Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Explaining the unexplainable

My "favorite" son

Proverbs 24:14
Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

My firstborn, Josiah, is the sweetest little guy.  He has such a soft heart and as a baby he'd often cry when my sister sang him lullabies.  Sometimes, when he laughs so hard that he cries, he often ends up actually's hilarious to watch.  Josiah was only 3 1/2 when his dad left, but he remembers him living here.  He doesn't remember much of the tension that was in the house at that time (or he doesn't mention it) but I know he felt it back then. 

After their dad left, I had no idea how to explain it to my children.  My daughter was only 18 months so I couldnt really tell her much, but I knew Josiah needed an age-appropriate explanation.  At the time, I just held him over with short answers and at times, changed the subject. I just didn't know what to say.  He was still seeing his dad regularly, but I knew one day I'd have to explain the situation in a little more detail.

One night when he was about 4, we were driving home and out of nowhere, Josiah burst into tears.  "I miss my daddy!"  Without knowing how to handle it, and without being able to comfort him while driving, I just kept saying "its okay, Josiah...its okay to miss daddy."  By the time we got home, he had already stopped crying but I knew his little heart was still aching.  For a second I considered putting on a cartoon, reading a book, playing a game; anything to take his mind off of it and to save me from having to explain the unexplainable.  However, I knew I had to confront the issue.  How do you explain divorce to a child? I could barely wrap my mind around the questions of "why?" so how was I to explain the unexplainable to a preschooler?

I went up to his room and sat him down. I quickly asked (begged) God for wisdom, hugged him and told him one thing:  "it's okay to be sad".  He looked at me as if to say "Really?!"

As moms (or dads), we want the best for our children.  Unfortunately, its impossible to go throughout this life and not experience pain.  The important lesson I'm trying to teach my children (and trying to learn myself) is to allow themselves to feel the pain and embrace the lessons they're going to learn from that time.  I feel bad for them often. I hate that they're hurting.  I hate not being able to protect them from that hurt. I hate that they don't get to experience a "normal" family (whatever that is these days).  I hate that they may one day experience the issues that having stepmom or stepdad may bring. I hate having to explain someone else's bad decisions to them.  I do know one thing, though...this will not define them.  I never want the term "divorce" to be a crutch to them throughout their lives. 

Yes, its unfair.  However, if handled wisely, hard times can often bring about stronger people.  Even if this never would have happened, difficult times would have still come knocking at their door at one time or another.  I hope that, through this situation, they will gain great wisdom.  I hope my son will learn to honor and treasure his future wife.  I hope my daughter learns to choose her mate wisely, and isn't led astray because she is looking for love in all the wrong places. I pray that they value marriage, even if they don't marry.  Most of all, I pray that they are confident in their future knowing God walks alongside of them, in the good times and the bad.

How do you deal with your child's hurt, whether divorce related or not? 


  1. Sarah, I struggle daily with this. I ask God daily to give me the strength and courage to someday be able to explain the unexplainable. I trust that when these questions do arise I will have God to guide me. I love your blogs, it reminds me I am not the only single parent out there raising 2 children.

  2. I didn't have time to read when you first posted this, but now that I have, I am reminded again what a strong, smart lady you are. I think you are an amazing guide for your children. And such a positive outlook, even when dealing with something like knowing we cannot protect our children from everything! You inspire me. You really do. And I think you're on the right path. Thumbs up to you, lady!


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