A Cry For Justice

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

How Abuse Blinds the Christian to the Love of God

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

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One of our readers wrote the following paragraphs to us directly and they are so helpful that we asked if we could put them into a blog post. She agreed, so here is what she said. Many thanks to her. (Jeff C)

1 Jn 4:18-19 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (19) We love because he first loved us.

When I first married my abuser, I was pretty sound in Christ. I didn’t know a lot about marriage or headship and submission, but I knew Jesus, very well. I knew His love, although I did not know it to the depth I needed to, probably because we live what we learn and living in abuse and not having good discipleship in this area, I just did not have a great understanding of His love for me, but I knew in some way, that Christ did love me and had given Himself up for me. As the abuse started and went on over the course of all those years, my self-worth became nothing. It was gone. I had no sense of even who I was anymore. This is how I think it happened.

Our true self-worth is found in knowing that God loves us unconditionally. Although we know it is unearned and undeserved, as God’s own, we know that He loves us unconditionally (even if the lines get blurred for victims of abuse). Living in abuse erodes that love of God, as we are constantly being put down and abused and eventually feel and begin to believe that we are responsible for the way the abuser is towards us. It is sick to be responsible for someone else’s emotions/abuse, etc. So, we end up having our self-worth destroyed because marriage is supposed to be a representation of unconditional love – that being the connection between our relationship with Christ and how marriage demonstrates that relationship. When it is abuse and hatred, there is no love there, but as Christians, we are left with that sense that marriage is supposed to be about God loving us – it strips us of any sense of our self-worth, because our only hope of self-worth comes from knowing that God loves us unconditionally.

When we are degraded and made to feel worthless and are unloved by the very one who is supposed to demonstrate Christ’s love to us, it distorts the entire picture of Christ and His love for us. I began to doubt and think that God saw me the way my abuser saw me. Hence, I began to look for approval from others, to be loved and accepted and so I could think that the abuser was wrong in his treatment of me – that I did not deserve it, and therefore God should not think of me that way either. If only I could gain acceptance and love somewhere.

Enter the false church.

How much greater destruction to me could there ever have been? And not just then, but that it still continues on and on as that false church keeps aiding the abuser in all his efforts. The confusion lies in that these people claim to be Christ’s and for a victim of abuse, who is already confused and already believes that God sees her the way her abuser sees her, because she has been brainwashed by his lies, it is complete and utter devastation, confusion and bewilderment. There is no sorting out what is real anymore. Satan’s whole lie to us is that we would be better off independent of God. But it is a lie. Abuse separates us from God, because of the confusion it brings and the erosion of love that we can sense from God toward us. The abuse in my life robbed me of my knowing of God’s love and I turned to trying to save the marriage, instead of dumping it and going back to God.  It all makes sense now and I am in the process of being restored and not just restored, but being made better and more whole than I have ever been in my entire life.

God hates abuse and it is never His will for anyone to be being abused. We need to stop saying that it is, by saying, “well if you are in that situation, it is because it is God’s will for you to be there, or you wouldn’t be there in the first place” and we need to start saying, “This is not God’s will, nor ever will be and if you are losing touch with God because of this abuse, you need to separate yourself from the marriage. God never approves of evil and this is evil. It is never God’s will for anyone to be abused, but He is with you in it and will work it and use it all to your good and to what His will for you really is.”  I think that would be a better way to say it.

47 Comments

  1. Joe Pote

    A very, very pertinent message, beautifully stated!

    Yes, I remember, duirng some of the darkest times, wondering if God really exists, and if He does exist could He possibly love me? I was raised in a strong Christian home, in a tradition of faith, prayer and Bible study. I continued to cling to that faith and continue the prayer and Bible study, throughout my adult life. Yet, the oppression of an abusive marriage still took it’s toll in leaving me feeling unloved and unlovable.

    Thankfully, the Holy Spirit was faithful in reminding me of His great love and pointing me toward specific reminders of His demonstration of love towards me!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Joe. It is amazing, how abuse can rob us of so much. I think this should be a sign to us, that there is no real glory for God in staying in abuse. I look at the people in the Bible and the hardships they endured, and they all seemed to have a “grace” that flowed with them through it. I did not find that in abuse. Abuse is so different from suffering for the Kingdom of God – there just is no comparison. It is like satan’s counterfeit of what suffering for Christ really is supposed to look like.

      Thankful for you too, that God is always faithful and His Spirit is what was sent to us, to show us the way and the truth and to lead us to the life Christ has for us.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I look at the people in the Bible and the hardships they endured, and they all seemed to have a “grace” that flowed with them through it. I did not find that in abuse.

