Within a year of meeting my husband, my world went from a single, childless, 24-year-old woman, to a wife, step-mother of a teen, tween, and toddler. I felt completely in over my head with life and to top it all of, my husband was going through custody issues. Since I entered the relationship with no previous marriage and no kids, I thought I would be on the outside looking in, but I quickly learned that I was going to be in the trenches of this custody battle with him.

As of today, we are coming up on three years of custody stuff, and I finally feel like I’m allowing myself to begin the healing process. Oh, if only I could do it over again with what I am learning now, things would be much different.

If you find yourself along for a similar ride, let me give you a few helpful ways to cope with a custody battle, that I learned after the fact:

  1. Custody is in no way a reflection of you. I say this to free you of guilt, self-condemnation, fear, anxiety- all the scary feelings associated with a stranger making a judgment regarding your life. “Win or lose” this situation does not define you, your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with their kids, or your ability to parent. Give it to God.
  2. You may be dragged through the mud. You may be called to testify. Things may be said or written about you that you find utterly appalling. Put on your armor daily, hourly, sometimes even moment by moment, and replace those besmirchments of your character with God’s truth about you. Give it to God.
  3. This will change your life, and it may not make any sense. Your special days may be split down the middle and may involve the ex. There may be copious amounts of texting and phone calls between your spouse and the other parent trying to interpret the legal document that rules your life. Take a deep breath, love your spouse even more, and give it to God.
  4. Your faith could be shaken as you see everything unfold. Give it to God.

We did not receive the ruling we, or our lawyer, expected. Our first year of marriage was rough. We fought each other, my husband’s ex-wife, and the kids. I was so angry with God. If I could have a custody battle do-over, I would only change one thing, ME.

My reaction, my inconsistency, my hard heart, my thoughts, my actions. If I can offer any hope in this situation, it is that God is in complete control whether you allow him to be or not. Fight it, and reap the consequences. Give it to God and reap the benefits despite the chaos. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All things your spouse and their kids desperately need in the midst of the battle.

I don’t have the option of a do-over. Maybe you don’t either. But you can change the course of today. The rest of your life could be the aftermath of a custody battle OR the testimony of a step parent that allowed God to heal and restore all that was broken.

We Want To Hear From You:

Have you gone or are you currently going through a custody battle? How has this affected your relationship with your spouse, children, or God? What tools did you find helpful in this blog and how will you apply them going forward?

 

Be sure to read our devotional on YouVersion: 40&7: A Guide To Peace During A Custody Battle

 

For more resources to assist you or others you know going through a custody battle click here.