This past week, I received a letter from a hurting mother in South Africa. Her son has turned against her, and her heart is broken. Would I pray for her?
Thank you for
reaching out to me across the miles and trusting me with your pain, I wrote back. Yes,
I will pray for you, your family, and your son. It seems that Satan is
breaking up so many families these days, near and far. That's part of his plan in his
war against God.
It's true, you know. Satan HATES God with a mighty vengeance, and one crafty way to battle against Him is to shake and destroy the very foundation of the people who love and worship Him–the family. I have witnessed that within my own life and in the lives of those around me. I've read about the ongoing destruction in the painful stories that come in emails from wounded people, mostly women, who find this blog. I am touched, humbled, and honored every time someone reaches out to me. Yes, I will pray for you, I tell each one.
If only we would restore to God. As a nation. As a people.
For a moment, I'd like to play the What If game.
Men everywhere gave their hearts and lives completely to God. What if they put Him first in every way. What if, in their marriages and every facet of their lives, they lived unto God, read His Word, and led their families as true men of God. What if they cherished their wives, treated them gently with words of love, compassion, and understanding, no matter what, and respected them as women and human beings. What if they loved their wives with an unconditional love that mirrors the kind of love that God has for each of us. What if they shunned the ways of the world, such as pornography, alcohol, drugs, affairs, and other temptations. What if they loved their children with all their hearts and raised them with firm yet gentle discipline. What if they set the example of how Godly, loving husbands, fathers, and men are to live.
Oh, yes, they'd still make mistakes. They wouldn't be perfect by any means. Their marriages would still be rocky at times. They'd be unhappy. So would their wives. But their mutual love, respect, and commitment would ward off destruction of their bond.
If that were the case, if men gave their hearts to God and loved their wives as God intended, then wives would feel that love and respond back. Their children would see their parents' love and feel secure within their family circle. They would grow and flourish, then transition from childhood into adulthood, and begin their own lives, choose their own mates.
Sounds too naive, too pie-in-the-sky, right?
But just think about it and play What If with me.
If more marriages were rooted in God's ways, then there'd be far fewer divorces AND FEWER HURTING PEOPLE WOUNDED BY THE PAIN OF SPLIT MARRIAGES.
I speak from my own experience and from observing the pain of others I know and from those who have written to me via this blog.
God knew what He was doing when he set out His divine guidelines for marriage in Ephesians 5:21-33.
In my former life, I was often reminded that "wives must submit themselves completely to their husbands...." If I called myself a Christian, he'd ask me, then why didn't I abide by that commandment? But what he didn't get and didn't do was the huge part about "husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it."
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if he'd lived his life as a true man of God, then I believe our marriage would have remained intact. Our children wouldn't have been deeply scarred by a divorce. Nor would we have been wounded as well.
Don't get me wrong–I definitely wasn't perfect myself.
These are not easy words to write.
But they are true.
My What if fantasizing doesn't include all cases of estrangement. By no means at all! There are many exceptions. Like the South African woman who wrote me this week. Her son has turned against his family's traditional ways and broken her heart by refusing to speak to her. I understand there are very different circumstances everywhere. But still, fundamentally, I stand by my What if thoughts.
Perhaps your thoughts are different. Or perhaps they're much the same. Either way, if you are here, reading this blog, then you are hurting in some way. And my heart goes out to you, dear friend. Please give your pain to God and ask Him for strength, wisdom and guidance. The wounds of divorce run deep and never completely go away. They ripple out and impact the coming years, though in less painful ways.
I am very, very happy now with my new husband, who loves and cherishes me as God does. My son and daughter are finding their own way and happiness in their lives. I hope and pray very much that you do, too.