        This is an important and often neglected point. There is always grace to endure suffering God has appointed you to go through. He never gives grace to endure what is not in His will.

      • Katy

        I have to ponder this some more. I haven’t thought much about the suffering we go through within the will of God, vs. the suffering at the hands of satan (or an abuser). It seems to me it could be the same thing. Job certainly went through something at the hands of satan, that was allowed by God, and he didn’t seem to have much “grace” through it, other than simply not cursing God.
        (although, our suffering at the hands of abusers is usually the result of our inability to see red flags in others’ behavior, so it’s not quite the same as what happened to Job.)

      • Anonymous

        Katy-Part of that to me, is that Job’s suffering came from outside – not from his own wife. She did tell Job to curse God and die, but she did not hound him or abuse him in it. I think that is the difference in how we tell what suffering is from God and what is just someone playing with our lives, that satan is using them to destroy us. Certainly we have all probably suffered within that suffering, for our faith at some point, but there is still a difference between the two, at least in my opinion.

  2. MeganC

    This is so perfect, friend! And I understand SO WELL what it feels like to be looking for security and acceptance elsewhere because of abuse. And then . . . to NOT receive it for one reason or another is utterly darkening and devastating to the soul. 😦

    Thank you for writing this!

    So grateful, like Joe, that I did not give up on searching for God with all my heart and that HE did not give up on me! Finding His love and acceptance was a cool drink of water to my soul . . . and then finding others who truly love Him (the real Church) further affirmed the truth of His love. I still cannot get over it!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Meg. I think God’s desire is to rescue all of us. He has certainly done a great job in doing that for you!! Happy girl that you are! And look – you are so good at passing it on…

  3. Anonymous

    I really needed this post today. Thank you.

    I’m still sort of in a rut as far as my faith in God is concerned. I know He exists, and I know He loves me. I was saved a long time ago. I have been through two abusive marriages in a relatively short period of time (about 10 years). My first husband was in the ministry and verbally and physically terrorized me. I fled from that quickly. My second husband wooed me when I was vulnerable – my mother was dying – and I had recently split from my abusive first husband. He said all the right things… but preyed on me because I was so vulnerable. I couldn’t see it then. What made it worse was that he was recently separated from his ex wife, and I was still so young and naive, I blindly believed him when he said she was the one who mistreated him, and it was her fault he left her, etc. That was NOT true, as he had cheated on her and abused her their whole marriage. It turned into a disaster once I married him, and he nearly killed me by the end of it (physical abuse). All the things he complained about with his first wife, he eventually complained about with me – I didn’t clean enough or properly, I was self-centered and didn’t give him enough attention, etc. It was all mind games. I still struggle with guilt over dating him when he had so recently broken his first wife’s heart, and I have since apologized to her and she and I are friends now. I hate what he did to both of us. His first wife is a great girl, very bubbly and vibrant and always loves to laugh. She seems to have bounced back much faster than I did. Nevertheless, I still feel so much guilt over how I handled my relationship with him in the past. Although I have righted my wrongs, so to speak, and have vowed not to be like that again, I am still waiting for that axe to fall and chop me to pieces. That axe is the punishment from God that I’m still waiting for. Because I now have found a man who loves me and treats me like a princess, but I feel that I don’t deserve it, so I’m afraid he will be taken away, thus, God punishing me for past actions. I’m trying my best to work through this, but it’s very difficult. Thoughts and helpful advice much appreciated here.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anonymous – Here is a great quote from Martin Luther. If you are a Christian, then you are fully qualified to speak to Mr. Law this way —

      The Law is not to have its say indefinitely. We must know how long the Law is to put in its licks. If it hammers away too long, no person would and could be saved. The Law has a boundary beyond which it must not go. How long ought the Law to hold sway? “Till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” That may be taken literally to mean until the time of the Gospel. “From the days of John the Baptist,” says Jesus, “until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matthew 11: 12, 13.) When Christ came the Law and the ceremonies of Moses ceased.

      Spiritually, it means that the Law is not to operate on a person after he has been humbled and frightened by the exposure of his sins and the wrath of God. We must then say to the Law: “Mister Law, lay off him. He has had enough. You scared him good and proper.” Now it is the Gospel’s turn. Now let Christ with His gracious lips talk to him of better things, grace, peace, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life.

      Luther, Martin (2012-12-17). Commentary on Galatians (Kindle Locations 1798-1806). . Kindle Edition.

