To My Daughter

11 April 2014, 06:00

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Editors note: This article is a re-post from May of 2012.

After being in ATI for 10 years and now out for the last 13 years, I am finding the need to say some things to our oldest daughter. She was our “guinea pig,” the one from whom we learned the most and the one upon whom we tried the most. She was with us from start to finish through those ten ATI years, with seven of her eight siblings coming along during that time. She was the one who became my second pair of hands, the “other mommy,” and even my substitute teacher from time to time. She was the one allowed to help with Children’s Institutes and to attend a Counseling seminar at the training center in Indianapolis. She was also the one who inspired her father to think about whether this program was the best one for our family. She was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia) in July 2006 at the age of 25, and she went home to be with the Lord on September 10, 2007. If I still had her with me today, these are some of the things I would say to her…

 

amysteveanita-articleDear one,

I am sorry for all the mistakes I made along the way. I looked to a program to validate what we believed we should do for our children by home educating them. I was more concerned about finishing the “race” (all the required booklets) and having good reports to send off to Headquarters, than I was about how the “race” was run.

~ I am sorry that I caused you to question things in your life that were normal and that I asked you to suppress your emotions and interests in the name of serving our family and keeping Mr. Gothard happy.

~ I am sorry that you felt you had to run everything through the grid of “why did God let it happen.” It caused you much worry and anxiety, especially as a young adult.

~ I am sorry that I destroyed by fire many of your childhood toys, toys that were given to you in love by relatives and by us. I cannot believe that I bought the whole idea that they were demon-possessed because they didn’t fit some standard set up by the leadership of ATI.

~ I am sorry that you were reprimanded at a Children’s Seminar because I failed to add WHITE to the navy blue suit I lovingly handmade for you.

~ I am sorry that you were asked not to sing so loudly by other young women at the Knoxville training session when you were part of the big choir of students. Rather than allow you to make a joyful noise, you were silenced.

~ I am sorry that I insisted that you sing Matthew 7 by memory with me at one of our church fellowships when you really didn’t want to do that.

~ I am sorry that I placed a man’s interpretations of Scripture above all else. I just wanted to have good kids and a happy family and to live happily ever after.

~ I am sorry that I missed the true meaning of grace and instead worked to gain God’s and Headquarters’s approval by getting through all eight wisdom booklets each year, memorizing enough verses, and creating enough minute booklets. You were a teenager at that time, attending seminars and trying to find some way to get enough money together to attend the training institutes.

~ I am sorry I insisted that you wear dresses and skirts throughout your childhood and didn’t just let you be a little girl, running through the hay fields in your blue jeans and t-shirts.

~ I am sorry that I expected you to be mature beyond your years and asked you to help all the time with the little babies that came along.

~ I am sorry that your academic education was lacking, although I knew you were very intelligent and could accomplish so much. I was too busy having babies, nursing babies, and teaching phonics to consider what would be best for you.

~ I am sorry that at times my discipline was too harsh–not so much physically but verbally–as I demanded adult-like behavior from you during your childhood years.

~ I am sorry that we did not allow you to listen to good music even if it didn’t abide by the Institute’s standards.

~ I am sorry that I lived by the standard, “Others may, but we will not,” without thought for individuality within our family.

~ I am sorry that I taught you more character quality definitions and knew more about the manuals and booklets that IBLP published than I did about God’s Word.

~ I am sorry that your dear friend was destroyed spiritually–at least at this point in time–after working at one of the training centers.

But precious daughter,

~ I am thankful that you became discontent when our family did not have enough money to send you off as an apprenticeship student to some training center far, far away. This discontentment caused your father and me to question whether we should really be a part of this program.

~ I am thankful that you began to question the anxiety you felt when not everything made sense, and you could not find out why God let it happen.

~ I am thankful that you got tired of the grids, the charts, the numerous steps, the countless reasons, qualities, and so forth.

~ I am thankful that you owned your own faith.

~ I am thankful that God’s Word became precious to you and that you learned its ways and its truths.

~ I am thankful that your were more than the oldest child in our family, ruling over the rest of the children. You loved them and shared with them and gave your life to them and they love you!

