A Cry For Justice

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

Perseverance of the Saints: A Matter Of Grace

Recently Jeff C remarked in an email just how encouraging it is to see all the folks visit the blog here who by all natural rights should be over and done with faith. That is, people bitten by the church and the modern day Pharisees who have misrepresented God to them. And they come to this blog seeking no only freedom from abuse, but freedom within the context of faith. They still believe in Jesus.  After years of following a faith only to be let down, who sticks around? And why?

Isn’t it natural to blame God? Isn’t it natural to turn against Jesus and believe that the Holy Spirit has no real power? Some do — some are hurt by believers or the church and jump ship. The honest truth is I personally came pretty close myself, but when I really just wanted to turn away, God wouldn’t let me. He held on with a gentle but firm hand and showed me that there was no real life apart from him, and I believed.

The discussion reminded me of this song off my band’s previous CD. It’s a song about the perseverance of Christians to remain in the faith where God has called them and the grace that enables them to do this. This song contains real life stories of people I’ve met who’ve shown that kind of perseverance — people like those who visit this blog and tell their stories and still cling to the arms of the Savior.

The first verse of this song is about a preacher in a small church who preached faithfully to scripture. Some folks didn’t like his ways and that they couldn’t control him, and these folks were the ones with all of the money. They stopped giving to force him out, but he believed he was called to be at that church so he did NOT step down. No, instead he took out another job and kept on preaching. And the majority of the church (the ones with little money) were glad for it. That story has always encouraged me because this isn’t a preacher out there to sell books or be famous- he wants to change lives by any means possible.

The woman in this song is one of my oldest friends. Her family gave lip service to religion, but really didn’t know much about the things of God. Her father committed suicide and her mother became so depressed she went to live with relatives. In the church where she got saved she was constantly bombarded with young men wanting more from her than a young lady ought to be giving outside of marriage. Over and over again she saw people used and misrepresent faith, and I would be lying if I said that didn’t affect her, but in the end I can tell you she is a lovely, brilliant and godly woman who met and married a wonderful man of God. Together they have lived out the Gospel before the world together and I am proud to still be her friend. I saw the deck stacked against her, and yet her life is a testimony to the grace of God that called and kept her.

The last story in this song is a familiar one — it’s of our Savior enduring beyond all that he should so that we could have that grace. Every person who stays in the faith when they “should” have left is here because Jesus bore the price. I know it is true in my own life as well as many of yours. I hope you can enjoy this song and that many of you can add your own verses that end in a praise of God’s grace.

He was just the pastor of a small country church
Happy where he was though some would question why
I remember every Sunday and the sermons he gave
Those word of wisdom he spoke into my life

Reminded me that faith is not about bondage
And what it truly means for a man to be free
I guess his congregation didn’t see it his way
They told him he was wrong and they asked him to leave

And I know he could have walked away
Still he stood there in his place
I asked what was it that made him stay
He smiled at me and said, “It’s just a matter of grace”

She was just a woman from a broken family
Filled with religion and hypocrisy
Every day I wonder that she’s still with the Lord
After all those lies of what a person should be

She has every reason to walk away
Still she stands there in her place
I asked what is it that makes her stay
She smiled at me and said, “It’s just a matter of grace”

And all the times I’ve wondered how God’s people can carry on
I’ve seen it’s only a Father’s grace that keeps his people strong

He was just a man in prayer one night
The weight of the world resting on his spine
He asked if there was any other way it could be
And kneeling in the garden the Savior cried

He had every reason to walk away
Still he stood there in my place
I know if I asked him why he stayed
He’d smile at me and say, “It’s just a matter of grace”

40 Comments

  1. Love it. By all human logic I should have abandoned my faith years ago, as many others. Yet even in those times when I am questioning the god-hood of God because of the coldness of His people, He continues to strengthen me with power through His Spirit in my inner being. And how I could I deny Him after that? I could be confused, yes (and I am). I could be insecure in my belief system, yes (and I am). But all logic and human reasoning in the world could never quench the witness of Him I have in myself – even in the midst of all the noise and chaos going on.

    If not for His grace that holds me securely, I’d be lost.

    Thanks for sharing the lyrics to this song, Jeff. They are wonderful!

    • iamdarlene

      Thank you Desley! I couldn’t have said it better myself! God isn’t about human logic and human reasoning, as we know!

