When divorce happens, lives get turned upside down. What was normal becomes strange; what was predictable becomes uncertain. For the single parent dealing with such a shift, it is reassuring to hear repeatedly the grounding truths found in Scripture.
Here are a few.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Romans 8:28 ". . . in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Psalm 27:1-3 "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Additionally, here are a few nuggets of truth from those who've gone before you.
Four truths that every single parent needs to hear.
You are not alone.
Your spouse is no longer your partner. Your “couple friends” seem distant; it's hard for them to choose a side (picking a side is not necessary, but some people feel a sense of loyalty or obligation). The majority of your friends are still married. And so, you feel alone. Who could possibly understand how you feel? Who has the time to hear your woes anyway? Your friends are busy caring for their own families.
Then, for a day or two, you think you’re OK. You feel a sense of hope. Then you hear a particular song, see a couple holding hands, or happen upon a dumb joke about divorce on Facebook, and loneliness descends on you like a dense, dark cloud.
The depths of despair may feel real, but you are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You are not the first person to go through a divorce, nor will you be the last. While this may feel like an insensitive statement, it should be encouraging. There are others out there who know exactly how you feel.
To help you through periods of aloneness, here are some things you can do.
- Although your closest friends may not understand how it feels to be in your position, let them in. Talk to them. Willingly, open up.
- Seek out a DivorceCare group.
- Consider finding a Christian therapist or a counselor.
- Pray often.
- Write in a journal. Jot down your thoughts and feelings as the Holy Spirit guides you.
- Ask a few close friends to take a trip with you. It doesn't have to be lengthly. It could be an overnight or a weekend. But, get out, let yourself laugh, and allow yourself to feel loved.
- Spend time with other Christians, even with those you don't personally know. If you're a woman, check out our Women's Events; they include Girls’ Night Out and Women's Weekends. If you're a guy, browse our Men's Events. Time with fellow believers can be healing and restorative.
- It's good for the soul to spend quality time with your children. Our Family Camp offers Bible teaching, live praise & worship, and plenty of recreational activities. Single parent scholarships are available.
You are still valuable, worthwhile, and loved.
The Enemy will try to convince you that God can no longer use you or that your divorce is the “scarlet letter” that puts you in a lower class of Christians. You may feel that you've lost your value, or that you're unloveable. But . . . NONE of these thoughts are true, not even in the slightest. Keep clinging to Jesus for understanding, guidance, wisdom, and strength, but most importantly NEVER lose sight that you are HIS child. Your value and worth is found solely in Christ. And unlike your earthly spouse, your heavenly Father will never leave you.
Your children will be OK.
God intended marriage to last a lifetime. However, living in a sin-saturated world, some marriages end before the lifetime is over.
In most circumstances, this is disappointing and unfortunate. Ideally, marriages and families stay together. Children benefit the most when their moms and dads are married to each other and can parent as a team. However, divorce happens, and children are along for the ride, for better or worse.
In the aftermath of the divorce, some parents experience a deep sense of guilt. They feel sorry for their children—sorry that they will never experience what God intended—a strong family unit with mom and dad at the helm.
It's easy to feel a deep sense of grief for what you know your child will be missing throughout their life. It's reasonable for your heart to break knowing they feel broken. Divorce is a life change that no child should have to experience. You may ask, "Will they ever recover?" "Will they be scarred forever?" or "Will their hearts fully heal?"
Here are two points that are worth considering as you wrestle through such questions.
- God is in control. All you need to do is TRUST Him to lead you and believe that He can guide and work in your child in spite of human flaws and broken relationships. Besides, He made your child; He knew them by name even before birth. His love for your kiddo even exceeds yours.
- Research shows that about 80% of children from divorced families adapt well and don't experience lasting negative effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health. What children need to thrive is unconditional love, fair discipline, and stability. If you can provide these things, according to research, your children will be OK.
Your life can be complete again . . . without a spouse.
As mentioned earlier, your value and identity are in Christ—not in having a husband or being a wife (or vice versa). It's clear, then, that life CAN BE complete without a spouse.
God has a purpose for every season of your life, including your season of singleness and single parenting. Don’t spend time wishing your life—or season in life—was different or fast-forwarded. Contentment is key here. Trusting God's plan is essential. When we do this, life becomes simpler, impatience wanes, and joy grows.
Life sans-spouse can be full and rich. Start by becoming comfortable with yourself and discovering what you want to do with your life. Pick up new hobbies, go out with your friends, spend more time with your loved ones, pursue that career you always dreamed of, and love being in your own shoes. Take time to work on you.
Embrace your new season.