What can you do ------------------ Feedback Box:
when there is nothing
you can do
Uncle Ed.'s answer to a mother devastated by divorce and loss of custody of her 9-year-old daughter to a porn-loving homosexual
----- Original Message -----
From: Dave Leach <mailto:email@example.com>
To: Dave Leach <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 8:54 PM
Subject: Re: What can you do, when there is nothing you can do?
----- Original Message -----
From: Blb19570@aol.com <mailto:Blb19570@aol.com>
To: Feedback@panews.org <mailto:Feedback@panews.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2001 11:14 PM
Subject: unwanted divorce/child in jepordy
i gave everything to my marriage, after 16yrs i was isolated, deeply
and extremely hopeless, at this time my therapist said he did not know how i
even got out of bed, but i managed to care for my 5yr old daughter, kept an
immaculet house, worked full time and managed our household finances, my
husband had spent us into our second bankruptcy, are only social contacts
were his friends who like to hang out in our home and drink, still i hung in
there trying to make this marriage work, however my ex had other plans, with
his friends support and lies he managed to convince the courts that i was
unstable and was able to get his divorce and get residential custody of our
daughter who was 5 then and is now 9.
I fear for her because of many things that are going on in his home, after
our divorce i discovered that he had been looking at pornographic gay
websites, he has a 16yr old boy living in the home with them now who he seems
to spend all his time with and is more concerned with this boy than he is our
daughter, he also has other young male friends that he allows to hang out in
the home, they drink a lot and watch a lot of violent movies with sexual
content and cursing that my daughter is exposed to, many times while drinking
with his friends he passes out leaving our daughter in the company of these
boys, many times these boys will get drunk and stay over in the home, i have
to pay my ex child support but i still have to provide child care, clothing
and other nessecites for our daughter, i am at wits end, i am concerned about
the safety of my daughter, her moral upbringing, and her emotional wellbeing,
but my lawyer says the courts will not change the agreement because there is
no proof of anything, my ex is a great talker and everybody, from the school,
neighbors, ect claim he is a great guy, even though he has changed jobs 7
times in the last 4 years, lives beyond his means, hangs out with young boys,
left me with nothing, not a home, no car, he took all the money from our
checking account and moved it into his own account yet i have had the same
job, i have my employer and co workers,
therapist, and friends have testified on my behalf in one hearing to modify
custody, the court refuses, i have been reestablishing financially and am now
in the process of buying a home, i had to replace my car, and i have been the
primary caretaker of our daughter but the courts dont seem to want to budge,
i dont know what to do anymore, i just feel hopeless and doomed for my
daughter and any hope for any kind of life for any of us.
From: Dave Leach <mailto:email@example.com>
To: Blb19570@aol.com <mailto:Blb19570@aol.com>
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 12:27 PM
Subject: What can you do, when there is nothing you can do?
I assume you were inspired to write me after seeing my "divorce" section on my website, although you don't say what on the site prompted you to write. Perhaps your answer would be that there is nothing on my site that prompted you to write; or rather, that it was the fact that there was nothing on my site that came close to meeting your need, that caused you to express your despair.
In other words, what can you do, when there is nothing you can do?
It may be there are things you can try legally. I can't even think about that without knowing more details about your case. Have you read Florida divorce law? Have you read Florida Supreme Court divorce rulings? POSSIBLY if I had copies of your legal papers, and of Florida law, and opportunity to ask you further questions, I could think of suggestions to try. But I should warn you, anything I would suggest would be unconventional, as it would have to be since success by conventional means is pretty well blocked by judicial water on the brain. So for this answer, I will assume you are right, that there is nothing, legally, that you can do.
There is something you can do, but you may not be ready to hear it. But I hope you are. Because I have found this answer, which I received as Jesus' gift to me, the key not only to the security of my children, but to meaning in life itself.
I want to give you this answer in the shortest way I know how, but some stories are just too special to plop them on the plate as you ring the dinner bell. They need you to clean off the table, get out your best silverware, and light a couple of candles.
Your situation is more extreme than mine was. But when faced with similar catastrophe, there was too much despair in my heart to take comfort in worse stories. Like you, I saw my children in danger, through the mental numbness of a judge (I was Judge Tidrick's last case before he retired) who actually declared, as he introduced his decision, that my wife was immoral, but he couldn't take that into account! (He also said I was "odd", which believe me, I myself can look back and agree, my efforts to save the unsaveable by my own efforts made me as odd as ever I have been.)
