My husband’s abuse – is God disappointed with me?

I hear a common message from women all the time…

They greatly fear making the wrong move in their marriage and God will be disappointed in them…or worse,

He’ll drop them.

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Most of the time this is said when it’s necessary that she establish a boundary. Abuse is taking place, the kids are greatly suffering, she is paralyzed with fear.

But continuing in that cycle isn’t loving towards her husband.

And it show how big man is in her eyes.

And how small God has become…or how angry, disappointed and calloused He has become.

These women take their marriage vow seriously. They desire to see healing and restoration.

Most often, they have asked the Lord to reveal to them their own sins, selfishness and struggles.

They have sought wise counsel, they want to do everything they humanly can that will bring their husband to the end of himself…but when it comes to lovingly establishing that boundary, the thing that stops them the most is a fear of God being disappointed in them, or God leaving them because they just “couldn’t take it any longer.” They’ve confused long-suffering with taking a stand against sin.

There are times when God calls us to stay in something that is extremely hard. When He does this, He is faithful to give us the grace we need to do so.

But when a woman is being physically abused or her children or the chaos that takes place because of addictions and behavior have so turned violent, so unpredictable, so unleashed…she needs to take shelter under the protective authority that God has so graciously given to us. The church should and can be a covering for these women. But so often, it fails. I know it can be difficult to know how to navigate through these deep and muddy waters and sometimes, yes, a woman isn’t willing to bend herself. But I’m not talking about that woman or a marriage that is hard because she doesn’t get her way. I’m talking about when the home is turned upside down because of a man’s sin. I see it every single day in the lives of women and believe me, we have an epidemic on our hands.

Does God have a heart for the sinner? Absolutely. Is God’s heart for redemption and restoration. Absolutely. Is that woman a sinner in need of her own mercy and grace. Absolutely. But maybe that woman is so fearful about setting that boundary or seeking that protection she so needs because all around her has been a message to endure…

She often feels as if she has no choice but to keep allowing the sin to bombard and fragment.

I don’t mean that she should throw in the towel on her vow.

I don’t mean that she should stop praying. I certainly don’t mean that she move on to the next man.

I do mean that there are times when a woman desperately needs the church to be a covering for her…help her as she is attempting to take a stand against the sin that is slapping her family around. “WE” are the church.  What does that look like for me and you to help these women and yes, even the husbands who struggle? What if we stop turning our backs to the very thing that is rotting our families? What if we rolled up our pristine and starched sleeves and were willing to get dirty with their problems? What if you began to pray what it would look for you, your family, your Bible study, your church to reach out to the spiritual widows in your neighborhood, schools and community?

I’ve seen too many women paralyzed with fear. Yes, they need a better understanding of God’s perfect love for them. Yes, they need a better grasp on who they are in Him. They are loved perfectly and they should fear God not man, but when man has threatened to kill, destroy, financially ruin, hold children in the emotional bondage of guilt and anger…then it becomes harder for them to see that man isn’t so threatening.

But if “WE” stepped out and got involved, if “WE” were willing to disciple her, mentor her, be a voice for her if necessary, defend, encourage, provide practical relief, and willing to reach out to her husband…then, maybe as she steps out of the shadows of fear and into the light of God’s provision and protection that is already there…she’ll begin to get a right and good theology and hopefully, her children will follow.

Maybe as “WE” are willing to reach out to her and her wounded husband then maybe more women would be willing to establish those needed boundaries, would no longer be paralyzed in fear, would no longer allow physical and sexual abuse to continue. Maybe more hearts would come into repentance as Biblical discipline is practiced and as we are willing to be available and walk alongside these families.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

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May friendship, encouragement and grace abound!