In yesterday’s post, I interviewed Kim Jaggers, a mom who has leaned heavily on Jesus for strength and wisdom as she mothers her two sons in the wake of their father’s suicide. Today, Kim shares words of wisdom for those of you who must parent well despite your husband’s poor choices.
I'm thinking of other moms who will read this blog who have to continue to parent their children after their husband makes a bad choice. When you encounter women like that through your ministry, what do you tell them?
First, let me say to those women who are considering divorce . . . wait! As I have worked with hundreds of single mom families, I have begun to really understand why God’s Word commands that marriage is for life. Most single moms will tell you “the grass is not greener on the other side.”
But how do you live in the day to day? What do you do when your husband or ex-husband is living an ungodly life right in front of your children? What do you say? What do you do?
You have to live the most godly life you can in front of your children and in front of their father. You run to God with all you have. Begin your day with prayer and pray often. Fill your head with truth from God’s Word. Ask a few trusted friends to confidentially pray for you. Be careful not to disrespect your children’s father in front of them or publicly. Pray for your children’s father–the very best thing for him and for your children is for him to follow Christ.
Also keep in mind that if you’ve badmouthed him to everyone at church, it will make it very hard for him to return to or go to church. If your children’s father is acting like your enemy–do what God says–and love your enemy. Be kind. Your kids will notice this. Rather than point out his sin to your children, let God do that.
Spend time with your kids in the Word. Work it into everyday conversations. Take them to church. Surround them as much as possible with godly people and healthy marriages. There will be times where you feel like you are losing. Your kids may think he is cool, they may rebel against your rules. They may cling to his “anything goes” rules . . . but hang in there. Be consistent. Allow Christ to live in you. More times than not, your children will eventually see the difference.
You may be the unpopular parent for a while. Your kids may stray, they may make some bad choices themselves, but so many times I have seen those same kids come back to the truth their Mom not only taught them but lived in front of them. God in you is their best chance.
Did you take any steps to honor your kid’s dad even though he made a bad choice that dramatically impacted all of you?
Yes. I realized that my kids will identify themselves with both parents. They want to know, “Am I like him?” For this reason, and because it is true, I try to help them know he had some great qualities. He had a great sense of humor. He loved animals. He genuinely loved people.
I am also intentional about pointing out ways they are different from him and more like me, or even better, like Christ. I am intentional about making sure to recognize where they make good choices in specific areas where he made bad choices. I always want them to feel free to talk to me about their father as much as they want to. The more I know what they are thinking, the better I can pray and work to refute lies with truth.
Where can a mom whose husband is sinning turn to for help?
Surround yourself with truth. Turn off that talk show. Get away from ungodly friends and their advice. Run to God’s Word. Test everything. Get involved with a good, Bible-teaching church and find a few godly friends to confide in. Ask for prayer coverage. Don’t be a lone ranger. The enemy loves a lone ranger. You are on the front line of a spiritual battle, and it may very well be that the enemy has his sights set on your kids. Your child may be the next Billy Graham.
Do all you can to cling to God and follow Him, and teach your kids to do the same. Our Father is the only way. He is still the miracle maker (Luke 1:37). His Word urges you to be strong even in the face of uncertainty, hurt, and disappointment:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6).
He sees you. He loves you. His plans are still exceedingly, abundantly more than you can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). Take one day at a time. I know it isn’t easy, but God chose you to be your kid’s mom. You are His instrument. You are His soldier, but you are also His beloved. Rest secure in Him (Deut 33:12).