Because he imagined that it would be, I suppose, "unethical", to take into account the single most important criteria that distinguishes a good parent from a bad parent, a parent who will raise mentally healthy children from a parent who will expose children to high risk of serious, lifelong social and spiritual problems, I was helpless to protect my very own children, who were then at the tender ages of 2 and 5. What do you do when God takes out of your reach the power to fulfill the most important responsibility He has ever given you? Dare you just give up?
That was the time in my life when I studied all those Scriptures about answered prayer for those praying with faith, and I prayed, and I mustered as much faith as I could cram in my brain.
But in the midst of this, something wonderful happened. Jesus had appeared to me before the divorce, in the very darkest time of my life, during the one experience I had previously decided must be the most horrible thing I could possibly experience: divorce. Thus the most horrible thing I had ever imagined was mitigated by the most wonderful experience I had ever imagined. But now after the decision, during one of my visits with my daughter, Cindy, (now she insists she is "Cyndi"), Jesus appeared again, in His clearest appearance to me. As I was driving, Cindy asleep beside me, about an hour from my destination, Jesus asked me, "She's really something, isn't she?" I answered with pride, "She sure is!" I thought of all the things I had done to make her so special: the extra time teaching her to pronounce words accurately (I made a game of saying, for example, "No, not balana, but ba-NAN-a", exaggerating my inflections for comic effect, acting mortified when she pronounced it incorrectly again, which made her laugh, acting overcome with joy when she got it right, which made her laugh; and when she pronounced it incorrectly just to see my reaction I pouted "Oh, you're just trying to do that", and ended the game.) I thought of holding her at my eye level and walking around so she could see the world from my perspective, even when she was a baby. I thought of the joy of helping her walk. I thought of the diapers changed, the "art" treasured in scrapbooks, the photographs, the Super 8 movies, the songs sung to her, the Bible verses read, the Bible stories told. All these thoughts flooded my mind in a matter of seconds.
Jesus then asked me, "Do you want the credit?"
The question astonished me, but the look on His face (I could not even then draw, or describe, the physical features of His face, but the EXPRESSION on His face is vivid in my memory to this day) struck me to the core. Every possible emotion seemed equally balanced. Love and hate, passion and peace, satisfaction and disappointment. It was very clear to me that it was not a rhetorical question, to make a point. There was no sarcasm or judgment. There was yearning for me to make the right choice, but it was balanced by patience should I choose wrong. It was very clear to me that Jesus was asking because He was ready to give me whatever I wanted. If I wanted the credit, then He would let me have it! For what that would be worth! But during the next hour of driving, the alternative He was offering gradually became just as clear to me: should I choose to give Him all the credit, then He would be "set free" to raise her Himself! The greatest fear I had, that now I would not be able to raise Cindy into a wonderful, fulfilled, happy adult, Jesus was now offering to lift high above my weak, stooped shoulders onto His own! Jesus was offering to personally raise my daughter with the finest care any father could ever dream of!
God gave us Choice, to choose Him or death. Many actually choose death; when they do, God cannot work miracles in their lives without "killing" that which makes them souls: the power of choice. I saw that Jesus was waiting for my decision. It took me the full hour to understand the decision, and to accept the right answer. In a miracle of timing that enabled me to complete my decision just as I pulled into my destination, I was finally able to answer, "No."
What peace I had from that point on! Oh, sure, I was still bitter every time visitation was denied, or I heard a report about improper care, or I had to deal with a woman who had been transformed by the divorce process from the woman I had loved more than any other on earth, into some sort of perversion of what it meant to be human. But no longer could I seriously worry how either of my two children would turn out! I had Jesus' promise, in the clearest ever of the times He appeared to me!
But there was a terrible void in my own life. I thought of all the experiences of growing up which I would never be able to share with my children. My life, so full of children's laughter and the love of a lovely woman only months before, was now suddenly, violently, empty and alone. I could not take joy in my work; for whom, now, was I working? Only for child support so someone else could more easily raise my children?
My concern grew about all the destructive philosophies, from sex to sodomy to "reading programs" which turn out illiterates to the rock songs actually glorifying suicide, that I knew my children were being subjected to, and from which I could no longer shelter them. I understood many such dangers, but I had no opportunity to explain them to my children. Well, I mean I could a little, but at very young ages it is very difficult to even get a clear report, during my two days every two or three months with them, about the heresies attacking them, much less explain the truth to them clearly enough to immunize them for another couple of months.
