Dec 28

When Your Kids Are Hurting

*** Edit, December 29th—For some reason the devotion I wrote that was posted on Monday, December 28, 2009 on the Proverbs 31 website did not get out to everyone who subscribed to receive it.  I don’t know why.  For that reason, I am leaving this post up another day.  I am giving away a book based on my devotion and this post. Please leave a comment if you are interested in the give away.

Hi, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  It seems like Christmas gets here so quickly and just a quickly it’s gone.  And people begin putting away their decorations, trees out by the road for pick up, back to work, and boom it’s the next year.  We have decided to slow it down this year. No rush to put anything away.  Enjoy the beauty of our home at Christmas (plus it always looks so bare when all the Christmas stuff is put away) and the celebration of the season just a little longer.  I love Christmas and I always hate to see it go.

On to other things…if you are visiting via the Proverbs 31 Devotion today, welcome to my blog!  The Shelter was written about my child, Dylan, however whether you are a parent or not, at some point we all have hurts and require shelter and protection.  Dylan found that in the arms of his earthly father and the protection of a home made fort.  We also can find refuge and shelter. We just have to seek it in the arms of our Heavenly Father under His provided shelter for us.  It’s there, and the way we get there is through reading and believing His Word.  Get in the Bible ladies.  I know I need to read mine more.  So often I’m sad about something and I know God is just waiting for me to call on Him instead of seeking comfort somewhere else.

If you are a parent, you know that one of the most devastating things we experience is when one of our children is hurting.  How often I’ve said, “I wish I could take that pain away from you honey” to one of my kids.  I have 4 children and each have had their share of pain.  And each time, no matter what the case, I’ve wanted to fix it, make it better, wipe the tears away for good.  But that’s not possible.  I am only human and anything I do to “fix” their situation can only be temporary.

My good friend, P31 Woman Magazine editor, author, and one of the most loving people I’ve ever met, Glynnis Whitwer, wrote a book about this titled, When Your Child is Hurting.  It would be my pleasure to give one of these away today.  If you’d like to be in the drawing, which will be completely random, just leave a comment in the comment section of this blog sometime over the next 2 days.  I’ll be away from from home spending a few days computer free in the mountains with my kids and my friend Denise and her kids.  I’ll do the drawing when I get back and announce the winner on Thursday, December 31st, New Year’s Eve.  Check back then to see if you’ve won.

If you or anyone you know is hurting, it is my sincere prayer that you seek refuge in the only place you can truly find it, the arms of God.  He knows us better than anyone and He knows how to take care of us better than anyone.  Jeremiah 29:13 tells us to seek Him with all our heart and we will find Him.  Let’s make that the first thing we do.

Praying Blessings of Protection and Shelter to You and/or Your Children Today,



  1. Thanks for the devotion today (The Shelter). Some days seem so difficult to get through. Sometimes it is challenging to simply get the day started. I love my husband and my two little ones but lately times have been rough. However, your devotion reminded me that no matter how tough the days might be and no matter how much I am hurting and worn out Jesus is always there ready to hold me and love me. The picture of your husband in the fort with your son was a beautiful picture. In Jesus there is rest… such a needed thought for today and everyday!

  2. Your devotional and blog remind me of when I was growing up all the hurts all the pains that I’ve been through….waiting and wanting to just have the hurts, words, actions done to me, and more just taken away!! Wanting that secure feeling from my earthly dad, but never getting it. My mom was there so many times to help me and comfort me, but just never felt enough. It wasn’t until I was much older that I saw the only one who could truely comfort, protect and make me feel that “everything was going to be ok” was my Heavenly Father. The “Heavenly Hugs” only God can give to us in times of hurt to know that everything is going to be ok, because He is in control and loves us and takes care of us!!! God’s arms are there to help us, heal us, protect us, comfort us, love us, encourage us, and so much, much more!!! Getting a hug from our Heavenly Daddy is just the thing we all need at any age with any hurt!! We all need to run to His shelter for that love and comfort and for Him to take away our hurts. Thank you for this devotional! I pray that all who read this feel the comfort of God’s “Heavenly Hugs” wrapped around them to comfort them in all the hurts they or their children or someone they know is going through at this time. Thank you! ~ Yvonne

  3. Keri Minnick says:

    Thank you for the beautiful devotional today. I would love to help my kids that way when they are hurting and to understand better how to comfort them and to run to the father when I need comforting too. I will work on this today! Hugs, Keri

