Sue with her husband Scott
Our pastor had warned us that, since we did allow police to arrest her, and she had some time in a cell to think, she could be very angry. I was trying to prepare myself for anything. Guards brought her into the courtroom wearing a uniform provided by the detention facility, her hands cuffed in front of her. She wasn't angry. She looked more defeated than anything else. The judge ordered her to stay another week for a mental health screening, so we left. That evening, my husband and I both sobbed together as we stood in our kitchen. How did things get this bad? Would we ever be able to trust her at home again?
I was angry, sad, hurt and confused. I had been injured so many times in these fits of rage, and I was just done: done with the arguing, done with the chaos, done with the hurting. In all honesty, I didn't want her to come home. At that point, I didn't really care where she went as long as she was looked after and she wasn't anywhere near me. It is tough to admit that, but it was the truth.
None of the out-of-home options we pursued worked out, so we had to bring our daughter home when she was released the following week. God smiled on us, and we were able to arrange it so that she and I (and our other daughter) were never alone together. We always had backup. For months, this was the way we did things. Once the system was tested. A couple of months after her release from detention, she went into a violent rage again, but I had three more adults available to help me contain her. With the promise that she would be arrested again if this behavior persisted, she began to change, learning how to make better choices when angry.
Mother and daughter reunited
Forgiveness and trust weren't rebuilt overnight, but over time, with God's help, I was able to completely forgive my daughter for the hurt and pain she caused me and the rest of our family. Just as God has forgiven me for all of the ways I have messed up, He gave me grace to forgive her and to restore our relationship to a better place than it had been before.
This Christmas season, I hope that you will take time to consider God's amazing forgiveness and the gift He sent us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. God has tremendous power to forgive and to restore broken relationships. May He bless you and provide hope and forgiveness where you need them most.
Sue Cassel is a former Field Associate for ADN and a past member of our board of directors. This article first appeared in the November 2013 Newsletter of Inspiration Ministries, Auburn, IN. Republished here with permission.