      I posted the song on Facebook. Thanks Jeff!

      • That’s great! I’m glad to see this song being an encouragement and I’m so glad you are posting it on FB. It’s crazy that I wrote this song something like 15 years ago and it’s still finding relevance!

        If it isn’t too much to ask, would you mind also posting a link to my website http://www.SteadyOnBand.com along with the song? With the upcoming concert and the new CD I’m recording, I’m working hard to get a little more exposure of the music out to those who might find it encouraging.

  2. Jeff S: Thank you for this beautiful song retelling of your friends who stood strong in the Lord and the power of His might and after battling, still stood.

    In thinking of Jesus and His love for the weak and His weary children, John 5;1-15 encouraged the children and me this morning. A man in this story had been sick for 38 years but couldn’t move fast enough to get in the pool which would make him well. Jesus came right to this man and asked, “Do you want to be made well?” The man told Jesus his struggle and Jesus listened. He told the man to “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

    Jesus came to save the lost, the downtrodden and the sick. Thank God for ACFJ, the friends in Jeff S’s song, and others who are like Jesus and help us to rise and walk!

  3. Katy

    I went through a rough month and said to God recently – “i feel like i’m losing my faith” – no reason to try to hide those things because He already knows all my thoughts anyway! and then He must have comforted me because within a day or so I started to feel better.
    I start to wonder if I’m just the most fickle woman on the planet, and I know that God must be keeping me for himself, because otherwise i would have broken up with him years ago. 🙂

  4. Saved By Grace

    There have been many days over the past many years where I just wanted to give up, but God held fast. Through it all, especially through God’s grace, I have survived. I have given up on “church” but I have held strongly to my faith, to my God and my Redeemer.

    Thank you Jeff S for sharing these words of encouragement with us today.

  5. Anne, I understand where you are coming from. I’ve certainly been at that place- and at the risk of overindulging my music side, I want to give you the lyrics to another song. See, this song was written years ago out of a very “heady” place where I was making an argument against the existentialism of folks like Nietzche who preach a “God is dead” philosophy. But then I turned these thoughts around into worship of sorts, because if God does give us meaning, then he is worthy of our praise.

    So when I was going through those moments of doubt and darkness, thinking back on this song reminded me of my own declaration that the only hope I had was in God- but not the “God” of those who hurt me, but the God who really does sustain me and give me purpose. Not a purpose of being treated like a punching bag, but the purpose of proclaiming his truth and enjoying him forever.

    No Me

    I’m walking everyday, one more step away
    From the moment I first breathed
    I try to do my best and live in the fullness
    Of all life is supposed to be

    But what does it mean once there is no me?

    I’ve tried philosophy but still I cannot see
    How it matters what I do
    Unless there’s something else greater than myself
    This all just fades when life is through

    But there’s more to this life– a reality I can’t deny

    Lord I need you more than comfort, more than shelter
    You are my everything
    My only purpose my every meaning
    Without you there’s no me

    I hear we are enough, that all we need is love
    and everything will be alright
    No one truly knows the way this story goes
    It’s something each of us defines

    But I know that’s not true: this is all about you

    Lord I need you more than comfort, more than shelter
    You are my everything
    My only purpose my every meaning
    Without you there’s no me

    So I’ll live my life in the light of your cross
    For your gift of grace restored the purpose that I’d lost

    Lord I need you more than comfort, more than shelter
    You are my everything
    My only purpose my every meaning
    Without you there’s no me
    You are the answer to every question
    Who was and who will be
    My Creator my Sustainer
    Without you there’s no me

  6. Jeff Crippen

    Anne- The worst abuse I have received in my life has come from church members. Not all of them fortunately, but power-craving, control-seekers who employed all the tactics of abuse. 30 years of pastoral ministry later, here I am still a pastor. Why? Because I was so smart or so wise or so tough? Hardly. I know that it has been and continues to be the Lord sustaining my faith. The fact that the person who called you a liar is described as a “prominent” person in the church tells us quite a lot:):)

    • I think i am in the same place as Anne. Unfortunately I really doubt that God cares about us, or our situation. every victory goes to the devil….Yet I know the alternative of what the MIW would want me to believe, that there is no God but the one who rewards him, because he is the good one, and I am the liar. I believe because the alternative is NOT truth, yet I cannot hear or fell God. I have know other hope, I guess unless God provides it? But somedays that does not exist either = (

      I feel like a loser. Because I am all out of prayers for rescue, and I dont see the light, and I am wondering with each day, am I closer? Then I dont even know what it is I long to be closer too? Freedom I guess, but if I cannot acquire that in the spiritual realm, then I think I am toast…..regardless of not having any physical freedom to make my own choices. I guess I would feel better still if the MIW were no longer on the planet, but what if I am still deaf, dumb and blind afterward?

