When Your Heart Breaks For Your Children: Where To Turn When You Can't Protect Them

My children are young, so young that they mostly live in a Pleasantville-like bubble. But over the past year, that bubble has been pushed and poked a few times. There have been a few holes here and there, but I work quickly to patch them. And for the most part, the bubble remains.

But that is not the point of this. The point is just the opposite. The point is that the bubble will inevitably burst, no matter how I try to support it. The point is, I am realizing very quickly that I cannot protect my children from everything.

It's an uneasy feeling knowing you can't solve the problem, fix the issue, deal with the matter. I'm a problem solver by nature; an avid, rabid researcher; a Pull Up Your Bootstraps, Have A Little Gumption And Everything Will Be Alright kinda gal.

But there are some things in life parents just cannot solve.

I remember being little, believing my dad was in fact the one that hung the moon. He was my world, and there was no problem he couldn't solve. And I was right to believe that. That's what daddies should be: everything wonderful and strong and solid and trustworthy that this world is made up of.

But today as a parent myself, I look back over my childhood and realize as much as I know he tried at the time, he couldn't protect me from everything. The day the girls at recess kicked me out of their friend group. The day I was made fun of for being tall and wide. The day my heart was broken and confused by a boy.

He couldn't protect me from those things. They happened. I was crushed.



My son has some vision conditions, and his eyes are not doing well. Appointment after appointment, the news just seems to get worse each time. In person and if you pay attention, there is evidence of his vision loss on the outside beyond just the glasses, and already he has been called names by the older children at the park, or been privy to inconsiderate, piercing statements that should not be said at all.

My heart breaks for my son. Not only because his eyes will probably always serve as a challenge to him - a roadblock I cannot clear, a thorn in his flesh I cannot remove - no matter the interventions we throw at it. It also breaks because people are mean. They are inconsiderate. They do not think.

It has been my first lesson as a mother that my dad knew all along - I cannot protect my children from everything.

They will burn from the sting of a well-placed name or overheard gossip. They will hurt from friend that is no longer a friend. They will ache over a love lost and be scarred by the break of the heart that always comes with.

And as their mother, I will burn, hurt, ache and scar right along with them.

But then, when our tears have been cried and dried, when the anger is spent and the hurt is slowed, and the headache and tension has left our bodies, I will ask them:

"Are you going to believe them? Will you believe what they say?

Or will you believe what I say of you? Or even more important, will you believe what Jesus says of you?

Because you are perfect to me. And you have been made perfect in him. Oh baby, you are at a crossroads and I know you are hurting right now, but you have a choice to make. You can choose to believe them, or you can choose to believe truth.

Because you are more than their empty words. You are more than their rude stares, their snide comments, their brash criticism. They know nothing of who you truly are or who you will become. Don't let this stop you. It is only a crack, and there isn't a crack that The One cannot seam.  Don't let them cut you down at the knees. Stand up strong and tall like I know you are.

You have a choice to make.

Are you going to believe them? Will you believe what they say?

Or will you believe me now? Will you believe the truth of the gospel?"

No. I cannot protect my children from everything. But I can point them to the one who can.

The Rock. The Pillar of Cloud and Fire. The Potter. The Burning Bush. The One On The White Horse.

As I think about it more, I can see why God designed it that way. It is in our weakness that he is strong. It's in our cries for help that he hears and answers. It is in our distress that we are set free. It is in our troubles that he has mercy on us.

And so I think as a parent, I can find peace with not being able to protect my children in everything. While it pains me to know that my children will experience the harsh and sour world more than I'd ever want them to - I know that it is God's way of revealing the incredibly soft and sweet contrast of the gospel.

So I am preparing my heart for the hurt as well. Because when you hurt my babies, you hurt me.

But as our hearts heal together, I will say to them, "You have a choice to make. Will you believe them? Or will you believe me?"

And I will remember in that moment that I cannot protect them from everything.

But I can point them to the one that will.

Like this post? I also share a whole lot more on this motherhood gig over on Facebook (Oakland Avenue) and Instagram (@laurawifler) and I'd love it if you followed along!

Photo courtesy Leah Fontaine. 


2 comments:

  1. Never did I expect to read this blog and be so affected in such a personal way. This was such a poignant and genuine look at the tough realities of life. I admire your honesty and strength. I wish I would have had someone telling me these things when I was growing up. :)

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  2. Thanks Alex, your words are pretty much the highest compliment I could receive, so truly, thank you!

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