An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
The two-year ride through the Illinois family court system may be nearly over for Standerinfamilycourt, several months ahead of our scheduled appeal docket date. On December 2, 2014, the 2nd District Court of Appeals denied our appealed motion for anonymity to bring our religious freedom and equal protection challenge to Illinois’ unilateral divorce law, just as the trial judge had done back in August. Our constitutional attorneys have confirmed that this denial cannot be appealed any higher. This very important matter was firmly in God’s sovereign hands all along, and it was the subject of much prayer, both mine and that of our small band of supporters in this cause. God’s people are right to obediently show up dressed for battle, but we must never lose sight that the battle belongs to the Lord, as does all choice of weapons and timing for the battle.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8
Why was anonymity so important? Doesn’t the public have a “right to know”? In this case, probably so. A consulting firm which employs an emotionally ill man in a very responsible position, seeks new clients who will rely on this firm’s fiduciary integrity over $ million+ long-term contracts. That firm allowed this principal to install a girlfriend under his direct supervision, and at least two blood relatives into jobs in the firm, possibly ahead of other more qualified people. It further allowed per diem payments for lavish trips, and short-sightedly did not care that its employment policies were not only destructive to the families of its employees, but it tolerated illegal sexual harassment discriminatory to the rest of its employees in condoning and knowingly facilitating a known boss / subordinate adulterous relationship for many years. SIFC is an employee of the sort of client who might hire such a consulting firm, and in fact, her employer is a chief competitor of this firm’s main energy industry client. If SIFC can simply go to Bing and type in the first and last name of this regional business director who manages very important international engagements, and bring up all the sordid facts about this firm and that consultant in a published appeals case opinion that provocatively challenged the constitutionality of a long-standing state law, she might well advise her employer to steer clear and find an alternative vendor who manages their business with far less drama. Such is indeed the public’s right to know, and such are the facts already captured in the trial transcripts.
That said, I love my Lord who unconditionally loves both of us as one person, and I unconditionally love my life companion of more than 40 years. I have no desire whatsoever to be out of alignment with either of them, unless my beloved is out of alignment with his Lord. According to God’s clear word, SIFC remains the one-flesh covenant wife of this emotionally tormented man until God’s divorce parts us (God spells divorce “D-E-A-T-H”) . By God’s design, nothing happens to this petitioner husband of mine that does not directly happen to the one-flesh wife of his youth, regardless of anything the civil authorities will ever have to say on the matter. Nothing happens to us as a covenant couple that does not impact the lives of everyone close to us: extended family members on both sides of the family, employers, friends and neighbors. Which brings us to why anonymity was important in asserting this constitutional challenge in a godly way, if that indeed remains the Lord’s assignment for this time:
- It would cover my distraught husband’s “nakedness” while he is haplessly under Satan’s control (Genesis 9:20-23)
- It would be merciful, allowing him an avenue to return to walking with the Lord, without immense public humiliation to live down when God’s discipline eventually catches up
- It would be equally merciful to his adulterous and extortionist partner whom the court record reflects received massive cash payments from my husband
- It would protect innocent family members who became ensnared in my prodigal’s elaborately sinful scheming
- It would avoid the appearance of vengeful or materialistic motives on my part in making a name for myself which would be a poor public witness for this much larger godly cause impacting our entire state, and possibly the nation
Job #1 for any Christ-follower who has been given a covenant life partner, is to unconditionally love, to fast and to pray that partner all the way through this life and into the Kingdom of God – period. Every other pursuit is secondary and human divorce decrees are totally irrelevant to that mission. We will all stand before a Holy God who will ask us, how did you steward the gifts I gave you, including the most important one, that husband or wife with whom you were joint heirs of My Kingdom and with whom you were made by ME one-flesh during your life walk? Since we’ve been empowered by the Holy Spirit in a way that transcends time, distance and circumstances, with a holy authority that outranks civil authority, and since all of the host of heaven is fighting on the side of defending our covenant marriages, He is not going to accept as an alibi that some civil judge, with no Kingdom authority whatsoever over what God divinely and permanently joined, has somehow excused me from His assignment just by writing out a sham human dissolution order that means nothing before His throne.
