Getting our needs met in God

[August 5, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

This topic sprang up as a sub-thread in Wendell’s second post A Journey Through the Pornography Sinkhole but it seemed so important I have shifted it from there into a post on its own.

Here is the quote from Wendell’s post that sparked a question from Katy, one of our readers:

When we are in denial of our needs and God’s ability to supply them, we begin to try to take on the task ourselves. We begin to fantasize about how we can meet those needs. In the case of porn addiction, the addict thinks he needs sexual gratification (that isn’t his actual need, but it is what he tells himself)….

Katy wrote:

I would like someone to explain how we go about getting our underlying needs met in God. Not necessarily the sexual needs – just in general. I think we are often told that “God meets all of our needs if we ask” – but I never hear any specifics. For instance, in my group of single moms, we talk about managing our lives and facing life-long singleness. I had an older widow tell me “God will be your husband”. But I have no clue what that means in a practical sense. Christians tend to say that stuff to each other, because we get it from Scriptures, but then the practical application is often left hanging in the air. For those of us who have never had a real husband, but we are raising children alone and we’re the breadwinners and everything else — what does that mean? I don’t think I’m facing any addictions in my life due to unmet needs, however I do face loneliness and fear of the future. Just curious if anyone has any concrete experience of this “God will meet your emotional / spiritual / psychological needs” idea….maybe He just uses our friends to come alongside us for encouragement?

Jeff S answered:

Katy, this is an awesome question, and one I identify with because I am right there with you in so many respects.

“I feel lonely”

“Well that’s proof you aren’t trusting in God enough”.

“Ok, so what do I do to trust Him more?”

“Pray and seek first His kingdom”.

“Ok, but I still feel lonely”.

“You need to repent of the sin in your life”.

And so we stop talking about it. I think this is one reason singles get crushed in the church. They get labeled as idolaters if they desire a relationship, but then the church does everything to remind them that they aren’t experiencing life to the fullest without a mate.

I have more thoughts on this, but I’ll have to have a little more time to expound.

And then I (Barb) chimed in:

Katy, I had that said to me too; when I told a married Christian woman who I thought was my friend, that I felt lonely and wanted a husband, she replied (retorted?) I should be able to have all my needs met in God. I felt hurt. And I told her so. And she then kinda backed down and apologised: “I knew that was going to hurt you as I was saying it; I’m sorry.” It left a bad taste in my mouth.

This woman had been widowed years before, and had a period of singleness in her life before she remarried; but that didn’t seem to give her more empathy.

I think I can say that there have been times in my life when, in crisis, I have called in prayer to God as I might to a husband, and have had an answer to prayer. But isn’t that true of all believers, whatever their marital status? The church after all, is Christ’s bride, and He is Husband to all of us, in that sense.

But as for God being my husband and replacing or removing all my desire for a husband, a real husband who can be my support and companion through day-to-day life, and I his companion and support….I don’t have anecdotes to tell you of how I have ever experienced that practically.

I think it’s pretty basic and the church often spiritualises it to shuffle off their responsibility for widows and orphans. Here’s what I think is basic:

1) It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone.
Marriage — good marriage — is better for most adults than singleness. Singleness is okay for some, or maybe for some at some stages of their lives.

2) “Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27  ASV)
The church is supposed to proactively care for and embrace single parents and their children, and Christians should take especial care not to operate from sinful or selfish motives when caring for such vulnerable people.

And readers of this blog are pretty aware of how the church often fails to heed this precept from James’s epistle. I don’t need to elaborate, except to say that my word study of the Greek and Hebrew words for ‘widow’ show they simply mean ‘woman bereft of a husband’ – bereft for any reason, not just the death of the husband. For male single parents such as Jeff S and FriendinNeed, I guess they have to invert the genders as appropriate.

I have been pretty content with being single in the last year, but lest you think I’m crowing about this, be assured that I never felt content with being single in all the years I was a single mum raising my daughter. I think my present contentment is largely because I am so wrapped up in writing and blogging and I get such satisfaction from this work that it fulfills me, and I’m not sure even I would have time for a husband in my life. So maybe I am (finally) one of the lucky ones who is ‘called’ to singleness, as Paul describes. But I am sure that ‘call’ has only been effectual recently. It wasn’t there in my forties.

[August 5, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 5, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to August 5, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to August 5, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 5, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

59 thoughts on “Getting our needs met in God”

  1. I have a lot to say on this particular topic because it’s a big one. Being a single parent is hard- I started dating way too soon after my divorce and I realized later that a large part was just wanting to have some adult companionship. For me there just aren’t very many good options for “Hey, I’m taking my son to the park- wanna tag along?” But it’s not fair to anyone to make them into a “fix” for my social needs so I took a breather.