I had to do something, even though there was nothing I could do. I couldn't do nothing. I was restless to address the need before me. The Court had no higher vision than for me to send my children's mother money, but I wanted to send them life-saving knowledge. I wanted them to be safe and happy. I wanted to shelter them from attack.
So I adopted a strategy. It was desperate, because its success seemed more improbable, humanly speaking, than any other effort to raise my children had been, from intense education in my limited time to dreams of going back to court to reverse custody.
I decided that if I could not directly shelter my children from the world's attacks, I would change the world! I would change the world into a place which no longer attacks innocent children! I would remove the threats to my own children, by removing them for all children!
A bit ambitions? Desperate? I had to do SOMETHING. I couldn't just sit and watch TV. I couldn't incapacitate myself on beer or drugs. I couldn't worry about making more child support money when my children's very souls were in the balance. Satan's tanks were just yards from mowing down my own children, and I had to stop them somehow!
I'm not sure how "strong" my "faith" was, that God would honor my work and make me successful, as I thus proceeded to become a Christian political activist, lobbying lawmakers, interviewing pastors to get to the bottom of their resistance to rescuing the victims of Satan's politics. It was just strong enough, I suppose, to keep me working quite hard, in the desperate hope that if I kept working, it MIGHT be possible to actually succeed. Over the years I contemplated many strategies for success; all of them somewhat, in the world's eyes, "desperate", in keeping with the small scale of my resources and small following. Actually many models I developed 20 years ago are still my models today, though refined by God's Word. No longer is there a sense of desperation in my presentations, as my confidence has grown that these are not "my" strategies at all but God's; and as I see God has commanded that we as a nation practice them, my confidence has grown that God will soon bring the day when the hearts of Americans will thaw until we can.
Looking back, I can't see that I have made a terrible splash upon the whole world. But my primary purpose for jumping in the water, if you remember, was not for the world, though that motive still drives me, but for my children! And I have to confess, God has mightily blessed the impact of all my efforts upon their lives! You should see them today! Cyndi is 25 now. She graduated Suma Cum Laude (that means "highest honors") from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, with a major in psychology. She has the funnest, sweetest, most animated personality any father could hope for in his daughter! And she is quite simply a knockout! She will be a prize for any young man, and any man even considering taking such a prize home had better be prepared to take VERY good care of it!
Before she went to college she was the Valedictorian in her high school. Or at least she would have been, had not the misguided jerks at the Department of Education stopped honoring valedictorians lest they make student sluggards feel bad about themselves. She was also honored in the Des Moines Register's special annual section honoring the brightest scholars in the state. She also played clarinet, piano, studied some gymnastics, was on the school flag team, and went out for track. Now she climbs mountains for fun.
Best of all: she has read the entire Bible once (a feat matched by about 4% of Bible believing Christians) and still reads it. Her website is:
My son, Arlo, has a web presence at www.Arlotone.com <http://www.Arlotone.com> . He has honored me by copying many of my talents and making them his own. I play trumpet primarily, and secondarily sing and play guitar; he began on trumpet, but now has quite a following through his singing and guitar playing. I have written dozens of original songs, which only a few friends and family and very small audiences have heard even though they are among the best in the world; he has written dozens more, and has about a dozen CD's of his songs that he has produced and released to his fans!
Arlo is 27 now. He lives in Chicago, where he is a computer wizard, designing web and other computer projects for high priced corporations. I am a writer and musician; at Grinnell College, (one of America's top colleges, sometimes mentioned in the same breath with Harvard and Yale; Cyndi went there for her first 2 years but liked Morningside better), he graduated with a double major in English and Music. He has honored me by letting me perform on two of his CD's! What greater honor could any father ask?!
If Arlo is a Christian, he has not comforted me with that knowledge, or with sharing of his experiences in Christ. But I take comfort in God's faithfulness to answer my prayers for him. How can I worry after I have seen God answer every OTHER prayer for him beyond my wildest expectations? The matrimony in which he is living is not yet holy, but I don't see how it could be possible for any two people to have a better relationship without being Christians. I love them both and look forward to the fulfillment of the rest of my happiest dreams for them.
