A Cry For Justice

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

Revised Edition of “Not Under Bondage” is in the pipeline

Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion will be coming out in a revised edition. It will be in various formats: audio book, paperback and all e-book formats (not just Kindle).

Nearly ten years ago a lady emailed me asking if my book was in audio version. The lady was supporting a survivor of abuse whose abuser had given her a brain injury that disabled her from reading print. This motivated me to record an audio version of my book. I did that in 2011. I never published the audio book, I only gave it away to a few survivors who preferred to listen to the spoken word rather than read text.

I had intended to publish the audio book on Amazon Audible, but several things held me back. Firstly, I did not have the tech skills to get it into the right format to upload it to Amazon, and I was afraid of asking / paying someone to help me do that. I fear ridicule and disbelief. I didn’t want to work with with anyone who might (even covertly) scoff at my Christian beliefs and think I was a fool for believing what I believe. I wanted to find someone who would be nice to me. Yes; I lack courage! My dad had scoffed many times at Christian beliefs. Those wounds went deep.

I wanted to find an audio technician I could work in the same room with. Communicating by email or phone is not the same. My book is like my baby and I’m like a helicopter parent: I want to closely oversee what anyone is doing to my book.

Secondly, a couple of years after recording the audio, I changed my mind on church discipline for domestic abuse (link). This meant I needed to revise my book. Although I made several attempts at revising the book, I always gave up. It was ‘too hard’. I plugged away at the ACFJ blog instead.

Then my first book designer (who was a Christian) shut down his business. This meant that I if I was ever going to publish the revised edition as a paperback, I needed to find another book designer. I was afraid of having to work with a book designer who would probably not be a Christian. My negative self-talk was my enemy.

Over the years, many people asked me if my book could be made into an e-book. I promised that I would do so… but failed to fulfill my promise. I had offers of help from people overseas, but I flinched and failed to take up their offers too.

No-one in the churches I attended cared enough to ask me about all the fears I had of working on my book. I would drop hints about how I felt, but no one took them up.

There was a lot going on in my life… I kept putting it off. The whole project of the Revised Edition became an albatross round my neck.

I hate writing about myself.  So it is hard for me to write this post – the only way I can write it is as a confessional.

I think I also had some PTSD from writing the first edition. It was terribly hard to write the first edition and then figure out how to publish it. I had never wept out all that pain – I had bottled it, because no one I mingled with face to face seemed to care enough to hear it.

But now there is good news. A guy I know here in Melbourne recently offered to edit my recording into the right format for Amazon Audible. His offer was a godsend. He is an unbeliever; but he is nice, friendly, and he does not scoff at my beliefs. His offer gave me the boost I needed to revise the book.

Over the last couple of weeks I figured out what to delete and what to replace in the printed text. The replacements had to be almost the same word length as the deletions, so that the page numbering in the revised paperback would not have to be changed. (If the page numbering had to be changed, that would have meant the indexes had to be changed.)

The audio guy told me what microphone to buy and helped me record the revised sections. He did all this voluntarily. He said he enjoyed doing it and he learned new skills.

I now have to review the audio files that he has edited, to make sure they are all correct. Then my next task will be to go to the book designer I have chosen, and get her to incorporate my revisions into the text. She will be able to put it into e-book versions. It is my intention that the Revised Edition will come out this year (2020).

Please pray for me that I will have the determination and courage to finish this project. Pray that I will not allow myself to be dragged under by the guilt-loop of self-condemnation.

I will still be publishing posts at this blog, but they may be shorter posts than usual. (Some of my readers may sigh with relief to hear that!)

Thank you to all readers of this blog.

And especial thanks to those who submit comments at the blog — you are the ones I feel most fellowship with in these days where church congregations offer so little genuine fellowship to survivors of abuse.

 

18 Comments

  1. Lisa Bailey

    God bless you and thank you for proceeding! I know the enemy doesn’t want your book to be heard. That is why it has been a struggle.  This is your story to tell and I believe God has allowed it so that you will share with everyone seeking your experience, regardless of judgement past, present or future, you are the only one that can share your wisdom and understanding!  Blessings! Lisa 

  2. Mary

    Barbara
    It’s in moments like these, I know there is a God. Your post today talked almost exactly to my situation.

    I’m a survivor of [over two decades] years of psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse by my husband and a lifetime of it by my sister. Like you, I’ve been working on a project to educate others but I’ve been stuck.

    Today I tried again after praying and reading God’s word. Jesus said “my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. I am moving forward because I read that. I’m moving forward with Him.

