Lately, I have heard many women say that they are estranged from their adult children. There are many stories about holidays coming and going with the family split apart, grandmothers devastated because their grandchildren are kept from them, divorce splitting the family apart, phone conversations filled with tension and harsh words, etc.
Between siblings, there can be great jealousy on many levels, unhealthy competition, struggles over their parents’ estates and wills, and sometimes, physical distance can also play a part. You would think that with all the technology we have today, there would be no reason for lack of communication, but yet we can become distanced more than ever.
The longer the estrangement lasts, the harder it is to “bring it back”, I believe. You may have used to do many activities together and enjoyed holidays and birthdays as a family, yet now, because of one unforgiven and unresolved issue, there is a split. You don’t even send and receive Christmas cards from them anymore. How can you begin to build a relationship again?
Let’s say the problem is with your daughter or son. They have moved on with their life without you and have cut you off from any connection with them or their kids. The pain is almost unbearable because you long for a loving relationship with your grandchildren, yet are kept from them. “What did I do? What did I say that was so horrible?!” You know you can’t just come right out and ask that question of your child without an all out war, so what do you do?
How about sending a simple card and sign it, “Just missing you. Love, Mom” on it. You might say, “Oh, that won’t do any good. They will probably just throw it out.” So? At least they know you care. A few weeks later, send another card with a little note in it, like, “I love you and hope we can connect soon. Please give the kids a hug from me and one for you too. Love and Hugs, Mom” Even if they do not respond for awhile, at least you are doing everything you can personally do to pursue peace.
When we think about it, how long has the Lord pursued us? How many times has He been rejected, yet He never gives up because He loves us?
Many times, adult children in their 20s and 30s are trying to establish their independence and they don’t feel like you approve or accept their decisions, so they will rebel and keep you out of it. I believe that once our kids are adults, they must make their own decisions and they don’t need us giving our opinions unless they ask us. I had to learn that the hard way with one of our kids. When we see our kids walking away from God, the first thing we want to do is give them advice. That is the last thing they want to hear. Let’s ask ourselves, “When we were not living a close walk with God, was there anything our parents said that would have made a difference?” NO! The Lord God is their Parent now and He will bring them back. We need to sit back and pray.
Think about the relationships in your life that are estranged or even just strained. What bridges, supported by prayer, can you build with them? One step at a time and with resolution in mind; NOT winning. The Lord teaches peace and harmony, forgiveness and kindness, love for others and for Him, so start building!