Divorce with kids….

Please note before you read this that I am not speaking about those who are truly being mistreated by another, those truly hurting for their children through their divorce. This is written for those who are allowing the hurt from their spouse cloud their judgment as parents.

Recently I have been noticing a handful of people going through what I am currently going through with my husband’s ex, and what I went through with my divorce. What I am writing about is fighting dirty with their ex and involving the kids. Many claim it’s for the kids. If we are to be completely honest it’s not about the kids, it’s about hurting the other one and getting revenge. I understand that hurt and the pain that you secretly suffer when a marriage falls apart. I understand the guilt that you cover with rage, and spiteful vengeance. This is why I believe God has laid this on my heart these last few weeks, and having it all come together today, October 29, 2010, one year after I finalized my divorce. I’ve chosen to focus on what destroyed my marriage, and the battle my husband has with the mother of his boys; money!

Matt and I were together 13 years and have two children. We spent the last 4 years of our marriage separated, and the last year I spent barely getting any child support. His company had shut down and this left him without a job. Right before we finalized the papers I had gone months without anything. I went from getting $800 a month to nothing. I survived by the grace of God, Chadd & payday loans. When it was time to go to court everyone was telling me how I have to “fight for my kids”, and “get what I deserve” that “I’ve got to do what’s right for me”. Today I write these words seeing clearly how although the ones that encouraged these things were not hurtful people, they just hurt for me, they wanted me to be taken care of. But these words are not the words that Jesus would’ve spoken to me. These are the words of Satan. “Fight, deserve, right for me”

I didn’t grow up with money, and wanted it so desperately for my kids, as did Matt. He too wanted to give his kids the life he always wanted as a child. He wanted to grow old with his kids and buy them 4 wheelers, take them riding, and love his baby girl so much that she would never allow a man that did not love her as a princess come into her life. We shared the same dreams for our family, and when we received our first daughter from the Lord she was blessed with two loving parents that devoted their lives to her. She never went without, and our weekends were spent out together as a family. Then things started to slow down and he made roughly $16,000 less that year. We agreed that during slow season I would go back to dancing since winter was our season. You see WE gave into that because we would do anything to keep our kids from going without like we did. The year after that he lost another $18,000 (on top of the $16k) again winter came and I went back. This continued throughout our entire marriage.

These weren’t the plans we agreed upon before we were married. The plan was I would dance full time while he went to school, when he graduated I would be done for good, and be a stay at home mom. When we first got married he was only making $18,000 a year. After Kayla turned one he was making over $50k – we were on cloud nine as you can imagine, increasing that much in a year. Today I can see where God was testing our commitment to our marriage. Was it really for richer or poorer, did I really mean for better or worse? We gave in to money. We agreed that me using my body, degrading my own self-esteem, and killing his trust in me was worth the money we would gain. Satan won in our marriage, but God won in our lives.

The one thing we still agreed upon was that we loved our children and giving them the life we never had was still most important. I fell in love with this man, chose to have his children, and build a future with him. He is the father of my children and I am the mother of his. He has given me 2 gifts that no one else ever has; 2 gifts that continually bless my life every single day. I still after almost 10 years of being a mother sometimes look at amazement that I was given so much through these two kids. When he first left I was completely lost and scared. The one thing I held onto to pull me through the pain was the fear of messing up their lives, especially my daughters’. The never ending gut wrenching fear I lived with was my daughter going through life with this emptiness inside of her, and so desperate to fill it she used sex, her looks, drugs, and alcohol to try and fill it. I was so afraid she would live a life exactly like me. At the time I knew the only way I could keep that from happening was to make sure her dad remain in her life. That I kept the men I dated away until he was the one I could answer yes to when I asked “would I want my daughter to marry a guy like this?” I had to do whatever I could do to give her the life I never had.

This time there was something different in the mix of this determination. I had begun going to church, I started to pray, and He started to change my heart. I voluntarily lowered Matt’s child support when winter came. Not because I had to, but because I knew it would allow him not to be bitter towards me, which would help him to want to come around to see the kids. Matt didn’t see the nice things I would do and continued to be hurtful and ungrateful. I didn’t always reply so kindly, but I didn’t use money to hurt him. Money was a weapon used to destroy our marriage; I would not allow Satan to use it to destroy the lives of my kids as well. I held onto the truth that we shared, the love that we shared, and the promise we made to our children. This is why I am writing this today. God granted me forgiveness already for my actions in my divorce, yesterday he allowed me to forgive myself.

