The Gift of Peace (Not Hating Christmas Anymore)

Sleep in heavenly peace…sleep in heavenly peace.1

When I hear adults with divorced parents describe Christmas and families, heavenly peace rarely tops the list. Hassle, aggravating, sad, confusing, disappointing, draining, and annoying all make the list, however.

A popular phrase is, “Well, we have to go here, then we have to go there, then we have to go there...,” and it’s always preceded by a heavy sigh. Christmas brings to the forefront all of our divorce-related losses.

But if we’re not careful, the pain of loss becomes a dark secret I’ve heard multiple times—I hate Christmas. Maybe we don’t say it out loud, but it floats around our mind. Unfortunately, our real heart’s cry is for a peaceful holiday. If parents could just get along…start-of-bethlehem-nativity-by-garrett-w-30

So if you’re secretly waiting for Christmas to be over, I encourage you to revisit the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of the Prince of Peace.

The one who brings true peace
1) Peace was in Jesus’ character description before he was born.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”2

2) When Jesus was born, peace was in the good news the angels proclaimed:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”3

3) Jesus is peace and desires to give us peace.
Jesus said, “”I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.4

Is peace really possible?peace-ornament-by-john-attebury
Regardless of how frustrating things may get with spouses, parents, stepparents, in-laws, ex-in-laws, siblings, ex-siblings and the extended family, Jesus offers His peace in the craziness. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”5

God wants to give you the gift of peace—peace in your heart, peace in your mind, peace in your spirit—not the peace the world gives, but true peace that only God can give through His son Jesus.

Click here to learn how you can accept the gift of heavenly peace God offers. It may not make the infighting, choosing sides, unforgiveness, and other fractured-family dynamics go away, but you will have supernatural peace amidst it all.

My prayer for you is you’ll receive the wonderful gift of peace from Jesus; not just for Christmas, but for all of the new year!
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.”6

 

1Silent Night, Franz Xaver, Joseph Mohr
2Isaiah 9:6. ESV
3Luke 2:14 ESV
4John 14:27 NLT
5John 16:33. NIV
6 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV
Images
Start of Bethlehem Nativity by Garrett W
Peace Ornament by John Attebury

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Closet Prodigals Who Ran Away From Home

For kids, parental divorce often creates a desire to escape from it. Our brains think, As soon as I’m old enough, I’m out of here. Though researchready to go by Nicole Mays cropped shows many become prodigals, I believe many more are closet prodigals.

The Prodigal Son story in Luke 15:11-32 describes a young man who demands and receives his father’s inheritance—while the father was alive. He left home and spent it on wine, women, and song. Unfortunately, a lot of us can relate to running away to things that were supposed to make us happy, but didn’t.

However, a number of us, particularly those who follow God, didn’t run to a world of sin. We’re too “respectable” or fearful for that.  Instead, we “ran away” to college, marriage, ministry, a career, or whatever it took to get out of the house.

The problem is, like the prodigal son, sooner or later closet prodigals come to their senses. Suddenly they realize “we’re ‘feeding pigs’” (v. 15). Then emptiness and regret move in.

Time for reflection by Hans G Backman*I’m really not in love with my spouse; I just wanted to get away from home.
*Sure, I have “PhD” behind my name, but did I need to spend ten years in college?
*With this regimen, my body is in the best shape ever, but my soul feels barren.

Have you had thoughts like these? Be careful! This is when Satan feeds our discontent and remorse with lies.
*It was an escape. You never really loved him, so divorce is ok.
*You should quit your job and do what you really want to do.
*You’re going to the gym for the wrong reasons, so why bother?Forgiven by Ray Wewerka

But rather than acting rashly—again—closet prodigals should do what the real one did, “I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you“(v.18). When we realize that instead of trusting God we ran away, the first step is to confess this to God. Tell Him what you did, why, and how you feel about it. 1 Peter 5:7 says, Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

The next step is to seek God (and the counsel of godly people) to help you see His purpose for your path this far. God doesn’t make Forgiveness by Tiffany Scantleburymistakes, we do. Thankfully, He has an amazing knack for taking our mess-ups and producing blessings from them. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”1

Paul had messed up in his life, but with a focus on serving Jesus, his past stayed there. God offers us the same opportunity by calling you and me to come out of the closet, confess our sins, and allow God to use us for His glory going forward.

1Philippians 3:13-14
Photos
ready to go by Nicole Mays
Time for reflection by Hans G Backman
Forgiven by Ray Wewerka
Forgiveness by Tiffany Scantlebury

Did You Call the Attorney Today?

In early January attorneys receive a surge in inquires and requests for appointments that will begin the divorce process. Unfortunately, lawyers will not tell these hurting and desperate souls the truth: things can get better with the right help.

Did you know that most people who file for divorce didn’t seek counseling, didn’t attend any marriage seminars or workshops to help improve their marriage, and probably didn’t tell some of their closest friends they were ending the marriage?

“Psychologist Aaron Beck says that the single belief most toxic to a relationship is the belief that the other person cannot change.”1 However, when lawyers are the only people we talk to, we never hear that our belief is usually mistaken. But it is.

 If your parent’s are divorced, you’ve learned that the only way “things can get better” is to bail—to start over. However, even in cases of adultery marriages have recovered and grown stronger than before the devastating and selfish act. This may seem hard to believe right now, but it’s true.

Do you know what other truths the attorney won’t tell you?

  • A surprising number of divorces are’t due to unfaithfulness. The spouse has simply given up on being happy in the relationship.2
  • 94% of couples in one survey reported that they were glad they didn’t divorce when they were tempted to do so.3
  • If you make HALF the effort and sacrifice you will make for your new spouse, you can save your marriage.family praying together
    • AND spare you and your kids the hassles you still have from your parents’ divorce.
    • AND share the joy of your grandchildren with one person instead of a delegation of ex-spouses and unrelated family members.
    • AND show your kids that marriages can make it through the tough times.
    • AND prove that putting God’s will over your own desires is best in the long run. (Accepting that physical abuse and adultery are not in God’s will)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.4 This sounds simply, but isn’t always easy to do. However, here are three links that can help. Please take a few minutes to read them before you call or reconnect with your lawyer. You’ll be glad you did!

1) Love and Respect
2) Marriage Missions International
3) The Smart Stepfamily
 

Notes
1The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg, Zondervan, 2002, p. 20.
2Survey Reveals The Real Reason Couples Get Divorced.” Stephanie Castillo. http://www.yourtango.com/201197812/survey-reveals-real-reason-couples-get-divorced
3Should I Divorce?” by Alan Hawkins & Tamara Fackrell. www.utahmarriage.org.
4Ephesians 5:33 [ESV]

The New Audio Series on Adult Children of Divorce Issues is Up

Earlier this year I recorded ten radio programs for the Champions Arise ministry of Trans World Radio (TWR). In this series, Foster Braun interviewed me on how parental divorce affects the children and the adults they become.Kent Darcie with Foster Braun 25% These fifteen-minute programs include an overview of the issues adults with divorced parents face and detailed discussions on anger, father hunger, forgiveness, and other topics.

This is a great introduction to why adults with divorced parents struggle with relationships and divorce at significantly higher rates. Click here to connect to the program list and audio links.

Forgiveness and the Adult Child of Divorce

Recently I hosted the New Beginings show with Rick Van Briggles. On the program I presented a brief overview of forgiveness as related to adult with divorced parents. Click below to listen to the program. Kent Darcie onNew Beginnings Show