~ I am thankful that you found the ability to forgive me, to love me, to become one of my dearest friends, and to develop good plans for your own life, including your marriage and your own little son.

~ I am thankful that you chose to live your life to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

~ I am thankful that you were more than an experiment for your father and me. You were our blessed firstborn, our joy, our beloved one.

The problem is, dear child, I cannot say these many words to you today because you are no longer here with us. You have gone to be with the Lord after losing your battle with leukemia. You are complete and you know what I cannot know at this time.

Thank you for being our precious daughter who knew Christ in spite of our errors and misjudgments. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being with you all those long days in the hospital. Thank you for letting me serve you as you served our family for many years. Thank you for the precious memories I can have today because you were part of my life.

– Your mother

P.S. For those of you parents who may be reading this, please consider whether there is something you should say to your kids before it may be too late. One way or another, death will separate you for a time…if not for eternity.

 

Anita Martin is a married mother of nine children. She is learning daily what grace means in her life and realizing that the Lord and His Word–not a program–are her sufficiency and guide in all ways. She enjoys teaching their three remaining sons at home, while four of their children are students at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO. Anita and her husband, Steve enjoy two grandchildren, one of whom is the blessing her daughter left behind. She seeks to live humbly before the Lord whose grace never ceases to amaze her.
All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. For our official statement of beliefs, click here.

44 Comments

  1. Suzi April 11, 2014 Reply

    Thank you Anita, for your honest and heart-rending post...it is an echo of the words of my heart after years of following a program to please Him only to find that we should have been looking directly to Him and following Him. I cannot give those years back to my children, but I can weep at the lost years, thank Him for His work in their lives despite our mistakes, and for their love for Him in spite of all we required of them in place of just teaching them His unconditional love. I am thankful that truth prevails, and that I can tell them I am sorry. I am thankful for their understanding and forgiveness, and for the excellent parents they are in spite of everything...God is faithful. Your sharing is a great gift, encouragement, and exhortation to each of us who made serious mistakes in our attempts to parent our children. I am so grateful for this post.

  2. Daniel April 11, 2014 Reply

    Anita, as a child that grew up in the ATI program, I am convinced of my parent's sincerity and love for me through it all. They sacrificed out of a desire to give me a gift. Their love reminds me of O.Henry's famous Christmas story, "The Gift of the Magi." The foolish young lovers gave their best for the one they loved. Their gift ended up being completely worthless to the other, but they were utterly convinced that they were loved by the other. What gift could be so valued?

    You gave the gift of the Magi to your daughter. Certainly there was value, because of the love that it portrayed, even if it could not be used. The love you show in your letter to your daughter is not something new. Although you wish you had done otherwise for her training, I'm certain that this love was tranparent to her, all her life. At the end of life, this is the gift that we all want- the experience of true love.
    As a child that received a similar gift, I send my thanks to you for the gift of the Magi that you gave to us. Be at peace knowing that your daughter experienced true love in this life, and now knows perfect love and peace in the next.

    • Daniel April 11, 2014 Reply

      "The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. ... And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi." - O. Henry

  3. Laurel April 11, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for your honesty.

  4. Paul VA April 11, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us! Many parents aren't at a place where they can say the things you said and for them it may have a sort of surrogate parental effect. I think its imperative that parents read every word of this web site and apologize fully to their kids for their error in leading them into Gothardism. I think that especially is true in a context like Gothardism where the children were more often than not denied a voice and a say in matters even late into their teens and beyond.

    Its beautiful to see that your daughter was able to blossom into her personhood despite the Gothardism and its clear that you and your family were far from devoid of grace and love. Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Anonymous April 11, 2014 Reply

    Thank you so much, Anita, for sharing this honest, humble and loving letter. I, too, am a mother whose first-born daughter is with the Lord. Age 5, 12 years ago this month... I have my regrets, too, of mistakes I made in an effort to be an excellent parent, but have learned to let them go and forgive myself. "...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37

    • Anonymous April 11, 2014 Reply

      P.S. I should have proofed better before I posted that. I did not mean to insinuate that you haven't forgiven yourself -- just sharing my experience. You seem like you are a very mature woman and have forgiven yourself... Again, thank you for sharing that very beautiful letter.

