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).
There’s plenty to be fearful about when you love a son or daughter, or grandchild, who struggles with potentially life-altering issues: substance abuse, self-injury, anorexia or bulimia, a mental health issue (depression, bipolar, etc.), is in jail or prison, struggles with their sexual identity, self-injures, or suffers from thoughts of suicide. In my last post I shared my Christmas wish list and I told you about the idea of a God Box. This is not my original idea. I heard about it in a recovery meeting, tried it and found it to have a huge impact on me.
This strategy can help us hurting parents deal with our fear and anxiety. Putting it into practice helped me trust God more with my daughter and let go of my worries to a greater degree than I had in the past.
When you realize you’re fearful, worried, or anxious about something related to your child
As the mother of a daughter who has wrestled with addictions, self-injury, mental illness, and suicidal tendencies my wants during the holidays are few. If I could be a child again I’d climb up on Santa’s lap and have a very different kind of wish list to share with him. Maybe you would, too.
Material things mean nothing when one of our children is suffering. Their pain is ours. We grieve over their losses. Our lives have been profoundly affected by their struggles and choices.
We’ll never be the same.
What do we really want for Christmas? Nothing money can buy. Your list is probably a lot like mine. It’s more like a prayer.
All I want for Christmas is:
1) A “do over” for my daughter.
I’ve thought a lot about this blog as Christmas draws near. I wondered what I could offer you today – you whose son is an addict; you whose daughter has an eating disorder; you whose child struggles with a mental illness; you whose loved one relentlessly harms themselves; you whose off-spring is living the gay lifestyle or is transgender; whose child is repeatedly suicidal or is currently serving time in jail or prison.
You with the broken heart.
You with pain so deep you can’t find the right words to describe it.
I like surprises. Life is full of them, especially for parents – some are good, some not so good. Our children keep us
on our toes, more so the older they get. We never know what to expect. You’ve probably experienced plenty of the not-so- good-kind of surprises as the parent of a challenging son or daughter. Addiction, mental health issues, self-injury, sexual identity confusion, and suicide attempts are not only surprising, they’re shocking.
They change you forever – but we believe that with God good things can come from bad things.