Nuzzling in God’s Neck – A Sunday Snippet

Maybe you had onjoanna-sweenye of those conversations with your mom, dad, or stepparent.
Maybe your brother or sister is furious that you like your stepmother.
Maybe, even though everything went well, you’re exhausted from keeping parents and steps and assorted others happy at a family event.
Maybe you’re scared because arguments at home sound so similar to the pre-divorce skirmishes you heard as a child.
Maybe life is just hard.

During these times wouldn’t it be great if you could crawl onto God’s lap, let Him wrap His arms around you, and tuck your head into his neck like a little child? But can we do that? Should we do that?

First, can we do that?
Many people see God as ominous, fearful, and untouchable, but as Christians the Bible says, “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.1 Abba Father can be translated “Daddy.” This is God’s perspective of our relationship with Him, but perhaps a picture can help.

One of my favorites is this picture of President Kennedy with his son, John, playing under the presidential desk.

John Jr. isn’t thinking about being with the leader of the free world. He is with his dad. Likewise, God wants us to curl up with Him, Abba Father, in spite of the fact he is the ruler of all creation.

Second, should we do that?
Countless scriptures declare, “Yes!!!

Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.2

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.3

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.4Time for reflection by Hans G Backman

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.  For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.5

Third, how do we do that?
Preferences vary. Some literally crawl onto the couch or recliner and pretend they’re in God’s arms. Others pray. For some people, walking with God helps bring God’s reality in troubling situations.

How we embrace our Abba Father relationship doesn’t’ matter. God isn’t picky. He’s just waiting with open arms for us to come to him.


1Romans 8:15, NLT
2Hebrews 4:16, NLT
31 Peter 5:7, NLT
4Psalms 121: 2-3, NIV
5Psalms 103-13-14, NLT

Joanna Sweeny
Time for reflection by Hans G Backman





We Have Received our Tax Exempt Status!

Adult Children of Divorce Ministries has received its confirmation letter from the IRS that we’re officially a 501(c)3 organization. This means financial donations to this ministry are considered eligible for tax deductibility by the IRS.
This is a major step for the ministry, and we thank God for His favor and wisdom throughout this process.

Praise From a Thankful Heart –A Sunday Snippet

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your gWoman with Arms in the Airlory above the heavens!1
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?2

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.3
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.4
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!5


1Psalm 8:1, New King James Version
2Psalm 8:3, New Living Translation
3Psalm 9:1-2, New Living Translation
4Psalm 9:9, New Living Translation
5Psalm 8:1a, New King James Version

What’s in a name? Research help needed please.

I’m conducting some research and need some help. I’m looking for people with the following criteria:

-Due to your mom’s remarriage, your last name was different than your mom and step-dad. (Your last name is Smith. Mom remarries so the household name is now Jones)

If this is you, please fill out the 6-question survey at the link below. If you know someone who has divorced parents, please share this page with them.

Click Here  for the survey.

Thanks for your help.

The Cross and the Fear of Abandonment

It’s a day after Easter and stores are already hawking Mother’s Day gifts. The fluff of Easter is past, but the cross continues to show God’s ability to heal issues, like the fear of abandonment, that nip at the heels of adult children of divorce.abandoned boy

Carley’s dad left when she was six. After the divorce, she always looked for signs that her mother was leaving too. If her mom came home from work five minutes later than usual, fear would grip her heart. This was a distant memory until her husband came home late one night and she barked at him for no apparent reason.

Carley shared the incident with a girlfriend whose parents were also divorced. To her surprise, she too experienced fear of being abandoned when she was young. Her boyfriend’s unexpected departure, after a four-year courtship, reinforced the fear.

“I didn’t trust anyone,” the girlfriend said. “Everyone was held at arm’s length, and I was dying inside. Companionship was bittersweet. The allure of love was undermined by the aftertaste of feared abandonment. But one Easter, the Pastor taught how the cross showed God’s love and commitment to us. In sending Jesus to die for us—despite our sin-filled track record—God declared that He would never abandon us.”

