The Secret Place

Psalm 91:1

Sometimes when we become vulnerable and raw in front of others, it helps them to realize that they aren’t the only ones going through a situation that isn’t ideal. It might even show them how important it is to share our testimonies with others who might be going through something similar. This, in turn, reveals God’s goodness in how He has helped us overcome things that seemed impossible to get through. I’m about to get real raw and vulnerable with you, I hope you’re ready.

About 10 years ago, when my youngest daughter was only 6 years old, her stepmother and her father thought it would be great to call the Children Youth and Families Division (CYFD) to report abuse. You see, my daughter has a birthmark on her bicep that is splotchy and sort of redish-purple, and can be misconstrued as a bruise, so her stepmother and father reported that I had hit my baby girl over Easter weekend. I had already been to court about four or five times regarding my little girl and I was exhausted from stress and a broken heart because I never thought my family life would take such a hit.

I wasn’t the best mother to my other three children, so I tried extra hard with my youngest baby. I knew I wasn’t going to have anymore children and I saw what my pre-Jesus life had done to the first three, so I did everything I could to keep her from having to deal with adult situations that no child should go through. To this day I feel like I failed her.

For some reason mothers tend to spoil the youngest child more than the older children. I don’t know why we do this, but maybe it’s because it’s our last chance until we have grandchildren. All I know is I wish I hadn’t spoiled my baby so much because I might still have the mother/daughter relationship she and I had prior to October 4th of 2021.

All of my kids are good kids. The three adults work hard and go to school. They have a wonderful work ethic and are successful in their relationships. I’m so very proud of each one of them and I can attest that God has had His hand in their lives. The baby of the family is too young to work, but I can honestly say that she has always done well in school and has been in the gifted program since the first grade. Unfortunately, over the past eight months her grades have slipped and she’s been focusing more on how her emotions can dictate her success. Don’t get me wrong, she’s so very smart and her kindness is a testament to God’s glory in her life, but something very sinister has infiltrated her soul and I’m very concerned.

I don’t intend for this post to make my daughter look bad, and I promise you that the end of this will show you how God’s goodness is prevailing, but I have to share what I’m going through because it will show you how someone who loves Jesus so much can still go through situations that seem impossible to overcome.

Have you ever seen angels? I’ve never seen them either, but I witnessed their presence when I went to court with my ex 10 years ago. The day my ex and his wife contacted CYFD, they also filed for custody of our daughter on the grounds of abuse and unwillingness to co-parent. All of the accusations against me were false and CYFD had marked the case as unsubstantiated, noting that there is a birthmark on my daughter’s arm that looks like a bruise.

I’ve never been in trouble in my whole life. Until this happened, I had never been in an interrogation room and had never dealt with CYFD. I won’t lie, it was one of the scariest situations I’ve ever been in and I don’t wish it on anyone who has been falsely accused of abuse. One thing I will say is that this brought me to my knees in prayer like never before!

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High.” God hears us and He’s with us in our fright and frustrations. He’s talking to us, all we have to do is be still and listen. My knees were hurting from prayer because I prayed fervently for two weeks, begging my Father for help. I was helpless and lonely because it seemed like no one had ever gone through this type of situation and I knew only God could help me. My soul was the secret place where God met with me to comfort me. He was so faithful and it was displayed in the very moment I felt peace.

By the time we went to court, I knew God was with me and I trusted that He would work through the judge to give me my daughter back. I remember taking a shower that morning and praying (this is where I often pray) while I was listening to worship music. A song by Chris Tomlin came on and it was talking about the God of Angel armies. At that very moment I cried harder than I ever cried before. The Holy Spirit was speaking to me and telling me that I was protected, no matter what the outcome in court would be and I was no longer scared.

Here’s where the angels come in. I don’t remember much of what the judge said, except when she asked me, “Joleen, what would happen if I took your daughter from you?” I answered, “You’d take one of my best friends away,” and I broke down in tears. At that very moment, when I looked toward the American flag and said Jesus’ name in my head, a bright glow appeared behind the judge and she said she wasn’t going to take my daughter from me. I’ll never forget that day. That’s the day that God gave me rest beneath His shadow and under His wing.

I go to court again on June 23rd. Of course CYFD is involved again but they’ve already marked the accusations as unsubstantiated. I know God is with me and He’s brought me into the secret place again. The God of angel armies is fighting this battle and, even though my daughter hates my guts right now, God is going to reveal His glory to all of us who are involved. There is no situation where God’s goodness will not be revealed and I’m confident that His will be done.

You are never alone, friend. If you’re going through something similar, I’m already praying for you and I’m here to talk if you need. I pray this post blesses you and brings you peace. All glory to the LORD of hosts and love.

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