  4. Thanks so much for this devotional Melissa. I desperately needed to be reminded that God is my protection, and safe place to retreat. He is our Father, and great listener. The story was beatiful, and made me burst into tears. All my pain, disappointment, regret over bad choices and their consequences came pouring out to God. What relief!!! When we know God listens, the problems seem to melt away. At least they are manageable and we have hope and strenth to face the future and make it better!!! Please tell Dylan that even though he had a painful time, God takes that and uses the experience to help other people in their pain!!!! Thanks to you, Dylan, and your very wise husband whom surely gave him that wonderful, loving, peaceful idea of comfort for your son, and me :)

  5. Mary Jean Inman says:


    Thank you for this devotion. My children are still very young and have yet to experience the cruelty of the world. It really is such a precious time when everything is beautiful and good. It has definitely given me a better perspective at times seeing things through their eyes. However, my husband and I are youth pastors at our church, and I have a handful of girls right now that I am developing relationships with who have really been dealt bad hands by this life. My desire is to help them through these times of heartbreak and devastation to see that they are not forgotten by our heavenly Father and that if they trust in Him He will be their strength and refuge. Thanks again for your wisdom and guidance.

    Mary Jean Inman

  6. oops, sorry everybody, I meant to say on the last sentence, “whom God surely gave to him the idea”….of the fort… a little excited and blundered a bit. God bless you all!!!

  7. (((((Melissa)))) What a sweet reminder that we can find shelter in the arms of our Father. While my heart goes out to your son, Dylan, I feel pride at your husband’s demonstration of fatherly love. He is a great man of wisdom to know just what to do. I am the mother of 5 childern and, like you, they each experience their own hurts and I want so bad to take the pain away. Sometimes my husband picks up where I leave off or struggle to find peace. Our heavenly Father understands all of this. He is there to wipe away all our tears. Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year.

  8. I love the visual of the fort/shelter and lying in the arms of his earthly father just the same as our Heavenly Father does for us. I have a 4 year old son who has hurts in preschool. I thought he was too young to face rejection. There is a group of 3 boys in his class, he longs to be a part of their group/friendship. He asks them daily to be their friend (my husband and I have witnessed this). It is heartbreaking for us to see and to hear his story when he gets home and says that they will not be his friend and he is so mad. How do we explain to him at this age that Jesus can give him protection? I just want to make it ALL go away! Thank you for sharing.

  9. I haven’t felt the comfort of my earthly father’s arms around me for nearly forty years. But I am learning to come to my heavenly Father for comfort and counsel. Now my young son is being affected by the actions of his earthly father, we both are, and in a negative way. I find myself wanting to run to friends for comfort, when I should just turn to God and know that He will provide. I need to know how to help my son deal with the disappointment of alcoholism in our family, and the realization that people are going to let you down, and not be all that you thought they were. I need to know how to teach him to find God in these situations. He is used to turning to his daddy, and I need to help him turn instead to his heavenly Father who will never let him down.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking, timely post.

  10. I am just like you. I hate to see Christmas “shoved” to the side so quickly. I’m on of those that would leave my tree up year round if people wouldn’t immediate classify me as the crazy lady. I love your devotions. They speak to my heart in so many ways. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us.

  11. Oh Melissa, How comforting it is to find refuge in the arms of our Heavenly Father. I go there quite often! My prayer is that my sons would. My oldest is an alcoholic and I know he must be hurting and has been for quite some time to let it have so much power over him. It is my prayer that this will be the year that he returns to God and pours out his hurts and fears to the only one who can help. Please pray with me.

    Love in Christ,

  12. Thank you for the devotion today, praise to our Heavenly Father for he knew exactly what I needed today. Your blog spoke loudly to me as I am presently anguished from a broken heart. My children are suffering and in pain. I’m in a middle of a divorce, their father has not yet come to know our Lord and Savior and is presently making poor choices for the well being of our children, emotionally and spiritually. It tears my heart out to see what my children 6,8 are going through right now. I know our heavely Father is loving them and protecting them, they do not have the refuge, protection and guiadance of their earthly father, something they so desperatly seek. I don’t know what else to do to comfort my children. I don’t know what where else to turn to heal them.

