Wandering through Netflix one evening, I came across a funny little movie: A.C.O.D. (Adult Children of Divorce). I love movies that make you think..sometimes.
I am an Adult Child of Divorce. Apparently this is an actual sub-culture of our society with our own acronym and everything. A.C.O.D., in case you haven’t heard or seen the flick. I was also a I.O.D., Infant of Divorce, an A.O.D., Adolescent of Divorce and a T.O.D., Teen of Divorce. I’ve coined these titles myself, hoping to get a huge grant to study just how many acronyms that can be created to abbreviate ‘divorce’.
I grew up with two step-brothers and one half-brother. Today we would have been called a blended family, but back then, in the 1960’s, we were just ‘that family‘ who had a lot of different last names; a step-family.
No one in my family really talked about it. I thought it was completely normal for everyone to have a different last name. After all, we all had different first names. Made sense to this little girl with the ringlet curls and patent leather shoes… that is until I went to school.
At my first Meet the Teacher night, everyone was confused and uncomfortable about what to call my mother. Surely the form in front of them must be wrong because our names were different. My mom seemed to understand what was going on, but I only remember feeling guilty about something, although I didn’t know what.
Other than the odd school functions, for the most part, we looked like a ‘normal‘ family, whatever that was. We weren’t invited to appear on an episode of “Leave it to Beaver”, but I didn’t know any mothers who vacuumed in pearls either.
Somewhere near the end of elementary school, my mom and I had a ‘facts of life’ talk. No, not the one we all seem to dread having with our own children; this one explained why my father didn’t live in our house, why our names are all different, and why, at some time in the near future, she would have another name change. It didn’t sound like a big deal, and I got a rootbeer float out of the deal, so all was pretty good with my world.
As I began sorting it all out in my young mind, thoughts of the Cinderella fairy tale came to mind, along with the wicked step-mother and the worst sisters ever imaginable. If there could be an evil step-mother, were there monstrous step-fathers, too? As it turned out, yes, there could be villainous step-fathers, but that’s for another story.
Not understanding the concept of marriage, at a relatively young age I began my own experience with divorce and remarriage, complete with a ready-made family. It seemed pretty natural… at first. I mean, if it’s a child, you give it love and it will love you back, right? Not always.
If you go into any bookstore today, you can find numerous books to help you through the process of joining two families. Amazon.com’s Top 10 List is currently, from left to right:
Like any life experience you commit yourself to, it’s important to think, plan – and pray. I did it completely wrong this last time. I didn’t know what an awesome God we have until some time after our families were merged. God was not the center of our marriage or our family. That changed a few years in, but it would have been so much better if GOD was the center and had control rather than me, in my own personal woundedness, feeling like I had to carry the responsibility of ‘managing’ our union.
Dear friends, don’t misunderstand. My husband is wonderful. He was right there with me, muddling through each day. However, the control freak I was back then needed to “fix” everything and everyone. That sounds so funny now, looking back. I’ve learned so much.
My prayer is that you will join me, share your ideas, thoughts, stories, tears and prayers to help others. And maybe along the way, those of us who have traveled this journey for many years will discover forgiveness, strength and hope. Forgiveness for ourselves if we felt like we came up short of the mark, strength to carry on, and hope that we will have the ability to be a Christ-like example to our children – the ones we birthed and the ones we chose.
I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t share one of my favorite scriptures I have prayed over my family for years. In this message from Him, I have found the hope and strength I mentioned earlier.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-12)
This is where Part 2 will begin soon.