My prayers for Arlo began before he was born. I suppose every father wants a smart boy, but I do remember really praying with faith, with peace about it, that he would be especially gifted with his intellect, and would contribute spiritually to the world. At age 5, he was diagnosed with an overall IQ of 130. (After I heard that, I got myself tested; my overall only reached 120.) When he graduated from high school, he was not only the valedictorian, but he was one of the 10 graduates across Iowa who were featured with special articles about them on the front page of the Des Moines Register's special section honoring high school graduates across Iowa.
Arlo's personality is awesome. He is the quintessential professional. Good natured, never in a bad temper even when I provoke him, able to rise above controversy with humor, never at a loss for eloquent words without talking too much.
Now here is one of the strongest evidences that my strategy worked, in a way I didn't anticipate: and that it should probably work for you. As an adult, Arlo has told me he was inspired by the sincerity and strength of my convictions. What dad could hope for greater honor from his son, than a statement like that? But there is encouragement for you, too, in his compliment.
You see, while I thought I was trying to change the world just to kill time, even though my efforts would have no direct effect on my children, it turned out just the opposite: the impact of my efforts on the world have been "statistically insignificant", but it may be that the impact on my children was greater than had I personally raised them!
You see, the year my first wife divorced me, 1978, we had a $40,000 house paid off and $5,000 paid towards a $20,000 acreage of 20 acres. I was making plans to build my own home which our equity could pay off, and the home would be self sufficient: solar heat, electricity from a stream, plenty of wood, earth-sheltered; an environmentalist's fantasy. Had that dream come true, my children would have basically had, for their example, a semi-retired 33-year-old dabbling in writing and music but mostly staying home and playing with them. Compare that with a dad knocked smack out of his TV chair into a race against worldwide corruption whose seriousness drove him to tears, prayer and renewed efforts.
Not that that puts me in the position of taking back the credit, from Jesus, for raising them! My contact with them was too infrequent, my influence too indirect, to make such a claim. And I don't mean to suggest their mother played no positive role in their upbringing! I just mean that when hope was darkest, Jesus promised me that He would, in so many words, balance the influences of the humans in their lives in order to produce wonderful results, and that is exactly what happened!
Please follow this example, into which I stumbled. When you can't do anything, what you CAN do is what God waits for you to do: do it in hope!
Care not alone for your own! Love cannot love only its own, Matthew 5:48, but the kind of love your children need reaches way past your children, to my children and all children.
People say they don't want to be involved in "politics". But the fact is children are America's victims of wicked politics. Divorce courts are the product of laws, which are enacted through "politics". Preferences for sodomites, in adoptions and divorce custody battles, exist courtesy of "politics". If we have any intention of rescuing children from these attacks, it looks like we had better think about influencing "politics".
That doesn't mean we have to become corrupt, or we have to "compromise". Politics in America today is somewhere between that practiced by Stalin as he sentenced some 60 million innocent people to torture and death, and Jesus when he argued with the leaders of the Sanhedrin (whose interpretations of Sabbath practices determined who would be stoned to death for working too much) about the absurdity of calling "healing" on the Sabbath "work". Let's see how close we can pull American politics back towards Jesus' model, away from Stalin's.
Without going into much detail, I earlier mentioned Jesus' appearance to me during my very darkest hours. I don't think that is a unique experience. Job's complaint, during his darkest hour, was that man suffers so much without ever the opportunity of facing God, and guess what happened? God appeared to him, too, giving him, too, the happiest dream he could ever have imagined, right at the climax of his most terrible nightmare.
Of course, not everyone will consider his prayer answered by mere victory over his personal Goliath. Most will feel betrayed by God for allowing Goliath to stand there, cursing, threatening, and insulting, in the first place. Most just want to be left alone to enjoy life. Adults don't have terribly much more interest in growing up any more than they already are, than children.
Thus the prospect of God's Presence shining bright, lighting your way through the Valley of Death, is unwanted. Most want neither the Valley of the Shadow of Death, nor God's light to walk through it. They just want "peace" and comfort, a little luxury, respect of man, 4 squares, and a paid up cable bill.
Thus Job 35:10-11 pleads "But none saith, "Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? Because men pray not for God's presence or to grow, but only to be free from oppression, v. 9, God will not answer their prayer, v. 12-13.
The pastor I heard this morning talked about a Cicada he and his son found and put in an aquarium. A cicada is that fat insect with the silken wings who sings like a set of maracas, except with only one long note that fades in and out from a sound that makes the bones inside your ears clatterbang against one another. A cicada lives 18 years (some live different length cycles) in the ground, and for its last two days of its life, it crawls out of the ground, works its way out of its shell, flies, mates, and dies. The pastor watched the bug's tortured efforts to get out of that shell, and finally helped it get it open. Whereupon the insect crawled out, but its wings never developed, the insect never flew, and soon it was dead.
