An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

Hi. I’m Chloe and I’m 16. Divorce happened in my life when I was one year old.

This is the first Christmas I’m looking forward to. Any other year I couldn’t care less if tomorrow was Christmas and to be honest, I learned to dread all holidays.

Today I will be a voice for the four year old who doesn’t understand why this Christmas Mommy is not at Daddy’s house to open presents.

Little kids may not be able to speak out yet so I will for them.

I dreaded picking whose house I wanted to be at and dreaded the stress of hurting someone’s feelings that comes with it.

I also dreaded being forced to go to either house when I didn’t want to go.

My feelings matter.

Half a day here and half a day there is not fun. (And thankfully my parents did not make me do this.)

I dreaded presents I wouldn’t like but was told gift cards are tacky to ask for. They are not. Gift cards are okay to ask for.

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

Divorce changes a family but not many people think of how the kid was affected.

You don’t “have” me or “get” me for Christmas.

I “get” chicken pox.

I “have” a rash.

I “have” to “go.”

I “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What? You don’t “have” him like you have a rash. You’re blessed to spend time with him this Christmas. And if you’re truly blessed to spend Christmas with him, then treat him like it.

And don’t let him feel the divorce was his fault. Don’t be fake, either. You’re the grown up and if you want your kid to be part of your family, too, then act like it and take the first step.

While I understand some kids with divorced parents act like they don’t care because they’re getting extra presents, some place underneath it all they actually do care and they’re hurting.

Most of the time I couldn’t care less about the presents because hurt and sad memories were attached to them. Because every time I see the game that was at the top of my wish list, I remember the tears of missing my mom, and of brokenness that went along with this present.

A lot of us feel hurt that Christmas isn’t “normal” (whatever normal is.) Or kids are sad that their family is broken. Or they feel like a bother because Christmas family vacations aren’t whole. Or they feel left out of family events. Being a kid is hard enough. Please don’t add stress of your divorce to my life.

The divorce was not my fault. And I should get to hear that. Often.

Contrary to what many kids from divorced parents think, I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still feel stuck in the middle – because I AM.

I’m stuck between Mom and Dad and words like “biological” and “step.”  (I’m SO done with the word “step.”)

I’m stuck between two homes.

I’m stuck between feelings of brokenness and extra love.

I already feel torn and broken that you guys aren’t married anymore so please don’t add to that by forcing me or guilting me into coming over. I didn’t ask for the divorce and I’m not the grown up.

I’m the little kid who is learning that happily ever after isn’t always true.

Just talk to me.

Even as little kids we understand a lot more than you think we do. Talk with me WITHOUT trashing the other parent. It is okay for me to love Mom and Dad and I can even love new parents and new siblings. God doesn’t limit or divide our love. He increases it.

I get it. You’re grieving. I need time to grieve, too. Something died and it’s okay if I’m upset. Tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I lost something too. I lost Christmas the way I wanted it to be.

Just love me today and spend time with me today. Pray over me. Remind me it’s okay to love Mommy AND Daddy and all the rest of this messy family – because it IS okay and I should get to hear that.

I will be okay and you will be okay.

I will love you BOTH and anyone else I choose to love – and you need to be okay with that.

I am blessed to get to spend time at Christmas with two parents, even if at separate houses, who love me and are nice to (and about) each other.

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

Sometimes there are things that we never would have thought of before divorce that are now real life for us.

Celebrating on “the actual date” doesn’t matter anymore. You celebrate when you can and with the people who can be there.  And that’s okay.

You learn to accept that life looks different now – and that is okay. Even if other people don’t understand everything, that’s still okay.  We know that every situation is different.

You pray over your children and encourage them to enjoy time at the other parent’s house. Sure. Let them know you miss them but more people to love and care about any child in a healthy way is a good thing. It is okay for kids to enjoy Christmas at either house. I KNOW it’s rough. I spent many hours crying because holidays didn’t feel whole anymore. In fact, I spent many hours crying over just missing regular, everyday life moments.

If you’re a single mom or dad, we know it’s tough. We’ve been there. A lot of presents aren’t necessary. Your time just hanging out and listening to your kids matters more. If the other parent can afford more presents, that’s okay. If not, that’s okay, too.

We will be okay and you will be okay.

We wish you a peaceful and stress free Christmas – however that looks at your house.

