Children of divorce have it rough. Counselors will tell you that boys are more likely to dabble in drugs and girls are more likely to become promiscuous, seeking love in all the wrong places as a replacement for the security they’ve lost. It doesn’t always turn out that way, but this is the general tendency.
Sometimes children of divorce pursue perfectionism, seeking to be the “good kid” as a way to earn love from people in the world falling apart around them. Some turn to self-sufficiency as a self-defense mechanism to protect themselves from needing anyone, which would open themselves up to more hurt. Some move away and never look back, thinking if you run far and fast enough, you can put it all behind you….but somehow you come full circle and it’s still there. I was a little bit of all three.
Divorce affects kids for the rest of their lives, regardless of those who say “they’ll get over it.” You never “get over” the impact of your world being shattered. You face difficulties in relationships because you have no frame of reference for a healthy way of working through problems. You have no training in practicing forgiveness coupled with repentance and reconciliation. You have no role model of what type of man or woman you should look for in a future spouse. You have no sense of normal, no sense of what a godly marriage should look like.
You have nothing but brokenness.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:4-5, ESV)
Divorce not only affected how I related to others, it affected how I related to God. I saw him as someone from whom I needed to earn love and forgiveness. I felt like a hamster running on that wheel, constantly trying to be good but feeling like it was never enough.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7, ESV)
God saw me at my very worst moment, in my very worst sin, and he died for me anyway. He came to raise me from being dead in my sins and self-effort to being alive in Christ. He came to transform me into someone identified not by my circumstances, but in Christ alone.
This is Elohim, strong and mighty Creator God who creates new life out of the nothingness of our own.
It’s not about changing our human tendency to sin into something that will produce spiritual fruit. You can’t grow tomatoes from pumpkin seeds. It’s about being planted with a whole new imperishable seed through the living word of God (see I Peter 1:23). It’s about receiving a tomato seed that will produce tomatoes, a spiritual seed that will produce spiritual fruit. That’s what this picture reminds me of – new life brought forth by the Creator himself.
The Bible tells us that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead and the same power that spoke the world into existence is at work in us to give us new life (see Ephesians 1:19 and 3:20; also Colossians 1). This is our hope for being freed from the patterns of our past. The word Elohim includes the idea of yoking together, a binding of two parties into a covenant relationship. God does this for us, committing both his presence and his power to transform us into his image as we receive his grace and forgiveness, then reflect it to those around us. Will you give him your past and allow him to transform your future?
May Elohim be your source of power to walk in grace each moment as you trust him with both your past and your future.
P.S. If you are a divorced parent worried about your kids, and we all are, do not think of your divorce as a life sentence of generational sin for your kids. This article is written from my own perspective and experience as an adult who experienced childhood divorce. Not everyone’s experience is the same. There are a lot of great step families and communities of people making a difference in the lives of single parents and their children. Elohim creates new life regardless of the circumstances and our hope for our kids is in Him alone.