The date was July 28th, 2007, the place was Florida. The food? Chocolate-covered strawberries, highest of all on the Best Food Chart to a newly-turned seven year old on her birthday. Four of my friends came over, and I was given some awesome presents, one or two of which I still have today. We had a slip-n-slide, a water balloon toss, and pin the tail on the donkey. I was a joyously contented little girl having the BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER.
But looking back, there is a smidgen of sadness associated with that birthday. A little dab of regret that I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it. It was the last birthday that I had before I experienced a consequence of sin that wasn’t my own. You see, lots of things happened during my 8th year on this earth. Things that I wasn’t responsible for, but things that shaped the course of my life.
My parents got divorced and we moved about 15 minutes away from my dad. My sister and I still saw him a lot more than most kids would in that situation, but it couldn’t compare to seeing him everyday when he came home from work.
Before the divorce my mom, little sister, and I went to OH without my Dad for about a week and I missed him a lot. I was probably 5-6 years old and it was the longest I had been without him. When we got back to FL we were standing in the airport looking for him when we saw him step out of an elevator down a hallway carrying what looked like to me giant carrots. They turned out to be inflated balloon flowers, but I still remember that sight and the joy I felt when I saw him. My daddy.
- Before the divorce I would wake up in my room and think about that scene, start crying (because I remembered how much I missed him) and run into his room, wake him up, and cuddle with him until stopped crying and felt better. It was such a relief for me to know that he was there, not a thousand miles away, and that he was holding me and wouldn’t let go. This happened relatively often I think, at least to my memory, and I can’t remember him ever being upset that I woke him up at whatever unholy hour it was. 🙂
- After the divorce I couldn’t go and cuddle with him. I would lie in my bed and cry and cry and cry into my pillow, trying not to wake up my sister/roomy. I missed him so much. This would happen in the middle of the night, I would have dreams about it, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was a generally cheerful child, but the separation from him was so hard.
When I was 7 I never thought that things would change. I thought that I’d grow up and stuff, but nothing drastic. I now count divorce as drastic, and see how naive I was. It shaped my childhood. Made me aware of some consequences of sin in this world a little sooner than I should have.
But, you see, God worked in me through it. I grew to know the God of creation as my heavenly Father. The one who would always be there for me to cry to when my earthly father couldn’t, though he wanted to desperately.
I can’t remember where I read this analogy about prayer, but it was like this; we enter God’s throne room and fall on our knees before Him in humility, knowing we don’t deserve to be there, yet he scoops us up into his arms and sits us on His lap, cradling us tenderly as the little children we are, as we pour out our hearts, even the trivial things to Him. And he listens, he hurts for us, he knows the desires of our heart, and he acts on it. Sometimes he knows that what we want isn’t good for us, (like Adam crying because we won’t let him stick his hands into electrical sockets) but other times he just wants us to wait on him and trust him. I’ve seen it time and time and time again!
God. Knows. What. He’s. Doing.
Sometimes it’s rough being one of the only divorced families in our circle of friends, but I see what God is doing in my heart, and I think I’d rather have that than be father from God in a perfect family.
As I write this, I’m listening to dc Talk’s Free At Last album, and Free At Last just played, and it feels like God’s way of reassuring me that the “yoke that I was totin’ has been taken away” and that I don’t have to carry the burden of my parents’ divorce anymore, but give it to him. I thank him for his freedom and peace that he gives to those who surrender themselves to him.
If you’re seriously curious about my past
Well I was once lost but I’m free at last!
-dc Talk , Free at Last