One night I came home and my wife Michelle was extremely frustrated with our teenage daughter Olguine. We adopted her and her brother David into our family one year ago – a year filled with blessings and challenges. When I walked in the door, Michelle immediately pointed to Olguine’s room and said “You have to go talk to her . . . I am done (translation: over it, don’t want to deal with it anymore, you better do something quick or am going to lose it . . . you get the idea).
Michelle was concerned that Olguine was mean to David and thought that David really needed Olguine’s love and affection. Olguine did not want to hear it. They got into a heated discussion and Olguine blurted out that she did not love anyone and that no one loved her and she ran to her room. As I walked toward Olguine’s room, I thought to myself, “Be gentle and calm.”
After knocking, I walked into Olguine’s room and sat down. She was cleaning her room. As she looked up, she said “What are you doing?” I said, “I came to see how you are doing?” “I’m fine,” she replied, “You can leave now.” I calmly said, “I am not leaving.”
She rolled her eyes and kept cleaning. After a few minutes I asked her what had happened with mom. She said “Nothing!” “Nothing?” I asked. “Okay fine. Mom said that I’m not nice to David and that I didn’t show him love and that he needs me . . . but I am nice to him . . . Okay, you can go now.” I calmly replied, “I am not leaving.”
After a few more minutes of quiet and me just sitting on the floor of her room, she moved across the room to clean out another drawer to clean. Again she looked at me and said, “Daddy, what are you doing? You can go.” Once again, “I am not leaving.”
After a few more minutes that seemed like eternity, she found a picture in the drawer that she wanted to show me and brought it to where I was sitting. After looking at the picture, I asked her, “Mom told me that you said you do not love anyone and that no one loves you . . . did you mean that?”
Not really believing it but not wanting to retract the statement, she said, “Yes, I don’t love anyone and no one loves me . . . Daddy, will you please go?”
“I am not leaving.”
We talked for a little while about how impossible this statement was because I loved her and always will. There is something inside of me that believes that she knows I love her but it is hard for her to accept my love because she has never known the love of a father, never known anyone that was willing to be committed to her forever.
Finally, she sat down beside me and started to read a book to me. After a while, she said, “I should probably go and tell mom I’m sorry.” I finally got up from the floor, hugged her and gave her some space to prepare to talk to her mom.
As I walked upstairs, I realized that I kept repeating “I am not leaving. I am not leaving. I am not leaving.” That’s probably what she needed to hear the most especially after the fight with her mom that left her wondering where she stood with us – would we leave her like everyone else? Would we abandon her?
Then I thought, “This is for me.” Isn’t this what I long to hear from our Father in heaven “I will never leave you”? Don’t our hearts burn when we read the promise in scripture that God will be with us, He will never leave us, He will never forget us, He will never abandon us.
No matter what you are going through, no matter how far you have strayed, no matter how unworthy you feel of God’s love, God the father is with you and whispering in your ear, “I am not leaving.”