Last week I was upset with one of my adult children so while rage vacuuming, I told God how I was going to discipline them. I told Chris I’d prayed about the decision and thought I had. But telling God what you’re going to do rather than asking Him for wisdom then waiting, are two different things. After disciplining said adult child, some major relational upheavals ensued.

I quickly realized my mistake and knew I needed to ask (not tell) God for help, then wait. So I did, but the issues with my family were escalating. I was feeling hurt, misunderstood and rejected. But I started asking God repeatedly, to show me the only thing I could control, My Part.

Tuesday, after beating myself up and replaying every parental failure I’d made in the last two decades, I heard almost audibly: “Stop it.” I heard what I’ve heard many times before, but more clearly and unmistakably: “Stop focusing on and feeling condemnation for your mistakes. Stop ignoring Christ’s forgiveness and how He sees you.” I sensed overwhelmingly God telling me, as He has many times before,

“I fully know, love and accept you.”

The next day, I was combing through three years of past blogs I’m compiling for a devotional. Reading my reflections on parenting and marriage in the midst of my pain and waiting, was torturous. After crying all day, a friend texted inviting me over. The last thing I wanted to do was go, but

Something wouldn’t let me stay where I was.

I ended up telling my friend everything. She listened empathetically, then God used her to help me hear My Part. Aimee, who also has adult children, said she’s learned her adult children don’t need her to raise them anymore. She also said our well-intended texts, advice, and correcting makes them resent us because they, like we did at that age, crave independence. Although it was hard to hear, I knew she was right…until the next morning when I rationalized My Part seemed unfair. What about their part? What about my heart? What if I get hurt again? That’s when I realized My Problem.

I don’t really care about addressing My Part, I care about addressing My Pain.

I began focusing again on my pain, even though God had already reminded me unmistakably of His unconditional love and acceptance. I realized when I look to my children or spouse to feel needed, validated and loved, important needs only Christ can meet in me,

I cannot see anyone else’s side or struggle.

Apologizing to my family wasn’t easy and I’m still struggling, but when you feel loved by the Creator of the universe, intimately and unconditionally, it starts to heal your hurts. When God helps you realize your part often stems from hoping others will fill in us what only He can fill, it’s a game changer. Addressing My Part instead of focusing only on My Pain has ironically not only started healing my hurts, it’s also started healing relationships with the people who matter most to me.