Friday, December 3, 2010

Broken & Blended Holidays ~ Moms

As we approached Thanksgiving, we talked about holiday pressures, including family time and relationships. On the survey and in emails, some women shared the unique strain that divorce puts on family time during the holidays. For those who are part of broken or blended families, there are unique challenges. Next week we're going to start some special encouragement for the holidays that will apply to anyone, before we move too far from relationships, I want to take today and tomorrow to hear from those in homes where divorce changed the holiday dynamic. 

I don't know anyone whose life has not been impacted closely by divorce, but I can't speak as a wife experiencing divorce or remarriage, and I can't speak as a daughter of divorced parents. Jeff and I are both blessed to have parents who are approaching 50 years of marriage.  Amazing.  So I want to let some godly women share from their own hearts and minds.  Today, the words of some of the mothers.  Tomorrow, the words of some of the daughters. 

My prayer is that these two days will encourage those who are living in some stage of divorce and help them to know they aren't alone.  

I also pray for those of us who haven't been in the epi-center personally, that we will gain insight to make us more sensitive, inclusive, graceful, helpful, and mindful of our sisters.

I asked the moms:
- What is the greatest "post divorce" challenge you've faced/face during the holidays?

F said, "Sharing time (being without my child) was the most difficult post divorce challenge for me during the holidays." I heard this repeatedly, from the moms and the daughters.  

F is not alone.  N shared, "The greatest post divorce challenge I faced during the holidays – sharing"  N always took her tree down on Christmas night, because it was a painful reminder that her daughter wasn't there, after having to leave new gifts, say goodbye to relatives, and be gone for a full week.  Thinking about it stirred up the pain.

- What have you found that really helps to make the holidays peaceful as you manage relationships with an ex, new spouses, step children ...

"Letting go of my expectations, shattered dreams, & old holiday traditions. Embracing new traditions, new dreams, and focusing on simply enjoying our time together." ~F

N shared that to help manage the relationships, "I tried very hard to communicate, be flexible and not put my child in the middle." When trying to work out schedules, etc, she says, "try to work out what is best for the child even if it’s not what you want... 
Your child is depending on you for stability, guidance and a Christian home and leadership to get through the ramifications of divorce."  She encourages those walking through a broken Christmas to "hang in there." 

K can relate to the challenges of sharing. To help make this easier and avoid rushing such a special family time, her family celebrated Christmas early.  "My parents were the key players in this, as they reminded me that we could celebrate the giving of gifts to each other at ANY time and that the true reason for Christmas was to honor God by remember the coming of His son, Jesus!  So my focus was shifted from what I thought my child was missing to what I was missing. . .the TRUE meaning of Christmas!

I'm probably writing to women who understand the ripple effects of divorce and who will navigate it in some way this Christmas.  Yes?  You?  Whatever part of your Christmas season may be feeling  broken, remember this: 

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

You might also look at the description in Isaiah 61:1-3 about why Christ came to earth. Clearly, He is the Healer who gives healing, freedom, light, comfort, and joy. Now THOSE are "tidings of comfort and joy"!!!!   Christmas is about healing what is broken; aren't you glad?  One of the names of God is Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals. Maybe we should say, "Merry Jehovah Raphamas!"

Do you have a word of encouragement you can offer to someone who is navigating some wounds this Christmas?

Tomorrow, we'll hear from the daughters.

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