A Reminder for Brokenhearted Parents

by | Feb 28, 2022 | what you can do | 2 comments

photo cred. Marc Sporys on unsplash

Are you a brokenhearted parent? I have been. If you’re like me, then you might need a reminder to do something. You already know how to do this. You’ve done it all your life, but sometimes, in the craziness of life with your child, you forget…to breathe. What do I mean?

When you’re overwhelmed by the troubles of life…breathe.

God is bigger.

When you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of chaos…breathe.

God is your peace.

When your son says he will never quit smoking pot…breathe.

God is still in control.

When you find a syringe in your child’s room…breathe.

God is your sufficiency.

When your daughter tells you she’s cutting herself…breathe.

God is your helper.

When your child lets you know they’re gay…breathe.

God is with you.

When the psychiatrist diagnoses a mental illness…breathe.

God is your strength.

When the phone rings in the middle of the night with news of another crisis…breathe.

God is near.


Experiencing heartbreak with a son or daughter (or several) is beyond painful. The blows listed above have a negative, damaging impact on us. They take a toll on our bodies and emotions. One day I noticed something–I tend to hold my breath when I’m stressed. This isn’t unusual. Most of the people I’ve talked to say they hold their breath too. What about you? Have you noticed how you breathe in the middle of a crisis with your child–or in any other dire situation? If you think this doesn’t happen to you, try to pay close attention to your breathing the next time your stress level goes up.

In addition, I noticed that I not only hold my breath, but when I inhale, I take shallow breaths. It’s like I’m afraid to take a full, deep breath–as though I was in the movie A Quiet Place and if I made the slightest sound my life would be in danger. Breathing this way is a subconscious response. I’m not aware of what I’m doing. I don’t decide to breathe that way—I just do. Barely taking in oxygen increases anxiety. Did you know that simply taking three long, slow breaths can lower blood pressure and ease anxiety? Let’s conduct an experiment and do a breathing a exercise right now. See what benefits you feel afterwards.


Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Sit with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Close your eyes to help block out distractions. Concentrate on relaxing your forehead, facial muscles, and jaw; then your shoulders, arms and hands. Place your hands palm side up on your lap. Take a deep breath in through your nose as you count to 5 expanding your diaphragm (your lower gut). Hold your breath to the count of 4 or 6, then exhale through your mouth as long and slow as you can. Repeat this 2 more times. Sit quietly and rest for a few moments. You can do this anywhere. You don’t have to close your eyes. An added plus would be to imagine yourself in God’s presence while you breathe. His arms wrapped around you in a calming embrace.


Remembering to breathe may sound simplistic, but sometimes simple is powerful.

The next time you’re in a crisis and feel stressed, remember to take several deep cleansing breaths.

Just. Breathe.

Then recall these 7 truths. Repeat them to yourself:  (You might want to write them on index cards to keep with you.)

  1.  My life is in God’s hands. He will never let me go. (Psalm 31:15)
  2.  I am not alone. God is with me. ((Isaiah 41:10)
  3.  God will not abandon me. (Hebrews 13:5)
  4.  I matter to God. Anything that concerns me, concerns Him. (I Peter 5:7)
  5.  God loves me and my child more than I can fathom. (I John 3:1; Jeremiah 31:3)
  6.  I have the peace of Christ. (Colossians 3:15; John 14:27)
  7.  God is my sufficiency and strength…today and forever. (2 Corinthians 3:5; 12:10)


Recommended resources:

Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling

Soul Keeping by John Ortberg




  1. Rhonda

    Oh thank you so much Dena yet again—I needed this today! I am in the throws of yet another crisis with the youngest adult child who is playing all sorts of mind games with us –it is like torment /torture–and I am so ready for it to be over!! I needed to breathe and hear these calm and reassuring truths that will comfort in the midst of crisis.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Thank you for your comment and I’m so sorry about this recent crisis. May God help you breathe and remind you of truth that will comforts in our darkest hours.
      In Christ, Dena