    After I realized that I spent some time really just focusing on being with my son, admitting that it’s hard work, but also searching for the blessings too- one big one is the incredibly strong bond my son and I are forming. This aren’t currently ideal, but I am content. That doesn’t mean I don’t have big hopes and dreams, but if they remain hopes and dreams, I can live with that.

    I think a real key to contentment is admitting that there are things I want that I don’t have, and being OK with that. It’s a broken world and things aren’t as they should be, I do have some “needs” that aren’t being met, and that does cause me pain. I’m not bitter and I’m not angry at God, but I am lonely and I think that’s OK to acknowledge: the Christian life isn’t about avoiding the negative or pretending it doesn’t exist. It also isn’t about easy answers and just “getting over it”. I know that God knows it is hard and he understands all the negative feelings that I have.

    Rather than this perspective that loneliness, longing, and feeling that life is hard are an indication of a lack of faith, I much prefer the perspective of David Wilcox (a favorite songwriter of mine)

    Hideaway Cafe – David Wilcox – That’s What the Lonely is For

    1. Hmm, that’s interesting, hearing the perspective of a single dad.

      I have had female friends tell me that I should reconcile with my ex because men cannot live on their own. I must admit that that was a reason why I was hesitant to leave – I wondered if he would survive. Then to have my friends insist that men cannot live alone, I began to wonder if men are different to women because I certainly didn’t feel a great need to bond with anyone again.

      Maybe there’s no desire to seek another intimate relationship because I am still cherishing the newfound freedom of life without an abuser. Life is so much better with the kids now, and we are enjoying each other so much, I just don’t see how we could fit another person in. That’s not to say there is no grieving of a marriage relationship and all that it stands for. But there’s no rush to re-partner like life is somehow incomplete without a marriage partner.

      Looks like the ex could have pulled one over my eyes about men never being able to survive without a woman, because from what I am reading, single dads do feel lonely but they’ve learnt to be content and they survive!

      1. Yes, indeed- single dads are not hopeless 🙂

        My pastor’s wife was diagnosed with cancer and died within a year of finding out, leaving him with 4 teenage children. He said it was years before he could even think about dating again (he did remarry, to a woman with 5 children who survived her husband- they have quite a crew).

        So he has been very empathetic with me and has encouraged me to be comfortable on my own. We have also talked a lot about the grieving process and that place where it’s just hard to do all the “Christian” stuff people expect. He left the ministry at that point with no intention to ever return. He may not understand what divorce is like, but he understands being a single father and dealing with tragedy.

  2. Geez, don’t get me started on the idols. If you want to get married you have a spouse idol, if you want to have kids you have a child idol, if you want a job you have a job idol, if you’re hungry you have a food idol. Then a guy with a wife and four kids gets up and explains while he loves his family, he doesn’t have any kind of an idol.

  3. Note from Barb: This is Katy’s reply to what Jeff S said above. Katy wrote:

    Oh yes – the church simply has no answers on this one. No one tells me that I’m not whole without a mate -So I’m lucky. The problem is just garden-variety loneliness and the hardship of “doing life” without companionship or help. That’s not easy. And maybe the church has no answers because God doesn’t swoop down and take those hard feelings away.
    But on the whole, me and my single mom friends all feel this emotional void – we say things like “I need to stop eating that/spending money on that/drinking/feeling sad/” – and then one of my friends actually said “I know that I need to stop trying to satisfy myself with snacking – I need to find satisfaction in God” –

    but then we don’t find this elusive “satisfaction” ever. So where is it? an interesting question…

  4. And on the more general sense of this topic, I think an important verse is John 15:5 (ESV):

    I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

    I think the key is to “abide”, and abide the way a “branch” does. We don’t just exist or “hang there”, but we grow fruit as life flows through us. I think people get worked up about their mission and go out on their own, disconected from the vine full of agendas that look Godly, but really are man made, or people give up and just check out. Neither of these options is the picture of a branch connected to a vine. It’s about trust, being in the Lord, and doing his work as he shows us what we are to do.

    I bring this up because I think it’s easy for people to get ahead of God on our behalf. It is human nature to want to explain or have answers for everything, and whenever you are going through a struggle there is no short list of Christians who want to tell you what it all means. We desperatly want answers, and we want to be the ones to give answers to others. But see, that isn’t always how God operates. Not every trial has an easily discrenable lesson. Maybe we won’t even understand in this lifetime. Do you know that Job NEVER understood why he suffered, even though there were many who tried to make sense of it all?

