Love Changes Who We Are: A Letter to Broken Parents

Hi friend! I’m enjoying a bit of a sabbatical this summer and have lightened my workload considerably to spend more time relaxing at the beach.  I hope you enjoy these hand-picked guest posts for Monday Musings on the weeks when I’ll be sinking my toes in the sand.  Just keep livin’.

This post was written and shared by Shannon Guerra.


The noise could almost make your heart stop. Your mind tries to process whether it is a scream or a cry, an unnatural wail that sounds like a mythological animal dying, heaving its last gasps of breath.

Then it stops…and you realize the kids are just blowing through blades of grass. Is any other innocent summer pastime as guilty of inducing heart attacks as this one? It’s just grass blades and air. Nothing to be alarmed by.

But that knowledge doesn’t keep you from almost peeing your pants when the sound comes out of nowhere.

Eventually, though, you get used to it. The noise isn’t any less annoying, but it no longer stops you in your tracks and gives you a panic attack.

You recognize what it is. You know it’s not a threat, and you continue on with what you were doing.

Parenting changes us, and the more we surrender to the process, the more He refines us. He is making us more like Him. And simultaneously, paradoxically, He is making each of us, you and me, more like the unique you and me we were always meant to be.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.

– 1 John 3:18-20

He knows what kind of mother and father our kids need. And He knows what kind of kids we needed to (ahem) sanctify us, as well.

Unfortunately, those things that refine us the best tend to be things that grate against us the most.


This daily consistency is not my jam. I’m also not great at it naturally. I’m more of a free spirit.

– Lacey Steel, adoptive mom


I hate to tell you this, but you probably already know it: The things we each need to learn in parenting and wholeness are probably not going to be things we enjoy learning about.

I love achievement and making progress with things, and reading and education are huge passions of mine. So it makes sense that to sanctify and mature me, God gave me some children who resist those things to extremes. I needed to learn that my success is wrapped up in my own obedience, and not the progress or growth of my kids. (I am still learning. It’s quite the process.)

And you need to learn things, too. So don’t take it as a personal attack when it seems like behaviors or situations push your buttons in just the right pattern. It is SO hard sometimes, yes. But God trusts us to steward these kids and their needs toward our own growth and sanctification, rather than our own preferences and natural bents.

Because, left to the ease of our own natural bents, we become less and less like Him — curling inward, warped and wilted. He made us, though, to stand strong and overcome.


If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

– 1 John 4:12b-13


Last week a friend asked me, “This has been such a hard season, hasn’t it?” and it has been, for so many of us. It hasn’t been the very hardest for me (the first few years post-adoption still make 2020 look like a walk in the park) but it has definitely brought some of the scariest moments and deepest soul seeking for me – questions about who I am and what I’m worth, how God sees me versus how others see me, lies I’ve believed and boundaries I need to put in place.

It is like how when we learn more in any subject, we realize how very little we actually know about it. Our identities are like that. The more broken we get, the more we can heal, and the more brokenness we identify within us that still needs healing.

Don’t misread me — I don’t mean this in the sense of “God loves you very much and He has a miserable plan for your life,” or that we should pursue the kind of brokenness that comes from foolish or sinful choices.

I mean that life is messy, and if we are going to be involved in parenthood, leadership, ministry, or any other significant mission, it will involve brokenness.

So He honors some of us with a lot of brokenness because He knows we will steward it well.

You know, like He did: Beauty for ashes. Joy for mourning. Forgiveness for sin. Because He is making us like Himself, but not everyone surrenders to the process.


So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.

– 1 John 4:16-19


We have to recognize our junk to be able to start dealing with it, and once we recognize it, we start seeing it everywhere. So if you, like my friend, are asking, “How can I possibly still have this much junk to deal with?” be comforted by the fact that if you are recognizing a lot of it, you are making great progress. We only move toward healing when we’re no longer oblivious to our brokenness.

The further we go in adoption, the more I realize that God called us to it not just for our kids, but for us. Yes, they needed us – they needed homes and healing and protection and a family. But we needed the sanctification. We needed to understand more of His love for us, as we loved them. We needed to see the world deeper and wider, and to understand our own brokenness more fully so we could walk in healing and wholeness.

Because He made us to be overcomers, along with our kids.


For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

– 1 John 5:4


And look at how far we’ve come, how strong we all are now: The broken things are starting to rebuild along better paths, in us and in our kids. The hard things have become the familiar things. What used to seem impossible is now routine.

The scream of the grass blades assaults our ears like a fighter jet grazing our rooftop, but there we are – no big deal, completely unfazed, just picking weeds out of the garden as He makes us more like Him.


Shannon Guerra is a wife, prophetic intercessor, and homeschooling mom of eight kids via birth and adoption. Her family lives in Wasilla, Alaska with their cats and a mysteriously increasing flock of poultry. Shannon’s books include Upside Down, Oh My Soul, Work That God Sees, and the ABIDE series. She writes about wholeness, prayer, motherhood, and living deep and wide at

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