How to Help Those Going Through Divorce

How to Help Those Going Through Divorce

Jennifer E

Jennifer E

I am "Mom" to Chloe, Allie, & Emilia. I am wife to Misael Escobar. I am a child of God. I love to learn about other cultures and learn about others life experiences.I am always a "work in progress". Through many struggles I have become "me" and I am finally happy with the person God has led me to be.I am excited to see where God will lead me in this life.
Jennifer E

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Going through a divorce is never a “club” one aspires to be a part of, but it happens.

Oftentimes, friends and loved ones very much want to help and ease the pain, but are either at a loss for what to do, or they try to fix the brokenness. Having gone through a divorce twelve years ago and having the privilege of leading in the national support group DivorceCare for five years, I have heard and seen a lot! So, here are some practical do’s and don’ts of helping friends who are navigating the painful road of divorce.

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DO:

1. Freezer meals

As a single parent, working and having to think about making dinner and just planning ahead is beyond difficult. Stocking your loved one’s freezer with already-prepped meals is especially helpful so that on the hard days there is a no-thought-required meal ready and waiting.

2. Gift cards

If you don’t like to cook then a gift card would be great too. Choose places like Boston Market so that they can stop and get something on the way home from work.

3. Fill the empty time

Take your friend out for coffee or lunch on the weekends they are without their children. Going from being a full-time parent to being alone for two days is very hard at first. All that extra time gives them a lot of time to think about the divorce and to worry about how this is going to affect the children. Your loved one now has time to fill their mind with “what-ifs” because the dream of what they saw for their life is over and they can’t see a new dream yet. They are in the deep stages of grief and will be there for a while.

4. Be their family at church.

If you see them at church sitting alone, ask them to sit with you.  Everyone in my DivorceCare class has a really hard time going to church. It is beyond painful to see all the “happy” families and hear all the analogies of families/marriage in sermons, etc. Even though most people don’t notice, it’s easy to feel like everyone is looking at you and wondering why you are alone.

5. Encourage them.

Text them and let them know you are thinking about them, praying for them, and maybe send a verse about God being an ever-present being.

DON’T:

1. Don’t try to force them out of their feelings.

Did you know that if you are in an active healing process (counseling/group therapy) for every five years someone was married it generally takes a year for them to heal? So don’t rush them into feeling better.

2. Don’t encourage them to start a new relationship. This can delay healing and actually create more pain to heal from.

3. Don’t say, “I saw this coming” or bad-mouth their former spouse. Even if that is true, it compounds the hurt and emphasizes in their mind the failure they feel.

4. Don’t try to give advice unless you have been in the same situation. You can be a friend by listening and being there, but encourage them to seek counsel from someone who is further down the road, a professional, or a support group.

These are just a few things that I hear over and over from people who are going through this process. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Above all: be patient. The healing process is painful but possible and it helps so much to have loving people walk alongside you.

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If you have experienced divorce, what was encouraging to you?

 

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Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

The holidays for 2017 have come and gone. If you are like my family, you’ve already put away most of the Christmas decorations and your usual routine is beginning again. For me personally, one of the hardest parts about cleaning up the festive decorations is knowing what to do with Christmas cards from friends and family. The giver of each beautiful card put not only their money, but also their love into the card they’ve sent. I usually save pictures from a few of them, but many are doomed for the trash. It feels wrong to just throw them all away, at least so soon. Some of my friends cut pictures from them to use for future gift tags, which is a great idea. But I find myself wanting to appreciate my Christmas cards for a little bit longer.

I recently heard of a wonderful idea for recycling your Christmas cards and extending their joy throughout the year. Place them all in a special box or basket in your kitchen and every so often at dinner, take out a card, talk about the family you received it from, and pray for them. How lovely is that? Talk about how you know them, a memory you share with them, or why you are thankful for them. You might know specific issues in their life that need prayer, or you might give thanks to the Lord for putting them in your life. You could choose to pull out one card a week and pray over that family all week long or perhaps daily until you’ve gone through them all. It’s up to you!

Prayerfully remembering the ones God has placed in our life is a wonderful way to continue the spirit of the holiday season all year long! 

Father God,

We thank you for the people you put in our lives to find love, family, and community with. We praise you for those who help us know you better and encourage us in our walk with you. For those we love who do not know you, we ask that you use us to help them see you. May we see the ones who need life spoken to them and offer them your word. You are so good and we love you.