  6. Rochelle Covert April 11, 2014 Reply

    Dear Anita,

    Your letter to your beloved daughter touched me deeply. In fact, I cried as I read it. Our first-born son served at the Indianapolis Training Center during its first years. I can relate perfectly to what you wrote. Knowing how much my husband and I love our son, how much we enjoy his company and what a beautiful person he has become, I shudder to imagine the pain which you have endured in losing one whose soul is equally beautiful. Do you recall the portion in Hebrews 11:36-38 where it speaks of the faithful who were not miraculously rescued in this world? It sums up their trials by saying, "Of whom the world was not worthy." Your sweet daughter could easily be added to that list.

    It is an honor to know that our children and we are deeply loved by the Lord. May He continue to comfort you through the hard times.

    Rochelle Covert

    • Rich April 12, 2014 Reply

      Rochelle,

      I remember your son in 1993 and your hospitality to me that fall. Thank you for making me, a homesick boy, feel very much at home for a weekend. Say hello to your son for me.

      Rich

  7. BeautyforAshes April 11, 2014 Reply

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you so much for your honesty and humility and for being so specific. I cried as well, reading it. I am one of those ATI children that has now grown and is trying to heal from this "way of life" even in my thirties. I read it from two perspectives - as the child who grew up under these things - and your words brought comfort to me, and affirmation. And I also read it as a mother - because I struggle, having been "brainwashed" in these teachings. Even though I have rejected them (or am still trying to recognize them and reject them) I feel them come out in me as a parent sometimes. Someone else said they have "knee-jerk reactions" sometimes and that's what I feel. So reading your words of wisdom were very good reminders to me. Reminders to be gracious. Not to expect my little ones to have adult comprehension and perfect responses. To let them express themselves and not see it through the lens of Gothard-rules-everything-has-an-evil-motive mindset. In this aspect, your experience is as an older woman teaching a younger woman to love her child, which God says should be done. Thank you so very much for putting something so personal and heart wrenching online for us to read. It has indeed been used by the Lord, at least to help this soul! :)
    One of my parents looked at this site and come away really shocked at what this "ministry" was really doing, as well as BG...then apologized in a blanket apology..."Wow, I can't believe how wrong it all was, I feel like I owe you an apology." The other parent is saddened by the allegations against Mr. Gothard but thinks the principles STILL STAND TRUE. These reactions aren't surprising, but oh, how I wish to tell each of the parents posting on RG that have truly seen the error, and truly, thoroughly listened and apologized, THANK YOU. I don't think mine have shed a tear. There's more of an attitude of, "Well, yeah, that was a pretty bad mistake but the kids are turning out ok in spite of it, so God used it somehow!" And that's the end of the discussion. This hurts, and it's really not true. Although we are adults now and most of us live "normal" and "fruitful" lives, the pain, confusing mindsets, flashbacks remain and haunt us on a frequent basis. I hope that one day my parents will sit down and be honest, thoughtful, SORROWFUL and thorough. And go through each of the bricks of the walls of hurts, bricks of man-made standards, bricks of how they used it in a way that robbed me of SO MUCH - and then I think it will be so much easier to weep together, and move forward in the light.
    Thank you also, Daniel, for your comments. They were truly beautiful and full of love.
    I pray God's comfort upon your heart, Anita. Surely your daughter smiles in the beauty and glory of heaven - Jesus has wiped away all tears from her eyes and I pray you feel Him wipe away yours.
    With love, a sister in Christ.

  8. Paul April 12, 2014 Reply

    Alfred: "our own foolishness gets us in trouble..." Indeed it does and this website is ample evidence that that foolishness includes following men like Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard who lead us back into bondage to OT law and into bondage to silly man-contrived standards, many of which this author mentions. And who say patently false things like "all problems can be traced to violating seven biblical, non optional principles." Who had more problems: Job, Jesus, or Paul? Which non optional principles did they violate?

