Having a child pull away from you and your faith can be a difficult thing for parents. This is my story. This was my journey in finding peace and keeping that mother/child relationship alive and well.
I have learned by sad experience that it is a very natural thing for a child (teenage or grown adult) to pull away from parents when they choose to walk away from a faith they have grown up with. When this happened in our family, I was initially devastated, as it felt like I was losing my daughter. She was rejecting the religious belief she learned in our home, and as part of that, she pulled away from us.
This daughter of ours decided to move to Utah for one year at University and then to Whistler, BC to work. Before she left home, we had a much-needed intimate conversation, which I believe helped to lay the groundwork for allowing her to know how much she was loved. Having mutual respect for each other was also part of this conversation.
I can’t begin to describe the worry that I had for her as she worked, partied and played with her new-found freedom so far from home. Sometimes we would literally not hear from her for two or three weeks at a time. This was a very difficult time and would leave me sleepless in the middle of the night, worrying about her. The only thing I could do was be there for her when she would call, and pray.
During this period of time, I taught a daily early morning scripture study class for youth, and one year we were studying the Book of Mormon. As I studied for my lesson one day and began delving into Jacob 5, (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/jacob/5?lang=eng) I had a life-changing experience that allowed me to view our situation differently. I knew this was an answer to my prayers. The allegory of the tame and wild olive trees depicts how God works with and loves his covenant people, Israel. As I broke this allegory down to a more personal level, to God loving me personally as a worker (servant) in His garden, and my daughter as the fruit, I began to see the hand of God in our lives. This allegory depicts our God who works with us again and again and again, and gives chance after chance after chance. He tenderly oversees the grafting, transplanting, pruning, digging, and nourishing. I realized that He was ever watching over our daughter. The MASTER OF THE VINEYARD was allowing her opportunities to learn and flourish in another part of his vineyard, even if I was not able to protect and oversee for a time. He also tenderly watched over me and gave me instruction as to how to help. When I studied this, it gave me great hope, and peace flowed through me. Although this situation remained the same for several years, I knew that God was watching over her, would continue to work with her, and would put others in her path to help her learn and grow. I’m so grateful for this experience that helped me to recognize that I was in a partnership with God and how long-suffering and unconditionally loving He is with His children. I needed to learn to be the same.
This was one of two powerful answers to prayer that I had during that time-frame that allowed me to know she would be okay. I know that each situation with every child is different, but this was my answer, and it allowed me to let go of the constant angst. During this time that she was experiencing and experimenting away from our watchful eyes, there were lots of rough patches for her. If something was wrong or she was in trouble, that’s when we would hear from her. She always contacted us or came back to us for help. We laugh about it now, but I’m very glad she knew she could come to us for help anytime, for any reason.
For several years I watched her navigate through different dating relationships. She would always tell me that she wanted to find someone like her dad to marry, and eventually she did find an amazing man, who is perfect for her. He was an answer to our prayers. The seeds that were planted in her life brought forth strong roots. She was planted in good soil with lots of love and nourishment and she has blossomed and flourished. Despite our imperfections as parents and the messiness of life, she found her way and is a wonderful mother and wife. She is happy, with loving relationships. And, by the way, I now hear from her most every day … at least once and sometimes more. 🙂
MASTER OF THE VINEYARD was a very therapeutic song to create. My husband and I traveled back to Whistler, BC, and filmed the video footage for this music video. Our daughter took us to these locations when we would visit her while she lived there. When our daughter heard this song for the first time, I was able to share with her the experiences I had as a mother, and peace that I felt amidst the turmoil.
This is our story. Every story and situation is unique and not all have a happy ending in this mortal life. I do know that the MASTER OF THE VINEYARD will answer parents’ heartfelt prayers. As parents we can enter into a partnership with Him. If we ask, He will help. Even though our children have the right and ability to choose their own path, and sometimes this can seem hopeless and destructive, we as parents, have the ability to engage with a loving Heavenly Father, who will answer our prayers. It will look and feel different for every one of us. There is hope and peace to be found in our mortal journey when we, as parents, work with the MASTER OF THE VINEYARD.