell at me and totally disregard any direction I had given her. Had I EVER been as disrespectful to my parent as she was to me during the beginning of our lives together. I would have been taken to task and laid out myself. My Child Is Not My Enemy

I don’t know what came over me to offer to become a parent to a 17 year old girl. I was 36 years old and I KNEW that God was inviting me to be a parent. I did not know what to do when I got the call that my not yet daughter was going to be out on her own because of problems in her home. We had been friendly for about 2 years at that point and she had 2 years left of high school. I was the Christian woman mentor in her life. I was the only real Jesus follower she knew. She was planning on being on her own and I was a good Christian Social Worker, single, and available for service. So a few weeks later, after a few wrestling matches with God, I asked her to consider moving in with me and allowing me to parent her for the remainder of her high school years to give her stability.

Prior to her becoming my daughter, I was an amazing, passionate and godly woman. She considered everything I said to be trustworthy. When she moved in with me, I became mom. She became the troubled daughter she was. But motherhood is a “no matter what” responsibility. I told her, “I love you, no matter what.” I told her, “You are my daughter, no matter what.

I had been a social worker for 16 years or so at that point. I worked in family and children services. In translation, I spent the good majority of my time and my career TEACHING GOOD AND WORKING PARENTING SKILLS. No kidding. If anyone was ready for parenting, it should have been me. She was getting a bargain. I was godly. Well, until she moved in of course. Then I was MOM.

She began to google everything I told her, rather than consider it trustworthy. She began to argue, raise her voice, curse at me and disrespect me. She had a temper. I did too, apparently.  I never had fits of temper in my life really. I was the peacemaker in my family. But, I soon discovered that I had anger management problems and control issues I never knew I had. Isn’t that odd?

Sometimes we have to wrestle with God in order to walk away different. Jacob did it in Genesis 32:24-28:

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

So, I wrestled. Nothing I did worked with this girl. I knew it all. But she still resisted submitting to my authority as a parent. But I had committed to the “no matter what” contract. I was afraid. How could I parent this child that fought me so hard for her 'right' to have control?

Truth: Every parenting skill I taught, worked. It just became different and harder when it moved in. Parenting was now personal.

I am God’s child. This I know. I have talked back, fought him, argued with Him, wrestled with Him, and even cursed at Him a time or two. He never once said you are not my child…you’re my enemy.

My daughter was not my enemy, but I was treating her that way. I was FIGHTING with her for my RIGHT to be the parent. It was as if I had forgotten WHO I WAS.

Notice that I said that I talked back to God and argued with God. I didn’t say HE argued with me. He doesn’t have to. He KNOWS who he is. He is the parent. He never makes me His enemy and HE lets my issues be my issues. When a parent is confident of WHO THEY ARE they don’t get personally offended when their child is testing out who THEY are to the parent.

The minute I argued with my daughter, I lost the battle. I was on her level. I made her my enemy instead of loving her and letting her issues be her issues. I had to learn what I taught. I had to be like Jesus, who never makes us HIS enemy even when we fight Him on things. We are always God’s children. We are always loved. And we are ALWAYS dealt with fairly, objectively and with peace.

I had a lot to learn to implement. But when God says in John 1:12-13 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

I am HIS child. I am NOT HIS enemy. My daughter is MY child. She is NOT my enemy.


334661_10150441521223649_1437179974_oJody-Lynne is a Christ follower who is very grateful to be allowed to walk out her journey by journeying with others in her career and in her service to the church as a counselor. She is a Christ follower that has been the prodigal and the welcoming father at different times and she is humbly grateful for both. She longs to share the work that God has done in her life and encourage others to see the work God can do and is doing in theirs. Her joy is growing and journeying with others.



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