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

[Note:  Unfortunately, there are many times a child should not be in the care of someone.  Please do pay attention if something seems unsettling.  Everyone involved in a divorce can probably benefit from counseling if needed.]

 

Advertisements

Everybody is kind of broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

They don’t.

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (as she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

If It Wasn’t For The X-Rays

A long time ago I was broken; on the inside. A teen driver accidentally drove through a stoplight and hit the side of the car crushing my side.

I remember thinking, “If I could just get this seatbelt off then I could get out of the car and I’ll be okay.”

But I was not okay.

I kept losing consciousness. I could barely breathe. The paramedics had to cut the car and lift me out.

The x-rays showed that my shoulder was crushed, collar bone had been broken, lung had collapsed, and liver was split open.

There was not one scratch on the outside of me.

If it wasn’t for the x-rays showing the truth then nobody would have been able to see the brokenness inside my body.

~
If we could see inside someone’s heart or life we’d see the broken pieces desperately needing to heal.

Stuff happened. Life has taught us to be a little less trusting, a little more defensive, and a little skeptical about others’ intentions.

Sometimes we’ve lost consciousness – and we don’t even know it. We THINK we’re okay – but we’re really not.

It’s okay to NOT be okay for a while. Life can sometimes pull the rug out from underneath our feet, leaving us in a pile of brokenness on the ground just struggling for the next breath.

We talk about stuff. We complain about stuff. We think about stuff. MORE THAN THIS we need to take it to God and PRAY about stuff.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s what he does. And he’s good at it. That old devil wants to crush you until you forget what breathing is.

God restores what was stolen and broken. It’s what He does. ASK Him.

When it’s hard to breathe, remember God is the One Who gave you breath. He has x-ray vision and He can see everything that’s broken.

I heard a well-meaning Christian man say we need to clean ourselves up before we come before God in prayer. But God says otherwise. He says to bring Him all your broken pieces just as you are. He is The Healer. He is always there just waiting for you to ask for His help.

Live, breathe, & enjoy today like it’s NOT about you. But IF it IS… (Gossip)

Hey. It’s probably not about you.

But what if it really IS about you?

Why would she say that about you?

She doesn’t even know you. How can she affect you?

But it does affect you.

It’s hurtful.

You know those times when you read (or hear) something and it cuts; like it’s directed at you?  You can hear something and it SEEMS to be directed at you.

Maybe it is personal but maybe not.

We’ve got to give ourselves permission NOT to listen to (or read) vague, passive aggressive comments carelessly tossed AT us or hatefully said ABOUT us.

It REALLY may NOT be about you. Live, breathe, and enjoy today like it’s NOT about you.

But IF it IS:

If someone truly does have an issue with us we need to rest in the prayer that he or she can find maturity, confidence, and grace to come speak with us about it. And we need to give people permission allowing them to be upset if it’s a problem that is upsetting.

Being upset about something doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. The very fact that it bothers you is proof that you DO care.

We cannot assume that someone has wrong intentions toward us. Sometimes people do have bad intentions and during those times it’s important to talk if possible and try to work things out. But even then; working things out does not always mean someone who has hurt you will view things the same way as you see them. And that’s okay.

Nobody in the whole world was created to think the exact way you think. It’s okay (and sometimes necessary) if we agree to disagree.

Sometimes people are just angry at life and you are the closest target. For whatever reason they may feel safer taking out their frustration on you rather than the true issue. They may be afraid to confront or discover the core of the pain because it seems unbearable.

[This being said; if it’s abuse, it’s abuse and that’s NOT okay. You may need to talk to a counselor or someone. That’s healthy. That’s not weak. In my opinion finding a counselor (and yes, I will always advise to find a counselor who is a Christian) works best when I pray over everything first. Prayer first is ALWAYS best.]

We can be a safe place for others to vent and we can do this without taking things personally. We can just listen. Just be there. Just hear someone who is hurting.

…Because sometimes it’s really NOT about you.