Adult Children of Divorce Forgiveness“I’d made a lot of mistakes. By that point in my life, I believed that I actually deserved to be abandoned. What a horrible burden to live with. But I learned that when Jesus said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you,’1 He was assuring me of God’s unchanging love for me. Thankfully, the truth of the cross renewed my mind and heart.”

The Bible says Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it. He came so we could have freedom from the sin and fears that weaken our relationships. Let the truth of the cross crush your fear of abandonment.

1Hebrews 13:5 [NKJV]
Copyright© 2014, Inc

Accountability for the Hurting

                     Psalm 139

O Lord, you have examined my heartWoman with Arms in the Air
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life. [NLT]

God knows all about us. Nothing is hidden from Him. As we process through issues that our parent’s divorce triggered, we must be mindful not to overlook our own sinful acts.

The discoveries we make on our healing journey may explain why we respond a certain way, but they don’t justify sinful behavior. When we bark at a loved one, or blindside a coworker with harshness, or when our pride punishes where compassion should have cared, we sin against God.

Re-read and pray over these verses. Allow the Lord to reveal any hidden sin in your life. Are you hiding anger or bitterness? Has unforgiveness taken root in your heart due to something your parents did or still do?  Let God bring you to a place of conviction, confession, forgiveness, and repentance. Before God is where  true healing begins.

“They are Thinking of Divorce”

I sure hope I’m the only one who has been hearing this too much lately. Yes, I know January and February are the big months for divorce filings, but it still grieves my heart. Just in case I’m not the only one hearing this, please check out the hard facts below.1 Maybe, lovingly applied, you may spare people the pain of what has been described as “the funeral that never ends.”2

Before they throw in the towel – do they know:

Remarriages have a higher failure rate than first marriages. We think if we just change partners, our problems will be solved. Not so. And if there are children involved, you’ll turn some perfectly nice person into a stepmother or stepfather. In remarriages with children – stepfamilies – the divorce rate is even higher.

Our research estimates that 55-60% of marriages that end in divorce fall into the category of “good enough marriages”. These marriages appear to red and white hearts ACD Ministriesbe functioning well only a year or so prior to the divorce. From a child’s perspective, these divorce are unexpected, inexplicable, and unwelcome and are thus most likely to harm children. These marriages are significantly more likely to divorce because of infidelity, which they blame on “drifting apart” or “communication problems”. These 50-60% of divorces are unlikely to mention abuse because these were not highly conflicted marriages.  – Paul Amato, Smart Marriages keynote   Couples can take a simple Marriage Education class and learn the skills to communicate and fall back in love.

Divorce causes a decrease in wealth that is larger than just splitting a couple’s assets in half. Divorce drops a person’s wealth by an average of 77%. And, contrary to popular belief, the research shows that the wealth status of divorced men wasn’t significantly better than that of divorced women, in terms of real money. Divorce devastates your wealth. By the same token, married people see an increase in wealth that is more than just adding the assets of two single people. If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married. – Jay Zagorsky, Ohio State, Journal of Sociology, Jan 2006

Children-of-divorced-parents are at least 50 percent more likely to get a divorce than those from an unbroken home, said Penn State Professor Paul Amato, a researcher and expert on parent-child relationships. When both the husband and wife come from divorced families, the odds of divorce are 200 percent higher.