    Many of the responses to this article show that we are beginning to realize the centrality and all-sufficiency of Jesus. Your own response indicates you're sensing this: "If it wasn't God directing our family, we didn't do it." Great mindset, and I encourage you and all of us to live exclusively by that principle so we can say with Jesus, "we can't do anything by ourselves. We only do what the Father shows us." John 5:19 Notice Jesus didn't say, "I only do what I see written in the Law of Moses," nor would He say, "I only do what I see written in the IBLP Basic and Advanced manuals." Rather, He walked in continual, unbroken communion with His Father who gave Him direction for every situation. He was simply modeling how He wants us to walk in the Spirit in continual, unbroken communion, watching and listening for His guidance in every situation. IBLP hijacks this process, makes the Holy Spirit superfluous, and gets us depending on the manuals, rather than the Spirit, for guidance. Walk in the Spirit as Jesus did and we will not need the manuals. Conversely, walk by the manuals and we will not need Jesus. Nor will we be able to walk in the Spirit because we can only focus on one at a time -- Jesus or principles -- not both. I have chosen to throw Gothard's principles out (they are NOT biblical and are NOT non optional and have led thousands into guilt, despair, and even spiritual shipwreck) and focus on Jesus and learn to hear the Spirit's voice guiding me as He guided Jesus.

    You're on the right track, Alfred, looking for God's leading. I encourage you, and all of us, to get radical like Jesus and depend on the Spirit 100% to show God's direction. Does it not strike you as bizarre that Jesus, Creator of the universe, could do NOTHING on His own but depended solely on His Father for guidance? How much more then do we need to follow His example. This 100% dependency on God that Jesus modeled is our greatest need as Christians and, Alfred, the manuals, principles, recipes, and numbered lists destroy that need for dependence upon the Spirit to discern God's will in each situation we encounter. Throw them out and learn to walk with Jesus as He walked with His Father, 100% dependent upon the Spirit, not the law, not IBLP manuals, just the Spirit. He is adequate, and He alone is adequate!

  9. Alfred Corduan April 12, 2014 Reply

    I do agree He is adequate . . . But we are not always. I think that is the difference between the mature and the immature . . . Sometimes we make messes And we don't know how to fix them. Telling a person with a marriage on the edge of breakup that "Jesus is enough" might make them feel better, or they might get more discouraged. There IS a reason we buy books and listen to Focus on the a Family . . . And attend seminars . . . Right?

    • greg r April 12, 2014 Reply

      I do agree He is adequate . . . But we are not always. I think that is the difference between the mature and the immature..

      Alfred, you want to change anything with that , or is this really your stance ?? Describe the 'mature' person's 'adequacy'. Not trying to bait you, but IF I understand you , then, um..... wow..

      • LynnCD April 13, 2014 Reply

        greg r, I agree with what you are implying. I want to offer my opinion, not firmly set in stone: I don't quite find it proper, when a grieving mother bares her heart online for her departed daughter, citing regrets, and what she is thankful for, that this is a time for talking about how these kinds of things will never happen to us.

        • greg r April 13, 2014

          @LynnCD: I'm perplexed by your post, I don't understand your last sentence at all, but I will use your 'nudge' to stop derailing yet another thread. So for that , thanks.

        • LynnCD April 13, 2014

          greg r, I think you misunderstand me. My last sentence was directed at Alfred's remarks, where he said that the regrets expressed in the post were ones he purposed to never have, and that it is our own foolishness that often gets us into trouble. Add to that his remarks about the mature and immature, which you responded to. I agreed with your remark totally.

        • greg r April 14, 2014

          thanks, lynncd; thought that might have been the case.
          blessings.

      • Alfred Corduan April 14, 2014 Reply

        Greg R: You say, "Jesus is enough" to get us through life, presumably. And I say, yes, HE is adequate . . . but we are not. Which is why, despite having a completely adequate Savior, we just keep having problems . . . that we don't know how to solve. Platitudes just don't help much. "Take more Jesus and your marriage will be fixed." Like a man with a happy family saying, "Jesus is enough - He blessed me with a happy family". And all of the people with unhappy families say, "What is wrong with me?! Why does Jesus not love me enough to give me a happy family." I am sure you know exactly what I am saying.

