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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“Love Triangle” and the Gift of Grieving Togetherness

I don’t move in country music circles so I’m late to the party when it comes to the song “Love Triangle” by Raelynn. The song gives voice to a childhood perspective of her parents’ divorce. For me, two phrases that describe our dilemna of loss stand out:
Then I run to him, Big hug, jump in. And I cry for her, Out the window1
and
Then I run to her. Wrap my arms, around her skirt. And I cry for him. Out the window1

looking-out-the-window-2-by-carol-munroThis conflict is reminiscent of Elizabeth Marquardt’s words in her book Between Two Worlds:
“I missed my mother and father terribly when I was separated from one of them—and I was always separated from one of them.”2

Feel familiar? The Christmas season brings this loss to a head for many adults with divorced parents. It’s a time when togetherness oozes from every commercial and show. Songs like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas3 fill your ears at the coffee shop only to remind you your home dissolved years ago. However, as Divorce Sucks! by Addie Willams 50the clouds of sadness move in we have a choice; run away and deny the clouds exist, or turn towards them and feel the loss. After years of denial, I finally did the latter.

Accepting the gift of grieving
I used busyness as a Band-Aid for making it through the Christmas holiday, but a few short years ago, I decided to embrace the loss.

  • First, I admitted I missed having my dad at Christmas…a lot.
  • Second, I allowed the sadness to come. As a guy, crying is not my thing, but holding back tears when a Christmas movie triggered my thoughts of post-divorce Christmases was energy draining. Allowing the tears to come was cleansing and energy boosting. Who knew? (other than the female half of the human race.)
  • Then I took my pain to the Lord. I found praying specifically about what I missed very helpful. “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock (Jesus) that is higher than I4

Forgiveness by Tiffany ScantleburyLord, even though Mom did a great job with Christmas, it wasn’t the same without Dad. I really missed him playing his favorite Christmas music.

  • Next came focusing God’s blessings—my wife, my kids, my home, our holiday traditions, and so much more.
  • The last thing I did to embrace the loss was commit to strengthening my marriage so my kids would never have to choose between Mom and Dad. Taking in a marriage seminar, reading books, listening to teachings all help. See our resource page and audios and videos for many marriage strengthening resources.

This process wasn’t easy. The first couple Christmas seasons were actually worse. But with persistence and lots of prayer an amazing thing happened. The Lord took the sting out of the loss, and I was able to fully enjoy Christmases. It turned out, grieving was a wonderful gift!

 

1Nicolle Anne Galyon, Racheal Woodward, Jimmy Robbins. Love Triangle, 2016 © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
2 Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds, (NY, NY: Crown Publishers, 2005), 8.
3Kim Gannon ,Walter KentBuck Ram, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, 1943, Decca Records.
4Psalm 61:2b, KJV
 
Images
Looking out the window 2 by Carol Munro
Divorce Sucks! by Addie Willams
Forgiveness by Tiffany Scantlebury

To Those Who Want 2016 to be Better Than 2015

Looking back by Alberto Otero GarciaHow was your 2015? Think about it, but only dwell on the positives. Hard to do? It is for me too. Why is it when we’re asked to assess ourselves we immediately go to the negatives—what didn’t go right, where we messed up, the people who didn’t do what we wanted them to do, the promotion that went to “the wrong person”, or more specific to this ministry, the Christmas gatherings with the various splinters of our family that are more taxing than joyous.

If we are going to have a better 2016, we need to appreciate all God did for us in 2015. For the majority of us, when all of the little and big things that went right are tallied up, it was actually a pretty good year. We have an incredible list of things to be thankful for.

Sunrays through the clouds by Groman123Maybe we were angry, but we didn’t lash out as much. Perhaps at this Thanksgiving’s dinner you chose not to respond to the hurtful thing your parent or stepparent said. Did you know God smiles when we choose to do the right thing? Psalm 103 verse 13 says, “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender andcompassionate to those who fear him.”1

God’s perspective on our lives is important because this year we’re going to look at the various ways our parents’ divorce is still impacting us. Anger, unforgiveness, and triggers are just some of the problems we’ll discuss. But our healing is built on acknowledging and giving thanks to God for how far He has brought us already.

So take time now for one last look at 2015, and may your heart be filled with wonder and thanks for all the ways God is working in your life.

1NLT
Photos:
Looking back by Alberto Otero Garcia
Sunrays through the clouds by Groman 123

Twas The Night Before Christmas for an Adult Child of Divorce

Twas The Night Before Christmas for an Adult Child of Divorce

by Kent Darcie

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
My kids were all sleeping, and so was my spouse.
All quiet at last, day’s deeds finally done,
Soon wonder would greet wide-eyed little ones.ChristmasTree with presents png 75

It’d been a long time since that thrill filled my heart,
I’d grudgingly sleep, and then wake with a start.
Seems like it died on that one fateful day
When my dad and my mom went their separate ways.

I suddenly mused on Christmases past,
The mountain of toys we kids would amass.
We’d laugh and we’d play and we’d play and we’d eat
Mom’s Custard Tart pie;  Ahhh, such a treat!

Then consciousness dulled as fatigue settled in,
The latch to my eyelids coming unpinned.
A break from this annual ache I would feel
That tugged at my soul, took strength to conceal.

But then a miraculous thing did occur,
I dreamed a grand dream and my spirit was stirred.
The Lord took me up, and showed this great sight
Of my home, my kids, myself , and my wife

On Christmas days filled with the love that we shared;
Starting with wonder and ending with prayer.
The faces reflecting the joy of those days
Were as sweet as a lavishly fragrant bouquet.

star and manger“How have I missed this?” I queried the Lord,
“These riches exceed what man could afford.”
This is the day I have made,” the Lord said,
“Move on from your past, here, focus instead.”

Then quickly He went to His heavenly abode.
I woke in my chair, and joy finally flowed
From a heart filled with thanks for blessings galore;
The ones that last years, not those from a store.

Time’s pages have turned since that Eve‘ night untold,
I bask in each Christmas, both body and soul.
For God gives today to each daughter and son,
A joy in this world, ‘cause our Savior has come.

 

May God bless you with His peace and joy this Christmas season and all the New Year!

“A Case for Christmas” for Adult Children of Divorce

Case for Christmas

With the swirl of emotions that usher in Christmas for adults with divorced parents, knowing the real meaning of Christmas is the cornerstone for building the joy-filled Christmas many ACD have lost. Unfortunately, too few are aware of the amazing truth that surrounds the Babe in the manger. Many more doubt the historicity of the story, or question how the event behind “Joy to the world, the Lord has come”* could produce an indelible mark on mankind. 

This compact, but powerful book by Lee Strobel (previously a investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune) takes a compelling look at “the most wonderful time of the year.“** I encourage you to learn the whole truth behind the nativity. Check out “A Case for Christmas” and rekindle the joy this season offers.

 

*Issac Watts, Joy to The World,” 1791.
**Pola amd Wyle, It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year, 1963.

Giving Thanks for 2013

For adults with divorced parents, Christmas can be the best of times and it can be the worst of times. Sometimes simultaneously! The myriad of family combinations can produce conflicts and near misses that can make “the most wonderful time of the year” very stressful.

The best antidote for holiday stress is thanking God for the many ways He has blessed you this past year. Thank Him for your friends, your family, and your home. Don’t miss things like food on the table, or heat, clothing, gas in the car, or a job, even a crummy one, that brings in much needed dollars.

An area of thankfulness we often overlook includes the positive traits we’ve acquired from our parents.  Even if your parents were absolute dysfunctional deadbeats (which usually is not the case), are you more independent as a result? Are you a go getter? Do you have a deep compassion for people? Are you particularly laptop and coffee pnggood with kids because you are giving them what you didn’t receive? There is a scripture that says God will restore what the locusts have eaten. Said differently, as a rose can grow out of the ashes, you have been blessed with positive character traits as a result of your parent’s divorce.

I encourage you to take the next 5 minutes, open up a Word file, and type a list of things you can be thankful for. Ask your spouse or friend for ideas too. It will be the best 5 minutes you spend today, because this thankful perspective will encourage and invigorate you and give a positive start to your new year!

With God’s richest blessings to you all,

Kent

The Reason for the Manger

mangerMy Friends,
Twenty Centuries ago God showed humanity how much He loved us. Unfortunately it’s sometimes hard to grasp why God had to come here to earth. Do you have a tough time with the “manger story” and all that?
My favorite Christmas story was told by Paul Harvey and it explains the nativity in simple terms in a way only he could do. Listen, understand, rejoice, and have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.
Kent