I so appreciate the insights shared yesterday, from women who have experienced divorce first hand. They will help me to be more understanding of my friends who walk through similar circumstances this holiday season. Today I want you to hear from some young women who are daughters of broken marriages.
I asked the daughters similar questions to those of the mothers:
- What is the greatest challenge you've faced/face during the holidays as the child of a divorced family?
Daughters shared the same challenges as their mothers when it comes to sharing time with loved ones. The children struggled with feelings of confusing, dealing with jealousy, feeling guilty and like a terrible daughter. It can be very hard to maintain a sense of normalcy during the holidays.
C shared that when it came to spending part of her Christmas at one parent's home, "To be completely honest I always dreaded going because he was never a big part of my life and during the holidays I wanted to spend time with the family who I did spend time with and had relationships with during the other 350 days of the year."
Fractured time with parents was a common struggle. Tension between parents escalated during the holidays. R admitted that, as a child, she wondered, "why Christmas was so stressful and angry."
- What have you found that really helps to make the holidays peaceful as you manage relationships with parents, their spouses, and new siblings?
Daughters admit that when parents remarry and bring new families into their own family, it requires constant adjustment. The young women who faced brokenness growing up have also experienced great healing. One shares that she learned to, "live out my identity in Christ...I am His. I live to please Him, not my family. My hope is to love people well, with what time I am given."
One daughter emphasized that it isn't so important to be together on a certain day on the calendar (like Dec. 25th), but it is important to have quality time together. Being rigid or demanding just distanced daughters from parents. Flexibility sounds like a key to nurturing meaningful relationships, in spite of sharing and adjustments.
One daughter offered some practical suggestions:
- focus on the true meaning of Christmas (I wish my family had read the Christmas story)
- parents greet previous spouses and their new families warmly
- sit down with your family and really be with them (instead of spending all day in the kitchen)
- let the little things be little things and let them go
- create fun traditions
- speak as well as you can about the child's other parent
God is not silent about His thoughts for those who struggle with broken family relationships, those who are suffering in any way in our fallen world. This includes those parents and children whose family relationships have crumbled.
Psalm 34:18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I heard some beautiful encouragement for daughters of divorce or mothers agonizing over the consequences for their children. Even in broken family, it is possible for God's peace to reign. Even for a child of a broken family, it is possible to know God's faithfulness.
One daughter summarized her thoughts well, saying, "His peace surpasses all understanding, but I have to allow myself to experience it. The amazing gift of our Savior was given so that we could have life abundant, not only in eternity, but also today...even in the midst of a broken family, even on Christmas."
How can we express God's nearness to the brokenhearted from broken homes at this time of year? How can we actively help children and women in our lives who carry the added weight of a broken or blended family holiday?