Taking Away the Stick


posted by on Divorce Encouragement

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An individual named Thomas asked this question recently in a comment to a blog I wrote a few months ago… Thomas, I changed your words to make them more concise, and I tried to ask your permission but my email was returned. I hope I’m okay in answering you on this page, because yours is a question which is shared by many we chat with on a daily basis…
“Jeff, I’ve found that my former spouse continues to beat me up emotionally and I’ve come to believe that it must be something I’m allowing her to do, but I’m not sure how to stop her because she uses our children to get to me. I’ve read your words many times that we should remove from our exes hands, the sticks they are using to beat us down, and we should also break the chains they are using to bind us so securely to our former lives. But I really need to know how you would suggest I remove those sticks and chains in a situation where the two of us still have children together, because my vindictive former spouse can totally use the leverage she has in our children to beat me up, and she can also use our children to bind me to my former life with her. So how exactly do I “disengage altogether” from my ex, as long as we are co-parenting children?”

Well Thomas, it’s a very good question. And like every other seemingly insurmountable problem we face in life, the answer really lies in our developing and acting upon a long-term faith and confidence in the God we serve, rather than simply applying some kind of superficial psychological method or relational quick fix…

We can’t even begin to approach these complex interpersonal problems successfully if we don’t truly believe that God is totally involved in the circumstance with us, and that He has a good solution in mind. And that solution God has in mind, might happen over the short-term, but more than likely it will happen over the long course of time.

I believe, Thomas, that God is using this crisis with your children and your former spouse to teach you patience and discernment, and I also believe He is teaching you to keep the main thing the main thing. See, this parenting struggle might be WITH your ex, but the struggle is ABOUT your kids…

So, taking the stick away from your ex would begin to happen in your fervent prayer life, as you determine to forget about your ex and what she is taking from you; and you begin to concentrate your long-term prayer goals upon your children. You would break the chains to your old life, by concentrating your intimate prayer life upon your future relationship with your children, and their future relationship with you.

Here’s the deal Thomas, when you sidestep the noisy haters in your life (you will always have noisy haters in your life) and you keep the main thing the main thing in your prayer life (your kids are the main thing) God will always give you the ongoing hope to continue the fight in the Spirit.

Thomas, your kids are getting older with each passing day, and the grip and influence your ex will have upon their growing minds and bodies will become less strong with each passing day, so the cream will absolutely rise to the top with your kids in the long run…

Your challenge right now Thomas, is to be the cream. You must remember that your sons and daughters will be adults for a MUCH longer time than they are kids under the control of your former spouse. You must be tenacious in prayer for your kids right now. You will probably have to be open-handed and flexible in your time with your kids right now. You must be a patient and quality example for your kids right now. And that patient and loving tenacity will pay HUGE dividends over the long term, in the loving quality of your relationships with your soon-to-be adult children.

So that’s your answer Thomas, just be the cream. Pray fervently for your kids and I believe the situation will come to you in the long run. And your dedication will pay off in the short-term as well, as you grow in confidence and grace in the Lord Jesus, I can absolutely guarantee it!

Thomas, you cannot fight and win against a belligerent enemy in the flesh, because our battle is not against flesh and blood… So, you battle a belligerent enemy with persistence in the Spirit… That’s where your victory lies. I hope that helps.

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