      • MeganC

        I love that, Jeff. Writing it down . . .

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous-God forgives you. He is not in the business of looking for ways to pay you back for your sin or mistakes in life. He loves you. His desire is for good for you. That doesn’t mean that we don’t experience difficulties, but He is always with you – like interlocking fingers – you are joined to Jesus and through Jesus, we are joined to the Father. He will never leave you. I think you need to gain a right perspective of His love for you.

      I would also caution you, as much as I really don’t want to, as it is probably not my place, that unless you have gained great perspective on the dynamics of abuse, that you don’t jump in too quickly in this new relationship. Maybe you could ask yourself questions like what is it that has happened, that has made you able to see red flags, if there are any; what is it that makes this relationship different from the others before; did either of the previous abusers treat you this good before the abuse started? Just concerned for you, as it sounds like you may still need some healing time from the previously abusive relationships, before entering a new one. If this man is all you say he is, then he will have no problem waiting for you – no pressure applied.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for your help and wisdom in this area. Neither one of my ex abusers treated me as well as he does in the beginning. I didn’t have the tools and resources I have now (ACFJ and personal counselors who’ve helped me navigate through things) when I left my first abuser, so I easily fell prey to another one. I have searched this blog with a fine-toothed comb and found so many things I should have read up on before I was with either one of these men.

        Sometimes, I wonder if an abuser is attracted to a specific personality type. Anyone’s thoughts on this?? For example, I am a type of woman who loves to nurture and care for a husband. I think God made me that way, but to be appreciated and not stepped on. I’m very mild-tempered and love to make the man I love happy, and I always want to be there to take care of him… that sort of thing. I’m not one of those independent, strong women who tries to take charge and be in control… all I want is to be loved.

        Thoughts?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Anonymous- could you elaborate on thi? Perhaps what you said here is problematic-

        I am a type of woman who loves to nurture and care for a husband. I think God made me that way, but to be appreciated and not stepped on. I’m very mild-tempered and love to make the man I love happy, and I always want to be there to take care of him

  4. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  5. It’s very distressing to see how many, many believers allow themselves to be blinded to abuse in this way. It makes me question the validity of the entire structure. Though they speak with the tongues of men and angels, communicate vast wisdom, and offer themselves to be burned for the sake of the poor … If they have not LOVE … it is a mere clanging of ‘symbols’ like the cross clattering as the walls shake on sinking sand.

    • Anonymous

      Excuse me, Mere Dreamer, but I am not certain what you mean here. Are you saying that victims allow themselves to be blinded by their abusers? The validity of what structure? I am sorry, just not following you here. Thanks.

      • Sorry, I edited down a long comment, and maybe I should have just left the whole thing … oh, well. I’m speaking of the structure of the church in very broad terms … and yes, both the church and those who are abused are often blind to the fact that what people go through in destructive relationships IS abuse.

        I was definitely unable to call it abuse for years, not because I didn’t feel the pain of what I went through … but because my situation was reclassified as “love” and I wasn’t allowed to call it abuse because my problems “caused” the reactions I faced due to “tough love.” And these blinders were not merely external, but internal also. I claimed those perspectives as my own and refused to see that my X and ex-church were wrong … because if I did, everything I believed might crumble. It took 16 years for me to decide that if death was better than living that way, then losing faith might be better, too.

        And when I stopped redefining my situation, I was finally able to figure out what the word love actually meant … and stop believing lies. In a way, I did lose my faith … what I believed in and worshiped by my choices for all those years was “church” and “marriage” …

        Now, I’m figuring out this whole “love God and others” thing from scratch, because I am physically nauseated by all the talk without any heart that I encountered for all those years. I can’t even walk into a church service without shaking so hard I can’t hold the hymnal steady….

        I haven’t solved it. Maybe there is no remedy for the structure. I just know that a huge percentage of the people I encountered were so afraid of being wrong that they didn’t follow their instinctive (and I believe God-given) reactions, which would have been to protect me and get me out of that situation.

        They actually said, “I wish I didn’t have to say this to you, because it’s so hard and I think your husband is wrong to treat you that way, but God will bless you! I can only help you stay.” And they cried that they felt sorry for me, then blamed me for sinning by wanting to leave. “If you would just accept it, then you’d be okay.”

      • Anonymous

        Mere Dreamer,
        I actually had a very nice Christian counselor say to me that my problem is my ambivalence about my marriage.

