Easter was yesterday. Holidays can be extra painful when your child (or any loved one) is causing you heartache. When their struggle is with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, self-injury, mental illness, a gender identity issue, or anything else…your heart’s already been broken.
And you hurt even more when a holiday is complicated by a pandemic that forces social distancing adding more stress than you were already dealing with. You can’t be with the people you would have spent time with and you can’t go to the places where you would have gone to find some joy and meaning for the special day.
Positive memories bring comfort. Remembering when your child was young and innocent flood your mind. You recall your adorable little girl all dressed up in her Easter clothes. Her beautiful smile would catch your breath. Your precious four-year-old son was so cute in his suit and tie. His impish smile could melt your heart.
What fun you had surprising them with baskets full of treats. Happy memories of Easter egg hunts now only bring tears and pain. They remind you of what’s been lost.
Some of us wonder if we’ll see the day when our child will like us again—or if they’ll survive. And for others, it’s been so long since we heard from our children we’d be happy to know they’re still alive.
Not Much to Celebrate
Did you know in some church traditions the week after Easter is also celebrated? It’s not over in one day. They call it “Bright Week”. The next seven
days are spent focusing on the good and wonderful gifts the Resurrection of Christ has brought us: eternal life, endless hope, forgiveness of sins, direct access to God. So much to celebrate!
We’d love to celebrate a Bright Week, but for many of us these are dark, bittersweet holidays. Hearts are heavy, weighed down with multiplied cares and concerns for our beloved children. We sorrow over the past; we weep over the present; and we shake with fear for the future.
The sweetness we had with them in the past comingles with the bitterness we now have in the present.
There’s not much to celebrate.
Hope at Easter
If this describes you, hold on to the hope Easter gives:
- God himself will comfort you in all your troubles. The perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, suffered, bled, and died for you (and for our child) so you could know the peace of His presence. He understands your suffering and is able to help like no other can. Your pain breaks His heart too.
- Jesus suffered alone on the cross so that you don’t have to suffer alone. We can live in His abiding presence. God sustained Him and He will sustain us as we do what Jesus did—entrust ourselves into His hands and surrender ourselves to Him.
- We never know what tomorrow might bring. We can’t see what God is doing today. Only He knows what the future holds. We may be experiencing unbearable pain or the confusion of God’s silence, but there’s always hope.
Any day your story could turn around like this family’s did: Their adult daughter was a drug-addicted felon, living a gay lifestyle who turned to God when she became pregnant. Today she is completely different person: a clean and sober single mom who uses her skills to volunteer at Family Life (a ministry of Cru) and gives input on how to minister to parents who attend Weekend to Remember marriage conferences about the LGBTQ issues.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NIV).
An Easter Hymn
I grew up in a church where we sang traditional hymns. One we always sang at Easter came to mind as I wrote this post. The words are my prayer for you, your sons, and daughters. The name of the hymn is “At the Cross” also called “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?” The lyrics were written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). You can listen to many different versions on YouTube. Clkick here to listen to one I like.
Alas! And did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head for such a wretch as I?
But drops of grief ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away –
‘Tis all that I can do!
At the cross, at the cross,
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my hear rolled away –
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.