When a Husband Doesn’t Love His Wife with Christ-Like Love

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One of the saddest and most disgusting phenomena I’ve ever encountered in my life is the Christian church and the many believers who take the side of the abuser in domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault cases, particularly if the abuser is friendly and many times charming, he may even be a pastor or leader in the church.  The types of assistance the church needs to give a woman and children seeking help for serious marital issues should be firm, direct, truth-seeking, validating, and grace-filled. When a person seeks counsel from their church, they are looking for spiritual help.

We all know husbands are commanded, “Love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). They are told to “love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:28–29). The focus of a husband’s Christlikeness in loving his wife is “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).

It is so important for us as women to realize that God cannot endorse and will not embrace abuse in our marriages, because it contradicts His character. Since marriage is designed to represent Christ, any teachings of a church embracing abuse is heretical and it is blasphemous to the Word of God.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

“These things I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:17

To be clear, an abusive husband is always breaking God’s law. He is disobeying Christ. He is not to be indulged but disciplined by the church. As a wife, you are never insubordinate to ask the church for help.

As Christians we are called to submit to various authorities and to each other: children to parents (Ephesians 6:1), citizens to government (Romans 13:1), wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22), employees to employers (2 Thessalonians 3:10), church members to elders (Hebrews 13:17), all Christians to each other (Ephesians 5:21), all believers to Christ (Luke 6:46).

In domestic violence situations civil authorities can be the right thing for an abused wife to do. Threatening or inflicting bodily harm against a spouse (or other family members) is a misdemeanor or felony in California, punishable by fines, imprisonment, or most likely both. Which means that a husband who threatens and intentionally injures his wife is not only breaking God’s moral law, but also the state’s civil law. Expecting his wife to quietly accept his threats and injuries, he is asking her to participate in his breaking of both God’s moral law and the state’s civil law.  God himself has put law enforcement officers in place for the protection of the innocent. “If you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4).

I wish in retrospect, I would have called the authorities on my husband the first time he physically abused me.  I would have spared myself and my children years of suffering.  But, because he was in church leadership, I was afraid that it would hurt the ministry and be a bad witness to the church, but glossing over victimization, minimizing its devastating effects, hurts us all.

My husband’s addictions, his verbal and physical abuse, his financial indiscretions, and a pattern of destructive behavior that had many times brought me to the brink of a breakdown—or well beyond it. Long stretches of estrangement, coldness, and sometimes outright contempt, only briefly interrupted by his “emergency” efforts to change the few times I found the nerve to give full voice to my frustrations. He would revive some semblance of the man I married for a few days or weeks, invariably slipping back into his previous patterns once he felt as though he’d sidestepped disaster.  I found myself trying to shoulder my entire relationship alone (not to mention my children, care of our home, and our finances) and still somehow feeling spiritually inadequate. I felt I needed permission to demand what I deserved—and to know that God was okay with this.  I was so wrong and suffered devastating results because of my desire to be a faithful christian.

I have learned a wife does not have to stay in an abusive marriage, nor should she!  She can get out and separate from her husband.  This does not mean she is divorcing him.   It merely means she is and should establish boundaries and protect herself and/or her children.  The abusive husband needs to be held accountable and he needs to get help.  If he truly has a repentant heart, then the couple could seek reconciliation.  If the husband is unrepentant then as in my case, he’ll most likely seek to satisfy his lusts by being unfaithful to his wife while they are separated.  And if he is unfaithful, the wife is no longer bound to him and she could then seek a divorce without being outside of the will of God.

What does a repentant spouse not look like?

If an abuser denies their sin, and calls their victim a liar, then he or she is not repentant. If an abuser acknowledges their sin, but blames the victim for tempting them or taking part, or causing him to sin, then he or she is not repentant. If an abuser demands forgiveness and full pardon without any consequences for their actions, using such excuses as “If you’re a Christian, you should forgive me, and love me again,” then he or she is not repentant. If an abuser say’s I have already asked forgiveness, so I don’t have to talk about it anymore, then he or she is not repentant.

