A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Is it a sin to feel afraid?

One of our readers, ‘No Name Please’, wrote the following comment in a recent post [emphasis added by Barb]:

My pastor, who is a great guy and supportive, and the other two people involved in the counseling, even my lawyer, don’t get my fear. My ex’s pastor and my friend actually called my fear sin! I know it’s wrong, I know I have to work through it, but after seventeen years of him losing jobs and arbitrarily emptying out the bank account for some new electronic toy he “needed” I am terrified to look at my bank account.
This is not how I want to live but just by an act of my will I cannot will the fear away. I am getting better but I need support and hand-holding, not being told how sinful I am!!

This is what I believe: Fear is not a sin, nor it is always unhealthy.

Christians often believe that fear is sinful because ‘You are not trusting God when you are fearful.’
I would like to show you why this teaching is wrong.

I’m going to start with a text about fear that poses particular difficulties for female victims of domestic abuse.

… let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.  (1 Peter 3:4-6  ESV)

I’ve put those words in bold because we’re going to focus on them. Here are the words in the NKJV:

if you do good, and are not afraid with any terror

Speaking for myself, 1 Peter 3:6 hooked me in knots for years.

Does the verse mean that when we feel afraid we are no longer daughters of Sarah and therefore no longer faithful Christians? If it means that, it’s a recipe for denial. Here’s how the recipe goes: Something scary is happening? – suppress your fear, squash it, keep it under control. Or better still, deny it altogether. Tell yourself you are can’t be afraid, because there’s nothing to be afraid of. This behaviour by your spouse is not scary, it’s within the range of normal human behavior, it’s understandable, it’s excusable. It’s not that bad.

When I was starting to come out of the fog and trying to understand my experience of abuse through biblical glasses, I noticed the word “terror” at the end of 1 Peter 3:6 and my heart bumped with excitement. It seemed like this was a place in the Bible seems to hint at the existence of domestic abuse!  I had felt terror, though I had tried to suppress, deny or overlook it.

In my upside-down thinking (induced by the victimization and false teaching I’d been under) I believed that if I allowed myself to really feel the terror and – heaven forbid – act on it, I would be falling into sin. I felt particularly guilty on the day of my final separation when I sought police protection. My terror was at its height, and my wrongly programmed conscience condemned me. I thought that by having allowed fear to drive my actions – by taking the desperate step of seeking court protection – I was stepping outside the path of God. I still remember the blanket of condemnation and guilt that enwrapped me as I sat in the corridor of the court house, waiting for my protection order to be heard by the magistrate.

The two translations I quoted above imply that it is wrong to feel fear in one’s relation to one’s husband. if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening / are not afraid with any terror. They read like a injunction. Do not fear, period. And they both have a sense of conditionality: you will only be daughters of Sarah if (a) you do well, and (b) you are not afraid. In legalistic mindsets, this can even be read as “If you are afraid, that indicates you’re not a Christian.”

But let’s look at the last part of verse 6 in some other versions:

You became Sarah’s daughters by not letting anything make you afraid to do good (God’s Word Translation)
when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do  (NLT)
if you do what is right and do not give way to fear  (NIV)

Those translations suggest that as wives we should submit to our husbands only in so far as righteous obedience to God will permit, and that if, by doing good, we are made afraid, we should nevertheless continue to do good, following the path of righteousness without backing down, without giving way to fear or intimidation.

It is not wrong for me to feel the fear. It is wrong to let the fear intimidate me into sinning. Likewise, it is wrong to let the fear intimidate me into taking no action, when action is needed to uphold the good.

Interestingly, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and many well-known complementarians teach that a wife’s submission should never extend to obeying a husband’s demand that she sin. They don’t particularly see this in 1 Peter 3:6 (being somewhat blind to the dynamics of domestic abuse, they usually don’t see the problem that victims of abuse have with 1 Peter 3:6) – but they do teach that a wife should not follow her husband into sin.

O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.   (Psalm 97:10 ESV)

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.  (Philippians 1:27-28)

In domestic abuse, ‘doing good’ can oftentimes be very frightening. The victim stands up to the abuser and says, “You should not treat me like that!” and he flies into a towering rage, reviling, threatening, or assaulting her. She takes a stand by saying, “I will not go along with your wrong treatment of the children,” so he yells at her, smashes things, taunts her or tortures the family pet. Or she leaves ( a powerful statement of rebuke) and he stalks, harasses, guilt-trips, slanders and terrorises her.