    Here is a song I wrote, and I hope it can bring some encouragement- I don’t have all of the answers, but I know that it’s important to admit our pain, not try to explain what God has not given us a reason for, and to work on what it means to “Wait on the Lord”. In the end, we will always have hope and pain WILL subside.

    Only Hope Remains

    At the end of my rope, I’m losing this fight
    I can’t see straight I’m stumbling and I’ve lost my sight
    I guess I should feel joy and rise above this mess
    But I can’t lie and I won’t put on a mask of righteousness

    They say God is moving
    But I will stay right here and wait for you

    I still hope, and I still pray- I’ll be holding on for yet another day
    I still feel hurt and I still feel pain, but only hope remains
    So I wait, I wait for you

    I force myself to stand and smile through these tears
    Pain I feel, but life you give, there’s a reason I am here
    It’s a matter of the heart and an exercise of faith
    I don’t need to know your plan I only need to seek you face

    Cause you are always moving
    And I am so much further than before

    I still hope, and I still pray- I’ll be holding on for yet another day
    I still feel hurt and I still feel pain, but only hope remains

    They see purpose that I don’t see
    They give me reasons that I don’t need
    They tell me things that I should believe
    But I will only wait

    I still hope, and I still pray- I’ll be holding on for yet another day
    I still feel hurt and I still feel pain, but only hope remains
    So I wait, I wait for you

  5. It’s funny, my church just started a series on relationships and the first sermon was about loneliness. I don’t remember all of the points that were made, I don’t feel lonely very often, but I’m sure I will one day. He did have an anecdote about Corrie Ten Boom who had her heart broken by a man that she was engaged to, and her father told her to redirect the love in her heart that was flowing toward her ex to a different area of her life. That just really spoke to me, and maybe it will to other survivors as well. At least in my case I feel like I loved my spouse and tried so hard to please him, but it wasn’t ever enough. Rather than let it dam up inside my heart, my prayer is that all that love be redirected to where God wants me. Maybe that will include a spouse some day, maybe it won’t, but if I am living God’s will for my life, maybe those lonely times won’t be so lonely.

    Thanks for sharing this as a separate post Barbara!

  6. Thanks for this post, Barb. Oh, how I can relate! I am older, my kids are grown, I’m 69 years old and I still feel an emptiness. Recently, I mentioned to my new pastor that I felt lonely. He nodded but gave me some some platitudinal (is that a word?) advice… and I cannot remember what it was exactly, but I felt minimized.

    I really feel God is with me and guiding me, but during the past 5 months or so of this 15 months separation from my to be ex husband, real feelings of loneliness have entered into my life. Before that time, I felt so relieved and happy to be separate from him and his abuse and to walk with God ever closer, that I didn’t feel much loneliness at all. I talk to God as I go about my daily life and I know He hears and helps me, but I still feel lonely and this feeling is not going away; in fact it seems to grow as time goes on.

    I’ver always been faithful to my husband, ever since the day we met almost 45 years ago. I don’t want an affair, it just wouldn’t be right nor would it help. I want to live in God’s will.

    In fact, a month or so ago, loneliness had such a grip on me, I did something I almost never have done…..I got mad at God. I cried out to God, and asked him why did He permit me to be so lonely?

    I was not angry at God in a sense that I felt He was being unfair. I know He is ever with me and is giving me the wisdom, courage and strength I need every day, but I wanted God to let me know what the purpose was..for having me feel so lonely for so long.

    I do feel guilty about feeling this way because God is ever with me, and I know this should be enough, and it is, but I can’t help wondering why the loneliness is so deep.

  7. I want to tread softly here and be sure not to minimize anyone’s pain. I was a single mother for a while and it was HARD. I was also incredibly lonely in my first marriage. I, too, received much well-intentioned advice on how to handle the loneliness….which centered mostly around the idea that I was doing something wrong….not trusting God enough….not trusting Him as my Father, etc.

    Sometimes, life is very difficult. And it is not because of something that we are doing wrong….or because we aren’t doing enough of the right thing. Because of the world we live in….we will feel bad, or lonely or destitute, or we will be in pain. The “c”hurch often mistakes adversity (of which we are to expect) for some sort of failure on our part. Or consequences. When things just sometimes ARE. When my parents died too soon, I suffered. I was lonely and insecure. It was what happened. And I did the best I could with what happened.

    Instead of trying to blame those who are struggling….or acting as though there is some sort of spiritual deficiency in those who are lonely for companionship (after all, God made us to need each other — that does not imply a lack of whole-ness), why don’t they just help out? Share each other’s burdens?

