The Brokenheartedness that Parenting Is
This is my life quote:
“The brokenhearted are indeed the bravest among us—they dared to love, and they dared to forgive.” --Dr. Brene Brown in Rising Strong
I found the quote around 2 years ago as I’m a fangirl of Dr. Brene’ Brown and her research. But as soon as I read this, I knew this is how I’ve been living my entire life.
I have a broken heart. I do feel brave. And these are actually connected.
Parenting is for the brave, even as your child smashes your heart. Or even as you are filled with so much fear over your kid. This is the ebb-and-flow of parenting. You get to feel both.
Yes, feel. We adults all too often have learned coping mechanisms to numb the brokenheartedness parenting brings. We spend, stay busy, stay connected all the time, have addictions, run, are depressed, exploit food, have porn habits, and bully so we don’t feel this pain. But the pain is still there. None of these coping mechanisms changes that fact.
In Rising Strong Dr. Brown made this statement, “My faith calls me to practice love over fear.” (P. 210.) What about you? Do you practice love over fear? If you do, you will feel brokenhearted. Fear is at the root of what keeps you numb. Love gives you the bravery to feel and be vulnerable. We can do this because “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
Here is the crazy truth about fear. Fear does not bring control to your world-- even though it feels like it does. Some parents even wear their fear like a badge. The helicopter leash is taut and short because of fear and it is justified because “I don’t let my kids be out like that, I’m not that kind of a parent.” And still you find yourself crying and in fear because of your kid.
Fear and scarcity is at the root of the endless running tape in our heads. The tape that says
I am not good enough…
I am not perfect enough…
I am not thin enough…
I am not powerful enough…
I am not successful enough…
I am not smart enough…
I am not certain enough…
I am not safe enough…
Soon shame becomes our friend because we can never do enough to stop this tape. Too often parenting feels full of shame. I am not a parent enough…
No wonder parents feel isolated. Or use any success of their child as their identity in the world. We’ve all seen those Facebook posts of “wonder child.” Or you’ve posted posts of your own “wonder child” hoping for those like clicks so you feel less like a failure as a parent.
This is the truth. “The brokenhearted are indeed the bravest among us—they dared to love, and they dared to forgive.” Broken you will always dare to love your kid. Broken you will always forgive your kid. Do not be afraid of your brokenheartedness. It does not signal that you are a failure. It is the signal that you are the bravest.
Our hope is to cling in desperation to everything of God. He is our source of strength. He is the source of our identity--and you are enough. Daily learn this. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18. God is close to you. I have prayed this prayer thousands of times. You realize this when you stop those numbing behaviors.
This is from another recent favorite book of mine. Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way: “Who knows why God allows heartbreak, but the answer must be important enough because God allows His heart to break too.”
God’s heart breaks too.
God loves your child even more than you. He holds the big picture of your child’s life while at the same time walking beside every small part of your child’s life.
I can’t spare you of your broken heart. I can remind you of these truths and walk with you. This is my commitment to you. I am a resource, a prayer warrior with you, and have my own parenting brokenhearted stories. This church family is cheering you on and praying for you. This church family is invested in your child too. You are not isolated—and braver than you realize.
If you can handle even more in exposing your pain, watch this Dr. Brene’ Brown video, https://vimeo.com/164049575
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