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?!!!