      I dunno? I use to be able to fall on God, and know He was there, I could hear him and He gave me scripture in my darkest hour. But that darkest hour is continually trumped with a new one. Why doesnt my enemy just crush me already and be done with it? I remember the Christian pastors telling me “”Get into the word”” but I did not want their word….because they were trying to slay me with it.

      I guess I keep going back to what God told me years ago, before we left, and I knew it was going to be my reality…..I havent heard Him since, but HE is the one who brought us here, so I guess I have to convince myself God did not bring us hear just to drown after everything. But until then I will have no peace, and I just have to cope with that, because its out of my hands.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Praying daily for you, Memphis.

      • Memphis, I will be praying for you.

        I also want to encourage you not to feel guilty if “getting in the word” doesn’t do it for you. That’s the immediate advice every pastor gives as if it should just solve everything, but when the scripture has been twisted and used against us, that can be hard. At the very least, don’t let that be something that piles on more guilt and shame.

        The great task ahead of every abuse survivor is unlearning the lies they’ve been told about how God sees them and learning the new truth that they are loved- not condemned and hopeless, but cherished and treasured children. It’s a process to get there though, and no one should feel weak for not being able to make that transition overnight.

    • Anonymous

      Memphis, you said,

      “Why doesnt my enemy just crush me already and be done with it?”

      Because you belong to God. He will never let that happen. It may feel like that, but you cannot see what God sees. His watchful eye and His loving hand have enveloped you – forever. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can separate you from that!

      I apologize for giving you Scriptures to read on your prayer request post. Oops. I did not read this post of yours first. ; ) Oh well. If you want to, read them anyway – they might encourage you regarding your enemies. Praying!

    • Barnabasintraining

      Not all victories go to the devil because, Memphis, you sound just like Jesus.

      As I was reading what you wrote it reminded me of the Michael Card song Death of a Son, based on Psalm 22 (warning: the video depicts the crucifixion. I couldn’t find another one)

      Psalm 22:

      1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are you so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?
      2 O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent.
      3 But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.
      4 Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted and You delivered them.
      5 They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You and were not ashamed.
      6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
      7 All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
      8 “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”
      9 But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
      10 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.
      11 Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
      12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
      13 They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion.
      14 I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.
      15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.
      16 For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;
      17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.
      18 They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.
      19 But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
      20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.
      21 Save me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.
      22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
      23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendents of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him all you offspring of Israel!
      24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard.
      25 My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
      26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever!
      27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
      28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.
      29 All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; all those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive.
      30 A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
      31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this.

      I know it doesn’t scratch you everywhere you’re itching right now, but Jesus does know exactly how you feel. Further, He has taken even a sense of forsakenness and turned it around backwards to be instead a basis of fellowship with Him.

  7. MeganC

    I can so relate to the woman in this song. And to all of my sisters and brothers above. There have been times where my faith was hanging by a thread. Strained faith mixed with anger at God . . . “Is this the Christian life?! ‘Cause YOU can have it, God!” How could God create me just to be used by a man? To be a nothing? To have no worth? No calling? No beauty? Just . . . nothing but to be used? I could not/would not believe in a God like that. My struggles in my previous home mixed with the persecution I experienced from the ‘c’hurch and family members and those who were my friends — the accusations, the gossip . . . . I honestly don’t know how I stood firm, were it not for grace. I questioned myself . . . questioned and doubted everything. And, now and then, just sitting in a church service, it hits me fresh again . . . “how many of these people really love God? what will they do to me and say about me when they find out my past?” 😦 I think, though, God has given me that thicker skin that I asked Him to give me. And, I think I am getting to where I am smiling all the time again — like before, in my early 20’s. And all of it is God’s grace. All of it.

