I’ve been thinking about this all week. What do hurting parents and Martin Luther King have in common? I’m referring to parents whose children are making destructive, even life-threatening, choices and are facing difficult circumstances because of mental illness. The famous line in King’s speech tells the answer, “I have a dream.”
Dreams. What dreams did you have for your troubled child? Maybe they were a lot like mine.
- To have a close, loving relationship.
- To have their respect and listen to your advice.
- To enjoy them and their friends while growing up.
- To graduate from high school, then graduate from college.
- To use their talents and abilities to the fullest potential.
- To get married to someone you feel good about, then have grandchildren.
- To be a responsible, productive adult.
- To enjoy a healthy, meaningful relationship with each other as adults.
- To embrace your faith as their own and live lives of integrity. This would be icing on your dream-cake.
Does it still hurt to remember? Have you tried to forget – to let it all go? Do you still struggle with a nagging ache in your stomach, a longing for what could have been? Today I’ve found a lot of peace and acceptance with the disappointments, but sometimes I still feel this way.
It’s painful to watch dreams die.
What do you do with all that disappointment and regret?
How do you make peace with what you have no control over?
How do you make sense out of shattered dreams?
Here’s what I did. I remembered these things:
1. God is with me. I do not suffer alone. He’ll never leave me.
2. God understands and hurts with me.
3. He still has dreams for my child – it’s never too late. He’ll never stop seeking them.
4. God can use my pain to help me discover a deeper desire for Him.
Larry Crabb, in his book Shattered Dreams, says this: “Pain is a tragedy. But it’s never only a tragedy. For the Christian, it’s always a necessary mile on the long journey to joy.” (pg.4)
Joy? When dreams shatter we can find joy if we remember these four things. We can choose to let suffering drive us to the heart of God. And there we will find our deepest satisfaction.
May He, the One True God, bring us to really believe that intimately knowing Him can bring more pleasure than seeing our children straighten out.
Will you choose to have an encounter with God in your pain? Bring Him your shattered dreams and see if He will become your Sovereign joy.
Here are two Scripture verses for your encouragement:
“I will never stop doing good to them . . . I will rejoice in doing them good.” (Jeremiah 32:40-41)
Even though everything looks bad, “. . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength . . .” (Habakkuk 3:17-18) English Standard Version