Houses Divided at Christmas

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people suffer from depression during the Christmas season. Some are experiencing their first Christmas after a loved one has died. Others worry about the family dynamic on Christmas day–Will Uncle Ralph pick a fight?  Will Cousin Sarah get drunk? For others, the limitations of getting everyone together can create stress and disappointment.

Anyone who’s divorced with children knows the heartache of Christmas. Where will the children be? How do we divide up the time? As the children grow up, marry, and start their own families, it becomes even harder. Which family will they spend Christmas with? Who will we have to leave out? Add to this married children of divorce who have married a child of divorce, and the problem is staggering.

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three… Luke 12:51-52

Even though these verses don’t refer to this specific situation, this is another example of why divorce is not God’s plan. We are facing it, ourselves. After many years of Christmases with most of our family gathered together, we’ve hit an interesting crossroads. One child is saving her money to come home for a wedding in April, instead. The others are headed to various family members’ homes, just not ours. Aging parents can’t make the trip.

I know Christmas is not about who is where. It’s about the birth of Christ, and the world’s awareness of God’s gift of salvation. It’s a time of blessings.

But it’s also a time when families gather together.

So, we will be trying out new traditions this year. New ways of approaching the day. On the plus side, we won’t have to rush to get dressed and get the turkey in the oven before family arrives. We can take it slower. And we will see most everyone over the next week. We get a prolonged Christmas.

Someone you know is facing a Christmas alone or separated from loved ones. Reach out to them, share with them your lives, and, most importantly, share the story of Jesus and the hope he brings.

 

Giving Thanks: Week 3

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© BV Evers, All Rights Reserrved

Today is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24

Today, I’m thankful for waking up to a new day. The weather is still temperate, and, except fot the smoke from the South Carolina and North Carolina wildfires, it’s a beautiful day.

Because of the smoke, I’m glad for window and door seals that keep the smokey air outside rather than leaking in through little cracks.

I’m, also, thankful for my parents this week. They are gone now, but they provided me with a stable, loving home and stood by me as I traversed the difficult early adult years of my life.

This struck home last night when my grandson complained that he wanted his mommy. He didn’t want to eat his dinner, so, as he does when he doesn’t like our rules, he cried for his mom. The longest I went without my mom  at that age was a week while visiting my grandparents. That was hard for me. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been for him and his sister. It may not be the plan we had for our lives, but I’m thankful that I can provide a stable home for my grandchildren.

Next week is Thanksgiving, so if you haven’t started thinking about what you’re thankful for, now’s a good time.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

When Your Teen Becomes Pregnant

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Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

After my divorce, I spent twelve years as a single parent. Over time, it became easier, and we fell into a rhythm of life that worked for us. But I kept an eye out for the right man to step into the father role for my daughters. I dated, but most men didn’t rate a second date. Of those who did, I allowed only a few to stick around beyond a third date.

I was a package deal. If I sniffed out troubles early on, I kicked the guy to the curb. I wanted my girls to experience a good father, one who didn’t use violence to control you. A man who cared and provided for his children and demonstrated the true love of a father. In the absence of this man, I relied on my father and men from church.

I did eventually find the man who would step into that role, but you can’t rely on a person to fix a situation, especially one that had been developing long before he entered the picture.  The only one who can fix something is God.

I believe He brought my husband into my life at this critical point, a time when I would need him to stand with me through tough times.

At the age of fifteen, my younger daughter became pregnant. After all I had done to try and teach her right from wrong, she chose to ignore my guidance and got involved with a boy whose family had very loose morals.

When I met my ex-husband, my parents strongly disapproved, driving me toward him, not away, so I vowed not to make that mistake. It was not easy. We caught her in a few lies related to the boyfriend. This only angered her more. No matter what we said or did, we never seemed to get it right.

One evening she ran away. We looked everywhere. Called the police. When we called her boyfriend’s mother she told me she wasn’t at their house and that her son was missing, too.

The woman lied. My daughter was at her house and spent the night with her boyfriend. What a nightmare.

Any surprise she became pregnant? I hoped it wouldn’t happen, but I wasn’t a fool.

I had vowed to not make the mistakes my parents made in this same situation, yet here I was. I tried to show more compassion than I felt I had received as a teen, so I found a Christian counselor to help her navigate this frightening time.

As she pondered her options, I worried.

She was too young to raise the child alone or to get married, although she didn’t seem to want to do that.

Should we raise this child as our own? Our daughter had become stubborn and difficult over the last few years. What would life be like if she and the child remained with us? Who would be legally responsible?

Her father, my abusive ex, offered to raise the child. I put my foot down on that idea, shocked that she even considered it.

We didn’t believe in abortion, so that wasn’t going to happen.

The last option, the one she eventually chose, was adoption.

And here’s where the ray of light, the silver lining, appeared in this situation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

My brother and his wife could not conceive and had begun looking into adoption. It took time for my daughter to decide, but she chose them to adopt the baby, a beautiful boy. She fulfilled their desire for a child, he remained part of the family he was born into, and my daughter had the opportunity to move forward in her life and still know her son.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28