by kevin bradford
Rusty Sampson, one of our pastors, recently spoke on how to follow Jesus as a parent. It’s a challenging message and I highly recommend you listen to it. As I listened to him speak, I found myself tracking with everything he said. I felt challenged in my parenting and I welcomed it!
But something started to sit weird with me. As Rusty talked about how to maximize your time to influence your child’s life, my mood started to sink as I wondered how in the world I’m supposed to have an influence on their lives when, as a divorced father, I only get them every other weekend? My eyes started to survey the room and I began to count close to 10 others in the room who were in a situation similar to mine. In fact, a growing percentage of the people coming to the Ridge are divorced parents.
If you are one of these people, I want you to know you’re not alone. No matter how alone or hopeless you may feel, there is a community of broken people at the Ridge who know what you’re going through and want to walk through the struggle with you. Believe me, I know.
I bounced around to a number of churches in the area for years, often feeling like a misfit. For far too long, churches have ostracized divorcees. One church I visited didn’t have a place for a divorced father of four to plug in to, so I joined their singles community group. I’ll just say it was hard for me to relate to a bunch of twentysomethings who had never been married, not to mention knew what it was like to raise kids.
My goal here is not to throw other churches under the bus, but to let those of you who are divorced parents know you’re not misfits. I too know the pain of divorce. I know what it’s like to have to cram two weeks’ worth of time with my kids into two days. It’s hard. It sucks. It isn’t fair, but it’s life. At the Ridge, I found a community of people who accepted me for who and what I am…broken and jacked up. As time passed, I discovered some of our leaders, including our pastor Bobby, had also tasted the bitterness of divorce. I finally found a place where I fit.
We have a core value of embracing the unembraced because each one of us have been unembraced at some point. That’s why when we say “it’s ok not to be ok”, we mean it. We want to help you climb out of the “not ok” so you can experience all that a life alive in Christ has to offer.