A few years ago, I experienced the heart-wrenching reality of what separation is. My parents, who had lived together for most of my life, had to call it quits. Did I see it coming? Probably, yes. There were moments it was just but thoughts on my mind. I was slightly past my twenties, and I had other younger siblings whom I knew would be affected in many ways. I had been in the ministry field for a short spell. I had gotten used to the reality of the trajectory my life had taken. ‘I can handle this.’- is what I used to tell myself.
All in all, that night I got a call from my cousin telling me that things were not so well at home. Her call was, “Kama mnaweza, mukuje haraka. Huku ni kubaya (If possible, make your way here fast. Things are not okay here). That was around 9 pm, and I was more than two and a half hours away.
I took some time to pray with my leader in the mission ground and did not sleep throughout the night. My head pounded, and my bile welled up. I was a volcano on the verge of eruption. “What was God doing? All the sacrifice I have done on the mission field? Why could he not end such things?” These and more questions flashed through my mind as the morning took forever to come.
My worst fear had caught up with me- our home broke apart. My name would appear among the statistics of youth who come from broken families. Arriving home and going through the processes and the conversations were not easy. Eventually, the decision had to be. Our home broke. What next? Well, that’s a conversation for another day. Today, let me encourage and challenge you who is in such a situation or almost in one.
Give yourself freedom.
When we harbour bitterness in our hearts, we are fighting against ourselves. Often, the person to whom we are bitter is living their lives without any little care of what we are going through. It is like drinking a cup of sulphuric acid wishing that your parent, who did much evil against you, would die from it! That isn’t very reasonable!
To experience the freedom that comes to us when we forgive, we must forgive those who have caused us harm. Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22).
The other reason why this should be our focus is that it is the way God has dealt with us- in forgiveness. Colossians 3:13, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” In Christ, we have freedom (Galatians 5:1), and part of this freedom is in our ability to let go of the bitterness.
Christ came to set us free from the bondage of sin (John 8:32) and also to give us the ability and opportunity to express His love to others. In sending his disciples and that we are also, Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” (John 20:21). How did the Father send the Son? With authority and ability to accomplish all the goodwill desired by God. To firm up this conversation, Jesus added, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22). We have the Holy Spirit if indeed we are born again. We can change the narrative of the broken home we have come from by allowing Christ to mend our hearts.
There is more to life- one day at a time.
The other thing we need to understand is that there is more to life than what we have gone through. What happens to us affects us, alright, but does not to determine what our future will be. An old hymnal says it this way;
“One day at a time, sweet Jesus| That’s all I am asking of you.
Just give me the strength to do everyday| What I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus| And tomorrow may never be mine.
Help me today| Show me the way| One day at a time.” – By Lynda Randle.
Anxiety comes when we try to make sure that we have control of every circumstance in our lives. There is no single human being who knows of tomorrow, yet many of us want to have control of it. This thinking leaves us in a dangerous hole called depression. Some people cannot capture the reality in their hearts that their tomorrow does not depend on the togetherness of their families. There is a level of stability we get when we have a fully functional family (not separated or broken)- both emotionally, physically, psychologically and even spiritually.
Nevertheless, Jesus is not limited to give strength to those who come from functioning homes alone. God says in 2 Chronicles 16:9a, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” As the realities of growing up in a single-family set in, realise that the LORD will guide you all the way, as He has done to many others.
We may have the fears of not completing school or even going to college; or even inheritance at times. God is in control so take a day at a time. God has an individual plan for you (Ephesians 2:10). The wise Solomon told us that the issues of life come from our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). The more we learn to rid our hearts of all bitterness and hopelessness, the more we start seeing life from God’s perspective. For when our hearts are free, we are more prone to make healthy decisions about matters of life, thereby making leaps to better days detached from a dark and gloomy past. God will help us change the narrative of the broken home we have come from, and this is by believing in Christ to lead us one day at a time.
You are not your parents.
What does the LORD tell us about our identity in Christ? Genesis 1:26-27, God created Adam and Eve uniquely and as distinct individuals. None of them depended on the other to have meaning and purpose. However, both of them complimented each other in different roles. Our parents help us to accomplish a few things. It is God who gives meaning and purpose when our parents fail in this role.
Psalm 139 reminds us that God formed us individually and showed great concern by taking time to think of us as persons. The psalmist says that we praise Him because we are fearfully and wonderfully made of the greatest fears that cripple young people, is the fear of becoming like our parent. This fear makes many of us forget about building ourselves up. You have a personality that is exclusively designed by God for a particular work predetermined for you.
You indeed share both of their DNA structure, but it does not mean that you will be who they are. There are aspects of life that you can point to as a result of your connectedness with your parents. Be that as it may, a character is worked in our hearts and not so much transferred. Moreover, Jesus gives us a new nature when we come to Him in faith (2 Corinthians 5:17).