A Cry For Justice

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

Barbara Roberts is giving up writing for the public

I have decided to give up writing for the public. I made this decision about 3 a.m. on Friday 22 April. I had been very depressed and suffering from high anxiety and insomnia for weeks, if not months, before I made the decision. I had also been battling suicide. That night it became really clear to me: either I keep on battling thoughts of suicide, or I give up writing; either I continue feeling suicidal (risking breaking the commandment Thou shalt not kill.) or I give up writing thus breaking the promises have I made to my readers and failing to fulfil my intention to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage and write a second book. I decided to give up writing….and immediately felt enormous relief because the suicidal ideation had stopped.

Since then, my counselor has formed the view that I am suffering from burn-out. He told me that recovery from burn-out takes an average of five years. When he had burn-out, it took him seven years to recover!

I do not know whether this decision is for the remainder of my days on this earth, or whether it means I am taking a long “sabbatical”. All I know is that if I even think about continuing to write or picking up writing again at some later stage, the anxiety and tears rise up like a flood and I have to divert my thoughts very quickly.

I appreciate what my assistant, Reaching Out, said when I told her my decision:

The promises you made to ACFJ readers (and potentially to others) to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage or write a second book were made under different circumstances — there is no way you could have known when you made those promises what the future would bring. And if trying to keep those promises keeps you away from everything that brings you life, joy, etc., the promises aren’t worth anything, and trying to keep them would imply the books are more valuable than your life.

I will keep both of my blogs online (this one, and Mystery of Iniquity).

I may, if I feel like it, update, simplify and amend the FAQ pages.

If my conscience really compels me, I may amend a few of the existing posts by adding a caveat to Jeff Crippen’s posts where he teaches that Christians are not sinners.

My assistant, Reaching Out, might sometimes write a simple post or do a variation on re-blogging. While considering this possibility, she is not giving any undertakings. If she does publish any new posts, they will not be open to comments. From time to time, she or I may add a link to an existing post.

I will keep comments open at this blog, but I can’t promise to do so indefinitely. I don’t know what will transpire in my life. If a survivor were to pour out her / his story in a comment and I were not able to reply in the way I have done in the past, that would be a dereliction of my duty of care to hurting survivors. Therefore, if I no longer have the will or energy to respond to commenters who pour out their gut-wrenching stories, I may close the blog to comments.

I will be not be shutting down ACFJ’s Facebook page. If I were to shut it down completely, the evidence of Ps Jeff Crippen’s mistreatment of me would be no longer visible. It’s important to keep that evidence online because Sister links to it at her blog, Sister’s Blog. I will keep ACFJ’s Twitter account going for the sole purpose of publicizing any new posts that Reaching Out might publish; very few follow the ACFJ Twitter account anyway.

This blog will likely have to change its appearance and layout, because the support for WordPress’s Classic Editor will be stopping soon. This may affect the ACFJ posts, pages, and comments. My assistant, Reaching Out, will make these changes. Please pray for her. She is a godsend!

The annual amount I receive as an Amazon Associate at this blog (US$90) is less than the cost of keeping the blog online and ad-free (US$138). So it is ethically okay for this blog to keep participating in the Amazon Associates Program.

What has worn me out?

In no particular order: Pandemic fatigue. Being disregarded by so many other advocates. Being scorned and even slandered and bullied by some advocates. Being misunderstood by most church leaders who have read my book or taken a look at my blog. Being lied to by some really eminent men in Christendom who indicated they read my book when they had not. Receiving fewer and fewer comments at this blog. Being ignored, and in some cases blocked, by abuse advocates on Twitter. Feeling too old to learn new techno skills….and annoyed that technology keeps demanding I learn new skills in order to stay in the loop. Having survivors appreciate it when I point out the dynamics of abuse and how churches mishandle it, yet most of those survivors do not appreciate it when I write in-depth posts about Christian maturity and interpreting scripture. Being too tired to do all the hard work that’s required to publish another book, which would entail finding a new book designer (my last book designer gave up his business and became a truck driver!) and learning the ropes of publishing in the digital age. It’s too emotionally risky for me to do all that again only to face more disregard and misunderstanding from the church for any new book I published. Feeling like I’m speaking into the wind.

