Maybe Mom and Dad just sat you down and gave you the ‘news,’ news that you either expected (and possibly are relieved at the moment to hear because you’re tired of the fighting), or news that came completely out of left field.
Or maybe your parents’ divorce was umpteen years ago, yet you still live among the wreckage left in its wake.
You are now or were then just a child, and in a perfect world, children shouldn’t be forced to deal with grown-up issues.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. And these days, the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be.
Things might be kind of rough right now, but I’m here to give you a little encouragement.
No matter what your parents’ circumstances–whether they are separated, divorcing, long-divorced, or never married in the first place–none of this is by accident.
Nothing about what is happening right now is a surprise to God.
Your life was planned by Him with a Purpose.
You were meant to fulfill a God-given Goal, placed in your heart before time began.
You have a destiny, a reason you exist.
So if you’re a child of divorce, let me give you some advice:
1. It’s totally normal and necessary to grieve, and the sooner you do it, the better.
Divorce is a heavy burden to bear. It’s like a death, of sorts, the way it changes your family.
And although you might hope for reconciliation, I hate to tell you that the likelihood of that is slim to none if we’re following statistics.
So by all means, grieve what you lost. It’s even okay to grieve what never was, like the good, happy parents you’d wanted as opposed to the bickering parents you got.
But you’ve probably heard the verse: Tears last through the night but joy comes in the morning.
Another way to say this is that it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a little while, but eventually, it’s time to perk up.
There are brighter days promised ahead.
2. You can be angry about the situation, no matter who tells you it’s a bad/wrong emotion.
One of the worst mistakes we make is to bottle our emotions instead of calling out what is wrong.
When we shove a cork in our feelings, we only make the spewing that will eventually come ten times worse.
So get angry, but don’t stop forgiving your parents for being human.
Because one day you’ll be the adult who understands just how hard this whole grown-up thing really is.
3. You are allowed to set boundaries, whether someone tells you this or not.
There’s a chance your parents will want to jump back into the dating game. Maybe not long after their divorce (maybe even while they’re in the middle of it).
They might expect you to be all happy-go-lucky about it. (What is that saying? My kids want a happy parent? We know that’s not true, right?)
It’s okay not to be crazy about it.
If you’re still healing wounds, set limits and boundaries to your feelings and space.
You can do this without being completely disrespectful to the adults in your life. (Unless you’re put into a dangerous situation, in which case, do not be afraid to tell a teacher, counselor or another trusting adult.)
You may not understand it now, but your parents are only trying to find their mojo again. (And on a side note, they may not understand your feelings, especially if they’re not children of divorce themselves.)
We all have a right to move on, but everyone involved should remember we move at different paces.
4. Lean into your Creator and allow Him to cover your wounds.
You may not have a soul around you who understands your pain. Among my friends, I was pretty much the only one whose parents were divorced.
That can be tough. You feel different. You wonder if your parents simply didn’t love you enough to stay together.
It’s possible they loved you enough to realize they couldn’t stay together. That the damage done in a toxic or silent household was more harmful than good.
Or, it’s possible that one day they may come to believe this wasn’t the best decision after all.
Maybe they’ll admit it. Maybe not.
Either way, you have to forgive what can’t be changed.
Though this isn’t easy and doesn’t seem fair, we have to remember: God never promised us easy or fair.
But He did promise we’d be okay. And the minute you stop believing that–the minute you begin to believe that your world can never be restored, that things can never be good again, that you can never forgive your mom and dad–that’s the minute you’re defeated.
So cast your cares upon the One who created you. He knew this would happen long ago.
5. Don’t let what happened to them drag you down.
Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get two mature parents who always put you first.
Maybe you won’t.
They might not always behave like grown-ups because they, too, are dealing with lots of feelings they can’t control or explain.
Let them do their thing. You keep doing you.
You keep walking the right path. Because if you think walking the wrong one will make them change their minds, you’re wrong. And it will cost you dearly to find that out.
If you think you should behave broken because you are broken, well, you’ve just fallen right into the trap of the one who seeks to destroy your destiny.
You see, this girl knows a thing or two about all this.
My parents’ divorce changed me for the worst.
Not because it had to, but because I allowed it to.
I bought into a huge lie, spoken through, over and around me, that my family was “broken.”
That’s right. That’s the lie the Accuser wants you to believe, that because your mom and dad aren’t together, you, my friend, are broken. Irretrievable. Never to be whole again.
It’s a lie from the pit of hell.
There is absolutely nothing–NOTHING–in the Bible to back that up. Nothing that says what is broken can’t be fixed.
On the contrary, over and over again, God promises to make “beauty from ashes.”
To Repair with His Mighty Hands all the pieces of our lives, supernaturally redeeming us.
To restore what is stolen.
And to make it completely new.
So, dear gift, follow my advice, and especially remember this:
Don’t walk right into your parents’ mistakes because you unknowingly followed in their footsteps.
Be alert. Pay attention. Remember what you saw and didn’t like. And do the opposite.
Decide who you are and who you want to be. Remember who you were before life temporarily came unraveled for you.
And stay true to that person.
Because you are NOT your parents’ divorce. You are not broken, and neither is your family.
You are a perfect, precious plan from God.
And if you truly believe that, beautiful things will come.
A Friend Who Knows Exactly How You Feel 🙂