    1. Megan, I was also incredibly lonely in my marriage; in fact I felt less alone after I left him than when I with with him. To be abused in so many ways and made to feel like I was a bad person and he was “wonderful”, especially to people of our church, was unbelievably hard. To have someone I loved ignore me, not want to communicate, living in his own world, would have me feel very sad, alone and unwanted. But I now understand that he did want me, to complete himself.

      This new church I’ve been attending…well, I’ve known a lot of the people for decades.. my to be ex husband and I used to attend church together and so they knew him too…
      Mr. Wonderful.

      It’s a good start to become re-acquainted. I need to be very patient….

    2. Yes, THIS! Thank you!

      Christians sometimes seem to forget that it isn’t just mankind that is fallen, it is ALL of creation. The world, as a whole, is a lost place, not just the unsaved people within it. Life here cannot be experienced as though it were the Redeemd life of Heaven-livIng. And just as it was asked in the Bible regarding the disabled man’s life—about who’s sin caused his disability, him or his parent’s—the answer was neither. God allows both blessing and rain to be upon our lives. When the rain comes, we do well to walk through it while dwelling on [Phil 4:8]:

      ….whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy….

      -—the blessings; present and past.

      Loneliness is a hard row to hoe, especially when it goes on for years. Yet, I know to be true that my Abba wastes nothing of what I experience in this life in His promise to finish the work He started in me. That alone, often, is all that I have to keep in the heart of my spirit. And so, I do, knowing that it is His hand He holds me in: His perfect, sovereign, provisional hand. As Peter asked of Jesus”

      ….to whom else shall we go?…. [John 6:68]

  8. Thanks for this post Barb!
    I am starting to think that it is simply not possible to be perfectly content raising children alone. The job is just too big and hard for one person. That’s okay – when I look at it from the point of view of eternity. We are only here for such a short little while. And earth is not our permanent home – so eventually we’re all going to have that perfect completion in Christ. And we all know how horribly alone you can feel even within relationships.
    So maybe a change in perspective is what we need.

  9. JeffS: yeah dating too soon can make things more confusing. I am glad that i didn’t make another choice in men in the first couple of years, since I think I am a different person now. Or at least, I am more recovered. Some people seem to be able to rebound without making another tragic choice, but I wasn’t one of them. I could see myself ending up with another abuser, so I am glad that I’ve waited and continue to wait. 🙂

  10. First of all, God created woman for man so that Adam wouldn’t be alone. That was BEFORE Adam has sinned. It looks like Adam wasn’t perfectly fulfilled being all alone even when he was sinless.

    Secondly, I am finishing reading the book of Job. His friends blamed and taught him. Job called them “miserable comforters.” After everything was restored to Job, his family and acquaintances finally consoled and comforted him. God said his friends didn’t speak rightly about Himself. They (nor Job) just didn’t get what was really going on. I am thinking I need to remember this as I talk to people. There are just a lot of things we don’t get. When someone is suffering (from loneliness for example) I need to comfort them. Maybe I don’t need more answers, I need to get better at comforting. Better at weeping with those who weep.

    I am sorry for those who have suffered, and instead of feeling comfort from friends, family and church, you are preached at about your “idols” or whatever. There definitely is a time for exhortation, but I don’t think it when someone is suffering.

    Here is an interview of Joni Erickson Tada that speaks to how to treat someone who is suffering.

    Joni Eareckson Tada on words that hurt, actions that help [Internet Archive link]

    1. I love what you wrote about Job, Belle. There is a time for comfort and we should be the first ones on the scene when comfort is needed. I am sure it is a temptation to pull out our theological training and speculate….but that is not what God has called us to do in a time of affliction….He has called us to be like Him….

      ….to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion….[Isaiah 61:2-3]

    2. Thank you Belle, you’ve made some very good points – I especially like the point about Adam – and I’ll look up that link to the Tada interview.

      How many of us have ever heard a sermon on the verse Weep with those who weep?
      I know I haven’t. And when I’ve quoted that verse to so-called Christians who have been picking on me for letting my suffering show (rather than wearing a mask all the time like they do) they look at me as if they don’t recognise what I’ve said as Scripture. I don’t think they even know I am quoting a verse from the Bible, they just give me a blank look.

    3. Belle, Thanks so much. When I read the part about Joni’s friend climbing into bed with her and singing that beautiful song, I got teary-eyed and goose bumps. Simply a beautiful and touching gesture from a true friend. I read the first book Joni wrote, many years ago, will never forget her faith, gracefulness and bravery.

      “Hallelujah! What a Savior”

  11. If we cannot be ‘Jesus with skin on’ for the widows/widowers and orphans/abandoned among us, then are we really church at all? I don’t think so. God surprised me when I learned to walk and serve in the pain rather than wish and hope and pray that the pain would go away. It may not go away, but the pain can be redeemed.

  12. AISIO, You are indeed fortunate to be able to serve while walking through your pain in your church. I hope in time I will be able to do likewise. Since even before I left the marriage, I have had a strong desire to help other abused victims, and have done so for over a year, in group meetings for abused women as well as online in a divorce forum and even through newspaper editorials in my city.

    Right from the start, in this new church I’ve been attending since last month, I’ve been wanting to help other victims of abuse as well. It is very difficult when the pastor does not seem to want to be involved in truly helping other abused victims. I sense a lot of restraint in the congregation as well so I have to tread very carefully.

    1. Now Free: Yes, you probably have a lifetime of experience from which others can learn. HOWEVER, do not assume that I am welcome at any church anywhere for my crime of speaking out. I am not. I continue to walk the perimeter, helping those I can. The second–and often worse–trauma is to discover that the very ones you trusted for support and guidance in your hour of need will not be there for you. They will turn away and hide their eyes and block their ears so that they will not see and cannot hear your cry for justice.

      1. Genuine believers will eventually awaken. They have been deluded for so long. I really believe and am convinced that the number one problem we face in having this cry for justice heard is that a cheap “gospel” has replaced the true gospel and thus our churches are so often led by and filled with people who don’t truly know Christ. Jesus said in John 10 that His sheep hear and know His voice and will not follow a stranger. I do not think that it is exaggeration or false paranoia to believe that the way is broad that leads to destruction and many are those who walk on it, while the way to life is narrow and few are they who find it. Christ’s people love one another. The trick is – finding them.

      2. Indeed, this is all too often true. And many of us have also experienced the shocking heartbreak of it.

  13. Sometimes I think the Church today is more interested in building numbers, than helping the numbers that God has already given them. They look more to how they can help the people outside the Church, than helping those that are already within the body of Christ. They need to do both, but I believe they need to be building up and helping those within the body, first. I am thankful that the Church I have now, does both.

  14. I cannot list the myriad busyness of this church but I think that they mean well. But out of all these organizations they support, where is their ministry to the abused? I see nothing in the programmes to indicate that they lift even a baby finger in supporting the wounded victims of the abusive perpetrators.

    Lunches and home-baked treats and foreign country aid is fine, but what about the hurting and helpless who cannot speak for themselves?

  15. Jeff, as you know, I had mentioned yours and Barb’s books and the help I have received from both of you and the pastor appeared angry. I believe he might have felt threatened by this information about helping the abused and routing out the abuser out of hiding. I also mentioned that you feel abuse is like murder. I tried to speak in a non-confrontational and humble manner and had given him this information in a very brief form.

    I wanted to know his thoughts on the abused and the abuser. Should I stop attending this church or should I stay and try and help others in a quiet, more personal way.

    Abuse is not a neutral subject. It is either do we side with the abused or do we not? This is not a lukewarm matter. Abuse is like murder. It is murder of the soul, the spirit, it affects the physical being. It is cruel and ugly. The abuser feels extremely entitled in his/her actions and by his very nature will manipulate and coerce others to join in his cause for being innocent and blaming the victim.

    I think that as more people read yours and Barb’s books, and this blog, there will be many more informed people with many burning questions that will need to be answered. Some pastors will embrace this new information, others will turn away. Some will agree/pretend to agree on certain points and cast out information they do not want to abide with because it is just too inconvenient or painful to face abuse and to do what the victims are crying out for…to be heard, believed and helped.

    1. A hearty Amen to Now Free. Either we are good with abuse (murder) or we are not. Everyone will know who the ‘father’ is by how they/we respond.

  16. I’m learning a lot from this conversation. It’s something that I’ve struggled with as well. When we were going for marriage counseling (I mostly went by myself) the counselor would tell me that I have everything I need in God and that I don’t “need” my husband to love me, protect me or treat me well. Those things would be nice to have, but they aren’t needs. I felt horrible hearing this, but I tried to accept it as biblical. As time went on (eventually I stopped going to the joint counselor and found a separate counselor for myself) I developed a level of acceptance of the difficulties in our marriage, and with that, came an element of peace.

    I eventually went back to the original counselor by myself to a single appointment just to evaluate whether he thought my husband’s change was genuine. I told him how I was more at peace in the marriage because I had learned to accept the reality of the way he treats me. He told me that I shouldn’t feel that way, and I should be praying and hoping for change in the marriage since marriage has the potential to be so much greater than ours is. I was shocked! Apparently, it’s wrong for me to wish my husband would treat me well, but it’s also wrong to accept that he doesn’t treat me well.

    I’ve really put a lot of thought into this as it’s something that really caused me great confusion. I believe that Jesus taught that the greatest commandments are to love God and love others because we have been created with a core need to love and be loved. God shows us His love through others. If Christians love God and love others, the rest of it all kind of falls into place. But what to do when others are consistently hurtful and unloving (abusive) is where many Christian teachers seem to be going wrong.

    1. it’s wrong for me to wish my husband would treat me well, but it’s also wrong to accept that he doesn’t treat me well.

      That advice typifies the contradictory, crazy-making advice that many Christians dish out to victims of abuse. We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.

      What gets me most about this is that the people who give such advice don’t want to listen when you or I point out to them how their two pieces of advice are contradictory and it’s making the victim feel even worse than they felt already. What can we call this mud in the ears? Pride? Superiority? Lack of empathy? Resistance to correction? Professional arrogance? Sheer lack of thought ( = stupidity?). Or a covert agenda to actually keep the victim in the one-down position? In various cases it might be any one or more of those things. But whatever it is, it makes me angry.

      1. May I suggest, Barbara, that it is even worse than that? I hear echoes of Isaiah’s curse upon those who refuse to listen (Is 6:9-10), quoted by Jesus against the religious leaders of His day. Maybe they will never hear, never see, never do what is right. Where are we then, you and I?

      2. I hope that that curse does not apply to them all. But I’m pretty sure it would apply to some or many. Where do we stand. We stand in post-Christian cultures where even most ‘c’hristians in our countries are not the real thing. And some of them have lots of money and clout in churches. And we may be sorely persecuted, but we must and will stand with Christ, our Lord and Saviour. And we must also guard ourselves against falling into self pity from the Elijah complex (Lord, there’s only me left!). Other than that, I do not know. We rely on on the Lord.
        I feel a touch pontifical saying that, but I don’t know what else to say.
        And I know your question was partly rhetorical, so I maybe didn’t even need to answer it. Sorry if I came across as pompous.

      3. You came across wonderfully Barbara. One day, one step at a time seeking the Lord and walking in the spirit as He leads.

  17. the counselor would tell me that I have everything I need in God and that I don’t “need” my husband to love me, protect me or treat me well. Those things would be nice to have, but they aren’t needs.

    That is simply incredible. INCREDIBLE. Why on earth would anyone get married except to have a companion who loves and treats you well? It’s like that Valentines Day seminar at my church that was for married couples – and the whole agenda was on how to manage your disappointment.
    The church is really useless sometimes.

    1. Then maybe it’s not really ‘church’. Let’s go back to the biblical definition as ‘Those who do the will of my Father’. You will know who they are by what they do (or don’t do!). Yes, the disappointment is fathomless, but would we rather believe the lie because it is less disturbing? Time to call a spade a spade.

  18. I feel intensely lonely sometimes (a lot of the time) I’m not even 30 and I have 3 very young children. I can’t imagine being alone for the rest of my life and yet I can’t imagine anyone wanting to take on my mess 🙂
    I don’t think I am doing anything wrong when I pray that I will find someone to share my life with. We are created to desire relationships of all kinds. I think my biggest fear is “failing” in another marriage by choosing another abuser. I know it is not failure and I am not wanting to offend anyone by my words, I am only stating how I feel. I hope this makes since.

    1. I get that, Bethany; and I don’t hear you as saying you or anyone else is to blame for having married an abuser. I understand the fear of having a repeat scenario. I had a repeat scenario, and I have survived. I got out a lot quicker the second time, and recovered much much quicker too. Mind you, the second man did not engage in much post-sep abuse, so I am not living in fear of him now that we are separated. He lives in another town and apart from about 5 silent phone calls from an undisclosed number in the first few months post separation, there has been no harassment from him at all. Well, he has tried to lie to people who know me, about how I had treated him in the marriage, but he’s had limited success. Those who I am closest to have listened to my side and have believed me when I told them the whole story (the whole story makes it very clear that he was lying to them).

      1. Thank you for the encouragement Barbara 🙂 it means a lot to me. I am reading through Why Does He Do That right now and I will be as carful as I can be. I just don’t want to be so careful that I throw the good out with the bad lol

    2. I feel intensely lonely sometimes (a lot of the time) I’m not even 30 and I have 3 very young children. I can’t imagine being alone for the rest of my life and yet I can’t imagine anyone wanting to take on my mess

      oh I’m right there with you (as far as 3 young kids but I just turned 34) ! 🙂 Sometimes I wonder if I really am going to spend my entire life alone – but try not to think that way because it’s too overwhelming to contemplate. Ha ha I can really freak myself out if I dwell on it. Also I think we forget sometimes that children grow up very quickly. That toddler stage really flew by. Mine are all in school now – and when I look back it’s a blur!
      I also secretly think that I have way too much baggage to contemplate another relationship. I don’t know how people with a bunch of kids even date? Like how is that possible? (Case in point – all of my kids are sick right now)

      All you can do is just tell God how you feel and trust that He loves you even when you’re disappointed. I told my SIL yesterday – “I’m so tired of life” – sometimes we need to just walk into the Holy of Holies, sit down by the ark and rest our heads. It’s okay to be weak. I have to remind myself it’s not up to me to be strong every second of every day.

      1. Katy, WOW are you in my head? LOL I’m just glad I’m not alone when it comes to being lonely 🙂 I love the word pic of resting my head on the ark in the Holy of Holies. I think I will do just that ❤

    1. I can’t imagine what so many of you are going through, having small children alone. I was “fortunate” in that, when I finally left (kicked him out) 15 months ago- my youngest was almost 16. Things have gone fairly smoothly since then-tho he is now doing everything he can to stall the divorce.

      1. my oldest is 6 and my youngest turns 2 next month! I have a long way to go before they are all of to school let alone off to college. I try and look on the bright side and remind myself that at least I got them away from that monster while they were young.

      2. Yes, getting away from the abuser while the kids are still young, usually means you have more years in which to shape and influence their character development without his toxic undermining. Of course, for those who have to comply with visitation orders (or those who are in that terrible place of having the court give custody to the abuser) that is not necessarily the case. But speaking in generalities, I think it may be better for the kids if you leave while they are young.

        But for those who didn’t leave until the kids were older, please don’t feel I’m guilting you. I know each of us have our own set of circumstances – and we leave when we leave, and there is no absolute ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the timing of it all; it just is.

      3. Bethany. My kids had barely turned 2-4-6 when I got divorced. I’m only a few years ahead of you now. If you are financially stable enough (have a safe place to live) – and you can concentrate on those babies for a little while, it’s a good thing. Concentrate on the awesomeness of being able to take care of your kids without dealing with his crap on top of it. Concentrate on potty training that baby. Concentrate on the fact that God is close to the widow and fatherless, He loves you and is particularly concerned for you. Rest your head on that ark every night before you go to sleep. Build your nest right up against it. Dwell on that.

        These next couple of years are going to fly. You’ve got time. And you don’t want to take the risk of stumbling into another relationship because you’re looking for rescue. Not that you might do that – but it was a particular fear of mine. That I might overlook something because I was feeling desperate. During those years I prayed that God would protect my kids from any choices that I made in my fog. And let me tell you – He did.
        I did meet a new guy early on (within the first year out of the abuse) – and almost got swept into a relationship with him that I wasn’t sure about. Looking back I can see that God stepped in when I was confused and vulnerable and ended it before my kids could get hurt, but I still feel a lot of guilt about that.

        You are always going to be vulnerable. I made the mistake of thinking that I was so strong now, that I would not make any more mistakes (in that area). It’s been 3 years of absolute singleness for me, and I figured that I was rock solid – no problem- I can’t be swept into anything unwise now! And then last week something happened that surprised me so much I had to go BACK to the Holy of Holies, lay down by the ark again, and ask God why I was still so weak. 🙂

        The answer is that your position is vulnerable and there’s no changing that. Don’t rely on yourself. You must rely on Him for all of your strength. He is your shield and rampart. !!

      4. Concentrate on the fact that God is close to the widow and fatherless, He loves you and is particularly concerned for you. Rest your head on that ark every night before you go to sleep. Build your nest right up against it. Dwell on that.

        So beautiful.

      5. My pastor told me to wait two years before dating again. I must admit haven’t followed that advice, but I did take at least some time to really focus on my son and myself.

        For me a lot of the practical stuff is taken care if- I have a good job (though money is tough because I have to pay alimony and she doesn’t pay much back in child support), but I still fight the feeling of not being able to provide my son with a “full”life. I am so aware of my shortcomings and wish there was someone to help me raise him. Nonetheless, I do have faith that God has supplied all my needs, and right now I am “enough” of a parent for him. He knows he is loved and he shows it every day. So many children with two parents don’t even have that.

