When Your Deconstructing Kids Dismiss You

a mothers love for her adult kids can i trust god confidence in god deconstructing faith deconversion family estrangement parents of adult children Apr 20, 2022

"Honor my boundaries, give me space and do not contact me anymore."

Those were the words I read on the text she sent. What do we do when our deconstructing kids dismiss us from their lives? I've never done this before and am kind of making it up as I go, but I've discovered a few tips for those of you who are with me on this journey.

1. We let them go.

We don't want to. It doesn't seem natural. We're still shocked by our reality, but we can't jump on a plane and land on their doorstep and expect things to be different. So, we painstakingly wrestle with God through the messy process of turning them loose.

Mommas, remember how messy it was to let them go from your womb? I'm not going into the gory details but when my deconstructing daughter was taking her first breath, her Dad nearly passed out on the couch. Truth be known, I didn't have a whole lot to do with letting her go that day. Forces beyond my control were seemingly splitting me in two as she insisted on letting go of me!

Letting Go is HARD! I've written an entire message on doing this and recorded it on Mother's Day at Thompson Station Church in 2013. You can watch in on You Tube here: Let Go! Or listen to a remake of it in podcast form here: Episode 13: Letting Go

2. We Don't Dwell on the Past.

We want to! We're tempted to! Oh, how we slip into a "shoulda, woulda, coulda" trap.

But, we don't. We realize that if our kids weren't dismissing us; if they were living the life we dreamt they'd be living and were coming over on Sundays for dinner, playing cards with us on rainy nights, and hanging out poolside in the summer we would be patting ourselves on the back and declaring what great parents we were! 

But, because they're breaking our hearts and astounding us with their choices, we are tempted to lean toward an arrogant and ignorant explanation and take the blame for their decisions on ourselves.

We don't do that. We don't do that because we're not in control. That precious child of ours has the same free will that we have. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Instead, forgetting what lies behind, we press on.

3. We pray.

We take the time that we used to spend with them and we invest it in prayer. We talk with God about them. We tell Him how much we miss them. We let Him put biblical salve on the wounds their absence creates.

We read the Bible and find promises that His Spirit assures us are ours. We cling to those promises and beg Him to increase our faith knowing that He is faithful to keep every promise He's made.

Then we pray for them. We pray that they will find Him, and that their hearts will be filled with Him, and that whatever lie they're pursuing (that takes the place of Him) will let them down, and that He will illuminate them.

We ask Him to do all of this quickly! 

I found a really good article that talks a whole lot more about praying for them: Pray Them Home on Desiring God's website.

4. We laugh.

Oh dear broken-hearted parent whose child has dismissed you, LAUGH a little for heaven's sake! 

Life is too short to waste it being sad. If you look hard enough, you will find something that can make you giggle.

It took 8 years for my other daughter to come back home from an abusive relationship. 8 long years from the time she pretty much fired us as her parents, to when our prayers were answered and she returned home to start the hard work of rebuilding her life. If I'd spent all of those years under the excruciating pain of her poor choices I would've fallen to pieces.

A few weeks after she left me in a heap (moaning at the top of my lungs on the floor of her bedroom), Tom (My husband! This is important to note right here because of what I'm about to tell you.) talked me into skinny dipping in our backyard pool! Never had I ever skinny dipped anywhere, much less in my own backyard! But desperate times call for desperate measures! And quick towels when your teenaged son comes home with a couples of friends. 

When you laugh your faith says, "I might not know when, I definitely don't know how, but I do know I can trust God with this child that I love, and this season I'm in." 

5. We Do It All Over Again.

It's hard. I get that. There are some days I walk to this "secret spot" near my house and I cry.

I cry because I miss her. I cry because it doesn't make sense. I cry because it's hard to believe the promises I'm clinging to. I cry because the devil seems to have the upper hand, and I cry because I'll never get back right now. 

But when I'm done crying, I come back home and I let her go. I don't dwell on the past. I pray. I laugh. And I do it all over again.



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