    • Memphis- what you wrote made me cry. I know exactly where you are, because that is where I am. Some days it’s all I can do to trust the Lord or even pray. I haven’t read my Bible in several months because I feel like after years and years of intensive study- it rendered me nothing in the middle of this storm. I have given up on church and especially church men. I am separated almost 1 1/2 years and the MIW won’t allow the divorce to go through. I am currently dating a non-christian man and he treats me better than my “christian” husband ever did. I may not be doing everything right, or maybe anything-but I know the Lord knows my heart and my pain and somehow He will see me through. I have to believe that or I have nothing else.
      Thank you sister, for your honesty and transparency- it makes the rest of us braver somehow.

    • Anonymous

      *click* LIKE You are such a testimony to us Megan.

  8. Anonymous

    Sorry for the length of this. I think that part of our dilemma in feeling like we are losing our faith, or are not “right” with God, (because of the abuse we have lived in and some of us have left and either separated or divorced our abusers and have been falsely guilted for doing so) is because the pastors/leaders have used God against us and told us who they believe He is, and who on earth, wants to serve a God Who does not care for them or desires them to suffer an abusive marriage, while He stands and looks on, but doesn’t help us? They teach that it is all up to us to read the Word and pray and gather strength from doing so, to endure more abuse! However, it is God Who keeps us and what they teach is nothing more than works – and for what? Works to save us from what? I think those teachings challenge us and we begin to wonder Who God really is. I know I was left completely confused. I went through that and felt that I was losing my faith, after being excommunicated. I struggled to know what was happening. I had kept a journal and went back to it and saw that I had been praying for God’s will, and realized He had done His will. It was only later, that I realized what a “favor” God had done for me, by allowing them to throw me away.

    But, after being thrown away by the Church who was supposed to help me cleave to Christ, and free me from the “evil” instead of heaping more on, I also realized something amidst my intense pain and sorrow.

    God comes to us. He says to us, “Will you marry Me?” and we respond with “Yes, of course!”. We enter into covenant with Him. Only His marriage is very different from what we know, but our tendency is to compare our “marriage” to God (He will be a husband to you) with our abusive marriages and it just throws everything off. We begin to see this faithful God who loves us no matter what, through the eyes of abuse and it changes the dynamics. God is faithful to us, no matter how faithless we are to Him. It is just too hard for me to grasp that sometimes, in light of my immense faithfulness to my abusive husband. We are told so many times to remain faithful to our abusers, but I was never told to remain faithful to God and therein lies the problem.

    In my marriage, I gave everything up and gave everything I had away, just to be able to live with him, including the really close relationship I had once had with my God. Of course I did not know that was happening and I did not realize that was what I was doing. I still read my Bible and prayed and was being sanctified, but as the fears grew and the abuse escalated, I began to cower before God too. It sickens me. My relationship with God turned from this loving intimate blooming grace, to “I know you don’t really like me God and I know that you probably can’t stand to look on me, but could you help me anyway? I am really afraid and so are my children.”

    But, now I see that Jesus is making it all new. It is a long and discouraging process some days, but I know He has not thrown me away and He promises never to do that – I have always been His – He has always been mine – and in the midst of not knowing some days what is right and what may be wrong, I know that I can always trust Him. If I mess up, He will fix it, and if I sin because I didn’t know for sure what to do, but was trying to make the right decisions, He will forgive it. Unlike all the others. I think the spiritual abuse I have suffered at the hands of evil “men of God”, has been recorded by the Master, and He will vindicate me and have His justice. Oh take the wounds of my heart God, and make them useful for Your glory.

  9. Psalm 37

    Wow! I relate to some of you ladies in feeling that God just won’t help me or avenge the wrongs perpetrated by the evil plans of my ex. I had an absent father, then had an abusive terror of a step-father, so part of me thinks since God is my Heavenly Father, that he’ll do something about the problems still being caused 3 years after the divorce. When I have a court date (too many!), I pray God is in that courtroom with me, then I’m denied my rights again and walk to my car trying not to cry. I know there are tons of verses where God promises He’ll never forsake us. Isaiah 49:15 is my favorite.

