Heart to Heart Problems

I’m distraught.  God’s saved my ex, but he’s marrying someone else

When I got saved, I was a depressed lone parent.  My relationship with my children’s father had broken down; I existed on benefits; had no sense of direction, and lived a life going nowhere.  Now, 10 years later, I am active in my church; have a degree and a good job; live in my own property, and have teenage children doing well.  I’ve also been praying to get back with my children’s father. So you can imagine my surprise when he called to say he’d become a Christian; wanted to renew contact with the kids, and added he was engaged to be married.  When I got off the phone, I cried my eyes out, and have done so ever since.  I feel let down by God.  I’ve been praying for my ex so that I could have a complete family, only to hear that after being saved for five minutes, he now has a life partner.   I know God has been good to me, but don’t seem to be able to move forward from this disappointment.  I’ve lost interest in church, and it’s my kids that are keeping me going.  I’m aware I might be overreacting, but I need some advice to get back on my spiritual feet.

Hazel, London

Esther Fenty replies

You acknowledged the goodness of God in helping you to find fulfilment and purpose in your life and prosperity. You prayed for your children’s father to be saved, and God answered your prayer. It doesn’t appear that He has answered the one about reuniting your family – not yet, anyway – and I am certainly not encouraging you to think that your children’s father will change his mind.

You need to trust the divine purpose of God in your life. His will is that you are conformed to the image of His Son, and not to the image of a ‘perfect family’. On the surface, it may look idyllic if you were to be reunited as a family, but there may be underlying issues to consider.  Your children’s father may not be the ideal partner for you. The fact that you are now both Christians does not mean that you are compatible or will be supportive of each other’s ministries. Remember that God is interested in not just the ideal, but in real families – including those that have been reconstituted.

The fact that you are ranting and raving, because he is engaged to be married, and feeling that God has let you down, suggests that you may need to deal with some underlying issues. You do not appear to have truly let him go, demonstrating real forgiveness. You need to do that, expecting nothing in return. It is a good sign that your children’s father has accepted his responsibility and wants to maintain contact. In time, I hope that they will be able to restore their relationship and that you can become friends.

You affirmed that God was good when He blessed you with the degree, job, house and teenage children who are doing well. When Job lost all of his possessions and his children, his wife tried to give him some advice. Job’s response was, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  (Job 2:10, New American Standard Bible). Has God let you down over this one thing? My response is: “Can you always only expect blessings and not disappointments? Isn’t He still God?”

If you will trust God enough, you will realise that the disappointments will also work for your good, as Romans Chapter 8 reminds us. I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to transform your mind, so that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God for your life.

 

I want to do more for God, but my life is demanding

I love the Lord and really want to be used by Him to make a difference in people’s lives.  I attend church, and help out when I can, as I have a demanding job and family, but really would like to do more but I don’t know what.   How should I go about seeking what God’s specific will and purpose is for me, and how can I be more of a blessing to the church and wider community?

Claire, Sheffield

Esther Fenty replies

Many of us are making a difference to people’s lives every day: in the family, educational establishments, work, etc. without realising that we do.  Responding effectively to the needs of a demanding family, ie. raising children in the fear of the Lord and giving them a good spiritual foundation, is also a ministry in itself and should not be taken lightly.  Therefore, make sure that you have a balanced view of gifts and do not despise the little things.

There is also ministry among our neighbours. A book has just been published by Global Day of Prayer & Worship, in partnership with the Neighbourhood Prayer Network, called Neighbours Transform Your Street. There are also other organisations like HOPE or Crossing London Mission 2013, which give information and ideas of how to connect with our neighbours, and how to encourage people in our churches to do so.

Be in fellowship with God through prayer, reading the Word, meditation, and speak to trusted friends or leaders. Look at the gifts that you use; the areas that you help out in; the needs and vision of your church, and ask God where He wants you to be.

Make sure that you are not feeling pressurised and have a balanced (work/church/family/social) life.

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