Oh dear friend, it breaks my heart to see you going through this. Not just because I love you so, but because I have been where you are headed and your fears are so familiar to me.
So, when you talk about what will happen to your children and the impact this may have on them, when your home is separated, when mom and dad no longer live together, I cannot help but cry. For I wept over my children… I still do at times.
I watched them suffer and felt helpless.
No matter the conditions. No matter the circumstances. No matter their ages.
“I don’t understand,” they would say.
No details could be shared. I would only do more damage.
“Did we do something,”, they would ask with puzzled eyes,
searching my face, trying to make sense of what was going on around them… and I died inside.
I would rage deep within. Angered that they had to suffer because of us. Angered that I, who always seemed in control, was so utterly out of control.
I watched them hurt and I couldn’t make it stop.
I watched them climb into his car, my youngest often in tears, and leave and I couldn’t run after them and pull them to me and whisper, Let’s go home.
All I could do watch them go.
and there I stood, utterly… out…. of… control.
I remember one particular day. I sat there. Frozen. The kids having just left with their dad. Parked in the Corner Bakery lot. All I could do was stare mindlessly out the window.
This cannot be my life.
I felt numb and alone and unable to make things right again.
“Everything will be okay. You will be just fine, dear one,” He seemed to say, this incredible feeling of peace sweeping over me.
I began to cry out… Lord, I need you. I need you. I need you to be real. I can’t do this. I can’t do this alone.
And He met me there.
He met me in this space and began to heal my heart.
He taught me how to love myself and love my little ones.
He showed me how to love them where they were, to leave space for them to sort this out, explaining that what they needed most right now was a safe place-structure-and I that I could provide that when they were with me. He empowered me…
… and when they weren’t with me, I learned how to trust Him. I pressed in… and I prayed.
He encouraged me on, pointing out that it wasn’t simply about the rupture in the family but about how we healed from that rupture, so we saw therapists and I brought in my folks and family members and friends who spent time with my children, one-on-one. It was about rebuilding family- friends- community.
Oh, it didn’t happen over night, but slowly, ever so slowly, our family began to grow.
Looking back, I am truly amazed at how much love covers.
For it was this love-His love-that beckoned me to stop fighting- pointing the finger- blaming- the other and I began to see the damage I was doing out of my own hurt.
As much as I wanted to point the finger and to blame, to throw fault at the feet of the other, I stopped…. I stopped.
And, dear friend, I beckon the same of you. Stop. Keep still.
Keep still. For this is still their parent. This will always be their parent and it’s the only mom or dad they have. No matter what the injustice- as atrocious as it may be- keep still.
Not in front of them. This is not their fight.
We must love our children. Engage their hearts… and help them rebuild.
Dear friend, never did I think joy would return, but it has. Never did I think they would truly thrive, but they do. They are beautiful and vibrant little ones (even though their bodies are getting so big)… and my job, dear friend, is to walk with them on this journey through life. Through the quiet grassy meadow lands and the thrilling peaks and the darkest of darkest of valleys.
My prayer for us, dear friend, is that we may love them well through it all.