For the explanation of my current series, go to the first installment:

Out of Control:
A Christian Parent’s Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse

A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller

Chapter 19
In Control

December 3rd

November stepped aside to make room for a festive December. It was hard to believe Christmas would soon be here. Darcy grew more excited each day thinking all the toys, dolls, and miscellaneous trinkets advertised on television were going to be hers.

November had meant celebrating Thanksgiving. But for me every day was a thanksgiving, a giving of thanks and praise to the Lord who was delivering me from my anger.

At the December Christian Women’s Club board meeting, Joy announced plans for the board’s Christmas party. It was to be a formal evening for couples and sounded exciting. But when she informed us it would be on Tuesday night, December twentieth, I felt disappointment fill my heart–Larry worked on Tuesday nights.

When I mentioned the party to him the next day, his saddened face disclosed it would be impossible for him to take the night off. But somehow, an unexpected peace grew within my heart as I calmly told him, “Sweetheart, I’m sure if the Lord wants you to go with me, he’ll somehow find a way for it to happen.”

Larry’s skeptical frown almost pricked my ballooning hope, but I reminded myself of Proverbs 3:5-6 which I had been trying to keep at the center of my thoughts for the last week. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will  make your paths straight.” Even if it meant going to the party by myself, I was determined to trust the Lord and not get uptight. 

I still experienced eruptions of anger and frustration, but it wasn’t unbridled anger any longer. I was in control through God’s power. Life was beautiful and Jesus never seemed so real. My devotions took on a new luster like the sparkling Christmas ornaments around me. Even though my marriage wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it to be, I believed the Lord was going to make it a lot better one day. I just had to wait for his timing. For right now, I was content to continue accepting Larry as he was and to work on greater patience and joy.

The next couple of days were filled with shopping, baking, and sending out Christmas cards. Christmas was approaching all too fast. Christmas dinner at my home for ten family members was foremost in my thoughts and plans. I hadn’t had time to even think about the board’s Christmas party.

Then one day Larry mentioned, “You’ll never guess what my boss told me last night. I have too many vacation hours on the books and have to take some time off before the new year otherwise I lose them completely. Isn’t that wild?”

I jerked my head towards him. “Honey,” I exclaimed, “that’s the answer to my prayer. Now you can go to the board Christmas party. Can you ask for next Tuesday, the twentieth, off?”

He smiled. “Yeah, that’s right. That’s great. Sure I can. Now, they’ll have to let me have it off.”

I could barely sit still as I grinned at him. Thank you, Jesus, you did it. I trusted you and you did it.

Larry’s smile grew as I hugged him. “Kathy, the Lord has answered your prayer. I wasn’t sure he could do it but he did.”

My excitement grew all that week after Larry confirmed he could have the night off.

On Tuesday evening, we arrived at the fancy restaurant of a local hotel. I was truly grateful Larry was beside me as we ate the delicious food and enjoyed the special entertainment. 

Five days later on Christmas morning, Darcy woke us early as expected. She was so excited about seeing what Santa Claus had brought her. Instructing her to stay in her room, Larry, my mother, and I turned on the Christmas tree lights and made sure the camera was ready to capture her delight as she saw her gifts for the first time. I opened the drapes. The dawn’s soft pink light filtered into the room creating a fairyland effect on the presents. The blinking tree lights cast red, blue, and orange shadows on the walls and my spirit was illuminated with hope and joy.

Christmas morning … the day we celebrate our Savior’s birth and the first step in his journey for our salvation. And this was the morning of the birth of a life free from hurting Darcy, free from uncontrolled anger, (Tweet that!) free from condemnation and hate. As a cocoon opens to reveal a ready-to-fly butterfly, my life was opening also–to love, faith, and patience. Christmas morning… God’s gift of Jesus and God’s gift of abundant life for me and my family.