Emma (not her real name) wrote an email to me recently, and I publish these excerpts here with her permission.
I don’t blame myself. He seemed so sincere. I went into it with an open heart – and God will bless me for the good that I have done for him. Even now, I am packing his things, and giving him things for his own place. I do this because Christ says to do it – and out of love for the Father – and I pray for him. I forgive him, I will not be bitter. However, I will not stand for it any longer, and he is coming to terms with that. He has asked me to forgive him, confessed his “fault”. But I have heard it all too many times, and his actions will not reflect his words of penitence. I know this, and so does my son. I will not go back.
I have been careful, even prior to the wedding I consulted legal advice, “just in case”. Not as a show of doubt in God, but as good common sense through “wisdom that God freely gives”.
I want to pack up some more of his things today. Each day the pile of boxes grows larger in the living room – he knows I mean business.
….if he changes God will bless him with a fresh start, but not with me. It is very sad.
I will pray for the members of the church. I see so many women in the church who do not look happy, although some do.
I have left the church I attended with him, and God has placed around us already a support system. It is like a breath of fresh air.
God has given us much peace. So much controversy on this divorce issue with Christians. So many children being neglected….
I feel stronger, even though sometimes I feel like I am coming apart at the seams, I keep saying God’s Word, “In a little while….”
I am standing on the following Scriptures for strength:
(Deuteronomy 13:6-8 [NIV1984]) If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. [Emphasis added.]
(2 Timothy 3:1-9 [NIV1984]) (1) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. (2) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (6) They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, (7) always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. (8) Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth — men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. (9) But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. [Emphasis added.]
(Galatians 5:18 [NIV1984]) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
(Exodus 22:22-23 [NIV1984]) Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.
(Psalm 68:5 [NIV1984]) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
(Psalm 146:9 [NIV1984]) The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
(Proverbs 23:10-11 [NIV1984]) Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you.
[March 31, 2023: Editors’ notes:
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8 thoughts on “The strength of survivors: Emma’s story”
Blessings to “Emma” during this difficult time. Sounds like good decisions have been made. It makes me sad that she did not find sufficient support in her church. May God grant repentance to those who have failed her and bless those who are helping.
Emma, you sound like you have a clear mind and a beautiful spirit. Whatever the road ahead, my prayers are with you, and may the God “who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry” (Psalm 146:7) keep you and strengthen you on the journey to freedom and wholeness!
Emma – your use of the Deuteronomy passage is just great! I hadn’t thought of that Scripture before as it relates to dealing with abusers, but it is right on. Thank you.
Emma, the thoughts you shared parallel with those in my heart. I am refreshed and encouraged by how resolute you are in your progress, and in your determination not to be bitter. I have healed a great deal, but didn’t begin the separation process yet, primarily because I have not secured a permanent job; only work seasonally in tax prep. I’ve started the job search though and working more diligently at pursuing an outside the home career than ever before. Thank you for allowing your thoughts to be shared here.
Emma, several things you’ve stated caught my eye….
These strike me as words of wisdom….words coming from a position of a healthy outlook on the situation at hand….words of faith in God….words of courage and integrity….
Blessings to you, sister, during this period of change!
My prayers and support to you, Emma!
Abusers violate boundaries and blame the victim / survivor.
The Holy Spirit creates new landmarks for me, in place of those permanently damaged by the abusers. He teaches me I am innocent.
My strength as a survivor is built on understanding my limitations.
Limitations can be used to create landmarks.
That is profound truth!