stories

Gavin A

DivorceCare-DC

For years you would see me and my whole family at the early Sunday worship hour. Same spot each week. In 2010 my wife asked me for a divorce and my world started to crumble around me. Three of our four kids wanted little/nothing to do with me. I faced huge compiling debts, and my young business was failing, forcing me to go on unemployment. I stopped eating, could barely sleep and was sad and cried every day. That was my life while going through my divorce,  It was bad. Perhaps you know people that have gone through a divorce. Prior to this experience,  I had multiple relatives and friends go through a divorce, and to be honest, my reaction was pretty lame. You may just as well told me it was going to rain. I had no idea how devastating it was.  Until you experience a divorce, it’s hard to relate.

So please permit me to try to help us all relate to divorce. You know the feeling you get when you get pulled over by the police? It’s similar when you have a police officer serve you court papers at your home or work.  Do you know what its like to go to court? Any legal battle can be daunting. It is awful when your family, and all of your possessions are at stake. Do you know what its like to have a loved one pass away? Its not exactly the same, but to me losing my wife I loved felt like becoming a widow. How about the experience of being a social outcast?  When I was going through the divorce, I felt like I had no place to fit in. Not with families, not with my single friends, and it seemed like everyone we ever knew picked a side, and I lost touch with the people that picked the other side.  Have you ever experienced tough financial times? That awful feeling when you don’t know how you are going to make the house payment, or the car payment, or buy groceries. The legal costs for a divorce are oppressive. There’s your lawyer, your spouse’s lawyer and even a lawyer for your kids. Plus now you have two households, two house payments and two sets of utility bills. Imagine if you had to pay a huge legal bill, and if all of your bills doubled each month.  Picture walking up to the house you and your family have lived in for years. Inside is the typical gathering of friends and family present to celebrate a birthday. You go the front door and knock and have to wait for someone to let you in.

Imagine day after day, week after week, dropping your kids off and telling them that you will see them on the next scheduled visitation. Worrying if something happens on the off day, that you will not be there for them. Imagine becoming an empty nester after every other visitation. One day, a full house, the next day an empty one.  Imagine after being married and faithful to your spouse for years, and wanting things to stay that way, but you cannot hang on to it!

Divorce is awful.  And I went from barely noticing when someone was going through a divorce, to being painfully  aware and empathic to how much turmoil a person in that situation is facing.

I was blessed to have the support of my church and my family when I was struggling so much. I am also hopeful for others since Bloomingdale Church will be offering a divorce care group.

We were not created to handle burdens by ourselves. I tried counseling – it didn’t solve my problems.  I talked to friends/family, but often they couldn’t relate.  Unfortunately our world offers plenty of poor decisions, like hit the bars, overwork yourself, become a recluse, or Jump into another relationship.

What I needed was a safe environment, some honest people I could relate to, a group of people to share and struggle together through these issues

This is what the Divorce Care group is all about:

Now over five years after my wife asked me for a divorce, I can tell you that I am truly blessed. My life has stabilized around me. My journey has provided me with some amazing stories of God’s love, some really wonderful friends, and a closeness to God that I only experienced in these troubled times.

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Curtis-Danielle-W

If you have ever attended an 11am worship hour at Bloomingdale Church, more than likely you’ve seen Head Ushers Curtis and Danielle W. greeting at the  front doors. They always have big smiles and are willing to give  comforting hugs.

We are grateful that some friends invited Curtis and Danielle to an Alpha Course in 2005. Although they both had religious backgrounds growing up, they have had dramatically different experiences and fell away from any organized religion in their adult lives. Curtis was raised Baptist until he was fifteen and then attended meetings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses until he was 18. Danielle was raised Jewish, and had never attended a church before she visited Bloomingdale.

They will tell you that their experiences in the Alpha Course changed their lives. Pastor Bill became a support friend through Wednesday night Alpha, even with his crazy Alpha joke time.

The Alpha Course led Curtis and Danielle to start attending worship and they become more involved in the church fellowship. In September 2006, they both made the commitment to be baptized at BC as followers of Christ.

They attended Joe and Andrea Z.’s first  Alpha 2.0 class. They later went on to lead that course for several years after Joe and Andrea left for international work. Now, Curtis and Danielle are instrumental members of Joe and Andrea’s Barnabas group, a team that seeks to encourage international workers.

As deacons, Curtis and Danielle can often be found serving all around the church. However, if you ask them what their favorite activity outside of worship service is, they will tell you it’s participating in Day Camp with Marina R. every June as well as volunteering during BC’s annual Interdependence Day Celebration. Danielle enjoys the Tuesday night Women’s Break for the lessons she learns each week and the wonderful women in her table group.

Since January 2012, Curtis and Danielle have really enjoyed  facilitating the Date Night/Marriage Course on Wednesday nights. Married for more than 20 years themselves, they know that all enduring  relationships take work. “We would recommend this course to those in all kinds of relationships who want to grow strong together through all situations,” said Curtis.

They have served couples engaged to be married and those who have been married for 40-plus years. “A common misconception is that couples take this class only when they are having trouble,” said Danielle. “We encourage all couples to take it. It certainly  allows you some quiet, private time to strengthen your relationship.”

The course is nicknamed “Date Night” because couples are served a home-cooked meal in a soft-light setting at tables for two. The material produced by the folks that brought us Alpha is presented, and discussion is only between you and your partner. The children’s program, AWANA, functions at the same time, keeping the children (ages 2-Grade 6) safely occupied during the couples’ date night.

Curtis and Danielle know something about children. Their third child, Tyler, is 19 and has grown up at BC. He is currently attending College of DuPage and lives at home with Curtis and Danielle in Addison. Their older children have grown and started families of their own. Daughter Kiara is 25, and she has 5-year-old Joe and 4-year-old Isaiah. Curtis and Danielle’s son Belden is 23 years old and has 2-year-old Lorrell. No one will worry about the Washington house being an empty nest! There is always room for grandbabies, and rescued pups George, Bailey, and Bella who are always eager for the boys to visit.

As Curtis and Danielle approach their 10th year attending BC, they said it is impossible to pick out a single favorite memory. However, if you run into them some Sunday morning just ask them for a story. They will be glad to share one.

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Our Neighbors: sharing stories about some of Bloomingdale Church’s people.