Tahlequah Daily Press


August 8, 2012

Program helps ease pain of divorce

TAHLEQUAH — A loss through divorce is often compared to the death of a loved one.

But anyone going through divorce can find hope in encouragement, answers and friendship at the DivorceCare group at First Baptist Church.

Sessions are open to the public, including those who attend other churches and those without church homes. The program, which is non-denominational and features biblical teaching for individuals recovering from separation and divorce,  is one of several support ministries at the church.

“DivorceCare and GriefCare are the two main support groups we [provide] as an outreach to the community,” said Ed Hale, associate pastor for the past seven years. “DivorceCare has been a big outreach for our church. We get people who are hurting, right off the street.”

The year-round ministry began four years ago at FBC, and meets every Wednesday evening, 6:30 to 8 p.m., for 12 sessions. A person can join the group at any time.

On average, five to 10 people are in a group. Meetings begin with a video presentation, followed by discussion. Topics include forgiveness, anger, depression, how divorce affects kids, new relationships, finances and reconciliation.

Many people attend the 12-week sessions two or three times, as long as they need to. Hale said healing has no time limit, and participants work through the process at their own rates.

Hale started DivorceCare 16 years ago at a Baptist church in Houston. He’s been married 32 years and never been divorced himself. But he saw a need and developed a curriculum.

“We’re about growing healthy families, and the way to do that is reaching upward, inward and outward, with our focus being on Jesus Christ,” Hale said. “Upward is worship, inward is discipline, and outward is service.”

Reconciliation is the first goal Hale sets for attendees.

“We pray for healing for that person when reconciliation can’t be accomplished,” said Hale. “Forgiveness has to be shown to others. Through Jesus Christ, we are forgiven, and in the same way, we have to show forgiveness to others, not condemning what happened.”

Children are strongly affected by divorce, often thinking it’s their fault.

“It helps to remind them it’s not their fault and not to talk bad about the other parent,” said Hale. “One of the kids in the video shares that when her parents got divorced, it changed her life forever; she wasn’t the same anymore. God hates divorce, because it affects the whole family.”

Adam and Holly Wheat, a blended family, have four young daughters between them and a new baby together. They met when he installed Internet service at her home. Later, they became friends. He started attending DivorceCare on her invitation, as individuals. The couple eventually started dating and have been married two years.

They wanted to make it right for the kids, so they didn’t live together until they got married.

“When a church offers a thing like DivorceCare, it’s telling people in the community it’s OK to come as you are, where you are,” she said. “A lot of people won’t come to church after they’ve divorced, because they believe they won’t be accepted or loved.”

Adam thinks a lot of people feel they have to stay in a relationship for that very reason.

“There are three things that set you free from your marriage: abandonment, adultery and abuse,” Holly said. “I learned that in class, and it made me feel less guilty and more forgiven. Divorce was unwanted by me. Sometimes you don’t have a choice to reconcile. But you have to forgive your spouse and reconcile with God.”

Holly said divorce has a long-lasting effect on families.

“It is constant death, and you can never close the casket because you have to see this person and deal with this person because of your children,” said Holly.

By participating in the Blended Families class, Adam learned when he married Holly, she also married his former relationships.

“She didn’t just marry me; she has my ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law to deal with, too,” he said. “They always say God will bring your spouse to you if your relationship is meant to be.”

Three single women attending the sessions said they’ve gained sanity, empathy and validation, and learned to avoid rebound relationships.

Connie Foreman felt like she needed to try DivorceCare, and hoped she might meet other people there she could talk to, who were going through the same situation.

“My intention was to come one time, but everyone was really inviting, in different degrees of the healing process,” Foreman said. “It was really helpful to hear people at the end of the healing process when I was at the beginning.”

She went through the 12-week sessions twice.

April Hixon got divorced last year, and has just started attending the sessions.

“I had some healing, but there are things you just stuff and bottle inside and don’t deal with,” Hixon said.

Rebound relationships find people repeating the same old unhealthy patterns of attraction.

“We learned what to look out for, so we don’t make the same mistakes or worse,” Hixon said. “It’s so easy, as a female with emotional needs to be desired and wanted and validated to be desperate and look to wrong directions for validation. When you go through divorce, it’s like the ultimate rejection or failure.”


To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
  • Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals

    One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.

    April 17, 2014

  • rf-Zoe-thing.jpg Conference attendees get words of encouragement

    Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
    Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • alcohol-info.jpg Alcohol screening can be critical

    It has been decades since Prohibition brought Americans gangsters, flappers and speakeasies, but statistics for alcohol addiction are staggering.
    Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and abuse, which affects families and friends.
    Today, April 10, is the annual National Alcohol Screening Day, and raising awareness through education, outreach and screening programs is the goal, according to the website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn-CCSO-2.jpg Law enforcement agencies to get new facility

    Area law enforcement agencies will soon have a new training facility in Cherokee County.
    The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is building the new training room near its gun range, located north of the detention center. Sheriff Norman Fisher said tax dollars were not used for the building.
    “This is something we’ve been trying to work on, and it was built with no money from the taxpayers,” said Fisher. “It was paid for with drug forfeitures and gun sales.”

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video