Even though I became an adult child of divorce at the age of 43, I thought my identity was quite established and secure by that time in my life. A strong sense of self had been developed apart from my roots of childhood, and I had my share of personal accomplishments from which to gain a positive self concept. Tasting some of life's painful experiences had given me an amount of maturity and perspective I would not have had at a younger age. BUT..... as the reality of my parents divorce set in , the realization that I saw myself as a part of "them" couldn't be ignored. Seeing myself even more separately became a new exercise.
"Mom and Dad" had become "mom" and "dad". "They" had become "he" and "she" , "hers" and "his". The language I used now spoke of it. The way their lives became independent and compartmentalized made me see everything in a new, unwelcome, way.
When my 44th birthday rolled around, I was surprised that it felt somehow less significant and important to celebrate my birth , my life and my identity.
I began to ponder the relationship that had caused the creation of my life. If I was conceived in love and togetherness, I reasoned, then, if the love and togetherness was gone now, did this somehow "un-conceive" me? Was my life less of a miracle and thing to celebrate ? I wondered if I were the only one who had thoughts like that. But in Christianity Today magazine in the July/August 2012 issue, Andrew Root , discusses how the divorce of his parents involved a questioning of his core identity. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/july-august/why-divorce-calls-childrens-existence-into-question.html
As Christians, Andrew Root and I believe and embrace the truth that God is able to take us into a relationship with Him, where there is deep communion between His being and ours. It is a place where God becomes our Father and our identity "in Him" can not be threatened or destroyed the way the relationship with our earthly fathers ( or mothers) can be. Andrew calls the Christian church to minister to those whose parents have divorced. I agree that is a need. But the church is also called to show us that our identity is most full, complete and purposeful when we see ourselves as God's creation and child, more than we see ourselves as the creation or child of earthly parents.
This truth helps not only children of divorce, but also children of rape, children of abuse, and adults who have a compromised identity for a variety of reasons!!! That is the truth of the Gospel, that the "old" is gone and the "new" has come. Our identity is with Christ , and because of that , we live in a different way, with a different hope and purpose.
I am reminded on each birthday now, that it doesn't really matter how my life got here, who helped bring it about , and what the circumstances were....what matters is that God created me and sustains me , and I am ..... what I do with that reality does give me a reason to celebrate when my birthday rolls around!!! I hope on your next birthday, your sense of significance, self worth and purpose is renewed, not because your identity is wrapped up in being an adult child of divorce, but because you recognize the part God plays in who you are , and who you can become!!!
Look up Romans 8: 38 and 39, Acts 17: 28 , Psalm 139 and be encouraged!!