        And, LynnCD . . . The mother wrote this piece 6 years after the daughter's passing . . . and it is now 2 years beyond that. The point of the article is well taken . . . but I see other points. If the greatest regret we have is that our children didn't have as much fun as otherwise . . . maybe we did not do so bad. Since in eternity none of that matters . . . in the least. And the mother will have none of those concerns 5 seconds after she too passes into the Lord's presence.

        If a child missed Jesus, then we have regrets. That is a "whatever it takes" situation, bigger than church, ATI, homeschooling or whatever else we are into. Sounds like she does not have that regret.

    • kevin April 13, 2014 Reply

      "There IS a reason we buy books and listen to Focus on the a Family . . . And attend seminars . . . Right?"

      Alfred,
      Of course there is profit to be gained in reading books, and listening to various leaders, provided they are scriptural.
      The difference is that Focus on the Family does not make things up and then pretend that they are non-optional directives from God. That is how he teaches and sadly, many followers place him in a position that should be reserved for Christ and Christ alone, as if those "Non-Optional Principles" are directly from God, when they are nothing more than one man's ideas. And, having a formula, for everything under the sun, can replace dependence on Christ for many people.

      • Alfred Corduan April 14, 2014 Reply

        Are there ANY "non-optional principles" from God that you are prepared to preach to others? Or is everything fairly murky and up to the interpretation of the individual, kevin?

        • greg r April 14, 2014

          My take on the scriptures here, Alfred, is that they are clear: Jesus died to save us from fulfilling the 'non-optional principles'. therefore we have a righteousness built upon HIM, and not our obedience to non-optional principles. Galations is a warning against "Jesus fine, now for the rest..."

    • eva April 13, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, you'd better prepare yourself. Your children are not all grown. And some of them may not choose to live the kind of life you "choose" for them They may rebel or just go a different direction. When they are all adults then you can feel free to point out how you "purposed to never have" these kind of regrets. it doesn't mean much until they are grown, gone and on their own. In fact, it's a little presumptious for you to say such a thing at this stage of your life with young children still to raise.

    • Alfred Corduan April 14, 2014 Reply

      If what you say is true, Greg R, then our Heavenly Father is living with regret after regret. For so many of His own children go a different way. What do you think . . . does He regret anything?

      No . . . we can live a life where we do not need to regret things. We obviously make course corrections, but "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Do you disagree?

      I . . . just have a problem with the blame game. That is Freud, right? Always find someone to blame . . . that is how you resolve your problems. I think that is a bad way of doing business. Own your decisions . . . move on.

      • dreamer April 14, 2014 Reply

        Yes, Alfred. The Bible says clearly that God has regrets. He regretted making Saul king over Israel. At one point, He regretted creating man at all! We are not puppets on strings; we are human beings with free will who sometimes go against our Father's wishes, causing Him regret. But He does not force His will on us. We all have choices to make. Choose wisely.

    • Dave April 14, 2014 Reply

      Alfred,
      I appreciate you have a strong sense of personal accountability. That's fantastic. But, I would humbly submit that this woman wrote a very painful retrospective where she realized hers too late, and is a timely reminder for humility for us all. Telling her, "Hey, you shouldn't have been immature" is rather callous.

      It appears your response was to piggy-back your reasoning and/or decision-making ability on her pain. Perhaps that's not what you meant, but that is definately how it is coming across.

      I would love to have a conversation with you to understand why you are so vested in a position of personal identifing with Bill Gothard and what he stands for.

      You come across like a man with a strong sense of personal conviction, yet you support a man who manipulates others' conviction for his own gain. You appear to view your male role as that of "protector" YET are so strongly identified with Bill who has consistenly demonstrated the "predator" aspect of male hubris. I'm having trouble understanding why, and would love to continue this conversation in a less public forum.

    • Sharlott Shaw July 9, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, can't you just leave some of these articles be? This is an apology coming from one mother's heart to her daughter. Even if you dont' agree, can't you at least respect her by not bringing your disbelieving hoohar into this?

      • MatthewS July 9, 2014 Reply

        To be fair, his comment there is 3 months old...

