Divorce rocked my world when my spouse left me. Now, as my 30s draw to a close, I’m alone and a single parent—certainly not by choice.
Where do I fit in with my family and community? Where do I fit into the church? Being a divorced single parent, I’m finding, is a tough, lonely spot to be. Like so many others, I long for someone to share my life with. But I had supper with an elderly person from church recently who said that someone who is divorced ought never to remarry because it’s a sin. That’s tough stuff.
I wonder how I fit into God’s kingdom. Is there grace for me? Will there be a place at God’s table for the divorced? For the lonely? For the desperately hungry? It seems easier for churches to welcome the recovering addict or the converted soul with a great story than it is for them to welcome someone who is divorced.
Trust me, I carry enough shame and misery to last several lifetimes. I’ve been rejected by family and sidelined by former friends. I don’t need more judgment from Christian men and women. The sting of divorce may not have hit your family, but statistics suggest it likely will at some point, so hold your fire. Take a deep breath. Extend grace. I didn’t choose my path, but I must keep walking it with my children, who are as confused and hurt as I am. Is there anyone in the church who can look me in the eye, reach out a hand, and walk with me? Is there anyone who will walk with my children and stick with them when they break down from the stress of life? Who will look at our story with love and hold back judgment?
It’s time for the church to stand tall and wrap their arms around people who are marginalized: the ones with hurting hearts, the ones who are mentally ill or who have disabilities, the ones with gender or sexuality issues, the divorced, the widows and widowers, the young adults who are trying to figure out how to live, the ones who look like they have it all together but are falling apart inside, the ones living in marriages that are crumbling, the teens who aren’t connecting, the children who have issues, the elderly who weep, the families dealing with estrangement, the wayward children (or wayward parents), the ones struggling with addiction or lost in grief.
Did you see yourself in that list? If not, do you know anyone who might fit in that list? Reach out, people of God. We need each other. We need Jesus. And we all belong to each other. It’s time to be bold and to love big. My kids need more love, and so do I.
The author is a lifetime member of the CRC, parent of two children, and child of God. She lives and works in the Midwest.