“If you want to stay married, marry someone just like you. Except if you’re from a divorced family, marry someone from an intact family,” said Nick Wolfinger, researcher. When either the husband or wife is a child-of-divorce, those marriages were almost twice as likely to fail as marriages where neither spouse came from a divorced family. Marriages between two spouses from divorced families were more than three times as likely to fail. Wolfinger finds children of divorce are more likely to cut and run. If you experience relationships as transitory while growing up, that’s what you’ll do as an adult. Most people remarry, so a couple of years after their parents divorce, a kid is going to pick up a stepparent. Second marriages have even higher rates of divorce than first marriages, so that kid may experience a second divorce. Having a stepparent makes a kid even more likely to divorce later in life – having a stepparent teaches that spouses are replaceable if things don’t work out.

family praying togetherMen, women and children all do better in intact FIRST marriages – and, that’s on all measures: health, wealth, satisfaction, and success.  Work things out and you’ll all be better off – in the long run. As summarized by columnist Maggie Gallagher: “Even among advantaged, middle-class white children, divorce doubles the risk that 20 years later these adult children will experience serious social, emotional, and/or psychological dysfunction.” 

Mavis Hetherington, a respected psychologist/stepfamily researcher, found that the adult-children-of-divorce had twice the divorce rate of kids from intact families, and that only 20 percent of the adults (the parents) who saw their marriages end felt their lives have been improved by the experience. – 1/28/07 Virginia Free-LanceStar

“The central hazard of divorce for the child is not his acute unhappiness, however tragic this may be, but the possibility that the family disruption will in some way discourage his progress along the developmental ladder.” Wallerstein and Kelly (1980) At the statistical level there is evidence to associate growing up in single-parent families and stepfamilies with greater risk to well-being – including a greater risk of dropping out of school, of leaving home early, or poorer health, of low skills, and of low pay. (p. 23) Child Poverty in Perspective

Marriages, like everything else, go through slumps – down times. But, with time, things often get better on their own. In The Case for Marriage Waite and Gallagher point out that many who report that their marriages were at the bottom of the scale on marital satisfaction, when asked five years later, reported being at the top on marital happiness. What changed? Many had no idea – often couldn’t even remember that they’d felt things were bottomed out.  It seems that simply keeping our vows – hanging in through the “for worse”, even the “for boring” or when we feel all out of love can, eventually, be what gets us to the promised land. Get married, stay married – what a concept. In their follow-up research, Does Divorce Make People Happy? Waite and Gallagher flesh out these findings. As people go through unhappy periods in their marriage they fantasize about getting out of the marriage and finding happiness by falling in love with someone new. It turns out that the surer route to happiness – in the long run – is to fall back in love with the person with whom you have children, extended families, and a history – someone who will enjoy the grandkids with you and has been there to know what you’ve done for others.

The new relationship is only going to be *new* for a few short years, then you’ll be back to trying to figure out how to make a marriage work. Except this time you’ll have to do it with the added baggage of exes, jealousy, step kids, child support, visitation.  And, don’t kid yourself that single life doesn’t get old, lonely, and boring. You CAN get past boredom & disappointment, also affairs, substance abuse, porn addiction, emotional and physical abuse, betrayals, and come out better and stronger than before.

Marriage Education classes are not just for the engaged or newlyweds. Adult Children of Divorce HealingThey work for
couples on the brink of divorce – hopeless couples in the deep end of the ocean who feel they’ve fallen out of love – who have drifted apart. The courses also work for cohabiting couples. These are relationship skills.
You CAN learn new ways to interact, to connect – and by so doing, can become “masters of marriage” – gain the confidence to marry or, if you’re already married and facing disappointment, to fall back in love. “New love is the brightest, and long love is the greatest, but revived love is the tenderest thing known on earth.” – Thomas Hardy 

When it comes to the kids, it’s not just single unwed mothers whose kids struggle. “Most researchers reported that STEPCHILDREN were similar to children living with single mothers on the preponderance of outcome measures and that stepchildren were at greater risk for problems than were children living with both of their married parents.” – The Journal of Marriage and Family

“I’m not advocating for loveless marriages. But it’s also the case that marriage doesn’t make us happy every day. No marriage does, but your marriage serves as so much more than just a vehicle for immediate individual adult needs. It makes one world for your child, and children will tell you that means everything to them.” Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds

1 Smart Marriages.
2Generation Ex. Pg. 38