children of divorce

Beauty in the Brokenness: Hope and Resources for Children of Divorce

This week's message is one of hope for those who've navigated the path of being children of divorce. I hope it provides you with some peace and/or clarity or someone you love....

Hi! Today I delivered a message to deliver hope to children of divorce (of all ages) and their loved ones. There is not a lot of truth spoken except for what Hollywood and popular culture tries to tell us, and a lot of that is not very helpful. All you need to see is how the Brad and Angelina divorce is being covered. It's all about the drama, and that's not what people need - especially not the kids. So I've delivered a video (that I'm still trying to get posted on here), and compiled a list of tips and resources for you. If you'd like to watch it, jump on over to my Facebook page here to today October 19th.

3 Ways I mentioned we have to close the gap: 1) Encourage kids to find a faith that works and be okay with the fact that it might not look like ours, 2) Don't force them to believe, especially if they are harboring anger. It will push them further away. Show them by your walk, 3) Find your own relationship with God so they can learn from you, how you depended on your faith in the hard times.

3 Scriptures to share with kids who may be struggling with one of these three things. 1) If they feel broken, share with them Psalm 34:18. Show them that their brokenness is exactly why Jesus came, 2) If they feel alone, share with them Psalm 68:5-6 so they can learn about how God is Father to the fatherless and sets the lonely in families, 3) When they feel abandoned, show them God will never abandon them with Deuteronomy 31:6.

A final note for the parents I mentioned to help you out so you aren't blaming yourself or trying to fix your kids (I know hard to do) but here goes:

Don't beat yourself up. Best thing you can do is work on you. Get your own help. Don't try to fix your kids. You can't. They will have to work through it themselves, just like you. It's a gaping wound that can't be fixed with a band-aid But give them (and yourself) permission to do these things: to feel it, to talk about it, to be angry about it, and to find someone who gets it so you don't have to walk it alone.

Here's a little excerpt from the movie Moneyball. I forgot to mention it, but the song, "Enjoy the Show" is one I think many children of divorce relate to because it talks about being caught in the middle. Ironically it's with the guy who is going through one of the biggest Hollywood divorces.

Here is the link to the children of divorce statistics I mentioned..50% of North American kids will witness the divorce of their parents and 50% will experience their parents divorce before the age of 18.

Here are the books:

1) "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce," by Elizabeth Marquardt

2) Smart Stepfamilies is the ministry of Ron Deal who has got various books on his website including ones for the Stepmom and Stepdad.

3) "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study" by Judith S. Wallerstein

Here is the Washington Post article from September 27th, 2016 I mentioned. It's called, "How Decades of Divorce Helped Erode Religion," by Julie Zauzmer. 

The song I mentioned I'd share that goes with the verse about "father to the fatherless."

Love and Marriage from the Child of Divorce Perspective

My husband and I last weekend celebrated our one year anniversary. For this child of divorce it was a momentous occasion because it's a place I never thought I'd make it to. In fact, in a way it almost feels like my first year of recovery! Why? Because we kids of divorce believe a few lies at some point in our lives, "I'm never getting married.", "I don't deserve to be married because I don't have an example.", "I never want to be married because of my example.", "I won't be married because I'm broken and don't know how to do it so no one will want to marry me."

Lies. Lies. Lies. We all have to go through them. But we don't have to let them ring true for our lives.

I say that because of how HUGE it really is finally be present to what this whole love and marriage thing is all about.

I used to be mad at my Dad for getting remarried. Now I thank him and my stepmom for being the example of what marriage can be for me. I used to not believe it cause I didn't see my Mom remarry and somehow thought it could never be something for me.

Yet through this entire process of getting engaged, planning a wedding, getting married, being married - I will say that I have found every step of the way an absolute GIFT in the process of my healing process from my parents divorce. Only those who get it, get it. Many people would ask me in some sort of "Why are you punishing yourself?" kind of way when I'd tell them I'm marrying a guy who's single with three kids? They would say, "Why do you want to do that to yourself?"

Well, let me tell you again. IT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST GIFT OF MY LIFE. Why? Because every single day I learn something. Every single day I'm given a gift of healing, even when it comes after pain, ESPECIALLY when it comes after pain. See, I could have spent my whole life as the victim of my parents' divorce. Instead, I walked through it. I truly do believe because I walked through it, I CAN be present to whatever healing and/or pain it brings me today. "Why?" again you say?

BECAUSE THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME. This is about what God is doing in my life FOR others. IT's about HIM taking my mess and making it HIS message. It's about seeing that my greatest struggle is my greatest strength, because of what HE does with it. 

I never understood as I started to heal why we don't do more for children of divorce to show them that no matter what their circumstances growing up, however out of control - that they DO have hope for a good marriage, a happy marriage, even if it gets rough. 

And let me tell you, like ANY marriage, mine has already been rough.

The day I got married was the greatest day of my life. Yes. I got to do it how I actually never dreamed I'd do it. I did it at a Lighthouse, with a cross in front of us demonstrating our life together in Christ, in the setting of Northern Michigan where I feel the most connected to heaven, with the people and the music that I love. I walked down that aisle with my Dad absent physically but present spiritually. I walked with an inner peace in my heart about my Mom not being there, and a gratitude for my stepmom and brother FOR being there. I trusted that God had a plan and that plan WAS good. I can say I was FULLY present and NOT focused on what I didn't have. Thank GOD!

One month after we got married? My three step kids who were with us 50% of the time, now were with us 100% of the time. Their Mom moved away to New Jersey for reasons I don't need to explain here. But for the reasons of this child of divorce it was like, "Wait God. Wow, What are you doing?" 

Our first year of marriage was absolutely chaotic, but it was also a beautiful mess. I loved having all three of those kids in the house because I just trusted what God was doing. If I tried to figure out what or why it wouldn't have helped me in the least. I just trusted God and kept saying, "Okay God, whatever you are doing, that's cool, I'll just keep walking!" In this same first year of marriage? My husband's father got diagnosed with ALS and my shoulder dislocated for the third time after the first of the year causing the need for surgery and now going on 6 months of a MUCH more sedentary life.

Needless to say, our one year anniversary WAS really, really special on so many levels. We weren't grateful because it was this  "honeymoon" period of a first year. We ARE grateful because even though our first year felt like a 10th year, we are TRUSTING TRUSTING TRUSTING God for whatever good he's working in our life. 

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THIS is the victory I've experienced in my life as a married woman and stepmom. THIS is God working in my life, showing me more than ever that it doesn't MATTER what my circumstance growing up, or how it made me think, feel and see the world in a different way. What is REAL is the fact that God BROUGHT me through it. He BROUGHT me through to victory where everything isn't all "perfect", it's rough and it's real and I am GRATEFUL because it's what HE'S doing for HIS good in THIS kingdom. Oh, and he will KEEP bringing me THROUGH it. I'm not all perfect inside. But I'm healing through my broken places and that's a good thing.

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So, for you - if you ARE a child of divorce, you NEED to know that he can do INCREDIBLE things in your life, in ways you never could imagine. Just trust that whatever he is doing inside of you, is for GOOD. Walk through it. Believe me, even though we didn't have the best examples - we deserve to be in a relationship, to be married to someone we love. We ARE broken, yes. Our parent's divorce is one very, real part of our story. But it does NOT have to be the end of our story. It can be just a beginning that makes the REAL story even more beautiful than you could ever imagine - because it's born our of brokenness. Here's a little song that makes me thing of this message I'm sending to you....hope you enjoy it.

To learn more about my story or yours, catch my book on this website, or more of my content that will be only increasing over the coming months. Or, you can find me on all things social media.