    Memphis, I know how you feel, and here’s my way of explaining it. Every day I ask God for justice in my situation, especially when I have another accusatory court motion to defend myself against. I feel like a shipwrecked person on a deserted island. Every day, I expectantly go out to the lagoon and look and look if there’s a ship away in the distance there to rescue me. Every day, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” That’s in Proverbs. No ship, my dear, but I still have to go to the lagoon and look. Hang in there, friend.

    • Memphis Rayne

      I am grateful for each and every one of you on this blog, I just want you all to know that.

      I re-read all your comments, and this is the first time since I have been a Christian that I have actually had REAL Christian fellowship of any sort…. so Thank you.

      I do think my skull is going to crack open at any point, my hope is that I will retain some knowledge of what I KNOW is now the truth, the words on these pages.

      I wanna use a big word now, but I cannot spell it…..precipes? I think I am on the precipes of true change, of new hope, of a true relationship with the one who actually really does love me…..its just hard, I have been conditioned to NOT feel safe, to look behind me at all times, to always look for an escape route, I have been conditioned to believe nobody believes me, nobody will save me, nobody sees me. If I did not matter to “”gods people”” then God himself felt the same. I was told all that God imparted to me would be lost if I stepped outside, if I spoke up, if I stood against them. If it werent for the love God gave me to protect, and die for my children I am pretty sure I would of been wiped off the slate years ago…if it were not for the love I have for my children I would of welcomed the MIW to take me out of his misery.

      I think its is grief I feel. Maybe I am actually dying to myself? Maybe I have been holding on for so long with my own strength I have not recognized all along that it WAS God, never really seperating my own strength to stand in the flesh, from Him being the one who put me there, Him being the one who literally held me up and stopped my knees from breaking? (oh my big wanlnut brain has cracked) Because of your words though I am hopeful this grief will bring to me new life that is so much better. Maybe just maybe God will crush my enemy on my behalf, maybe I could FINALLY wrap my whole head and heart around the idea that He wants justice too, and He wont let evil prevail over HIs people….and if He promised that once, that means the promise will come to pass,.

      Well God?….Today would work for me? Does that work for you?

      • Anonymous

        God loves you so much, Memphis. And yes, today works for Him. In fact, any and every day works for Him. And yes once again, God has protected and upheld all of us, we just don’t know all the times He has. Hoping your day is brighter today! ((hugs))

      • Memphis, I am sitting at Meg’s kitchen bench, with Meg by my side (her with her laptop, me with mine, lol) and I just read your comment out loud to her with tears running down my face. I am so glad for you. We are so glad for you. This is so precious and new and fine and tender for you that I don’t want to sully it with many more words as they would be like clod hoppers on the conversation you are having with God. But know I love you. And I am so glad you are my friend.

      • MeganC

        Memphis . . . . A lump in my throat as Barbara read this out loud to me. We both wept. We love you so much . . . and all we want is peace in your life. I believe that this is a direct answer to one of my prayers over you. I think of you during the day . . . and I get busy and so I cry out a little bit to God on your behalf . . . just whispering your name . . . and I ask Him to please bring you to safety . . . or to please bring you peace . . . or please take away your fear . . . . to fill in any disconnects in your life . . . to reveal Himself to you in a very intimate way. My heart is full as I think about all you have been through and have yet to go through. You are incredible. For so many reasons.

      • Barnabasintraining

        ((((((Memphis))))))

      • psalm 37

        Memphis,
        The last two parts of your post were way cool, and I’m borrowing them for my daily prayers for relief and peace in my life. Thanks especially for the three final questions! I never thought of approaching God like that.
        I feel like the bruised reed God promises not to break, bent over with exhaustion from constantly dealing with the injustices in court and the new evil plans being devised by someone who chose the devil as his father–the father of lies. Again, thanks to you all for the encouraging posts you share, because aside from my WONDERFUL second husband, you’re the only ones who show any empathy.

      • Memphis, I don’t know if this will speak to you at all, or maybe to someone else, but what you’re saying resonates very strongly with me. I wrote some freeverse stuff at the time I was wrestling with it, I posted it here on my blog. Sort of mirror poems, one that I wrote in the midst of my doubt and questioning and tug of war between fear and hope, and then something I wrote much more recently, about the freedom and grace that I’ve found eventually within faith, and the ability to trust at least God, if no one else.

