A guest post by a new contributor, Restored Daughter. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your story with us! I believe your story will bless many and that God might use it to begin to help others find healing for their pain, as well.
THE BIG DAY
It was a couple of days after Christmas; I was 14 years old. My family and I were at my aunt’s house and my parents called my sister and me into a back bedroom. I honestly thought that they were going to give us a late Christmas present. In my mind it had to be something big!
It was something big alright. My parents told us that they were separating and we would be living in separate homes. My 14 year old brain could not fully process all that was happening. So, I sat there completely numb, because to feel the pain was to acknowledge that this was real. Every part of me wanted to believe that this was not my reality. This was the first time I recall pushing something to back of my mind and refusing to deal with it.
I was ashamed to tell my friends what was happening. We were the family who attended church 3 times a week. This was NOT supposed to be my life. I had heard of kids who were children of divorce, but that would never happen to my family. I did not understand how my parents could do this to me. I developed a deep resentment toward anyone who did not know what this felt like.
My parents asked us not to tell anyone what was going on. I obliged and kept the secret to myself. Because I did not let it out and work through it, I learned to keep going as if nothing was wrong. My whole world was crashing and I refused to let my bubbly personality slip. I learned to fake being happy. I learned to lie to cover the truth of how I felt. Only one person in my life saw through my lie and believed that I was grieving. I kept insisting that I was fine and resilient, and I eventually convinced her that I was okay. I learned to manipulate people into agreeing with me.
One day, I felt myself starting to break. I was sitting in science class and I jumped up from my desk and ran to the bathroom. The teacher sent a friend to check on me, and I would not talk. My best friend’s mother was the school nurse. Someone went and got her and she came in the bathroom and I told her all that was happening in my world. She sat on the dirty bathroom floor and held me while I cried. It was the first time in months I had let myself break.
I felt guilty because I broke a promise to my parents and I told my mother what I done. She looked shocked and told me that she never believed I would not tell someone. I was so confused. I was asked to make a promise, but I was never expected to keep it? The lesson that I took away was that no one expects you to hold true to your promises. I thought it was okay to promise things and not hold up my end if I did not want to do so.
Both of my parents remarried. I welcomed both new families into my heart. I wanted to feel like a normal family again. I had a stepfather who was so very good to me. He loved me and gave me the attention that I craved from my biological father. However, he started playing mind games with me. He told me that he was my father and I should forget about my birth father. He and my mother would argue and he would promise me things if I would take his side. I had never been exposed to a personality such as this.
Once again, numbness and fake happiness were my allies. I did not want to tell any of my friends. I thought they would walk away if they knew the craziness of my world. I did not want to be the friend who was too needy.
Both of my parents divorced again and are now remarried. Both of my step-parents are good people. A lot of reconciliation and healing has taken place.
The purpose of this post is not to exploit my parents in any way. This is why I chose to remain anonymous. If you can relate to any of the circumstances above, I want you to know there is healing available. Jesus has completely restored my heart.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR MYSELF
For so long I held on to my sin with a death grip. The lying, the manipulation, the bitterness, the refusal to deal with things were all justified in my mind. I thought that if my parents had never divorced, I would never have developed all of these defense mechanisms. In my mind, I was simply paying for the sins of my father.
Goodness! Just typing the last paragraph made my stomach turn.
- Was my parents’ divorce wrong in the eyes of God?
Yes, I truly believe it was.
- Did it change me?
Yes, to my core.
- Did it justify any of my sin?
Not for one second!
For years I walked on my cloud of self-righteousness justifying my sin. When God finally brought me to my knees, revealing that my sin was mine alone I was ashamed to a level that I cannot convey. If I could not blame my sin on anyone else, that meant I was accountable for YEARS of sin. Scripture does not say that it is okay to do wrong if your parents divorced. In fact, I have not found anywhere in scripture that says that you get a pass for sinning for any reason.
JESUS BEGAN TO HEAL MY BROKENNESS AND MADE ME BE REAL WITH HIM
My numbness did not work with Him. He asked me to come to Him with my wounded and shattered heart, and to lay it on the altar. It took a while before I could lay every single piece on the altar. I would offer small pieces at a time and wait for Him to abandon me. He never did. I would break promises and lie to folks and refuse to bring those things to the cross. This was just my personality, I thought. He made me this way, so He needs to accept that I will not ever fully change in this area. Wrong! He did not make a liar. I taught myself to lie as a defense mechanism. He could not heal me until I could give Him all of me, every single part. I had to release every hurt, every sin, every thought, and every desire. I had to give up control. I had fought so long and so hard for control; I did not want to give it up. I took care of myself. I dealt with things on my own. I did not want to trust someone with the closed off parts of my heart and life. Trusting was way outside of my comfort zone. Every man in my life had walked away.
He tenderly asked me to trust Him, just a little at first. He knew my heart was fragile and that I was ready to throw my guard up at any point. I never had to throw up the guard. He guided me. He soothed me. I cried so much and have never felt so alone, desperate, and needy in all my life. I realized that I am enough for Him and that I am not too much for Him. He did not need me to be pretend to be anything. He only needed me to be the daughter He created. He asked me to come just as I was, damaged, broken, doubting, hurting me. He met me and took me on a journey like none I had ever been on.
Sometimes things happen in our lives that causes deep wounds. It is not ungodly to be wounded and hurt. Pain can be paralyzing. Jesus is the only hope for restoration. You can read self-help books, alter your personality, and blame others all day long. None of those things will heal your wounds. Only Jesus can do that, and He is so willing to do that for you. If you have been hurt, reach out to him. It is not ungodly to cry and to need some time. He has time. I would love to pray for you if you have open wounds. Let’s invite Jesus into the midst of our pain and allow Him to have His way.