SIFC has repeatedly found throughout this legal journey that being restoration-minded, as God’s ways require, is totally incompatible with functioning under the unilateral divorce regime, even with Christian lawyers. Even its godliest legal practitioners cannot seem to get their heads around maintaining truly biblical behavior and motivations in this profoundly wicked realm. The very best of them truly fear what failure to submit to the thuggish web of state-sanctioned lies will do to their clients’ cases. In this instance, my Christian attorney and his associates felt compelled to file his motion to proceed under fictitious name claiming in that document that I feared political backlash from those who support the continuation of no-fault grounds and favor continuation of the tyrannical public policy banning marital fault as a basis in settling property and custody disputes, rather than pleading the true family preservation reasons I have just stated. I will always wonder whether the outcome might have been different if my attorney had simply filed his motion petition with the truth concerning my motives. “She does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.” What if my Christian attorneys had had the integrity to truly speak for me with the mind of Christ in that legal motion?
I hope that sharing my learnings through this legal journey will help people understand more about what is keeping such an immoral and unconstitutional family law regime so deeply entrenched in our system of “justice”, and how very much the idolatry of doing so is costing us as a nation. As time marches on, a growing percentage of us have never known any other way! Many presume that a law that has gone unchallenged for so long must be inherently right. Indeed, it takes the lens of God’s word to truly appreciate all that’s wrong. Many whose consciences tell them they should be challenging this immoral and unconstitutional singling out of a disfavored class of citizens, unfortunately fear men more than they fear God. All of the powerful gatekeepers (judges, legislators and attorneys on both sides) are members of the legal community who economically benefit from it at the expense of all of the rest of society. Goliath continues to taunt God’s people and there appears to be no champion in the land to ask His anointing on a stone and a slingshot to bring this giant down. The expected champions, those national organizations who faithfully take on every other political threat to the traditional family and to every other form of religious freedom violation, quake in fear or denial on the sidelines when it comes to this particular Goliath. Jesus rightly said we cannot serve God and mammon at the same time.
If I am unable to bring my case without destroying my life partner of over 40 years, how long until God raises up another David with the same reverence for holy matrimony, sufficient finances and zeal for God’s kingdom? Under those circumstances, I have to have faith that nobody is indispensable, and I have offered my God everything I have in this effort, except the irreplaceable soul of my covenant husband which is, and which must remain, my very first priority and responsibility.
“Jane Doe” was not only fighting for the integrity of her own family, but for the families and for the fundamental 14th Amendment rights of all innocent contesting Respondents as a class: Jack , Jill and Joe Doe, in bringing a constitutional challenge to a blatantly unconstitutional law. As the politically powerful homosexual movement demonstrated over the past year, actions need to be replicated in many (perhaps not all) states for unilateral divorce in our democratic nation to fall into the dustbin of perverse human history , where it undeniably belongs.
As individual Christ-followers, we are told we must follow Jesus in emptying ourselves of our individual “rights”. So how does this biblical wisdom “square” with asserting legal rights in the family court system as I and some other lone-wolf believers before me have sought to do? I think it helps to take one step back from our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and hear what these documents say about all liberty and all justice being given by God as His gift and as a purposeful privilege. Jesus said, “to whom much has been given, much is required.” What we think of as fundamental rights can actually be revoked if abused by selfish motives, or if left unprotected through cowardice or slothfulness (i.e. prayerlessness, thanklessness and personal moral compromise) in how we defend them. The possibility of revocation makes these things divine privileges, more so than rights with responsibilities attached, in sharp contrast to the way most of us have become accustomed to thinking of our constitutional rights.
