Back in the Fall, Jay and I went through a difficult week with one of our kids. There were big life decisions being considered and details that deeply concerned us. There were lots of discussions happening that seemed to be having the opposite effect of what we were trying to accomplish; open and honest dialogue just seemed to end with more hurt and confusion. It was a struggle that was compounded by the emotional burnout we were already experiencing after the trials and crosses from the spring and summer months.
We didn’t have much to give and another emotional battle was threatening to drown us as a family. I wasn’t sure we had any fight left after everything we had gone through and, to be honest, there were moments that I just wanted to give up and stop trying to find a way to fix it.
Is there any situation(s) in your life that have you nodding your head right now? Keep reading...maybe the advice that helped us will encourage you.<3
Jay and I did a lot of talking and praying over the course of a few days. We knew we needed help to work through it all and we sought that help. We spoke to a therapist and each of us spoke to the Deacon at our parish, who we are immensely blessed to have. As hard as it was to work through all the emotions of what I was feeling, my constant prayer was, “Please, God, don’t let me make the situation worse.”
I approached Deacon Dave after daily Mass during this tumultuous week. I had a lot of grief and a lot of anger that I needed help to work through. Deacon did a lot of listening in the hour + I spent with him that morning. He also shared some stories from his own parenting days which helped to remind me that I’m not alone in my parenting struggles. It also gave me hope because his children are all adults with families of their own that they are close to. There are certainly benefits to talking to parents who have survived the trenches!
There was one thing that Deacon said that really struck me and allowed my perspective to change very quickly. Deacon said, “You need to pray....what does God want in this situation?” In that moment, God reminded me that I was not in control. It wasn’t my job to convince said child about the negative consequences that could come out of the decisions that were being discussed. It wasn’t my job to change anyone’s heart. That was God’s job. Having that responsibility lifted from me took away the anger I had been struggling with. Being able to respond to the situation we were working through without anger was very important to not further damage relationships or cause deeper rifts and unnecessary pain to occur. Not causing more brokenness for myself or anyone involved was important to me....it’s much easier to fix a cup broken in a few big pieces than one that has been shattered.
The situation still hurt, but my focus had shifted. I was no longer just looking at the hurt and trying to figure out a way to fix it. I was reminded to look up and remember Who it was that could truly fix the situation. I prayed for openness for Jay and I as well as for our child....for all of us to see what was best and to have the grace to accept it. I didn’t just pray for our wishes and desires to be followed....I’ve learned that, even though we love our kids more than anything, what we want for them isn’t always what God has planned.
We took a deep, unsteady breath and tried again. It took a few more days, but God finally provided an opening. There were difficult conversations...and a few tears...but the confusion finally lifted and we all realized that so much of the hurt that everyone was feeling was based on miscommunication and misunderstanding. And even though it took several weeks to start to feel “normal” again as everyone worked through their own thoughts and feelings about how this situation affected them, I know that everyone involved learned a lot. (Hopefully enough so that we can avoid any similar situations in the future !!)
Despite the hurt, that tough week provided a blessing through Deacon Dave for me...the reminder to “look up” when things are too hard and too heavy and to remember to ask: “God, what is your will?”
“He reached from on high, he took me,
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.”