A Cry For Justice

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

Ride Like the Wind

David and I watched The Fellowship of the Ring last night. I could not stop talking throughout the entire flick. I was so excited that he was sharing this part of my life with me. David had never seen the movies and I get to introduce him to the Tolkein-beauty that has been a thread throughout my entire life. My father adored the Lord of the Rings and shared it with us before it was popular. I watched the 1977 version of The Hobbit and promptly had Gollum-nightmares. I fill in the holes from the books that the movie fails to depict so David has a fuller picture. I am sure he appreciates that (smile!).

The last scene we watched  before we became too fatigued was Arwen riding fast and strong on her horse to save young Frodo from the horrific wraiths. Tucking Frodo in her arms, she determinedly presses forward against all odds. As I watched, I thought of all the women I know who are “riding like the wind” from their own personal hells . . . their own demons . . . their abusers. I marveled at the beautiful elven princess . . . (she is delicate and lovely!) . . . her cheek scratched by a surrounding tree . . . she is a portrait of courage. She is going to protect this young man and the future of all she knows with everything in her. It is breath-taking.

How many of us have run because our lives depended on it? How many of us recognize that it was the bravest thing we have ever done? Arwen did not have to run for a life-time. She was not riding that horse with that small Hobbit in her arms forever. None of us could sustain that. Arwen had a task to do and she did it with all her heart and will. There is a time in each of our lives when we decide to run from our wraiths. We declare, as Arwen did, “I am not afraid of them.” And we go. We put everything we have into our escape toward safety and we hope. We hope we will make it. The evil is often on all sides — close enough to touch us — yet we press on in perseverance. We are Deborah. We are Ruth. We are Rahab. We do what we have to do for a while to work toward a peace we know we can grasp.

And then, we look back and we marvel at the journey. We ponder how God carried us the whole way as we ran with all our might.

God calls us to be warriors sometimes. I know it seems to go against our nature but, rest assured, God can do this work in us. . . this work of pressing forward when we must. We never wanted to be a warrior. We never wanted to have to call that fierce lawyer and fight for ourselves and our children. We never wanted to have to stand up to that person in church who is trying to press us down into a mold or keep us quiet. We never wanted to have to go on the offensive for the first time in our lives, rather than being kept on our heels. We have no choice; it must be done.

I have an increasingly difficult time convincing women to fight. I plead and prod with them to be alert from the get-go. It is very difficult for a woman who has been crushed in spirit for such a long time to decide to stand up and fight. And yet, we must. Not forever . . . just for now. Until it is over. A divorce does not last forever. It may take years but it is not an eternal existence. It may be messy and horrible and we take a great loss but it will eventually end. 

I remember how difficult it was for me to take legal steps to extricate my children and myself from the hellish existence in which we found ourselves. I had to be convinced . . . I had to pull a fighter out of myself and it was not easy. I can tell you, though, if I can do it, you can do it, dear friends. Call the women’s shelter; call the lawyer; get some help; do the counseling; get the healing. I will never stop pleading with victims to turn around and deny the victim-status whole-heartedly by fighting the evil off.

I know it is not easy . . .

Run this race, dear victims-turned-warriors. Gear up. Take heart. Ride like the wind.


  1. Katy

    I love those movies. I loved Eowyn the best. 🙂 Because she was most afraid of “a cage”.

  2. Brenda R

    I have left this time. No saying that I will and be beaten down with promises until I cave Praise God there are no small children involved. He is “sorry” once again. But I know the outcome of going back. Within a few days it will all go back to the way it was. It would once again be too much to ask to give up the evil ways or the past.

    Today I ask for a PPO to stop the 20, 30, 50 phone calls each day. To stop the encouters where he tells me there are pictures in the house that I will want. Those of my grandson that went to be with the Lord at 9 months old. The grandson that on the day we buried him I was required to have sex while I cried until he was finished and after his cigarette he rolled over while the tears continued to flow. Once in the driveway to quickly run in to get those pictures I find that he has secluded himself down the road and pulls in behind my car so that I will have to listen to yet another repeated conversation. One that I know all too well and know that not one promise will be kept.

    If it weren’t for the numerous calls at home and at work, I would be so content in my new surroundings. My apartment is small, cozy and comfortable. I have a patio garden of 2 tomato plants and 2 pepper plant and a planter of sage. Just enough to keep me from missing my larger garden from the past years. I need strength and prayer to continue on.

    I have Multiple Sclerosis and the stress is making my symptoms more severe. Last night I had planned to go to an event. By the time I was out of work and the continuous phone calls throughout the day, I was unable to drive. So instead of getting out and meeting people and gaining support I stayed at home and cried remembering that I was not alone, but my God was standing right beside me.

