How to Love Your Child Despite the Pain of Rejection {LTR #6}

{Day #6 in the Let’s Talk Relationships series}

It is a great pleasure to bring Wendy to you today! Wendy is a warrior. Her life experiences add up to equal difficulty and pain. Yet, through it all, her faith in Jesus is strong. Her faith is her anchor. Today she’s writing about how to love your child despite the pain of rejection. Breathe in her words & find encouragement here today. Welcome, Wendy!

The pain of being emotionally pushed away by a beloved child is excruciating.

When my normally communicative teenage son began shutting his father and I out, I initially felt bewildered and then hurt. Seeing the change not only in his relationship with us, but with his siblings too, was heartbreaking.

The fact that there was no concrete reason for his apparent disinclination to be involved with the family added to our bewilderment. What could possibly be wrong? And, most important to me…. how could I fix it?

No one wishes for the pain of rejection. But it's real. Here is some practical advice & encouragement about how to love your child despite the pain of rejection! || This post is a part of a one-month series called "Let's Talk Relationships!" Join us!

Some kids transition smoothly through their adolescent years. But for parents of the ones who don’t, the teenage years can mean heartache, confusion, and conflict.

Christian parents often struggle with an additional sense of shame or guilt in not being able to prevent their child’s suffering.

After all, shouldn’t godly parents be able to prevent brokenness and discord from happening in their children? Isn’t that the point of learning how to parent well by using good techniques and following established guidelines? But what about when we do all those things and our child still hurts?

God used this time of suffering with my son to refine me. 

“All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11, ASV)

Here are five truths Jesus showed me in learning to love my prodigal son well in the midst of his brokenness:

1 – My son is not mine to fixor heal.

Ultimately he belongs to God and I had to learn to trust that Jesus would bring him through his pain.

2 – I needed to repent of pride.

When my son did not “perform” as I thought he should, I often felt embarrassed. Jesus showed me that my identity as a good Christian parent was not dependent on having perfect children.

Rather, it was in looking to Jesus as my source of all wisdom, strength, and knowledge for mothering my son.

3 – I learned to pay attention to my own heart wounds and deal with them accordingly.

My son’s behavior often triggered feelings of frustration and anger in me. Jesus revealed that those reactions were sin. Instead of ignoring them in an attempt to feel strong, I learned to take my brokenness to Jesus for His forgiveness and healing.

4 – Turning the other cheekand walking another milebecame daily parenting practices.

I found myself being led by Jesus to follow His example in loving my son unconditionally.

No one wishes for the pain of rejection. But it's real. Here is some practical advice & encouragement about how to love your child despite the pain of rejection! || This post is a part of a one-month series called "Let's Talk Relationships!" Join us!

5 – I had to let go.

Eventually I realized that I could not control anything about my son’s eventual restoration. Everything – from how it would happen, to when, or what it would look like – had to be relinquished to Jesus.

I have found comfort in realizing that my experience of broken relationship with my son is not unlike that of my Heavenly Father’s with His wayward children, although to a much lesser degree. How His heart must break each and every time one of us turns away from Him in bitterness or rebellion.

Jesus told the story of a father who suffered rejection and separation from one of his sons in a parable called The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

When that young man went to his father and demanded his inheritance so he could leave the family home and business to make his own way in the world, he was going against the familial and cultural norms of the time. His father’s pain was not only deeply personal – it was public too.

Jesus used the example of that loving father’s response to his wayward son’s return to repeatedly convict me of my tendency to harden my heart. “But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20, ASV)

Unlike my too often self-protecting responses, this man did not hold back. There was no waiting to first see if his son was repentant before wholeheartedly accepting him into the family again.

The Bible tells us that:

“For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8, ASV)

Unconditional love… it’s not something I am able to manufacture, even for my own children. Because honestly? Even the most noble and self-sacrificing human love is nothing in comparison to God’s amazing love.

But the good news is that I don’t have to! Jesus provides all the unconditional love that I or any parent needs if we will only trust and believe in His ability to love our children through us. I have seen from personal experience the powerful work of redemption and healing that only Jesus can do.

Our once wayward son has come back to my husband and I in the most beautiful way. But even more importantly, he has come home to his Heavenly Father!

If you are experiencing the heartbreak of a broken relationship with a son or daughter, I would encourage you to turn to Jesus for all of the comfort, wisdom, and strength you could ever need to love your child well through Him.

But in doing so, I would also like to encourage you to ask Jesus to search and reveal areas of your own heart that need to more deeply reflect His love.

imageMal23-e1446220719754-576x1024ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Wendy has been married to her high-school sweetheart, Patrick, for 38 amazing years. They have been blessed with seven children and 17 grand-children! Wendy home-schooled all of her children although that job is coming to an end soon as her youngest child, Mallory, is now a junior in high-school.

