Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Never too Late

Abuse and children are a toxic mix. No child should be abused or witness a parent being abused. There is no doubt in any of our hearts about these truths. Most people know deep in their being that children need to be protected from harm.

And yet...too many of us who have been abused spouses have to deal with the knowledge that our own children were exposed to things we wish they hadn't.

I doubled over in pain, when my denial cleared away and I realized what my children had seen and heard in their formative years. My heart felt irrecoverably shattered. I couldn't believe that I had let things go on so long. My denial to protect myself from pain had cost my children dearly. Many of you reading this site may have had a similar moment of reckoning.

Over a decade later, I want to encourage all readers who are raising children who were born into an abusive environment to not give up in despair. It is never too late to begin providing a much better environment for our children. At first it may seem hopeless to repair the damage done, but I can assure you that it is not hopeless. Children need love and they need at least one caring, committed parent.

One of my adult children called last week to thank me for leaving her abusive father and for the parenting I did after leaving. What a wonderful blessing! I never imagined such a call would occur when I prayed in desperation for God to lead me and teach me to parent my precious children. I didn't know a day of reward would come, when I had those times when I listened to children and didn't know what to say, so I prayed asking God to help me to say something that would minister to their wounded hearts. When I was so tired as a single parent that I wasn't sure sometimes how I kept going, I didn't know that my humming as I washed the dinner dishes helped one of my children feel safe. I didn't know when I was juggling three children in an emergency room, one of my children would remember feeling loved and secure. I just kept inviting God's help, and he responded faithfully.

My children do still bear some signs of how their childhood began, but they also possess many things they wouldn't have today, if God had not worked many healing moments into their childhoods. They each know deeply that their mom loves them and is available anytime to give support and encouragement. They know that they have a home that is safe and loving. They know that God is real. They know that they can create a positive adulthood for themselves. They know that they never need to tolerate abuse. They know that they can love someone who is unhealthy-- while at the same time maintaining healthy boundaries. They know that trials are part of life. They know that it is possible to overcome failures and problems.

Keep on loving your children no matter how "messed up" they might seem from the trauma they have been through. Keep on asking for God's help with parenting. He is faithful. He will help. It is never too late.


Anonymous said...

How true Tanya...that it is "never to late". God gives us new beginnings everyday. I am so grateful that my children do not have to live in an home with domestic violence anymore. All of us have bloomed since we left that life behind years ago and we have had to work through all the stuff that affected us. It is a long journey to healing but I also know that God is on that journey with us and what great hope and encouragement that has been.

Tanya T. Warrington said...

It is wonderful to hear from you, Jamey. Thanks for leaving your inspiring comment. Every day surrendered to God truly is a new beginning--full of mercies from God.

The long journey of healing is so full of hope and encouragement because of God's presence and participation. The Lord is so good!

It delights me to hear that you and your children have also done lots of blooming. Domestic violence crushes souls; I am so glad that you and your children are no longer living in a violent home situation. You and your children are precious to God!

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft