A Friend for the Tough (and Easy) Times

James Taylor sang:
    You just call out my name, And you know wherever I amswings-girls-talk-by-thaeusalrang
     I’ll come running, to see you again
    Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call
    And I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend1

For adults with divorced parents, when parents still force you to choose sides, you need a friend. When family gatherings include stepparents, ex-steps, potential new steps, and assorted others, you need a friend. When you find out your parents are divorcing after decades of marriage, you need a friend. When stresses in your relationship or marriage send the cold fear of divorce through your soul, you need a friend

Unfortunately, it seems people would rather see the dentist than share about their parents’ divorce with a friend. Between the “dirty laundry” stigma and the fear of the potential pain, we just won’t go there. However, dealing with the years-long and ongoing aftermath of parental divorce is something we shouldn’t handle alone. But don’t share indiscriminately.

conversation-by-christ-blakeley

We need a confidant
A confidant keeps what you share confidential. Presidents have confidants. Pastors have confidants. Did you know even Jesus had confidants? The Bible records that Jesus told Peter, James, and John, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”1 Jesus separated these three again in the Garden of Gethsemane.2

The person you choose must be one you can confide in, bounce ideas off, lean on, and receive biblical wisdom from. It’s not required that this special person be your best friend. Also, unless your spouse is the ideal candidate, your confidant should be of the same gender. This is because sharing personal things can lower our emotional defenses and cause us to form a bond with the individual. It’s best to avoid this unnecessary risk.

Learning to trust again

Using confidants can be challenging for adult children of divorce, because we must trust them. Unfortunately, earning our trust can be like taking a favorite toy from a toddler—it’s given grudgingly. But, the alternative—keeping the barriers up—means the stress and pain the post-parental-divorce-life can create has no constructive outlet. And this is where many ACD’s find themselves.

The upside of confidants
“A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”3 In taking this step, you’ll find that God, you, and your confidant are a formidable team. Where you are weak, they are strong. Together, you can overcome the divorce-related fears and other issues that block the healthy relationships you desire.

But what are the qualities of a confidant? We’ll explore that next.

 

1King, Carole, “You’ve Got a Friend,” Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon, Warner Bros. Records Inc.’t. 1971. http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/James_Taylor:You%27ve_Got_A_Friend
2See Matthew 26:36-38
3Proverbs 18:24,NASB

Images
Swings, Girls talk by THaeuSalRang
talk to me my love by Indra Galbo\
man on phone – Thinkstock

 

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Do You Want to be Healed?

My last blog looked at four types of adult child of divorce. For those in the Deluded, Denied, and Determined camps the next question is: Do you want to be healed?

This seems like an odd thing to ask until you look at a situation a man faced when approached by Jesus. Jesus was walking through an area where many sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed people gathered. He approached this man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and asked him, “Would you like to get well?”1 This seems like a no-brainer question, but is it?

Exercise by Oregon State University croppedEvery New Year’s Day people make a commitment to change—lose weight, be more organized, quit smoking, argue less, etc. But days or perhaps weeks after they start, defeat comes. They quit and reboot next year on January 1st. We’ve all experienced this, but why? As blunt as this sounds, we have no resolve.

When we show resolve, “a definite and serious decision [is made] to do something.”2 In our context, when asked, “Do you want to be healed?” the real question is, have you resolved to overcome the issues your parents’ divorce created or are you content to dabble in healing?

Jesus is asking you,Do you want to enjoy your holidays and other family occasions? Do you want to stop hating your Mom or Dad? Do you want to stop sabotaging your relationships and not knowing why?” What’s your answer?

Divorce nightmare adultchildrenofdivorce.netThe wrong response is, “I’m tired of the anger. I’m tired of hating holidays. I’m tired of sitting in a room and watching my parents fight. I’m tired of feeling insecure at work and at home. I’m tired of failing in my relationships. I’m tired of seeing the hurt look in my spouse’s eyes when I blow it. I’m tired of never getting better.”

The right response is, “Heavenly Father, I’m willing to humble myself, admit that I can’t do this on my own, and submit to Your authority, power, guidance, and wisdom.” God can bring healing to your heart and mind—when you resolve to be healed.

But are there hidden reasons we don’t want to be healed?

