Total Pageviews

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Battle Lost, War Won.

Nearly all of my blogs on this page covers a range of subjects including various current affairs approached from a spiritual angle. Generally I enjoy writing about my opinion on such topics as remaining or leaving the European Union, Nationalism, Cultural Issues, the behaviour of celebrities or of men and women of high standing, a Creationist's view of Darwinism, different religions and their fruits, even on church life, and so on. Sometimes I involve Bible study to a greater or lesser degree. But I prefer to stick with contemporary issues rather than just dig into Bible study - there are enough blog authors on this website who writes on serious chapter-and-verse topics, and I myself have been edified by reading such posts. Where I might be more personal is often to do with travel, a subject I enjoy indulging in, or my own experience in various situations. But seldom do I relate much about myself on a personal level, or that of my wife and our three daughters.

So a special agreement was made between my wife and myself before commencing on this week's blog, which I hope will sufficiently demonstrate how much of having faith in God means to both of us, and to inspire hope to anyone reading who is at present in need of some encouragement. However, I feel it's better not to mention the names of either of my three daughters here.

Before I married at a mature age of 47 years, I generally enjoyed life as a single person living alone at a bachelor's apartment. Not only was I enthusiastic for the Bible but also for church life - despite the latter often being geared more for families rather than single people, although to be fair, around 1980, the "Singles Group" was formerly held on a weekly basis at the home of the Pastor after the main evening church service, until the Pastor himself, his patience exhausted, threw them all out of his house almost violently, due to their lack of serious commitment. Luckily for me, that was the one night I wasn't in the mood to attend, but instead went straight home from the evening service, therefore missing out on the drama! - I also spent a lot of my spare time reading books written by authors whose intent was to broaden my understanding of the Bible. I always loved "the bigger picture" - that is, the completed jigsaw picture the Holy Scriptures represent rather than putting too much emphasis on one or two single pieces and using those pieces for devotional purposes or for debating. Not that any of that is wrong in itself, but I have found that too much of this form of study tend to lead in forgetting - or never realising - what the whole Bible is trying to tell us. 

A classic example of this "single piece" debate which I was dragged into, was centred on Hebrews 6:4-6, about whether salvation can be lost or not, while forgetting or not even realising that the whole book was written to the Jews, as the title itself implies, explaining to them that the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ had ushered in a New Covenant which is far better than the Old, and therefore making the Old obsolete. The snag was that many of the Jews had rejected the Gospel after examining and even partaking in its benefits, and reverted back to the Old Covenant. Maybe if the whole letter was taken seriously, such debates would not have needed to have arisen in the first place, as we will see, this subject holds a hugely important place in our faith.

Aside from spiritual matters, travel was my passion, having rejected package holidays for independent backpacking, which I did mainly on my own. Hosteling was the preferred form of accommodation, necessitating on buying the ingredients and preparing my own meals, which along with meeting other backpackers and making new friends in the member's kitchen, also creating a huge saving on the budget. 

But it was the day I married Alex that had a massive impact on life. My career as a long-haul, far-flung backpacking days were over, and I rather grudgingly accepted the reality of package holidays, at least with the honeymoon itself, a flight-and-hotel package at the Mediterranean island of Rhodes, which was suitable for couples. But I guess my real travel bug wouldn't fully rest, with a backpacking trip to the Holy Land to celebrate our first anniversary, by then Alex being 18-20 weeks pregnant with our first daughter. This was her first and only trip to Israel so far, but my fourth trip, after visiting in 1976, 1993, and a year later as a volunteer at a Christian Conference Centre in 1994. Later in our marriage, we managed a package trip to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, a second trip to Rhodes to celebrate our tenth anniversary, a trip to Kos, another to Malta - all packages, and an independent trip to Sicily to mark our seventh anniversary. By then, any feelings of grumpiness faded away to be replaced with thanksgiving to God for allowing us to go on these trips as a couple. They were exhilarating to her as much as to myself. However, since our wedding day, I had never set foot in a dormitory of a backpacker's hostel. Alex would have none of it. The thought of sharing a room with sleeping females had no appeal to her.

Our First Anniversary in Israel

How could I forget the day my first daughter was born? Delivered by elective caesarian due to her breach position at the time of delivery, I spent the next hour with the baby sleeping in my arms while her mother was wheeled to a recovery chamber before admitted into the maternity ward. As I watched her tiny chest rise and fall in her natural breathing, I had a mental vision of the whole of my life passing by, from my school-days through to a dogsbody at work, to my conversion to Jesus Christ as Saviour, to backpacking, to getting married.