    I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for your work. It helps a lot and keep going. I’m in [another country] so I can’t offer to meet up, but I’m your sister and friend in Jesus.

    [Some details in the comment airbrushed for safety and protection. Editors.]

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Mary,

      For your safety and protection, I have slightly modified the screen name you submitted with your comment.

      You appear to have submitted your real name. By deleting your last name, you become somewhat safer, as we have had other commenters named Mary.

      • Mary

        Thanks 💖

    • Thank you Mary. 🙂

      If it’s safe to do so, would you like to share something about the project you are working on to educate others?

      • Mary

        Hi Barbara
        In 2008, I began to realise my husband’s behaviour was intentional. He made excuses, such as, “I’m selfish” and “I’ve tried to change, but I can’t”. I began to notice his pleasure at my pain. I could hear the sighs of relief when he made me cry. I had awoken to the fact he was a danger to me.

        I began to educate myself and was reaching out for help. Women’s aid were great but they specialised in physical abuse. I still felt misunderstood, and also, I had a very painful broken heart.

        I got on my knees and prayed. My journey since then has been guided by God. It’s been very long and hard but when I look back at the milestones, I see God rebuilt me. He made me my rescuer.

        Now I want to offer the support I was looking for. I’m working on workshops to educate women and the service providers they will reach out to. I also want to educate church leaders to help them recognise when women are in danger.

        I want to provide understanding of what happened to them and why it happened. I want them to be able to tell their story until they don’t need to tell it anymore. They will arrive at the day when it doesn’t matter if people know the truth because they know and they know how to live their truth. No more false reality.

        My background is in people development and I’m qualified in this area. Sadly my career was a casualty of my situation. I’ve done voluntary work through my church and been on the board of my local community development trust.

        Now it’s time for me to get back to what I’m good at, with the passion to support others and taking the yoke of Jesus as my partner. When my material is finished, I will send a link to my website 💖

      • Thanks Mary 🙂 I wish you every success with your project.

        In my experience, very few church leaders are willing to be educated about domestic abuse, especially if the person offering the education is a survivor of abuse and a female. I hope you have more success in that goal than I have had. What really irks me is that of the few church leaders who read my work, most of them do NOT publicly endorse my work or share it with their colleagues. They may recommend my work to a survivor of abuse, but they don’t recommend it to their peers.

      • Mary

        Thanks Barbara
        I’m not surprised by that. My husband came along to church, mainly to check up on me. He called himself a Christian. In the background I was pouring my heart out to the pastor and told him everything about the abuse. He never challenged him. My husband’s disrespect was obvious. He pretended to fall asleep during sermons. He was rude and didn’t make any attempt to build a relationship with God. He saw church as another playground to fool people and display his power. It was only when I separated from him that he stopped going. None of the men challenged him. I’m not sure they believed me. I remember after telling my pastor about an incident where he treated me like a slave, he said “that’s just men”.
        I’ll try, knowing it will be very difficult, but remembering, Jesus is my partner in this. Much love Barbara. Your work is very important and valuable. Your YouTube video on the Levite’s concubine is a masterpiece. I learned so much from that. 💖

  3. Hope

    Thank you Barbara! Carry on, stay strong in the Lord as I know you already are, this is important work and very few are called to do it.
    Thank you also for the link to your previous post, I read it and it was excellent.
    God Bless you!

  4. Hadassah's Legacy

    I hear you, Barb. I have tossed back and forth about my own writing, and I’m so grateful my prayers for a way forward were recently answered too – staring me in the face, but I couldn’t see it without those ups and downs. I’m very excited for you that you have forward-motion on your revised edition and multiple formats. Many blessings to you. You didn’t give up, though you got stuck for awhile. You pushed through the sodden trenches, and Jesus has given you a hand up to dry ground to find rest at last (busy though you may be, your soul can rejoice!). xx

  5. Janice Mcadams

    Thank you for the vulnerability of your “confessional”. Our God knows we are frail and weak but that just shows how much we need Him. His power is revealed in our weakness as we “cry out”. It looks like all came together in His timing. You are a beautiful vessel of His. Thank you! Jan

  6. Lord is with her

    Barbara,
    I want to encourage you.
    We need you!
    You have helped and are helping more people then you realize.

