There are days that I feel like I’m a failure as a parent. My head tells me differently but my heart still wins. Today is one of those days.
I have three wounded, adult children, whose biological father left years ago. This man has volitionally taken no financial, emotional or spiritual responsibility for his children.
It hurts and in some ways, this man’s selfishness affects every day of my life with my children. It’s unspeakably difficult to watch my adult children struggle so much and know that I can not fix the hurt in their hearts. I’m the safe parent – the one who “gets it all” and frankly, some days, it’s just too much to bear, even with Chris’ love and support. Sometimes, I have to quietly remind myself that I can’t be both parents to my children. There’s a huge void in their hearts, as their is in everyone’s heart and I know that ultimately, only Christ can fill it.
I know how it feels to be fatherless because my father did the same thing and left my mom with three children on her own for a long time. I know what it did to me as a child, teenager and young adult – my brothers and I had to grow up quickly and choose which road to travel.
I chose Christ – perhaps better said, He chose me. His Abba Father presence changed the way I view life and I needed changing. I needed healing. He helped me understand that life is hard and how freeing it is to forgive, to let go, to choose love instead of bitterness, to set boundaries, to move forward and not wallow in a victim mentality. There has been great healing from the inside out but some days, it all comes flooding back, the waves push me under and I can hardly breathe.
Yup. Today’s been one of those days.
I’m very aware that I’m not a perfect mother. I’m doing the best I can but there are days that my three adult children remind me that my best isn’t even close to what they think they want or need. I can’t be the counsellor, the day care lady, the bank, the sounding board, the encourager, the cook, the cleaning lady, the fun Nana, the grocery shopper and the car lender all rolled up in one…and of course, from their perspective, it’s really important that they’re all treated equally.
I can’t always understand.
There are days like today when nothing I do or say seems to be right or enough and I feel defeated…
…but tomorrow’s another day – God’s mercies are new every morning. As I was reminded recently, “one day at a time” thinking is wise.
Many years ago, I learned out of necessity, how important it is to be secure in being misunderstood. This truth has helped me to go to God, rather than people when I’m hurting. So, when I read Scotty Smith’s prayer this afternoon, it brought great solace – the comfort that only God’s truth can bring. I’m so thankful that God gives me the grace to look at my own sin but still maintain perspective.
Thank you, Scotty Smith, for your wise words, that have fed me abundantly today.
|A Prayer for Re-Parenting by Abba, FatherPosted: 30 Jul 2013 03:37 AM PDT
Dear heavenly Father, I gladly make Paul’s liberating prayer my own this morning. I humble myself before you—not floundering in my fears, but marinating in your mercies; not groveling in my guilt, but growing in your grace. For you are the quintessential Father—the Father from whom all fatherhood derives its name and meaning.
In the gospel, you adopted us to be your beloved sons and daughters; and by your grace, you are growing us to become like your most beloved Son, Jesus. What wondrous love is this, indeed!
Father, I ask you to re-parent me in two ways. As you liberate my heart to cry Abba, Father, louder than ever, also free me from the illusion that my earthly parents could have ever been enough. I still occasionally play the victim card and think, “If only I’d been given a different dad. If only my mom had been more present in my life.” Bring the healing and liberating power of the gospel to bear upon the wounds and holes my childhood. Replace my whining with worship, and my excuses with hope.
Father, I also need you to re-parent me as a parent. Let me continue to grow as an engaged, loving parent to my kids, no matter their age. You’ve already forgiven me for the years I spent parenting by fear and control, guilt and pride. Now I pray for the healing of those years, through the love of Jesus.
So, even as Paul prayed, so I pray: Grant me power to grasp just how wide, long, high, and deep Jesus’ love is for me, and for my children. There’s no greater transforming power in all of history than the love of Jesus. Indeed, Father, teach me what it means to parent by grace—in every season of our relationship. Write fresh stories of restoration and renewal, healing and rich connection.
Give my kids freedom to share their stories, hearts and hurts with me; and grant me grace to listen from my heart. What failures do I need to own? What grace do I need to extend? There’s no condemnation, but there’s plenty of room for conviction. Father, be pleased to do well beyond all I can ask or imagine. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving and powerful name.