        So it’s like living with two different perspectives at once- recognizing that this current place is not what I wanted for me or my son, that it isn’t what should be, that there are many things I “need” for a healthy life that aren’t supplied, but the other perspective is that God has given me all that is necessary for eternity and for my son and I to become the people he wants us to be. I truly believe he works all things to good for those in the faith, so even while I recognize the brokenness of this world, I also recognize that God works in it.

      6. Katy, that is wonderful advice.

        Normally, when speaking with survivors, ‘advice giving’ can be unwise, but yours here is excellent, and not at all patronising or ‘should-ing’ on anyone. And I’m sure it comes out so beautifully because it comes from the furnace of your own hard-trod experience. Bless you, sister! 🙂

      7. Yes like Megan said that was beautiful Katy and very encouraging. Thank you so much for you wise advice. I am not dating and don’t plan to anytime soon, I know it would be a bad choose right now to do so, but I still feel the loneliness. Your words have given strength to my soul 🙂

  19. Now free- You are forgiven! LOL! It was much easier for me, as the ex was already basically living in another state years before our separation.He would come home on weekends-so for me, all I had to do was tell him to stop coming home. Other than a few somewhat scary episodes, he has not tried to force his way back in. He is the more subtle type of abuser, so obvious confrontations are not his thing.

    1. I left when my kids were younger [actual ages were edited to protect commenter’s identity]. Now, [several] years later, and still single, I have learned a lot about what it means to have God as husband. For me, it means that I walk with Him as He teaches me about my needs (after all, I ignored them for over 20 years with my abuser). I then reach out to others for those needs to be met.

      For instance, I am now raising two teenagers with chronic PTSD from years of abuse (they saw their dad regularly until 8 months ago), and anxiety and depression. God’s intention isn’t that I struggle alone in this. So, I have a “rule” that I must talk to someone (mostly just verbally processing) about parenting every 48 hours. What an amazing blessing! I have grown more in the last 7 months in my ability to trust others and take relationship risks than in the previous 7 years. Yes, there were also times when God did cool things like make me feel hugged in bed one night, or when I danced with Jesus around my kitchen, but my journey has been way more about deepening friendships.

      Of course, it’s also been powerful to be used by God in others’ lives – single and married – as my story touches those around me. I am blessed that I did go to a brand new church and was welcomed and they have learned how to love our family (teachable spirits is so key).

      And when my married friends tell me dumb stuff like I need to go to God with my loneliness, I ask them where they went with theirs – to a person or God? They have learned a lot walking with me!

      1. Welcome to the blog dear sister. 🙂 You’ve commented once before I see, so please forgive our tardiness in welcoming you.

        If you haven’t yet done so, please check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  20. Copied from the original post:

    When we are in denial of our needs and God’s ability to supply them, we begin to try to take on the task ourselves. We begin to fantasize about how we can meet those needs. In the case of porn addiction, the addict thinks he needs sexual gratification (that isn’t his actual need, but it is what he tells himself)

    I am ssoooo struggling with this one…

    A recent breakthrough – I’m still processing – has left me grasping at straws. I keep thinking I have to be everything to me. Knowing God’s attributes, knowing He loves me, does not help me past needing physical, visible proof and support. I am content to live alone, to have a few treasured friends, to do God’s work for me.

    (TRIGGER WARNING) I am finding the emotional boundary my “dad” violated when I was a baby affects my ability to trust in God’s comfort and security. I cannot separate the two…how can a practically newborn baby feel secure when the “dad” “cuddling” her is physically penetrating her with his little finger?????

    And I am to find comfort and security in my Papa God????

    I don’t know where to begin…and Scripture isn’t the key.

    I needed more than words then.

    I need more than words now.

    Oh God. Can these memories get any worse?

      1. Thank you, Barb.

        I’m sorry for the bluntness of my comment and pray to God I did not hurt anyone. I got blindsided part way through my comment. I want to apologize and the Holy Spirit guides my fingertips, just as He did through the memory. He knows my need to apologize is greater than my need for the silence of processing pain.

        I am so, so sorry if I have triggered anyone. May God keep you safe.

      2. Dear Finding Answers, remember that no comment goes live on this blog unless the admins decide to publish it. I read your comment and weighed up whether to edit out the description which may trigger some readers, or whether to leave it intact. I chose to leave it intact.

        The buck stops with me. I willingly bear the final responsibility. 🙂

        And remember, if some readers are triggered, other readers may be helped by that detail you wrote, knowing they are not alone in having experienced that.

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