In just the past few
months I have had several women come to my office because their husbands had
abandoned them or were in the process of leaving them.
My goal is to help
you to understand the woman who has been abandoned by her spouse and to teach
you how to minister to her and her children.
A man does not have
to physically leave his wife and family to abandon them; he can also stay in
the marriage and the house but is not emotionally engaged in any aspect of the
relationship or he can refuse to be intimate with his wife. Abandonment can
include any of the 3 varieties or a mixture of the 3.
When a woman is
abandoned physically she will typically experience a pile of emotions as she
wonders what her future holds. She may
have a lot of fear with all the financial concerns that she is suddenly faced
with; wondering how she will support herself and the kids.
It is very difficult
to process that her husband has actually done this to her even though she may
have understood that there were problems in the marriage. She may be confused
and angry at being “left” because he has betrayed the trust she placed in
him. If she does not deal with the anger
biblically, she will become bitter; which has its own destructive roots and
An abandoned woman
is understandably sad because life as she has known it is over; her husband has
left her, and may have another woman. Her
life has taken a dramatic turn and is bringing about all sorts of changes she
never planned on.
As you help her to
process this, be aware that she is mourning the loss of all that once was and
will never be. When a woman is abandoned
there is incredible rejection because the man who promised to love her and
cherish her until death has changed his mind. He no longer wants her.
Be alert for self-pity
and symptoms of depression (sorrow without hope) and be aware that some of
these feelings and responses are completely
All of this is a huge
emotional drain on her.
I have seen women
become all wound up in details and practical aspects of their situation that
they forget God is with them. She is in self-preservation mode because her
husband- protector has left her. Your ministry to her
will be to help her to deal with these things biblically.
Our role is to deal
with her on the heart level. We must discern what the inner (wo)man issues are
at the heart and help her to see the problems of her life through God’s eyes.
Her heart is going
to be focused on practical things because she is most likely scared silly. We
must give her godly wisdom and counsel in how to continue to bring God glory
even in these troubled times. Fear and abandonment does not excuse or
legitimize sin or her sinful responses and actions, but it can explain them a
You must be careful
to balance compassion with your expectation of biblical change and biblical
response from her. Our goal is to help
her to see that while her circumstances appear to be out of control, God is IN
control of her circumstances.
As you counsel her,
initially the most important thing you can do for her is to listen. Listen to
her fears, the ones she does tell you about and the ones you suspect she is too
fearful to talk about. Through the use of heart level questions help her to
reveal the thoughts, beliefs, and desires that are behind the feelings she is
dealing with. You must address the sinful issues specifically and biblically.
If she is struggling
with fear and worry you should know they are closely related, you typically
won’t have one without the other. Counsel her from the Scriptures- both Jesus
and Paul addressed fear and worry.
Take her to Matt.
6:25-34 and have her read through what Jesus says about His provision for us. Remind
her that fear indicates a lack of faith in God- Matt 6:25-34. Fear and Worry
indicate a lack of trust in God for His promises or His providential care.
Teach her to look
up- both at God and at the birds of the air for her reminder of God’s
In this passage
Jesus is asking, if she knows who her Daddy is? Who is your Provider? Remind her
to take a look at the little birds, and how the Lord feeds them. Help her to
understand that she is of greater value than they, since she has been made in
the image of the Creator.
Jesus asks, are we
not worth more than they as objects of His special creation? In her worry and
fear she may forget that she is an heir with Christ…recreated in His image, assured
of a place in heaven with Him…
God has promised to
meet her needs, she can trust him to do so..