Posted by: Diane | July 30, 2013

It’s Been A Tough Day

There are days that I feel like I’m a failure as a parent. My head tells me differently but my heart still wins. Today is one of those days.

I have three wounded, adult children, whose biological father left years ago. This man has volitionally taken no financial, emotional or spiritual responsibility for his children.

It hurts and in some ways, this man’s selfishness affects every day of my life with my children.  It’s unspeakably difficult to watch my adult children struggle so much and know that I can not fix the hurt in their hearts. I’m the safe parent – the one who “gets it all” and frankly, some days, it’s just too much to bear, even with Chris’ love and support. Sometimes, I have to quietly remind myself that I can’t be both parents to my children.  There’s a huge void in their hearts, as their is in everyone’s heart and I know that ultimately, only Christ can fill it.

I know how it feels to be fatherless because my father did the same thing and left my mom with three children on her own for a long time. I know what it did to me as a child, teenager and young adult – my brothers and I had to grow up quickly and choose which road to travel.

I chose Christ – perhaps better said, He chose me. His Abba Father presence changed the way I view life and I needed changing. I needed healing.  He helped me understand that life is hard and how freeing it is to forgive, to let go, to choose love instead of bitterness, to set boundaries, to move forward and not wallow in a victim mentality. There has been great healing from the inside out but some days, it all comes flooding back, the waves push me under and I can hardly breathe.

Yup. Today’s been one of those days.

I’m very aware that I’m not a perfect mother. I’m doing the best I can but there are days that my three adult children remind me that my best isn’t even close to what they think they want or need.  I can’t be the counsellor, the day care lady, the bank, the sounding board, the encourager, the cook, the cleaning lady, the fun Nana, the grocery shopper and the car lender all rolled up in one…and of course, from their perspective, it’s really important that they’re all treated equally.

I can’t always understand.

There are days like today when nothing I do or say seems to be right or enough and I feel defeated…

…but tomorrow’s another day – God’s mercies are new every morning. As I was reminded recently, “one day at  a time” thinking is wise.

Many years ago, I learned out of necessity, how important it is to be secure in being misunderstood. This truth has helped me to go to God, rather than people when I’m hurting. So, when I read Scotty Smith’s prayer this afternoon, it brought great solace – the comfort that only God’s truth can bring.  I’m so thankful that God gives me the grace to look at my own sin but still maintain perspective.

Thank you, Scotty Smith, for your wise words, that have fed me abundantly today.

Heavenward by Scotty Smith

A Prayer for Re-Parenting by Abba, FatherPosted: 30 Jul 2013 03:37 AM PDT

     For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:14-19

Dear heavenly Father, I gladly make Paul’s liberating prayer my own this morning. I humble myself before you—not floundering in my fears, but marinating in your mercies; not groveling in my guilt, but growing in your grace. For you are the quintessential Father—the Father from whom all fatherhood derives its name and meaning.

In the gospel, you adopted us to be your beloved sons and daughters; and by your grace, you are growing us to become like your most beloved Son, Jesus. What wondrous love is this, indeed!

Father, I ask you to re-parent me in two ways. As you liberate my heart to cry Abba, Father, louder than ever, also free me from the illusion that my earthly parents could have ever been enough. I still occasionally play the victim card and think, “If only I’d been given a different dad. If only my mom had been more present in my life.” Bring the healing and liberating power of the gospel to bear upon the wounds and holes my childhood. Replace my whining with worship, and my excuses with hope.

Father, I also need you to re-parent me as a parent. Let me continue to grow as an engaged, loving parent to my kids, no matter their age. You’ve already forgiven me for the years I spent parenting by fear and control, guilt and pride. Now I pray for the healing of those years, through the love of Jesus.

So, even as Paul prayed, so I pray: Grant me power to grasp just how wide, long, high, and deep Jesus’ love is for me, and for my children. There’s no greater transforming power in all of history than the love of Jesus. Indeed, Father, teach me what it means to parent by grace—in every season of our relationship. Write fresh stories of restoration and renewal, healing and rich connection.

Give my kids freedom to share their stories, hearts and hurts with me; and grant me grace to listen from my heart. What failures do I need to own? What grace do I need to extend? There’s no condemnation, but there’s plenty of room for conviction. Father, be pleased to do well beyond all I can ask or imagine. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving and powerful name.


  1. sorry about your day…big hugs to you

    • Thanks, friend. I know we all have these kind of days, don’t we?

      • we sure do

  2. Yes, being a parent of adult children can be really challenging at times. But when the sun comes out and you get a quick thank you note or positive comment from one of them, it makes everything okay again. Valleys and hilltops. We wouldn’t appreciate the hilltops without the valleys. Sorry for your valley day, but the hill is in front of you. Hope you get to climb it tomorrow..

    • Oh, I will, Kathy. I have wonderful kids and I love them to bits! I continue to learn how to love them well. I never want to make them look bad – I’m just trying to express what I’m learning about myself in these relationships.

  3. What raw honesty you have shared, yet I can also hear the anchor of your soul grounded in faith, is secure . May you grow one day at a time in grace, and parent in grace with His wonderful example, knowing He is enough…. even we are not! Hang in there mama, you are made of the right stuff! Xo Carolyn

    • Thanks for your kind words, Carolyn. We’re all growing through these tough times – that’s what it’s all about. We were never promised easy lives but the process of working through the rough times is always good…and always worth it.

  4. Even at the ripe old age of 81….I still have days like this. We want to be everything to these children the Lord has given to us, but it is impossible to meet their needs sometimes. So this is where we depend on the Lord to take us through another day. Keep looking up Diane….I do every day. xoxo ‘Mrs. B’

  5. Dear Diane,
    God is so amazing! As always!! Thank you for your obedience to Him, in writing your blog. It was exactly what I needed today. Being a parent is probably the hardest job we have in this life, if we do it with conviction and love. You have directed me to my Heavenly Father who is my all in all, and His Word is medicine to my soul!
    Bless you Diane,
    Love Barb

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