Divorce is an unspeakable loss, but losses seldom leave vacuums, and what you fill those losses with helps determine outlooks and outcomes, not just for you, but for those you meet as well It’s important to realize this is especially true for your children.
For many, the emptiness of loss will merely be replaced with noise similar to what existed before. Mistakes will be repeated, heartbreak expanded, and faith put more at risk.
For some though, things will change. The crying out of divorce agony will pause to breathe and silence will be embraced. In that silence we find healing, a soothing that comes from the Shepherd’s voice.
It is in embrace of the silence and in finally listening to the Shepherd’s voice that we begin to realize how strapped down by other voices we were even within our own homes. In disbelief we wonder how we had missed such a Strong voice before while at the same time, we look around and realize how many close to us are missing the Shepherd’s call even now when it seems so clear to us. We realize how many, even within our own family, don’t recognize His voice, vaguely hearing it as just one murmur among many more intrusive voices.
It is in the embrace of silence and upon the return to the Shepherd that we begin to realize the freedom and opportunities divorce can give.
We are no longer inhibited by the faithlessness of our spouses. We are free to pursue and seek the Lord with total dedication in those moments of emptiness. We are free to be cleansed of our past, free to start anew, and we are free to teach our children to do the same.
Children of divorce are at risk emotionally, academically, and socially, but the worst results when a child falls away from the faith as a result of divorce. He sees adults saying one thing and doing another and rejects Truth as hypocrisy. He sees adults acting uncharitably toward one another and rejects the existence of true Love.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are challenges to a child’s faith in divorce, but there are also opportunities. In Chapter 4 of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis reminds us that if one parent is weak in an area, the other parent must pick up the slack.
A parent who walks away from his Marriage and Family is weak in his values and morals but more so in his ability to find Joy in all things and his ability to Love unconditionally. He is weak in his faith.
We tend to look at the parent who leaves as having harmed the faith of the child, but how much value does living with such a parent truly contribute to the growing of faith in the child, in the home? In what ways did this parent’s weak faith manifest itself in your home? How many times did you sense something was wrong or could be better even though you were unable to put a finger on exactly what that was?
What if it instead of loss, a spouse’s departure provides you with greater opportunity to speak Love freely and uninhibitedly in your home, to your children? What if the parent’s departure opens doors allowing children to experience faith in all areas of your home? What if the pain you all feel opens doors to the child’s understanding of what real forgiveness means teaching him lessons his absentee parent never learned and wasn’t capable of teaching?
What if you invited the Shepherd’s voice to occupy the space the unfaithful parent took up?
A child’s faith is at risk because of divorce, but it can also be made stronger. You alone are now the sole, best provider of faith for your child. You are now capable of hearing and speaking the Shepherd’s voice in a way you weren’t before, and you are called to do so in a spirit of Courage and Strength with an attitude of humble, sacrificial, unconditional Love.
Wow! What a gift parenting in that spirit could be!
What confidence the Lord must have in His abilities to work through you!
The Shepherd’s commands aren’t always easy, but they are best for each sheep and for the good of the flock overall. His command to hear and recognize His voice, to draw close to Him, and to Love one another is unparalleled.
We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. In the emptiness of divorce, you hear the Shepherd’s voice. How will it affect your child if you become the voice of Him as well? How will it affect your child if you choose, in the face of hardship and deceit, to find Joy and laughter, to offer forgiveness and Hope, and to act in Love?
Is it possible that by allowing your spouse to walk out, the Lord is actually removing weights that bound you and your children to earthly things. Is it possible that the pain you feel is phantom pain of a part of you which should be there but has become useless and needed to be removed? Is it possible the loss of divorce is not a loss but a freeing you from chains which bound you and your children to an unfaithful man and instead opens your hearts to the Lord’s voice?
God hates divorce. Divorce is an evil one should not choose, but when it is thrust upon an innocent party, we can take comfort in knowing the Lord still has great plans for us and for our precious, beloved children. Those plans are implemented when we embrace the silence and learn to recognize the Shepherd’s voice and then, with Strength and Courage and Love through the power of the Holy Spirit, help our children do the same.
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
Join me for part one of this post Freedom to Hear the Shepherd’s Voice in Divorce, especially to your children and in your own home.
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