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Child of Divorce, Child of God- My story

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: Child of Divorce, Child of God- My story


Child of Divorce, Child of God- My story

I was between three and five when my parents began the road to divorce. My mother, when she was alive, would say they began the road to divorce the minute they decided to get married. 

Unfortunately there are bits and pieces of our life leading up to and around the divorce that are seared into my memory. Life then was not pretty. I am not putting my parents on blast here: the past is the past, but it doesn’t mean bad things didn’t go down.

I remember the yelling, the violence, and the screaming tires as one parent or another would leave afterwards. But you know what I remember the most? I remember my dad. My dad was always my hero as a kid. I loved him more than anyone, though my Uncle Bruce ran a very close second place. Daddy was so young then. I didn’t know it of course, but now I see he was just a boy, with two small girls, trying to make it right.

I don’t know if this was during the separation or after the divorce, but Daddy moved us into a trailer just down the road from our babysitter, “Aunt Ethel”. I remember he kept working and trying to make things as normal as possible for us while my mom came around only sporadically to see us.

Once she came and got me with a “friend” of hers and took me to the mall to get my ears pierced. When I returned home, my dad was furious because I wouldn’t know how to take care of my ears at such a young age. Later, when they inevitably became infected, he took the earrings out and flushed them down the toilet. TRA-MA-TIC for a little girl, but it totally makes sense to me now that I have two girls who have had ears infected because of earrings.

I tell that story to say one thing: my mother was a drive-by parent. Come by, pick us up, buy us something to assuage her guilt and then drop us back off at home with daddy who was left to deal with our heartache and abandonment issues. Poor man had no clue. He did try, but I realize now that in his early twenties (I told you he was basically a boy) he did not have the tools to deal with two girls missing their mommy and wondering why they were not good enough. Why didn’t mommy love them?

Those mixed up feelings plus the limited ability to understand adult situations caused me to become angry at my father and made me think he took me from my mother. He kept me from seeing her. The truth is, he dreaded visits from my mom, because she wrecked me emotionally, she caused pain that he did not know how to deal with and that caused him to become angry. By the time he was ready to remarry, we had moved to a new state, had been on our own for three years, and he had been saved, which turned his life in a whole new direction.

I was eight when my dad remarried. My step mother was nineteen, and she was getting an emotionally damaged, head-strong, angry kid when she got me. In my eyes she wasn’t just replacing my mother, but she was replacing me, because in those three years I had become my dad’s “Big girl” helper, reminding him that we needed to go to the store, or pay a bill, and now I could not fill that role anymore. I was not a happy camper and now, as an adult, I feel for her. Throughout the subsequent years, I made her life miserable. The patterns we fell into have not really changed that much over nearly thirty years and that is in a very large part due to me.

I held onto the pain of divorce and I caused rifts where there should have been none. Yes, I was a kid. My parents could have made some different choices that might have changed some things, but ultimately, I have to take responsibility for me: especially when these attitudes followed me into adulthood. By holding onto the anger and unforgiveness, I altered the course of my whole family’s lives. Where there should have been peace, there was more hurt and more pain, and more separation.

Why am I telling you this? I guess because somewhere out there are kids who wonder “what did I do?” and “why am I not good enough?” and “Why doesn’t my parent love me?” These emotional questions are normal for kids, but they need to be addressed as often and as quickly as can be by parents who are divorced. Kids learn by example too. When divorced parents harbor animosity and hurt, rather than walking in forgiveness kids learn to harbor animosity and hurt.

Now, as an adult I have forgiven my parents, and I feel immense compassion for what my dad and step-mom had to go through with me. I realize all the sacrifices my dad gave up to raise his girls on his own barely into his twenties. If anything, forgiveness has given me perspective.

If you are a child of divorce, forgive. Give your hurts and pains over to God. He is Father to the fatherless. He is our comforter, our buckler, the lifter of our head. He is our healing balm. People make mistakes, but do not let someone else’s mistake become your chains. Do not be weighed down by this any longer. Shake it off, give it to God, and look to Him.

Divorce is something you mourn, but joy comes after a season. Are things perfect in my life? No, they are not; but I know who my Father is, and I trust in Him that He will make my paths straight, and He will restore relationships and bring healing.

Do not let unforgiveness take you off track. Do not let bitterness alter your course. Let God heal these things in you.

Look, I struggle when I share things so personal. I overthink things and worry about fall-out. When it comes down to it, I cannot shy away from my story because it is all I have to draw on. As I write this tears fall. Not because of hurts, but because of compassion. Compassion for the people who have felt the pain that comes from divorce and compassion for the boys and girls whose lives are turned upside down because of divorce. I feel compassion for those step parents that feel lost and ill-equipped to cope with their new family’s pain. There is a way through, and that way is God.

So I share my story, in hopes that it will resonate with just one person, and it will bring healing and peace.  What is your story?

Are you a child of divorce? Are you in a blended family? Have you had struggles with forgiveness and divorce?

Be blessed and be a blessing. Remember, forgiveness is a noun.

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