Finally, let us remember that Jesus sweated blood in Gethsemane. There’s a condition called hematridosis in which people sweat blood when under extreme stress believing their life is in imminent danger. The tiny blood vessel walls break down and some of the blood in the interstitial tissues leaks out the sweat glands. Jesus was fearing the agony to come.

We know Jesus never sinned. We have a high priest who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)  Therefore, Jesus’ fear in Gethsemane was not sinful. He felt the fear, but he did not let it intimidate him into sinning. He followed the will of his Father, who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son to become sin for us on the Cross, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Hallelujah!

* * * * *

And one last thing, No Name is right when she says victims of abuse need support and hand-holding, not admonishment. Look at how Paul encouraged and supported the timid Timothy:

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim. 1:6-7)

Paul was encouraging Timothy – I am standing with you; I am here for you if you need support; I am confident in you. You can do it, brother!   [And you can do it too, sister!]

43 Comments

  1. Kay

    I appreciate this post. Thank you for the words of wisdom

  2. no name please

    Thank you

  3. Have you ever heard “fear” explained as “false events appearing real”? I have, multiple times, and I take strong issue with it. The implication is that whenever we fear, it is all in our head. The is patently false. Many things we fear are very real and our avoidance of them is healthy. We don’t put our hands on a hot stove because we fear getting burned. My son doesn’t necessarily have this fear so he has no problem trying to touch things that can hurt him- it’s my job to teach him this healthy fear.

    Another issue I have with how we think about fear is illustrated in the Veggietales (which I love in general) song “God is Bigger Than The Boggeyman”. Whether we realize it or not we are teaching children a very wrong message with this. We are saying “God is bigger than things that are not real”, which is true enough, but kind of faint praise. But then when it comes to kidnappers what do we tell our children? We teach them to be afraid of these very real threats in the world, yet God is bigger than them too. If we imply that God is only bigger than imaginary fears, then we have taught our children a very weak view of God. The reason we don’t fear the boogeyman isn’t because God is bigger, it’s because the boogeyman isn’t real and posses no power to cause harm. God is available to help us though- he can help us to understand the truth and trust him that we are not in harm. With a kidnapper, however, we wouldn’t tell our children not to be wary because God is bigger. God allows this evil to work in our world, so it is an evil we must resist and prepare our children to handle. God can help with this too- our children can pray that God would give them the strength to resist and flee when real evil would do them harm.

    Yes, when fear is false then we should not be controlled by it. If it is real them it is a protective mechanism we should not ignore.

    • Yes, I hear fear explained as ‘false events appearing real’, but I’ve never heard that being given as a blanket explanation for ALL fear!
      I like your discussion about the bogeyman. Faint praise indeed, for God to be bigger than the bogeyman!

  4. Anonymous

    Oh yes, I have been told over and over that fear is sin. That’s right – sin. A huge preacher came during the time I was about to leave, and he said that all fear, legitimate or not, was not of God and we had to pray against it.

    Victims are often made to feel that their fear is unjustified, or that she is in the wrong because she is afraid, like “You, husband, are wrong to be aggressive, and you, wife, are wrong to live in fear”. I do agree that Christ came to set us free from fear, and that we are not to live lives dominated and paralyzed by fear. But that is quite different from dismissing someone’s fear that is real.

    Jeff S, I get what you mean. Just this week, a beautiful Christian friend said to me that I could be strong because God in me was bigger than anything, so there was no need to protect myself from my abuser. This thinking is so prevalent but it misses the point.

  5. “Wrongly programmed conscience,” stood out to me and I was reminded that this is a serious issue with believers, particularly believing women. They are taught wrong from the beginning and then taken advantage of because they have been taught wrong.

    Passages like the one in 1 Pet. 3:6 are to be read as if framed in by “all things being as they should be.” One should not live with imagined or supposed fear of all the things that might happen but are to rest in faith in the Lord. But if criminals or wild animals attack or if one who should be trusted becomes a monster and those who should help turn into cowards or idiots, one should experience legitimate fear and flee to a place of safety (and freedom from unneccesary fear). Unsaid in this text but, I believe, legitimately present is the understanding that the people of God will help protect one another from fearful situations and rescue those that are in them. It is not for them to stand by and say, “you are sinning if you are afraid…”

    The Church has done a sad job of “progamming the consciences” of people concerning conflict and love, as well as offense-love-forgiveness-reconciliation until those in trouble stand confused and often almost helpless. May God forgive us and grant us repentance.