    I have to continue to remind myself that it will not be forever. If I stayed with him, it would continue on until the Lord calls me home.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Brenda – Very courageous! Yep, keep reminding yourself. He is never going to change – except for the worse. These abuser controllers – sociopaths – they HATE anyone who says “no” to them and won’t do their bidding. I am on the hate list of lots of them. And the only thing I did was tell them “no” – “No, you aren’t going to work in the children’s ministry,” “No, you cannot come here any longer and endanger people,” “No….” and they hate you for it. Anyone who will not be controlled any longer by them, they detest. “I will be like the Most High.” It is all very satanic in my opinion. I think lots and lots of abuse boils right down to the fact that the wicked hate the righteous.

    • Hi Brenda R I want to warmly welcome you to the blog. 🙂 You have been very brave and steadfast to have got this far, well done! Thanks for sharing this part of your story. Oh, the photos! And oh, the entrapment! And the way the abuser can grind us down by his persistence.

      I am glad you are taking steps to stop him calling you. If the PPO is in place, you may be able to then get him charged if he breaches it (I don’t know the laws in your state). And if you haven’t already done so, you might like to contact a domestic violence advocacy service for advice about other strategies you can employ to stop him phoning you. Blocking the number seems to work for some people; others end up getting a new phone number (but do your level best to make sure your friends and relatives don’t pass the number on to him, otherwise it will all be to no avail…). You may also find some tips here: Safety Planning [Internet Archive link]
      bless you and hugs

    • fiftyandfree

      Brenda, I am so sorry about your little grandson, and about the callous disregard with which you were treated when he died. I know how painful it is to lose someone who means so much to you and to be treated like that person meant nothing to you. My ex treated me similarly when my precious nephew passed away. These monsters are incapable of human empathy and compassion. We are just “things” to them and those we love are just “things” as well. Were you able to get those pictures? It’s disgusting and pure evil that he would use those pictures to control and manipulate you. Just keep that in mind any time you think about caving in and going back. Your last statement is accurate so don’t ever forget it…. if you say with him his abuse will continue until Jesus calls you home, or until you decide once again to leave. I will pray for strength for your journey. God bless you. And God bless your little grandson who is at rest in the arms of Jesus.

      • Brenda R

        Yes, I did get the pictures. Thank you so much for asking and for those who have given me a warm welcome and support on this site today. I was pretty low this past 24 hours, but am much better now. I am sorry that you had to go through these things Fifty, but it helps to know there are survivors and I will be one of them.

  3. Katy

    also when you said that you were talking throughout the movie to David, I got VERY SCARED for you because if I talked during a movie my ex would get very mean. (So just for reassurance, David wasn’t mad at you? ha ha :/ )

    • MeganC

      LOL, Katy! No . . . David was not mad at me. He listened attentively and was incredibly interested. 🙂 No worries (but, I totally get it!). xo

  4. bright sunshinin' day

    “God calls us to be warriors sometimes. I know it seems to go against our nature but, rest assured, God can do this work in us. . . this work of pressing forward when we must. We never wanted to be a warrior. We never wanted to have to call that fierce lawyer and fight for ourselves and our children. We never wanted to have to stand up to that person in church who is trying to press us down into a mold or keep us quiet. We never wanted to have to go on the offensive for the first time in our lives, rather than being kept on our heels. We have no choice; it must be done.”

    “We never wanted to…” captures how many of us feel, Megan. “I don’t want to do this!” is often my cry. Those who may be ignorant of abuse, its tactics, its effects on the soul, or those who are steeped in wrong theology and claim that no matter what is going on behind closed doors, to preserve the marriage at all costs glorifies God, may think that a person who takes steps forward to “get out” is full of vengeance, spite, and meanness. But the truth is, it is a loving work to stop enabling an abuser and it is God-like to oppose oppression (see Ps 7). To be good stewards of this life God gave us, to work to preserve and promote life and good healthy relationships for ourselves and our loved ones, this is glorifying to God. The alternative, remaining with an unrepentant abuser and thus encouraging oppression, is a slow death for all…not to mention no reflection of what God intended at all.

    Just as Arwen endangered herself to rescue Frodo, so some friends have done by offering support and wise counsel to victims, standing by them “at all costs.” To preserve the strength it takes to move forward, it has been a process of learning to chose wisely my friends and how to deal with the incoming advice offered. Some advice is like that of “Job’s Counselors” who aroused God’s wrath since they did not speak what is right (see Job 42:7-8), other advice is bad like Sanballat and Tobiah who were “deeply disturbed that a man (Nehemiah) had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel” (Neh 2:10). Thankfully, there is good advice to cling to like Jonathan’s advice to David who “strengthened David’s hand in the Lord” while David was on the run from Jonathan’s father, Saul (1 Sam 23:16).

