Overcoming Regret & Unfulfilled Expectations.

I was thinking of a minister I saw on Christian television several years ago.  I don’t remember his name, but he was relating the story of attending his dad’s funeral.  This minister’s dad was estranged from the family and had nothing to do with his children.  This minister confessed that as he was sitting there in the service, he began to cry.  The Holy Spirit prompted his heart as if to ask “Why are you crying?”  This man shared that he was crying because there was no relationship, but there was supposed to be.  There was no fellowship but there was supposed to be.  His father should have been a good part of his life but now he was gone and so were the chances that it would ever happen.  This is the cry of the heart for everyone that has a broken relationship with their dad or mom.  This used to bother me quite a bit.  What if we never get it fixed?

This minister began to share how the Lord ministered to his heart.  The Lord showed him that all of the “Would have, Should have, Could have” that he was mourning over actually only existed in him.  What it really amounted to was this: he had unfulfilled expectations of his father.  He had an image in his mind of what he believed makes up a good father, and his dad fell short in every area.  There were a lot of things that he thought should have been and a lot of things that could have happened if only his dad would have done things differently.

expectations-danger-signNo one is supposed to love you like your mom & dad.  They are supposed to be there when everyone else blows away.  Right?  We suppose that when things get weird, they will have our back.  While that may be the standard for what we ultimately expect from mom & dad, reality tells a different story.  According to a 2012 article by Luke Rosiak, published in the Washington Times, 1 in 3 U.S. children live with out a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother.  In 1960, just 11 percent lived without a father and in 2012 it’s at 33 percent!

While it hurts to watch your parents turn against one another and blow up your family, it’s a special kind of suck when one of your parents leaves and virtually kicks you to the curb, never having anything to do with you again.  Having suffered through that, I have a special place in my heart for those I see suffering through it too.  That’s one of the reasons this website & blog came to be.  God has helped me beyond measure to grow, cope & ultimately become strong in spite of being left twisting in the breeze. Now He wants to use me to help you.

This minister’s story helped me because:

  • I realized that I wasn’t alone in this.  Others had faced the same issues.  My suffering was not unique and there were others who had been down that same road, and knew what I felt and could help me.
  • I need to respond to reality, not my unfulfilled expectations. Deal with what was, not what wasn’t.
  • It’s not that we want our moms & dads to be great moms & dads, we want them to WANT TO be great moms & dads.  It’s hard to understand when they don’t WANT TO.
  • I began to realize that the pain was coming from me not him.  When I realized that, I was able to get a better perspective about things.
  • I decided to stop expecting anything.  I try not to put any burden or expectation on my mom & dad.  I just want to love and honor them.  I am just grateful for what they have given me and I take full responsibility to do all that I can to be a good son.  One that doesn’t cause shame but instead causes the light of honor to shine on them.
  • Shortcomings on their part do not justify shortcomings on my part.  I will no longer allow myself to use this as an excuse to be less than I know I should be. I will do what I know to do even if I’m the only one doing it.

Will we ever get it fixed?  I don’t know.  I take my part seriously and will do all I can to be a good son.  I will continue to honor my dad and take all available opportunities to tell him so.  I have this confidence that once we both pass into eternity, it will all be made right.  If need be, I can endure until then.

There are few things in life that can hurt more than a parent’s rejection.  Has this happened to you?  How did you cope?  Join the community and the conversation. Please leave a comment.  Your comments can minister to someone else.  If this helped you or you think you know someone it could help, please share it.

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2 Responses to Overcoming Regret & Unfulfilled Expectations.

  1. Mary says:

    Art, this is a great article and message. Thank you for your openness and honesty. Everyone can relate to this and receive help from your wisdom.

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