“That” family mentioned in the title is the one which is unhappy, unhealthy, and worn thin by misunderstanding, misdeeds, and mistrust. I am counting my blessings for the good relationships that my children have with each other but I’m also keenly aware that it could all be wrecked in one moment. One hurt. One unkind word that tips the scale toward untold damage.
As the mom of adult children, I soberly realize that if the damage is done, there won’t be much I can do to help. They are adults and I have to let them live their adult lives. They will make their choices and take their lumps. If I’m not invited to interfere, it’s not my place to interfere. Some of you are already there and although I don’t know first hand the heartache you endure as a mom whose children have wounded relationships, I can imagine it. I wish I knew the secret but I don’t. I’m pretty sure there’s not one.
Someone asked me once how I would know if we were successful parenting. I had two answers, 1) That my kids wanted to come home and 2) That my kids wanted to be with each other. It would crush me as a mom if either of those stopped happening.
My prayer is that my children know how to give grace in misunderstandings and forgiveness for misdeeds. My prayer is that my children know humility and work through trust issues. My prayer is that my children grasp the value of the human heart regardless of whether that heart is inside of their sibling or another human they randomly encounter. My prayer, should that one moment come, is that their heart eyes would be open to the bigger picture and choose to rebuild trust.
These are big prayers for someone in the thick of it, for someone who is living in this moment right now, I know. But our God is big enough to hear them and loving enough to answer them.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the book, Wonder by R. J. Palacio:
“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”
So often, being right flows out more easily than being kind. Choosing humility, choosing kind, choosing love is much harder than we’d like it to be.
I know my kids. I know them well, probably even better than they know themselves. I know their potential for evil. I’ve sorted out many a sibling sparring match in my day. This is our human nature. The evil in us rares its ugly head and we end up hurting those we love the most. I also know their potential for good.
I’m praying that my children continue to choose to do the hard work. I’m praying that my children choose kind because we are all just one unkind word away from being “that” family.
This post originally appeared on Notherhood and was republished with permission.
Andrea Stunz has been a Christ-follower from the age of seven. She is the loyal wife to one, loving mom to three amazing adult children, grateful mother-in-law and ridiculously proud grandmother. A well-traveled Texan, having lived in Brazil, Asia, and the UK, Andrea finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Andrea longs to encourage others by sharing stories because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more from her at AndreaStunz.com.