The other night we were in a store when a salesman came running up to us and immediately started the small talk by asking "what kind of work do you do here in Little Rock?" We get that question a lot and it's a great opportunity to share about God's plan for marriage and family and to offer a little hope and encouragement. The salesman offered the same reply that we often hear. "That must be very rewarding!" Yeah, I guess so. But the reality is that it's incredibly heart-breaking too.

Here's a glimpse at one of the reasons we do what we do. For half of the people who read this blog, this post won't be too shocking. You've probably personally experienced this pain. For the other half, I encourage you to let it sink in a little. We've grown accustomed to the news media spending the bulk of their time investigating the latest breaking news of Paris Hilton or Brittney Spears while the millions of starving refugees in Darfur are lucky to get a 30 second update once a week. We are so quick to turn our eyes away from reality because it's painful; yet not seeing it doesn't mean it ceases to exist.

One of my favorite bands growing up was a group called Everclear. The lead singer of the group had a tough childhood (parents divorce followed by extreme drug abuse and suicide attempts). So many of his songs give incredible insight into his childhood pain that he's still grappling with as a 40-year old grown-up.

Here's an example:

Did you notice the tear at the end of the song? Did you hear the words?

I don't believe you when you say everything will be wonderful someday
I don't wanna hear you say that I will understand someday
No, no, no, no
I don't wanna hear you say you both have grown in a different way
No, no, no, no
I don't wanna meet your friends and I don't wanna start over again
I just want my life to be the same, just like it used to be
Some days I hate everything
I hate everything
Everyone and everything
Please don't tell me everything is wonderful now...
Perhaps even more chilling than those lyrics are some of the comments posted by the more than 1 million people who have watched this video on YouTube. Here's what a few of them had to say after watching this clip:
Someone who identified themselves as MasterMagus1984 said; "I like the fact at 4:00 into the video he wipes a tear away too... the fact that it hurts him too makes it that much easier to identify with. I had a crappy life and this song is like twisting the knife in my heart, but I can't not listen to it."

A mom named candace2308 wrote: "this song makes me sad because my little girl said its one of her favorite songs :( "

Another mom, nautilus44, says: "I can totally relate, and unfortunately, now my kids get to relate too! The little girl reminds me of my youngest..."

"sucks when a song understands you better than your parents." ~illgoth

"this song makes me so sad =( its my childhood" ~haidarwazahra

"i've never met my dad, and i'm 13 years old.:DD" ~sportsbabe13

A girl who has the online name of sexy1013 wrote: "when u hear the word divorce it doesnt seem real. [you blame yourself] like you feel like "well maybe if i did this he/she wouldnt be so mad." my mom said it was never me or me sibilings fault. but it just feels like it."

fullmetaljacket2004 replied " least you've got parents i haven't seen my mom for three years. go cry emo kid."

"This is the story of my life." ~NICHOLSCO

"i feel like that every single day. i love this song." ~confusedeyes (her screen name probably says it all)

"i, for one, hate my parents" ~eemajcat

Lastly, NinjaWarrior0893 calls this the "theme song of my life."
A woman named Kara Bishop has developed an interesting website, , where she has invited children of divorce to send in postcards depicting their feelings. Here are a few examples

Are you depressed yet? Are you angry? (At this point, I'm dripping tears all over the keyboard.) I believe this is something that grieves the heart of God. Jesus was known for His incredible love and concern for children. Not only did He pray for the children and speak a blessing over them, but He also gave a harsh warning (basically a death threat) to anyone who would cause a child to stumble.

But there is hope.

Our God isn't just some cruel judge spewing out death threats to those who have messed up. He offers solutions. Here's one of them: Isaiah 55:6-7 says "Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously."

The quotes, the video clip, the postcards... all of it paints such a bleak picture of hopelessness. But "it's in the darkest hours that the stars shine the brightest." That's why our attitude and example needs to be like the prophet Micah. In the midst of the mess his people had made, he challenged his brothers and sisters to turn from their selfish and sinful ways and to begin doing what is right, believing that God is faithful to forgive and restore.

In the face of a huge problem and terrible pain and suffering, Micah was able to say " for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light."

"The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. Then my enemies will see that the Lord is on my side... “Yes,” says the Lord, “I will do mighty miracles for you... all the nations of the world will stand amazed at what the Lord will do for you... they will come out to meet the Lord our God. They will fear him greatly, trembling in terror at his presence."

"Where is another God like you? ...You delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love..."

YES! There is hope for these kids, there is hope for their parents. That is why we do what we do! And I guess when you look at it from that perspective, it is incredibly rewarding.


Megan said...

It can be so overwhelming to look at the human "big picture" - all the pain, all the heartache, all the generational repercussions - and to feel there's no end in sight. But you're right to look to God's Word and to His heart. To know He has the divine "biggest picture". We can pray big because we have an infinitely big God. And we can life at a time. Let's stay on our knees, praying with our eyes WIDE OPEN to the divine appointments around us. We're all in this together. Thanks for keeping the reality of the challenge in front of us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ross and Taya,
Thinking of you today and wanted to catch up with you a bit. You are appreciated and we are praying for you. Great to hear from you and see all the work you are doing. May God continue to use you and see the light through you both.
Ron and Audrey Honcoop

Anonymous said...

What a "heartbreaker"....but, we need to be reminded of the pain around us and our God who can take any "broken" thing and make it new!
With tears falling, I am praying for you there and us here to "make a difference"...we love you to the moon.

Anonymous said...

Ross and Taya, First of all, Congratulations on the news of a little one on the way! We are so happy for you all! :) Hope all is well with Mama and baby Black #2!

I'm just catching up on your blogging and just wanted to comment on this entry. Working with Jr. High and High School students, we see the devastating effects of divorce on our kids on a daily basis. A very high percentage of our kids come from broken homes and it's a tough deal for them. We appreciate your service to families. It's amazing what a difference it is for kids growing up in a healthy family environment. Thanks for doing your best to make that a reality for them. We love you guys! Love, Justin and Brandi

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