Later they learned it was the struggle against the shell that forced blood into the wings to make them quickly develop.
God made us to need "trials and temptations" in the same way, James 1. It may be that you, like me, are being boxed by God into the very corner from which you can most effectively oppose all the things that really concern you. For the sake of your children, and all children, join me in the battle! Remember that what makes this battle so hard is the size of the enemy compared with the size of our own beleaguered side. Remember also that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood", says the Scripture, but against, well, philosophies that destroy children. And these philosophies are the direct result of apathy. Christians have so many wonderful excuses for remaining ignorant of the ways they could so easily, together, stop all the threats to families. This is the heart of the battle: not fighting the wicked, but just getting the "good guys" to wake up. Please help me!
You can go to therapists until they take every last dime the lawyers left you, but there is no consolation for wrongs suffered as sweet as victory over your enemies! Our real enemies are not "flesh and blood", the Scripture points out, but the philosophies that destroy families. Catch, with me, the vision of victory over ALL our enemies!
There is a cost. Anything good costs. Good food costs more preparation time than slapping it in the microwave. Controlling weight costs a few moments of hunger. Learning a job skill costs concentration which is a process of forcing all other thoughts from the mind. Growing up from infancy to maturity means giving up so many of life's simple pleasures: being able to go to the toilet whenever you feel like it, eating a little healthy food along with your dessert, staying out of the street, and not going into other people's houses without the tedious process of first securing permission. Raising a family requires many sacrifices, since no child can grow to maturity by earning everything he needs. Not the least of the "sacrifices" needed by parents, for their own sakes as well as for their children, is to find joy in each other's arms and not the arms of strangers.
Even writing this letter represents a bit of sacrifice. I started this reply at 11 PM, time I should have been asleep. Words kept pouring out until 2:30 AM, as the cries of my poor old body gave me a small taste of tortures other Christians have voluntarily endured for the Name of Jesus.
Mark Twain's first novel included chapters full of detail on gold and silver mining. It is tedious, thankless, dangerous work with great risks from the search for ore, to the staking (registering) of the claim, to the dark hot hours underground, to the extraction of ounces of gold or silver from the tons of worthless rocks, to the journey to the bank, to the journey back home.
But who does not want gold and silver?
Seek the Kingdom of God with me. Its ore is infinitely more precious than gold or silver! And there is no risk! Well, you have to risk everything which you will not be able to keep anyway. Some "risk".
Trust God, who loved you enough to die for you! Don't squall because He makes you eat your vegetables before you can have your dessert. God has given you the very best conditions for your own maturity, and yes, He does love your children, even more than you do! God will not abandon them!
But remember that God is YOUR Father as well as theirs, and as well as mine. While your arms long for your children, His arms long to hold you ever more closely. Never turn from your only source of real comfort, from the One who holds all these events in the palm of His Hand, turning every trial into the doorway to freedom, joy, victory, and Meaning in Life!
In Jesus' Name (Col 3:17)
I am deeply appreciative for your response, and will certainly take them to
I have always believed in God, however this last four years has really tried
my faith in him, it is the time you taken and the sharing of your experience
that have helped me in holding on to my faith and going on to do the things I
can and trust in God for the rest, again, thank you, Betsy Bigelow
Now remember, my motive in writing is not to make you comfortable off the battlefield. My mission is to recruit you for war. You have met the enemy. I don't want you to become comfortable in his claws. I want to give you the bullets to drain every last drop of black, oily blood out of his fat, ugly carcass. I want you to fight with me, with hope of total victory over Evil. I want you to look forward to your little victory walk over to Goliath, where you can lop off his sick, sorry head and wave it at all the skeptics who told you he would never fall and you would never win!
So when you are formulating the list of things you "can" do, don't settle for less than everything. Do DESPERATE things. Make DESPERATE plans. Work like you are DESPERATE. But don't BE desperate. Trust God. Have faith that He which has done a good work in you will complete it. Take comfort that God is with you on the battlefield, but I hope you won't leave the battle without feeling the most terrible despair! I want you to feel absolutely miserable if you start getting comfortable with Claws. God wants you to order around Mountains. Not be buried by some filthy pile of dirt.
In Jesus' Name (Col 3:17)
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