I hurt too

One of my first and maybe favorite memories, while my husband and I were dating, happened by the fireplace of his first-floor condo. We used to talk for hours on end about every subject under the sun. This particular night, he asked me a question that I always return to: "why do you want to have kids?" I replied, "I believe God gives us yet another glimpse of what it means to love the way He loves us and longs to be with us." Being a parent has taught me more about God than any other thing I've done in this life. Now that I have a few years of it under my belt, I wonder if I would have chosen differently, knowing the amount of pain and hurt that goes with parenthood.

This past weekend, my son was rushed to the ER after falling and splitting his forehead open. It was a first for us as parents. It was a first for me with any medical trauma. I see it on TV all the time, but this was out of body, to say the least. He was so brave, and the ER staff knew the drill so well that it wasn't even a thing for them. For me, it was a shock to my system. I prayed and prayed and prayed some more. His daddy held his hand, and I, his foot while trying to distract him from what was going on 1/2 in above his eye. All things considered, it was a pretty smooth experience, and we were back home within two hours.

Thinking the worst was over, I crawled into bed and closed my eyes. I kept going back to the moment when I heard my son scream. I kept thinking about how scared he was or how much worse it could have been. He could have lost an eye or broken his neck. And then I imagined all the ways it could have been avoided. Maybe if we left 10 minutes earlier from our friends' house or told him not to play tag in the dark. The devil loves to play the "what if?" game to distract from the Truth.

But God, in His loving-kindness, reminded me of what I first told my husband 14 years ago about wanting to be a mom. And he reminded me that a parent doesn't get to participate only in the good stuff, she has to suffer with her kids too. She often feels their pain and wishes more than anything she could take it away or better yet, to make it never happen in the first place. Parents don't get immunity from compassion (to suffer together) because God the Father wasn't.

The Lord felt rejection as people mocked, scorned, and spit on His son. He experienced pain while nails were driven into his child's hand. He endured anguish as his Beloved cried out to him before the final breath. He knows the grief of a parent.

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. - Romans 8:17

While the hurt might remain, and the scars stick around, we gain so much more than a terrible experience. My son gains trust in God, who never left his side, and a mark on his forehead to remind him. I gain a better understanding of what it means to suffer as the Father but also with Christ so that I might share in His future glory.

I wait eagerly for that day.

  1. Pray. If you know anything about being a parent, it’s that you have ZERO control. I have  friends whose children have dealt with suffering since birth. Praying is the only thing that provides any sense of peace. They model what it means to completely surrender their children better than anyone else I know.  
  2. Don’t go there. The shoulda woulda couldas will never result in anything but guilt and shame. I went there. It didn’t help. So just don’t.
  3. Be teachable. Look for the ways God is teaching you about Himself. How can you grow in your relationship with Him?


JL McCarthy

August 26, 2020