    Including myself who was married to a covert abuser for nearly 4 decades.
    So crazy how I didn’t even know it as abuse but was taught it was the “Christian” mans leadership. So young, unknowingly I was groomed.
    Thank you, Thank you for you help in leading so many out of the darkness into the light!
    I appreciate your honesty in struggles. I am praying for strength, encouragement and the right people are sent to help you and the resources are delivered to complete your audio book. May the Lord guide you and direct you and increase your boldness and strength. I have read your book and I can say it is extremely helpful though it is hard to see and read through tears. Audio would be great for so many who may not be able to read or hide a book from their abuser.
    May God encourage you.

    Ps 138
    Esv
    1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; 2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.[1] 3 On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.[2] 4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, 5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.

    6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. 8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands

    [Scripture placed in blockquotes by Reaching Out. Editors.]

  7. Sister

    Barbara,

    Congratulations on your book update! Please let us know when it will be available. In one of your comments to Mary you said,

    What really irks me is that of the few church leaders who read my work, most of them do NOT publicly endorse my work or share it with their colleagues. They may recommend my work to a survivor of abuse, but they don’t recommend it to their peers.

    They are gutless. They know the theological “Biblical” script we’ve been indoctrinated with does not work and is in fact dangerous/destroys victims of abuse. Your book gives relief because it demonstrates that the script is in fact incorrect — which is life saving and relieves false guilt from Satan and his false doctrine. They can in good conscience help some victims using your book, but they are not wiling to pay the cost of going against the party line of what is said to be Biblical but is not, especially when the person exposing the false theology did not go to seminary and even worse is a woman. Gasp!

    • Hi Sister, I think the last paragraph in your comment is pretty spot on.

      I will certainly let readers know when the revised edition is available. I can’t predict the timing. Yesterday I spent many hours working on how to revise the end-notes to make them consistent with the revisions I’m making in the main text. It is very difficult, because I want, as far as possible, to avoid altering the numbering of the end-notes. I also want to avoid altering the pagination (the numbering of the pages) because that would mean I had to overhaul all the indexes.

  8. This comment is from Sojourn. She is a new commenter. She has been having trouble submitting her comment so I’m posting it here on her behalf. She writes:

    Hi Barb, so glad that the time has come to get all your electronic ducks in a row for the ebook and the new edition. I have just passed along two of your books to friends and acquaintances… even one today. It still boggles the mind how many women endure such abuse and cannot easily find the necessary escape route. Bless you much… you are appreciated…

  9. Helovesme

    Wow, Barb. I’m sorry I’m so late to the party but I read the first few lines of your post and got pulled in right away. I only paused to let you know how much your words drew me in.

    You writing about your feelings about writing really highlighted how hard good writing is. There is no doubt that you put your all into whatever you write or write about, and while that’s SO awesome, we forget that that often comes at a price.

    When the woman with the flow of blood touched His hem, seemingly thinking that would not only heal her, but that He wouldn’t notice. She was right on one count, wrong on the other!

    He said He knew power has gone out from Him. So He was affected when He gave of Himself. I can only imagine how “drained” you must have felt at times while writing your book or the posts, answering difficult questions and reading very emotional comments about abuse and its aftermath. I can’t imagine how much “power” goes out of you as you engage in these very exhausting, but rewarding tasks.

    I got that this was a hard post to write. You use your real name, the rest of us do not! For me, I am grateful for it because so much of what you said resonated with me. Being scoffed at is hard. Being ridiculed is no better. Admitting you are afraid is no picnic, either—especially as a Christian, it can be perceived as a lack of faith and therefore sinful. Fear, IMO, is an emotion or a state of mind that should not automatically be treated as sinful. It may be coming from all sorts of places, and it’s wrong to immediately condemn oneself, or be condemned by others.

    I also know what you meant when you said you would drop hints, but no one took them up. Or, perhaps they weren’t paying close enough attention?

    Even if you know they are wrong; it still hurts. I phrase it like this: picture their put downs as bullets in a gun, and they fire them at you. I tell people who “fire” at me: Did you think you were firing “blanks” at me? No, you weren’t. Words are powerful. Seasoned, maturing Christians have no excuse to not know this, and live as if they know this. The Bible doesn’t minimize how much this matters.

    I too have found a certain level of warmth and acceptance from non Christians. It has helped me out a lot when sadly, professing Christians did not come through for me. I’m so glad you found someone to work with that is treating you with respect. And I will be praying!! I am 100% convinced the Lord will bless your hands and heart, and others will be blessed as a result, including yourself. It’s pretty amazing when you look back and see what He brought you through—in all the ups and downs you faced, His faithfulness never wavered!

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