What I find interesting is how God always seems to use life projects/seasons/choices and circumstances to help us put these little initiatives into practice. Take patience, for example. Boy do I pray for a whole lotta patience on a daily basis. With the amount of toiletries my boys get into, the amount of nail polish they discover, the amount of Tonka trucks they stuff into the central vacuum system and the amount of jiffy markers they use to “decorate,” it’s a wonder I’m sane at all.

See. Patience. Everyday of my life affords me ample opportunity to put it into practice. And I’m getting better… I think.

With that said, I have been praying for two months now for a deeper understanding of true joy. It’s not that I’m not a happy person, and I’m certainly not Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) all doom n’ gloom-like, it’s that I wanted/still want to really understand true joy. Ya know, the unshakeable kind. And guess what… He’s been showing me.

But…

Sometimes in our quests for understanding, He will do/allow for things to happen that perhaps don’t seem in alignment with the prayer request. And for some reason, He has allowed for old wounds in my life to resurface and for me to face some stuff from my childhood that I thought I had dealt with. And perhaps I had dealt. Perhaps I dealt with what I was capable of dealing with in the 20-year-old version of myself. And now that I’m “antiquing” (ha), perhaps He feels its time/that I’m ready to, deal with the next layer. I don’t know. I’m not completely sure. I can’t explain it… yet. But whatever the case, it feels opposite of joyful.

It’s been eighteen days of joy with a few tears thrown in the mix.

And yet…

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How come, through the daily tears, I hear Him repeatedly saying, “I, The Lord, am your strength. I will sustain you.”?

How come, while I was praying a couple of nights ago, I got a text from a friend saying, “Just felt like I should encourage you and remind you that, The Lord is your strength.”

How come, when I was getting ready on Sunday morning, while praying that true joy would fill my heart, my mother-in-law sent me a text quoting Psalm 126:6: “He who goes out weeping… will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves…”

Is this not God/joy showing up amidst sorrow?
Is this not God/joy reaching out and saying, “I will sustain you?”
Are these not the various faces of true joy?

And so, because I trust that, because I trust Him, because I trust that He wants nothing but the best for me, I move forward with a smiling heart even though the tears continue to flow.

I say all that because; below you will find a link. This link will lead you to a guest post I did for a friend of mine who has started a blog about women supporting each other. There are two parts to this post that she asked me to do:

1. A written post about divorce now as an adult looking back on my childhood.
2. A video post about how divorce still affects Christmas.

It was hard for me to do. Opening a can of worms I desperately try to keep dormant is like poking a sleeping bear. It’s not very joyful. These are not joyous memories to resurrect. But perhaps it’s time for me to allow the next layer of my healing to begin. This is why I believe God is asking me to share this. This is also the reason I agreed to write the post in the first place. And in doing so, I believe it’s because God wants me to experience the true joy that is waiting for me on the other side of my obedience; the true joy I seek; the true joy I desire to understand.

So before you click the link, let me just say: 1. If you have an extraordinary family whom you enjoy spending every waking moment of Christmas with… you should smile, count your blessings, hug each and every one of them, and tell them how much they mean to you. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for such warm embracing, and in case you aren’t aware, you are extremely blessed.

But for those of you who feel like I do about Christmas…. stressed, anxious and continuously overwhelmed, let me encourage you with this statement: internal joy is not contingent upon external. True joy radiates from the inside out and is not something that anyone can take away from you. True joy causes your heart to smile, even when your face is not. So friend, allow me to encourage you in the same way God has been encouraging me, by saying this: “The joy of the Lord IS your strength, and He WILL sustain you.” Say that every minute of everyday if you need to. I do. And I promise it works.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

~Romans 15:13

The YouTube Clip (see below): Christmas… and Adult Children of Divorce – 1

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTkIZWb0870

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Making Space

Carving Out Time For God In The Midst Of Your Busy Life

With a million things to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done, it's easy to zone out and slip into autopilot in order to survive. But perhaps life is not about adding more things to your already lengthy list, but rather, about pausing in the midst of it all to consider if what you're doing is really important.

