I love my cluttered collection of magnets, photos, and business cards on the sides of my refrigerator. When I take a phone call or sort our recycling items, I look over my collection and it makes me smile. Corny, glittered mementos from tourist shops. Handmade creations from my children’s classrooms. Oldie-but-goodie prints from our dating days.
The one item that always gives me pause is my August 1993 school portrait.
The 15-year-old me was nervous and excited that day. Freshly hatched from a spiritual rebirth experience in the basement bathroom the week prior, I was ready to enter my junior year with verve for the Lord.
Little did I know that in two short months my lifelong best friend would move away, and I would turn all my hurt inward and slide downward, even entertaining suicidal thoughts.
I wasn’t aware that my depression was linked to all the hurt, anger, and confusion about my parents’ divorces and second marriages. The storm clouds were gathering and I would be blindsided.
More than 20 years later, I know her pain. I no longer hate myself, and I no longer am burdened with anger and confusion. It took a lot of suffering, grieving, and therapy to get to the other side.
I heard a sermon once that said God carries your photo in His wallet. I think He carries my old photo in His wallet, or maybe He keeps it on the side of His refrigerator. I take comfort in His words of Isaiah 49:16, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
God saw me and knew me then. He knew the storm clouds were gathering. He never let me go, even as the storms raged over me. He showed me how to come out on the other side as a conqueror (Romans 8:37).
When I pause and look at that photo now, I say out loud, “I love you, 15-year-old Sarah.” I say that to acknowledge the girl inside me, to validate her pain and her worth. And then I thank God for all the healing He has brought to me since then.
How has God helped you through your struggles as a child of divorce?