What to Do When Your Heart Feels Like it is Breaking

My heart feels like it is breaking. It's felt this way for the past week since learning that my youngest son is trying to transfer (in his job at the company he works for) to Southern California. It is looking pretty promising for him to move and so my heart feels like it is breaking.

We moved away from Southern California to East Tennessee four years ago when he was 17 years old. It has been difficult for him to feel "at home" here in Tennessee without all his friends that he grew up with. I completely understand his need to fly out of the nest (he is 20 after all) and to move forward with his adult life, but my heart is having a hard time. Having my son be so very far away, especially as fuel and food prices are rising so much, brings out my propensity to worry.

I won't be there to help him if he gets sick or runs out of gas money. I won't be there to give him an encouraging word when I see that he is discouraged or floundering. Taking a plane trip back to TN will cost a small fortune for him should he need to come home for some reason. . . I could go on and on about my concerns and my sadness about saying goodbye to him as he drives off to the complete other side of the country. But God.

God is my son's Loving Heavenly Father and God will never leave my him nor forsake him. In fact, God loves my son even more than I do. I've done what I could to raise him with the teaching of God's Word and the knowledge of the Gospel and now, it is time for my son to fly on his own, with God as his guide.

Knowing these truths about God's love for my son, and God's incredible goodness and wisdom which He will be faithful to impart to my son, I am able to let go of my parental role. Even so, my emotions are still running high and my heart still has moments where it feels like it is breaking as I look at pictures of him as a baby, toddler, school-aged boy, high-schooler and young adult. I can't help but grieve as it feels like all those years spent parenting him, loving him, and him being such a blessing to our family are now in the past. It feels like a loss even though it is really the end goal of all my parenting - to have him gain independence and fulfill God's purposes for his life.

My son, who is moving, is a fantastic human being. He helped me during the months when my husband was dealing with cancer. He helped with things around the house, but more importantly, he told me, "it's going to be okay Mom, Dad is going to be okay," when he saw me giving way to tears about all the unknowns. I am confident that he will now be able to help others too - the new people he will work with, his old friends from his homeschool co-op and basketball team that he will see again, and anyone else he comes into contact with in California.

So, what do you do when your heart is breaking? You pray. You cry. You allow yourself time to grieve and then you move into times of celebrating all that is still good. If you feel like your tears won't stop flowing, you shift your attention to praise and worship music, to making art, to gardening, or to doing something you love. You cry out to God for comfort and for peace. You search the Scriptures for God's promises. You talk to friends who have gone through something similar. You dream about doing a new meaningful project that will help to shape your "new normal", and then you actually follow through and do that thing you've been dreaming of doing.

More than anything, you can count on the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to wrap His loving arms around you and carry you through this change, this loss, this transition, this hardship . . . whatever it may be for you. Remember that Jesus has taken on our grief as it says in Isaiah 53:4, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted."

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