Snatched from the fire
One year ago, I was not strong enough to leave. I was in a fog that is only now being cleared by The Lord, as I’ve made an escape from the abuse.
I believed that if it were just him and me, I would’ve let myself die. I could not see that he was slowly killing me, and my children. The strength Christ gave me was to rise up from the decay, and save my children and follow Him.
I stayed for years. In the last several years, I experienced an auto immune disorder triggered by extreme stress which was very debilitating.
The depression in me worsened, even when I became a semi physically functioning person again. The severe PTSD from my long-term abuse as a child (by several malignant narcissists in my family of origin) had me already in intensive counseling, trying to get better, and in hopes have a happy, godly, whole life with my family.
Counseling was painful. It would bring up horrific memories, flashbacks. My husband relished seeing me distraught when I was having flashbacks. He took delight in mocking me at such times.
The more depressed I got, the more he enjoyed it.
When I saw the symptoms of severe distress my children were showing, I reported them to a friend. She said that she believed I was being abused by my husband. I wept. The bandaid came off; the floodgates opened.
Upon requesting simple prayer for myself and my children, people started coming forward, telling me they suspected abuse for long time but didn’t know how to say it, and that they noticed something wrong with my husband but couldn’t put their finger on it.
I stayed longer, past your telling me he was an abuser because I didn’t want to believe that the person I clung to, and fled to from an abusive childhood, was also abusing me. I couldn’t see what was right in front of me.
So, here I am, I’ve now left him and I’m in a safe place, waiting to move into my own place. My husband is switching tactics to make me afraid to carry this out. Gift giving. The nice guy routine. Trying to guilt me by saying that kids from broken homes don’t thrive. Threatening me.
Before I left, I poured out my story to the pastor’s wife. After hearing me cry my eyes out for about two hours, she said two things: “Well, to be honest, I was expecting it to be a lot worse, so that’s good. But I also think you need to be careful in considering leaving… at first, it may feel exciting like you are on a vacation. You’ll feel this freedom. I just worry once you feel this freedom, it will hinder your desire for reconciliation.”
I was stunned. Felt like I had just been under surgery for hours, baring my guts and heart — and was thrown off the table. Yet the Spirit of The Lord came up inside of me and I remembered everything I read from A Cry For Justice and told her, “Many churches today are guilty of making marriage an idol over the welfare of women and children and I will not be a part of that.”
Thank you to the anonymous survivor who allowed us to share this. Her original email to Jeff gave a lot more details of the horrors she has been through.
Her story reminded me (Barb) of the first part of verse 23 in Jude:
22 And indeed, have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; and to still others, show mercy tempered with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh. (Berean Study Bible)
22 And indeed have mercy on those who are doubting; 23 and save others, snatching them out of the fire; and show mercy to others with fear, hating even the clothing having been stained by the flesh. (Berean Literal Bible)
I (Barb) presume the Berean Literal Bible uses italics like the KJV does. Take out the italics and you have:
And indeed have mercy on those who are doubting; and save others, snatching out of fire; and show mercy to others with fear, hating even the clothing having been stained by the flesh.
Victims of domestic abuse have been in fire. The dragon-breath of the abusers. The fire that shrivels. The fire that desiccates. The fire that kills skin, leaving raw flesh. The blast of radiant heat from the church when it stigmatizes the victim for leaving the abuser. God is using ACFJ to snatch them out of that fire.
When I became a pastor, my assumption was that I was supposed to be saving people’s souls via the gospel and teaching the flock into maturity. You know what I mean. Not that I would save them, but I mean leading the lost to Christ.
It turns out that I have to say the first 25 years of my ministry were wilderness years, relatively unfruitful. Very few genuinely saved. MUCH discouragement, depression, and heartache, ready to quit most every day. Wishing I could quit.
So it turns out that those wilderness years were all just preparation in the school of abuse.
Now the fruit comes, and it isn’t quite at all like I had been told it would be. We are seeing people “saved” every single day. Saved from evil.
Out of the ruins.