  6. Anonymous

    Jeff, to elaborate on what I said, I have always been someone who loves to nurture, care for, and serve the man I love. NOT in a degrading way, but in the way God intended (and I think the man should protect and provide for his wife, mentally, emotionally, and physically). The problem with my ex husband was that no matter how much I tried to love him or do special things for him, it was never enough. I poured my whole heart into him and he destroyed my love for him bit by bit, chipping away at my soul with his abuse.

    I didn’t do things like that for him because I felt like I had to – I did it (in the beginning) because I WANTED to. But it quickly became clear that he grew to expect it and never appreciated it.

    I’m guessing it was out of balance in the past… my desire to love and nurture. I think he took advantage of it and continued to want more and more out of me. Some examples of what I used to do when I was married: cooked breakfast for him most days, packed his lunch, left encouraging notes/Bible verses in hopes he would “feel better,” TRIED to clean to his satisfaction (that never happened), offered to pray with him when he had a bad day, tried to maintain a sweet nature and never raise my voice or yell.. things like that.

    • Anonymous

      Okay Anon. It’s sort of like “Houston, we have a problem”. I love that you are so willing to give of yourself and to be a servant – especially to someone you love. BUT…how is it that you view God intended you to serve the man you love? It sounds maybe like you are losing yourself in serving someone else. We are to serve God first and never lose ourselves in a marriage or relationship with another person. Your husband would be reponsible to find his own joy and happiness in the Lord and not from you – just as you are to do also. You are right, that he should protect, provide for and love his wife, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. With an abusive individual, nothing you do will ever be enough, because of the mindset of entitlement. However, with a healthy, godly man, that mindset should not be there.

      You also, should not ever put your whole heart into another human being, as we are all fallible. I “get” what you are saying about loving your husband so much, but you will need to be careful that you also are not using him to fulfill your needs, but are rather making certain you are being fulfilled by God and your relationship with Him. It sort of sounds like you tried to be perfect in your last relationships, maybe for yourself worth and maybe to keep abuse at bay. That must have been very tiring and exhausting. I know that life firsthand. It is not your responsibility to keep another person happy, Anon. You need to be free from that. Marriage is not about you making or keeping your husband happy. It is about two people coming together to do a work for Christ and His Kingdom. Are you better with or without that person, as far as keeping Christ in view? Can you stay focused on your relationship with Jesus, while you are with him? Can you be natural around him? Can you not make every meal and he still wants to be with you? Can your house be a mess from time to time and he still wants to be there? Can you just be a human-being and he still wants to be with you? Can you be sick and he wants to be there and care for you? Marriage and relationships are not about “what” you do, but “who” you are and if that person loves the “who” you are. Hope that helps some.

      • Anonymous

        Wow, this puts things into perspective. I still do things like this for the man I’m with now, but sometimes he himself has to stop me and say, “You don’t have to pack my lunch every day” or “don’t worry about the house right now” or “don’t worry about cooking tonight, let’s just get a pizza.” (I am so busy that I don’t have much time to clean the house I’m renting, and more often than not, he offers to help me with the cleaning)! This simple act alone amazes me, because I was so used to having all the work on my shoulders. In the beginning of our relationship, I remember shaking at the thought of my house being messy before he was about to come over, and I would get frantic and scramble to get it clean, just like my ex husband always wanted me to.

        Another thing I remember from my abusive marriage in the past – I was scolded for wanting to take naps or sleep in on Saturdays. Once in a blue moon, the ex would permit me to sleep in, but usually, he wanted Saturdays to be a “work day.” (I wasn’t allowed to shower, put on makeup, fix my hair, etc.) I even remember one Saturday which was a designated work day, I sat down to eat a frozen dinner for lunch. I read a magazine while eating, so he accused me of having a “leisurely lunch.” It was horrible!

        I’m free to take as many naps as I want to now. Heck, the man I’m with takes naps as much as me, if not more! He is always helping me in some way. I remember being really sick several months back and coming home from work, and he dropped everything he was doing to come be with me. We are in church together every Sunday and spend a LOT of time just doing fun things that any young couple would do. We are both very outdoorsy types, so we are always out having fun together. Every day he tells me how beautiful I am, and eventually, I began to believe he actually meant what he said. He and his parents are very caring people when it comes to me, and all three of them will jump to my defense in a heartbeat. And one of the most important things is that I trust him… it took me a long time to get to that point, but he isn’t the cheating type. He’s been hurt, too, but despite that, he still doesn’t talk negatively about the one girl who really broke his heart years ago.

