This is the fourth in a series of behind-the-scenes blog posts regarding my book, The Single Dad Detour.
I make it clear in the book, God was the one who sustained me through the early years following my divorce. But on page 58, I briefly mention the role my elder brothers played in helping me. There’s more to their influence than I had space to expound.
I’m the youngest of the family. That has its setbacks and its perks. Setbacks in that, even today at times, when I’m with my brothers, they tend to (out of habit, I’m sure) leave me out of discussions that pertain to topics on finances, major purchases or family decisions. Not on purpose. It’s just always been that way. I am, after all, the baby. I can’t possibly comprehend–let alone care to join in on–adult conversations. I’m only 55 for goodness sake, I’m not interested in “grown-up talk.”
I’ve gotten used to it. It’s an innocent mistake on their part and it makes me chuckle.
The perks of being the youngest of four boys out-weight by a long shot any downsides. I am loved and it was even more evident when I was a single parent. Each of my brothers had never (still haven’t) experienced divorce. They are happily married but despite divorce being rare in our family, these guys demonstrated compassion and understanding of my predicament.
We all lived far apart from one another but they made sure to include me in family reunions when clearly I was the odd guy out because I had no spouse. It felt lonely at times to not have a wife to accompany me, nevertheless, I felt loved and accepted.
My oldest brother, Ron, would send me encouraging emails from time-to-time, letting me know he was praying for me.
Wayne, the only brother who lived in the same state as I, came to visit soon after my wife and I split. I’d found a one-room efficiency in a hotel converted into apartments. It was a tired old place where rats would peek at me through the window while they climbed up and down the fire escape. It was all I could afford while still paying the mortgage on my house.
I was battling depression but Wayne’s attention brought me hope. He even offered me a part-time job at the church where he pastored, to help me with bills.
Fred lived several states away but called me and made sure I was doing ok. He came to see me during his vacation one year and spoke words of encouragement to me. You can read about that in the book.
My sisters-in-law were great with my kids too. Their motherly affection toward my daughter and son was heart-warming to watch.
Simultaneously, the four of us (and their wives) were going through a spiritual renewal and it transformed all of us–bonding us as a family.
We took off work just to be together in the presence of God. It was the summer of 1995 and we were experiencing God is tangible ways. Collectively, we experienced personal physical and emotional healings, deliverance from besetting sins, empowered with new gifts from the Holy Spirit and more.
For myself, the pain and rejection from my divorce lifted and I was able to parent my kids more effectively. A more detailed description of this experience is explained in the book. Suffice it to say, God spoke audibly to me and in that moment I finally believed he not only loved me, he liked me–was crazy about me!
My point is, Jesus and community are critical to our survival as single parents. First Jesus…then if you don’t have a community, seek it out. Find someone at church, work, relatives, neighbors, anyone. We’re not meant to parent alone.