I know a lot of children impacted by choices their parents made regarding their marriage. Many of you ask how to talk about this with your own children. I don’t have all the answers, but I have given a lot of thought to it. I wrote this open letter as one meant to be shared with others who have children struggling through a parent’s poor choices. If your dad chooses to leave, you need to know this.
I’m sorry that you had to find out how cold and cruel this world can be. I’m sorry that one decision changed your life in ways that I, as your mom, will never understand. I’m sorry that one phone call tore your heart into pieces. I’m even sorry that I’m not sure whether or not your heart will ever be fully healed.
But mostly, I’m sorry that I can’t fix it.
I’m your mom and I know I’m supposed to be able to fix everything. Up until this point, I have made everything right – maybe not always in the exact way you wanted, but I always fixed things when they were not right.
The truth is, though, I’m not equipped to heal a broken heart.
I’m not even capable of being your mother and father. I’m one person, trying to juggle the role of two parents, and I know I fall short every day because I can’t be everything, or everyone, that you need me to be. The void in your life is real and I’m fully aware of that. My heart is broken because your heart was torn into pieces. I’m sorry that one person’s choices have caused this hurt.
This position we’re in was never God’s plan when He thought about our family.
I remember the day we dedicated you to God. We knew that you came to us by His grace, to live in our home and our hearts, but ultimately, you were His. You’ve always been His. That day, we, as your extended family, promised to raise you to know Jesus, and we promised to care for every aspect of your life.
I’m sorry that people failed you. I’m sorry I didn’t see it – I would have given everything to prevent this hurt. I’m sorry I can’t fix what’s happened, or mend your broken heart.
I can share what’s been given to me, though.
I grew up knowing God, just like you have. He was as much a part of my life as breathing, eating, and sleeping. He was always real in my life, and I knew I could count on Him.
This hurt, though, is like no other. I’ve experienced this hurt more than once now. Sweet girl, there is nothing in this world that will calm our hearts like Jesus. People turn to so many things to try to numb the pain, or to replace it with something else – anything else. But everything else is simply a band-aid for a gaping wound – ultimately ineffective.
The only hope to heal, to get through the pain, is God. My girl, He created us, He knows our hearts better than anyone else ever has, or ever will.
When you were little I would come into your room before I went to bed. I’d check your covers and make sure you were warm enough, then I’d lean over, give you a kiss, and whisper this truth in your ear:
Only Jesus loves you more than I do.
You are a teenager now, and our family looks different than it did when you were little. It’s confusing, scary at times, frustrating, and so much more. But, girlie, that one small sentence is the truth. Only Jesus loves you more than I do.
I can’t fix this, but I can take you to the One who can.
It doesn’t escape me that I’m asking you to trust your Heavenly Father when your earthly father let you down. The free will that God gives us to choose Him is the same free will that your earthly father used to make the choices he did. How can God let these things happen, right? That’s just it, my sweet girl: God doesn’t force anything on us. He is the ultimate gentleman, offering salvation, peace, hope, and so much more – yet waiting patiently for us to choose to accept these gifts. He gives us the free will to choose Him, or to not choose Him. Ultimately, people use this free will in many ways, and unfortunately, the choice to use that free will in a negative way caused you, your brothers, and me a lot of hurt and heartache.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t trust God, though. That means that we have to realize that this was not His plan; rather someone chose their desires, selfishly, over what they knew to be right. That hurts because we so desperately wanted our family to be whole, and that’s not going to be the case ever again. We can’t walk the path that your earthly father chose.
We can turn and run to our Heavenly Father, though. My girl, this all breaks His heart just as it does our hearts. When I walked through this and leaned on God, He kept taking me back to verses and passages that I learned long ago. One of those is from Psalm 91:4a –
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge
We need to rest in God, to let Him heal our hearts. It makes sense that the One who created our hearts would be the best One to fix them when they break, right? So, my girl, that’s what I want to encourage you with: When life is broken and when people let us down, we need to take our broken hearts to God and hand the broken pieces to Him.
I can’t fix this for you, my girl. But I can whisper to your heart and remind you that only Jesus loves you more than I do. If you let Him, He will heal your heart. That’s a promise, because He has healed my heart. Proverbs 3:5 reminds us that our understanding is limited, but that we can trust God with our whole heart. He is faithful, sweet girl. I promise.
I love you and your brothers more than you’ll ever know. Only Jesus loves you more.
**This post does not necessarily convey the current state of our family. Rather it’s meant as a resource for others.