Holidays hurt when a mom or dad doesn’t receive the love they long for from one of their children, especially on Valentine’s Day. The love holiday. For parents of rebellious, wayward children; of addicts and the mentally and emotionally unstable, or of any other behavior that brings them heartache, any holiday is a dreaded occasion.
Your sense of loss is huge. Overwhelmed with soul-pain, it cuts deep. Stabbing. Searing. Crushing wounds. Maybe you’ve sunken so low you’re unable to find pleasure in anything.
“Will I ever smile or laugh again?” you wonder.
You withdraw and socialize infrequently with family or friends. Every significant relationship has been effected including your marriage and relationships with your other children (if you have others). You’re obsessed with the need to control or fix. They resist, not wanting your help. Life becomes miserable. If you don’t take steps to care for yourself, you might even lose the will to live. You just want the pain to end.
When a holiday comes, your hurt intensifies. They shine a spotlight on your broken heart. You want them to go away – to hurry up and be over.
Is your pain increasing with Valentine’s Day right around the corner? Does it feel like someone poured salt in an open wound, reminding you of lost hopes and dreams?
If this describes you, I am so sorry. BUT, there are some things you can do to lessen your suffering.
These things helped me:
– Shift your focus from what you’ve lost to what you still have. Be thankful for every little thing, instead of only looking at what you don’t have. Make a list. It will encourage you. Don’t forget to live your own life. You still have one and it matters.
– Lower your expectations. If you don’t expect a card, candy, flowers or a phone call, you won’t feel as hurt, angry or disappointed if you don’t get them. Expect nothing, then if something positive happens you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In this way you can guard your heart.
– Let go of the need for your child to love you back the way you want. God never intended another human being to fully meet this need. Only He can do that. Yes, we need people. We were created that way, however, God intended that we look solely to Him for the deepest satisfaction of our hearts.
– Do something for someone else – a random act of kindness. You don’t have to look too far. Find a way to make them feel special, expecting nothing in return. As a result, you won’t feel so sorry for yourself. You’ll be amazed how it can lift your spirit and fill you with joy. Helping others is a natural mood lifter.
No matter how you feel, remember: You. Are. Loved.
The Bible has a lot to say about love. Here are two of my favorite verses on the subject:
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16 NIV)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)
Thank you, God, for the way You love us. It’s difficult to grasp. Help us stop putting such high expectations on our children for what only You can give. Comfort us through one more holiday that reminds us of what we’ve lost.
In Your Son’s Name.