If Valentine’s Day Hurts

A Message to Parents in Pain

Valentine’s Day is this Tuesday. For parents in pain over the behaviors and troubles of their kids, it can be a hard day. I know. I’ve been there. I understand how it reminds you how much you love your child – and how much you’ve lost.

Valentine’s Day also reminds me of the greatest love of all. The love of  God and the love he has for all people.

Listen to what the Bible says about this love: “By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. BUT God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life . . .” (Eph. 2: 3b – 5b, NIV).

It’s spectacular. Indescribable. Marvelous.

I could go on and on listing superlative adjectives to describe how the above verses make me feel. I find great comfort here.

Without Christ, your child is an object of God’s anger; the focus of his wrath. Your son. Your daughter. They’re on their way to eternal doom. They’re in grave danger, headed for destruction,

BUT . . . God stepped in and did something most unexpected.

3 Things Hurting Parents Need to Hear at Christmas

Does God Really Care?

Does God really care about the hurts we parents carry for our children? Today’s blog is from a dad whose been there and understands – my husband Tom. He has something to say to that question and believe me, he knows what he’s talking about.

His message will remind us about 3 things we need to hear – especially during the holidays when our pain is more intense.

These three things are central to the message of the gospel and to Christmas. They intertwine beautifully to speak to our aching hearts. We hope they’ll help you today.

 

God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. The Apostle John wrote: ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1: 1,14).

Can Parents in Pain Really Celebrate the Holidays?

Focus on This

rockwellCan you remember when a special event was ruined for you because of something bad that happened? Maybe it was your birthday. Maybe it was Christmas.

I remember when this happened to me. It was Thanksgiving day in 1997 – a sunny, cold fall day in central Illinois. I was up early to prepare my family’s special breakfast before we watched Macy’s Christmas parade. I look forward to it all year. The house was full of cheerful anticipation as tasty aromas wafted through the house.

Suddenly the phone rang. My world was about to come crashing down.

“Hello?” I answered, expecting it to be one of our parents wishing us a happy day, but it was rather early for them to call.

“Dena, honey,” I heard my dad’s quivering, emotional sounding voice on the other end of the hard, plastic receiver. My stomach began to sink. Something’s wrong.

My mom was doing so much better after an eight month-long illness. She was finally going home later today. I couldn’t wait to talk with her. What a wonderful day it would be.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this . . . but I just got a call from the nursing facility . . . and it’s about your mom . . . honey, she passed away early this morning while they were helping her get dressed.” Nooooo!!!!

Thanksgiving has never been the same. Her visitation would be on my birthday. I didn’t want to celebrate anything that year. Not Thanksgiving, my birthday or Christmas. I didn’t care.

Have you had a similar experience with one of your children? You’ve been so hurt, wounded, rejected, shocked, and disappointed that now you could care less about the holidays. No Norman Rockwell Christmas for you.

Thankful for Thorns?

A Short Story For Broken Hearts onThanksgiving

The following short story was penned by George Matheson ~ late 19th century Scottish minister and hymn writer.
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a

D-Thorn.com photo cred.

D-Thorn.com photo cred.

November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son.

She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer? Had she lost a child? No! “She has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she

5 Tips to Help Hurting Parents Survive the Holidays

When Holidays are Hard

turkeyHolidays are the most difficult time of the year for anyone in emotional pain, especially hurting parents. I’ve been one. Our hearts are full of pain and sadness over our child’s struggles and destructive choices. It may be from any number of things: alcohol, drugs, porn, self-injury, mental illness, eating disorders, trouble with the law, same-sexual identity issues and more.

Sometimes we wish we could skip the holidays altogether. We certainly don’t feel like being thankful or festive.  All we can think about is the last trauma or the next one. We wonder where God is and how we’ll survive this so-called happy season?

A Prayer for Hurting Dads

For the Dad Whose Child Broke Their Heart

“I hate you! You never let me do anything.”Father's Day

“You don’t understand me!”

“I can’t wait to turn eighteen so I can get out of here.”

“Why won’t you help me (by giving money, etc)? Don’t you care what happens to me?”

“What do you mean you won’t _________? I thought you loved me?”

Have you heard these statements from your child?

I never dreamed my son would grow up to be a drug addict.

On my worst day I couldn’t have imagined my daughter would reject me out of her life completely. I haven’t seen her in a long time. It pains me just to think about it.

