They like to tell us, “You’re not alone,
Many children your age have divorced parents.
They want us to feel better. They offer encouragement like patches for our holey hearts. We know they mean well.
But we don’t want to feel like the majority. We miss the wholeness and novelty of a divorce-less reality. Even if the togetherness of our families was less-than-perfect or downright scary, splitting and scattering scared us more. We miss boasting on the playground of our still-married parents. We felt sorry for the kid with two bedrooms and custody chaos. He’d tell us, “I get two birthdays. I get two of everything.” We knew he envied us.
Now his pain is our pain. We can relate. Life is a battle, a struggle riddled with sorrow. We get it now. And when the sun shines into our lives, our appreciation for God’s grace is deeper than it was before.
Not that kids with still-married parents lack appreciation for God’s grace. It’s just different when you’ve gone through the hell and high water of divorce. Really, no matter the status of our families, we’ve all endured the consequences of a fallen world.
Jesus did, too.
His own family experience brings me deep comfort. I’m not talking about the shepherds and heavenly hosts (Luke 2:4-15), the need to be in his father’s house (Luke 3:41-52), or the oddball things he told his family (Matthew 10:37-38). I’m talking about his family dynamic. Joseph did not father him. According to today’s lexicon, Jesus was born into a blended family. Jesus, the one without blemish, the perfect one destined to save the world because of his great love for the world. This same Jesus had half-siblings. He knew the less-than-perfect family experience. He knew the cut of judgmental words (Mark 3:20-21; 6:3-4).
Words of encouragement patch us up and ward off discouragement. But they cannot permeate our deep wounds. Reading the smattering of books on children of divorce, learning the stats, and visiting our counselors can help us heal but cannot make us whole. Really, not even knowing that Jesus grew up in a blended family can eradicate our pain. But only he can remedy our hollowness. And he can be trusted. The complication of broken realities – he gets it.
Allow him to make you whole again. The past cannot be repeated, it cannot be changed. But our hearts can be healed (Psalm 34:18). We can be redeemed. We were created to move forward, ever growing and ever strengthened by the fire (1 Peter 1:7). Through Christ we are resilient and through Christ we will survive.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you understand and heal our pain. Thank you that it is not in vain, but for a greater purpose than we can see or comprehend today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.