You Can Do This . . .
After being in an abusive marriage for a long time, we women often believe that we cannot possibly get out. It is irrational, when I think back now, but I truly believed there was no out. And that brought a hopelessness and despair that was unbearable. Indeed, it brought death to my soul. I wanted to die. Many of us understand this. And, now, when I think about the reasons that kept me in for way too long, I just can hardly comprehend the craziness of it all. But, such was my world — crazy. And the reasons I stayed — the spiritual, fear-filled reasons — were not particularly noble. But, they were very much my reality. And, now, when I talk with other women who are in abusive relationships, I never ever tell them to go. That is their decision. But, I do try to uncover the reasons behind the reasons . . . the fear-based reasons. Everything in me wants to physically go over to where these precious daughters of the King are staying, pick them up out of the rubble and bring them to safety. We all want that. Everyone on the team struggles with this same dynamic. But . . . you all have free will. And we would never, ever do what your abuser does — control you. (If you were in physical danger, I think we would all agree that something must be said or done. But, even then, we cannot force. All we can do is warn and offer aid).
But . . . without saying too much, having come through it all . . . not that I have “arrived” . . . but knowing what it was like at the beginning, middle and then . . . freedom, I do want to say this: If you are staying because you think your husband will change, good. If you are staying because the abuse seems fixable, good. If you are staying because God has not, yet, released you, then stay. If you are staying because God has empowered you to do so, then stay. There are many, many good reasons to stay. Sometimes, we just see snippets of abuse. We all get a little sinful now and then. Sometimes, we are just in a “difficult marriage” that can be worked on and made beautiful. But, other times, we stay in a consistently abusive death-bringing relationship / marriage because:
- We think no one will want us (damaged goods).
- We think that God will no longer be with us.
- We think we cannot handle life alone.
- We think we cannot raise the children alone.
- We think no one would want someone with a gaggle of kids.
- We think our life will be over.
- We think this is as good as it will get.
- We think we cannot provide for ourselves or that God will not provide for us.
Now . . . just look at that list of lies. Just look. I haven’t seen so many lies in one place in all my life. Every single one of these statements is exactly the opposite of victorious Christian living. And all of these lies claim that we are living this life alone and apart from God’s power. All of these bullet points say, “God does not and will not take care of me.” Oh, how it must break His heart! God cares so incredibly deeply about your situation . . . more than we can fathom. Early on, a friend gave me this verse:
And the people trusted and listened believingly that God was concerned with what was going on with the Israelites and knew all about their affliction. They bowed low and they worshiped. (Ex. 4:31, The Message)
God knows . . . He knows. And he is concerned. If we think that God’s love for us is conditioned on whether or not we stay with an abuser, then we need to better understand who God is. Working at staying with an abuser is work. Christ’s love for us is not determined by our works. He goes with us everywhere, if we have surrendered our lives to Him.
If you, or someone you know, is staying in an abusive relationship for all the lies . . . please help counter-act this with truth. Or, allow the truth to be a louder voice in your heart than any other voice. It is not easy. But . . . we believe in you! And we believe in the God that you serve!