We can learn a lot about adults in the lives of children of divorce when we look at the story of David fighting the Philistine, Goliath, in 1 Samuel 17:38-46. We pick up where King Saul tried to dress David in his adult clothes.
The scriptures say,
“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off.”
King Saul was proud to try to dress David in his own outfit. But, when David tried walking around King Saul’s garb, the “garb” did not fit David. Of course it didn’t fit! David was a young shepherd boy. The outfit was not made for him. It was made for King Saul, not a small boy.
Parents, church leaders and other adults often try to fit children of divorce into “outfits” for the adults but just don’t fit the child of divorce.
Divorcing parents load the kids down with all their issues. They dress the kids in a coat of ugliness and bitterness; they put on the tunic of resentment and shame. Then they plop on the helmet of aloneness and add on many other decorations.
These children come to church and we try to make our ideas, our experiences, fit them, and we want them to do battle with our sword. We give them the sword of scripture and religious jargon. Our adult perceptions and religious jargon are confusing to a child who is only truly concerned with his or her family’s situation. Children can’t make the connection between the scripture and what is happening in their own lives.
Just like the sword Saul wanted David to carry into battle against Goliath was too heavy for him, the scriptures we give to these kids don’t seem to fit the child’s situation. Unchurched children don’t understand this foreign language. Even if they have been raised in church, all of sudden to them the meanings behind the words are confusing.
They may think things such as, “IF God loves me, why doesn’t He make my mom move back home?” They have to have simple explanations given to them so they find their own way just as David had to find his way to fight Goliath. His way was something foreign to Saul, for it was five smooth stones and a sling.
We can only facilitate the healing process for these children. We can’t make the kids heal, but we can show them and make it easier for them to find their way to the Lord, to Christ and where they will find true healing. When David faced Goliath, he said,
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (v. 45).
We have to come against the giant of divorce not only with God’s Word, but with God’s love. These children will come to us with large amounts of baggage and bitterness. We have to make it easy for them to pick up the smooth simple words of Christ and use those words to put in their slings. Then we can send them out into the world to do battle with what they are comfortable with and what works for each child.
Love, acceptance, understanding and connections are paramount with the children who attend our churches.
Linda Ranson Jacobs is one of the forefront leaders in the area of children and divorce. She developed and created the DivorceCare for Kids programs. DC4K is an international program for churches to use to help children of divorced parents find healing within the arms of a loving church family. As a speaker, author, trainer, program developer and child care center owner, Linda has assisted countless families by modeling and acting on the healing love she has found in Jesus Christ. Linda offers support, encouragement and suggestions to help those working with the child of divorce. She serves as DC4K Ambassador (http://www.dc4k.org) and can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Free articles and devotions for single parent families in your church can be found at Linda’s website Healthy Loving Partnerships for Our Kids (http://www.hlp4.com).