When you hear someone say something or read a post online that “feels” personal, try this; “God, this has hurt my feelings. Please let this fall away from me if it’s not intended toward me. If it actually is intended toward me and this person actually does have ill feelings please give me courage to speak with them peacefully and give my words grace so that we may both heal. Please prepare my heart and hers (or his) and please stop words from coming out of my mouth that need to not be said. God, please help me be genuine. Please use my life and words to bless others and bring healing and not pain. Thank You for Your constant love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

Train Wreck (aka that was me)

When I see the pain in the world and the choices people make heading in the wrong direction it’s just too much for my human heart to handle. I’m so glad I don’t have God’s job because there’s no way I could do it.

I remember a sweet friend, years after we’d met, describing to me the way she used to see my life back then. She exhaled, “It was like watching a train wreck.”

She just lived life with me and she didn’t hate me. She loved me and was my friend when I needed her most.

I had no idea she saw my life and the things I was doing as a train wreck. I just knew she called me her friend.

People are hurting. Everywhere. Every day. People are hurting at work, school, maybe in your own home, in your neighborhood, church, and think about all the people we sometimes overlook like when you’re just out running errands; at the bank, checking out at the grocery store, getting coffee or lunch, or maybe in the car beside you at the stop sign.

What if you prayed over each person connected to your life every day?

What if you did?

In the morning say a prayer over your day asking God to touch and bless the lives of all the people you see, talk to on the phone, and even your online acquaintances (and don’t forget your enemies.)

They just need you to be kind and pray for them and ask God to lead them out of the dark tunnel (and everyone has dark tunnel times.)  They don’t need you to hit them over the head with a Bible. They need to know what love looks like in every day life.

Just call or text. Send an email when they come to your mind. Just tell them you were thinking of them. Take them coffee or chocolate. Just say, “I love you; but not in a creepy way. I love you with a Jesus kind of love.” Or you could say, “I love you more than cheese.” (Because that’s A LOT!)

It’s not like people go around with a sign saying, “Hey, I’m missing something and you know what that is. I need Jesus but I don’t really know Him and because of whatever reasons you aren’t sharing Him with me so I’m still stumbling all over myself and crashing into everything. Please stop staring at me and talking about me and start lifting me up when you pray. I need help.”

It’s okay to need help.

Jesus never, EVER said to live this life on your own. He says to lean on Him, follow Him, speak His name and He will be near you, fix your eyes on Him, and that He loves you no matter what.

Praise God He’s bigger than problems, broken relationships, the world, and life, itself.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

This is a deal breaker.

I read so much and hear differing opinions on many things – ESPECIALLY since being online for the last 10 months.  It’s a strange world.  Not being on social media until I was 44 has let me see the internet in a way many may not see it if they’ve been “more social” for 20 years.  I wasn’t online because I was afraid because of stuff that happened in my life when I was younger (and that story is found in other places here and I’ll write more as God leads me to write.)

It’s not like I didn’t know HOW to be online.  I just wasn’t.

Something I’ve noticed – People just get SO offended and SO very easily!

People (yes, even grown ups) seem to get so offended when others don’t like the same traditions or if others ask the question, “WHY do people do this?” Culture? Bible? Is this going to matter in 50 years?

God made us each different and this is how He chose to create us. He could have done things any way He wanted to and He made us this way. So being different is okay and having different opinions is okay.

It is even okay to TALK about our differences WITHOUT getting offended.

If God decided to make us different ON PURPOSE, then why do we take it upon ourselves to treat others as if what they say does not matter? Why do we huff and puff and “unfriend” people?

Please stop this. It’s what the enemy wants for us. Are we not divided enough without getting offended at the very nature of who we are? We are different and that is a God thing.

– Check this out.
I like you and I like your heart.

Let’s be friends.  We have so much in common.

Wait. Did I hear someone say you don’t like cheese?! I can’t EVEN understand why you don’t like cheese! This is a deal breaker. I’ve gotta go.

What?!  What just happened here?  Please stop!

We get offended over some silly stuff in this life, do we not?

People are interesting and nobody – NOBODY – you meet is going to like every same thing as you do and it’s STILL okay to like them and talk with them (and not talk behind their backs.)


God, please turn us back to You and remind us what this is all really about here because You see the stuff we argue about that does not matter tomorrow. Please heal this place. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

[NOTE:  I’m not talking about Jesus differences. Jesus is THE WAY. I know people have other opinions and I will just keep sharing what He’s done in my life. We each have free choice to choose Him or not. In this blog post I’m talking about stuff like cheese and sports and everything ELSE in this life.]  #unashamed