It took our breath away. The news was more shocking than a ice-cold shower on a blazing hot day in the summer. In a moment everything seemed to change for our family. The near perfect world we thought we were living in looked more like a war-torn city than a place of promise and hope.
Have you ever had someone tell you something that had the sudden impact of someone walking up to you, out of the blue, and punching you in the stomach as hard as they could? That was how this felt. It was utter and complete devastation.
If this hits home with you, and you feel as though I’m describing something you or your family have gone through, I want you to know something- I know. I understand. I’m there in the dark and muddy trenches with you. I understand the desperate and hopeless feeling you have in the pit of your stomach. I feel the same paralysis you do, as if you don’t know what to do next or how to move forward.
We understand what it feels like to receive devastating news.
We understand what it feels like to have your child’s school call you with frustrating news about their awful behavior.
We understand what it feels like to want to crawl under a rock and hide from the world when your child throws an embarrassing tantrum in a public place like the grocery store or your church.
We know the desperate and hopeless feeling of watching your child make a choice that you are powerless to stop them from making.
We know the anger of having other people make decisions for your family as if they know what’s best for you and your children.
We get the pain of watching everything you’ve worked so hard and long for, fall apart before your very eyes.
We know because we’ve been there. We know because we’re there now! We know what it feels like to wake up on Monday with your life completely together, and then on a Tuesday, watch it all crumble like a building that’s been imploded.
When everything falls apart here’s what you and I need to do…
Take a day or two and lament. Allow yourself to hurt. Hurt for your child’s broken heart. Grieve over the poor decision they made that was out of your control. Lament over the reality that your entire life is about to change. As human beings we don’t allow ourselves to feel real emotions enough.
Cry on someone’s shoulder.
Parenting, especially, was never meant to be a solo deal. You need others to help you along. You and I must surround ourselves with people who are in the same battle as we are. When everything falls apart, find them, tell them, and then cry on their shoulder.
Grasp the reality of your situation.
If we ever want to move forward and find a brighter day, you and I must grasp the reality we are now living in. The alternative would be denial and that only deepens the wound and causes more destruction. It is only in reality that we can function as complete human beings, the way were meant to live.
Understand that you’re not alone!
You are are NOT alone. Did you hear me? You’re NOT alone! If everything around you is falling apart, please know that in a 7 billion person-populated planet, you are not alone. There are others limping the same way you are. There are others with the same wounds. Sometimes there’s more healing in hearing and saying those words than you could ever find through a seminar, self-help book, or talk show.
When my wife and I received some punch-in-the-gut news, recently, we found hope in those words. In 2011 when we miscarried, those were the words that got me out of bed the next day. When my son’s behavior spiraled out of control a few years back, and we were forced to make some gut-wrenching decisions about his future, “you’re not alone” gave us strength to face the day.
Yes there will be moments in life when everything falls apart. I say this because, well, that’s the reality of life as a human being. That’s the reality of being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a brother, a sister, a son or a daughter. But, there is hope. And, you are not alone.
Are you going through something in your family, or in your life, that has left you feeling hopeless?