Baby Steps at the Family Retreat

TheHeartlightGatheringWhat would you do if your child was so angry that she refused to speak to you? 

That was our situation about a month ago when we visited our daughter at the Heartlight Boarding School  that she attends. (If you haven’t heard about our situation, you can read my prior blog post Overwhelmed.)

We had friends and family praying for us beforehand. We were so excited to see our girl; and so, after the long drive from NC to Texas, we arrived for the family retreat, and we took our seats for the opening night — a terrific talent show put on by the kids.

Following that event, we were told to meet over by the fire pits for some hot chocolate and family time. There were so many people scrambling to say hello to their sons and daughters. I searched everywhere to find our Anika, as I couldn’t wait to see her and give her a hug.

Finally… a glimpse of our girl. 

I see her hanging out with this boy who I think she likes. I’ve heard through the grapevine that this could be her special squishy. His parents are standing there too, The boy smiles, and says “Hello, my name is Matt.”

I shake his hand, and reply, “Hi, I’m Mrs. Koob, Anika’s mom.”

I introduce myself to Matt and his lovely parents, Jackie and David. Then, I smile and jokingly introduce myself to my girl, “Hi, I’m Anika’s mom.”

Oh my! She rolls her eyes at her embarrassing mother.

I think what a faux pas! But it’s so difficult to make conversation.

Then suddenly, her dad sees us and comes  to join in the conversation, but Anika quickly makes her escape to avoid any communications with him. In fact, she hasn’t spoken to her dad since September 29th.

Oh Lord… this is so difficult for my husband! They were always best buds when when she was little.

I am not sure why Anika is so mad at her dad. Maybe it’s because she is afraid that he’ll judge her? Maybe it’s because she can’t face him after all that’s happened? Maybe she just too embarrassed and it’s too hard to admit it?

However, we don’t care about who was right and who was wrong. We don’t desire to place blame or shame on her or us. All we care about is our girl receiving the love and care she needs to heal so that she can have a wonderful life. We earnestly pray for a miracle.

West Lodge and Cabins

Heartlight Education Building and Gym

View of the Heartlight Pond and a West Lodge Cabin

And Heartlight is a wonderful place for that to happen.

Suddenly, before Anika can run away, Jesus comes to the rescue through Anika’s counselor, Melissa, who sees our awful situation. She kindly encourages Anika to make the effort to speak to her dad. We know this is painful for her, but she takes that baby step. YEA GOD!

And so, the walls begin to come down!

The next day was a family day with parents and kids. At lunch time, we trekked over to the West House Log Cabin where she lives and had lunch. Words were sparse, but we made it through. Then, there was skeet shooting, rock wall climbing, volleyball, and even horseback riding.

We loved meeting the kids with their resident directors and counselors. We enjoyed meeting many of the parents and found they were just like us… they deeply loved their children.

And we even got to see Anika ride a horse for the first time, and she did it with a broken arm. Now that’s our girl!

Anika's first time on a horse!

Seeing her smile was the best gift ever. We haven’t see that face light up in over two years.

Although we still have a long way to go to rebuild our relationships, we felt like God was watering our family with His love. We saw that seeds were planted that weekend, and we continue to pray for complete restoration.

I believe His promises are true for our children.
I thank God for the baby steps
for all things are possible with Him. 

How about you? 

9 responses to “Baby Steps at the Family Retreat

  1. What a wonderful present to you. Have been praying for you and your family and yes it takes baby steps. Remember the prodigal son? He had to take one step at a time toward his father. I rejoice for that smile, a gift indeed!


  2. It sounds like a beautiful weekend. We are praying until you tell us we don’t need to🙂 Sounds like God is definitely working in Anika’s life and yours. Progress is always good. Thank you for sharing your story. I shared it with a friend struggling with the same thing. It helped her….


  3. I pray the Lord gives you continued strength to endure what must be very painful, and the love to focus on the joy that the baby steps bring. Blessings come in all sorts of packages, and I know that you both cannot wait to unwrap this one!! Prayers for you and your family, and continued healing for Anika.


  4. Thank you so much for sharing. This has to be such painful time for you and your husband-and Anika. Praying for God to continue restoration of her heart. Praying for Anika’s smiles to be more numerous and conversations between you more frequent. Praying for the holes in your heart to be filled with the peace and love of Jesus as you wait…

    Liked by 1 person

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