Two years ago Wendy and her husband felt God call them to leave their home in Maine and move to Fort Worth, Texas. In addition to ministering in their local church, Wendy volunteers for an organization that serves women who have been victims of sex-trafficking. This opportunity is especially meaningful to Wendy as she has her own story of redemptive healing from being sinned against as a child.

Jesus has taken this formerly uptight, wounded, people-pleaser and set her free through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. In her words, “I’m not the same woman anymore. I used to attempt to work out my own salvation in a vain attempt to be a ‘good’ Christian. Now I follow the One who set me free with a heart overflowing with love and joy.”

Wendy writes to encourage others at her blog, Blessed Unravelling, where she has been writing since June of 2015. She has a special concern for those who have been wounded emotionally and spiritually. It is her hope that others will be transformed by the grace and mercy of Jesus.

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14 thoughts on “How to Love Your Child Despite the Pain of Rejection {LTR #6}

    1. Lori,
      My desire in writing is to make known the good things that Jesus has done for me so others will be encouraged. I know many heartbroken Christian parents who suffer in silence, afraid that in sharing their parenting struggles that they are compromising their testimony. How very sad. Thank-you for your encouraging comment!

  1. Oh Wendy, what incredible wisdom and insight you shared with us here. As I was reading your words filled with such truth, I thought of SO many friends who have wayward children and how much they struggle with it. This is such an encouraging and comforting message I will be sharing with them as well. I will tuck this deep into my own heart, as my kids grow up and may take those unpredictable turns away from me in time too…

    1. Christine,
      It gives me joy to think that perhaps my testimony of God’s work of redemption in my family may encourage others! Thank-you for sharing how this post touched your heart. Blessings!

    1. Keri,
      Your comment reminds me of how grateful I am that Jesus is able to redeem all of our sins and failures both as His children and as parents. As time goes on I am so encouraged to see the hand of Jesus drawing my children to Himself. As you so aptly put it, “The point of motherhood is to point them to Christ!” Amen!

  2. So powerful! My children are all 13 and younger…but to be honest I fear that one day they will walk away from their faith…and you know this is just so good to read, “When my son did not “perform” as I thought he should, I often felt embarrassed. Jesus showed me that my identity as a good Christian parent was not dependent on having perfect children.
    Rather, it was in looking to Jesus as my source of all wisdom, strength, and knowledge for mothering my son.” Thank you for sharing such wisdom as to what to do in this kind of situation. You are such a blessing!

    1. Valerie,
      I am humbled by your kind comment. Jesus has been so kind and loving in teaching me to trust Him with my children. The need to rely on Him for each one of them doesn’t lessen as they get older either. In fact, now I have grandchildren to entrust to His care too! Thanks for sharing how this post spoke to you. Hugs!

  3. Wow. Tears. We went through an extremely tumultuous time with one of our sons starting when he was nearly 16. It continued for years and even though he seems to be moving in the right direction, I still suffer from not believing it is truly over. Your piece speaks directly to me– and gives me some peace. People don’t like to bring this side of parenting into the open and it should be shared much more often. Again,thank you. Wish I was brave enough to help other moms out there with this situation. I think I have some valuable insight, but it is still too tender for me.

    1. I am so thankful that Wendy’s words brought some peace to you. And about the bravery part? There will be a day when the pain isn’t so fresh & the hurts don’t feel so deep. Maybe then it will be time to step out in bravery. Until then, let God heal you & nurture you & comfort your heart. He delights in showing grace & love to His children. Cling to that. <3

  4. Thank you for your encouraging words. It is a difficult time and your story is a great reminder of OUR need for his refining in our lives, his ability to restore and the hope we have in Christ.

  5. Thank you for this because I so needed it. My 49 year old daughter doesn’t want anything to do with me now for a year and a half. She’s been doing this to me for 25 years now and it’s over stuff she feels I shouldn’t do. She’ll call me, literally screaming over the phone, with stuff like “why do you spend more time with other grandkids than my kids?” Or, “why did you help Grandma (my mother) when she was sick?” This last time she yelled at me and I tried to get her to talk to me about it and she refused. So, for the first time, I put up the boundary line. I’ve tried reaching out to her, trying to talk to her at family functions, but nothing. She won’t even call me mom any more. She calls me by my name, Karen. I don’t see her anymore and it’s become very hurtful to me. Your devotional has helped me so much. Isn’t it amazing how God knows what we need and when we need it. There’s to be a family function in a few days and I was not going to go. But now, I’ve changed my mind. Thank you for this devotional!

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for commenting! Boundaries are some of the most painful things to develop, and yet, they serve a great purpose. Not only do they keep an unhealthy relationship from more downward spiraling, but setting up proper boundaries is one of the most loving things we can do. It allows for mutual respect. I pray as I write this that your relationship with your daughter would be healed. Thank you for sharing!

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