    BB, God took your tears and put them in His bottle (Ps 56:8). Your patio garden sounds wonderful with tomatoes and peppers! I hope you have a fruitful harvest and in time, fruitful friendships!

    • MeganC

      BSD . . . This, right here:

      But the truth is, it is a loving work to stop enabling an abuser and it is God-like to oppose oppression (see Ps 7). To be good stewards of this life God gave us, to work to preserve and promote life and good healthy relationships for ourselves and our loved ones, this is glorifying to God.

      . . . is what I try to say so many times but you have said it better. I hear, all too often, “But, you have to love . . . love him.” Somehow, that has been translated (in the ‘c’hurch mind) as “stay”. It is the most loving thing for oneself, one’s children and one’s abuser to leave and stop enabling him or her. Me + my ex = abuse. How could that be loving?

      Thank you for your well-thought-out response, BSD. I marvel at your wisdom, even in the trenches. xo

    • Brenda R

      Thank you so much Bright for your encouragement and for this site which Jesus has assuredly planted the seed. I am glad that it was brought to my attention. What a blessing.

  5. J. Ann

    I had not read Tolkiens books, though I had been a fan of CS Lewis and Narnia. The first time I saw that scene was at a Retreat a couple years ago with a couple hundred other women. We were all deeply touched. I had just completed my “run” (separation from my abuser) and was exhausted and somewhat confused. I was deep into “renewing my mind” through scripture and learning how to correctly interpret it. This scene was a vivid illustration of what my spiritual battle had felt like. Truely, we must be warriors to break the hold of the evil one. Thanks, Megan, for sharing this with us.

  6. Catherine Ann Landers

    Wow! What great analogies in this blog entry.
    It made me once again reflect on where I have come from. There was a phrase that use to haunt me – “It will get better” I have become a mentor to survivors and when I say — “I promise – “it will get better” I hope that I say it today with conviction in my voice and actions because I was once on the receiving end of the “will get better” part. Someone said that to me once when I finally made the choice to leave….”it will get better.” In my mind, I seriously thought – “Better?” Better than surviving my death? Better than surviving losing my children? Better than I have NO Choice but to ACCEPT epilepsy because of years of abuse? Better than my now grown adult children having the strength to face their father-my abuser? What I’m trying to say is this-It seemed like every time that I overcame an obstacle (the first was having the strength to leave), I had to face another one.
    “It’s will get better.”
    After I was free from ‘him” I had to battle for my children and the same words – “I promise. It’s going to get better.” Those words came again when I had my first seizure and so forth. There was a time that I was dodging hate grenades thrown at me left and right by my abuser so quickly and abundantly that I could barely catch my breath that I scoffed at those very words. I kept saying to myself-
    “It will get better”
    I felt so alone but I remember one day, in particular, that resonates in my mind so clearly. I was shopping in Walmart for school supplies for my children. I remember that I had 4 separate lists of supplies I had to buy because I have 4 kids. I was fairly organized by making a “master list” of how many notebooks, pencils, pens, tissues, markers, glue sticks and colored folders needed combined by 4 kids classrooms. I had been doing this same routine for 14 years as my oldest son was 14 when I left my ex-husband (his father). I was in a full court battle at this time with my ex-husband. So, as I stood in the middle of the isle and kept reading over and over again how many yellow, blue and red folders I needed. How many notebooks, glue sticks and erasers required- I could not make a step towards the shelf. I just kept standing there staring at all the school supplies as mothers, fathers, and their children were pushing and pulling past the shelves. I was frozen. I kept watching the mouths of people talking but I couldn’t hear their words. I watched the expressions on their faces… and I thought – “Can they see me standing here?” Do they see that I am beaten down? Do they smell the sadness spewing from my skin? Why don’t they see me?
    “It will get better” “It will get better” “It will get better” and then fear hit. What if it didn’t?
    I literally walked/ran as quickly as I could out of WalMart with not one item purchased, trying to hold onto any ounce of dignity I had left. I was angry, bitter and sad at others happiness. They seemed “better” and I was literally on the verge of a breakdown in the school supply isle. I started to run towards my car, but I couldn’t find it. It was one the most riveting moments in my life. No one saw me. I was standing there trying to hold onto some normalcy and no one saw me.
    I called a very dear friend on my cell phone. He happens to be the man I am with today. I cried and bellowed out – “No one saw me. No one can see me!” “I am hurting and dying and no one saw it.” “I am alone out here and no one cares!”
    His words still resonate with me. He said – “Honey, they didn’t see you because you didn’t ask them too.”
    That was 8 years ago and by the grace of God after that day – no one could shut me up. I pleaded, talked, shared and most importantly ASKED for people to help me. Those same words continued in my moments of despair – “it will get better.”
    And, because I clung to others that loved me, guided me and listened – I started listening back. It does get better but I have learned that with every trial we face-if I just ask for help from others and God himself, getting better ONLY happens if I allow others to guide me with the strong words – “Its will get better” and today, I can look someone is the eyes and say with honesty and experience – “It Will Get Better!” Is bigger better? Well, what I have learned is the bigger the wind, the further I fly so yeah…I think I’ll keep riding like the wind… with a headband to keep the hair out of my eyes. 🙂 