REAL REPENTANCE 

Sorrowful Recognition of Sin

Ezra and those with him are horrified and “disgraced” by sin:

“When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God and prayed: ‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.’” Ezra 9:3-6

Job is so distraught by his sin that he despises himself:

“’… I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know … therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’” Job 42:3&6

A sinful woman washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and costly perfume:

“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” Luke 7:37-38

Peter weeps bitterly out of remorse for denying Christ:

“The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:61-62

 Admission of Guilt & Confession

Isaiah, upon seeing how holy God is, dramatically confessed his fallen nature:

“’Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’” Isaiah 6:5

Paul does not mince words when admitting his sin to God:

“‘Lord … I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’” Acts 22:19-20

John explains that failure to admit guilt is a sign that our hearts are devoid of God’s sanctification:

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

Humble Acceptance of Sin’s Punishment & Consequences:

Ezra declares Israel deserving of God’s wrath and punishment:

“What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant … Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.” Ezra 9:13&15

King David affirms God’s right to judge him after Nathan confronts him with his sin:

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” Psalm 51:3-4

The Psalmist thanks God for chastening him, yet sparing his life:

“The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.” Psalm 118:18-19

A Desire to Reconcile & Make Restitution:

King Hezekiah seeks reconciliation and restitution by sacrificing sin offerings:

“Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the Lord. They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs, and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 29:20-21

Jesus requires reconciliation between believers:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

Zacchaeus pays back all he has stolen and then some:

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’ Luke 19:8-10

Regeneration & The Glorification of God:

Jonah promises to change his ways and glorifies God from the belly of the fish:

“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Jonah 2:8-9

King David promises to use his own sin as an example to bring others to repentance:

“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.” Psalm 51:13-14

Paul says we were created and predestined to do good works:

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved … For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:3-5 & 10

John explains that a repentant sinner may sin, but will not persist in sin:

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7

What Then Should We Do With Abusers?

If an abuser does not exhibit these Biblical traits common to those who, by the grace of God, truly repent, then it is wise to question the authenticity of their repentance, and whether God’s sanctification is actively working in their hearts. Surely, repentance is a process, but it is one that must be completed in order to fulfill the requirements exemplified and defined by God’s Word.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world … Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:1, 7, 8

For the sake of Christ, the church should never risk the appearance of winking at sin.  A truly repentant abuser should, through abhorrence of their own sin and concern for the honor of Christ and reputation of the church, willingly and humbly step down, thereby clearly and publicly defining their actions as un-Christlike and deplorable.  We cannot ever risk further victimization.

 

Remember this: even if a perpetrator hurt someone for a few days, months or years and even if he regrets it, a victim lives with the pain, triggers, shame, and fear for a lifetime. For the perpetrator? It’s an incident. For the perpetrated upon? It’s a life-long battle.  We need to stand up for change.  Women should NEVER have to endure spousal abuse alone.

 

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God Sees You

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For years, I prayed the same prayer, yet it seemed to go unanswered.  Until now, but now it will go on without me.

As I laid my head to rest one night after yet another exhausting, discouraging day. I had been asked to do something, I desired to do for along time, but it is something that will require great sacrifice and fear.  Something, I will probably not even see the end result.  Causing me to ask the questions: “Do You see me, Lord? Do You even hear what I’m saying? Do you know how hard this is? Do You know what’s happening? Do you know what I am about to do?  Are you directing me Lord?” Then moments later, I felt a desire to read the story of Hagar.

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[a] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[b]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. Genesis 16:13-14

This surprised me because, as my ex-husband filed for divorce he said to me “Like Hagar, the Lord has taken you out of our marriage, for my ministry.”  Although, I knew this was not biblical, it still hurt and made me feel ashamed……until recently.  As, I was reading and meditating on the word, The Lord lead me to this passage.  Immediately, it released a flood of emotion in me.  I realized, the Lord was speaking to me about my present situation.

Hagar was forsaken by the very one who forced her into her circumstances.  She found herself alone in the wilderness, and yet God saw her, God noticed her.  An angel of God called to Hagar and said to her, “What’s the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” God then opened Hagar’s eyes “and she saw a well of water.That is why she named the well “the living one that sees me”

Here we see a beautiful example of the Lord’s heart towards Hagar.  I am so thankful for her example, where before I felt shame. There have been so many times, I have felt like her. Feeling forgotten, invisible, abandoned and wanting to hide from people and the circumstances that I have found myself in.  Just as she was forsaken by the very person who forced her into her situation, and found herself alone in the wilderness, after my divorce, I felt the same.

