The statistics on divorce in our country are staggering. Upwards of 50% of marriages will end in divorce and sadly the church is not immune to that statistic. As the body of Christ, how do we minister to kids whose stories have always included divorce or are just recently experiencing it?
The challenging part is that every kid’s story is unique. They have grown up in different environments; they have been exposed to the Gospel in varying amounts and the reasoning behind their parents’ divorce differs from case to case. Regardless of the differences, I think there are some basic ways that we can all minister to these kids.
My parents were divorced by the time I was seven and up until that point I had never stepped foot in a church. It wasn’t until after my parents’ divorce that I was even exposed to Jesus and to this day, I don’t know the exact reason why they got divorced. So, I speak out of my own personal experience in the way that my church ministered to my own heart as a young child.
- Love on these kids unconditionally. Hug them. Write them notes telling them how much you care about them. Celebrate them.
- Ask them tough questions and allow them to ask you tough questions. So often, we don’t want to overstep our boundaries but not asking the questions, and we allow the child to navigate through it by themselves. Sadly, this is worse than becoming a bit uncomfortably by asking the tough questions. Kids need to know that they have a safe place to hash out their feelings regarding their parents’ divorce.
- Be an active part of their life. Divorce can leave kids with either a varying amount of parental involvement in their life or none at all, and this can be devastating. Go to soccer games or ballet recitals or go eat lunch with them at school. All of these things will show them that they matter to someone.
- Remind them of the nature of God. God is good. God works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). God will use their hardship for His glory. It’s critical that you love the child but it is also crucial to remind them how great a love our God has for them.
Bottom line, there is no easy fix for divorce. There is nothing that anyone can say or do that is going to make it all right. But, we have an opportunity to love on kids that might not get the love they deserve and we have a chance to show them a little bit of who Jesus is. These are opportunities that I know I surely do not want to miss out on. I hope you will join me on the journey of ministering to kids of divorce.
Tori Einstein is a CentriKid staffer, Art Studio leader and Production leader who loves to invest in kids. She uses her own experience with divorce to help kids at camp open up about what they’re going through. In the off season, Tori attends the University of Arizona.