    • Beth

      wow that is so true Catherine
      ive been there too and have found that as I talk about my story and about finally asking for help
      it empowers others to think if God can help her, he can help me !l
      Like you I am rarely quiet, especially about the fact that so many people have been so brainwashed and beaten down, they don’t realise that a) they have the right to ask for help and b) that they are unaware that you do have choices in life

      • Catherine Ann Landers

        Beth-it has taken me awhile to speak out. I use to think it was my “pride” that kept me quiet, but it wasn’t pride at all. I was a beaten down human being that was afraid to ask permission to breathe sometimes. Today, I won’t shut up. 🙂

    • MeganC

      What a beautiful story, friend. For so many reasons. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I know that feeling you describe. When you are drowning in grief and sorrow, and you see the world is continuing to spin . . . and other people are carrying on as though you are not standing there, dying on the inside . . . it is hard. You just want to yell, “MY WORLD HAS SHATTERED! HOW CAN YOU ACT LIKE NOTHING HAS HAPPENED??”

      • Catherine Ann Landers

        Megan-I so know that feeling but I have decided that I will not allow myself to feel like that again. If it takes me going into Walmart to say-“Can you help me?” I will do it today because I have learned that for 18 years I had a secret power that could go against my worst enemy and heal my broken heart..a God given gift-my voice. 🙂

    • Heather 2

      Thank you Catherine Ann. I could feel your loneliness. It’s so painful for life to go on normally with others when you feel caught in time. I used to feel imprisoned in a pane of glass drifting through space like the outlaws in the first Superman movie.

      I’ve been two years beyond my divorce and married to the one friend who remained by my side. And yet I’m waiting for it to get better. He tells me he sees me moving forward. That’s encouraging. Letting others back into my life has taken awhile since I was betrayed by those I loved. Now I am very careful. I have been told that when we invest in others our eyes are no longer on our own issues and that too brings healing. I have just signed in to volunteer at the hospital. There are do many lonely people in the world. I have felt that sadness. I want to “see” them, to comfort them.

      Thank you for pointing out through your own experience that we all have needs, pain, desires to be loved and seen.

      • Catherine Ann Landers

        Heather-your words written through your emotions have touched me. Thank you.

    • ranthegauntlet

      Catherine: How well said! I have been frozen in other ways, for several years, and it is 12 years after leaving my abuser…but there was job abuse in between which triggered this. I lost my ability to say “it will get better!” Even that God is with me. I identify with you frozen in the school supplies aisle. I’m doing better now…imagine – I have found help from people who don’t just quote at me and pound me into their molds! It has gotten better! Diane

      • Catherine Ann Landers

        Thank you Diane-
        I have also learned to surround myself with people that truly love me for ME!..and I am not perfect by any stretch. 🙂 and today- The only frozen I want to surround myself in- is a Blizzard at Dairy Queen.

  7. Beth

    thank you so much for that message
    just been sharing my story about my journey with others and am literally overwhelmed by just how far God has brought me in 2 years and totally amazed that God is using ME to reach so many other hurting women and children and has given me a ministry God Is Our Refuge after spending 10 weeks in refuge last year after surviving stage 4 cancer-
    husband didn’t want to share my new found zest for life After years of emotional abuse {he was ill at same time but remained in victim mentality despite me doing everything to include him, get help for depression/anger/behaviour etc( not able to until he asked for it himself)eventually this conflict caused him to assault me and I left on feb11th 2012
    mixed emotions as he died today.
    I really love this site
    i was given gideons testament and psalms
    got home and bookmark was in Psalm140″lord protect me from violent men”(these sort of things are happening more and more to me)I know that God is in this
    so my soon to be formed support group will be known as the 140 club9in planning stage but lots of interest

    • MeganC

      Dear Beth . . . Thank you so much for commenting. You have been through so much in the past 18 months . . . I cannot imagine your mixed emotions. Big hugs to you. I hope you can find comfort here.