God wanted me to know this; “I see you, I have noticed you and all that you have been through, I am with you always.” Just as Hagar named that well “the Living One who sees me” this is confirmation that the Lord see’s our pain, and our sorrow.  The Lord had given me a message of hope in the hurtful words my husband had spoken.   Being put in this situation by his abuse, at no fault of my own.  I found myself alone in the wilderness of life, just like Hagar.  I was forsaken, invisible and hurt by a man, I loved for 20 years.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

My heart was touched at the thought of hearing from my heavenly Father in such a sweet and gentle way. In the midst of running the universe, God saw fit to remind me that just because I didn’t yet know how He was at work in this present situation, it didn’t mean He didn’t know exactly what was happening. And that He alone was in control.

But, I can tell you this, there’s no greater joy than seeing throughout Scripture that the Lord deeply cares about what we’re going through. Hope and peace can be ours when we believe that in God’s timing and in His ways, He will answer.

This late-night encounter with God helped me refocus on my faith and remember that I can trust him fully, no matter how He desires to answer my prayer.  As difficult as your current storm may be, you are not alone. God is with you always. He loves you, and cares about what is going on in your life. He hears your cries and sees your pain. Moreover, He understands.  God is there … loving you beyond understanding, holding you up, and making a way where it seems there is no way. Reach out for Him today. He is a very present help in times of trouble

You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Psalm 56:8

The Lord was faithful to me, I desperately, needed to know, in whatever small way, that he sees me.  That He knew what I was going through.  That He sees me as I wrestle with my own shame and inadequacies.   I needed to know that He was acquainted with my weakness, fear and grief.  And he met me right when I needed Him most.  Hallelujah, He is a good and faithful Father.

What about you?  Are you weary? Are you like Hagar alone, frightened and with no hope?  Remember Hagar, a woman loved by God, whose child was cared for, a woman who had not escaped the notice of a loving God. And either will you!

Always Remember “the God who sees.”  Because, you can take comfort in knowing, You have a “God who sees” as well.

Lord, help me remember You not only know what is happening in my life, but You have a plan. Fill me with peace and the ability to trust You as I wait. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” Psalm 34:15 

Sexual Assault Should Transcend Party Loyalty

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Sexual abuse, assault & predation transcends politics & party loyalty. From top to bottom and left to right it is wrong regardless who is doing it!

For a moment there, It was exciting to see the tide turn and all sexual assaults were being taken seriously.   It looked as though the public conversation about sexual harassment and assault might for once escape political polarization by virtue of the plague’s depressing ubiquity. Fox News founder Roger Ailes was a pig, but so, it turned out, is Hollywood producer and Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein. There was little to gain by quibbling over whether Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly or Eric Bolling is pervier than NPR’s Mike Oreskes or ABC’s Mark Halperin.

Then came the accusations against Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and just like that, the issue was jerked back into more familiar, more partisan territory. Two women have accused Moore of sexual abuse, seven others have said he pursued them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s and an asst D.A. Party lines were drawn, the wagons were circled, and that old familiar positions were staked out. Moore’s fan base (heavy on religious conservatives) blamed the liberal media, Democratic haters, the Republican establishment, and, of course, all those lying women—all of whom Team Moore set out to discredit. Classic victim blaming at it’s highest.

In Washington, Republicans issued statements about how Moore needed to leave the race “if” the charges proved to be true. Fox News generally tiptoed around the erupting scandal, while Sean Hannity treated Moore with such gentleness that his advertisers began to balk. Donald Trump remains uncharacteristically quiet even now.

Having Moore ascend to the Senate would be like pouring kerosene on a campfire: “The Democrats could basically run on, ‘Look at what the other party has become: the party that protects sexual harassers and child molesters!’”

The Long Con Of Child Grooming

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I never imagined I’d be writing a post like this one.  I’m sharing this scenario because it was unimaginable to me and may be to you, too.

As I have watched the news about Roy Moore and Bob Coy, I started thinking about the phenomenon of child grooming.  Reading the controversial article released a torrent of memories.