Yesterday after I dropped the kids off to Lindsey I had this wonderful feeling of love inside of me. I honestly love that he has her. She loves him in a way I couldn’t. She gives him what I never could, and he so desperately needed, which was trust. I do not go out of my way to cause problems between them, quite the opposite actually. I get so consumed with worry that she might leave him when we do fight that it allows me to drop it. You see because their happiness will only build up my children’s lives. If I destroy something that brings him happiness because I am so consumed with my own selfishness, I am only destroying another piece of my kids’ lives. Allowing Satan to win, he will never give up trying to defeat me, and I will have to endure the consequences of getting a divorce, but God will always protect me as long as I continue to love the way He commands me to do.

In September of last year I wrote this:

I know a lot of people say fight him on back child support, WHY? IF he had it and kept it from us then YES there would be no question about me fighting for what the kids deserve. But he doesn’t have it, I have gone this long without it; it isn’t worth years of anger and bitterness that will be taken out on the kids. Just so I don’t appear to be a complete fool. I will tell them that I haven’t received anything since July 5th, but as far as the rest it isn’t worth it to me. I know he doesn’t appreciate what I’ve done for him in the last 4 years, hell the past 13 years but that’s NOT why you do good things, you do them only bc you CAN! When you choose to love someone, you choose them as your family and your family aside from God is the most important thing in this world. You protect them even if you don’t think they deserve it, it’s not your choice to make if they deserve it or not. You do what you can, now I don’t mean to put them BEFORE yourself, you do what you can simply bc you can. That is what I am choosing to do. I ask that you continue to pray for me and the kids but I also ask that you pray for him.  

A year later I can tell you that was the best decision I ever made for my children. The relationship he built with them after our divorce has been the best it’s ever been. I fought for what was right for my kids, which was letting go of the money that I had already survived months without, asking only for our daily needs, and nothing more. So when you say I deserve this…or they deserve this…No they deserve to be able to love their parents equally without carrying the burden of hurting you.   

I’m not writing this to condemn anyone, although I know it seems as if I am. For this I am sorry. I wrote this to truly encourage all of you to look at what your children are hearing, and seeing. Try and step back for a moment and ask yourself is this the life you imagined for them? Will your actions cause them any unnecessary hurt now and in the future? Can you change how you behave when they are able to see or hear? Will you do whatever it takes to put their feelings before your own?

Something that I realized last November was the man I married was no longer there. If I had met Matt then, he and I wouldn’t even give each other the time of day. Realizing that allowed me freedom from my expectations of how he should behave. When he reacted opposite than I expected, I was no longer hurt by this because the man I married was no longer there. He was and is a stranger to me. I love the man he was (before the hurt began) and I will always love the life we had. I will never regret one moment (even the bad) I had with him. Every choice that we made led us both to the lives God intended for us with one another, but was unable to achieve through us, yet God still knew we deserved to be happy and loved the way He intended. You see Satan won by breaking up our marriage, but God will always win in the end to those who he has chosen.

Still to this day Matt can get pretty mean when money gets brought up, so I do my very best to keep it out of our relationship. I ask myself over and over “is it worth it?” Because I have been able to let go of the hurt he caused me I’m able to think of him the way I want my daughter to. Understand something, when you say “I’m doing this for my kids” I can assure you, your kids do not care about the things you care about. You are thinking through a broken heart, through anger, pride, pride, and pride. Your kids LOVE their mother, they LOVE their father…they do not care about what you think of the other. Stop involving your kids in your immature battles with one another. Stop allowing them to hear, read, or see on FB your personal battles. This kills a child to feel like they have to choose between parents.

I know that this will be read and many will think I am looking down on you or that I think I am better than you. Not for one second do I think I am better than you, I too have done what you are doing. I have recently done the things you have done with Chadd’s ex, and therefore could never look down on you. I am sharing my life with you; because I have been there, and I chose a different route and my kids thrive today because of it. I am living in the midst of what works and what doesn’t. I have 4 kids and they resemble the actions of their parents during a divorce. I am not speaking of something I know nothing about. I have and am currently living it! I have proof that it works!