Abandonment. Abuse. Betrayal. Poverty. Family chronic illness.

Papa has faced many great tragedies already in his young life, and yet you would not know upon meeting him. You would first notice his broad smile and caring eyes and be put quickly at ease. He radiates peace and contentment and strength. He has had plentiful reasons to put on bitterness or get stuck seeking justice, or even to just give up entirely. Yet repeatedly, he does not yield to his feelings and those tempting trails, but chooses life.

Living in the aftermath of divorce, and in the new adventure of a blended family, is like walking a path peppered with road-side bombs. Even in the best of situations this seems to be pretty universal. The unique compound of co-parenting mixed with ever-blended finances, even moreso with new spouses and/or children involved, is just plagued with explosive temptation. It is the perfect fusion of opportunities for comparison, envy, bitterness, judgment…and on it goes.

When I find myself struggling with the newest explosion rocking our lives and I talk to Papa about it, he listens. He nods and I know he understands. And then he gives me a similar answer every time; we do what we can do, then we push that stuff – unresolved or unfair as it is, over to God and just keep walking. We do not entertain the thoughts that aren’t from Him, and we don’t let ourselves go down that rabbit trail, however tempting it might feel at the time.

Sometimes even now it is hard for me to hear this. But I look at his smile, his peace; I see in front of me the fruit born in a man who has lived exactly this way for many years now. And I believe him. Though it always begins as an uphill swim, when I do force myself to keep moving I always find the shouting side-path voices get gradually quieter. The pain in my spirit gets softer, the burden of figuring-it-all-out or fairness is lifted and I get happily distracted and can focus on all the joys on my real road again.

The main road God has set each of us on is full of such strawberries, even in divorce.When I’m not weighed down by justice or the illusion of control, I relax more with my boys as they lean into me for story time and breathe them in; I can see the humor in Eliot deeming it ‘Backwards Day’ and coming downstairs with all of his clothes on in reverse. My energy is not going to the things (and dare I say, people!) I can not control, and was not meant to. As Danny Silk says, on my best day I can only control myself; the only kind of Biblical control is self-control.

Especially in blended families we need to be aware how many dangerous rabbit trails line our path. There is still one strawberry-filled road God is walking us each down, even post-divorce. No one can force us off that road – all the enemy can do is try to persuade and tempt us by making those lines of thinking look appealing. But they are not life. Choosing those alternate, deceptive paths are the real destruction. The real power lies in continuing to believe and fix our thoughts on all that is actually true (His words of hope, grace, life), walking only forward. It is the only path of real peace.

One Response to “Snares”

  1. ecd says:

    The strawberries taste that much juicier on this ambivalent journey of constant choice. Sometimes, I wish it were easier, but then we wouldn’t really savor the taste…we’d already be moving on.

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