Photo Contributed by Bryan Ong, Singapore
Written By Mikki B Saq, Philippines
My parents separated when I turned seven. It did not occur to me, however, that a broken family was not the norm; in any case, I never hated my life. My maternal grandmother, who brought me up, was a fervent Christian who taught me to pray before I went to bed.
Every night I would talk to Him, just like a talkative adolescent sharing about her day with a good friend. I prayed for my dad, that God would make him a better person. And I prayed for my parents to fix their marriage so I could bring them both to school on Family Day.
But God was silent. Sometimes, I wasn’t even sure if He was listening.
I missed both my parents. While my father had moved out, my mother had gone abroad to work so that she could earn more and send me to a good school. She would call almost every day, and send me cards and loads of packages with toys and other things to compensate for her absence. Occasionally, she would come home. My grandmother would explain why my mother had to go away, but I didn’t understand it fully. I just longed to see Mommy every day, to hug and kiss her after a tiring day at school. Sometimes, I would wonder why life was so unfair to me, though I would continue to pray every night.
But God was silent. He did not send angels to speak to me, just like He did with Mary and Joseph. He never showed up in my dreams, nor give me any sign. He was so quiet that I felt all alone.
Once, my grandmother accompanied me to school to collect our report cards. As I was walking with great anticipation to get mine from the teacher, a classmate coming towards us caught my attention. She was between her parents and they were all holding hands. Her face shone with happiness as she held her card and looked up at her dad. A wave of sorrow passed right through me; I had never felt sadder in my entire life.
My grandmother noticed that I had stopped in my tracks. She must have known how I felt at that moment, because she squeezed my shoulders and rubbed my back. Then we continued walking.
Although my grandmother was very traditional and strict with discipline, she was very loving, and always made sure that I was doing all right. Her role as both a mom and a dad would sometimes make me forget that my parents were separated. She would tell me to study well to ensure that I could have a good future, and would remind me that I could choose how to live my life. If I didn’t have life’s heartaches, she would say, I would never be able to see life’s greatest joys.
One day, as we were nearing graduation from primary school, my teacher called me to her office. She told me that I had a visitor waiting for me at the reception area near the principal’s office, so off I went.
It was my dad.
His eyes were tearing, and I could feel him longing to hug me. I walked towards him slowly, my heart pounding; I didn’t even know what to feel. When I reached him, he ran his hands through my hair and looked at me with great love as he wiped his tears away. After seven years, we were finally reunited.At that point, I knew God had answered my prayers. He wasn’t silent after all.
Sometimes, we may feel impatient when we feel that God is not answering our prayers. We may feel disappointed and think that He is not listening. But He is.
I now realize that my grandmother was God’s instrument; she was the guardian angel that He had given me. Although my circumstances were unfortunate, God made sure I was taken care of and loved, because I was His beloved. His answer to my prayers did not come in the form of stars or angels; it came in the form of my grandmother.
And my prayers every night? God had been working on them since Day One. It took seven years, but if He can be that patient with us, why can’t we?
Dad is now active in church and he visits me occasionally, reminding me to pray. What an awesome God we have.
God will always answer our prayers. He may grant them right away or tell us to wait, or He may have better plans for us. The next time you pray, tell yourself this: I am a beloved child of God, a beloved child of the Father.