Mother’s Day has officially opened the gate to the annual gauntlet of special occasions. Graduations, weddings, baby showers, and then Father’s Day will streak toward us in rapid succession. Life events can be challenging for adults from broken homes. Assessing our reaction to past events can help us respond in healthier ways the next time.
Discussing what happened during a situation or event is called debriefing. For our purposes, it also includes reviewing our emotions and response to the situation. In Gary Neuman’s book, The Long Way Home, his healing process includes an emotional checkup—or debriefing. After an incident, you answer questions like, “did I need to feel of behave the way I did, how do I wish I would have felt or behaved differently, and how do I want to feel or behave if it happens again?”1
This would be a helpful exercise, for example, if you spent Mother’s Day with your mother-in-law instead of your mom because you don’t like your stepfather. Debriefing can help you move beyond the seemingly obvious reason you didn’t contact you mom and unearth the deeper motivations.
Additionally, a Godly person with objectivity, confidentiality, and a commitment to helping you overcome these issues, is invaluable when debriefing. Their empathy is important, but loving challenges are essential when you aren’t seeing things accurately or acting biblically.
Remember, while we can’t always control situations, we can affect how the situations control us. Whether our stepparent, mom, or dad appear at a graduation party or wedding is probably beyond our ability to manage, however we can determine that we won’t allow anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness to overtake us as a result.
Right now, take a moment and write out how your Mother’s Day went—good, bad, or otherwise. Then debrief. This can serve as your preparation for the next family event in the gauntlet.
1M. Gary Neuman, The Long Way Home, 142-143
2Hebrews 12:14-15, New King James Version (NKJV)