When You Can't Stop The Kids From Feeling Heartache

Life as a family is a constant evolution. Everyday the kids are growing and learning something new. Everyday presents a new challenge to overcome. For the most part, it's "everyday life challenges" at first. 

What happens when life gets real? What happens when the kids experience divorce? What happens when a close member of the family has an illness or dies? What if the family suddenly experiences financial hardship or poverty? Or when a parent is going through dark depression? When it's impossible to shield our babies from the pain and heartache of life, how can we handle it when we are feeling the pain ourselves?

As moms, our lives are devoted to creating a home, balancing career, motherhood and marriage. We are the official boo-boo kissers, ouchy fixers, and "you're okay!!" chanters when they scrape their knees. While the children are babies learning how to crawl and walk, we prep the house with gates and pad table corners, cover outlets to ensure their physical safety. 

Once the first born has to learn how to share attention and love with their new sibling, we go out of our way to show love to everyone equally. We want everyone to feel just as much love, joy and protection because that's what moms do. 

As we know, life isn't always so routine. Marriages fall apart. Kids experience the heartbreak of watching one of their parents leave the home and start a new family right before their eyes. Kids experience their friends saying mean things about them behind their back. Kids feel the rejection of not getting the part they tried out for. They can encounter bullying or lack of confidence in learning. For the pains we can't simply put band-aids on, how can we shield them, teach them and equip them with the understanding about life's challenges??

Me and my kids have been through our first real family heartbreak with my divorce from my husband of almost 10 years. It was beyond gut-wrenching (not to mention the weight of guilt) to watch my kids get entangled in situations they had no business being a part of. I cried and cried for my family...every single day, I cried. My kids saw me in bed for days at a time unable to shower or get up from bed, eyes swollen from crying all night. I saw in their faces all the confusion, sadness, fear and heartbreak. They would crawl into bed with me and cry, and even though they would not say a single word, I have never heard these kinds of cries. The kinds of cries that came from pure heartache. Or retreating to pretend nothing has changed at all. To excuse hurtful behavior against our family just to continue to have that acceptance and familiarity of what we have been as a family for so long. It has nearly broken me. 

When family life gets hard, how do we help our kids see that life is not always perfect but they will be okay, instead of shielding them from the pain & heartache and pretend like life is all rainbows and unicorns? It was my relationship with Christ that truly saved me during this time in my life. It was the hope in Jesus in times where it seemed completely hopeless that I found the inner strength to get up, take a shower, make dinner and even in my weakness that was completely obvious, that my kids can see me continuing to persevere. 

Sometimes, making the best decisions are the hardest ones to make. Showing the kids that our family may be going through tough times at the moment, but these are the times we stick even closer together to weather the storm as a unit, is what makes us stronger and appreciate each other more. As confusing as life has been, a year and a half after our separation, me and my kids are the closest we have been in 10 years. We have new dreams and new goals as a family. We are finding our new routine and getting to a happy place that feels good. Although the wounds of divorce are still a little sore, we are learning and starting to see the positive things in our future. We will only be broken if we allow it to break us. We are family and we will stick together no matter what, no matter how hard! 

Through the hard times, it is okay to show your children your heartache because they feel it too. Strength doesn't mean you can't show your emotions. There is strength in lifting each other up, praying for each other and understanding how each member of the family is processing pain. It helps the kids to exercise empathy, compassion, sensitivity and how to console each other. These are life skills that they will need to master in adulthood. Life -- well, life is life! When we are happy, no one ever says not hold back on your happiness in front of the kids. When we are sad, broken or afraid, I believe it's also not a bad thing to show your children those emotions. As I look back on my own childhood, I am reminded of how bad things got during certain years. But what I remember the most are not the hardships, but how my parents stuck together, weathered the storm and even though we aren't perfect, we have unconditional love for one another.

Bible verses during hard times

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Romans 5:3-5  “ Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Bible verses for hope in the future

1 Corinthians 2:9  “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

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