As providence would have it, the day I received the notice from the Appellate Court denying our anonymity motion, I came home to my devotion book published by Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ ministry to women, True Woman Manifesto – the chapter next up was Day 11: Selfish Insistence on Personal Rights ( is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for me.) This devotion further challenged:
“Have you been acting more like a temporary servant of God or like His willing and permanent slave?” Being honest with myself, I journaled: “the idea of being a permanent slave, unentitled to the personal fruit of my time, treasure and talent is haunting and chilling to me. Help me, Lord!”
On the one hand, many years of experience with the Lord has shown me He never fails to restore what the enemy has stolen, and in fact heretofore has always restored it in a multiple! That is not the issue for me. The issue is being willing to lay down all the research, financial sacrifice, suffering and risk to my own family, to wait and pray while God accomplishes this momentous state-wide and national task His way. The issue is continuing to have faith while being humbled and possibly obscured for now.
This devotion reflected on the writings of Elisabeth Elliot, widow of missionary Jim Elliot, both graduates of nearby Wheaton College, who was murdered with several colleagues on the mission fields in Ecuador. Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes:
‘What are some of the rights that as Jesus’ disciples we need to be willing to surrender? Here’s the list that Elisabeth Elliot came up with:
- First is the right to take revenge (Romans 12:19-20). (if not against my husband, perhaps against the judge who brutally punished me for my convictions?)
- The right to have a comfortable, secure home. Jesus said, “The birds of the air have nests, the foxes have holes, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:57-58). The right to have a comfortable, secure home. It’s a right we surrender to Christ.
- The right to spend our money however we please (Matthew 6:19-21).
- The right to hate an enemy (Matthew 5:43-48). We have to surrender that right.
- The right to be honored and served (Mark 10:42-47).
- The right to understand God’s plan before we obey (Hebrews 11:8).
- The right to live life by our own rules (John 14:23-24).
- The right to hold a grudge (Colossians 3:13).
- The right to fit into society (Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:10).
- The right to do whatever feels good (Galatians 5:16-17; 1 Peter 4:2).
- The right to complain. “Ooo. I can’t have the right to complain? ” No. That’s a right you’re to give up. By the way, you find that in Philippians 2, verse 14: “Do all things without complaining or murmuring.”
- The right to put self first. That’s the passage we’ve been looking in, Philippians 2:3-4).
- The right to express one’s sexuality in ways that are contrary to the ways of God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
- The right to rebel against authority (1 Peter 2:13-15). Acceptable to do so only where there is a clear conflict with God’s law.
- The right to sue another believer (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
(SIFC was summoned into court in this instance because as a follower of Christ she refused to sign a document that affirmed the civil charge of “irreconcilable differences” even though doing so might have protected more of our family’s [in reality, God’s] assets.)
- The right to end a disappointing marriage (Matthew 5:31-32). ‘
There’s more we could say about all those, but just a sample list from God’s Word of rights that we’re asked to surrender as followers of Christ. – Nancy Leigh DeMoss, www.reviveourhearts.com.
Being a student of the bible, I know it is not acceptable to God to shrink back in fear from a God-appointed battle. I also observe from the ill-fated battles of the bible that complete obedience is required in all aspects of a God-favored battle: timing, tools, size of army, willingness to accept seemingly impossible circumstances and trust God, instead of our own resources, to overcome unfavorable circumstances and obstacles for His glory.
2 Chronicles 14:11
Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”
Though I was by now pleading with the Lord to write His instructions on my wall, I still felt as though I was not getting any clear answer from Him whether to pursue or drop the appeal without the anonymity protection for our family. I had (perhaps wrongly) treated this anonymity item as a Gideon-style “fleece”. Was God spanking me for not having more spiritual maturity after 35 years of walking with Him, or was this His actual revelation according to that extended “fleece”? I had no peace with either pursuing the appeal under our actual names for the sake of the people of our state and all that has been invested, nor with dropping it for the sake of our family’s peace, privacy and recovery. So, I located a comprehensive study of all the biblical battles, their issues and outcomes, and I spent a couple of days studying it, hoping for more clarity. To get inside the skin of another long-sacrificing soldier of Christ with a similarly monumental task of marshalling an army to change both internal church culture and government policy on a profoundly vital moral and human rights issue on which the future of nations turned – ending the African slave trade, I dove into Eric Metaxas’ biography of William Wilberforce, called Amazing Grace. Could some of Wilberforce’s processes be applicable to my approach to this hard decision, and more specifically, to my discipleship path in this?
