During our Sunday afternoon tea-party, Susannah and I read the story of Jacob and how he was deceived by Laban and tricked into marrying the homely-yet-wise Leah instead of Rachel, his true love.
Susannah understandably had a few questions.
“Why didn’t he just say he didn’t want to marry to Leah?” she asked innocently.
“Because divorce wasn’t really an option back then,” I answered.
We then discussed why it was acceptable for Jacob to have two wives. Light Sunday afternoon tea-party material.
While we were cleaning up cookie crumbs and spilled tea, I wanted to circulate back to the divorce topic, to be sure she understood that though we live in a different time than Jacob, God still wants us to stay committed to our marriages. Though it is easy to walk away these days, I wanted her to understand that God feels it is alright to proceed with the dissolution of a marriage for a select few reasons but that He is a God of restoration, one that roots for the sacred union He created.
“Kind of like how you were going to marry Cam and instead you married Daddy?” she asked.
I stopped wiping the counter-tops.
I had never talked to Susannah about the fact that I had been married before I married her father. It was never in my plan to shield her from this truth – I absolutely don’t want to be a family of sacred secrets.
Yet, I was certain this topic wouldn’t be broached until she was at least in her tween to teen years. Instead, here we were, in our kitchen on a sunny, crisp autumnal day in which she was only five and a half years old and asking me about the man I once called my husband.
Inhaling a deep breath while praying that the Holy Spirit would guide me, I proceeded to explain that I had in fact, married Cam.
“Where is he now?” she asked.
“Why did you decide not to be married to him anymore?” she replied.
“Because he made some poor choices that really left me with no other option. I didn’t know God then so I saw things a little differently, too. It was one of the hardest things I have gone through, sis, but I can now say I’m so thankful that God led me through it because it allowed me to meet your daddy, the most wonderful man I know. And just think – if I hadn’t met your daddy, there would be no you. Or Sawyer. Or Solomon,” I said.
She smiled at that last part but the wheels were turning. The processor was on overdrive.
“What kind of bad choices did he make, mommy?” she wondered.
“You know, sweet pea, just trust me for now when I say that he made some choices that weren’t so good for our marriage. I’ll share it all with you when you’re a bit older but for now, just take me at my word,” I blindly answered, hoping this was the best reply and crying out to God to keep guiding me.
Not satisfied, she asked “Well, what? Did he, like, eat too much sugar or smoke a cigarette?”
The innocence of this question was the reassurance I needed. Clearly, there are still some confines on her little world, still places that are so sacred, so pure.
Precisely why I wasn’t ready to open up the oyster of the details of a fallen world. God had reassured me through this simple question: He had led me to reveal just enough to be truthful and yet not too much to be devastating.
He is so good. So faithful. So always there.
There will be other topics like this that will blindside me during this life. In my humanness, I will panic for a moment, forgetting that I have a great puppeteer holding the strings, one that knows the script and will speak the lines for me.
It’s OK for us to be real with our children. In fact, it’s in the sharing of our brokenness, the cracks in our jars of clay, that we deliver the best life-instruction for those who lack the experience to fully-understand how all of this works.
“No, sweetie. It wasn’t that he ate too much sugar or smoked a cigarette though both of those are not good choices. There were some other things he chose to do that you will just have to trust me with. There will come a day when we’ll talk about it, ” I answered her.
She exhaled, looking relieved.
“Good. Could I please have some M&M’s?”
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.- 2 Corinthians 4-7
I’m joining the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood with sweet Jen from Finding Heaven. For some rich blessings, pay her and the other sisters a visit today!