Archives For Divorce

Does God Need You?

Recently I was wondering if God needs me. It seems silly now that I am putting it into words. He is GOD, He can make anything happen that He wants to happen and, me, I can’t get through the day without breaking something.

As I was pondering the issue my head was flooded with images of my wife and kids. I want them to know what a loving father is. I want them to see how a man should treat his wife and lead his family so it might be natural behavior for them later. I hope I can model how a man should walk with the Lord in his daily life.  God can use me to do all of those things but it is impossible for me to do it without Him.

God uses people to accomplish His mission. Obviously the same creator that made the “heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them” could raise our children without us but that is not His way. His plan is that we are involved, we raise our children with purpose and under His instruction. Even if our children do not live under our roofs we have the same responsibility.

God could also bypass us and use some other means of calling our friends and co-workers into the kingdom. Amazingly, His plan involves us walking out our Christian lives in front of them, loving them and sharing our faith with them. His end of the deal is that He will prepare their hearts to receive the message. Even as we ourselves are learning to deal with the issues of our own flesh, He wants to use us to bring the His message of love to others.

Consider the people in your life, your family and the people you see regularly. These people make up your “oikos”. Oikos is an ancient Greek word that generally means “household”. Wikipedia says the modern application means people that regularly, “…share some sort of social interaction, be it through conversation or simple relation…”

These are the people who are potentially within our sphere of influence. God doesn’t need us to reach our oikos but He has called us to and we are each uniquely placed and gifted to have an impact within that group.

If each one of us would begin to pray for people in our oikos God will create opportunities for us to share our faith with them or maybe just invite them to church. If those people know you are a Christian, they are already watching you. They are wondering what is up with you and most of them have no idea exactly what you believe and why you believe it.  There are people you already know that are curious about your faith but probably would never ask you about it.

I have invited people to church and many have not come, some have. Most of the people I have shared my faith with didn’t immediately come to Christ, a few eventually did. Recently a former coworker sent me an email thanking me for telling him about Jesus almost 20 years ago. It didn’t immediately stick but it was a seed that grew. I know I need to do a better job of telling people about God’s amazing grace, inviting people to come to church and being more faithful with the opportunities I’m given. God doesn’t need me to do that but I feel the need to express my love for Him in that way. Ironically, I can’t even show my love for Him without His help. I need Him.

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Divorced and Christian.

Divorce hurts. Almost everyone reading this has been affected by divorce.  You know the pain, it fades but can leave a raw nerve that heals slowly. Although God hates divorce He loves people and He is in the healing business.

The church is not immune from divorce. About 50% of 1st marriages in the US end in divorce but Focus on the Family reports that couples who “…generally take their faith seriously…”, (that means work at it) have about a 38% divorce rate.  I have seen figures that say the divorce rate is the same or higher inside the church as outside but there is a difference between people who call themselves Christians and people who take their faith seriously. (Read the article)

My parents divorced after 18 years and I went through divorce myself after 9 years of marriage. I have since remarried, am working on my 19th year of marriage and incredibly blessed with a great wife who I have 4 children with. However, the years I lost with my first two sons are gone. While our relationship today is very good we went through some difficult times as I struggled with my responsibilities to my sons vs my responsibilities to my new, growing family.

I know the pain of seeing my sons under another man’s care. Seeing my sons living in a situation that I didn’t approve of broke my heart. Hearing about them being spanked by their mother’s boyfriend enraged me. Listening to them call me out on my own poor decisions was humbling, convicting and heart breaking.

Many of you know what it is like to have your young children living under a roof besides your own. You know the difficulty trying to parent children who live under two sets of rules. You live with the split time on holidays and the animosity as you or her explore new relationships. The lingering hurt feelings often make it difficult to sort out issues that seem like they should be more easily managed. Divorce sucks and, like other scenarios, we seldom see the end results in the beginning of the process.

We all make mistakes in our lives but it is the mistakes that hurt other people, especially our kids, which hurt the worst. The good news is that God’s mercies are new every day and every moment of our lives is a new chance to start over. I love the saying, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”  The moment we turn to God asking for help, the process of healing and restoration starts. The visible results of that process, especially in other people, often take longer than we think they should.

I have a friend who continuously wishes his ex-wife would act more reasonably. His sentiments are no doubt shared by most men and women in similar situations. My feedback to him is always the same, “Stop worrying about her, focus on what you need to do.” Taking care of what we need to do, pressing into God, deepening that relationship, leading by example and “taking care of the plank in our own eye before worrying about the speck” in someone else’s is the only way we can move forward.

Regardless of our current circumstances, as we commit to developing our relationship with God, we can live out a model for our children to emulate. If, by our actions, we can show them a life worth living maybe they don’t have to make some of the same mistakes we made. I don’t want my children to be spared the challenges that result in growth but I pray that each of them avoids the pain of divorce.  I am committed to living for Him and showing my children the beauty of a life and a marriage that is Christ centered. Please God, help me walk that out.