One passage in this Wilberforce biography seemed jump out and grab me, standerinfamilycourt, by the throat:
“And so he took stock of himself. He well knew his mind’s natural tendency to be endlessly on a thousand subjects at once, to flit from this to that and to the next thing to no particular purpose — indeed, he called it his ‘butterfly mind’…..He knew that his world-class wit could turn into the vicious and wounding sarcasm, and that his ability to mimic others and joke and sing and generally be charming could be used to merely draw attention to himself, merely to exalt himself and to feed his personal and vain ambitions….Wilberforce alone knew how constitutionally weak he was with regard to self-discipline…”
Ouch! It’s encouraging to reflect that God with whom nothing shall be impossible still found a way to astoundingly use such an inherently flawed vessel! When I went on to read about the elaborate and regimented tracking lists Wilberforce used to hold himself accountable for correcting these flaws, I sincerely wonder if I could stay at it for long. Is that the bottom-line cost of success in an endeavor so much bigger than can be handled in the natural?
In the meantime, some external events transpired that were very encouraging, making it very clear that others are forcefully carrying this banner alongside me. Our facebook community page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional has rapidly gained international followers, including a couple of like-minded U.S. state and national organizations, despite its intensely unpopular cultural message. By the hand of God, one re-post of Dr. Albert Mohler’s 2010 blog on the hypocrisy within the church’s official position on divorce and remarriage which sharply conflicts with what Jesus taught, was directed into the strategic hands of some seminary theologians and a group of Catholics who care about this subject. It has been re-shared 21 times in 5 days as I write this, and has had over 8,000 views, with dozens of thoughtful debate comments by important people that seemed to take on a life of its own. Other posts are also getting large audiences and great feedback very suddenly. I made personal connection with no-fault opposition pioneer Judith Brumbaugh, who has extended us the honor of her helpful background guidance for which we are so grateful. Perhaps most significantly, standers from all over are beginning to message our page for prayer and guidance.
With all the praise and the thanks to God, the Illinois legislative session miraculously adjourned without passing the deplorable bill HB1452, or the ERA (equal rights amendment) bill. Both would have been monumental threats to Illinois families. Many prayers went up across the state for their defeat, and God was faithful.
Last month, the Catholic-leaning religious magazine First Things started an excellent debate on whether pastors should continue to sign off on civil marriage certificates, or should force a godly separation between God-joined biblical unions and the world’s severely-devalued civil constructions brought on by nearly 5 decades of destructive redefinition. Additionally, they published the excellent article, Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce, by Drs. Thomas F. Farr and Hilary Towers. The article very significantly validated what the national religious freedom legal organizations are so reluctant to acknowledge: that divorce Respondents do suffer genuine religious persecution in the family court system, (as all perceived opponents of the sexual revolution do). Perhaps it’s this group of Catholics through whom our post was circulated so wildly beyond our expectations this past week. Did some influential people get a good look at our pages and think concretely about a potential alliance? It is very comforting at a time like this and on the cusp of such a pivotal personal choice that I have to make to see God’s hand and some strong evidence that all of this is part of a larger move of God in which I may not have to be a very significant player nor the lone voice in the wilderness. May God give me the mix of humility and ambition that is most appropriate here, since I’ve lost all hope of a “cloak”, and only He can see the larger picture ahead. May He direct my thoughts and my steps!