Many wonder where were the wives in these situation?  Why did they allow this?I thought I would share a story from the wife’s perspective:

I want to share a story about a women who married a man that was grooming a student of his for years.  This was before they were married, but she now realizes she was used in his long con.  She knew absolutely, nothing sexual happened, because she knew the young lady well.  In fact, she was mentoring her. But, she now also realizes, she is the one he desired all along.

Looking back, she was extremely naive, which is why I’m writing this. This women wishes she had been aware of the scale, method and ferocity of child grooming.  He spent time with this student, bought her gifts and treated her like she was special.  He joined our church, which she also attended and became her youth leader.

The worrying truth about child grooming, however, is it’s not just the child who’s being manipulated by a predator – it can be you, the adult, as well.  She realizes now that the reason he became her friend in the first place was to have access to her.  You see, In order to have access to a child, a predator needs to go through their care-givers – and in such a way that they don’t arouse suspicion.  The three of them were always together they enjoyed, sports, movies and church.

It’s also important to note that the perpetrator most likely won’t exhibit behaviors which would make him look like a predator.  So, you can imagine our surprise when she was a senior in high school after allegedly grooming her for 4 years, he gave her a gift for valentines day.  He was a man of 40.  In the envelope was a proposal and a diamond ring along with a letter of his desire to have lots of children with her. Luckily, she declined and showed her the letter and returned the ring.  But, not before this young women was shocked, startled and afraid. Especially, because she was innocent and blindsided by this whole revelation. She was not alone in this.

A few months later he had a major mental breakdown, which in her mind explained his bizarre proposal and behaviors.  She assumed he was in a desperate situation and clinging to any life line he could find.  She found herself as his medical contact as he had no one else, so she became his proxy.  She sat at his bedside everyday, meeting with doctors and counselors.  When he was released, She was forced to be his legal guardian, even though they were the same age.  This was the only way, he could be released from the hospital after several weeks.  He came to live with her and recovered for more than a year.  Unfortunately, due to this women’s strong nurturing side, she let her guard down and after 2 years fell in love with this man.  Thinking he was genuinely remorseful for what he had done.  She chalked it all up to his mental illness.  The counselors said with medication he would be fine.  She believed them.  He went on to attend Bible college and they were married.

As most of you can guess, this marriage did not have a happy ending, they  had a marriage filled with domestic violence and lack of trust.  She had learned early in her marriage, while he was at bible college he was interested in a relationship with a 19 year old girl from another country.  Again, nothing inappropriate happened to this young lady, I doubt she was even aware of the situation at all.   This relationship (in his head) happened at the same time he was at her home everyday as if nothing had happened. So, once again she had become an unwilling participant in his obsession with youth and the paradox of what is appropriate and what he desires.

One of the aspects that has been the most difficult for her to deal with is the realization that she was fooled by this man. Conned if you will. She felt (and still feels) like a fool.

Her life was like a virtual reality — her home like a movie set consisting of false fronts. Like the Truman show.  She came out of the marriage confused, unsure of what was real and what was fabrication. She was embarrassed. Thinking, how could she have been such a fool?  She had been literally sleeping with the enemy. The crime was intensified by the fact that it was carried out by the man who had sworn to love and protect her.

She hopes that writing down her thoughts will help her untangle them. She still doesn’t know how she feels or how she is supposed to feel. She is constantly reliving her many interactions with this man, hearing his voice and his laughter, remembering his every touch and facial expression — a slideshow of once pleasant images, before they were married now viewed after their marriage through a distorted lens, nightmarish and cruel.

Now the cold, hard truth sets in. She was deceived; She was played! She was led on. You see the relationship was never what she believed it to be.

It’s funny, when the dusts settles and the pain goes away, you are able to see things so clearly.  She realizes now, she was used..plain and simple, by a man that wanted a relationship with someone else much much younger.   I believe now this was the reason her now ex-husband became friends in the first place.  She was part of the long con.  She was not the one he wanted, she was the one society would approve of.  No wonder he has told people, he felt pressured to marry her.

Hearing this story, I am starting to be much more educated on the subject now.  After training to be an advocate for women and children.  I am becoming more aware of the signs and the behavior of these men that have a mental illness and are preoccupied with young women.   As parents we need to learn the signs, be aware of who our children are spending time with.  Talk to your children and educate them too!  We must understand that the Christian community is not immune to this phenomenon.  Sometimes, I think we can be more vulnerable.  In our attempt to give forgiveness and look for the best in people, we sometimes over look dangerous behaviors.

