When my kids were little and I found myself whining about how hard it was to manage four little ones, wiser, older women would tell me, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” I couldn’t imagine mothering being even more difficult than it was in that moment.
Fast forward to adult children.
For the mother who has poured her heart and soul into her family, there is no greater pain than having a child who cuts her out of their life. The pain pierces the heart.
On my pity party days, I reflect on all the sacrifices I have made.
After our first two kids arrived, pretty close together, I left the legal profession. In the small town where we lived, I was on track for a judicial appointment, having come up through the ranks of the state’s attorney and public defender’s offices. It was not a sad leave-taking. It was joyous because the Lord had answered the desires of my heart and allowed me to have children. My verse at that time was Psalm 113: 9 (NIV) and my joy was complete.
He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.
On the bad days, I question my choice and imagine a life far removed from my breaking heart. I daydream about being called upon to make non-emotional, non-personal decisions about other people’s lives and how I would do it with mercy and justice. Indeed, with all the time I have invested in motherhood, I would now have been able to retire with a judge’s pension, which is none too shabby. Instead I find myself starting over near the bottom rung of my profession at a time when my peers are retiring.
On my pity party days, I think about the monetary expense of raising a child.
The normal funding of a childhood is complex enough. Add onto that the cost of therapies, emergency trips, bailing out a child who has no food or heat in her house, giving gas money and buying beater cars and the dollar amount skyrockets.
On the other hand, what would I have spent these funds on?
Compared to the expansion of my heart that I have earned, these monies would have been spent frivolously. It would have led only to more self-absorption and chasing after the wind. (Although I confess that a nicer car and a few more trips would have been lovely.)
I knew sadness and tragedy before I had children.
Before becoming a mom I had numerous life challenges.
But they pale in comparison to the pain of a wayward child. The deaths of relatives and friends are painful. The death of a dream of a good relationship with a child pierces the heart.
So, Mom, what are you to do with the pain?
1. Don’t waste it. You are not the only mom who grieves. Look around you at all the beautiful, seemingly normal families. Many of them suffer as well.
2. Share it. The moms you know who also suffer long to enjoy a sympathetic ear. You can enter into the sorrow of another mom more meaningfully than any other person. That is a gift, and it is an obligation to help others.
3. Examine it. My troubles in this area have forced me to examine my own heart, tame my tongue and repent for my sins. Every battle has two sides. Have you owned up to how you have contributed to the struggle?
4. Never stop praying. God is still a God of miracles. While you may not get a result you desire, the Lord will redeem your pain if you ask it of Him. Whether the relationship is restored, or if He calls you to help others through their pain, he will redeem your experiences for His glory.