Christmas is here. While for many it is the most magical time of the year, for those walking through the pain of adultery and divorce, it is a painful reminder of all you have lost, of the brokenness of this human condition.
As I’ve been talking with several people dealing with overwhelming pain and loss, I’ve begun to think about the Christmas season in a new way. I’ve begun to think about what this season is all about. I’ve been thinking of reminders of what Christmas means when your life feels helplessly broken.
I remember clearly the pain of that first year as a single mom. I had to send my kids away for the first week of Christmas break, knowing I was supposed to pick them up at 10:00 am Christmas day for our own celebration…if that’s what you want to call it. Money was beyond tight as I had been a stay-at-home mom for years and I was only working part-time as I completed my nursing degree. My parents had so generously given me some money so I could get something for my kids, but it was way less than what I wanted to give.
On top of all the pain and disappointment, we had a very rare Christmas Eve blizzard. The snow was beautiful, but it also caused road closures everywhere. When Christmas morning rolled around, I received the inevitable text that my ex-husband wouldn’t be able to get the kids home because of the weather.
There was no way I was not going to have my children. My sister loaded me up in a 4-wheel drive truck, and we began the normally one-hour drive to pick up my children. I don’t know how long it took us, but I know it was mid afternoon when we finally made it home for our celebration. We quickly opened the gifts under the tree. The kids knew the Christmas gifts were meager, but by the grace of God there was a much bigger gift awaiting: a foot of freshly fallen snow just waiting for us to run and sled and build snowmen and laugh. It was a snow like my kids had never seen before! But what a gift to distract from the reality of Christmas as a single mom.
We spent the rest of the day playing together in the snow followed by making and decorating Christmas cookies. We all went to bed with smiles on our faces in spite of the pain in our hearts. In His own sweet way, God had been our Provider.
As the years passed, there were more times for God to be our Provider than I can even start to remember. So many times, He provided just what we needed just in time. Whether it was the $100 slipped into my hand at church that paid for my kids to play basketball or the $2000 gift from an anonymous donor that paid the remainder of my daughter’s braces, so many times He was the Provider we needed.
As a single mom (or dad), it can be so frustrating as we try to provide for our kids. Often there are arguments and angry words exchanged as it seems the ex is doing the bare minimum, as it seems the courts are so unfair in how they determine child support. I know people who received (or paid) WAY more in child support every month for one child than I ever received for all three of my kids. As I struggled for years to make ends meet, the injustice often seemed so overwhelming. I found myself angry that my ex always got by with only paying a small amount each month while I bore the full load of providing for my kids every need.
As I repeatedly struggled with the injustices of the system, I was constantly reminded my ex was not my provider; God is my Provider. In a perfect world, every parent would set aside what the court says and work together to provide for these precious children we brought into the world…but we live in anything but a perfect world. While some parents are able to set aside their differences and focus on the best interest of the children, it often seems the exception instead of the rule. When we find ourselves angry and upset about the injustices, we must remember God is our true Provider.
Isn’t that what He showed us by sending His Son that Christmas morning, born of a virgin in the dark and dingy stable? Didn’t He send His Son to provide for our broken condition, to provide a way out of this broken world? Didn’t He send His Son because He knew our true needs, the ones we might not even recognize?
He sent His Son as the final declaration that He is our Provider, our Jehovah Jireh.
How do we choose to accept Him as our Provider in the midst of our painful circumstances?
Expect only God to be your Provider. How many times have I caught myself angry with my ex for all the ways he didn’t provide for me or the kids? How many times have I wondered why God would allow some of the injustices I have experienced? And how many times has God had to gently remind me He is my provider…no one else?
It doesn’t matter what the court says. It doesn’t matter what your ex says. It doesn’t matter what your family says. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. The truth is there’s only One who is responsible for providing for you…our Jehovah Jireh. He knows our needs. He knows our true needs. Maybe we need a Christmas blizzard to create memories more than we need money to buy elaborate gifts. Maybe we need a quiet evening baking Christmas cookies more than we need the latest and greatest video game. He knows our needs.
Let the Father know your needs. Yes, there are times when a financial need weighs heavy on our hearts, when we are trying to provide for our kids’ medical needs and there’s not an extra $20 each month to pay the emergency room bill. Trust me, I understand. I’ve been there.
In those moments when we are trying to stretch our dollars, make your needs known to God. He already knows them, but He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He knows how to provide those true needs that weigh heavy on our hearts. He knows how to provide a free meal that frees up money for a medical bill. He knows how to move the hearts of others to pour out a blessing on us.
Never forget He is in the business of providing, of making a way when it seems there is none.
Know God sees all you have been through. Many of us have walked through some tough circumstances in our pasts. Some of us had spouses who never handled money appropriately. Some of us had spouses who were destructive with finances, spending and running up debt behind our backs. We’ve been ruined financially at every turn and don’t know how we will ever get on our feet.
God knows all you have been through and will provide for your every need. Turn your finances over to Him. Ask for His wisdom as you rebuild your life. Ask Him to guide your every dollar, to bless your income as only He can.
When I divorced, I was working part-time. My income was less than my mortgage. How was I to keep a roof over our heads and feed and clothe my kids? I still don’t really know how I made it through those early years, but God continually increased our income. I can’t even start to tell you the ways He provided for us, taking us from the pits of poverty to a comfortable position. He knew all I had endured, and He heard all my prayers for “our” finances. He answered my prayers in “my” finances.
I know it’s so hard, so tempting, to want your ex to be your provider. But what a disservice to you! God is a much better provider than any human. Don’t let your insistence that your ex provide for you limit what God has planned.
Let go of anger. Let go of bitterness. Let go of demands. Let God take over and be your Provider this Christmas season and for the rest of your lives.