The Christian vision of manhood is men as givers, not takers. Men as self-sacrificers, not self-gratifiers.

I am dedicating my life to educating and bringing awareness to this phenomenon.  I pray for her ex-husband that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to him and his pastor.  I pray he gets the help he desperately needs.  She has revealed the truth as she now knows it to his pastor and the people that need to know,  it is no longer her burden to bear.  People need to be accountable for their actions.

In the meantime, the Lord has richly blessed her. Her kids are healthy, Godly and all either married or will be in the next several months.  She is happy and fulfilled.  She is happier than she has ever been.  Peace reigns in her life.  She no longer bears the shame of her marriage and realizes through the Lord’s help it was not her fault.  Her biggest fault was being a gullible women wanting to believe the best in someone she loved.

Was she foolish to marry this man, ABSOLUTELY!

While she is no longer “in love” with her former spouse, this side of divorce.  For her, divorce was the beginning of understanding that God’s love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out. That kind of love will never leave her.

She has learned that there is a freedom on this side of her divorce, a freedom that she was hoping for.  The Lord has shed light on the darkness in her marriage and in her life.

1Cor 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 

For more information on the signs of Child Grooming:

https://thejoyfulchristianministry.com/2017/11/15/stop-child-grooming/

http://themamabeareffect.org/1/post/2013/11/do-you-know-how-to-identify-grooming.html

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The Missing Piece Of The Puzzle

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Psalm 33:6 says, “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”

God spoke and the earth was formed out of nothing. How much more do you think God can put the pieces of your life back together?  if He can create the universe from nothing?

In the past several months I have been dealing with cancer, surgery and it’s treatments.  I have been on bed-rest and frankly, had way to much alone time.  Time to think about the last couple years since my divorce.  I found myself stuck things just did not make sense to me.  There was a span of about a month that went from talking reconciliation, proclamations of love to I want a divorce by email.  The explanation given (no face to face or talking on the phone) did not make any sense to me, why? because I knew it was not true. He has always been a person who avoids confrontation and maybe this was just to painful to explain or face.  I realize we cannot expect things from people they cannot give.   But, one of my biggest challenges has always been that I have an analytical mind, therefore, everything needs to make sense for me to move on.

This got me thinking about my youngest child.

She has always loved puzzle-working and she knows the best puzzles are the ones with lots of small pieces with similar colors, making it a big challenge. Watching her work her puzzles, I have often thought over the course of the last two years how very much like a puzzle our lives are. God fitting each piece of our story together perfectly.  The problem was, the pieces of this story did not seem to fit. There was a huge piece missing.  It wasn’t so much about moving on from the person as it was making sense of the whole situation and being blindsided.  To be fair, We had been struggling since I chose to separate.  Making sure I was fully in God’s will.  Ever the obedient child who leans to much towards legalism, aww…yet another hurdle in my life. Check!

From my point of view (which is sometimes dangerous), the pieces just didn’t seem to fit.  I could not see the completed picture on the outside of the box so I was not sure how these pieces all fit together.  But Jesus knows. He has a reason for each one.  He is not only a great puzzle maker but he is the best at putting puzzles together even the ones that seem to have no color or life and to us don’t fit.  I just love how He causes things to happen, people to meet that HAVE to be in place so some future piece of our puzzle will fit together perfectly..