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court is reportedly going to decide whether to hear arguments in cases that upheld state constitutions in their voter-approved traditional marriage definitions coming out of the 6th Circuit which conflict with rulings in several other Federal Circuits around the country. Some of those rulings and cases assert the fundamental right to remain married. What is the sustainability of unilateral divorce if the Supreme Court affirms the fundamental right to maintain civil marriage intact? SIFC was on the Washington Mall with 10,000 other traditional marriage supporters on the chilly day in March, 2013 when the first round of marriage definition arguments were heard during the March for Marriage sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage. No doubt there will be a similar rally organized in 2015 on the date of these new arguments. The speeches SIFC heard that day from inner city pastors and the young adult children of divorce galvanized this stander’s resolve that unilateral divorce must be abolished. SIFC is likely to be there again.
Yesterday I mailed off to the attorneys an envelope containing the case history and analysis I researched on prior constitutional challenges to no-fault divorce laws in various states since 1970, and a glossary of legal concepts that have been impacted by very recent cases. After much prayer I’ve come to the place where I will not feel any peace about dropping the appeal until my Christian attorneys have reviewed this work and also sought God’s direction specifically concerning the 14th Amendment equal protection and due process aspects of the case. If our attorneys are willing, I will find the funding somehow for this round of the appeal, but if we win that, God will have to step in and provide the finances to go up against the deep state pockets we would then be facing. If they discourage me from this aspect of the case, and I can’t find a suitable legal team, it is unlikely I’m going to be comfortable putting my family through any further litigation rigors. Prayer warriors reading this post, SIFC would be so grateful if you would pray for our family and our two law firms.
Even with dropping the appeal, the Lord will have other, slower avenues to work toward the goal of ending the tyranny in the family court system. I am confident He is about to raise up further opportunities for challenge across the country. Important alliances are being formed in the background, and I see SIFC’s pages as a linkage between people and needed resources in the future. I see these pages as a continuing resource for committed Christ-followers in having the difficult conversations within their churches and denominations to begin to change the culture much the way the abolitionists slowly changed the culture in Wilberforce’s time. Perhaps with the social media resources we now have and the Lord’s end times timeline, the process will be much more rapid. We’ve seen the meteoric speed with which evil social change can sweep the nation in the past 5 years. Yet the word of God says “greater is He that is in us, than he who is in the world.”
Until the hearts of the leadership of the state family policy councils and of the Christian public service legal funds change to embrace our cause legislatively and judicially, I have a vision for starting a fund that will help people in other states in the appeal stage who have been bullied for their convictions by the family court system. I don’t have any idea how I’m going to accomplish this just yet, but I know Who must be the Provider. While we probably can’t afford to fund primary divorce challenges, there are some legal aid groups who may be able to fill that role, and perhaps knowing such resources may be available at the appeal stage may encourage individuals to do as I’ve done in challenging the “irreconcilable differences” civil charge in order to gain standing to bring a 14th Amendment constitutional appeal in other states. Perhaps the presence of an appeal fund may reform the egregious behavior of the legal community including the bench.
Meanwhile, I challenge the state family policy councils, and indeed the many Christian denominations at headquarters level – what are you willing to do to be a godly voice on the offensive in changing these laws? Will you trust God enough to risk offending some donors or losing some members ? When your next meeting comes to debate the cultural “relevance” of your official position statements on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, will you honor God and move back toward scriptural purity and eternal relevance?
I challenge the religious liberty legal funds whose mission statements all say they defend the “traditional family”: same sex marriage is going to be a waning issue by next year, and there are credible reports that some of you are already feeling it in reduced coffers. Honor the One you should be looking to for those coffers, as well as for the tide to turn in court. Why not look to help the millions who would be only too willing to send in their $50 in exchange for your pledge of solid commitment to this cause, rather than appeasing larger donors out of an unexamined and untested fear that they may be offended because their lifestyles may be biblically immoral. Soon enough, everyone is going to see the obvious and unavoidable connection between unilateral divorce and same sex marriage.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. – Ps. 90:17
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!