In the name of Jesus we pray,

Amen

 

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Tis the Season…

Tis the Season…

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Tis the Season…

..to be lonely.  Everyone is shopping and spending time with family and friends.  It is such a busy time.  But, the holidays can be a very difficult time for so many people.

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I lost my grandfather eight years ago right after Christmas.  I was extremely close to him and was his caregiver during his last two years.  When he passed on, I was devastated.  I did not deal well with it so I went to a grief support group to help me better deal with it.  I still attend on occasion, mostly around the holidays because that is when it is most difficult for me.  I also continue to attend these meetings because it has become a time of fellowship with a wonderful group of mostly older ladies.

The most important lesson I take from these ladies is that with our loss things change.  We do not always like it, but it does.  When we lose someone, it changes our routines and our traditions.

For some people, this can even mean the loss of their remaining family, a wife that loses her husband and they have no surviving children or an child that loses his last remaining parent.  These are the people that can feel particularly lonely.

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The Bible even tells us several times to care for the widows and the orphans.  During the holidays, this can be as simple as visiting someone Take some cookies or fudge.  Have your children make a homemade ornament and take it to them.  Take a group of friends and go caroling.  Invite them to go look at Christmas lights.  There are so many little things that we can do that would mean a lot to someone else, something that would help them to feel not so lonely.

 What are some things your family has done?

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The Tradition of the Silver Box

The Tradition of the Silver Box

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

One of the most sentimental memories from my childhood is Christmastime. The glow of the Christmas tree on the night of Christmas Eve. Candles lit throughout the house, special trinkets on display, festive music filling the air. The glowing fireplace filling the room with warm air, stockings hung on the mantel. Such beautiful traditions took place in this setting. Under the tree were beautifully wrapped packages–our family gifts, of course, as Santa had not yet visited. The sweetest gift we had to offer each other, however, could not be wrapped, but was symbolized by a small silver box that hung on our tree.

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Proverbs 16:24 tells us that kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Words of affirmation and life are something we all need from others and something we should be able to sincerely express to those around us.
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Family so often gets our worst. They are the ones on the front lines when life is stressful or frustrating. How beautiful it is to take a moment to say something lovely and life-giving to each other.
Our family had a special tradition of passing a silver box around on Christmas Eve, and with it, saying something kind to each other. We each took a turn to speak about every person. While it’s important to speak encouragement all through the year, there was something extra special about doing it at Christmastime. Our remarks to each other required time and forethought. Our kind words truly were a gift to each other. A sweet and precious gift.
Our silver box tradition was based upon the book Silver Boxes by Florence Littauer. In this book is a special poem that we read each year before we exchanged our kind words.

“Silver Boxes,” by Michael Bright

My words were harsh and hasty and they came without a thought.
Then I saw the pain and anguish that my bitter words had brought.
Bitter words that I had spoken made me think back through the past;
Of how many times I’d uttered biting words whose pain would last.
Then I wondered of the people I had hurt by things I’d said;
all the ones I had discouraged when I didn’t use my head.
Then I thought about my own life. Of painful words I’ve heard;
and of the times I’d been discouraged by a sharp and cruel word.
And now clearly I remember all the things I might have done;
but, by a word I was discouraged and they never were begun.
Lord, help my words be silver boxes.
Neatly wrapped up with a bow; that I give to all so freely, as through each day I gladly go.
Silver boxes full of treasure, precious gifts from God above;
that all the people I encounter might have a box of God’s own love.

On a night where God’s love is at the forefront of our minds as we are thinking about the babe Jesus, it is a beautiful thing to share God’s love in the words we say to each other. Oh, that our words might be silver boxes!

As we are mindfully preparing for our Christmas this year, let’s look for ways to speak life to each other, and to encourage each other with words as sweet as honey. The best part about this tradition is that is costs nothing, yet it is truly meaningful!

Merry Christmas, friends!

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Driving Backwards Down the Parade of Life 

Driving Backwards Down the Parade of Life 

Susan
Follow Susan

Susan

Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
Susan
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My best friend and I love touring houses the way some people love watching football games. It’s an addiction. When we wander through an especially gorgeous house decorated in the style of a bygone era –touchdown! Of the many tours we’ve taken over the years, one foray stands out: the time we inadvertently joined a parade.

