Fostering Reflection: When It’s Your Own That Leaves Home

Part of fostering is learning the art of letting go. From the first moment they walk through our door, we are holding our breath until they leave. So when our own children leave, you would think it would be easier to let them go because we’ve had so much practice. I’m here to tell you that it’s not easier.

My oldest left home earlier this year. Unfortunately, she didn’t leave for college or to get married or for a really great job. She left because she didn’t want to live by our rules and because of me. I spent her entire life building a relationship that I thought was solid. We were dubbed The Gilmore Girls. I wanted to have something more than just a mother-daughter-respect-the-rules relationship. I wanted something genuine. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Perhaps that’s not what she wanted at all. Whatever the reasons, she left- without apology, without looking back.

I have spent the better part of this year pretending that I am okay and that her absence doesn’t crush my heart. However, God has forced me to realize that I am living in denial and depression. I am stuck in such thick emotions that no matter what I try, I am unable to move forward. She blames me and, truth be told, I blame me. Every single day, I call myself a failure as a mother. Every time one of my children are upset with me, I am reminded of every word she said to me. I am struck down, broken and defeated. I question my ability, my sanity, and my purpose.

The weight I have gained physically this year perfectly mirrors the weight I carry emotionally; I have been unable to shed either one. Whether or not she forgives me is almost a moot point now, it’s whether or not I can learn to forgive myself that matters. As mothers, as wives, as friends, as leaders, and as women, who carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, we have to learn to make mistakes and accept forgiveness with grace. I wish I could say that I had mastered this, but I still struggle. It’s one of the many reasons I still need a Savior.

He’s been gracious enough to show me what is holding me back from being the heiress I was reborn to be. The situation with my daughter has left a hole in my heart that I can only pray God will reconcile. However, living in the thick of blame and shame will not get me where I should be going. With Him, there is always hope, there’s always moving forward. As a person with Major Depressive Disorder, I know that taking my heart and eyes away from Him is not only dangerous, it is deadly. He is literally my light in this very dark and depressing world. So, as I slowly climb out of this hole I have been living in, I hope to encourage the rest of you who may be struggling. Life surely does suck sometimes, trust me I know. But there is more, God made us for more. Do not remain stuck in the thick of those dark emotions in the loneliness of that hole. Reach out, reach up and let GOD pull you out. Let Him guide you back to the path you were never meant to leave. Pray with honesty and openness. Talk to a wise listener. Seek help. And as always, I am here too.

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