Intense pain gripped my heart when I felt rejected by my daughter.
What do we do when our beloved children don’t love us back in the way we long for? Aren’t our sons and daughters supposed to love, respect, and appreciate us for all we’ve done for them?
How could they break our hearts like this? Their treatment makes Valentine’s Day one more day to dread as we wade through, eager to avoid reminders of the past.
When Will the Pain End?
Parents of rebellious, angry, wayward children; of the addicted, or the mentally and emotionally unstable; of the incarcerated, addicted to porn, embracing a new identity in the LGBTQ community, or of any other disheartening behavior, struggle with deep sadness. We wonder Will things always be this way? I remember what that felt like. I’ve walked a long, rough road with my daughter.
Fear and worry weigh us down too. What will the next crisis be? When will it happen?
Valentine’s Day is this week. Overcome with emotion, hurt and disappointment run deep. Soul-piercing pain stabs our hearts even more when we hear about our friend’s children showing them gestures of love and appreciation.
Maybe, you’re like I was. You’ve sunk to a place where you’re unable to find pleasure in anything. Depression envelops your world. Can I smile or laugh again? Will I ever hear my child say I love you?
You withdraw from family and friends, socializing infrequently. Every significant relationship has been affected including your marriage and with your other children (if you have others). Concentration and focus at work becomes more difficult. The need to control or fix your child consumes. They repeatedly resist your efforts, not wanting help.
Not wanting you.
Life becomes miserable. If you don’t take steps to take care of yourself, you might lose the will to live. All you want is for the pain to end.
Have you lost hope? Are you losing yourself?
If this describes you, I am so sorry. If you’re especially despondent please don’t despair. There are many resources available for you. Your child may refuse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out for help. I’ve listed a few 24/7 hotlines at the end of this blog. You can call them right now and talk to a caring person who will pray for you and point you to the resource you need. I also have a few suggestions of what you could do to lessen your suffering. They helped me.
Four Ways to Lessen Your Pain:
1. Shift your focus from what you’ve lost to what you still have.
Be thankful for every little thing you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. Make a list. (I mentioned the idea of a Gratitude Journal in a previous post this fall.). Take a close look at each item you record. This can be great a source of encouragement. Don’t forget to live your own life. You do have one and your life still matters.
2. Lower your expectations.
When you don’t anticipate expressions of love or thoughtfulness (particularly on special occasions), you won’t feel as hurt, angry, or disappointed if you don’t receive them. Expect nothing, then if something positive happens you’ll be pleasantly surprised. By doing this, you can guard your heart.
3. Look to God for satisfaction.
God never intended for another human being to fully meet all our emotional needs. Only He can do that. Yes, we need people. We were created for relationships, however, God meant for us to look to Him alone for the deepest satisfaction of our hearts – not to our children.
4. Do something for someone else; a random act of kindness.
You don’t have to look far to find someone in need. Do something thoughtful, expecting nothing in return. As a result, you won’t feel as sorry for yourself. You’ll be amazed how showing a little kindness can lift your spirits and fill you with joy. Helping others is a natural mood lifter.
No matter how you feel, remember this:
You. Are. Loved.
“The favorite place of God is in the hearts of His people.” – Anonymous
The Bible has a lot to say about love. Two of my favorite verses on the subject are:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… (John 3:16 NIV).
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV).
Prayer: Merciful God, comfort us through one more day that reminds us of what we’ve lost. Thank you for all You’ve done for us, most of all for Your love. This is difficult to grasp. Help us stop putting high expectations on our children for what only You can give and satisfy us with your never-ending love. Motivate us to show kindness to someone in need. In Your Son’s name. Amen.
Resources for you: (also listed on our website)
Focus on the Family Help Center – They offer a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They also offer referrals for licensed Christian counselors in your area. Call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time).
Hope for the Heart – They offer Heart Care Representatives to talk with 24/7 including holidays 800-488-HOPE (4673). Bringing hope and seeing changed lives for over 30 years through radio broadcasts, biblical counseling, free downloads and other materials.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-274-TALK (8255) Also offers help in Spanish. 24/7 including holidays
**What helps you get through days like Valentine’s Day??