My second daughter was born just over three years later, the two birthdays being just two weeks apart. Unlike with the birth of the first, the second was a fully natural birth. But it was the first-born I adored. Except for work and the weekly trip to the sauna, the first-born accompanied me wherever I went. Much of this was that I wanted her by my side as much as possible, while at the same time giving my wife some relief. How I enjoyed taking her out whenever I had to go out to buy something, and to take her into town, patiently spoon-feeding her at a cafeteria, and changing her diaper. Also train trips to Reading and even a day trip to London, just the two of us, allowing her to run around the garden fronting what used to be the college I attended between the years 1968-1971. And the times I took the family to the coast for the day, and even enjoyed short holidays, mainly in Cornwall.

But for some reason, unknown to us at the time, we were struggling. Struggling to raise our children as normally as we could. To cut a long story short, the time came, much to our shame and detriment, when we had a Social Worker assigned to us, a slim and quite a pretty woman. I believe her, at the time, to be in her late twenties or early thirties. Yet there couldn't have been a worse person to have been assigned for such a role. Not very long out of university, she made sure of our awareness of her superiority in her nationality, her high level of education, her social class, her income, and her authority. A self-confessed atheist, she had a short fuse, quickly angered, she was proud, arrogant, and quite patriotic. How such a person could qualify as a social worker for the care of children beats me! One thing I was aware of: the last family under her assignment fled their home and were found in Scotland. She was given one more chance in her assignment over us.

We were not the only ones who feared and hated her. The school teachers of our first-born kept well clear of her. Her own colleagues at the office stayed out of her way as well. She was disliked by all other Social Workers at her department. Really, she was using us as pawns in a desperate attempt to save her career. And I'm not exaggerating. So not very surprising, our own anger was roused at last - my wife growled at her and I ordered her out of our house. Her authority challenged, she meekly walked out of the door, which I slammed shut behind her.

And that spelled the end of us as a family. A couple of days later, at three in the morning, two or three police officers entered our home, accompanied by a couple of females I had not seen before. They went straight into both our daughter's bedrooms and ran out of the house with our semi-awake girls. It was actually a dawn raid, leaving my wife screaming and screaming.

A few weeks later, our Social Worker, who applied to the County Court for permission to have our daughters taken from us, finally cleared her desk. Her contract annulled, she disappeared - and she was never seen again. And that was more than a decade ago. But what had brought all this on in the first place? Why were we initially struggling? According to the Social Worker, we were rebels with a large proportion of stupidity, and both of us too thick to raise children. However, the Psychologist who we both spent several hours with during the assessments came up with something else - we both suffer from Asperger's Syndrome, something I had not heard of until the diagnosis was made. Nowadays its seen as the milder side of the Autism Spectrum, affecting mostly boys with a higher intelligence quotient. And true to form, the mental ability test I had to go through at the Psychiatrist's office revealed a higher-than-average intelligence, a ray of sunshine amidst storm-clouds of constant criticism, judgements, and negative analysis as parents.

Greek Island of Kos, our 12th Weeding Anniversary.

And what of over the years to follow? At first we made as much effort to live as normal lives as a childless couple. Our girls were adopted permanently. For the first few years we were allowed to spend ninety minutes a year of heavily supervised contact at a neutral area - well away from both our home and of the adoptive parents. It was during this period that we flew out to Lanzarote, to Sicily, to Rhodes, to Kos, and to Malta, nearly all to celebrate our wedding anniversary. But the shock of our loss caused me to have daily paroxysms of rage, mainly in the mornings downstairs with Alex still upstairs in bed, and therefore out of the way as I prepare to set off to work. This must have lasted for up to two years, maybe even longer. Fortunately, through prayer and meditation, I was eventually set free from such mental and emotional torture.

Then the annual contacts stopped, most likely due to the strong affection remaining between the first-born and myself, ending in prolonged hugs which irritated their adoptive guardians. It was this when my dearest began to lose the ability to walk normally, and became confined to a wheelchair. Despite all efforts from the NHS, which involved four months as a hospital in-patient, no cure could be found, except a lifelong daily dose of antidepressants and other vital medicine.

