Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On D and R, part 2

I stated that divorce and remarriage are hot topics among Baptists, and I am realizing that I have inadvertantly created a firestorm! I continue to be amazed at how my story has reached so many. I have received numerous emails in recent days, thus prompting this "part 2."

I must first clarify a gross misunderstanding. I will copy the part and then comment on it.

"Beyond this, think with me logically for a minute. We have all been taught that God is merciful and full of love. He told me point blank that he left me because he no longer wanted to live the Christian life and I did. What does it do to the idea that God is loving and merciful if He would condemn me to a life of singleness and my children to being fatherless when the only thing I did wrong was be Godly and serve Him??!!! Seriously, oh Conservative Baptists, does that really make any sense?"

I was a bit surprised that this was taken wrong, but upon re-reading, maybe I used the pronoun "he" too much. What I have been told multiple times is that because I am divorced, I do not have the right to remarry-ever- unless Rodney has died. This is a direct misuse of Matt. 19:9. And I did not mean that God condemns single people of if you lost your spouse in death, or that you should HAVE to remarry. I think this was taken the exact opposite of what I meant. You never hear someone who has lost their spouse to death told it would be best if they stayed single, just us divorced people. My thoughts are that if God is loving and merciful, then why would he punish me to never living a happily married life again for a sin that my then husband committed? I think this was taken exactly the opposite of how I meant it. It just doesn't add up. I hope that this makes a bit more sense, and I appologize for the misunderstanding.

The next big question that I have been asked multiple times is "why not just stay single"? That answer has many levels. I was greatly challenged by the comments left by "Saul or Paul" in the comments section. I know there is great debate on whether Paul was married. I studied I Cor. 7 intently, and I now understand why my Pastor tells us so often to "interpret Scripture with Scripture!!" If you read I Cor. 7 alone, it would seem that Paul would have that no one be married or that the only reason to be married is to avoid inappropriateness. I certainly am no scholar on this issue, so I will not even attempt to expound on it. But the teaching of Paul sums up "it is good not to marry, but if you do, you are not sinning." (You all understand that I am implying the premise that I have a Biblical right to remarry. )

I have a deep desire that my children have a father. I vowed long ago that my children would never know the pain that I went through growing up. But here we are, with them the kids of divorce. I know that while I did have Godly male influences in my life, I still craved and sought out fatherly love. That came in the form of some very poor dating choices in my high school years. The statistics are horrifying about kids-especially girls- who grow up without a father in the home. Yes, I know that God can protect them and send them good men to help fill in, but nothing can replace the day-to-day influence a man has on his children. That is MY belief and passion. Yes, I know all the verses about how God is our father, but that is a tough thing to tell a kid who is supposed to were her daddy's pajamas to a slumber party and she doesn't have any to use. God doesn't wear pajamas, does he?

Another reason that I do not feel "called" to stay single is my constant need to depend on others. I am a girl of very small stature and weight. It is phyically impossible for me to do many things needed to take care of a house, snow removal, etc. Again, I realize the church is commanded to care for the widows and husbandless- and you all know how much my church does this!! However, is it not by God's design for us to have a "help meet"? There are many more reasons why I desire to be married again, but I think I have made the point.

I would also like to address one thing that I left out of my last post. I have had many comments on the importance of forgiveness and not becoming bitter. I couldn't agree more. Not allowing bitterness to take root has been the key to my recovery through this process. It is why so many look at me and say "she is so strong." I have mentioned several times the "Quieting a Noisy Soul" series by Jim Berg. It has been a lifeline. Lesson 15 covers dealing with the "other side" and lessons 20-23 are about overcoming your anger, bitterness, despair, and discouragement. I have listened to these four lessons countless times. One point that he makes is that forgiveness does not always equal reconciliation. If one commits a murder and then gets saved and is truely sorry for his sin, is he not forgiven? But can he bring that person back to life? Will he still have to pay the earthly consequences of killing someone? This same is true for me. Are there some who take their spouse back after unfaithfulness? Of course. But the only thing Biblically that I am required to do is forgive and keep my heart free of bitterness. Sometimes one must pay tough consequences for sin. If Rodney does ever repent of his sin and come back to Christ, that is great! I do pray for this regularly. But it does not mean that I am under an obligation by God to remarry him or to forever put my life on hold waiting for a possible repentance.