        I’m slowly learning (I think) how to balance things in a future marriage rather than be a slave.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Anonymous – Thank you for all of your input. But I think I will leave off this particular thread with you for now and may I recommend that you might consult with a professional therapist? I in no way mean that in a demeaning or insulting manner – hey, we all could use some therapy! But your words as follows concern me and make me wonder if you are just not seeing things as they truly are. Your description here seems like a fantasy out of a romance novel. I hope it is really true and we wish you the best.

        I’m free to take as many naps as I want to now. Heck, the man I’m with takes naps as much as me, if not more! He is always helping me in some way. I remember being really sick several months back and coming home from work, and he dropped everything he was doing to come be with me. We are in church together every Sunday and spend a LOT of time just doing fun things that any young couple would do. We are both very outdoorsy types, so we are always out having fun together. Every day he tells me how beautiful I am, and eventually, I began to believe he actually meant what he said. He and his parents are very caring people when it comes to me, and all three of them will jump to my defense in a heartbeat.

  7. lynn812

    I have searched for so long to hear these very words. This has been my experience and I am barely getting back on solid ground. God bless you Jeff and what Crying out for justice is doing. I am spreading the word in my own small way; you are a tremendous encouragement.

    • Jeff Crippen

      You are very welcome lynn812. And thank you for telling others about this place!

    • Anonymous

      God is with you, Lynn – right there, living in you via the Holy Spirit. He is holding you, loving you and has never left you, nor will He ever. You cannot escape Him. He is aiding you and leading you to the place of solace, where your feet will dance again. Don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid. His blessing resides with you.

  8. Anonymous

    I just want to add something to what I’ve said here, if I may. God’s will is not that we be abused. I think all of us here, get that. However, I am not saying that it is not God’s will that we are where we are in life. I am saying that “abuse” is not God’s will. So, when we are in these situations, God expects us to bring His will into whatever situation we are in. If we know it is not God’s will for us to be living in abuse, then we bring His will into the situation, by doing what we can to stop and end the abuse. That may mean counseling, separating or leaving or divorcing. All of that depends on “who” we are and where we are at in the abuse and in the relationship. We are responsible before God for our decisions, but yet God understands our weaknesses and also the effects that the abuse has had on us.

    To me, it has been too often that we have blamed God, by saying that every evil thing that happens is His will for us, and we are just locked into it, instead of realizing that evil is not His will and then getting help and doing something about it. That is His will – to get us out of the evil. God can and does certainly use the evil in our lives for good and to draw us even closer to Him and to teach us about Who He really is – that is His will for us as we are in the evil seeking to bring and accomplish His will in it, but the evil in and of itself, is not sent by God, nor God’s will for His people. That means we should be seeking freedom from it. Hope that makes sense.

  9. Anonymous

    Jeff, I apologize if I took up too much of this thread with my comments. Maybe I have more issues than I thought. This blog has just been so helpful to me in the past that I decided to start commenting. It really was helping me.

    • Jeff Crippen

      No need to apologize, anonymous. We just want the best for you and we hope that you continue to visit us.

  10. Anna

    I have been in a very emotionally abusive relationship with my husband for the past 12 years. He is an alcoholic and has used drugs. He has belittled me, been unkind, ignored me, refused to talk to me, threatened to leave and divorce me (back when I cared that was a bad thing) and has demanded sex from me and screamed at me in front of the children when I refused (because he was drunk mostly). He also has been abusive to the children, leaving them home alone, refusing to cook for them, ignoring them, calling them names like idiot, fat and stupid. He has been voluntarily unemployed for most of the last 7 years, only working a grand total of about 6 months out of all this time. Most often, he would get into arguments with his bosses or co-workers and be fired or quit in a rage. We are now separated and he wants to get back together. He’s not a believer and I don’t want to. Even though I care for him as a person and pray that God will heal and help him, I am not in love with him in the sense that a wife should be and I definitely am repulsed by him sexually. I don’t want to go back, but part of me feels that if I don’t, God will not bless my life and that I’ll be punished. I don’t think anyone else would ever want me, so I have lost hope of remarrying, but I am sad that I missed out on real love in my life. I’m glad I found this blog. It makes me feel better but I am still very confused.

    • Anonymous

      Anna there is nothing we can “do” to deserve or earn anything God gives to us, including His blessing. It is there for you, simply because you are His and He is faithful to His promises. I think we learn this “earn it” thing from years of abuse – but God is not on a contractual basis with us, where if we do this, then He will do that, type of thing. There are a lot of people here, who have gone through what you are going through and by reading some of the posts and comments here and listening to Ps. Crippen’s sermons, you will gain help and insight. Also, please check out the book list under resources. You will find several good resources there. Praying for you and sending you love and care from a distance, and may God’s blessing rest with you always – and it does.