  6. Allow me to recommend a good book I read a while ago called “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker. You can get a used copy from Amazon for about $3.00.

    The full title is The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signs that Protect Us from Violence.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_16?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+gift+of+fear+by+gavin+de+becker&sprefix=the+gift+of+fear%2Cstripbooks%2C234

    I am such the contrarian. 🙂

  7. Another thought. We see this very thinking of ignoring or denying fear in Satan’s temptation of Christ when he says for Christ to cast Himself down from the cliff because “God will give His angels charge concerning Him.” In essence Satan said go ahead and do this thing normal sane people would never do because a good dose of healthy fear warns them not to, and “proved” his position with Scripture.

    Christ’s answer, of course, was also Scripture, but rightly divided: “Thou shalt not test the Lord thy God.”

    • Excellent point!

    • no name please

      perfect!! One of my counselors kept trying to have me not be afraid that he would break into my house a kill me. She would walk me through saying that if I was dead I would be in heaven and he would be in jail so why was I afraid…umm, my kids, he’s an excellent manipulator and it’s really scary thinking about someone with his temper, weighing double what you weigh breaking into your house!! So glad I stopped listening to her and got the divorce and changed locks and such.

      • Oh good grief! That must have been awful. 😦

      • no name please

        Barnabasintraining…took awhile for me to realize how ridiculous it was. I wanted so much to please God and be obedient …Glad I have learned over the years to really listen and hear God. I had to wrestle with what I was hearing and what she was saying but I think God’s word is very clear. Now if I could just learn how to get past the irrational fear and look at my bank account, it would help if child support was actually coming in…sigh!

      • Hi NNP, Some survivors I know get a good friend or their counsellor to look at the item they can’t bear to look at, just to scan it and see if it has any significant information the survivor needs to know. Bit different with a bank statement, I know, but maybe you have a good friend who could do it for you? Gee, that counsellor sounds dreadful.

      • no name please

        Yes, I need a friend like that. Right now I feel like I have maxxed out the favors I ask from my local friends and no one here seems to get my fear . They think I should be over it in one week or so of their help…sigh. Good friends and helpful especially with no child support in two months, rides for kids and such but my closest friends have either moved away or well, one was the counselor I mentioned about fear…very helpful the first year when I realized the abuse but could not get past the fact that I filed for divorce not just waited it out legally separated with no protection. God is good. I am starting a full time job soon and it’s one that will work well with my kids. My pastor is supportive and my kids are regularly seeking the Lord.

      • no name please

        Really, so much better than I was a year ago, thousand times better than two years ago. Just weary of the journey some days, want to be on the other side.

      • It boggles my mind how people can take death so flippantly. You know theology has gone off the rails when the scandal that is death (the ultimate consequence of the Fall) is embraced as a potential resolution. My pastor told me “Jeff, if God wants you to remarry, he can take her at any time.”

      • Boggles my mind too.
        And NoName, I feel for you. You’re not the only survivor I’ve heard say that they’ve maxed out all their friends. The road can be so hard and long and lonely.
        Here’s a word I invented that might resonate with you: exhausperated.
        (Its a combination of exasperated and exhausted.)

  8. Thank you, Larry.
    And thanks for mentioning “The Gift of Fear”, Barnabas in Training. I meant to mention that book in my post, but somehow it got lost as I was doing the redrafts. It is a brilliant book by an expert in safety – de Becker’s agency provides risk assessment to public figures and others who are at risk from stalkers, nutters and psychos. Even if you only read the first chapter of “The Gift of Fear” the message will stick with you forever. The story in that chapter is deeply etched on my brain.

    • The story in that chapter is deeply etched on my brain.

      Yep. Mine too.

      I think I might take my copy down and read it again.

  9. I have heard this message over and over in different ways. It’s always- everything will turn out fine. Really? And you know that , how? It’s just a way to brush you off and shut you up because people don’t want to deal with your issues. It is such a wonderful thing to be slowly coming out of this fog that church brainwashing has put me in for so many years. Still clinging to the Lord tho!.

