Good morning brother Hamilton
I don't want to say I am a fan, but I learned a lot from the lessons, sermons, and questions and answers on the La Vista Church of Christ website, and I am still learning. Glory to God for such initiative. I am grateful for having such a platform where, when I need to learn about specific topics, I know exactly where to go.
I do make use of your material and others when we have ladies' classes. I have read a lot of your questions and answers that I felt related to me and my circumstances or situations and managed to make better choices based on the answers that are always taken from the Scriptures.
Before I get into my question, let me say that I enjoyed and used your lessons on The Good Mate as guidance to how I was going about letting another man in my life besides the father of my kids whom I had out of wedlock. I know I sinned, I was immature then. I was 17, and I reasoned he was going to marry me anyway, having sex with him alone, it was going to be him forever (knowing I shouldn't have). I have read up on the questions and answers, I know that my reasons were foolish and had the probability of not happening. Besides I was not erasing the fact that I was repeatedly sinning against God. By the way, I was also foolishly thinking the guy was going to be godly while he was a non-believer. This is the background to my question.
Now here is my question, I married a godly man. Before we got married or got into a relationship, we were friends, and I observed that he was not just a churchgoer but practiced a godly lifestyle.
We are married for almost 3 years now. Our challenge is my children -- not my children's behavior, but how we handle or deal with the fact that I have children and they are not his. The biological father is not around.
We stayed with my kids for two years. But we are currently living together without the kids this year. Note that culturally, on this part of the planet, children born out of wedlock stay with their grandmother. They are automatically the responsibility of their grandmother or we can say automatically adopted without paperwork, especially when the mother gets married.
I have been visiting my mother's home, which takes six hours to reach, a few times this year. I have limited resources to visit more often or to stay longer when I visit. I am unable to work. However, I feel that visits are not serving my relationship with my children. I know the culture, but I also know my children are my responsibility -- not only financially but in all aspects. I need to have a relationship with them that they will feel assured that I love them. This way, they can take to heart my teachings.
Biblically, without pulling any Scripture, I know it is my duty to lead my children to God, and because their father is a non-believer and absent, this means I have to double the work. I work hard to lead them to heaven. I believe to achieve this, I should be staying with them and not do this from a distance. I don't see it working with the distance between us.
Now my godly hubby is not comfortable with them staying with us. He says that during the past two years, he was not impressed by the children, that they do as they please, they don't listen, and so on, and says I was not firm on them.
I understand all this, but I think no one is perfect. The children are children. They need guidance on how to behave and all. I also know the kids could have been dealing with the fact that I am married, but not married to their father. Surely this affected them, and they could have felt a sense of a loss there.
I feel he never loved them in the first place since he just gave up. This also makes me doubt his love for me, because of how marriage is compared to the marriage of Christ and the church in the Bible. Christ died for His bride, my husband will not let my children stay with us, knowing that my children need me and I need them.
Here is a question how do I cling to my husband and lead my children to God at the same time?
I didn't mention that he is from a Christian family, which by the way his parents are encouraging that we should not stay with my children, and this affects me negatively that they are church members, yet I fail to see the likeness of Christ with the regard to this matter, though in other aspects they are trying to be like Christ. This is why I need someone outside to look at my problem. I know I might not be reasoning well because it is my problem -- I am in it.
You are probably asking if we never had such conversations about the children before marriage. I didn't see it coming. If I did, maybe I would not have gone through with the marriage. I have been honest from day one, that I have children and when we spoke marriage, I shared that I would like to stay with my children. He knew this from the word go.
It is discouraging that I don't see the likeness of Christ regarding this matter. I know I should look at Christ and meditate on Him, not people.
Thank you for your time.
Your husband knew, prior to your marriage, that you had children and that you desired to raise them yourself. He also demonstrated this understanding because your children lived with the two of you for the first two years of your marriage. His argument that he doesn't like the behavior of the children is inadequate because he is now their father.
I think this is where all of you made a mistake. Everyone treats the children as belonging to the other man -- including you. He left. He abandoned his children. He wasn't responsible enough to marry the woman he was having sex with. By his choice, he is no longer their father.
It is hard for children to deal with rejection. They need parents to depend on and their father disappeared and their mother married another man who never treated them as his own. I suspect that they were acting out, and at the same time, you were excusing their misbehavior instead of insisting that they behave properly toward the man who is now their father. It is really hard to blend a family from broken pieces. It takes a lot of effort, time, and love. Yet, this is what Christianity represents. We are all children from families broken by sin and, despite that, God adopts us into His family as His children. "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:5-6).
Instead of imitating what Jesus had done for him and showing a similar measure of grace to the children, your husband has kept a barrier between himself and them. And when things got difficult, he chose to send them off instead of working harder to resolve the problems.
At the same time, you can't make your husband be a proper father. The choice you face is whether to raise your children or stay with your husband. Both are required of you, but your husband improperly insists that you pick one or the other obligation.
From a practical point of view, you mentioned that you have no job and cannot support your children on your own. Even if you did get a job, you would have to leave the children in someone else's care while you work. The situation would not be better than their current situation. I don't know enough about the options available to suggest a workable solution. But it does appear to me that a number of people need to change.