How can this child I love so much hurt me so much? After all I’ve done for them.

Dear dad, have you thought these things? No one ever told us that being a parent could bring us so much pain, did they?

A Hurting Parent’s 12 Days of Christmas

Today I thought I’d take a popular Christmas song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and adapt it’s message for you,Wrapped Christmas Gift brokenhearted, weary, disillusioned, disappointed, grieving parents. God has many gifts to help us on our journey with children whose behaviors and choices have ruined our dreams and dashed our hopes. May these revised words remind you of a few of those gifts.

 

On the First day of Christmas our True God gave to us a Savior who is Jesus Christ the Lord.

On the Second day of Christmas our True God gave to us understanding friends.

Can Parents in Pain Celebrate the Holidays?

Can you remember when a special event was ruined for you because of something bad that happened? Maybe it wasrockwell your birthday. Maybe it was Christmas.

I remember when this happened to me on Thanksgiving Day in 1997. We were living in Illinois. The morning was beautiful – sunny and cold. I was up early to prepare our family’s special breakfast before we watched the Macy’s Christmas parade. I looked forward to it all year-long. The house was full of cheerful anticipation as pleasing aromas drifted in through the house.

Suddenly the phone rang around 8 am. My world was about to come crashing down.

“Hello?” I answered, expecting to hear the voice of one of our parents wishing us a happy day, but it was rather early for them to call.

“Dena . . .  honey,” I heard my dad’s quivering voice, full of worrisome emotion, on the other end of the hard, plastic receiver. My stomach sank. Something’s wrong.

My mom was doing much better after an eight month-long illness. She was finally going home today. I couldn’t wait to talk with her for the first time in months. What a wonderful day it would be.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but I just got a call from the nursing facility and it’s about your mom . . . honey, she passed away early this morning while they were helping her get dressed.” Nooooo!!!!

Thanksgiving has never been quite the same. Her visitation was on my birthday a few days later. I didn’t want to celebrate anything that year. Thanksgiving. My birthday. Christmas. Who cares. I didn’t.

Have you had a similar experience with one of your children? You’ve been profoundly hurt, wounded, rejected, shocked, disappointed, grief-stricken. You could care less about the holidays. There will be no Norman Rockwell Christmas for you.

Thanksgiving Day for Parents in Pain

It’s Thanksgiving Day when all through the houseturkey

A family was struggling, their child was no where about.

Mom couldn’t pretend that it was okay, her heart was too broken – there was nothing to say.

Her child wasn’t there – it wouldn’t be the same

No one could understand  the depth of her pain.

Dad felt it, too, the loss was so great,

Their lives filled with sorrow, anger and shame,

For they no longer knew this child of their hearts

Their boy’s a stranger, their girl’s gone astray.

To the land of addiction, estrangement,

I hate you and just go away.

 

How parents yearn for the years gone by

When games were played and they used to have fun

Their kids enjoyed them and liked to come home.

Now all that is past, who knows what’s ahead?

Will their child see the new year or wind up . .  . dead?

 

What’s the purpose of this? Why do I write these things?

Why, I just wanted to say I’ve felt much like you,

During the holidays I drug myself through

Thought I wouldn’t survive.

 

So I wanted to say a few things to you:

Please hold on to hope

Please never give up.

You can’t know what each day holds.

 

So lift up your eyes to heaven above

Believe God loves you and cares,

He’ll help you be grateful

And Give thanks to His name.

 

If this holiday is hard, I pray you’ll find comfort in these words.

You are Not Alone.

 

 

 

 

 

When a Parent Just Can’t be Thankful

Sometimes parents just can’t feel  thankful. Certain parents — like us. We’re in a special group you know. It’s not all our fault – it’s our kids. DisappointmentIt’s their choices and struggles that sap us of reasons to be thankful – to be honest, maybe it’s been that way for years.

Your child’s in jail or prison. They’re ruining their lives with drugs or alcohol. They have an eating disorder or can’t stop cutting. They struggle with a mental health issue and often refuse treatment. They’ve been in the psych ward so many times you can’t  remember any more. So many rehabs you’ve lost count. They’re miserable and they make your life miserable. Your gratitude tank is on empty.

I say we’re special, but it doesn’t feel very special. It feels awful. And now it’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is only one week away. Oh, boy. Some of you wish you could fast forward to December 1st. How do you mouth words of gratefulness without feeling like a hypocrite?