That is what happened to me, a couple days ago, I thought ok, this is ridiculous I was being inundated with emails from his family criticizing me and saying really hurtful things.  I cried, prayed and reached out to a pastor that knows the situation well, in our correspondence the Lord gave me a really precious gift, unbeknownst to him he gave me that missing piece.  Suddenly everything made sense, as much as it could anyway.  I felt immediately a sense of peace that truly did pass all understanding.  Pro 3:5,6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He shall direct[a] your paths.  Would I have liked the outcome to be different, absolutely, I believe every marriage can be restored if both hearts are open.  Only problem was that was not our case.  Instead the proverbial easy way was taken.  But I now had  the answers I needed to move on and commit this person and my life to the Lord, and to forgive and ask forgiveness for the part I played.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  James 1:17
There have been many of these “divine appointments” or “Gifts”  over the last couple years. He has thankfully been so active in my life and journey that I sometimes feel like I am —well, that my life is like a story in a book.  It is a kind of paradox really. We are all already a piece of a God sized puzzle but at the same time…. everything shapes us.  All the emotions, the joy, the tragedies, the accomplishments, the mistakes, the good days, the hard days, the mundane days all working together for good.  Shaping us into what the Lord desires. Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The last couple of years has been quite an education, like being in school with God,  He taught me each step of the way, not only what I needed to know but what would help me through at each point along the journey. These lessons were deep and profound. Opening my eyes and heart. Changing me from the inside out.  Quieting my soul. Healing me, and not just emotionally, but physically as well.

I am human (and at times neurotic) and though I have learned valuable lessons that have reshaped me, and stretched me, there were times when “the enemy” attacks. There have been weeks, months on end, when he drags my mind through the mire and muck.  It is in these times of attack that my past baggage starts resurfacing, hopelessness tries to creep in and present stresses pound in the back of my mind.

It is at these times of difficulty that we acknowledge what it means that He is God. This is all about Him. This is His story. It is about obedience.  He is in control and sitting on His throne.  I needed to Let Him do his job, completely surrendered to His will no matter what.

Having confidence that the pieces of our lives are slowly all fitting together to create a beautiful picture. Even though we won’t see the completed picture this side of Heaven, we can know the Creator is creating a beautiful picture from the pieces of our one ordinary, messy, beautiful life.

I am so thankful to the Lord who used this pastor to put that last piece of the puzzle together that fit perfectly in my puzzle of life.  A pastor that has been patient with me when he did not need to.  That spoke the truth with love, that sometimes can be a hard pill to swallow, but is just what we need to hear at just the right time. After all, I am not even part of his flock, although I once was, but I guess I am because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ a family of believers. Hallelujah

You see God was saying all along, “I have the missing piece. It’s a surrendered relationship with me. That is what you have been missing. That is what you have been searching for and didn’t realize it.”  All I needed to do was ask and have faith that he would show me the way and heal my brokenheart.  But, the Lord, being gracious knew I needed the assurance of that last earthly piece.
David said to the Lord, “My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hands of my enemies” (Psalm 31:15). I have to remind myself that I have a Creator who designed me, and my life is in His hands. Only He knows where every piece belongs.

The Bible provides a wonderful message to the brokenhearted. Psalm 34:18 says,“The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

The Apostle Peter said something that really resonates with all of this: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:19). Sometimes it is God’s will that we are broken for a time, as it was in Job’s case. We must entrust ourselves to Him, believing that He is faithful in every good thing, in His good time. When we leave this earthly tent and enter into God’s presence, we will be completely whole.

Revelation 21:1-5, the greatest promise for God’s beloved is this:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

The final promise from Revelation 22:20,

He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There Once Was A Man I Loved

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*Survivors of childhood trauma deserve all the peace and security that a loving relationship can provide. But a history of abuse or neglect can make trusting another person feel terrifying. Trying to form an intimate relationship may lead to frightening missteps and confusion.

Whether the trauma was physical, sexual, or emotional, the impact can show up in a host of relationship issues. Survivors often believe deep down that no one can really be trusted, that intimacy is dangerous, and for them, a real loving attachment is an impossible dream. Many tell themselves they are flawed, not good enough and unworthy of love. Thoughts like these can wreak havoc in relationships throughout life.

Hidden trauma from childhood sexual abuse can cause survivors to unconsciously, sabotage relationships, here is my story.

There Once Was A Man I Loved

As I sit here writing this, I stare at my computer screen and have that familiar bitter taste of the sadness and pain build up once again in the back of my throat. I take a deep breath and continue to think about my life.

There was a man I once loved, when we met we instantly had a connection, we became best friends.  His parting comment on the first night we talked will stay in my heart forever, He said “Have you ever met someone you knew was going to be your best friend for the rest of your life, it’s like when you were in kindergarten on the playground and you instantly like that one kid, well, that one kid is you”

That is when I knew for sure that my life was forever going to change.

There was a time that we shared everything with each other. We shared laughter, tears, experiences, walks, faith and traditions, good times as well as bad. We shared our most intimate secrets with each other.

