Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days of Awesome Relationships : : Day 22 : : Her Brother's Heart is Broken

Sandra in North Carolina writes ...
I am trying to minister to my brother.  His wife of 25 years has asked him for a divorce.   She said that he had changed ... that now the age difference between them was too much ... She wants him to move out.

I have no idea what all of the problems are.  I know he has been faithful.  They have seen a lawyer.  The lawyer wants them to sell the house, take the two paychecks and split them evenly.  The lawyer said that until the house sells they could live one week in/one week out of the house (trading parents--Dad in one week/Mom in one week). 

It is such a mess!  His daughter's birthday is in exactly one month. She will be 14.  He doesn't want to miss out on daily being part of the kids' lives!  He doesn't want to be a part time father, doesn't want to move out, doesn't want to separate.

How on earth do I minister to him?  to his kids?  I am trying not to say anything except to ask him to pray before he moves and know that this is what God wants.  Can it truly be what God wants??  There are a 1000 things that I could say, none of which would be what God wants me to say.

How do I advise my older brother when his heart is broken?  He said that he had lost his best friend ... and now she is asking him to leave his kids too.  I am praying for her to come to her knees and see what Jesus wants her to do.

Please tell me how to help.  I can't get the faces of this broken family out of my mind and heart!!

My response ...
Hi Sandra ~

I am so sorry for this tragedy that is unfolding in your family.  Sadly, your story is not unusual, but that doesn't make the pain and heartache any less real.  Most especially for your brother's children.

Separation and divorce not only impact the immediate family but everyone else who loves and cares about each of them.  The tragic tentacles reach into the lives of relatives, friends, and others in a church family and neighborhood. 

And yes, although we hate to hear it, there are always two sides to every story.  And reconciliation takes two people willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work of rebuilding a marriage.  Without that commitment, it's just not going to happen without direct intervention from God Himself.

I love when you wrote, 'There are a 1000 things that I could say, none of which would be what God wants me to say.'  You are so wise in not only understanding what you want to add to the already volatile mix, but also using discernment and self-control in being still with your words, most particularly around the children.

You might find that journaling will allow you to unpack all that's assaulting you, and that leaving your swirling emotions with God will allow you to be calm, wise, and gracious in your dealings with the family.

Everyone on both 'sides' of this misfortune is going to have an opinion, free advice, and their own perspective.  You can stand out in the crowd and be most effective by making concentrated prayer for each member of your brother's family, including his wife, a priority for you.  Are you able to commit to 5, 10, 15 minutes a day?

We are called to 'be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry' {James 1:19}.  If you are able to be a safe, gentle person for your brother and his children, and provide a quiet nurturing space in your home for them to retreat to, this will be a huge gift to them.  I would also encourage you to be gracious and merciful if/when you run into your sister-in-law, remembering that she will continue to be the mother of your brother's children.

We all carry a bucket of kerosene and a bucket of water to every relationship blaze we encounter along the way.  As you watch this family go through uncertainty and pain, I encourage you to make the choice to dispense only what will put out the flames of hurt and anguish.  A 'gentle and quiet spirit' is often the most healing gift that can be given.  That your brother and his children know that you are a loving, supportive presence for them, a stable, safe harbor during the storm, is a lavish, Christ-honoring gift. 

And as this trauma continues to unfold, please be sure to do what you need to do to stay healthy and sane ... and not too drawn into all that's swirling around your brother's family.

How blessed they are that you're there ... 

*    *    *

Don't miss the chance to win a $25 Applebee's gift card or a $10 i-tunes gift card! Each comment you leave this month puts you in the running for this October 31st {9 pm eastern} giveaway!

Click here for the links to each of the 31 posts.
Subscribe to the blog at The Delivery on the top right and future posts will come directly to you!

^ green mailbox by Robes-Pierre


  1. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face! Thank you for your sweet answer and for reminding me that the only thing I can do is pray. That doesn't sound like much at first, but it is!! I have realized that God is still on His throne. This has not taken Him by surprise!

    Your blog is such a balm to me! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and insight on a daily basis!! Thank you SO much for your response...what a blessing!


    {via email}

  2. I really like the format on your blog when you answer questions from people. It is a different dimension and you are good at it.

    Can that be done on a weekly basis - I think it would be interesting.

    {via email}


Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...