A word to my few faithful readers

I know I have a few readers who have appreciated the depth and complexity of what I have written. I thank each and every one of those readers, your feedback is one of the things that kept me going for so long. Bless you. May you continue to hold up your candles and spotlights to shine the truth on abuse in the church. Even if that only means telling yourself the truth when no one else will believe you.

***

Further Reading

We must also build up — by Sarah McDugal. Gives good advice about how to discern a good leader or advocate from a not-so-good leader or advocate. Note: while I think her post sets out some good principles, I not convinced that Sarah McDugal has consistently followed those principles in her own career as an advocate.

92 Comments

  1. Mary Ann

    God bless you, Barbara, for your selfless service to so many for so long.

  2. Auriel

    Dear Barbara,
    On a selfish level I am sad to read your news. However, on a human level, I am glad that you have made a bold decision for self-care. You will never know how much you have helped me. You are a light on my path. Rest, God will refresh and revive you in His good time. Use these years for yourself and your relationship with God, Barbara. Be selfish, let the fight go on without you. You are precious and I am holding you up to God with great thanks. God bless your journey. 💖💖💖

  3. Beloved

    I deeply appreciate you – your writing gift, the personal support you gave me and the information in this blog. I’m happy that you’re taking care of yourself. This is a dark evil topic. May this time away bring you refreshing, joy, freedom and complete restoration from everything the enemy stole. You are a blessing and you are LOVED!!!!

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Beloved,

      For your safety and protection, I changed the screen name you submitted with your comment to Beloved, the screen name you used most recently on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  4. Old Timer

    God bless you, Barbara.

    I had only just begun to receive your posts. What a disappointment that it comes this late. All the things you speak of, the reasons for the burn-out, I relate to. The suicidal thoughts, the anxiety and not being listened to, being mis-represented, it all just grinds one into the ground.

    I know those 3 am nights; the sense that you are all on your own, and digging far deeper than most go. My prayers for you, and hope that you recover.

    If there were a way to correspond I’d be grateful.

    Love and best regards,

    Steve

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Old Timer,

      My apologies. I made a very few minor changes to your comment, as some of the characters — apostrophes, etc. — were the computer coding for that character, rather than the actual character itself. I think I’ve managed to keep the intent of your comment. Please let me know if I’ve made any errors.

  5. Grateful

    Ohhhhh — you’re describing a weariness of Jeremiah-like proportions. My heart goes out to you. I pray you’ll find REST in Christ Jesus….God was wise to mandate the weekly and 7-year and 49-year sabbaths for His people….and now our great Sabbath is our precious Lord Jesus (book of Hebrews). May He restore you and refresh you as you lay down these burdens and place yourself into His gentle care, however long that takes. It was THIS blog that first alerted me (back in [year redacted]) that my daughter was being abused by her evil husband. I’ll be forever grateful for your work and your ministry.

    [For safety and protection, the year was redacted. Editors.]

  6. Your Sister in Christ

    Barbara, your book has saved my life. It was instrumental in waking me up and realizing that I was in an abusive situation. And it took me years to get out. I am out and I feel like God has restored me. I’m still working through the issues and struggling with helping the children out of the mess but we’re making progress.

    I’m so sorry that life has been hard on you because of your ministry. But please know your ministry has been helpful and life-saving.

    I am in the middle of my divorce so commenting on anything is not allowed in order to protect the outcome of my divorce. I need to make sure nothing can be used against me.

    I know you’ve been struggling for a very long time. Please know I am grateful for your efforts and your sacrifice. I wish you the very best.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  7. Aussie

    Dear Barbara,
    You are incredibly careful and thorough in the posts on this blog. They have been very helpful to me….thank you!

    I can understand the reasons for your decision and it’s the right one, obviously. The pandemic is only one of the factors but it’s been pretty huge what’s been going on here in Australia….especially in your state of Victoria! Enough to do one’s head in, as the saying goes.

    I hope and pray that you’ll find HAPPINESS ahead of you. Days enjoying God’s glorious creation….rebuilding your health with walks in fresh air and sunshine….enjoying healthy food….see it all as a well-earned retirement.