  • Too much work involved.
  • Don’t want to face the pain.
  • We like hating and holding unforgiveness because we think it gives us power over those who hurt us.
  • We enjoy being a martyr since it absolves us have taking the responsibility to change.

Christian Cross 11 by Waiting For The Word croppedI realize I’m being a bit harsh, but aren’t you tired of dreading holidays, weddings, parties or any event where your folks, ex-folks, and step-folks show up? Aren’t you sick of fretting over parents’ new boyfriends, girlfriends or hurtful antics? God can help.

Believe me. I know how hard it is to hope, but God is faithful. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”Pray that He will strengthen your resolve and guide you into the Determined and Delivered camps today!

 

1John 5:6, NLT.
2http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resolve
3Proverbs 3:5, NLT

Photos:
Exercise by Oregon State University
Divorce Nightmare – Dreamstine
Christian Cross 11 by Waiting For The Word

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.

Triggering to the Truth – Audio

Bible with Cross Shadow David Campbell  FCC ( A, $, @) 337522540_8eb3c1f974_oTriggers can be problematic for adult children of divorce and toxic to their relationships.

This program contains my talk about triggers and how they impact adults with divorced parents. This was recorded from the New Beginnings Radio show which is normally hosted by Rick Van Briggle, but I was the guest host for this program, .

 

Bible with Cross Shadow Image by David Campbell

Handling Tremors after the Divorce Earthquake – A Sunday Snippet

Security, safety, and self-preservation often drive our actions and inactions daily. What constitutes security, safety, and self-preservation (at least in the western culture) often include money, home, loving spouse, and good friends. Earthquakes can wipe out all of this—leaving us jittery and searching for the security we had.

Our parents’ divorce was an earthquake in our childhood. earthquakes measuringFor most of us, things were secure, safe, and then, boom! The earth shook and our world was wiped out. Our family fell apart. We may have “lost” loved ones, and financial security often became a guessing game. As kids, it was a very traumatic experience for most of us. So we clung to whatever we could for security. Too often, In lieu of the feelings of safety we craved, people, drugs, perfectionism, alcohol, shopping, lust, anorexia, anger, were used as a substitute.

Unfortunately, years later, when adult children of divorce feel “tremors” (threats to our receiving love, physical well-being, or reputation), we can revert back to those coping behaviors without thinking about it. For example, when our spouse says something that makes us feel insecure, or there’s a drain on our finances (or our ability to make finances,) we automatically “reach” for what has always made us feel secure—even if it goes against what we believe (sinful behaviors), or is destructive to us or others—like lying, withdrawing, or lashing out in anger.

Think about what is worrying you right now. What is causing you stress because your “security” is threatened? During times like this, it is important to take your eyes off the issue, and put them onto Jesus. Jesus knows we have bouts of fear and insecurity. He said “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”1 Take heart! Jesus can help us overcome our fears when we lean on Him for our security.

man praying adultchildrenofdivorce.netDoing these four steps can help:

  1. Write down three things that are causing you to feel insecure.
  2. Read Matthew chapter 6 verses 19-34.
  3. Pray to God and ask Him to help you overcome the things on your list.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

For adults with divorced parents, “tremors” will come and go, but we can greatly reduce our negative response to those triggers by “giving all our worries and cares to God.”2

1John 16:33, New Living Translation
21 Peter 5:7, ibid

Squashing the Voice of the Fear of Doom

Normally I try to have these blogs polished and all that, but I wanted to quickly share something that happened yesterday. Do you ever have a really good day? I mean a day where things go above “good”. That was yesterday. I had a three situations where I was encouraged and affirmed and was so thankful that God would use me in such amazing ways. Then “the voice” came.

“You know this is only happening because God is building you up before something really crummy happens.” In seconds, the air started to go out of my balloon. 

But I’m so glad that the Lord has me far enough down my healing journey that now I stand on God’s truth instead of Satan’s lies. Does “life happen? Yes. But not all the time. The Bible says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.1 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!2 This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”3

“The voice” would have won the battle and stole God’s joy from me in the past. Yesterday truth won. I pray you will have victory over the lies and enjoy God’s blessings as well.

1Matthew 6:34 [NLT]
2Matthew 7:11 [NKJV]
3Psalm 118:24 [NKJV]