So how did all this affect my children? And how did we eventually find healing? The truth is, my children sustained wounds growing up in our home, wounds that I still pray daily for God to heal and that I can see he has healed, is healing, and will continue to heal.
Thirty years and five children later, I’ve gained enough perspective to know and accept two important things. The first is that we live in a broken, sinful world, and we therefore all have wounds and baggage. Even Mary, who was given the unprecedented grace of being conceived without sin, living without sin, and giving birth to the sinless God-man, suffered immense pain due to the sins of this fallen world, pain that deeply wounded her Immaculate Heart. Whether we grow up with a critical, negative parent or experience the effects of a broken home, abuse, addiction, illness, or the death of someone dear to us, we suffer damage in this life through a myriad of different circumstances. This is simply a fact of life. And it’s okay. The sins, limits, and deficiencies of this world are precisely what Christ came to redeem, and our hunger for wholeness and integrity points us to a loving God who longs to love and restore us, just as our longing for ultimate beauty, perfection, and bliss point us toward heaven, where sin, suffering, and death will definitively come to an end.
The second thing I’ve learned is that there is a God, and he is in the business of redemption and restoration! God is so much bigger than our faults and frailties, and he works through them to impart his presence to us and to those in our lives. Therefore, our wounds need not dismay or destroy us. In fact, they are the privileged portals through which grace, healing, and glory enter our lives— the very openings through which we can invite God to enter more deeply into our hearts. How is this possible? It is possible because it is often when our brokenness causes our lives to spin out of control that we turn to God for help, and it is then that we find him ready at hand to aid us. It is possible because, when we finally come face to face with our poverties, we can seek the face of a Father who is rich in mercy and kindness, a Father who wants our faces to glow with his radiant love, and not to blush with shame. It is possible because our limitations and failures can drive us to seek the strength of a God who is mighty, a loving Papa whose power is perfected in our weakness. The cracks in our hearts and lives thus become the place where Christ enters into our brokenness, offering the medicine of salvation for our sins, hurts, and ills, and calling forth our wounds and weaknesses to become a gift to others: glorified gashes in our humanity that impart compassion, mercy, and love to fellow suffering souls. This is how the drama of sin, redemption, and restoration plays out in our lives, and it’s how we become Christ for others.
We can begin now to pray for our children to be healed of life’s wounds, using the following prayer. I prayed this for each of my children at bedtime for many years and believe it has brought many spiritual benefits and blessings to them:
Lord Jesus, I thank you for [child’s name] and for the gift of his/her life. I plead in your precious blood over [child’s name] and ask that you heal him/her from the moment of his/her conception until today. May you bless him/her and may your angels guard over him/her all the days of his/her life.
I then placed the child under the mantle of protection of Mary, our heavenly Mother, and prayed a Hail Mary. I closed by calling upon the intercessory power of St. Joseph, the saint of each child’s baptismal name, and other saints in heaven with the simple invocation, St. Joseph, pray for us; St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us; and so forth. Bedtime prayers are the perfect time to teach our children to pray, as well as to begin to pray for the healing of life’s hurts.
Reprinted from Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God by Judy Landrieu Klein with the kind permission of Ave Maria Press.
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Copyright 2016 Judy Klein