You may be thinking, Estrangement?
“That will never happen to me.”
Many of us hear about family rifts and estrangements and wonder, “What is up with those people?”, “What could be so bad?”
How could a child take a stance of rejection towards his or her parent or visa verse? Obviously, if there was something super explainable, we all ‘get it.’ But what about when the defining circumstances are much less distinct? I’ve seen it over and over, in fact, I’ve experienced it.
My personal feeling is that unless the detachment has happened consciously with love, it stems from the uncertainty of how to process deep pain and confusion. Perhaps, misunderstandings become so monumental that they manifest within the human soul. I believe one seemingly does not know how to cope, except to set up a fortress around their heart and live a way that keeps the projected offender out.
Perfectly good and loving parents (none of us are flawless) face rejection from children for a variety of reasons. I have primarily seen situations where children reject parents after divorce. One parent processes their pain by supplying lies, exaggerations, and distortions of facts to the children. They successfully become a driving force of deep confusion for the child and estrangement ensues. I have also witnessed children reject parents for reasons that have proven to be a complete mystery.
It is tragic. If you see a child turn against a parent, be careful about judging the parent. I’ve seen many times where the rejection isn’t a result of what the rejected parent did, but rather a result of mass confusion. As a mother who has faced rejection, I can say nothing hurts deeper that experiencing the isolation associated with pain and disillusionment of a child.
I am not going to set up shop in my disdain, however. Rather, I am learning to move on with my life, confident I have done all I can do to make amends. I will remain hopeful that the Lord will indeed restore the years the locusts have eaten. I realize however death can come first.
I attended a funeral of a dear friend last week. I discovered she seemingly had some level of estrangement from her children. The ultimate wound is death during estrangement. While I am unaware of the situation, I can only assume that the mending on my friend’s heart happened the moment she entered Heaven, but her sweet babies will have to discover forgiveness over time, primarily for themselves. They seemingly made a decision when they were young and naïve not to reconcile. It is my greatest prayer that they and many others in their shoes will be able to let God nourish the parts of their souls that will inevitably feel regret one day.
How does one address that level of pain? It will most likely come years from now when they are full-fledged adults and see things from a different point of view. I imagine there will be a moment of clarity and a dreadful sting. My prayer is that they turn to God with all they have and that they hear Him. He will assure them that He has their mother, she is anew. She is waiting for them when they get to Heaven where sin does not exist, and each of us will be in a flawless state. God’s love and salvation are enough to heal all of us from any pain. God indeed uses all things for the good though often it is years before we realize this fact.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.
How about you? Is there someone in your life for whom you are harboring an unforgiving spirit?
Do you need to make amends before it is too late? Are you facing a situation that feels too late?
I have found that when I harbor a lack of forgiveness towards another, whether the affliction was small or monumental, I am making a choice. Not forgiving someone is like drinking battery acid and hoping it hurts someone else. Forgiving and loving another, despite the offense, brings peace to one’s soul.
When the offense has hurt too deeply, I know I can still forgive as God will take care of the ill-will I selfishly wish on another, when forgiveness seems too far to reach.
Deuteronomy 32:35 (ESV)
Vengeance is mine, and recompense,[a] for the time when their foot shall slip;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.’
I know that I have been forgiven by God, of great sin, and therefore I have no right to withhold forgiveness from another. I also know that I am human and forgiveness is a process that I simply must be willing to try to do.
Who are you being called to forgive? Do you need to forgive yourself?
If forgiveness seems too hard, or the offense was simply too painful, you are in good company but don’t stay there. May I suggest saying, “I am willing to forgive?” If that is too challenging maybe start with “I am willing, to be willing to forgive.” It’s a start. As you move into the space of willingness to forgive you will find yourself closer to the peace that passes all understanding.
Philippians 4: 7 (ESV)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Often, we allow painful emotions to exist in our lives. We cannot change others, we cannot change all the circumstances, but we can work on our thinking and work towards healing. “I forgive you,” is a great thing to hear, but not always necessary. One thing is for sure God forgives us all.
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