How to Survive Divorce and Still Love Jesus: Making the Best of the Holiday Season

I am a creature of habit. 

I’m sure you can imagine what that looks like around the holidays! I love all the traditions– putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, the annual Christmas cookie baking and decorating day, seeing the Christmas lights, decorating the house, the Christmas Bash at our church, turkey dinner with the family, stockings hung on the mantle.  I love them all.

Divorce is hard as it is, but it can get even harder around the holidays. When I went through divorce, one of the realities I had to face was the loss of some of the traditions that I loved. 

While my ex and I didn’t have a ton of holiday traditions together, you and your ex might.  So, that means you have to watch as you lose those traditions as well.

Man, it just stinks!

Then, when you start to look at parenting time and schedules, the reality is that your kids might not get to experience all the holiday fun and traditions they always have in the past because your parenting time might not align with those activities. 

It can be devastating.

And if your ex is a narcissist, or just uncooperative, or taking out their emotions on you, it makes the situation nearly impossible.

It can feel unbearable

It can feel like you’ve lost everything.

It can feel like you will never find yourself in a place of normalcy again.

Finding Jesus in the Holidays despite the Divorce

This is my 4th year juggling and managing the holidays as a divorced mom. Here are the things that drive me crazy:

  • I thrive on consistency, so having to adjust my holiday plans with multiple families every year is exhausting and incredibly stressful to me.
  • Even though there is a clear holiday schedule in our divorce decree, it never works perfectly as it’s written.
  • Every year I have to look at the schedule in our divorce decree, figure out what is logistically feasible for everyone, and then make a proposition to change the schedule.
  • I have to figure out how to word the text to my ex so that there is no way it can be taken out of context, used against me, or misinterpreted to seem unfair.
  • I have to wait until my ex decides he should text me back.
  • When my ex doesn’t respond in a timely fashion, I have to figure out how to politely communicate again in a manner that he will respond to.
  • My daughter is a planner. When she doesn’t know the plan, she gets anxious. While I’m waiting to get a schedule in stone, I have to watch her struggle with not knowing where she’ll be or when she’ll be there.
  • I constantly give up more than I get for the holidays.

It is exhausting.

I’ve found that the most important thing I can do during these months is to remember what my priorities are and who I am and want to be.

It’s exceptionally easy for me to get caught up in the traditions I’m missing or the chaos of trying to see everyone. It’s even easier for me to dwell on the time I’m not spending with my daughter, Kate, during the holidays and throw myself a big ole pity party.

As hard as it is to get to this point, I finally had to realize none of those things are helpful.

What is helpful is for me to remember that my priority during this time of the year isn’t how much time I’m spending with friends and family. My priority is recognizing and appreciating the time I do have with my friends and family.

  • The world isn’t going to end if Kate doesn’t get to go to church with me on Christmas.
  • My life is not going to fall apart if we don’t get to drive around and look at the Christmas lights.
  • We will all survive if we have to wait a couple more days to put up the Christmas tree.

While these things and events might seem important to me, they are just events and things, and the world is not going to stop turning without them.

We are creative people, and the world is full of holiday magic. Just because we can’t do something in the same way we have always done it doesn’t mean we can’t do it differently, do it at a different time, or find another tradition to take its place.

It isn’t the event itself that we truly cherish as humans–it’s the memories we make from those events that are what really matter.

If you can’t keep a tradition because of the way parenting time falls, that’s okay!  Make a new one! Create a new memory.

Getting caught up in the negative by anything that divorce touches is so easy. Remembering that God’s mercy is new every single morning is a little tougher, but it’s much more meaningful. His grace and blessings are a constant for us. When we think about these times as opportunities to make new memories and have new experiences, it really allows us to soak up God’s mercy and blessings in a new way. 

While it is easy to default to anger and frustration in these situations, I can’t help but think that’s not how God wants me, or you, to live. 

How do I balance divorce and my family during the holidays?

By being honest.

I’ve walked through a divorce.

I’ve watched family and friends live through divorces.

One consistent thing I’ve learned is that your friends and family who genuinely love and care about you want you to be honest with them. 

  • They want to show you grace.
  • They want to help you create opportunities for new traditions.
  • They want to meet your needs.

It isn’t always easy to be honest with your loved ones about what is happening with your ex, your parenting schedule, or your kids. Sometimes, I think we feel like we’re telling too much or showing too much weakness when we’re honest about the struggles we’re facing during the holidays because of our divorce.

We have to show ourselves a little grace and be able to accept the grace our loved ones want to give us in return in order to get through the holidays in one piece and actually enjoy them. One of the best ways to love Jesus while surviving divorce is to be open and be human instead of turning bitter and turning in. Bitterness turns us away from Jesus and from those who want to love us as Jesus loves us.

When your friends and family are trying to talk to you about this, try this:

  • Talk about your parenting schedule.
  • Make plans with them even if your kids are with their other parent.
  • Be honest about what is in your control and what is not.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your loved ones about your struggles.

There might be times when you have to look at your family and explain that your kids won’t be at an event or that you have a scheduling conflict because of when your parenting time falls. These people love you! They want to meet your needs too and being honest about what those needs are and what is happening will allow them to love you a little bit better.

Be Gentle.

Dealing with divorce during the holidays has the potential to bring out the worst in us. If I can encourage you to hold one scripture close to your heart during this time, it would be this:

Colossians 3:12-13 TPT (emphasis mine)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. 

As the stresses of the holiday creep in these next few weeks, I pray that you can practice mercy, compassion, gentleness, humility, patience, and tolerance not just with others, but with yourself as well.

Until Next Time,


Scriptures to Reflect on:

Colossians 3:12-15

Philippians 4:5

Proverbs 15:1

Reflections for your journal (or comments)

  1. If you’re divorced, how can you manage this holiday season better than you have managed these seasons in the past?
  2. If you aren’t divorced, what can you do to help those family members or loved ones who are divorced this holiday season?
  3. What is one part of your attitude about the holidays that you might need to adjust this year?
  4. What are some new traditions you can create with your family and friends this year?

Success! You're on the list.

6 thoughts on “How to Survive Divorce and Still Love Jesus: Making the Best of the Holiday Season

Add yours

  1. I really appreciate your encouragement on this! I have not walked this difficult road, but I know it is a tough one. I love the way you encourage the hurting! Thank you!


  2. I feel for you and my friends who are living with the realities of divorce. I am an adult child of an ugly divorce and I commend you for your wisdom. I pray God will give those of us in the church hearts for families living with the pain of divorce so that we might minister more effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: