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Archive for October, 2014

Death of a Marriage

This past week I learned of a dear friend whose marriage had ended a few months ago. My heart aches for her in a way I’ve never experienced before. I’ve been praying for her and reaching out to her, but inside I weep and I ache for her more than I ever have for widowed friends. I’ve questioned myself, and today I’ve decided to share these thoughts with others—to hopefully encourage us all to do better.

When a spouse dies, we gather around the one left behind. We visit, we bring food, we try to think of ways to fill that void in the lonely soul starting a new life and assist where they flounder. Death and being left behind is something all couples must consider and half of every couple will have to face eventually. Many of us begin preparing our hearts for that possibility early in life—to ward off total devastation and to not feel totally helpless in the event we would be the one left behind.

But do we ever consider what our lives would be like if we should be rejected? If our spouse walked out with life intact? I admit, that’s not something any of us want to think about, and as followers of Christ, it’s not the norm (thank God!), but it happens. And there we are—not only alone, but questioning our worth and questioning if we did something wrong or if we could have done something better. And who’s there to help with closure, with the lonely days and nights dealing with rejection as well as unwanted single life once more? Too often that person is left to fend for themselves and is even often somewhat shunned or judged by the very ones who should be coming alongside to strengthen and encourage—our very sisters and brothers in Christ!

Why do we do this? I think it is quite normal to shun what we don’t know how to deal with, but that doesn’t make it go away and does not change the facts. As followers of Christ, we need to look for opportunities to strengthen one another and assist one another, even the areas that make us uncomfortable and feeling awkward. Yes, there are often help groups for divorced people in churches, but does that provide all the assistance they need? What about friendship? What about assisting with errands, babysitting, home repairs, even housekeeping when the single person now has to earn a living as well as doing all the rest for themselves without a partner to assist and trade off with? Should we not have groups to step in and help long-term?

And not only within your church, but if we find a close friend of ours in this situation, I think it’s a no-brainer! We suddenly have a new job. A new responsibility to be there for this person—not only to be there to assist physically, but to be their listener, their encourager, even their ‘touch-er’. It’s a proven fact that touch is a very important part of our make-up and is needed by all of us—not just the touch that happens accidentally as you hand something to someone, but I’m talking about love-touching.

SO much focus has been put on inappropriate touching these days that we’ve swung way too far the opposite way for good health! I am so very thankful for my lady friends that hug me when they come and again when they leave. And I’m thankful for the gentle hug of a dear godly man now and again at church or in get-togethers with friends. When I was a child, my girlfriend and I always held hands as we walked to and from school together. There is a special bonding in touch of this kind, an assurance of acceptance and love that we all need to be emotionally balanced. Yes, I feel the need for this in spite of having a loving husband. How much more must my lonely friend have need of loving touch?

I guess I’m writing this today just to encourage us all to think of someone we know in this situation, and then to be intentional about coming alongside of them in every way we can. Hebrews 3:13 says: “But encourage one another daily…so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Not only will it be good for the one being encouraged, but it will be rewarding for the ‘encourager’ as well!

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