A resounding YES!
Is it easy?
Most the time, no.
I was talking with a friend the other day and told her that I hope that my kids will be able to learn from their past experiences (traumas and abuse) and turn them into something that can benefit their lives. I do not feel angry at the people who caused my children harm, mostly because I know those people grew up having traumatic childhoods as well. Throughout the process, I have tried to help my children separate in their minds the abuse they experienced from their abusers (most of whom were their close family members). When I saw my children, at very young ages, continuing the cycle of abuse on each other, I understood for the first time how people can do such horrible things. I knew that if I condemned their abusers I would be in essence condemning my children as well and I knew that they would never feel fully accepted by me.
I think I have been blessed with an ability to look past the horrible things that their abusers have done and into their hearts. I feel heartache for them and their life experiences. While not accepting or approving of the things those people have done to my children in any way, I try to convey to my kids that those people were lost and struggling.
The other day, we were walking through the park together as a family and we saw a group of young people smoking, drinking and using foul language. I saw Jazmine observing them and wondered what was going through her mind. She completely surprised me when she turn around and said,
"Mom, when I see people drinking and smoking, I want to go up to them and tell them about the gospel."
The other night some of the kids were ganging up their sister verbally attacking her. They took turns making snide remarks and insults. Typically, when this happens I send the one who is being cruel away from the one they are attacking. My reasoning is that each of my children deserves to live in a home that feels safe to them and if someone is threatening that feeling of safety they will not be permitted to stay near the others. However, this night we were kneeling down for family prayers (which we do right before bed time), when the badgering was going on so I didn't send anyone away and it kept escalating. I tried to stop it verbally but my requests were being completely ignored until I snapped. Jazmine happened to be the last one to insult her sister so she got the brunt of my temper. She was kneeling next to me and I firmly nudged her leg with the back of my hand and yelled something like, "How dare you! You guys sit her and repeatedly insult your sister over and over as if you hate her. How do you think that makes her feel? Do you want her to grow up believing those horrible things?" I know in their minds it probably sounded like blah, blah, blah, words, words, words. Anyway we finished a not-so-reverent prayer and I sent them to bed. I immediately felt horrible about my reaction especially to Jazmine and caught her before she went to her room. She turned around with huge tears streaming down her face. Assuming the tears were from my reaction, I held her in a tight hug and apologized for the way I reacted. I told her it was wrong and that I was shouldn't have behaved that way. She pulled away from my hug and said,
"Mom, that's not why I'm sad. I'm crying because I feel bad for Jada. We were so mean to her and I feel really bad about it."
I gave her another hug and she pulled away again, looked straight into my eyes and said,
"I've never felt this way before. I've never felt sorry for something mean I did. What does that mean?"
I this point I'm crying with her and I tell her that it means she is healing, she is getting a conscience and her heart is learning to love and to care about others.
This happened a few days ago and since then several times throughout each day, she tells me different ways that she has helped people when she sees that they are sad.
So, can healing happen?