        Maybe some of it (the first half) will sound a bit familiar, I don’t know, but your comments here definitely remind me of my thoughts at that time in my life. Much love and grace to you, I hope you do reach a point of feeling safe with our loving God, and I know he is reaching out to you now, bearing you up even when you can’t see how or where he is working.

  10. Friend of the Oppressed

    I’ve staggered right square in the middle of a HOT BUTTON TOPIC I did not know existed in my isolation. What you have lived and are living is also my life right now. This is my first post. Please forgive me for its length. And please forgive me if I say anything insensitive.

    God keeps leading me into rooms of conversation in the town halls of the Internet because there is NO help from the Church. I don’t even remember how I stumbled into this place on Saturday (4/20).
    My brain has downloaded so much information.
    I’ve wanted to comment on SO many topics.
    Too much of it has resonated with me; my head feels like a whirlpool on steroids.

    Slowly I’ve been discovering this knowledge of the deeply, profound evil that is so invasive, it is destroying the very heart of the Church. Evil, destructive, so-called “men of God” are leading the attack in a violent violation of the Bride of Christ. It is too difficult to reconcile that those leading the assault, the men in leadership of our beloved Church, are simply misguided, or even good intentioned. I cannot wrap my brain around that one. In all honesty of the Truth, I cannot. Men I formerly revered I dare not trust any longer. Simply put, the Scripture teaches that God defends the oppressed and the afflicted and tenderly mends our brokenness. He is the Author of Justice.

    In the darkness of this fog, over these last several months I have saturated my brain with Psalms and Proverbs and have been reacquainted with the God I formerly knew as loving, kind, and a protector of the oppressed and afflicted. Proverbs has 31 chapters, so I read whatever chapter corresponded with the date. Next I read every Psalm that ends in that number. For example, on the 22nd day of the month, I read every Psalm that ends in the number 2. I have to make this a priority. It is what keeps me sane.

    This took a while to shake out. But as I went I “collected” verses on certain topics. At first all I could see were the multitude of verses about the destruction of an evil tongue. (Described as knives, swords, razors, arrows, poison of vipers) And “they” want to say verbal abuse is not addressed in the Bible so therefore it does not exist. Next were verses about being protected in the shadow of His wings. There I began to see His light. There are verses that instruct the prudent to hide themselves from evil. I began to see the passages about His great lovingkindness toward the oppressed and afflicted and took note of how David prayed to be delivered from his enemies. I had to hide my notes because my sneaky husband was very interested in what I was studying in the Bible and would rifle through my papers. He taunted me for being “paranoid.”

    A month ago in the midst of vicious psychological abuse, God arranged the circumstances so that I was able to simply tell my destructive husband to leave. As my daughter and I watched in amazement, he turned and left. God is merciful! Because of malicious things my husband has “joked” about (such as cutting off my head), and because he has fostered an environment of fear; I followed up with a restraining order on Good Friday. Yes! It was a Good Friday!

    It began immediately and has not relented. Dealing with the conservative Evangelical Church, which I loved, revealed arrogant, judgmental, condemning, hateful, invective, spiteful manipulative things of which I am overwhelmed and still trying to sort out. I realize it has just begun. And I am fearful of telling any other “friend” from Church that I am separated from my treacherous husband. The restraining order is treated as a trivial inconvenience to be rescinded as soon as possible.

    Maybe if I were a little further back along the path their hate would have devastated me. But instead, I find my self boiling over with, what I feel to be righteous indignation concerning a perverse injustice! I am ANGRY; and not just for me, but also for Memphis Rayne and all of you here who have, and are suffering; and for the oppressed and afflicted that are still out there isolated with no voice. I am angry for all of us whose faith “they” tried to destroy in the lies “they” told us about God so we would not turn to Him and learn His Truth. They use their judgment to make us fear man so we will stay in bondage to their rule. THEY are EVIL!

    Yet even in our isolation our loving Creator is with us and uses gentle ways to fan our faith and give us His mighty gift of hope. The love of Jesus is Everlasting! Don’t believe in that god “they” have fashioned in their own image, the one that allows them to continue to destroy The Bride of Christ so that they may greedily hold onto their power. He is not the True Living God. Their god is a puny god.

    • Oh, Friend of the Oppressed, thank you, thank you so much. Welcome — even though you have been here a bonded into our little community already, this is my first knowledge of your presence, so my first opportunity to welcome you in words.

