10 Beautiful Reminders God Has for the Child of Divorce
Before I knew what to call it, the pain was there. When I first met my husband, it was apparent he was deeply impacted by his parents’ divorce. This touchy topic crept into many of our conversations, in ways I least expected. The pain only became clearer as our relationship deepened.
If you are a “child of divorce,” you know that your parents’ divorce has undoubtedly shaped you in some way. You might have wounds that need attention, care and healing. But on the other side of divorce, as you begin to heal and find restoration, you realize that the God who heals and redeems can heal and redeem your hurts, too. Here are 10 beautiful reminders God has for the child of divorce, for anyone who has walked through their parents’ divorce or a divorce of their own:
1. You Are Still Loved
Your parents may have separated, but love is available for you. The unraveling of something you thought was secure can sometimes unravel you. As you question, know that God loves you regardless of your circumstances. Let this truth dictate your actions, especially when you are raw and hurting from the pain of divorce. Your parents’ love for you remains, but it will show up differently now. If that’s not enough, remember that God loved you before your parents did. He loved you so much that he died for you (John 3:16).
2. You Are Not Responsible for Everyone’s Burdens
Sometimes we try to take on burdens that are not ours to carry. Adults are responsible for their actions. Your parents chose to separate, not you. You are a result of your parents' union, but their choice to separate is not yours to take on. Empathy does not equate to ownership. Ask a trusted counselor if there are burdens from divorce that you need to let go of, and how to best go about doing so.
3. Your Suffering Will Grow Your Sensitivity and Understanding, If You Let It
While you may not know all the events that led to your parents’ separation, you’ve seen pain up close. You’ve seen your parent’s pain as they fought or continuously hurt one another, and in turn, you were a recipient of this pain. God is giving you an opportunity to take what you’ve learned from your parents’ divorce and go a different way. You have an opportunity to break the cycle as you strive always to be kind (Ephesians 4:32).
4. You Are Primed to be a Good Listener
So much hurt occurs when communication is misunderstood or misinterpreted. You’ve seen how your parents’ communication deteriorated over time to the point of miscommunication. Learn from their mistakes, break the cycle, learn to hear and understand what others are saying. Learn the goodness of a mouth and mind that are quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19).
5. You Will Know What It Means to be Taken for Granted, So You’ll Have Every Opportunity to Do It Differently
It’s so easy to take for granted those closest to us. We automatically assume they will always be there without checking in on them. One of the best ways to not take a spouse for granted is to communicate with them all the time. Ask questions and wait for the answers: What do you think? Should we do this? By asking questions, it shows you care, and the other person’s input is valued. If you’re asking you’re not overlooking; you’re inclusive.
6. You Know the Importance and Beauty of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is foundational to marriage. You’ve got to forgive the big and the small, and you have to forgive often. Many may feel a limited capacity to forgive but when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive, Jesus gave him an unexpected answer – seventy times seven. We’ve all felt like Peter – how many times do I have to forgive?
The question shows that we need a heart change, not mathematical knowledge. We’re going to require forgiveness just like others might, so we all need to be able to forgive as often as necessary. Forgiveness is simple yet complex – it’s one of those areas where we have to trust that God knew what he was talking about when He told us to forgive as He forgave (Matthew 6:12-14). Forgiveness also includes wisdom, love, and grace – it’s never arbitrary or singular.
7. When You Let Go of Grudges, Freedom Occurs
If your parents were willing to forgive each other instead of holding a grudge, perhaps you wouldn’t be a child of divorce, but things fall apart before they actually do. Feelings are hurt, one feels invisible and unheard, and resentment builds up until any interaction is an opportunity to express hurt feelings. You saw that your parents could not see past their grudges becoming burdened by their deep resentments. You’ve seen this, so within your power, you try not to hold on wrongs. With God’s help, you try to end each day with no anger towards others (Ephesians 4:26).
8. You Learn How to Live Peaceably
"If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18). In your relationships, when you see a problem, you speak up. You can discern when something is a big deal and an appropriate response. You forgive often; express gratitude while taking care of yourself. Though sometimes difficult, you’ve learned the importance of expressing your thoughts appropriately. Living peaceably does not make you a wimp for you don’t permit others to hurt you without your consent. The possibility of peace is its reward. You know you don’t have a license to quit, so you examine yourself in light of God’s word. Why can’t I forgive? Why can’t I listen? Why can’t I empathize? What needs to be broken in me so that I can live peaceably with others? This breaking is freeing and moves you into a space where you are blessed to be a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9).
9. You Know the Power of Restoration in an Intimate Way
The pain of divorce can make you a better spouse since God redeems and restores. Beauty can come from ashes. Fiery trials refine us while producing an authentic faith (1 Peter 1:7). Your pain was not for naught; it has made you smarter about relationships.
10. God Is Shaping Your Legacy
You can be a legacy breaker; divorce does not have to be your story. The lessons you have learned through the tumult of a torn family, can strengthen you and change you for the better. The only way to change your story is to allow God to change you. This is recognition of your constant need for him in your relationships; and he’ll come through for you. The wounds will eventually heal; what’s left is a new person who has withstood the pain of divorce.
Image Credit: ©Getty/zimmytws
Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.