It was Unedited, Trusting, Fully immersed. Unaware of what the future would bring. We created so many wonderful memories together, our walks, our trips, our talks and just experiencing life.

Smiles and laughter we shared when we were different people than we are now. When we were learning from, growing with, and just enjoying each other. Smiles we shared when we had no idea what the future held for us, but we didn’t care. We were just being us. Smiles when I picked you up after your hospital stay, when my youngest held your hand at Disneyland leading you to all her favorite rides.

And now you are you, and I am me.

There was a time when we were once strangers, then we became everything to each other, and, eventually, seemed to somehow become strangers again. A stranger, who will forever, I hope, leave a space in our hearts and our minds. One who leaves memories in the way that one leaves a carving on a tree? A carving that someday may have other memories carved over it, making it invisible. But, it will always be there, no matter how deep it becomes buried.

I became the girl who didn’t believe it would ever come crashing down, who thought we had a forever love.

Yet, one day, it did.

When it did, I felt as though I was moving from place to place, not really living but simply existing. I wish I could describe to you the pain I felt as I held back the tears all day and then finally releasing them at night. It was so hard not having you.

We broke each other’s hearts and left both our lives in ruins.

For so many reasons, I didn’t know how to say it. How could I say something that I didn’t even realize myself?  That my past abuse was clouding my judgment causing me to retreat within myself.  As easy as it was falling for you, it also terrified me, causing anxieties and deep-seated insecurities I’d long buried. I was waiting and hoping for irrefutable proof that you chose me — for you to tell me or bring me fully into your world. Making me really feel I was your one true love.  Instead, my jealousies and insecurities just caused frustration and anger.

I adored you, utterly and without reservation. My downfall was, I didn’t think you could possibly feel the same way about me. That has as much to do with me as it did with you — and everything to do with what went wrong.  Never dealing with the pain of my childhood and the truth I buried so deep inside my brain.

We still don’t know what the future will bring. Maybe someday our paths will cross again.  We will have traditions we have built with someone else and special occasions that were once only arbitrary dates on a calendar will become important. We will have photos on our phones of experiences and people we did not share.

Please believe me when I say that I let go, but I didn’t give up on you. Even though I left, I was so confused, I still loved you.  I was so deep in pain from my childhood, triggered by your behavior that I panicked and ran and hid.  Divorcing you was never an option for me. But hurting each other because we didn’t have the tools to make things right by each other wasn’t an option, either. I had to stop chasing your love and start giving it to myself and understand why I sabotage relationships — and I suspected you needed to do the same. 

I’m sorry for the ways I hurt you. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to say the words that weighed on my tongue for months after we separated; I should have shared with you the pain of my memories coming back and trying to make sense of what was happening to me and that it was overwhelming me. That I was having flashbacks of my father every time I looked at you in those last few months. I kept waiting for you to say these words to me. That you couldn’t live without me, that you loved me more than life itself.  That everything would be ok. I’m sorry I didn’t just ask what you really wanted and that I didn’t believe it could ever be me. I’m sorry it all fell apart. There was nothing I wanted more than to keep it — keep us — together, and I regret I didn’t have the strength in me to do more in that end, to explain my pain; I was too afraid and confused.  How where you suppose to understand when I didn’t even understand what was happening to me.

I still hate that it ended, but I’m grateful for the lessons I learned in the ending. It pushed me toward Jesus and started me on a road to healing, toward doing the work I’d never before found a reason to do, to face my past completely. To finally face the horrible truth of what my own father did to me, starting at 4 years old.  The pain was too much to face so; I buried it deep within my mind only to come crashing back at my most vulnerable time.  Caring for you the way I did showed me the places in myself that hadn’t yet healed from my childhood, the cracks I’d painted over but never really filled. Those cracks made me more fragile and vulnerable than I’d allowed anyone, especially myself, to believe. I’m filling them and healing them now.  It has taken me a long time to reconcile all that happened to me.

Unfortunately, we will fade from each other’s lives but hopefully, burn brighter in the lives we have created for ourselves with the new people we will love. The one’s that will teach us that we can find love again, and teach us to find happiness again.