    • Anna, you don’t need to go back to being raped by this man and watching your children be abused by him.

      God is your protector, not your accuser. Jesus came here to save the broken-hearted, and set captives free, not to crush and demean them. He weeps with those who weep, he doesn’t condemn them. He helps the oppressed. He shelters the weak. And anyone who would cause his children to stumble instead of welcoming them in his name “it would be better if they had a millstone around their neck” in the ocean.

      A few vague and much-debated verses about divorce are nothing compared to the hundreds about God’s desire to protect, heal, and shelter you. He does NOT intend for you to volunteer to be abused. That treatment is NOT, in any way, marriage … and no secular paper can make it into marriage. It is evil.

      And if your church stands on the side of the accuser and assists an abuser, then they do NOT represent God, nor do they hold his authority. Nobody can manipulate God’s authority … this is why there are many who stand before him saying, “Lord, Lord, I did all these things in your name!” and he responds, “I never knew you.”

      God only stands for who he actually is … and does not play along with the cartoon representations of his face that churches so often brandish over their members to keep them in line.

    • Otter

      Anna – the real “love of your life” is Christ. He will heal you. Trying to love an abusive man will never bring love or blessing into your life. Trust Him, and He will bring back your sense of self…your worth in Him (which is immense), and He will shower you with His love in so many ways. I remember how dark it was for me at the beginning, but hang in there and know that it is never God’s will to endure such hatred, abuse, and misery. God is love! Prayers for your healing.

      • Anna

        Thanks to all of you that replied to me. I saw my counselor last night and discussed why I feel so obligated to my husband. Finding this website, I think, is part of God showing me He cares. I prayed for so long for God to do something about the abuse…and maybe what He’s doing is letting me out of it. My children don’t want to be with their father and I cannot make them go back into such a situation. Deep down, I know this is true. Thanks so much for all your prayers. I will look into the book resources and listen to the sermons.

  11. Amy

    Wow, so beautifully written, and so true!

    I’ve always said that the day my ex walked out the door almost six years ago, was the day i took God off the back burner of my life and put Him front and center again where He used to be.
    After twenty years, the abuse had really taken a toll on me and I know felt deserving of God’s love nor did I have the time or energy left over for Him. Pretty sad, huh? I always felt I was too busy surviving and pretty soon just didn’t feel that God cared about me.

    Now He is the love of my life again.

    • Anonymous

      “I’ve always said that the day my ex walked out the door almost six years ago, was the day i took God off the back burner of my life and put Him front and center again where He used to be.”

      And we wonder if God wants us to stay in abusive marriages. Why would He ever want anything to come between us and Him? Simply put – He doesn’t. People may say that we are all just weak Christians, but the truth is, that they have not walked in our shoes and lived in such immense destruction. Thanks for this Amy and glad that you have the love of your life back in His rightful place again!

      • Amy

        I agree…God does not want us to just stay and suffer through abuse, but unfortunately, when Christians all around you say, it’s your “lot in life” and “God will reward you greatly”, and whatever other nonsense is said, you begin to wonder what a Christian is truly to do.
        After years of crying out to God to show me the way, to show me what He would have me do…stay or leave…I felt He was silent and in that silence, did not care or love me. For if my ex seemed to hate me so bad, if I truly was a rotten person and obviously brought on the abuse because of it, then I surely wasn’t good enough for God.
        So, I put Him on the back burner of my life, because I just didn’t have time anymore trying to figure out what He would have me do. I was too busy trying to make it through each day and be the best I could be so my then husband would like me better, would treat me better, would actually come to love and cherish me.

        And the funny thing is, when I look back over those years of desperately crying out to God for help, I can see very clearly that He did answer me. He did send help in various forms. Through certain people, through books I read, through sermons I heard, and through His Word. He did speak to me, but I was so scared to leave, I was so full of doubts and shame, and whatever else there was, that I was blind to the help He did send.

        Interestingly, the day after my ex walked out I opened my bible up and turned to Psalm 118:5: “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.”
        I realized that day that God had not left me. He had been with me the whole time, loved me as His beautiful daughter that I was and am, and finally set me free from a destructive marriage at just the right moment.

        I think it is very hard to remember how much God loves us when we feel so unloved in abusive marriages. We come to think we don’t deserve His love and that He could not possibly love someone like us who seems to be a mess and so horrible that their own spouse doesn’t care for them.

