In my search for a “real” family, God provided three kinds of healing, while I was growing up and even today. Here are my findings:
When my parents divorced, we were living in the basement of my paternal grandparents’ home. They graciously allowed my mother (their daughter-in-law), myself, and my sister to continue living there for a few years until we could afford to move into our own home. I’m sure that was a heart-rending choice for my grandparents, as they didn’t want to offend their son, my dad. But they had both been divorced before. They closely related to my mother’s situation and had compassion on me and my sister.
I thank God for their generosity and loving care. They helped raise me and provided stability and security for me when my parents could not. As an added bonus, two of my aunts were still living at home. They helped raise me too. These extended relatives provided fun and lightheartedness that I needed to counteract my tendency toward melancholy, even as a child. You can read my tribute to them here.
In first grade I began attending the Lutheran school that was part of my church. I thank God for placing me there. Church and school were my whole world outside my family. I was accustomed to prayer in school on a daily basis, Bible lessons, memorization, and regular chapel. I loved the predictable rhythms of the church year and the order of worship. All these elements provided continuity and stability in my childhood, and they formed the basis of my faith today.
As a new mother, I joined the mom’s Bible study group at my church. While interacting with those godly women, I slowly began to recognize my bad habits and emotional pitfalls. We talked about ways to handle worry, self-condemnation, and toxic relationships. These dear sisters in Christ were so patient and encouraging. They helped me rise above my hurt and fear and apply faith to daily living. I thank God for the love and grace my church friends have shown me. I could not have navigated my journey of healing without their help.
My own family
When I look back over my life, I know that motherhood was the major turning point. No longer could I passively shrink back in fear. My babies depended on me for survival. For the first time in my life, I realized I had true power over my situation. I began consuming parenting books in a quest to become a good mother. I wanted to become a source of stability and security in my children’s lives. God blessed me with a work-from-home situation so I could care for them while they were very young. That was important to me, as I worked to redeem my own childhood losses.
Even now, my children are a huge priority. I work at a school so I can be at home when they are home. I work hard to create a sense of warmth and connection in our home. I am not a perfect parent. But I am there for them, as my parents could not be for me. In this way I can reverse the cycle and redeem the pain. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a mother, and for blessing our situation so I can be there for them.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. Psalm 68:6 NLT
I thank God for placing me in these different family situations. He has given me joy to replace my sorrow. He has healed my loneliness and set me free.
Lord, I praise you as my Redeemer. Thank you for healing my loneliness. Thank you for placing me in families of love and healing. Thank you for placing me in the great family of believers. Help me trust that you alone have the power to redeem my past. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How has God used different people in your healing process?