  10. BeautyforAshes April 12, 2014 Reply

    I agree, Paul. This is what I've been learning and it is so freeing and yet so safe at the same time. To just walk hand in hand with Him instead of cowering under His hand, waiting to be slapped. Such a different mindset. Of course, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" and the knowledge and respect for what He says in His word and the awesome, fearsome power He has is not forgotten. But having a relationship with Him as a child with their Father is so wonderful.

    Sometimes I wonder - very often, in fact, if Bill's rigid mindset and rule keeping and non-grace approach would be different had he had his own children. Because when you become a parent, you experience unconditional love that is just so hard to comprehend in the same way as before you were a parent. (At least, this is true for me.) I do not hover over my children, waiting for them to break a rule and then punish them with no mercy. There is understanding, there is patience, there is loving discipline and sometimes, there is no discipline where it is obvious that they have learned and are repentant already.

    Sometimes I read stories in the Bible and am so surprised (looking thru the IBLP lens) that the people questioned God or pleaded with Him differently than what He had just commanded them. Where was the bolt of lightning? Where were the hoards of demons to ''get'' them since they were "questioning authority and out from under the umbrella." I look at Moses, who questioned God many times and usually God was just so patient. He listened to Moses. How frustrated He could have gotten that Moses didn't trust Him already and immediately obey.

    Alfred, if you are referring to me, I have a wonderfully, beautifully blessed life. And I do not follow the man-made list of principles. I have been burned by following Christian leaders, pastors too many times and I'm only in my early thirties. I only want to know what the Word says now. I don't want any formulas, any sentences that start with, "I think" or "I believe." I just want God's Word and my dear Savior and the POWER of the Holy Spirit to guide me. (We do attend a wonderful Church, too, I'm not forsaking that.) It offends me when you make statements that seem to imply that I've done something foolish and am blaming my parents for the consequences. No, I have honored my parents to the best of my ability while at the same time questioning untruth. And I am blessed, so I have nothing to "blame" them for. I didn't do anything foolish - I was a child, upon whom this legalism, system of rules and standards was imposed. I also experienced spiritual, emotional, mental and physical abuse in the name of the god of this system. So when I look back, and ask that these wrongs be addressed and acknowledged so healing can continue, please don't imply that I'm foolish.
    Your response is just what my parents would have said, holding their heads high and stating along with all the other ATI parents we knew that they were following God's leading thru ATI. Well, I married a man who didn't fit the ATI mold, but he fervently, reverently loves the Lord and has been the most wonderful example to me of God's gracious love. Marrying him was the scariest and most wonderful decision I have made in my adult life. And my life has been abundantly blessed since. I don't know how Bill Gothard would explain that one. Or how he would explain how one of my siblings followed to the letter my parents direction, courted, married an ATI guy, was bitterly divorced and struggles in her walk with God now
    Don't slap Balaam's donkey. These warnings may be here to save you from the very regrets that Anita shared, that you are not insulated from having as well.
    You might reconsider what you think is God's leading, because that's what all the ATI families truly, honestly, wonderfully believed they were doing as well. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light - sometimes it is easy to be deceived in what you think is God's leading. Look at the fruit! Didn't Jesus give a parable about good and bad water coming out of a well - can't happen? Good and bad fruit coming from a fig tree- can't happen? How can a man accused of so much, guilty of covering up and enabling so much evil, with so many witnesses on this site exposing gross injustices, be the source of God's "Way of Life?" I thought Jesus said, "I am THE WAY. I am the TRUTH. No one comes to the Father but by Me." Surely this applies beyond salvation - but also to the lives we live.

    Honest pleadings from a sincere heart, for your consideration.

    • Alfred Corduan April 14, 2014 Reply

      I was not replying to you, BeautyForAshes, but responding to the article at large. The author challeged us - me - at the end about what regrets I might have if the Lord took one of my children prematurely. To which I said that I intended to not have any regrets like that. I just . . . believe in owning our decisions instead of blaming others.

      I apologize for anything the looked aimed at you. Wanting Jesus above all is the best thing of all. And to have a husband that loves Him too is worth the world. God bless you as you chase after Jesus alone.

