I remember my first fall after being separated from my husband. My children were 5 and 7. I had been attending a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group once a week at my local church. But I was needing something that specifically addressed what I was currently going through; loneliness, confusion, anger, hurt and help with answering the millions of questions my children had for me everyday. I went online and looked up divorce support groups. An organization called DivorceCare popped up. It looked exactly like what I was looking for. I was not only longing for support and encouragement, I was desperately needing to talk to someone else who would understand what I was going through. Unfortunately, I was not to find one in my local town, in fact, the closest one was 30 miles away. But something told me I needed to go and check it out.
It took no more than one visit for me to realize that this was exactly where I should be. It was a small group with 8 other adults who were either separated or divorced just like I was. Because our hearts were beating to the same beat we found camaraderie right away. It was such a relief to be able to hear from others who were experiencing the same pain, same circumstances, same frustrations and having the same questions that I was dealing with. Not only were we able to learn from each others personal experiences, we also had a new topic each week that we discussed. During these sessions I was challenged, encouraged and even convicted in areas that I needed to grow in. It became evident to me immediately that before I was ready for another relationship I had to take responsibility for my fault in my current broken relationship and become a better me, for both myself, my children and my future spouse if I were ever to choose to remarry. So I committed to set out on a 13 week journey where I traveled once a week 30 miles each direction to learn and grow through my divorce. This turned out to be a decision I would never regret.
I was fortunate enough that they also had a program at this church called DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids). It was an awesome program that ran at the same time as DivorceCare and was geared around children ages 5 – 13. It was not only fun for my kids, but they were able to ask the questions they had on their hearts and find reassurance and acceptance at a very vulnerable time in their lives. What they learned over those 13 weeks was priceless. It was the best decision I could have made.
Soon my kids hit those difficult teen years. And although they had dealt with a lot of their feelings when they were younger, adolescence brought on a whole new set of challenges and questions. Once again, I searched online for anything that would benefit my teenagers. This time I was disappointed when I did not find anything available. That is when I took matters into my own hands and wrote a curriculum myself called The Big D: Divorce Thru the Eyes of a Teen. After running it at my own local church for a few years my husband started to encourage me to make it available to others. Thus began Sonset Point Ministries. If you are looking for a place for your teenagers to go to continue their healing journey, please check your local area for The Big D. If there is not one in your area, consider starting one up yourself. The Big D continues to grow as it is now nationwide and in over 300 churches/organizations/or counseling centers. If this would be of interest to you, I would invite you to contact me any time.
Healing..it is not easy. It does not come without a cost. It does not happen unless we work at it. We would like to snap our fingers and start all over again as if the past 8 years had not happened. But it is not that easy. I found out that I could not run from or ignore the experiences of my past. They came with me wherever I went. The only way to truly “grow through a divorce” was to grow the hard way. One step at a time, one day at a time and one heartache at a time.
Divorce rates the 2nd time around are staggering. Over 4 out of every 10 families suffer from a divorce. But if you remarry, statistics prove that over 7 out of every 10 families will divorce a second time. Children having to go through a divorce rarely get unaffected, add another one to that and their lives are changed forever. They will carry the baggage of hurts and anger on their backs into their own futures which will undoubtedly affect their own marriages some day. The only way to change this statistic is to do the healing work before you get into another relationship. I know this takes patience and a lot of hard work, but your kids are worth it!
Today can be the beginning of a new life. Find the support and encouragement you are longing for, along with the fellowship of others who understand what you are going through. Go to www.divorcecare.org online and search under your zip code to find a group in your area. Since I attended my 1st DivorceCare many years ago, there are thousands and thousands more out there. Eventually years later, I ended up bringing one to my area so others would not have to travel as far to get the help they needed. If you have children, go to www.dc4k.org and search the same. This simple decision will be one of the best you could make for yourself and your children. So…make it TODAY!