Spoiler alert! What I am about to write here is not going to be easy. In fact, I am almost reluctant to write this post because the topic that I am about to write about makes me vulnerable and lays bare my heart for all the world to see.. literally.
You see, my life was not supposed to be this way. I had a wonderful childhood, Christian upbringing. My parents were married until the day my mother died twelve years ago. They collectively raised us to believe in the Bible and to put God first. Going to worship on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s was expected. To my parents, nothing outside of an illness or an act of God, should keep you from service. Even when I went off to college, I maintained the same habits because well it was expected and trying to explain to my godly parents why I didn’t attend worship was just not an option of consideration.
Fast forward a couple of decades later and here I am divorced with the responsibility of raising two children, who happen to need both parents on my own. I’m not going to complain because it was my choice to marry the person that I did, without understanding the ramifications of unequally yoked when I said, I do. First, mistake.
Well, it wasn’t all bad because over the course of “the marriage”, I was blessed to give birth to two beautiful children. But didn’t realize how significantly different our child rearing philosophies were until, rearing was needed. Second mistake.
But it wasn’t until the day that my son had his first seizure that I truly began to understand how deep the fissure was in my marriage and very likely could not be repaired. But luckily for everyone I was taught that divorce or separation was not an option. So I stayed and I stayed. We even relocated to a different state with the hope that we could make it work. Third mistake.
But when he decided that he had enough and did not want to spend another second in wedded bliss, it became abundantly clear that staying all those years had lasting perhaps permanent effects on my children. My daughter, in particular.
My daughter turned 12 this past Saturday, officially a pre-teen. But what does that even mean, when you’re squished between wanting to have a tiny bit more freedom and having to be your mother’s helper? Because your younger brother has extra needs and complaining and be ungrateful would be mean spirited to your mother, whose plate is on the verge of shattering!
Tonight, I felt it! My daughter sobbed in my lap, not for any particular reason, but for one very important reason, her mother’s attention! All of the behaviors and push back was a little girl crying out against separation and feeling unworthy because her parents aren’t together. Feeling out of place because she can’t share the typical brother and sister stuff with a brother that is broken. All she knows is that she only gets a piece of her mother, just like everyone else that she has to fit into the nooks and crannies of her life.
You see, I can’t relate to the divorce. I can relate to separation in the context of the death of my mother. I can’t relate to not having my grandparents around because both sets were Big in my life, my Nana in particular. She was my mother’s mother. I can’t relate to being unable to travel to see the one person that treated my daughter like royalty when she would go to her home for visits because of Covid-19. This is uncharted territory for me. Because well, my life wasn’t supposed to be this way. My children’s lives were not supposed to be this way.
Separation in any form is very likely devastating, but this kind of change all at once is crushing. While I was honest with my daughter tonight and explained to her that I don’t have all of the answers, I do know the one who does. I know the one who can carry all of our burdens, I know the one who came to give us abundant life, if we make his will and his way our priority. He is the only one who can make our lives different.
I asked her if she could trust me as I trust Him. I also told her to start crying out to Jesus, when it feels like it’s too much to handle. I too need to do a bit more of that myself. Though the road ahead is not easy, two very important lessons emerged, one, my daughter is watching me and two, she needs more of the real messy, mustard see faith me to guide her to Jesus. There is nothing more urgent than that!
Growing in faith with grace,