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In the days before smart phones and GPS systems, my friend and I relied on memory, fuzzy at the best of times. We found ourselves driving up and down the streets of a small town looking for an elusive address. We turned onto a small side street and drove halfway down the block before hearing the music. A marching band headed straight toward us! Behind the band, a local (unadvertised) parade enthusiastically followed. We stopped. They didn’t. Obviously, the drum majorette and her crew felt they had the right of way.

Then we noticed the people lining the sidewalk. They stared, some laughing and pointing. Inside the car, four red cheeks burned in deep embarrassment. Only loyalty to my friend kept me from ducking onto the floorboard and cowering out of sight. Instead, I faced the music–er, parade–with her. I held my head high, albeit, with a protective hand between my face and the car window.

“What do I do?” asked my friend who was, thankfully, doing the driving.

“Hit the gas and play chicken” didn’t seem a suitable reply. The only advice I could muster was, “Put it in reverse and back up until we find a parking space.” So that’s what we did. Some of the crowd applauded as we reversed. Some waved. My mother’s admonishment to always “be polite’ echoed in my ears, and I waved back. Once safely in the parking space, my friend and I turned to each other and burst out laughing. No words, just laughter. I have to admit, after leading a parade in reverse, touring the house was a bit of a letdown.

Now let me say, I’m an introvert. So for me, messing up in front of others is akin to one of those dreams where you show up at school in your underwear, after having studied for the wrong test and you’re at the wrong school. Poise and elegance aren’t in my DNA.

Like most of us, I long to be perfect. But too often, my life consists of flaws, hiccups, and “I can’t believe I said that” moments. I’ve also had my share of moments driving backwards down the parade of life without a parking space in sight.

And that’s okay. In fact, I like to think I inspire others, or at least make them feel better about themselves. Maybe that’s my role as a Christian. People aren’t really interested in conversing with saints. They want to meet sinners, like themselves, that God has redeemed. Isaiah 64:8 says,

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” 

If God can take my lumpy clay and mold me into something wonderful, then surely he can do the same for others.

And if I’m going to be even a little bit of an example, maybe it’s to show we shouldn’t let our insecurities have such a stranglehold on us. Take that parade. My friend and I didn’t quite panic, but we certainly were embarrassed. However, we went with it. That’s how life is. Sometimes you watch the parade, and sometimes, those very rare times, you get to lead it. Just don’t be so afraid of making a fool of yourself that you miss the parade entirely.

 

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Standing Tall with Purpose

Standing Tall with Purpose

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1

My daughter and I were recently reading The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen. In this story a scarecrow gets blown off his post and in his happiness of freedom he takes off dancing from the cornfields. He comes to a window at the farm house, where he looks in on a little boy saying his prayers.

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“And bless tonight
Our old scarecrow
Who guards the fields
And each corn row
So that tomorrow,
When we reap,
There will be lots of corn to keep.”

 

Touched by hearing his purpose he danced all the way back to those fields, and feeling proud of his duty to defend the corn leaped back on to his post.

Everyone needs encouragement to stand tall with purpose

From a mother’s perspective I held back tears. For how many times does the job of a mom feel thankless and trapping? I’m so thankful for the times my family have let me known why I’m important to them. Knowing what we mean to our family will give us purpose and joy as we fulfill our maternal duties.

 

But it’s not just moms. Everyone needs words of encouragement and life spoken to them! All of us long for purpose. The single woman who lives away from her family, the widower or the retired couple, the teenager, the parents of the teenager, the young couple couple without children. All of us!
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24 

 

let-us-consider-how-to-stir-up-one-another-to-love-and-good-works

Preparing for Thanksgiving

As we are preparing to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving might I offer a suggestion? Let’s use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to let those we love know why we value them. It doesn’t have to be a formal ceremony! You might make a comment to them about how they are making a difference, or perhaps a short handwritten note to them as they leave. You could publicly share your thoughts at the Thanksgiving table, everyone taking turns to talk about someone.
However it’s done, let’s fill our Thanksgiving guests not only with food but also with purpose so that when the weekend is over and they return to normal life they will know that they matter. If you are the host or not, I encourage you to find a way to speak words of purpose to those you are celebrating Thanksgiving with. Would’t it be wonderful to know they might stand tall like the proud scarecrow on his post, filled with honor for the duties they hold? What do you say? Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving by honoring the precious people God has put in our lives!
standing-tall-with-purpose-social

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