        Meditating on the Psalms after my ex left helped me begin to see how wonderful and beautiful I am to the Lord. I realized for the first time that I am His. I am His daughter and just as I love my own children, He loves me even more.

      • Anna

        Yes, so many just DON’T understand what is’ like to be put down, abused and belittled every single day of your life. They want to say we’re weak and need to submit. What about when you’ve submitted everything to this person and are still suffering? What about when you pray constantly for things to get better and they never do?

        About 6 years ago, I started asking God to take care of my abusive relationship. I imagined at that time that He would let my husband be saved, converted, or changed somehow to stop being mean and abusive. But, He did not. Instead, He started revealing to me that the abuse was not right and that I didn’t need to be in it. He started giving me a longing to live a peaceful life apart from the abuser. Yes, it has taken me this long to leave, but I am a slow mover and feel that God has been leading me to this point for so long. I don’t know why God did not choose to restore the marriage, but I just have to go with what He is doing to the best of my ability.

      • Amy

        Anna,
        My abusive marriage lasted 20 years. I became a believer about 10 years into that marriage and spent the next 10 years begging, crying, pleading with God to change things.
        So whether it takes 6, 10 or 20 years, I’m grateful you are now living a peaceful life away from your abuser.

  12. Ellie

    Oh Anna, I understand. Have you listened to the sermon series? It is so helpful in clearing the fog. There is so much confusion in the place you are now. You don’t have to live with an abuser in order to receive God’s blessing. I had SO MUCH FEAR that I would ruin my children, that XH would never go to church again if I didn’t ____. You don’t have to live with an abuser to have God’s blessing.

    • Anna

      Ellie, where can I find the sermon series? I saw some of Pastor Jeff Crippen’s sermons on SermonAudio but I wonder if there are specific ones dealing with these situations.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Anna,
        My sermon series on Domestic Violence can be found on our Resources pages. Look under Online Resources and scroll down to Sermons

  13. Happy2bhere

    This has given me some reassurance that God does care. It is just so difficult because living with an abuser throws off just about everything. I find myself overcompensating with my children as well as other areas that I never did before. Also under doing things because i just dont have the energy. Until I read some others comments, I didn’t really understand why. Also, I started yelling back at my abuser because I’ve really lost patience for it all, and i dont want to be that way. i have to keep telling myself its a waste of breath because he is just too irrational. I’m too afraid to leave because I don’t trust him and his adult children around our daughter, who is too little to even speak let alone defend herself. One way or another I guess he takes center stage in my mind instead of God because im too busy wondering what is next. It really angers me to be in this situation and reading this post really gave me strength today and a renewed trust in God that I haven’t felt in a very long time. Something that my abuser can’t take away from me!

    • Anna

      I have felt what you do many times. I don’t trust my spouse or his family around my children but I know that living in the home with him is so much more damaging. For so long, I felt that I couldn’t leave because he’d try to take my children as he threatened to do. Now, I’ve left and he isn’t trying to take the kids. I know, though, that even if he does, I have counselors’ statements for me and the kids saying that we have undergone severe abuse from him. Are you in counseling? If you can be, maybe you should be…if you cannot safely, then that’s understandable. I know how controlled your life is as mine is too, even after leaving. I pray that God will reveal His love to you and all of us who have suffering and are still suffering abuse.

  14. Laurie

    Like?!?

    No…where is the LOVE button?!?!?!

    This has been my personal battle for YEARS now, probably since 2003 when I was told that God hates divorce and I needed to stay with my abuser because God expected me to so that I could go to heaven when I die, even if my abuser never changed. And I now know that God hates this type of mentality MORE than divorce, because it distorts the TRUE LOVE of God that HE paid SO HIGH a PRICE to GIVE me.

    Oh, the tears, the prayers, the Comfort of the Comforter that I have experienced and yet it is SO easy to fall prey to this deception, that my true value equals what my abuser or his religious cronies say that I am.

    Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, GOD….”
    Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Our Ace up our sleeve! All the love is of God, not of mankind!

    • Anonymous

      Yes Laurie. Also, when we are told to go home and submit more to a spouse who is abusing us and drawing us away from Christ, we are literally being told to go home and keep being prey to satan’s desire to destroy us. I don’t know how to make people understand, but I know that Jesus knows it firsthand and understands it very well.

