For our last look at women who have been
abandoned by their husbands, we will look at some ways the church can help this
woman and her children.
This is an understandably terrifying
time in their lives and the church must
surround them with love, care and compassion. The church is often times the
only “family” this woman will have that will be stable and give her godly
counsel as to how to proceed.
When there are children involved, the
abandoned woman needs extra help and counsel. There is a great tendency to be
angry and vengeful toward her husband and to use the kids as a weapon.
Counsel her to be careful about what she
says to the kids. She should not bad mouth her husband to them under any circumstances.
When she is hurt and wounded it will be easy to tell the children adult issues.
This is very inappropriate. If he is not interested in being a part of their
lives anymore he will reveal that to the kids by his actions and without her
help. The children need one good and
steady parent in such times of upheaval, and she wants to be that parent.
Discourage her from trying to keep the
kids from their dad. He is legally entitled to see them and it is morally wrong
to deprive him of input in their lives. They
need him and regardless of how the wife may feel about him, he is still
responsible before God for those little people he helped bring into this world.
If the man is a danger to her or the
children then she has to take the appropriate legal steps to ensure their
safety. If he is abusive she must do whatever she can to protect herself and
If her husband leaves her with no money
and no way to support herself, she will have to get the legal system involved
right away. Otherwise, my counsel is
typically to wait and be the Respondent to each legal action he takes. I am not
a lawyer and I don’t give legal advice but I have seen many women wait until the
husband gets a lawyer and actually serves them with papers before they obtain
legal counsel. As she waits she can be praying that God will change his heart.
Many women who desire to honor God are very
passive in the legal process, only responding and taking no aggressive action
to initiate divorce. The lawyer might not like her wishes, but will respect
them. The goal is always reconciliation.
However, she has to think long-term
about herself and the kids. It is ok for her to seek legal financial protection.
Some practical ways the church can and
should be involved in this woman’s life would be to educate her on finances if
she is unaware of how to budget. Many Christian women work these days, so in
those cases the church assistance might be more toward helping her put together
a budget that will work on her income, finding affordable child care if that is
a need, and obtain affordable housing.
In other cases, Christian woman have
stayed home and raised children for years. They have no college education and
they have no other skills to transfer into the job market that will earn enough
money to support themselves and the kids. There are often issues with tuition
for Christian schooling, house payments and maintenance, and automotive repair
and maintenance when the husband leaves the home and is not paying support.
If the husband won’t pay support or
assist her financially she will need to get assistance from the church as well
as various agencies for food and housing assistance. Someone who is
knowledgeable in that area should assist her through the process. It is amazing
what having another Christian woman at your side can do for you emotionally
when you are in a stressful situation.
These are uncharted waters for most abandoned women, and they are
already emotionally reeling from everything else they are dealing with.
That is, that we may be
mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. Romans