Eric Fehr knows first-hand the impact that divorce can have on a young person’s life.
His parents divorced when he was 10, and his mother divorced again when Eric was a college freshman.
Eric said seeing your parents divorce when you’re in the 18-24 age range can lead to an identity crisis.
“You’re figuring out ‘who am I?’ … and at the same time you’re finding your childhood may have been a lie. You thought your parents loved each other. You thought you had the perfect family. Suddenly, everything is thrown up in the air.”
Eric sees this played out often in his professional work with college students — and before that while serving in college campus ministry.
Because of his experience, Eric felt led to serve in Blue Ridge’s DivorceCare when he moved to Lynchburg. When DivorceCare began to explore the idea of creating a ministry just for young adults, he knew he wanted to be involved.
He worked with DivorceCare leaders to create the program, Impact, about a year and a half ago. They wanted to provide a safe space for participants to talk, learn and share together.
“I never had anything [like this] going through my parents’ divorce, then going through mom’s second divorce. I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to be there for others,” he said.
All of Impact’s leaders have experienced the divorce of their parents. They understand what it is like to navigate the difficult landmines around holidays, special events and even in everyday life — sometimes feeling caught in the middle of battling parents.
Through Impact, participants study the Bible, watch videos and have real conversations. The setting is casual and comfortable. New participants can come at any time (not just at the beginning of a semester).
“Even if your parents’ divorce happened 10 years ago, you think you’re over it, but you may find you’re not,” Eric said. “Divorce is always part of your identity.”
Eric emphasized that Impact’s mission is to help participants move from feeling like a “victim of their circumstances” to a “victor, ready to serve others in a similar circumstance.”
For Eric, personally, it can still be difficult to share his story. Yet, he has found healing through it. At the same time, his story is still being written, as his parents are now in the midst of a reconciliation more than 15 years after their initial divorce. “Everything that happens in your life can be worked toward good because of God,” he said.
Impact meets Wednesdays at 7 pm at our New London Campus.