  15. Anonymous

    I was a strong Christian, or at least thought I was, before I married. I was missions and ministry minded and even move away to go to school to prep for ministry. Since I married, somewhere along the way I was cast into the role of the horrible wife who hinders her husband from ministry. He has used ministry as an excuse for keeping up ridiculously poor, constantly in debt, and not allowing me to have friends outside the church – until I stopped letting him isolate me. Now I isolate myself. Have joking, half not.

    Anyway, I had a great relationship with the Lord & I though my to be husband was on fire for the Lord. He had an amazing conversion story. Through the years, due to his abusive put-downs, his abusive admonitions, his using the Bible against me (even though I knew Scripture as well as he when we married thanks to the 2 great teaching churches I went to), his accusing me of not even being a Christian and being a pawn of Satan, his ministry getting blessed & he always getting what he wanted at our expense, I gradually came to doubt God’s love. It seemed like God loved my abuser and not me and I was being punished. God seemed to bless him and his ministry, everyone at church like him and thought we were a great couple, but I was increasingly miserable. It was all so confusing – I felt like I was in some sort of Christian prison, like I was in a cult again, even though I wasn’t.

    I have struggled with feeling alienated from God off and on over the years because of the abuse. I forgot all the Scripture I had memorized over the years. I couldn’t read Scripture sometimes without reading judgement for me, even though I was assured of my salvation. I thought how could God be loving, if this was his will for me? I entered this marriage in good faith, trusting God, trusting my husband, trusting that if we worked together and trusted in the Lord together, it would be good. Hard work, but good.

    He was such a good talker. He still is. He grew up in the church and knows church culture and knows just what to say and how to say it to sound good. We are now in a church with a lot of people who grew up in the church and grew up in the area, so they are comfortable with his church talk. He sounds so godly. I don’t think people who grew up in the church and were never really “in the world” understand how different it all is for those of us who didn’t. The other churches I’ve been a part of were more of a mix of lifelong believers (or churchgoers at least) and those who were converted as adults.

    For a while my son and I couldn’t read the Bible without hearing my husband’s voice reading his own distorted, judgmental application into it. Thankfully, that is not the case now. However, I still struggle with my faith and with knowing God loves me, I mean knowing it in my heart, not just my head, as one poster put it.

    It’s still hard believing God loves me. But I am able to spend time with him most days, when I was not for a very long time. Because of my overwhelming emotions all I could manage was a brief devotional. I wanted to use My Daily Bread because it was so accessible and doable. But my husband had always criticized it. So I felt guilty and fearful of using it. But years ago I got the courage to start and it has been a blessing to me ever since.

    Because of all I’ve been through, at my husband’s hands (or tongue) and at the hands of other believers as well, has made me now question my place in the church. Outwardly, I think I look like I belong. But inwardly I struggle with where I fit in in the church. I don’t feel I belong anywhere. I feel like a step child. For years I felt like God’s step-daughter. Now I know I really am his daughter, but I still feel like a step-child in the church.

    I hope I am making sense.

  16. G. F. Mom

    As it turns out, my blog dashboard’s reader displays the titles and snippets of posts in a way where I can scroll and scroll, which I find much easier. This post jumped out at me because I didn’t really find it resonated with my experiences. I think I am seeing that most victims here have been able to tolerate more than I can.

    In my experience I found God. My husband was being so selfish and blind not seeing how hard I was trying to be a perfect traditional wife and still no relief of his depression and in fact he repayed me with more jerkiness. He was very negative and grumpy after probably over a week of doing my best to pull him out of the depression. I despaired to suicidal thoughts. You don’t want me to elaborate, trust me.

    But it caused me to reach out to God like a desperate child begging Him for help because I felt the walls were darkening and closing in on me and there was no hope (to be seen) for my husband or my children to survive/ be “Saved” without me. And I was now depressed because I thrive on cheerfulness. But I prayed and asked God’s help and my husband called on the phone and when I asked if he could just take us for a drive and _________, I think he realized how bad he needed to change for me, and he did. God took a jerk and made him start to listen and nurture me back to health. I felt it was God through him. I though he was finally Born-Again. And now, 7 years later he hasn’t ever been that depressed again or as much of a jerk.

    Whenever his behavior gets really bad (for me), I do everything I can to get out but I don’t think I can tolerate what all these women here have tolerated. I suffered in my marriage a lot from his mom who we lived with, and then she lived with us for 10 years I suffered with her. My husband tried to cleave to me more but within his idea of reason because he was emotionally enmeshed with her and with his twin brother and older sister who are all somewhat bullies. I had to learn to be real and raw about my feelings and speak out and get out of my comfort zone and go ahead and say what sounds rude and politely distance myself as much as possible.

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