Friday, May 3, 2013

Healing from a Divorce

From the moment I first held each of my three children, I looked forward to walking through life together. I pictured days of joy and laughter, and hurt feelings. But I never imagined I would walk with my young kids through the tragedy of divorce. and not just once but twice :( While nothing prepared me for this sorrowful journey, God has lovingly guided us toward healing and hope.

Here are some of the trail markers that have helped me to effectively lead my family on this broken road.

Be available. I felt overwhelmed, and I often found myself on the phone for counsel and comfort from friends. Meanwhile, my hurting children desperately needed me. I decided to make calls only while my children were occupied or asleep. In this way, I protected my kids from overhearing too much information and gave them the attention they needed. I also made sure that the people I was relying on for support and comfort during this time, were Godly Christian friends who had their suppport lined up with the gospel and not just opinion.

Be honest. Difficult questions began early in our journey. I prayed earnestly and endeavored to answer my kids honestly.Which sometime si admit were overwhleming and difficult to answer.  I assured my children that I understood why they wanted to know details, then shared what was fitting with them based on age. I had to make sure that they knew, none of this was their fault adn they could not have prevented any of it.
Be self-controlled. My ex-husband often said or did things that hurt or angered me, and I struggled to respond graciously or kindly, especially when alot of this was done in a very public way for the world to hera and see.  In hopes of encouraging my children in their relationship with their father, I worked to keep my facial expressions and words from revealing my inner conflict and refused to speak ill of him in front of them. I even had to make sure that e-mails to my ex did not speak ill becaues he would send these to our kids.

Be Prayerful. Not surprisingly, my children's struggle with the divorce reflected in their behavior. My dwindling emotional reserve sometimes made it difficult to respond well, but I learned to extend grace, allowing them to feel sorrow, anger and confusion and express it even toward myself within reason. . I focused on maintaining consistency in my parenting while still offering patience and love.Keeping the routine as normal as possibly to give them security and comfort they needed more than ever. We prayed together about the pains and struggles we were facing and for healing.

Be hopeful.Divorce was never our intended destiny,not for my ex or myself,  yet it was part of our family journey. Because of God's abundant love and support, and  hope and healingwe have not allowed the divroce to be our identity, but who we are in God.

Sue Birdseye writes about her divorce and single-parenting journey in When Happily Ever After Shatters.
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