  11. LynnCD April 12, 2014 Reply

    This post moved me to tears. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. Remember the great cloud of witnesses Hebrews speaks of. Hebrews says we are running a race surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, who have gone before us and are now cheering us on. This makes me tend to believe your daughter knows what you have written.

  12. Anonymous April 12, 2014 Reply

    Anita,
    What a beautiful post! I am sure your daughter knows what a wonderful blessing she was for you. Some feelings go beyond words,
    Blessings to you & your family,
    Christy

  13. Nancy April 13, 2014 Reply

    Anita,

    Thank you for sharing your story about your beloved daughter. She must have been an amazing person. I am sure she knew that you did your best as a parent and did what you felt was right at the time. My own mother has apologized to me many times for the the mistakes she made when I was young and I finally had to tell her to stop apologizing because she has been FORGIVEN. Forgiven by me and forgiven by God. How wonderful that you have such precious memories of your daughter and also have the gift of her child.

    May God bless you and your family.
    Nancy

  14. Nancy2 April 13, 2014 Reply

    Eph. 1:4. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    Anita, I was thinking of you today and your testimony of your most loved and loving daughter. As I prayed for you, and your family the above verse came to mind. It took my breath away thinking about how as The Lord looked forward from the time before creation, He saw your daughter, and just knew He had to create her, love her, and redeem her. He knew He would comfort you and your family.

    He tells us in Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

    I picture Him with His Hand under you, and His Ear very close when your heart breaks an cannot speak. He is closer than a whisper. My prayer is that He will continue to hold you and your family tight and comfort you all knowing it will only be a while before you are reunited with your daughter.

    Anita, your daughter is still an amazing blessing. Nothing can change that.

    I will continue to pray for you every time The Lord brings you forward in my mind.

    • LynnCD April 13, 2014 Reply

      Amen!

  15. Elizabeth April 14, 2014 Reply

    "Walk in the Spirit as Jesus did and we will not need the manuals. Conversely, walk by the manuals and we will not need Jesus."



    Thanks, Paul, for these words that do a remarkable job of describing legalism.

  16. Moderator April 15, 2014 Reply

    Moderator note: This post requires a bit of extra sensitivity. We are removing a few comments and will be moderating this thread more closely. Please keep in mind that these are real people with real hurts, and interact with them as you would if you were face-to-face. Thank you for understanding.

    • Brittony April 15, 2014 Reply

      Thank you!!

  17. Danielle April 15, 2014 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what pain you have gone thu and quite likely still feeling. I think that your daughter knows exactly what you are feeling and have stated in your letter.

    I am so glad that she was happy with her husband and child and got to experience that.

    Thank you for sharing. It is always good to have a reminder that we are given these angels to be in our lives even if it is for such a short time.

  18. Shane April 16, 2014 Reply

    Anita,

    Thank you for your honesty and allowing us to peer into your grief. It a courageous thing!

    I pray the coming celebration of the resurrection fills you with confidence that all that is sad is coming untrue.

  19. Alfred Corduan April 18, 2014 Reply

    The mother who authored this piece expressed grief over my comments, some of which have been deleted. I should have been more sensitive. I lost my father when I was 8, so know some of that sorrow . . . but not the loss of a child. It gets to be a battle at times - on this website - and I get grumpy at repeated pokes in my tender spots that I take personally. In this case that was completely wrong, and I apologize to her and everyone else.

    • LynnCD April 20, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, thank you for saying that. I am glad the comments about one in your family were taken down as well.

  20. Valerie Lord April 21, 2014 Reply

    Thank you, Anita, for sharing so humbly and transparently. Weeping for your loss. May God continue to bless and guide you and yours, and heal your hearts completely.

  21. AW April 22, 2014 Reply

    Anita,
    As a child who spent my most formative decade in ATI, thank you for your letter. My own mother, whether broken through ATI or genetics, is not mentally capable of struggling with me through my journey. I'm not sure how to adequately explain it, but your words are what I needed so desperately to hear tonight. Thank you. From a grown woman who's own mother is no longer capable, thank you for being a surrogate voice.

  22. andrew May 4, 2014 Reply

    I couldn't read this without crying, heart rending and touching.

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