He hadn’t been home for several months. I had carefully planned my menu, overspent my grocery budget, and spent hours preparing his favorite meal. I made sure his room was clean and comfy for his stay. I wanted him to feel accepted, loved, and a little pampered. You see he had moved out under less than pleasant circumstances. In other words, we told him he had to move. This was his first time back home and I wanted to be sure he knew we still loved him very much.
But some drama unfolded with another child and as that child shared their complaint with this son, I was accused of selfish motives. I was crushed!
I felt like I had lovingly placed my heart on the table. See my heart? You are worth every piece of my heart. This is how much I love you!
But then it was as if my heart had been picked up, sneered at, thrown to the floor, and stomped on. This happened more than once—especially at special times, like Christmas. We had five lousy Christmases in a row. When the sixth year came around, our kids were all adults, so we spent Christmas without them.
Have you been here? You give and give from the deepest, sweetest parts of your heart, only to have your offerings deliberately smashed to the ground. What then do you do with your wounded heart? How can you heal? How can you protect yourself from further pain?
When I look back I see some patterns I developed along the way.
First, I’d cry (usually in the shower). I had to be careful, because if I let myself cry too long, I’d grow angry and resentful. This was never good. But crying over a broken heart really is ok. In fact, it’s healthy.
Then I’d talk to a friend who understood. This allowed me to process the pain, get an objective view, and kept the resentment at bay.
As I prayed through the pain, my heavenly Father would remind me how Christ surrendered His body to an excruciating death, after years of healing the sick, restoring sight, teaching soul-changing truth, and feeding the multitudes. His love-gifts were as obvious as the sun on a clear day, but the people He loved still turned on Him.
Brutal rejection didn’t stop God from infinitely loving His children.
And, you know what? The rejection we’ve experienced hasn’t stopped us either. Has it? We cry, seek understanding, remember grace, and reset our focus—again and again and again.
So what happens when we’re hurting so much we can’t seem to love anymore? Think for a minute.
Are you still in there?
Are you still serving your children?
Are you still thinking of fun surprises, or preparing favorite meals?
I’ve yet to meet a hurting mom who has quit.
But, maybe that’s where you are today. If that’s you, maybe you need to take some time to rest and heal. Our church didn’t know how to support adoptive parents until after a difficult time in our journey, they started providing respite for us. Twice a month, each of our children went to different homes for Saturday nights. The host family would pick up our kids by four in the afternoon, and we met them the next day at church. These evenings were a lifesaver for me.
Sometimes we have to love by faith. This is when we don’t feel like loving. We don’t have the energy, or the will, to love. But we declare by faith—in the enemy’s face—that through the power of Jesus we love our children. Even with a wounded heart, God’s love can still pour through us: from outside us, though us, to outside us.