I know that you are weary and worn.
You have tried and tried.
You have done everything that your friends, family, and church has told you to do.
You’ve forgiven, submitted, prayed, served, cried, and waited.
There may be moments or teasers of change, but underneath it all, you know his heart is the same.
He is one person in public and another person in private.
He charms others, and yet the words he uses with you cut like a knife.
He serves others with a smile but when you ask for his help with the house or the kids, the look he shoots you sends shivers up your spine.
Regardless of how he treats you, he still expects you to be available to him whenever he wants to have sex.
You know there will be hell to pay if you do not give in, so you lay there and take it.
You feel your spirit fade a little more each time he treats you like a prostitute.
You know he’s addicted to porn, and you feel that his addiction is somehow you fault and your responsibility to fix.
He’s known in the community as a stand-up guy.
His co-workers like him.
The neighbors like him.
Your family would pick him over you any day.
Other women tell you how lucky you are to have him as your husband, one even told you that she “adores” him.
The pastor is his best bud.
He holds a position of leadership in the church, and you feel sick every time he steps up to the podium or straps on his guitar to lead worship.
You’ve gone to the church leaders for help, and they end up siding with him.
Somehow, according to them, his abuse and adultery are your fault.
You need to forgive more.
You need to pray more.
You need to submit more.
You need to nag less.
You need to give him more sex.
Dear one, I am here to say that none of this is your fault and none of those things will change him.
You are beautiful, brave, strong, and kind.
God loves you and He wants you to be safe and well.
God loves you, a person, more than He loves your marriage (an institution).
Abuse is so much more than broken bones and bruises (there are thirteen different patters/systems of abuse and they are all vile in God’s eyes).
If you are in an abusive marriage, marriage counseling is unwise, unsafe and unethical.
God sees all, hears all and knows all.
You do not have to prove to Him that you have been abused.
You are worthy of love, safety, honor, respect, and fidelity.
You story matters.
We invite you to join our community at Held & Healed: Christian Women Rebuilding After Abuse.
If you are ready to dive deeper and explore the truths shared here, along with many others, I invite you to join our next session of Twelve Truths Groups Coaching.
Learn more here.
You are not alone.
We see you.
We hear you.
We believe you.
I will begin by saying that I love God and have accepted salvation through Jesus and want to live each day representing His love and being His hands, feet, and heart to the those around me.
I write on behalf of women who are victims of abuse, so my pronouns will be she (victim) and he (abuser), but I understand that women can be abusers and men can be victims as well.
I am not a church hater nor a man hater.
I am an abuser hater.
Abuse is happening in churches every day.
Reportedly, one in three women are victims of physical abuse by their intimate partners.
Countless women are experiencing other forms of abuse as well.
I hear stories each week that break my heart.
Most of the women that I hear from are devoted Christians and are or have been members or regular attenders of church.
There are thirteen patterns/systems of abuse: child, cultural, emotional, financial, intellectual, pets and property, physical, psychological, sexual, social, spiritual, and verbal. These patterns revolve around the thirteenth one, which is a core mindset of power abuse and entitlement. (For examples of each system, go here.)
Statistically speaking, at least one in three women who are in your church are experiencing physical abuse.
But, my heart and my experience tells me that MANY MORE are experiencing other forms of abuse and do not have visible marks to prove it.
Abuse is so much more than broken bones and bruises.
When these patterns of abuse are in play, marriage counseling is unwise, unsafe and unethical.
Most abusers are master manipulators and their personal and public personas are very different.
Whatever is shared in a session will put the victim in physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual danger.
It is vital for individuals to pursue counseling with professionals who are domestic violence-informed/trauma-informed.
God loves people more than He loves marriage (an institution).
He loves His daughters and wants them to be safe and well.
If a loving father hears that his daughter is being beaten, hit, cussed, cursed, threatened, lied to or cheated on, he will do anything and everything he could to help her find safety and healing.
He would welcome her home, provide her with resources and assure her that she deserves to be loved and honored.
God is the perfect, heavenly Father who sees, hears, and knows all.
If an earthly father would protect and care for his daughter, WHY WOULD WE TELL WOMEN THAT GOD EXPECTS THEM TO ENDURE ABUSE?
It makes no sense.
And yet, far too often, churches tell women that they must return to danger, submit more, forgive more, pray more, nag less and give more sex.
Jesus called wolves “wolves” and told us to have nothing to do with them, but many churches tell women to go home and sleep with them.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
There is an epidemic of abuse and conservative, fundamental church cultures are place where abusers feel safe hanging out.
Far too many churches welcome abusers (wolves) and shun abuse survivors.
Many survivors no longer attend traditional church because they do not feel safe.
They have been shamed and blamed for their abusers’ sins.
They are finding their voices and linking arms with other survivors and a church without walls is offering healing, resources, community, and tangible help.
Online support groups, local meetups, and retreats are bringing hope to the hurting.
I am using my voice to speak out on behalf of my survivor sisters.
Many of us desire to be a part of a safe, loving church community but when we bring our concerns to leaders, we are dismissed, shamed, blamed, argued with, and met with great opposition.
Would you be willing to look at resources and ministries that exist to equip and empower churches in this fight?
Twenty years ago, there were limited resources for equipping and empowering churches and other institutions to recognize and confront abuse.
Now, they exist, and I would be honored to send you information.
I love God and I love the model of Acts 2 church.
My hope and prayer is that the broken and battered lambs will find refuge under the care of safe shepherds, and protection from the wolves that seek to devour and destroy them.
Ladies, if you are a survivor or someone who is caring for survivors, please join us on Facebook at Held & Healed: Christian Women Rebuilding After Abuse. This is group of over 800 women and I have shared thousands of resources that will help you on your healing journey.