From Shambles to Significance

What started as a desperate teenager's prayer for my family has now affected families all over the world

Everybody wants to be somebody. I was no different. I grew up in the halls of power in our nation's capitol because my father served a senator and three presidents, but still I was the child my parents worried about the most. I was extremely introverted, I struggled in reading and writing, stuttered, and was born, seemingly, with two left feet. I felt as though I could do nothing well. And while my siblings found their talents and interests early in life, I wallowed in uncertainty and doubt.

I grew up in the church and was raised on a diet of morals and character, but my family was busy paving our way to heaven with good works rather than life-changing faith. Fortunately, when I was 16, I began attending a Young Life group where I committed to follow Jesus' plan for my life.

Now devoted to Bible study and prayer, I was growing in ways my parents didn't understand. But I had finally found a sense of peace and an understanding of who I was, and it changed me completely. I experienced confidence and joy I'd never felt before. That was a good thing, because six months later my life fell apart.

God's Amazing Work

So new to my faith and so zealous about it, I didn't notice what began to happen to my family. As an aide to President Richard Nixon, my father worked just about 24/7, so I was used to his absence. But my mother started to be absent as well—not physically, but psychologically. She lost her smile and exuberance, and became distant and unavailable to her family. I didn't understand it at the time (plus in those days, you didn't talk openly about such things), but my mother was drifting into a severe depression.

I'd hear snippets of tense conversation between my father and her. Words like the president and Watergate were whispered. Although I couldn't understand what they were talking about, I knew something was going on. Then one night I overheard a television newscaster announce, "Harry Dent and Chuck Colson ordered the Watergate break-in."

Harry Dent. My father. Whatever they said he'd done, I knew it wasn't true.

Seemingly overnight our lives turned upside down with questions, suspicions, and fears that my dad might ultimately go to prison.

My newfound spiritual growth made me realize that my dad had never initiated a relationship with Jesus. This motivated me to pray with a passion for my father and the rest of my family. I centered on my one hope, that God had a plan for my life and could make good out of an impossible situation. I fought for my family on my knees. I may have only been 16, but I knew God could work through my prayers just as powerfully as anyone else's.

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Balance; Burdens; Expectations; Ministry; Obedience; Prayer; Relationships; Service; Teenagers
Today's Christian Woman, January/February , 2013
Posted January 16, 2013

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