  10. MAM

    Fear is an emotion. God gave us emotions. Anger is an emotion, do we say it is wrong? No we say what we do in our anger can become wrong. I once read something on fear. It basically said we are give fear for two reasons to run (flight) or protect (fight) ourselves. We are given the emotion of fear so we do something about the situation. If we sit there and fret then it becomes sin. To recognize you are afraid for a reason and take steps to eliminate that fear is the right way to handle it. They don’t teach a marine to not be afraid because it’s bad they teach him how to handle the situation to be in control and relieving the fear. Do you continue to fear when you are prepared? Do you continue to fear when you have means to protect yourself physically?

    I had become so fearful while my husband was still in our home (and this was with him only hear on the weekends). I was afraid of everything. How the food I ate would affect me. How the decisions I made would cause him to react. My children’s character and personality and what they would be like as they grew up. If finally got the confidence to tell him to not come home the following weekend. It’s been 2 1/2 months and fear has subsided almost totally.

    I can see clearly that there are things I can do to protect myself. For example, I do not go in a dangerous neighborhood at night or when there are few people around. God is working in my children and who they are now is not who they will be when they grow up, there is hope. I can choose the eat healthy and it’s not wrong and I will feel better.

    For me this verse was so important
    Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

    That is the fear that is sin. The fear that turns into fretting and wringing our hands with nothing productive to do. So we ask God for peace and clarity of mind to be able to act and deal with our fear in the correct way.

  11. Joyce

    Thank you so much for this article! I have battled this exact issue in my situation.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Dear Joyce – You are welcome. We are very glad you were helped. Thanks for joining in with us here in our little but growing community.

  12. I’ve missed you all. I am so glad for this wordpress page. I have recently been told that I should not fear life threatening situations, just have faith. But I do fear; I pray my way thru the fear, but I am tired of dealing with the same fears over and over again, namely, having to travel thru a dangerous mountain pass with an old car that keeps breaking down to be able to pick up my children in another state; most people do not chose to go over the pass in the winter. My ex got both of the decent vehicles in the divorce. And I can’t afford the gas anymore. I tried contacting a church pastor who says I should just deal with it, but each time we go thru the pass something happens.

    • “just deal with it”
      Oh yeah, like how? Magically manifest the funds for a new car? Squelch your fears so you become an emotional robot? … or does he mean “Get back with your husband and you wouldn’t be having this problem!”
      Whatever he means, it’s code for “Stop bothering me, woman!”
      You could deal with it this way: Tell that pastor to read this blog. That will help you ‘deal with it’.

  13. I want to add that I was also told that it is wrong to introduce myself when talking to a pastor as a survivor of domestic abuse; when we have a testimony, this is part of who we are in christ and how we have coped with all the struggles; is it not right to think this way? I don’t introduce myself as a survivor to everyone I meet, only within certain contexts.

    • There’s nothing wrong with introducing yourself that way. Good grief – it’s your information, you can share it any way you choose. And telling a pastor that, a man who might end up having some duty of care for you, is not silly at all, it’s sensible. The only thing I would point out is that ‘dumping’ that fact on many pastors, especially at the beginning, is likely to stun them because they are so ill-equipped to handle that issue.

  14. Barbara, I know you have already authored a book, but have you ever thought of writing another one for women (primarily) to clear up some of the more common misinterpretations of these kinds of passages? This message fell on me just now like fresh water on a dehydrated soul! How in the world did I miss this one before???

    • Desley yes I have thought of that I have a lot of it planned out or in my head or in snippets all over this blog, but do i find enough time? Lament with me, and pray that I will find a way to bring me to a place where I can find the time and head space to complete it. I spend so much time on this blog and in emails with survivors. . . it is my biggest worry in life: that I will die without my second book having been completed.
      Seriously. I lose sleep, and feel guilty about this. And I don’t want anybody to minimise the problem or tell me ‘it’s not that bad” because I think it is really a very serious problem and I struggle every day with finding ways to deal with it. Solutions, not just ways to tolerate it.

      • I won’t minimize it for you, that’s for sure! I think when God gives you gifts to build up the body with, you must take it serious and pour yourself out to do just that.
        I will definitely pray that the Lord will open up the way for you to follow up on this. I don’t know how comfortable you would be with this, but if you could broaden your target audience and market to women in general, I really think a book like that could even serve as a preventative measure. Think of how many women endure abuse and subject their children to abuse for years and years needlessly just because of these false teachings! (I know there are male vctims as well, but most of the biblical passages that speak specifically to women cause even more confusion for them.)
        This would be so liberating. I really will be praying for this to come to fruition. I would buy one for every woman I know!

