Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Glowing Reunion

Christmas blessings to you all. If you're here, then you're hurting, and I'm truly, truly sorry for your pain and suffering. I know. I understand. Please just know that you are not alone. God loves you, and He knows everything and more about what you're going through. Still, I know firsthand that even that divine truth cannot dull a heartache. Even when we try to let go and give our hurts completely to Him. We are human, and we hurt when those we love so deeply cut us out of their lives and toss us away like rags. Why can't they forgive and let go of their own anger long enough to allow healing? Why can't they see how precious and fragile life is and that someone we cherish can be gone in a fleeting moment? 

Here is a Christmas story that I helped write for Guideposts The Joys of Christmas 2014. God bless you, friends, and keep you tight within His arms, today and always.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Estrangement hurts, no matter the time of year

Here comes Thanksgiving. Next comes Christmas. I've already heard some people say how much they dread the holidays. For them, what used to be a wonderful time of the year has turned into painful remembrances of family times before. I feel some of that, too. Once upon a time, my former husband, our two children, and I hosted Christmas in our home. My parents came. So did my bachelor uncle. Another uncle, his wife and their sons did, too. We shared Christmas Day dinner and presents by the tree. One year, the guys "smoked" grapevines. My son will never forget that.

But those days are gone. Our divorce put a knife in future shared holidays. The knife went into our kids, too. Even though they're both grown, now they don't have their childhood "home" any more with both their parents there. It's Mom's house. Or Dad's house. 

Add estrangement to the holidays, and it REALLY....what's a nice word?.....STINKS. Last week, I received this heart-breaking letter from a woman who found this blog. With her permission, I'm sharing it with you so you, too, can pray for her and all the hurting people who are separated for whatever reason from the ones they love.

Dear Sheryl;
I need prayer help for my entire family. My family consists of my mother, my daughter and son-in-law, six brothers, and two half-sisters.  My siblings and I experienced much abuse and sadness for most of our childhood. My father passed away five years ago. My mother abandoned all of her children in the early 1980s and doesn't acknowledge any of us in any way, like we don't exist. 
I have been praying for my mother for years. I want her to find peace and love. She is 74 and does not believe in God. I truly want my mother to feel love, blessings, healing, joy, and good will. I know I need much help with my prayer requests, as I cannot do this alone any more. 
My entire family needs prayer, healing, forgiveness, and love. I hope you will join me in prayer to save my family members from over 30 years of hurt and pain. It's time for forgiveness and healing.
Bless you all for helping my family. Tammie
My brother and me with our little cousins, Christmas 1967.

Friday, April 4, 2014

With time healing can come

Now and then, we receive prayer requests from hurting parents, mostly mothers, via this blog. Recently, Cindy, a mom who's contacted me numerous times about her estranged teen son, wrote me a positive update. 

With her permission, I'm sharing here to give you hope:

"Sheryl, I just got back from Reno, Nevada, where my son goes to school. I must say, everything you told me is true! It does change. And I am thanking the Lord everyday that my son and I have a relationship once again. I want you to know that a MOM should never give up and always have faith in the ones they love! It's hard being so far away from him, but at the same time, I am so very proud of him."

Praise God! Thank you so much for sharing, Cindy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing an "I'm sorry" letter

Dr. Joshua Coleman in San Francisco specializes in family estrangement issues. I get updates and info by email regularly. Now and then, I like to share what he sends out, like this recent advice on writing a "letter of amends."

According to Dr. Coleman, the most important ingredients of a letter are:

  • Make a fearlessly honest admission of your mistakes to your child. Leave out the reasons, justifications, or any other detail that makes it sound like he or she has no right to complain.

  • Express heartfelt empathy for how your child may have felt in response to your behavior.

  • Avoid responding to your child's anger or sadness by defending yourself. There are times to provide the reasons for your behavior or choices, but not in the act of making amends.
  • Express gratitude to your child, both at the beginning and at the end of making amends, for taking the time to hear you out.

  • Let your child know that you are open to talking about this again whenever he or she wants in the future. 

    "I understand that some of you may have already tried to make amends," he says. "But most of the time when people feel like they're written a good letter of amends, they actually haven't. Not because they didn't want to. But because it's really difficult to do!"