First let me say that I always promise to be honest. I’m going to share some personal things and I hope you take them for their purpose in sharing this message and look at the big picture.
My parents got divorced when I was nine. I knew it was coming, but I hoped with all of my being that it would work out, that things would get better. I remember very vividly the feeling of heart break, confusion, and sadness the day that I was sat down and told that my parents’ marriage was over. My nine year old world came crashing down in a matter of minutes.
It got easier. I was more accepting of the situation as I got older. And then high school started. During those four years I struggled a lot, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and even physically at times. It’s a confusing hard time in a teenager’s life and having parents in separate homes and not fully understanding what happened makes it more difficult.
I am the oldest of three. I was the big sister and felt pressure to be “perfect” for my siblings and my mom. This affected my mental health much more than I thought at the time. I wanted to be the best of the best because I felt that was my duty. I had to fulfill it so there wasn’t so much pressure on my mom to be perfect.
Like I’ve said before, I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church regularly, but I always felt like I couldn’t see or feel God during the tough times. I felt like I was alone. I felt depressed. I felt worthless. I felt like there was no way out and this was my forever. I would lay in bed many nights and cry til my eyes were puffed shut. As a result, I drank a lot. I smoked occasionally. I partied. I snuck out of the house to go do what “cool kids do”. I tried to fill a void with temptations from the enemy that left me more broken than before.
Looking back, I honestly believe many of these insecurities stemmed from feeling emotionally broken from my parents’ divorce. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of my parents SO much and do not blame them individually for this what so ever. Divorce is from the devil and he thrives in the brokenness that follows it. That is who is to blame. The problem with high school Amanda was instead of drawing closer to the Lord during tough times, I looked for comfort elsewhere (because of free will) and dug myself a deeper damaging hole.
I have learned a lot since high school. I think I needed to experience and feel how I did to appreciate the love and comfort that I can feel through Jesus. I now know that during the struggles He is there. Whether I feel or see Him or not, He is right there walking the walk with me and ALL I have to do is turn to Him. This was something I fought and fought in high school because I wanted to do it on my own. But, we can’t fight the devil alone. We can’t fight the emotional problems that divorce leaves us with all by ourselves. The enemy grabs ahold of that pain, especially when that pain is present from a young age and feels normal, and drags you down until he’s taken all of you. But the good Lord can pull you out and make you whole again. I promise I promise I promise. You have to trust Him and let Him work His magic. Find the good things. Seek Him. It gets better.
Words of advice to divorced parents from a child of divorce:
1. Make your kids feel incredibly loved– Middle and high school teenagers can be hard to relate to. I couldn’t stand my mom back then but she always made sure I knew I was loved. And so did my dad. I encourage you to always always always make sure they know thy are loved and that you are there no matter what. Hug and kiss them when they don’t want you to. Leave them love notes (even your sons). Be their biggest cheerleader.
2. Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything– They probably won’t want to. But help them feel comfortable and open to share their struggles with you so they know they have you as an outlet if they choose to come to you.
3. Encourage Jesus– I would not be where I am today without the Christian foundation I grew up with. Don’t overdo it, but always give them Jesus reminders, set those moral standards, and keep building that foundation and praying for them. They’ll appreciate it someday.
Words of advice for kids of divorced parents from a girl who has been there:
1. See the light– Whether your parents are currently going through a divorce or you’re in high school, or even college. Know that it WILL get better. You might not even notice the effect it’s had on you because it seems normal. The enemy has made it feel like it’s part of who you are and there’s no changing the damage. That is the farthest thing from the truth. You are a precious child of God and He has BIG things for you. Keep finding the positives. Strive for happiness. Seek God for comfort.
2. Talk about it– I strongly encourage you not to hold it all in. It builds up and other negative things build upon that until you create this person that isn’t you. I felt for so long like I couldn’t express how divorce made me really feel. Talk to friends you TRULY trust. Talk to your parents. Talk to a counselor (that’s what I did for a while). Get things off of your chest before they pile up.
3. Don’t blame yourself or your parents– Divorce is from the devil. Period. It’s NOT your fault. If you feel like it is, that is a message straight from satan dragging you down. Accept the situation for what it is and move forward. You are not to blame and don’t resent your parents for it. Sin is everywhere in this world and unfortunately, a life changing sin affected your world. But God calls us to love and forgive. Blame The devil and fight against him, not your loving parents and especially not yourself.
PS: Always here to chat if you need it 🙂