I was fairly confident that I would survive my divorce for a few reasons. I had survived my parents’ divorce. I had survived other hard things along the way. And I had survived living in a difficult marriage for over eighteen years.
What I wasn’t confident of was if my children would survive the divorce. They were young. They were naive. They hadn’t had to survive anything difficult at all really prior to that time.
I had this argument in my head for months and months, going back and forth between the often-quoted “children are resilient” and the “this will permanently damage my kids and all of their future relationships”.
In my experience the past few years, both of those statements are true and both are false.
I find that “children are resilient” is tossed around by adults who don’t want to take responsibility for how their poor choices have affected the children in their lives.
And yet, my kids have turned out to be fairly buoyant, weathering the pain and change and awkwardness, with grace and growth.
The thought that my children will be forever broken rings true in some ways. Divorce is not how it’s supposed to be; divorce is not supposed to be any child’s childhood backdrop. And yes, in ways, we are all broken.
Yet, I am already seeing evidence in my children’s lives – as teenagers – of how they are making pretty mature, pretty healthy choices in how they conduct themselves emotionally and relationally.
It’s as if part of me thought as I started walking the divorce road that my children’s destinies were based on a roll of the dice. It’s as if part of me forgot Who is in charge, Whose children they really are, Who they belong to.
Because once I got that settled, I realized that pretty much no matter what happens, my kids will be okay. And I don’t mean that their entire lives will be amazing with only good things from start to finish. I mean that even if more bad things happen to them or even if they make one bad choice after another for the rest of their lives, Jesus will still be with them, Jesus will never abandon them, Jesus will walk them through it all, and Jesus will love them even more than I ever could. And that, dear ones, is how our children survive divorce.