If anything could challenge my faith in God, it is to wheel my beloved out of the house in a specially-made chair. No longer able to nip out to the shops to buy a pint of milk, she is not able to power the wheelchair on her own - she needs me to push her wherever we go. I look back and remember how we both cycled together, to go out on long walks together, especially abroad. As we looked forward to see our daughters again in the Summer, there was always a simmer of hope which kept us going. But at present, as I look back on better times when a quick decision to book a flight meant a week or two in a foreign land - with a wheelchair that is no longer the case. I recall the times we strolled along the beach arm in arm, both during the day and into the night, gazing at the clear starry sky. The evening we sat at an outdoor restaurant in Kos, with the sea lapping at the wall we sat next to. Strolling along the harbour, watching the moored boats gently bobbing by wave action. Enjoying the ancient Greek and Roman ruins with pungently fragrant herbs thriving around them. Such lovely experiences which took our minds off the loss of our daughters.

But now pushing a wheelchair with my dearest sitting helpless within. Crushingly sorrowful. Sometimes feeling lonely and helpless, as there are even Christian believers around lacking empathy, not understanding what we have been through, what we missing, and what we are going through now. There are times I feel despair. After all, watching the very one I love more than anyone in the world in such a helpless condition...haunted by memories...

That's when there is still hope. Faith in God. Knowing that he is with us and knows what we are going through. And our belief in Once Saved Always Saved, as mentioned earlier. Did you know that this very concept is the strong bulwark of our faith? The very thought of us needing to hold faith or be forever lost would have caused us to crumble under the weight of the stress. Rather, after being assured of knowing that all things work for the good for those who are called according to his purpose, we are given the promise that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:28, 38). Eternal Security is vital for our daily situation and ongoing circumstances.

On top of this, not long after our daughters were taken from our home, I felt God speaking to me while reading from the prophet Jeremiah. In it I came across these words:

A voice is heard at Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.
This is what the LORD says:
Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears,
for your work shall be rewarded, 
declares the Lord.
They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there's hope for the future,
declares the Lord.
Your children will return to their own land.
Jeremiah 31:15-17.

Our third daughter was born, again by natural means, three years after our two daughters were taken. Just prior to her birth, a conference was called among the Social Services Department on the future decision for the unborn child. I was present at the conference. There I was offered two plans. Plan A was for us to keep the child but to have our names on the Child Protection Register, as before. That means a steady stream of professionals coming and going through our door for the next eighteen years. Or Plan B, which is to voluntarily give our daughter away for adoption. We chose Plan B without hesitation. No way would we ever want a repeat of what happened before. Not for our sakes only, but for our unborn's sake as well. We know perfectly well that if we are unhappy, so will the child be as well. Far better for her to grow up in a happy environment under adoptive parents who will give her the best she could possibly have.

At present everything looks gloomy, hopeless, defeated. We had lost the battle. But God in whom we trust, has already won the victory for us through the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.

And eventually we shall win the war. Hope will never be entirely lost.


  1. Frank,
    I would encourage you to hold fast to the promise that God has given you from the book of Jeremiah. All things are possible with God, and I believe absolutely that I would be dead now if I had not held fast to the promise of healing my body which came from the highlighting and encouragement of God's Word to me in my on going trial.
    I have had absolute proof in my life of God's promises coming true, and I would rather believe Him than the enemy in my carnal mind. Trust in what He has said with all your heart Frank, God bless you and Alex.

  2. Dear Frank,
    This is such a heartwrenching story, leaving me sorrowful for your loss, and angry at the stupidity and willfulness of the bureaucrats who wrongly took your children. And yet it is a blessing to know that you have the peace that passes all understanding, and the joy of salvation, for we have a lively or living hope for our eternal future with Him. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    God bless,

  3. Thankfully, we know that God is still in charge, adn that despite what you have suffered, he will take care of it. Though God has allowed government to exercise authority, your story reveals how easily they begin to abuse their power, not realizing they will have to one day give an account for their actions, being held to a higher standard because they had such power.

  4. I knew about this quite a while back, because either you told me in an email, or you blogged it before. It's heartbreaking. Such is life. God has it all in hand, from start to glorious finish.

    1. You are right, C.C. I did blog on this subject some time ago. The reason why I brought the matter up again was because we were both going through a level of distress over our loss, with my wife bursting into tears in my presence, and stretching my own faith to the limit.
      So I have given a more detailed account with the intention of our faith in God never to fail, and also to encourage others who are enduring faith-testing tribulations on other issues of life.
      Thanks for the comment,
      God bless.