  8. fiftyandfree

    “And then, we look back and we marvel at the journey. We ponder how God carried us the whole way as we ran with all our might.”

    This is so, so true!!!! I look back and I am AMAZED. Nothing I’ve ever done in my life (except give birth to my children) amazes me more than mustering up the courage and the faith to escape my abuser. I sought the Lord’s guidance. I stepped out in faith despite all the threats and intimidation. I prayed. I trusted. I survived. I am free. Amen!!! And the good Lord has truly provided my every need as I trusted Him. I learned through the divorce to trust Him for my daily bread. I never really understood what that meant until I had to do it. For almost a year I didn’t know if the ex was going to fight for custody or not. I didn’t know if I’d end up on the street. I didn’t know if my lawyer was going to come through for me (he didn’t, but God took care of me anyway). I literally learned to trust the Lord one day at a time, sometimes one hour, or even just minutes at a time. It was excruciating, but I will never regret it because my faith grew more in that year long divorce experience than it did in my entire Christian walk. Scripture says that the trial of our faith is more precious than pure gold (1 Peter 1:7) and I experienced that, and I’m so grateful.

    • ranthegauntlet

      Fifty: I have wanted to understand how others have gone through and out of abuse without losing their faith, as I did. If you would care to talk with me about that, I would be very interested and appreciative. RanTheGauntlet@gmail.com. Thank you!

  9. Madara Collins

    Very encouraging…

  10. Anne

    Tears. Just tears. I needed to hear this. Didn’t want to, but needed to hear it.

  11. cordelectatio

    ” I literally learned to trust the Lord one day at a time, sometimes one hour, or even just minutes at a time. It was excruciating, but I will never regret it because my faith grew more in that year long divorce experience than it did in my entire Christian walk. Scripture says that the trial of our faith is more precious than pure gold (1 Peter 1:7) and I experienced that, and I’m so grateful.”
    So much here today that is SO right on. Great dialogue. Truth spoken as can only be by the individuals whom have walked the road. I too am grateful for that precious metal of faith God is refining in the fires of this life. The trust being restored when it has been so painful to trust. The peace that surely passes my finite understanding. The sheer delight walking with my Lord as He provides. The lessons bathed in His grace. Psa. 23:6 Surely Your goodness and love will be with me all my life…”

  12. ranthegauntlet

    I feel like somewhat of a wimp much of the time – just reading this brings out my warrior and I can feel the wind on my face. Wonderful! Diane

  13. Otter

    Thanks so much for this image! Sometimes after you leave, you begin to feel so much sadness. I have to keep focusing on the warrior side of myself and be thankful for my escape!

  14. J

    Please keep me and my two children in your prayers…we are over past a year now and the divorce is still not final. I changed attorneys and am in debt like you wouldn’t believe because of this divorce. I was a stay at home mom and my husband made a lot of money. It is part of his power and control and still is. I do not have a college education. I want to go back to school and be able to provide for myself and my children. My new attorney is now saying we need to drop calling it domestic violence and instead I call it abuse and now he is saying we need to drop the abuse all together. I feel like every time I turn around its just another slap in the face…it’s such a battle. I have no family in this state which is part of the isolation and I am constantly ganged up on by my husband and his family and the church we use to go to. My kids see so much but they have been trained and know if they don’t act a certain way with their Dad then they will pay for it later behind closed doors. The GAL and custody evaluator involved have basically minimized any abuse claims…why is this so hard to fight?!?! It’s like noone wants to hear the TRUTH of the matter. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!

    • Jeff S

      I will be praying for you. I know it is so hard to be in your situation; the injustice of it all only heaps pain onto an already painful situation 😦

      That must be really disheartening about your attorney not wanting to use the word “abuse”. I know it can get so easy to question yourself when even your friends and advocates are minimizing your pain. God does see and know the truth, but I know that can feel distant when those who are supposed to be his hands and feet aren’t up to the task.

      People are failing you, but you will come out better in the end. That is a promise of scripture. And whether the children realize or not, when you stand up for them you are giving them life.

    • Brenda R

      I wish I knew what to say or had some advice that would help you. Be strong. I will be praying for you.

  15. Finding Answers

    For once, a smidgen of untainted memory….listening to my grade school student teacher read The Hobbit aloud in class.

    There are variations, but I memorized this one at the time…

    The Road goes ever on and on,
    Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
    Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say.

    I think I sensed the need to escape.

    The road has changed, from leaving to joining some larger way.

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