      Everything you said was great; nothing you said was insensitive, and your comment was not too long. (what is ‘too long’? I don’t think we have any rule about that. . . )

      I am so glad you are not being thrown off your feet by the reactions of the ‘c’hurch. That God has lifted the veils of fog and you are able to feel angry about the lies and injustice because you see them for what they are, rather than being bitten and put into a toxified and incapacitated state because of them. I’m holding up the banner of justice with you. So glad you have taken the step to make that first comment, and looking forward to hearing many more from you. 🙂

    • Dear Friend,
      We are so glad to have you here! It seems that we will have a lot to learn from each other. Welcome!

    • Amen, Friend! I loved every word you wrote.

    • You sound like me when I first discovered the survivor blogs! I’ve used the internet as my main social haven for about a decade, but I was still overwhelmed when I found the incredible amount of help and hope in this blog and others like it, just this year. I’m so grateful for all the other voices, and knowing that I’m not alone. It is an incredible amount of revelation and information to take in, but it is so healing and wonderful at the same time. Instead of crazy-making, it is hope-making! What a blessing. 🙂

  11. Anonymous

    Sorry to hear about what happened at church.

    It’s a wonder that many who leave a spouse or divorce are seen by the church as being weak in the faith or walking away from the faith (or at least the church). They don’t seem to see the link between how these victims are treated and the symptoms of trauma which include a shaky faith. It’s just another form of victim-blaming – accusing the victim for the effects of the abuse.

    • Anonymous

      Oops, sorry, my comment was meants for Anne above.

  12. Friend of the Oppressed

    Thank you for the warm welcome. I am so glad to be here.

  13. Friend of the Oppressed

    I like that, Kagi! “Instead of crazy-making, it is hope-making!”

    With all the harm oppression has caused me, it has become very difficult, scary, to trust anyone. And maybe especially God. Abusers use their god to be their ultimate bully in maintaining their control. But God is not like abusers. God is tender, merciful and kind. God understands our fear and is mindful that we have been traumatized. He knows we are broken. He has a heart for you and me. Here are some verses from Psalms that give me hope. This is the God I want to know. May He strengthen our hearts to trust Him; and may He vindicate us.

    O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
    You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
    To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
    So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.
    Psalm 10:17-18

    The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
    A stronghold in times of trouble;
    And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
    For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
    Psalm 9:9-10

  14. Amy

    Wow, that last part of Our Savior really got to me. Yes, thank You for reminding me that we could be considered Saints too for what we have put up with and endured! I always say ‘If I didn’t have my Faith I do not know where I would be…

  15. Finding Answers

    From Barnabisintraining comment “Death of a Son”

    I listened to both songs, but had to pause before commenting…I was getting dizzy.

    Shortly after I re-integrated almost two years ago, the Holy Spirit led me to the understanding I had “split” the Triune God. Oh… my…now I understand the “Why?”….

    My “belief” of God as Father was “god-as-abuser”. My “dad” is an abuser.

    My “belief” of Jesus was vague, a combination of “c”hristian gloss, unreachable compassion, unimaginably suffering Christ-on-the-cross, and older brother. All my siblings are abusers.

    My belief in the Holy Spirit was / is real. No one had corrupted His name.

    Since re-integrating God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, I have been battling the lies within lies within lies with the Truth. The Holy Spirit is the One to whom I have clung to lead me through the wilderness.

    Death of a Son…He is my Brother.

    • I think this insight of yours is stupendous. Thank you for sharing it with us.

      […internet speak for wordless admiration ….]

      • Finding Answers

        The insight was worth every bit of the massive migraine it has triggered.

        I persist in sharing – and I just connected this a few minutes ago – because I am fighting for my life. Not, perhaps physically, but as a Christian. If my writing through the healing process bolsters someone, speaks their words and pain when they are voiceless, the glory goes to God. He has patiently led me.

        While my personal dissociation was emotional fragmentation, the Triune God “split” was total.

        In all my reading and research, I came across theological discussions regarding what is – and is not – meant by the Triune, but the discussions were academic. I am certain I am not the only one to unconsciously “split” the Triune God.

        Maybe some of those who are struggling can use this information to understand another piece of their puzzle.

        Thank you for providing a safe place to share.

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