Parenting Through Divorce – a few things I have learned

Learning how to parent children through a divorce is certainly not something I had ever considered until I was faced with it.  I understand every divorce is different, for different reasons, and with different results.  This post is not meant to be a broad “how to” but simply a few things I have learned, and am continuing to learn, on how to parent through this long arduous process.  My situation may be unique and my experiences may not apply to most, but I feel sharing in this format has been helpful with my healing process as well.

This video below is something I think EVERY parent in this situation should see.  I watched it nearly every day for months as a reminder to filter my every action through biblical principals and the question, “how will this affect my kids”.  Whether you are in the midst of a divorce, have gone through this in the past, or have ever had a thought of a divorce…please take a few minutes and watch this.

First, we all know that a primary rule of should be to “never bad mouth the other parent to the kids”.  I could not agree more.  However, if the other parent is taking actions that are contrary to Biblical principals how do we address this with our kids?  When does this passiveness become condoning a lifestyle or choices contrary to God’s design?  I have been brought back to this passage repeatedly when contemplating this subject:

Proverbs 22:6 New International Version (NIV)

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Dr. James Dobson says it very well here…

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For my children, they were raised in a Christian home and brought up to respect the ties of marriage as well as “purity” in their hearts.  I pray that they will not turn from it regardless of the examples they see around them in the world or even in their own family.  It is not my job to point out where others are falling short… Lord knows I have had, and continue to have, plenty of my own issues to work on as well.  Which also leads me to my second point, own your piece of the problem.

Continue reading Parenting Through Divorce – a few things I have learned

Partnerships In Ministry

Teamwork concept in word tag cloudI was recently on a road trip to visit family friends and had the opportunity to attend church with them.  I continue to find it amazing how God aligns these events in my life where I hear a spoken word, or a new song, or some other event that speaks directly to something I am dealing with in my life.  I cannot explain it, but I believe that it is God’s way of communicating with me in this season of life.  In sharing these personal experiences I hope others will listen for how God is speaking to them.

The pastor of this church gave a message title “Famous Partnerships”.  He started by referencing partnerships that we all recognize in culture… Ben & ________, Hewlett- ___________, Tom & _________, Fred & _____________, Smith & _____________, and the list goes on.  Nearly everyone reading this will automatically fill in the blank with the associated “partner” with the greatest of ease. But what about Biblical partnerships?  We then shifted gears to discuss Paul and Barnabas and their partnership for ministry.

Acts 9:26-28 New International Version (NIV)

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

Barnabas and Paul’s were partners in their ministry in Jerusalem as discussed in Acts as well as other passages, but this is not where this sermon hit home the hardest.  The closing “point to ponder” was where God spoke through this sermon to me directly.  I had been in prayer for sometime about my role in our church.  What ministry was I being called to?  Was the ministry I was considering what God had for me or what I desired?  Here were the closing questions he left us with, which rattled around in my heart and mind for the next week.

1) What partnership in your past have successfully advanced ministry?

2) What partnerships are you considering to further ministry?

3) What partnership do you dream of to further ministry?

These questions were so heavy on my heart that I sat down and wrote detailed answers to these questions.  In doing so I found an overwhelming peace about ministry opportunities I was considering.  I have a desire to work closely with the youth in our church and community.  Mostly with teenage boys as they go through their high school years and many of whom desperately need Christian men in their lives.  As I thought through more details and actually wrote down what this may look like, God directed my pen and what ended up on paper was the ministry I plan to pursue.  I am looking to enter this ministry with confidence that it is from Him and not of myself.

The third question was eye opening and had some intense soul searching associated with it.  What partnership do I dream of….?  I continually came back to this answer: I dream of a spouse who has a desire to see Christ exalted and glorified in our life together and fulfill ministry as a couple.  Having come from a recent divorce, I was shocked how pointed God was with this and how through prayer, I continually came back to this portrait of my future.  I dream of a future with a spouse who will read the Bible Attractive couple enjoy story book on sofa at home in living roomwith me, pray with me, and affect the world for the Kingdom of God.  We may have identical ministry direction or completely different, but the partnership of a marriage with Christ at the center, focused on serving others in his name is something I look forward to.  I see this is so many around me and I see how powerful and ministry changing it can be.  I have vivid childhood memories of my grandparents being those people.  I will always remember staying with them overnight and awaking in the morning to the smell of extremely strong coffee, wondering into their kitchen, to find them holding hands and praying or reading their Bibles.  My heart yearns to repeat that image in my golden years.

 

Thank you Lord for the message you delivered to me in a whole another church I had never set foot in before.  Your timing is impeccable and never ceases to amaze me!  The peace I found of my unknown future was greatly advanced through this encounter and I cannot thank and praise God enough for it.

How is God speaking to you?  Through a sermon?  A Song? A profound word from a stranger?  I truly believe God speaks to us much more than we recognize.  Slow down, pay attention, be still, and listen.

Finally… what ministry partnership do you dream of?  I would love to hear!  Be blessed!

Betrayal and Divorce …. really Lord?

Just over a year ago what I had thought impossible became a reality.  I discovered that my wife of nearly 20 years had been seeing another man and decided to end our marriage to start a new life with him.  I was beyond devastated.  The emotional pain was indescribable.  To this day I cannot come close to the words needed to explain what this felt like inside.  Only those who have gone through this can relate.

Immediately I was faced with choices I had never contemplated.  My first choice was how to react… I have known several men who have been in similar situations and each reacted differently.  Some turned to things such as alcohol, other women, or other destructive ways to cope.  While others poured themselves into their work or simply found other distractions to avoid the reality.  My immediate reaction was to hit my knees…. in prayer.  I pleaded with God, I cried for days, I begged my wife to reconsider, I did not sleep for weeks, yet today, despite my prayers… I am divorced.

Many of my friends asked the proverbial question, “why did ‘God’ let this happen to you?”  To be honest, I asked this question as well.  Over the first 6 months following our divorce filing I asked this a lot.  I was fortunate to have several wise and seasoned believers with whom I could confide and be completely honest and broken.  My realization though this experience was simply this: God did not cause my divorce, God did not will this to happen…. the free will choices of my wife and myself allowed this to happen.  The question became, what will He do with it to bring himself glory? I desperately want to know what my future holds… and in my human nature I want to know now!  Learning to wait on God and trust His plans and rest in his provisions is challenging.  Some days I succeed… and many I continue to fail.

Continue reading Betrayal and Divorce …. really Lord?

WHO AM I? part 2

who am iFrom prior post… “The titles of the world are temporary and ultimately do not define who we are.”

This realization came at a critical time in my life.  I was in the midst of a divorce, something I had never contemplated as even being possible, something I had no desire for, and yet something I could not stop.  My wife chose to end our marriage for the sake of another man.

The majority of my life my identity was strongly based on my role as a husband.  Now that this identity was gone, I was struggling to understand who I was.  Redefining identity after a loss is a process, one I am continuing through to this day.  About a month ago these words, spoken by a gentlemen I had never met before, had a profound impact on me.  It’s a simple concept, but one we all too often forgotten until we are faced with a crisis.

“Who am I”?  We ought not to look to this world for the answer.  Better yet, restate the question…. “Who am I, in Christ?”

Continue reading WHO AM I? part 2