The final thing I would like to address is the topic of "God's Will." Way back in my senoir year of high school, my pastor gave me a book by Jay Adams called "My Sufficiency in Christ." It gave an illistration that I have never forgotten. So many people think that God's will is like some "celestial crane" that will pick you up and plop you down right where God would have you to be. Sometimes, that does happen. But sometimes, you have to seek councel about a topic, pray, but then take action!! All the while, praying for God's direction. If you are truly seeking the will of God, then He will shut down what you are doing if it is not in His plan! Could God "plop" a man in front of me with a neon sign proclaiming "marry this one"? Yes, he could- but will he? Probably not. That is why I have Godly people I go to for advice.

My current pastor also has recently pointed out to me the story of Ruth. For those of you who think it is wrong for a woman to "pursue" after a spouse, I challenge you to read the Ruth 3. Ruth very boldly put herself at Boaz' feet seeking him for a mate, and ultimately, the line of Christ came from them!! Please realize again, that I am not saying this is a free-for-all for a girl to go flaunt herself!! Balance is the key to life.

Thank you for bearing with me through yet another lengthy and weighty post!! Please just all know, that I am in no rush to find a man. I am very much seeking GOD's direction in this. I have MANY solid influences that I am going to for advice. And, really, when you have been through the trauma that I have over the last year, do you really think I would want to make the same mistake again?!!!


Dave Vawter said...

LOL! Anyone who thinks you would be out there persuing or flaunting yourself doesn't know you very well!

That was a good clarification. I was wondering about a couple things in the original post.

Our circumstances don't determine the truth about God's goodness, his Love and Mercy are attributes of his character, and cannot be impugned by our finite understanding of what we face...Habakkuk 3:17-19 "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength;"

I am glad that wasn't what you meant by that. I would just avoid that by saying that your situation does seem to fit both potential exemptions from the warnings against divorce/remarriage, doesn't really matter if it makes logical sense or feels right...

Dave Vawter said...

Melissa didn't like my comment, she said what I said and what I wrote were two different things. Maybe I need to clarify!!!:D Or you can delete the first one. I really wasn't trying to preach, just agreeing with your clarification!
You know what you mean when you type something, so its completely understandable to you, while maybe not to others. Happens to me all the time! so we just have to go back and forth till we figure it out. Melissa had a much better understanding, and no confusion after a conversation with you, and thats sometimes all it takes. Email and blogging can be very impersonal and misunderstood.

My main point was that your decisions are clearly being made with wise council and an effort to follow the Word of God, so you don't need to go any further than that to justify what you do! I think that might be where the confusion was. Thats the great thing about living by the Word, you don't have to worry about what other people think about you necessarily, and you don't have to even completely wrap your brain around it, if its right, its right.

Ann-Marie said...

J, I thought your first post was excellent, and your second is even better! You've a tough road to travel, so I hope people haven't been giving you a hard time.

Note to people: We are family in Christ. Let us support and uplift one another!

Also, I'm so glad your church is there for you!!! Multiple times!!! When my dad died, we were shocked with the lack of support and caring from our current church. Your church's example gives me wonderful hope.

I love you.

And, oh yeah, those high school dates of yours were, um...yeah. I remember! (But at least you had dates, unlike some of us! LOL)

Heidi said...

I am not sure of the exact passage, but it is in Proverbs where Solomon says something along the lines of with many counsellors there is safety.
Listen to those counsellors you have chosen and follow the Scriptures and you can't be wrong.
Like I said before, "You go, girl", and have fun doing it. Now you know the signs to watch for and you will check more carefully next time.

Jennittia said...

Thanks, Vawter clan! I still think we are not quite understanding each other on the mercy and love thing, but it is probably the weakest of points, anyway! And you are absolutly right about not needing to justify my life to anyone. I struggle with this!! I may lose a couple of friends over my choices, but as long as I am doing what I have peace that God's plan for my life- it really doesn't matter.

WendyJanelle said...

I agree with Ann-Marie. Your first post was good and your second even better.

Someone who reads the Bible in context, without picking or choosing verses to support their "theory," will most likely agree that God is not condemning you to a life of singleness.
Paul did not want to get married because he intended to stay totally focused on God's purpose for his life. His purpose/calling is not necessarily the same as ours. There are those who should marry and those that shouldn't.

Like you said, the key is praying for and following God's will, and seeking godly advice. It sounds like you have a fantastic pastor.

Anonymous said...

stumbled over this one. interesting. One comment i would like to make is regarding Ruth. She was not an example in the bible that a woman should seek after a husband.

If you look at the cultural context of what happened with ruth, Boaz has a right to marry Ruth being a next of kin but what ruth did was to express her willingness to fulfil the law of God regarding remarrying in this context. Ruth story is more a lesson on obedience than a template for courtship and it is in reading the cultural context that you will discover this more. It is just something worth noting for everyone reading this.

Moral of the story, seek God first and His righteousness (obedience) and all these things shall be added unto you.