  13. I love your story and as a mom and grandma I am always looking for ways to help my children and grandchildren. I would love to be put in for the drawing to receive a free book. God Bless you and your family

  14. This brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing.

  15. Emily Fleener says:


    Thank you for sharing your story of your son with us, it touched my heart and made me remember how cruel some children can be to the ones we love so much. My daughter isn’t even 2 yet, but I know a time will come when I need to be the one to comfort my child from the big bad ugly bullies of the world. Thank you for reminding me that we have an everlasting Father we can always run to and will keep us safe. Enjoy your time in the mountains!


  16. My children have not experienced too many painful brushes with the world yet as they are still small, but my daughter will begin kindergarten next fall, and I know that many things will change for her. As an elementary teacher who is temporarily staying home with our kids, I am aware of how hard life can be for these little ones, and I’m worried about how to handle these situations. I’d sure love to win this book!

  17. After six years of unsuccessfully dealing with my youngest son’s alcoholism, we had to kick him out of our house on Christmas Day after an all nighter (we had given him an ultimateum two nights prior) and cancel Christmas dinner for a group of forty that we were hosting. He was raised in a Christian home, Chirstian school and in in church and Sunday school from age two. I won’t and can’t give up, but there are times when my eyes are too dry to cry and my arms are too weary to lift my shield against Satan’s fiery darts.

  18. Thank you again Melissa. It has been a difficult year for my family. My son shared a few months ago that he had been thinking about suicide. He is seeing a counselor, and we are seeing some positive changes. Sometimes when I don’t think I can go on I think of him and that if I gave up it would be a license to him to quit. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Prov. 18:10. We are both having to learn how to run to Him.

  19. How I wish I would have had an earthly father like your husband is to your children. My father was KIA in Vietnam when I was four, and my stepfather molested and beat me for 14 years. And my husband now that I’m ‘all grown up’ at 44 with 4 children of my own, well let’s just say he isn’t the type I imagined he’d be to our kids. He’s not Christian (he says he is, but his actions speak louder than words) and many times is as verbally mean to our kids as those kids were to your sweet Dylan. We have a teenage son who is ADHD & rebellious; a 12 year old with depression, ADHD, and a weight problem; a 7 year old with depression who has already been in treatment for 2 years; and a 5 year old who has had 3 surgeries already and is due for a 4th in March for a birth defect. Do I wish I could stop their hurting? Oh yes, there aren’t enough tears in the world for me to cry. But I know I can’t, so I keep doing my best to lead them to Christ by letting them hear me talk about Him, see me read about Him, and get them to my wonderful church whenever I can.

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories Melissa…they talk to me and remind me just how much our heavenly Father loves us. And while I’m looking forward to seeing my children grow up and my grandchildren, I can’t wait to be held my Father’s arms and feel that love around me.


  20. I am new to reading your blog. I heard Proverbs 31 on the radio and checked out the website and it led me here. I am so thankful. My family has just recently been through a time where this very verse meant so much to us. ( Psalm 91) It kept my mothers heart together. When you see someone come against your children the way we experienced and there is nothing you can do God’s shelter is the best to cling too. And even tho we had to go through this horrible experience we have overcome it with his wonderful grace. I would love to enter your contest. I look forward to reading more from your Proverbs 31 website and your blog…….. Amanda

  21. Melissa,
    What a beautiful message – our hurts, our children’s hurts, our grandchildren’s hurts need to be turned over to our Lord. I so often want to “fix” their hurts to make them go away. I have two “special needs” grandchildren and it is really hard not to be able to “fix” them – to take away their hurts and pain. I can love and comfort them but I cannot “fix” their hurts or them – that is our heavenly Father’s job.
    Thank you for your reminder of reading God’s Word – it has so many of the answers!

  22. Your devotional really touched me today. As a mother of two not-so-small guys now, I’m a bit sensitive to those boy-tears. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  23. Thank you! Thank you! I really needed to read this today. My oldest child is only 4 (well, almost 5), and he has always been on small and behind his peers in gross and fine motor development. At this point, I don’t think he realizes that he is a little different, but as he gets older, I know it is inevitable that he will begin to notice that he can’t run as fast, jump as high, or write/draw/color as well as his friends. Thank you for helping me know what do to when he does notice and realize. Have a Happy New Year.

  24. Emma Williams says:

    Thank you Melissa for your blog. I had to tell my husband straight away about your story. I interpreted it in a few ways:

    – The Power of a son’s relationship with his Father & being re-assured in his arms
    – Our true comfort comes from God alone

    My husband suffered a lot of extreme “teasing” in his childhood and still to this day it affects him and haunts him even. You would NEVER know this by meeting my husband at all, in fact I am the only one who knows. AND OF COURSE the one who was with him throughout, God….

