Parental Heartbreak

It’s likely that if you are a parent reading this, you’re familiar with the awful feelings that well up within us when others cause pain in our kids’ lives. Sure, sometimes pain is caused by something our kids did or said, but right now I’m referring to the non-“you-brought-this-on-yourself” brand of hurt. This kind of hurt brings out Mama Bear instincts of protection, and “oh no, you did NOT just do that to my baby,” kinds of feelings. I’ve been there. I’m guessing you have too.

This is also the kind of hurt that brings out the comparison game. It’s possible we all play it sometimes. We either think it to ourselves or God-forbid, say things like this directly to our child: “Well, I’m not surprised that so-and-so did that to you, because his parents have let him get away with such-and-such since he was born.” (Because the little snippets of their parenting we see make us experts on what happens in their house…)

I’ve played that game, and there are no winners. After all, we’re all trying to maneuver through this parenthood thing and make it to the other side shouting, “That’s my child!”, and be proud of who we are pointing to…all the while knowing that if they do make it into adulthood as a productive, kind-hearted human being, it’s due to about 10% parenting and 90% God’s grace. The next time I’m tempted to play the comparison game, please remind me of the scientific 😉 percentages I presented, and also that as parents, we are on the SAME TEAM! Let’s support each other a little better.

And let’s remind each other that instead of going down the road of comparison, where we should really be heading is right into the arms of God. God knows how we feel when our children endure any suffering. In fact, during the darkest night known to mankind, He experienced parental heartbreak that we can’t imagine!

God sacrificed His only Son for all of us. Jesus was mocked and ridiculed by a mob of people not worthy to pass judgement on anyone, let alone the King of Kings. He was beaten in an unbelievably cruel fashion and suffered to a point beyond our imaginations. He died an inhumane death. Oh, and the crowd that gathered around this horrific event? They CHEERED during His demise. How beyond-words-heartbreaking for Jesus’ Father!

But…how awesome that we can place our parental heartbreak and our heartbroken child in an all-knowing-God’s hands and that we can thank Him for being in control of the situation and for knowing how we feel…God knows how we feel. How awesome is that?

Then, while standing with our child through the painful situation, how awesome is it that we can prayerfully stand back and boldly trust God to work in and through our child’s heartbreak and life! Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.” And then we can thank God, because sooner or later we will surely witness a victory in our child’s life, courtesy of a Heavenly Father that’s ‘been there.’ How awesome is that?

2 thoughts on “Parental Heartbreak

  1. Lisa Smith

    You spoke directly to my heart because as a parent I suffered through this just this week. Thank you for reminding me how I can improve my role as a parent the next time this happens to one of my children. Unfortunately, I know their will be a next time, but through God’s grace and the wisdom in your message I can have a better approach to how I help my child(ren). I will pray during these times to allow God to lead and guide us through the heartbreak as only he can do. Thank you, Gwen!

    1. gthielges

      Thanks so much for your comment, Lisa! It encourages me to know you were touched by this – but also sorry that you went through something hard this week. Parenting is soooo hard and soooo rewarding all at the same time, isn’t it? Take care!


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