      • Do you mean broaden it to non-Christian women as well? That’s quite a good idea. I’d be quoting a fair bit of scripture, but if I couched it the right way it could be like a pre-evangelism thing.

      • No, no…I was thinking you would probably gear the book towards abused women. I think it would be great for all Christian women. It would really strengthen and build confidence in women.

      • (Although you could probably get away with making it applicable to all women. It’s true that even non-christians in abusive marriage are often influenced by these passages to some degree. My father used them regularly to bash my mother and I, and neither he nor my mother were even practicing Christians or anything like that.)

  15. Anonymous

    I Peter 3:5-6 has been explained to me this way. “Sarah is given as an example of someone who trusted in God and obeyed her husband. When in the Bible do we see Sarah submitting to Abraham? It was when he asked her to say she was his sister. She submitted to Abraham in that even though he was being selfish and just trying to preserve his life and wasn’t concerned about her. We are her daughters if we do good like Sarah by not being afraid with any terror.”

    The explanation holds weight with me, because it does seem that Sarah is praised for saying that Abraham was her brother, and that she put herself in a precarious situation for that submission. How do you see that? I know we obey God first, but am still befuddled by this passage.

    • I am going to write a post about that soon. My answer is too long for just a comment.

  16. Finding Answers

    Barb wrote “………They read like a injunction……..”

    I have spent the last few days “re-programming” the “Don’t Be” injunction I commented on in another post…..fear was one of the components.

    Three days “lost” to doing little more than eating, sleeping, and processing.

    With help from the Holy Spirit, the “Don’t Be” dragon is slayed and it no longer exists.

    I cannot say my fears are slayed, merely the parts associated with me existing on the planet.

    I am not certain what impact this change will have in my life, as I have never know anything different.

    Barb wrote “Fear is not a sin, nor it is always unhealthy.”

    Perhaps now I can learn to discern when fear is healthy.

    • I am so glad to hear this ‘update’ Finding Answers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  17. Now Free (struggling to be free)

    I noted the blog writer said

    “This not how I want to live but just by an act of my will I cannot will the fear away. I am getting better but I need support and hand-holding, not being told how sinful I am!!”

    Immediately it took me back to the time I was going through abuse, so fearful of what might be, and I felt so alone. I was being realistic one wrong word to someone could easily have got back and destroyed any chances I had of freedom. The mental and verbal abuse had just intensified as I had made a move to seek a separation order. In that time, I saw more financial abuse taking place – I just called it pure greed! Items removed from the home and joint accounts changed. I also was warned by my counsellor, as attacks were becoming more intense and longer and crazier, that possible physical violence was likely and I really needed an escape plan and room door locks. Locks would not have held her back that I could be sure of. The rise of violent threat with verbal very much increased in the last few months. So much was still at stake and in the last few months of moving out, the counsellor suddenly stopped her sessions. It could not have come at a worst time for me and I saw not one bit of emotion or care as I cried my way out of that counsel room. I was given aid phone-lines (to most men I’d say that’s ok and necessary, but as good as giving us a sweet-I never even in my darkest hour felt I could approach them or anyone, such was the deep shame) and told reapply for more sessions, but it had taken a year to get the few I had.

    By the way, recently I contacted the male abuse helpline, the only one we have here and I got no help unless I got out of work etc. They only met office hours and weekdays. To someone financially struggling that was no help to me, I would be out in the street. I was already working extra hours to make ends meet. Exactly where my wife would have gloated to see me after saying I’d amount to nothing and she’d give me 6 months or a year, and I’d have nothing. I was worthless and useless! Although I explained on a few occasions to that male help centre my inner struggle and how I felt, I got not one word of reply back, just every mail ignored. Needless to say I don’t think they got it, certainly the receptionist did not get it at all. I felt so let down and that is about near 5 years since I first wrote this song.

    At that time, I had no one to turn to. Apart from ACFJ, I still feel very much alone with no one I truly can turn to and discuss things with. Only me and God, but I got there and guess I’m still getting further freedom day by day. Baby steps with Jesus eventually got me out.

    This is my thoughts at a time I needed a helping hand. Even a hand to hold while going through the heartache and stress would have been nice, but I had no one who cared enough or understood. No one to talk to. In fact the opposite, as people did not want to be involved at all.

    I must state clearly to all who are suffering – there is people here at ACFJ. There are others who get it!

