Monday, December 17, 2012

Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas

Beautiful carols, fine clothing, delicious food, gifts and more.  Christmas is for celebrating and enjoying God's goodness.  He sent His Son, Immanuel, God With Us, to save us and to make things right.  Try as we may, to capture the essence of this spiritual reality, it doesn't always seem so.

In spite of health, family togetherness, and other comforts, this Christmas the children are grown and the childlike wonder is gone.  This Christmas sadness lingers from breakdown of extended family ties from the aftermath of divorce and distant relationships.  This Christmas new gifts were delivered with damage and the keeping of holiday traditions caused expensive messes!

This Christmas the rain fell and roads became icy and we couldn't see the outdoor lights as we usually do.  My tooth has been sore and sensitive ( reflecting my emotions in an ironic manner) despite efforts to relieve the pain, so this Christmas I can only carefully enjoy the goodies.

This Christmas I have heard people question spiritual training and its importance. I have heard others echo my struggle to deal with lost trust in leaders and those we love.  I have had "givens" become "non-givens" and Christmas feels much different.

Things still aren't right this Christmas.  How many people over the ages since the first Christmas, have felt things aren't right?  Aren't they supposed to be, now, this side of Christmas? Things aren't right in my world this Christmas.   Not to mention world hunger, murder, catastrophic events, abuse, natural disasters, and war to name a few problems which others are experiencing.    This reminder re-focuses my selfish perspective for awhile.  It is not hard to see that Christmas has not made everything right.  There is not peace on earth as we like to sing.

BUT.... it is well with my soul.  How can that be?  I pondered that as I lay awake thinking in my bed last night.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God has put "eternity in our hearts" and by now it should be clear in your life and mine, that this life is not eternity.  There are endings to things we want to last.  It is not what our hearts long for. No matter how we try to dress it up , try to make this world heaven, no matter how close it may come at times, for some of us, it will never be!!

It is still not right this Christmas, because although Jesus came and he brought hope, although he lived and healed and gave purpose, although he died to buy us back from the captivity of our sin, we are not there yet.  God has just given us a glimpse and put it in our hearts to search out.  We can only dream of it being right one day.   The longing isn't bad, nor the pain.  They teach us to let go of this world and look again to Jesus.

He came into this not-right world many years ago and although it wasnt' right then, He spoke of how He could make things right in the hearts of men and how one day things would be right with the world.  He left this not-right world, after a short earthly life, to go prepare a right place for us where we will be in Immanuel's presence. 

Now we wait.  And while we wait may we have calm confidence, like Anna and Simeon, in the promises of God.  May we enjoy the things we can at Christmas, this Christmas, but when it comes up short, may our inner peace be the thing that sustains us and gives inner joy!  As we live in between Christmas and Eternity, may what is not right keep us looking and learning and longing.  THAT actually may be exactly what IS right - this Christmas!!

written December 2009, revised December 2010

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ACOD Fathers and Mothers

Adult Children of Divorce usually have one parent who has been more influential in the breakup of the parent's marriage.  Sometimes it is mutually decided, but in my contact with many other ACODs I have found that it is very common that one parent decides to have a new life.

Many other ACODs share that the "leaving" parent has made statements about finally being able to do what they want to, or comments that now it is their time to be selfish.  It is hard work being a mother or a father, but intrinsic is the opportunity to put your children's well-being above your own.  I can't imagine doing that for multiple decades, as I have only been a parent for 23 years , but it is my goal to do nothing that will put my children's well-being in jeopardy. No matter how old they are , or I am. 

Often a part of the picture is an affair.  In my case, my father had an affair and made a choice that life apart of the family , and instead with his girlfriend, was his desired path.  I believe he had an idea of what that path would look like.  Sadly familiar , also,  is the sentiment that many "leaving" parents have that they think everyone can get along like "one big happy family".  From what I have experienced and what I have read of others' experiences, nothing could be further from the truth.  It is a deception that does not fit with reality.

I have often told people that I know my father loves me, but he just loves himself more.
Many of you ACODs out there can identify.  Maybe it is your father, or maybe your mother. The men who are having affairs are obviously having them with women , who are mothers, and grandmothers.  I can only imagine how hard it is to feel confused about the word "mother".

My conflict comes with the word "father".  No longer does it conjure up feelings and meaning of security, love, dependability, etc.  In fact, in the beginning of my acod journey, just hearing the word, or singing it in lyrics in church, etc...would bring me to tears. My identity was closely tied to my parents as a unit and my mother and father separately as well. Knowing I did not have the same father I thought I had created much despair.

Where could I find a loving, unselfish, caring father?  Was there a father I could trust?
Could the word "father" have positive meaning again?

Thankfully , I already had a relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I had been spiritually reborn many years ago after realizing my need for a savior.  I had asked God to be real to me to teach me and guide me and to accept me , not on my own merits, but because of what Jesus had done for me as he took my place on the cross.   In this, I became a daughter of God.   In the aftermath of my father leaving our family the Father-hood of God took on new and precious meaning!!

Psalm 68:5    " A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling"

Even though many of our fathers ( and mothers ) are still living and may be involved in our lives at some level, we feel father-less and mother-less.  What we needed from them we did not get early in our lives , or we did not get in these later years as they have divorced.

Even as this Christmas Season approaches I am reminded that Jesus is called many names, and one is our Everlasting Father.   As you contemplate your father or mother and how your feelings have changed about the word, and their relationship to you, may you find a new security in a heavenly rebirth, into a new family , with a new Father.  I am walking hand in hand with Him.  I am praying you are too!

Isaiah 9:6    " For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"


JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Bonds Unravel


MARCH TOPICS: Accepting Change
Forgiving Parents
Time For Serenity
Things/Objects of Meaning

Photo Album

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing Again

Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

Serenity Prayer Worksheet
ACODs and Simplicity
A New Look to the Blog!!
Serenity Prayer Extended Version/Worksheet
Why do we Blog???

ACOD Serenity Prayer
ACOD Fathers and Mothers
Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas

Grandchildren of Divorce
ACODs and Affairs
Keep Going
ACOD Forward and Back
Lord' Prayer ACOD version
Ripple Effect
Grief Revisited
Too Many Choices
ACOD Times To Remember
Telling the Truth
Behind the Curtain

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