Ways to Help the Abandoned Woman

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 the kids.

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 1:12 (ESV)