Encouraging Words for Brokenhearted Parents

by | Jul 8, 2019 | what you can do | 2 comments

photo cred. April Hill Photography

Today’s blog is a collection of quotes from my book, You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids. It includes comments from our daughter Renee on boundaries. I hope they help you gain some fresh insights or strengthen what you already know.

Even though you’ve experienced huge amounts of deep, inner healing, you may always carry an ache in your heart over your child’s suffering.

Don’t let suffering take your spirit.

Accept that your pain is real and you’re grieving…Give yourself permission to be real about your suffering, to feel the pain…Find healthy ways to express your hurt. Whatever you’re feeling is okay.

Be thankful for today and don’t look too far ahead…You can cope with right now, and that’s all you have to do.

Admit your need for help and take care of yourself.

Don’t let your child become the sole focus of your world.

Trust God with what you can’t understand.

The people I know with the strongest faith are those who’ve suffered most yet never turned away from God. They dug in deeper.

Instead of running away from God, run to Him, dig in deeper, then suffering won’t take your spirit.

We need to forgive our children for how they hurt us…Forgiveness is the only way to lance our heart wounds before they fester and make us sick.

Like grieving, forgiving is a long, slow process, but if we choose to take this path—the path less traveled—we can find freedom.

. . . God understands our hurt far more than we can imagine. He’s the ultimate rejected, offended, brokenhearted parent.

When we ask God for help, He’ll empower us to forgive even those who committed unthinkable crimes against our children. In Him, forgiveness becomes possible.

That’s how I felt on my painful parenting journey: lost and powerless.

Our helpfulness can backfire and make it easier for our troubled child to stay sick longer.

We need clear, strong boundaries . . . Boundaries help you disengage with your emotions and keep your sanity … Boundaries . . . empower you to say no.

When we no longer need to enable or feel rewarded for doing so, we’ll find the strength to say, “No, I’m sorry, but I’ve decided I can’t [or won’t] help you with that anymore. But I’m confident you’ll solve this problem on your own. I believe you can do it!”

It’s not easy to set boundaries and follow through. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s the most loving thing we can do for ourselves.

If we let our children struggle and fail, they’ll learn a lot more than if we come to their rescue.

We need to quit trying to control what we can’t control. Trying to only makes things worse.

From Renee on boundaries:

“Boundaries do not mean you’re turning your love off or giving up. Boundaries mean you refuse to believe your child can’t change. By saying no, you give them permission to say yes to love themselves, to live as the beautiful, present, empowered person they can be. Be intentional by reminding them you love them and that you’ll be there for them when they want it. If you’re met with anger from your child when you enforce a boundary, don’t own it…

Hold on to the truth that you’re not doing this to punish or harm or be vindictive. You’re doing the best you can to help, to love, and to fight for them, knowing that ultimately they have to choose to fight for themselves…

And hold on to hope, allowing God’s peace to comfort you…The hardest things we choose out of love give the deepest, most profound gifts to our souls…By far one of the most loving things my parents did was to set clear, strong boundaries with me.”


* My book is available from our website, Amazon or wherever fine books are sold. Click here or order a copy. You
Are Not Alone has been featured on and endorsed by Dr. James Dobson (Family Talk), Jim Daly (Focus on the Family) and Dennis Rainey (Family Life).

Recommended books:

When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us: Letting Go of Their Problems, Loving then Anyway, and Getting On With Our Lives by Jane Adams

Addict in the Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery by Beverly Conyers


  1. Janet Hagen

    Your articles encouraged me today. Thank you.
    Our Prodigal is 31. We’ve been praying for him to return to the Lord for 13 years now. He is literally wandering all over the earth, a poor man, a stoned man. He works low paying jobs online even though he has a college degree. Suffers w/ a bi polar type situation, but never diagnosed. Seems to be arrested mentally /emotionally at a college age. Rarely lives in the USA. Currently has landed in Izmir Turkey. He wanted to live in Morocco and needed more $for a plane ticket. We loving said “No, we’re not assisting you financially. You’re a grown man, figure it out.”
    Praise God, we sleep at night and we have a life and experience joy. Although our Ongoing sadness & disappointment over our son is like dragging an invisible broken leg behind us. We’re not “whole”, our family isn’t “whole” because our beloved son is so broken.
    We look to that day When God delivers and rescues him back from the hand of the enemy.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Janet, God bless you for how long you have persevered and hung on to hope for your precious son. What a difficult journey you’ve been on watching the child you had so many dreams for waste his life. His emotional maturity is definitely stuck at the age he first started using pot (we learned this from an addictions counselor). So sad to see that happen to them. I applaud the courage and strength it took to say no to his financial request. It also told him you believe he CAN figure it out. I praise God with you that you and your husband can sleep and continue to live your lives, even with a measure of joy. Only God can do that!! But I understand that lingering sadness and disappointment you spoke of. It’s like a cloud that hangs overhead and never leaves. Your broken leg analogy is so true.
      I’ve recently learned of a term that describes what you’re feeling…ambiguous grief. You’re grieving someone who is still alive, but they’re not the same; they’ve changed and you can’t fix it. And there’s no closure. Few can understand or relate, but it explains so much. If you google the phrase you’ll find articles and books on it. I speak of Grief and Loss in my book. I’m so sorry for the ache that remains.

      May God continue to minister to your hearts and bring you ever deepening peace as you keep trusting your son into His loving hands. He’ll never stop seeking him. Be confident of this, your prayers will outlive you . . . so press on in the strength God gives.

      “When God wipes away all our tears with his gentle, omnipotent hand, I believe our eyes will fall on the scars that made our suffering his so that his eternal joy could become ours.” –Randy Alcorn, 90 Days of God’s Goodness

      Warmly in Christ,