Matters of the Heart

Ministry leader and pastor Yvonne Brooks provides wise, compassionate and insightful advice to readers experiencing problematic life issues


Prior to my conversion I was a rogue and had children by two different women, but looked after them by hustling.

However, after meeting a youth pastor, and hearing the Gospel, I became a Christian. Now, five years later, my life has real purpose and direction. I went to uni and now have a degree and I’m in a profession with good promotion prospects. I also serve as a youth leader in the church, and have met a lovely girl who I’m now engaged to. However… I have a problem.

One of my baby mothers has kicked off and said that if I marry my fiancée I won’t be able to see our son. I’m not sure why she is behaving like this; we parted amicably prior to my conversion, and she is currently seeing someone. I have always been committed to my child and would be heartbroken if I couldn’t play a role in his upbringing. I’m not sure how to resolve this situation.

Can you help?
Peter, Leicester

Pastor Yvonne: I am so glad God is still in the life-changing business. Congratulations for all the work you have put in to becoming the man you are today. I salute you, sir. You have managed to grow and gain stability through Christ.

If you have been there for your child and taken an active role in his upbringing, then your child has a relationship with you. What parents may fail to realise, is that children grow up really quickly and will usually have a yearning for what they perceive is missing from their lives.

I believe it is possible that you will have grounds for a custody hearing/court case, in order to have access to your child. Be ready, though, to put up a fight. It would appear that your ex has a case of sour grapes. However, continue to show her respect as the mother of your child. Try, too, to minimise any trauma to your child so that they do not become a casualty of war.

Please pursue the route of pre-marital preparation, in order to ensure you and your fiancée are prepared and ready for the future, and that she is prepared to share you with your children and the possible bad behaviour of your ex-girlfriends.

Lastly, if you weren’t before, become a man of prayer.


I have served in numerous church departments – either as a leader or assistant leader — and loved it. Now in my 50s, I have noticed people in my age bracket are being overlooked for leadership roles which are, instead, being given to younger people.

I understand the need for younger leaders in church, but I also feel those over 45 have been put out to pasture. I feel redundant. I still have a lot to give to the church in a leadership capacity, and have begun contemplating going to the Baptist church – some of my mature friends have gone there and their skills have been welcomed with opened arms.

I love my Pentecostal church – it’s where I came to faith – but if they aren’t going to use me, am I wrong for wanting to go elsewhere?

Jason, Birmingham

Pastor Yvonne: If you still have a lot to give then do not wait to be asked, just give what you have. What can you see that needs to be done? Who around you, in or outside of the church, needs help or support? The world is your mission field.

The Church is the body of Christ, and every part should function. In this 21st century, though, we are waiting to be asked or appointed. Do we have to be the head or the assistant for us to feel it is worth our time? The pastor is leading the church, but who is the Head of the church? Who really gives us our marching orders?

I would encourage you to get into that place of prayer and seek the voice of God for your next stage of life. Getting older can make us feel a little jaded and sometimes surplus to requirements, but I assure you that you are an essential part of the next move of God. The Church needs every age group, and I don’t think your church is any exception. Fall in love with Jesus and fall in love with those around you. His joy will strengthen you.

Pastor Yvonne Brooks is a co-pastor at New Jerusalem Community Church, Birmingham, and founder of Woman of Purpose, a ministry that encourages women to fulfil their purpose. She is also a speaker and author. Visit

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