    So although my comment may not make sense… your blog made perfect sense to me!

    Thank you.

    Emma Williams

  25. Patsy Joanne Oltmanns says:

    Loved your devotuion today. Also enjoyed exploring you blog site. You are very inspiring. I’ll be checking in often now that I’ve found you. God Bless you and your ministry. Joanne

  26. Thanks for this devotion. My children are hurting, especially my son and I wish I could take it away. But I can’t. Sometimes I get so frustrated that at 5 he’s already experienced the horrors of this world. I only hope that in the end my son will be able to find comfort from God and trust Him fully.

  27. Camie Christian says:

    Thank you very much for your devotional today. How like every mom everywhere, I want to sheild my 2 childrend (boy 15 and girl 14) from the pain and trial and tribulations that they will be going through in their life. But just as I went through them so do they. But I want to be there for them and comfort them just as the Lord has been there for me. There was a time I thought God was so far away because he did not take the pain away, but I realized few years back that God was always there all I had to do is reach out to Him. I believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, God will teach me and guide me how to comfort and support my kids when they are in pain. Thank you again for a powerful msg.

    In Christ,

  28. Thank you for sharing that story with us. I have a lot to learn about how to keep my children from experiencing the hurts of this world. I would love to to read that book. Hope you have a Happy New Year and may God’s love pour over your family always. God Bless You and Your Beautiful Family!

  29. This is so beautiful!! What an amazing example of our father’s love. Thank you for sharing an example of how we as earthly parents can be that tangible expression of God’s love to our children!

  30. Is it weird that I want to just crawl on in that fort that you described?! lol!
    After a terrible year, one in which I lost my precious dad to lung cancer, among other many other difficulties, I find myself physically craving that kind of shelter and protection from life’s “elements”. I love the reminder that God will envelop me in the same way if I just allow myself to curl up in His arms.
    Thank you so much for sharing that touching image of two of your favorite boys!

  31. Thank you for sharing. Praise God for his will and purpose for our families…and his loving example.

  32. When you’ve been struggling with depression, have you ever like that instead of in a fortress you were on an icy slope and the harder you tried to pull yourself up the more you just seemed to slip down (even on medication)?

  33. I’d love to have a copy of this book.

  34. I’d love a copy of the book, I have four boys – 6 and under just starting out with the hurts etc.. :-)

  35. It doesn’t matter the age of our children. When we see them hurting our heart aches for them and we want to fix it. Over the years I have learned to trust God with each situation, even though it is hard to do. I have read many of Glynnis’ devotions and believe her book would be great.

  36. It is so very hard to see my children hurting. I often try to fix it myself. The day that your devotional ran I really felt the Lord telling me to just let go and wait. Wait patiently and it will all work out better than you could have imagined. I am not a “waiter” I am the most impatient person on the planet. The past 3 months I have been waiting for my kidney stones to go away (through 2 surgeries), I am still waiting—Monday is the next surgery. I have found that through all of this the Lord is teaching me that waiting is okay, waiting is good eventhough waiting is hard. Thanks so much Melissa—I follow your blog and you on Twitter as well…you are such a help to me.

  37. Being a parent to five children (6yrs to 16 yrs), I find myself hurting for them when they are hurting and wanting to make their world less painful. I know that’s not always easy, so I want to be the soft pillow for them to fall on.

    Thank you for your ministry.

  38. I really appreciated your husband’s living example of our shelter in the Father. What a wonderful illustration of love. Though I know everyone struggles with pain from time to time, it’s especially painful to a parent when her child hurts. I long to help my daughter see her worth in Christ, though it’s hard when the world is all too visible to an 8 yr old. That illustration of the shelter will come in handy in the days to come. Thank you!!

  39. I’d love a copy of the book. Thank you for the opportunity.

  40. Your blog for that day was so awesome and confirmed to me regardless of what might have happened to us in our past that shattered our idea of what our shelter is, God is still restoring us and showing us that we can run to him and there is safety in his arms. I celebrate the strong men of God that do still exist and have stood up and taken their places in the lives of our children. Your son will never have to struggle with his relationship with Christ because he has a beautiful relationship with his earthly father which will make it so much easier for him to continue to receive his heavenly Father.