In the middle of divorce
I was born a daddy’s girl. Fond memories from my early childhood include the times Dad and I spent together after I should have been asleep. Mom would get me settled for the night; then Dad would come home to rescue me from bed-time. We would watch TV, chat about the things four-year-old girls and their dads chat about, and eat bananas. Bananas taste especially delicious as a late night snack!
I don’t remember much about the day my father left. I know some furniture left with him. I know that my Mom and I were sad. My younger brother cried too, though he wasn’t old enough to understand.
My parents spent the next seven years sorting out their relationship and our lives before the divorce was final. Even now, they are loving, caring, wonderful parents; and they’re friends, presenting a united front for my brother and me.
But this story isn’t about my parents. It’s about how I dealt with being caught in the middle. When my parents separated, my heart felt like it separated too—split right down the middle—and I was left to put the pieces back together. No one could sort it out for me. I had to decide whom to love, whom to blame, and where to find God in this difficult chapter of my life.
I didn’t talk things out; I figured them out in my head. If I had known then what I know now, I would have told my thoughts and feelings to a trustworthy adult. Having the perspective of someone older and wiser, who cared about me, would have been a blessing. But I tried to make sense of my parents’ divorce all by myself, in my own mind.
Some days I blamed myself for their breakup. I thought that if I hadn’t come along, they would have stayed together. I’ve come to realize that this is a lie. God does not waver when it comes to the plans for each of God’s children. Scripture makes it clear how valuable and precious each of us is to God and how wonderful God’s plans are for us. But at the time, I didn’t quite trust God, so I didn’t ask for God’s help. I took matters into my own hands.
I may have been born a daddy’s girl; but during my early teenage years, I built a wall between my dad and me. Maybe I longed for him to be a part of my everyday life and couldn’t deal with the reality that he wasn’t coming home. Maybe I was frustrated and confused because I had never talked with him about the situation. Perhaps being a teenager made my relationship with my parents even more complicated. I’m guessing the combination of all these factors helped to fortify the wall between us.
Dad wasn’t the only one who received the “wall treatment.” I protected my heart from my mother too. I did not always respect her authority; I liked to think I was in charge of my own life. In my mind, my parents’ divorce gave me the right to make my own decisions. If they couldn’t figure out their own lives, how could they possibly know what was best for me?
Only when another authority took hold of my life did my attitude toward my parents change. God knew everything about me and loved me more deeply than I could comprehend. I realized that God had cried with me, my brother, and my parents during the divorce. God knew how much I missed my father and longed to fill that empty place in my heart. As I learned to trust God’s authority, honoring and respecting my parents came more naturally.
The God of the universe, our loving heavenly Father, heals the broken places in our hearts. God longs to meet us where we are, to cry with us when we cry, to hold tightly to our hands when we find ourselves caught in the middle. Let God be there for you today.
Look through Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Job for an example of someone who cries out to God about being caught in the middle. Write one of these passages in your journal, and add it to your prayers. Ask God to help you when you feel caught in the middle, or pray that you may be a comfort and an encourager to a friend who is caught in the middle.
—from devozine (July/August 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.