Guided retreatSo, I was on my sweet little private Facebook group for hard Christian marriages the other day and one gal mentioned that she had asked her pastor if she could start a support group for women in difficult marriages.  She said he looked at her like she was talking about skinning puppies (love this girl) and then he said, “Anyone married can think of an incident in the last six months that would be a deal-breaker. All marriages are difficult.”

Alrighty then. Some people get it, and some – even if they’re amazing pastors or church leaders or friends or counselors – just don’t.

So there are two options in this kind of situation.  Take his no as God’s no. Or, if you honestly feel led by God to start something, then start something.  Let’s think through where to begin.

Pray. A ministry to women in difficult marriages or who are going through a divorce – ESPECIALLY if you are still in that stage of life yourself – needs to be entered into cautiously.  Before you make any sweeping statements to friends or post something on Facebook, ask Jesus if he wants you to do this.  I have no doubt that at every season of life, God has beautiful things planned for you to do to serve him and others, but you want to make sure that he’s in this and it’s not just you running ahead because, for instance, you so desperately need the support yourself and can’t find it anywhere else.

Gather. Once you’ve truly felt the go-ahead from God, I would ask a friend or two who is in your shoes to join you. Or, if you’re it in your inner circle, I would at least ask someone to partner with you in prayer as you head into this endeavor.  It’s best not to do something like this in isolation. You’ll need the cheering section.

Materials. There are a ton of Christian marriage books. But you already know that, don’t you, sweet one? What there aren’t a ton of are Christian HARD marriage books.  There are also a ton of divorce books.  But there aren’t a ton of super honest Christian divorce books. 

Here are my top choices for both:

Difficult marriage:
The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick
Surviving a Difficult Christian Marriage by moi (on Kindle & PDF)
Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud & John Townsend (workbook available)

Separation/divorce:
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage by me (small group material available)

Flying Solo: A Journey of Divorce, Healing & A Very Present God by Denise Hildreth-Jones

Find a location. You’ll want somewhere homey and somewhere somewhat anonymous. Panera might be hard.  Starbucks too loud. But perhaps a back room at your local library or a cute off-the-beaten-path teahouse. Be creative.

Announce. If you are in a difficult marriage, it will be hard to just put on Facebook that you’re starting a difficult marriage small group. But you can let your closest friends know and they can get the word out quietly. But if you’re divorced and the world knows you’re divorced, go for it.  Just reach out. 

Here’s what I know. This won’t be easy. It will take courage on your part. But every single time that I’ve taken the comfort that God has offered me (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) and then turned around and tried to dole it out, I am healed and joy floods into my life. You may think you’re doing this for someone else, but I promise you that God will meet you in the middle of it and do something gorgeous in your life as well.  This is redemption at its best…..moving forward in and through and despite your pain.  Be brave, sweet one…..you can so do this.

 

If my work has encouraged you and you’d like to partner with me as I reach out to help hurting women, click here for more information.