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A hurting parent contacted me yesterday, right after I hit “publish” on the “The Captain’s Hat”. I had just given myself a pat on the back for having accomplished 19 Days of “31 Hats MOM Wears” – the last post certainly evergreen!
“How about a blog post for the parent who’s child has just told her ___________and she just wants to die?”
POP! Went my beautiful, illusive bubble.
I sat back and stared in stunned silence.
We’ve covered a lot of ground, from child discipline to spiritual leadership to sending kids out on their own.
On paper, it sounds like parenting responsibilities can be sewn up into 6 easy steps.
But the fact of the matter is, moms are grieving. I rub shoulders daily with them, talk with them, pray with them.
Are you sorrowing today, mama? This post is for you.
Moms with children who suffer from illness or disability. Moms of prodigal children and depressed children, adult children who leave you at a loss as to what to do next. And moms of children who have passed from this life to the next.
Life is hard.
We grow up reading fairy tales that tell us the prince and princess lived happily ever after.
The fairy tales were wrong.
We find life full of struggles – no one is exempt.
How can we possibly survive the dangers that befall us?
“The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.” ~Molly Fumia, Safe Passages
Your pain is very real, mama. I will not deny you that. Grief is a process that takes time, and, in some instances, a lifetime.
But God desires joy for you, amidst your tears. This blog is about capturing joy through the transitions of parenthood. It’s about hope.
Today, I’m offering you the keys of hope.
1. Seek wise counsel
*The best way to get through tough times is to glean wisdom from an older, wiser believer, or a certified counsellor.
Think for a few minutes about whom you know that fits this description.
It may be someone who’s been in your church for as long as you can remember.
And it’s also likely that this person is ready and willing to help, or point you in the direction of someone more qualified.
*Be willing to act on his or her advice
You won’t be helped just by sharing your grief. You must be willing to follow sound advice.
This person will give you homework, to be sure.
This takes time. Be forgiving of yourself. Give grace to yourself.
2. Surround yourself with believers
The most logical place to do this is a Bible believing church that grows and ministers to others.
Get involved in classes and activities.
Attend regular church services, and get to know people.
Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and become a part of that church family.
You can do it – one step at a time!
3. Soak yourself in the Word
You can read all the self-help books you want, but there is absolutely no substitute for the Word of God.
Read it daily, write Scripture on 3×5 cards and plaster them all over your walls, mirrors, and the dashboard of your car.
God’s Word molds, heals, and changes you.
He loves you and your child more than anyone else on ever could.
4. Store your trust in the power of God
“But Jesus…said unto them, ‘With God, ALL things are possible'” ~Matthew 19:26
“For with God, NOTHING shall be impossible.” ~Luke 1:37
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many wters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. ~Revelation 19:6
“Omnipotent”: having all the potency there is.
A.W.Tozer gives a delightful little illustration for the weary, fearful parent doubting God’s power.
“It’s like a fly perched on a seat in an airplane, moaning and trembling for fear the plane can’t carry its weight. That plane weighs several tons, and it has several tons of people and baggage on it. That fly is so light that it’s impossible, outside of a laboratory, to even weigh the little guy. And yet we can imagine him sitting there, flapping his little wings and saying, “I’m just afraid this plane won’t hold me up!”~The Attributes of God
He’s got your babies too. He is good, wise, and powerful.
And He is:
every bit as good as good as is possible
every bit as wise as wise as is possible, and
every bit as powerful as powerful as is possible
and we’ll never know how much that is, because our minds cannot comprehend it.
Think about it. What is the alternative to trusting God?
An anxious, worried heart. I’ve been down that road before – it’s a dead end street.
5. Source yourself out to help other parents
You have a story that only you can tell. Only you know your particular pain.
God can use you to help others who are suffering too.
You can be a beacon of light in this cold, dark world.
I know someone who lives in Afghanistan and regularly witnesses beatings and sufferings by the Taliban.
Mothers suffer abuse, and are sometimes killed. People are treated horribly. His own life is in danger much of the time.
He decided to formulate a picture in his mind to help him remember that God is right beside him every step of the way.
“I imagined Jesus right beside me, tall and strong and bright, holding my hand. A shining light surrounded us, and I was safe with Him, as just beyond the light, I saw the dark clouds of evil looming. The ferocity, beatings, fighting, sufferings, and killings. But I am with God, and He is with me, no matter what may come.”
*Formulate a mental image of your child’s safety in God, and yours as well.
*Think of one other person who needs your encouragement and right now, before you hesitate, send them a text, email, phone call, or visit.
Personally involving yourself in the lives of others gives you hope and encouragement as well. Click To Tweet
Even if you can’t physically change anything about that person’s situation, your caring heart goes a long way.
*Journal your thoughts, and consider writing a book.
Writing is very therapeutic. And your story could make the difference in another’s life.
The strain, stress, and sadness. The life that we expected to be full of happily ever after.
Don’t lose hope mama. God is at work in your life and the life of your child. Seek wise counsel, surround yourself with believers, soak in the Word, store your trust in God’s power, and source yourself out to aid others.
There are no hard and fast answers to the tough questions of life, but one thing is certain: Jesus is with you, undergirding you every step of the way. Dear soul, please draw near to Him for His strength today! He loves you so very, very much!
“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” ~Deuteronomy 33:27
What have you found to be the greatest source of help during your season of suffering? For more resources on the grieving parent, you can read here. Again, seriously consider counselling if you need more help.