If I decided to talk about the amount of times we’ve ever felt isolated or as if no one else on this earth struggles the way we struggle through parenthood, I’d have to create a separate blog post.
What we’ve learned is this- that’s just life. And, more importantly, that’s parenting! I know that sounds kind of gloomy and disheartening but that’s the reality of this journey. As I reflect back on the past 11 years of our personal parenting journey I can confidently say we have had many dark days, and it’s true- they’ve outnumbered the days of light in many ways. But, we have had many days of light as well. It’s a roller-coaster ride.
There is no class in college to walk you through this. Carrying around a sack of flower dressed as a baby in high school, with your class partner in health class, doesn’t get the job done either. (I guess in today’s schools they have actual doll babies that cry and soil their diapers- students are so spoiled! :-))
Nothing prepares you for the dark days of parenthood. Think about it- when you met that special someone who would later become your husband or wife, you didn’t sit around in the student center on your college campus, skipping out on studying for that huge exam, and dream about the day when your future son would punch another kid on the playground, or wind up back in the principal’s office for the 20th time in a month. You didn’t gaze into one another’s “perfect” eyes and fantasize about raising the child who would eventually have such severe behavior issues that they would have to attend a separate school for behavior specialization.
And I’m betting there wasn’t much thought given to how you would handle a difficult child who would eventually push you and push you and push you until you wanted to quit, feeling as though you would never make any breakthrough with them.
That’s just not real life. But, here you are. Stuck in the middle of a life that you didn’t expect to be living. Maybe it’s crossed over from parenting to your marriage. Perhaps you are sitting in your quiet home right now, alone, broken, and wondering if you and your husband or wife will last another day together. The dark cloud of doubt, disillusionment, or hopelessness has seemingly positioned itself over your family and it does not appear to be moving on anytime soon. Maybe your children are so unbelievably rotten, hateful, and disobedient that you are ready to pack your bags and walk away forever!
Can I just say to you- I know. I’ve been there. We’ve been where you are. We’ve felt (almost) everything you’re feeling. We’ve had the same thoughts. We’ve wanted to give up. But here’s 2 things I want you to know-
There is hope! And…
You’re not alone!
On our darkest days, we didn’t spring up with a shout of joy and declare this. In fact, we have been known to lay in our ditch for a while before realizing the hope we have. And even though I say that “you’re not alone,” it’s even hard for us to believe when all hell is breaking loose in our home. I know what you’re thinking right now as you just read those 2 bold statements above- “Yeah right, easy for you to say Mike! You don’t know my situation.”
You would be right. I don’t. But I know there is someone who does. Someone who loves you. Someone who would drop everything to sit next to you and grieve. My belief as a Christ-follower is that our Heavenly Father knows the darkness we live through, and He offers the ultimate hope.
The reality of life is this- everyday is a new day, with a new promise. Now, what I’ve discovered is that many of those “new” days can go right down the crapper real fast. Also a fact of life- :-). But, we keep moving forward. We place our hope in the next day, and the day after that. Sometimes it’s a step by step process and that’s the best we can do.
If nothing else, I hope this post can be a ray of light through your darkness. Perhaps it can be a small voice whispering to your heart, simply saying, “You’re not alone. I’ve been there. There is hope. I know what you’re going through!”
Do you feel alone? Do you feel hopeless? What’s your story? How are you finding your way through the darkness?