Have you had days in your parenting when you felt disillusioned? To be honest, I didn’t like the person my nineteen year old daughter had become. She was rude, disrespectful, lazy, selfish, deceitful, and even downright hateful towards her dad and I. Suddenly I was the bad guy, the enemy. Alcohol and drug abuse changed her. Depression changed her. Being taken advantage of sexually changed her. Does this sound a little like your story?
Addiction changes a person. Mental illness – bipolar, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders change a person.
Being incarcerated changes them.
Trauma changes them.
Each negative experience has its effect.
Before you know it they’re no longer the person you once knew. The sweet, innocent little boy or girl you raised and have so many special memories of – where did they go? What happened? How did we get here? It’s a baffling mystery – a hurt so deep there are no words to describe the pain. But they’re still our sons and daughters we love with all our hearts. Underneath all the crap – sorry – is a frightened, wounded, lost soul. Our precious child is still there – somewhere.
What can make a difference in their lives?
Love. Real love. God’s unfailing, unconditional love. I needed to remember this.
None of us deserves it, yet God loves us with a love that will never fail or change no matter what we do. His love is unfailing. Unconditional. It can’t wear out, give out or fizzle out. It’s impossible – no way, no how. God’s love won’t stop or come to an end – ever. It will never cease to exist. In my humanness I can’t fully comprehend this. Our children may change, but His love for them never will.
When I felt discouraged, it was a great comfort to think how much God loved my daughter, no matter what she did or what had been done to her. This knowledge empowered me to believe that if He loved her that much, then there was hope for her life. I could put her in His hands because of this kind of love.
It didn’t guarantee she would be okay, but I knew I could trust His endless, immutable love to do whatever it took to help her.
This Bible verse sums it up well, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)
What do we need as disillusioned parents? We need to remember that because God’s love never fails, there’s always hope – for all of us.