    I had no one at church, it had been taken from me. My best friend cared, but I could not for many reasons share anything, as it was way to risky and still is. I lost that depth of friendship when I was put away from church. I see that person once a year and although I live close that’s all the contact I have. My life is never discussed. I cannot discuss my life with anyone.

    My point is if you are reading and can at all step out of your comfort zones in church or wherever and just be a hand holder to help us get through. Sometimes we just need a hug!! Sometimes it’s all it takes to give us strength to go forward and break free. I still say to you here who are struggling – I did it fairly much alone. God, Barb and ACFJ and me, it can be done! Oh how I yearn even now though for a true helping hand. Someone who cares and just is there to see you through. I hope this encourages someone.

    Is life worth living?

    Is life worth living, or should I take another chance?
    Roller-coaster hell ride is goin so fast.
    Got to be somewhere I can get off this present life, safe,
    Before fear consumes me and disaster strikes.
    No one hears the screaming, no one feels the pain.
    No one to take you by the hand and lead you off the train.
    Turning deaf ears, they look away to their shame.
    Ignoring crys of those alone, receiving degrading names.

    Who will take the courage and reach out to those so near;
    Forget self-protecting interests and help those in fear?
    How many will go missing or silently disappear?
    Grab the hand who needs you and help them jump clear!

    Stop the power struggles,
    Halt the mind games!
    No more accusations,
    No more silent blame.

    Is life worth living, or should I take another chance?
    Roller-coaster hell ride is goin so fast.
    Got to be somewhere I can get off this present life, safe,
    Before fear consumes me and disaster strikes.
    No one hears the screaming,no one feels the pain.
    No one to take you by the hand and lead you off the train.
    Turning deaf ears, they look away to their shame.
    Ignoring crys of those alone, receiving degrading names.

    Who will take the courage and reach out to those so near;
    Forget self-protecting interests and help those in fear?
    How many will go missing or silently disappear?
    Grab the hand who needs you and help them jump clear!

    Stop the power struggles,
    Halt the mind games!
    No more accusations,
    No more silent blame.

    To those suffering…sometimes baby steps with Jesus is all we can take, but it’s important to take them, as He leads you to be free. May God encourage and bless you all.

    • Moving Forward

      Thanks for the song. It expresses very much how I feel. Isaiah 54:11-13 has helped me this week, that God will turn my afflictions to jewels. His was the only hand that helped me jump clear of my train-wreck of a marriage. As your song states, the church, to its shame, turned deaf ears to us. I may be off the train but I feel like I am tumbling down a cliff as through the children he continuously throws mayhem into my and their life.

      • What apt metaphors! Off the train but tumbling down a cliff… That was true for me to, in the first few years after I left my husband who was the father of my daughter.

        (hugs)

    • Wow. Thank-you Now Free!

      The poem / song lyrics you wrote are such a cry from the heart!

      🙂 🙂

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        It was definitely a roller coaster train for me. Full of twists, turns, ups and downs. Sometimes moving very slow, sometimes crazily fast and full of fear and mixed emotions. You didn’t know what was coming next. You didn’t know which way you really were going to go.

        You grip on with BOTH hands. It’s hard to step off the train when you’re holding on for your very life. Your mind is going crazy, you don’t know whether to laugh, cry or squeal, and just like a roller coaster (if you’re like me), you do react in strange ways to fear. I usually start laughing to try shrug it off. We all have our various ways of self protection.

        You must jump, you need a good clearance (putting distance between) and like in the old western movies, just the right time to do it. You are struggling to let go, that’s why you need very often that helping hand. I had people all around me who I thought cared deeply for me, but never took the risk to step into the “taboo land” of married life or even ask questions or show concern.

        The true church are the people of God, true followers of Jesus or at least they should be following! Sadly I found too many wrapped up in their own self interests and saw what was going on, but did nothing to help.

        I think only a few ever said they would pray for me. At that time we only ever thought my wife’s problem was depression. I knew it was something more.
        I’m glad moving forward you jumped clear! Thank you again, Barbara, for everything. You were that helping hand.

        We still recover and need healing. Jumping off a train or cliff doesn’t come without some scars, etc. Some heal quickly and some take much longer, but we are no longer under the control of the train engine.
        I get what you say re children moving forward and being used at times by others to wield the devil’s fiery darts etc.

        I read a few weeks ago here some excellent articles on children and abuse and how we can apply some boundaries and help regarding that which you are experiencing. It may be of some help.

        Thank you for your encouragements. It never goes unnoticed and is always appreciated. 🙂

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