Tears were streaming down Ruth Ann Kittelson’s face as she hung up the phone. Her daughter, Lora, wanted to leave her husband and move back home with her new baby. For the first time Ruth Ann wondered if she had the strength to keep Lora from getting her own way. As Lora grew up, Ruth Ann would do anything for her. “If Lora wanted something I would be sure that she got it,” she recalls.
Lora’s father had left the family when Lora was 15. A year later Ruth Ann married a Christian man named Wayne. By this time, “Lora was independent beyond her age, and I did not rein her in as Wayne suggested.”
Curfew became a real issue for the family. “Lora and I would get into an argument, and then she’d just break curfew again. I should have taken the car away from her, but I didn’t.”
When Lora was 20 years old, she married Scott Mesker, and the early years of their married life were plain exhausting. As college students, Scott had three jobs and Lora worked on campus. With the birth of their son, Josh, the pressures became overwhelming. Scott and Lora became strangers in the same household.
Coming from a divorced home, Lora knew her options. Although she had been a Christian since childhood, some of her best friends advised, “God will forgive you if you get a divorce.”
Lora thought, I’m young, and I can start over. And she just knew that her mom would let her come home with the baby. After all, her mom would do anything for her.
Ruth Ann knew Lora’s marriage was in trouble, and had discussed the situation with Wayne and with a Christian woman who had been mentoring her. They counseled that Ruth Ann should not come to Lora’s rescue. Lora needed to make a commitment to her marriage.
Ruth Ann had not always listened to Wayne when Lora was a teenager, but she would now. She could not imagine Lora knowingly taking her young son through the pain of divorce.
As she talked with Lora on the phone, she sensed that God was telling her not to agree to Lora’s request to move home. So she reluctantly said, “I just can’t let you come home. You love Scott. You have to take a stand and make this work!”
Lora was in disbelief. How could Mom do this to me? she wondered. What she didn’t see was Ruth Ann’s body shaking from uncontrollable weeping.
Ruth Ann’s decision was just one piece of God’s plan as He worked to reconcile Scott and Lora’s marriage. At about the same time, Scott began growing in his Christian faith, and a godly pastor counseled him not to accept divorce as an option. Finally, Scott’s mind was made up—he would not leave Lora.
Over the next several months Lora’s heart began to soften, and she finally agreed to go to counseling with Scott. With that the healing process began.
More than 14 years have now passed. Scott and Lora have joined the staff of FamilyLife in Little Rock, Arkansas, working to help other couples know the love of Christ that transformed their lives.
And when Ruth Ann looks into the faces of Scott and Lora’s four children, she is so glad that she did not follow what her mother’s heart was telling her to do—to let Lora come home. “I believe the Lord was in control, and I’m glad I listened to Him,” she says. She had the courage to model bold love—believing more in God and His ability to take care of her daughter.
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