Conditional Love

First and foremost…I cannot take credit for this revelation. I used to ask God daily to help me understand what I asked my kids to endure when I got a divorce…and I recently asked a new question…what am I asking my kids to endure by building a “new” family? Well, to be even more honest, I don’t think my question was that well formed. We have a counselor coming to our house to help with with boys, and she said that one of the boys is feeling replaceable. This totally fits with the behavior I’ve seen. So…I think my question as I fell asleep was a much less thought out, and much more emotional, Why?! Because Lord knows my babies are not replaceable to me…but do they know that?

Here is what I woke up thinking:

For most kids, divorce is the first time they are exposed to conditional love. You know, the “I love you if” or “I love you when” kind of deal – and when someone isn’t rising to the expectations before them, the “love” they once shared is denied, the relationship ended, and left in the wake are some less than perfect kids, that make lots of mistakes, wondering when they will reach the end of the “I love you if” rope.

When you take Christ out of the center of a marriage, and you stop putting God first, and you stop learning to love your spouse the way that God loves us, you stop modeling that perfect love for your kids. Or better said, I stopped modeling that perfect love for my kids. We are human, and we don’t get it perfectly, but we are called to be an example in our marriage of the way Christ loved the church. No “ands, ifs, or buts” about it.

Divorce exposes kids to a love that ends, a love that is performance based, and possible, something that was never really love to begin with. Because in all that we know about love, and all the bible teaches us about love, we can be certain that abandonment is not a love-character. Love is not self-serving. And if I go over the reasons for my divorce…it is clear that nothing that brought it about matches what I know about love. In fact, it is a complete lack of Godly love.

If you know me at all, you know that I am very susceptible to the nagging voice of the accuser. I feel guilty very easily. I almost let this revelation turn into guilt, but thank God I’ve come along way in recognizing the things that were not my fault, and accepting forgiveness for the things that were. And God wasn’t done with me yet.

He still wanted to answer what I’m exposing my kids to by trying again. The best part of that answer is I am getting another chance to love like God loves me, and to be that example of a love that is without conditions. The scariest part, is that there is always a chance for human error and failure. And, instead of showing them from birth, through the course of their lives, I now have two broken hearts, that feel like love ends and people go away. So, instead of setting an example of Christ-like love for kids that don’t know any different, we have a much larger opportunity to let God work through us and heal their hearts, or to further corrupt their idea of love.

So, my prayer today is that God would continue revealing the delicate nature of these things to me…that He would soften my heart, and that His healing touch would me ministered through me to my family – to my sons, my stepsons, and my on-the-way baby girl. And to my guy. And I pray that as we grow together as a family, that my guy and I would both recognize the calling on our lives to minister to our kids, and that we would be united in the good days and the bad. I pray that through Christ we have the endurance to not just stick it out for a little while, but to build a life together, that lasts our lifetime. And that we have the chance to positively impact the lives of those around us.


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