Children of Divorce and Daisy Love

Daisy LoveWhen I was a kid and had a kids’ crush on some young lady, I would often pick a daisy, a beautiful wildflower, from one of the fields on our Pennsylvania Farm. It was a superstitious way to determine if the young lady loved me. You would pull off a petal and say, “She loves me”, then the next petal, “She loves me not”, and then keep going petal after petal with the hope that when you had one last petal left the verdict would be, “She loves me”. In reality, it meant nothing.

That’s the way many hurting kids go through life, wondering if anyone loves them one day, and the next day thinking that someone might love them. We all desire to be loved by someone. In situations of divorce a child is often left feeling like Mom or Dad doesn’t really love them. After all, maybe Dad, or Mom, has deserted the family. The sense of rejection and hurt from that is incredible. No one senses it more than the children. Sometimes Mom or Dad starts dating another and that new person becomes the new center of the parents’ universe leaving the children feeling pushed aside.

Today there are thousands of hurting kids going through life thinking they are unloved and rejected. I felt that way many times growing up, and know the raw emotion in the heart. It so reflects itself in the life of the child. You may see it as depression, it can be reflected in bad relationships and acting out or in turning to drugs and sex. Often times the negative behavior is a crying out for love, “Oh I want someone to love me”. Kids may turn to gangs or some other group just seeking some form of acceptance, understanding and love – even a very questionable “love”.

These same feelings carry on well into adulthood, and if they are not cared for can lead to some pretty dangerous places. There are those sitting in prison today that were on a search for acceptance and love. There are unwed Moms who were just seeking for someone to love them, and mistakenly thought sexual pursuits would provide it, only to find it did not. Some kids have made the ultimate decision to end their lives, all because they felt as though no one loved them and no one ever would.

I was about 48 years old when I had to take a psychological test as part of a job application. After the test I met with a Christian psychologist to go over the results of the test. I will never forget when she looked at me and said,

“Brad, you have a problem with love. You struggle everyday wondering if anyone could ever love you, and it is a factor in all of your relationships, even with God.”

It took 48 years for someone to actually confront me with that fact, and they were right.

Even as an adult I struggled. I struggled with my wife’s love, even though she never gave me any reason too.  I just could not grasp the concept that someone could love me as much as she did. I struggled with God’s love, and some days I thought, “He loves me not”, but other days, “He loves me”. Those thoughts were often based on my performance, rather than the character of God.

Do you struggle with love? I can tell you that there are so many hurting kids that do. The pain and rejection of seeing their Mom and Dad at war and breaking up, splitting up and leaving, creates this terrible feeling, “my parents don’t love me”, and it can devastate their life. The pain will probably carry well into adulthood and become a “silent factor” in all of their relationships.

First, if you are a child or teen reading this I want you to know that you are loved. The reason I am sitting here writing this is because I want you to know that I love you. I’ve been where you are. One of the first things you can do is to realize that you are loved by God. I know that sounds difficult because you are probably thinking, “Why didn’t God love me enough to keep my parents together?” Well, the truth is your parents may not have been listening to God very well. Despite that, get into God’s Word and learn that the very nature of God is love, as the scriptures say, “God is love”.  The fact that God is unchanging means that when God loves you He will never change, desert or reject you. He loves you despite the circumstances. There isn’t one petal on God’s daisy that says, “God loves me not.” Lamentations 3:22 in the Bible states,

“The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER ceases.”

Did you get that? The Lord’s love is steadfast and NEVER stops!

I would suggest that you get involved in a good church. Maybe you need to ask your Parent, “Can we go to church together this Sunday?” Maybe a friend at school that you really like is going to church and would love to arrange for you to come along with their family. You may need to take the first step, and ask, but taking the first step may result in a great time around folks who will really share the love of Christ with you.

To Pastors, churches and Children and Youth Leaders: There are kids in your church group who are struggling so much with the concept of love. You might wonder why are they acting so rebellious, or doing such foolish things, or getting themselves into so much trouble. You may want to talk with them about love. I grew up in a church where different families mentored me. They didn’t even realize what they were doing, but they would pat me on the shoulder, ask how I was doing, and invite me to go camping or fishing or hunting with their family. All of this mentoring helped to keep me focused more on doing positive things, than negative things, and probably kept me out of much trouble. It said, “We do care about you,” when the many doubts about being loved would trouble my heart. I cannot overestimate the impact on the life of a hurting child that a caring and mentoring adult can have.

The primary message of the church is the Gospel, and the primary message of the Gospel is that God, through His Son Jesus Christ loves us, and gave His life at the cross for our sin, and then three days later arose again to give us new life. No one needs to hear that message more than hurting kids. Pastor’s and Church Leaders, please make sure that every child in your congregation knows the love of God and the love of a caring church family. That made a huge impact in my life, and it will in theirs as well.

Here are some great passages of scripture to read and think about:

  • 1 John 4: 13-21
  • Romans 8: 31-38
  • Lamentations 3: 22-24
  • John 3:16
For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.
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Written by Brad Iverson
Brad was born and grew up in the State of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Penn State University, and Summit University (formerly Baptist Bible College). For 25 years he served as a Senior Pastor in Western New York, and then in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. In the year 2000 Brad and his wife Margie left the Pastorate to serve with Awana Clubs International. They served in Southern California, and later moved to Fort Worth, Texas where they now reside. Brad and his wife Margie met in a small church in Pennsylvania where Brad went to preach one Sunday. They have been married 43 years, and have been blessed with three children (now all grown) and 3 precious Grandkids. Brad has a lifetime of ministry experience, and knows first hand some of the struggles and heart issues that hurting kids face. But more than just knowing the struggles and hurts, he knows there is Hope 4 Hurting Kids.