We will have new smiles. Separate smiles built by separate memories. Smiles full of love and family with the people who have accepted us fully, as we have accepted them.

But, it’s true what they say: time heals all wounds. Eventually, I realized that seeing your picture didn’t sting as much, and hearing your name didn’t make me want to cry. Talking about the day you decided to divorce me didn’t make me want to die anymore and hearing about the new girl you were pursuing didn’t make me retreat inside myself.

I knew that I am getting over you when I started typing this letter. All because I had typed,” loved” in the title. As in the past, because unfortunately, that is where our story sadly belongs.  A distant memory.

So thank you for all the life lessons you have given me. Thank you for the wonderful memories, the laughter, especially in the early days.  Thank you for picking me to minister to you when you were hurting.  Thank you for making me feel special that day in Pavilions parking lot. Thank you for making me stronger. But most of all, thank you for teaching me that I am capable of loving and caring for others in need, a ministry that I am growing in today.

After all this time, and all this pain, I’m still unable to construct a wall of emotion to keep you out.  A position only you and the children share. 

It’s this knowledge that, if I learned that you were dying, I would want to come see you one last time. If you needed help and I was somehow the only one who could provide it, I would without hesitation.

I suppose there is one thing I can be proud of in all this: When I promised you I’d always love you all those years ago, I never broke my word.

Even through all the pain, You will always have a special place in my heart.

*Survivors of childhood sexual abuse do not have to allow the trauma to continue interfering with their lives. If you are a sexual abuse survivor, the first step is to talk to someone about it, either a trusted friend or a counselor. If sex abuse is threatening to destroy your relationship, you should tell your partner about it. Therapy can help you understand the patterns in your life created by the abuse, including the ways it has been affecting your relationships. Figuring these things out can set you on the path to healthy and thriving relationships.

Ministering To The Hurting

This was sent to me from a friend this morning!  Little did my friend know how timely her video and kind words were.  The Lord is so good and uses people to minister to His children when we are hurting, sending comfort through our friends.

Today, my heart hurts, I was reminded yesterday of a happy memory probably the happiest in my marriage to my ex-husband.  A friend innocently mentioned they were having dinner at an italian restaurant. It was the Italian restaurant where he presented me with a beautiful diamond ring and asked me to marry him all over again, we did not have the money for an engagement ring when he proposed the first time. It was made even more special to hear his words of love and devotion, watching him getting down on one knee while presenting me with this beautiful gift.

My heart hurts because years later he chose his fleshly desires instead of humbling himself and restoring our marriage.  He took the easy way out and divorced me instead of facing his sin.  It was an abrupt and easy way for him, but the hardest thing for me, no closure, no communication.  So, today, my heart hurts, but I know my pain is temporary and fleeting.  I have a God who loves me and will be faithful to comfort me in my pain.

You see, I have learned that There is no such thing as pointless pain in the life of the child of God. This has encouraged and strengthened me when I walk in the valleys of suffering, brokenness, and pain!

One of the reasons that suffering has value is experienced by those who can say with conviction, “I know how you feel. I’ve been in your shoes.” Suffering prepares us to minister comfort to others who are suffering.

Feeling isolated is one of the hardest parts of suffering. It can feel like you’re all alone in your pain, and that makes it so much worse. The comfort of those who have known that same pain is inexpressible. It feels like a warm blanket being draped around your soul. But in order for someone to say those powerful words—”I know just how you feel because I’ve been there”—that person had to walk through the same difficult valley first.

Suffering often develops compassion and mercy in us. I have found in my life, through this experience, those who suffer tend to have tender hearts toward others who are in pain. We can comfort others with the comfort that we have received from God (2 Cor. 1:4) because we have experienced the reality of the Holy Spirit being there for us, walking alongside us in our pain. Then we can turn around and walk alongside others in their pain, showing them the compassion that our own suffering has produced in us.

Ministering saints are very precious to God!  We have all been given the power to minister and refresh a hurting believer, as my friend did unbeknownest to her with this video and words of encouragement. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s urgings, when you suddenly think of someone, reach out to them.  Pray that the Lord will give you discernment to know when people are hurting.  Pray for divine appointments, where God can use you to minister to His people.  There is nothing better than realizing the Lord used you to comfort one of His own.

Romans 15:2 says,“We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord”