Giving What We Don’t Have


Our parents might not have given us a good picture of what it means to be good parents, but we have a perfect Father who enables us to love and raise our kids the right way.

We live with a grievous void. Much of what God desired for us as children can only come through our parents.

Growing up we’ve received wounds and self-sustaining messages that bloom into deep agreements. We view ourselves as deeply scarred, broken, damaged, and crippled… and we are. The void, the shame, is real, deep, powerful… our wounds, their messages, the impact seems lasting. It often feels like the truest thing about us. Our every breath is a desperate attempt to relieve/lift/appease the shame/self-contempt/loathing that fills each day. Such is the effect of our wounded-ness.

And somewhere along the way we find God… and we find ourselves parents.

And to our children we give that which we never received. It’s glorious, strong, compassionate, deeply true, merciful, kind… it speaks more truly of who we are than the haunting messages of our wounds.

My wife Lori went into our seven year old daughter’s room to tuck her in and say “goodnight”. It was the usual custom; Meagan would have her rub her back, her shoulders, her arms… with the repeated encouragement and gratefulness, “Oh mommy keep doing that… that feels so good!” One night out of the blue she asks Lori, “Did Papa (referring to Lori’s dad) rub your back at night mommy?” It was all too short of a pause before Lori said, “No… no, Papa never rubbed my back”.

Meagan’s response was to insist that they change roles/places and she began to give Lori a backrub. And Lori wept for what she never had.

A friend, Jenny, at times doubts that her heart is good. Her wounds, their messages all speak of her being damaged. It’s hard to see over the edge of our deep seated self-contempt and thus, at times, that’s all we see. After sharing a bit of her self-contempt, she shared about her two children, her love for them, their special times together and the joy being a mom brings her. I ask her where her ability to be such a good mom originates from if she’s so damaged. She was quiet and then she saw it! Something good abides within us.

Despite the wounds and the ceaseless messages that play and replay in our soul… something good abides within us. For many of us it surfaces in our parenting and our heart for our children.

Pause. Wait. Giving what we never received. What does the fact that we’re giving something we never got say about us?

It’s true… I am an image-bearer, a new creation, a new person… with a good heart… there is another message, a truer voice… a higher opinion of who I am. There is life… deep healing…maybe all that God has whispered into my soul is true!

Indeed we have something to give… in our parenting we see more clearly what’s true about us than we do from the haunting messages of the wounds from our parents.

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