Why It Might Be Time to Feel those Feelings from Your Parents’ Divorce

Here I am riding the train with my husband to Chicago in the middle of a blizzard. It’s been a minute since we had alone time so we are supremely grateful for this weekend away!

What I was not expecting was more healing from my parents divorce.

We originally planned to drive into Chicago and then out of nowhere a blizzard that would drop two feet of snow in the Michigan City meant we wouldn’t be able to do that. So I booked train tickets. Of course God had a plan!

You know how I knew? Because I walked up to that train track and saw the train coming towards me with emotions welling up inside me. That’s how I knew.

I love how the Lord heals. He just keeps doing it and doing it, if you seek Him.

Healing is a process. Even when we get saved, God will continue to work in us and through us. It’s an amazingly beautiful, yet imperfect journey of following Christ.

There are many people who get healed in an instant by God’s grace. Others, it’s more gradual and others it’s not on this side of heaven.

Even so, anyone who has been healed by God truly, has a desire to follow Jesus and live out their lives for Him.

So for me, this has not been a healing that happened in an instant. There has been many layers.

I believe it started though, when I got into treatment and realized it wasn’t about my addiction. It was more about the early childhood trauma of my parents divorce I’d never faced.

Since the beginning of that healing road, there have been SO many ways that God has peeled away layers. So many. Marrying a man who’d been divorced, and getting to know His kids – was a big part of it.

But this time, when I saw that train coming, I knew – that little girl Meredith who grew up riding that Amtrak train from Philly to D.C. was about to get some more healing.

And this wasn’t even the beginning – I’ll tell you in another blog what the Lord started to do with this at the very beginning of the year between me and my Mom!

Anyway, let me take it back for a minute.

If you are an adult child of divorce, you understand the concept of living in between two worlds. Whether your parents lived across the street from each other, or they were hours away like mine, or you never really knew the one parent – you are in two worlds because even if you don’t know the one, you are imagining what it would be like if you did.

What I found was that it was that in-between space (in transit) that was the most comfortable, when I wasn’t at my Moms or at my Dads; just in-between. No matter how well your parents parent, or how much you feel their love, you always feel stuck in between two worlds, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. 

When my parents got divorced around 8 years old, and I started navigating that life in between, I got this writing bug. In fact, I vividly remember a teacher in elementary school telling me (can’t remember which) that I had a gift. You know when he said it? Because I had written an essay called, “Between Two Worlds,” about living that life. How ironic, right?

But guess what? Like many creatives, I didn’t do anything about it for ages because I didn’t think it was a “legit” gig in adult life. Well, that was indeed a seed, and when God plants a seed, He’ll reveal it again if you are seeking Him.

So, there I was in treatment for my addictions, actually having to deal with those feelings about my parents divorce, and the pen to paper became a way of life. I was 31 when I checked into treatment.

Now let’s fast forward.

As I sit on this train heading to Chicago, I’m 46. That’s 15 years since I first got into recovery. So there’s been a lot of growing and learning and getting closer to the Lord. I am just one of those people who lives deeply and reflects on life.

So then I start thinking about the concept of the train.

Think about it.

You aren’t driving the ship. You aren’t even in the front of it. You are just riding it.

You are sitting there, watching the world go by (albeit quickly) and you are just an observer of the world around you.

And isn’t that just what it’s like when you are in the middle of the effects of your parents divorce. You are trying to navigate this life within two completely different worlds and you are just going through the motions. You don’t really have time to think about how you feel about the divorce, except when it hurts, but you have no clue how you might overcome it. You are just busy trying to get through the days and as some like to say, “get over it.” But you never really do, right?

Yeah, that’s because you can’t “get over” something like that. You have to “walk through” something like that. You have to feel those feelings. (I know, the worst.) They are deep. They are yuk, and usually they are hard to find because you’ve more than likely stuffed them down for so long.

But here’s the thing, if you aren’t living in the midst of it anymore, you are living out the effects of it. More than likely, you are responding to life out of that event (that trauma) and until you stop doing that – you’ll keep doing what you do on the train. You’ll keep sitting there, watching the world go by, letting someone else drive the ship – the one that steers your heart that is filled with emotions and thoughts and reactions.

You know, you can’t ride a train forever; even if you are going across the country. It may be a long trip, but you eventually have to get off. If you’ve never dealt with the pain of your parents divorce, you are still on that train, living on autopilot and not living to your greatest potential – to who God really created you to be.

Eventually you’ve got to face the music and find the courage within you to step off that train and say to yourself, “Okay, let’s do it.” Let’s take this adventure. I know how ugly it will be. But I’m ready.

When you do this? You are a a warrior facing your demons head-on. You are no longer running or denying the pain of that trauma. You are staring at it head on – even if it’s through a blizzard. You may have no clue how you’ll walk through it, but you are willing and committed to doing just that.

Kudos to you. If you are willing to do this, you have no clue how absolutely fulfilling your life can be, how free you can be and at peace you can be.

If you aren’t there yet, that’s okay, it eventually catch up to you. Just so you know, I’ve been down that road of avoiding it and I know where it took me. It was a place of high anxiety, full of addictions and unhealthy relationships. I never want to go back there. So if you are still there, and aren’t ready, I’m here for ya when you are.

More importantly —- there is someone — who is WAY more there for you than anyone. He’s someone I found when I was so done with all those escape mechanisms I was using to avoid these feelings. I had met Him growing up going to Catholic church, but never like this. Never in my life had I met Jesus in a way that I felt so loved and so comforted, that I was finally ready to surrender everything I was “trying” to do to fix that hurt in my heart. Only He could do that.

Listen to these Scriptures. Study them for yourself. Write them down.

Psalm 34:4-5 NIV

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.

Psalm 34:17-18 NIV

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

And one more I want to share with you.

Psalm 40:2 NIV

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

I know.

Believe me, I know how far God feels when you’ve been through your parents’ divorce.

But I can tell as someone who’s been recovering from it for 15 years, it doesn’t matter what or who God was to you when you were going through that.

What matters – is that He wants a relationship with you. Period. You can hate me for saying that. Just remember – relationship, not religion. He wants you to connect to Him – not be good enough for some religion you never felt like you fit. You were meant for relationship.

So I’m going to be praying for you – that you come to a space where you realize, nothing you could do could make that hurt go away, only God. And if you aren’t there right now, that’s okay. I’m just here to help you get on a better road. I’ll tell you more here on the blog and probably in some videos on my You Tube channel @getrealwithmeredith!

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