7 Comments

  • Thank you for your honesty, Cindy.
    My son is a future divorce child. And it scares me to think how he will react. If he will be able to trust wholly one day. Will he be able to love and give all or will he always keep something back? Will he say, well, it didn’t work so let’s move on? Or will he be able to stay and fight for the relationship, even when it feels bad?
    I wish I could take his hurt away. He’s starting to accept everything. He’s now 9 years old and happy that he’ll have two Christmas’. But it’s like you say, he accepts it now, goes through it now. And then at another moment, he needs to go through it again.
    It scares me and it makes me want to erase the hurt. Wish I could do it.
    What do you think is the most efective way a mother can help her child to get through a divorce? What helped you?

    • Joanna, first, I just have to say that you are doing what I think is the absolute best thing any parent could do given the circumstances that you (I’m sure) would prefer for your child to not have to deal with – YOU ARE ASKING WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR HIM. You can’t see me, but I’m given you a standing ovation for that. Why? Because I’m sure you are hurting too, and yet, you are asking what you can do for your child. I applaud your self-less-ness.

      Second, I’m no counsellor and by no means an expert, but might I encourage you to keep doing the above – keeping asking what you can do for your child. When the seasons, the ages, the stages, and phases of life change and evolve, so will his questions. He might not even realize he has any until some random day. Might I encourage you to embrace his questions with openness and honesty for as long as he needs so he can feel that his pain and his hurt and his confusion is valid. This will allow his inner child (regardless of his age) to feel heard. I can’t tell you the freeing feeling it is to feel heard. If you keep doing that for him, he will be drawn to your honesty as opposed to pushed away by your denial. Beautiful relationships can flourish when the foundation is based on openness – a willingness to hear the other person, but to also feel heard yourself.

      Hope that helped.

      Thank you SO much for sharing!

  • Hi Cindy…don’t want to fill up your inbox (you’ve gotten a FEW messages from me the last week) – but I just need you to know how much I admire the courage you had to like you say sift through so many years, so many layers, so much confusion, pain and yes resigned relief. I have been there with my daughter and grand-son and it’s a tough journey. What you did was to open the door for joy to come rushing in… the JOY of the Lord which has been and is your strength all this time. But what it also did was to open the channel for JOY to flow out like a river. A river of healing, health and compassion for the world to see. There is hardly a family that isn’t affected by divorce… and it hardly ever goes down without a scar that is a reminder of the pain, and the healing. I love you… and know your Christmas gift this year will be the reward of your honesty, your vulnerability… and your empathy for those who needed to hear your message of hope. You are an amazing woman… Hugs ADELINE

  • shade akinbiyi says:

    Awww thanks for your honesty in this post Cindy. From personal experience with my 2 children who are now adults, and getting on with their lives, I can say it’s only the grace of God that brought my children through so many layers of wounds. The impart and wound of divorce can be deep. And no wonder God hates divorce! The pain and all that go with it can be overwhelming, but the key is God. As you said, I can remember going through stuff with God in layer upon layer. And today i can truly say that, there is indeed “A Balm in Gilead”, it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that destroys the yoke and sets us free indeed!

    My prayer for you Cindy, and others who are dealing with this issue is that, you will experience totally freedom and that, the scar will only be a point of reference to the faithfulness of God, inspite of it all. May His JOY continue to be your strength every day! I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!! 🙂

    • Shade, I couldn’t agree more. The grace of God has got to be one of the most beautifully comforting things in this whole entire world. The freedom his mercy gives each and every morning is enough to make anyone jump up and down with joy.

      I appreciate you taking the time to tell me a small piece of your story. And may the joy of the Lord continue to be with you during this wonderful season. As you continue to encourage and bless others (as you did for me on the post), may God fill your life with rich encouragement and blessing as well.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Rashida says:

    Wonderful Post Cindy! God Bless and have a Merry Christmas:)

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