    Don’t let the enemy of your soul berate you with guilt over your decision….please! You’re doing the right thing and your writings will continue to be helpful to those who come across them in God’s providence.

    I had just been watching a few of Dr Henry Cloud’s videos on YouTube, which I’ve only recently discovered, when I thought of you and looked to see if there were any new articles there. And there was. You know, you are setting boundaries for your life as Henry would say….and that’s a GOOD thing. Maybe watch a few….they are a balm for the soul.

    Thanks for all you have done.

    God bless.

  8. where2or3r

    Please feel free to get off social media altogether. Your work is very accessible and “out there,” and trying to overcome all the new objections generated daily on social platforms is never ending. Please be at peace with not even doing any more on this front: you have done so much, been there for so many of us, you leave us wonderful resources, and this season may be passing for you to rest and be refreshed, and, who knows, in preparation for a different sort of adventure. God bless and comfort, refresh and restore your soul. (Psalm 23).

  9. leaningonhope

    Oh Barbara, I am so sorry that you have been suffering under such a weight for too long. Your body was trying to tell you something that your mind maybe wasn’t necessarily ready to accept, but I’m very glad that your decision to move away from writing / contributing to this topic has brought you relief. (I can relate to that with situations in my own life….) This topic definitely does incur the wrath of those opposed to justice or freedom from abuse! I’m sorry that you’ve been on that receiving end.

    Please know that you are loved and thought of and prayed for on the other side of the world ([USA])! Self-care is the best medicine, as you are so valuable and worth so much! Praying that you will have healing in your heart and mind.

    I am sorry that I did not comment more often, to let you know that I appreciate your writing and teaching and perspectives.
    I am so thankful that you will leave the blog up / online as it is such a valuable resource. And so thankful for your helper to keep things going.
    Take good care, God is good, all the time, and you are loved! 💕

    [For safety and protection, the location was redacted. Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  10. Mary

    I’m praying for you!! You are a strong and courageous woman don’t ever forget that! I have always followed Jeff until I saw his responses to you, they were WRONG on every level, and if no one else believes you I DO! Take care of you. 🥰🙏🏻

  11. Janice

    God has used your wisdom in helping me in my healing….I am grateful to have found your blog several years ago. I will pray that our loving and gracious Father pours His favor on you, Barbara, and provides you with all that you need. Be kind to yourself and take good care.

  12. AbusedHusband

    It does sound like burnout, Barbara. I hope you’re able to get a long, much-needed rest and refreshment. Of course, this disgusting, manufactured “pandemic” hasn’t helped either. You Aussies have been especially hard hit by the lockdowns orchestrated by the tyrannical deep state and the pressure to get “jabbed.”

    Many of us have very much appreciated your writing. I commented once or twice on your blog (before finally breaking free [number redacted] years ago from my tormenter-in-a-female-body, praise God!). ACFJ has been an encouragement, particularly regarding opening up the fact that “constructive desertion” is indeed scriptural grounds for divorce, and especially because it’s shown that we (who have been the targets of emotional, psychological, financial, etc. abuse) are not alone. And it’s easy to feel alone, when so many Christians and others stare at you blankly when you just want a shoulder to cry on and venture to mention the abuse you’re receiving daily from your spouse. Or when you point out phenomena that are (at least to me) so blatantly obvious, like chemtrails.

    So hang in there, Barbara. You’ve been a blessing!

    [For safety and protection, the number of years was redacted. Editors.]

  13. Theresa

    Dear Barbara, having benefited enormously from your writings and blog posts, and having suffered extremely after burnout as you have, I applaud you for taking a break until / if it suits you to return.

    The Lord knows you need it. Never apologize for having to take care of yourself. May you find rest in His arms. Take all the time you need. You pointed me to the Saviour and Deliverer that told me to get out of the chaos, and be still at His feet, ’til I was ready to give back again. May God bless you abundantly.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Theresa,

      For your safety and protection, I modified the screen name you submitted with your comment. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  14. Craig

    Dear Barbara, your book, posts and articles were a Godsend to me as a male survivor of domestic abuse. If not for “Not under bondage” I dread to think where I’d be right now. [Number redacted] years on from escaping with my children, I am a happy and contented single father to my [number redacted] young children (full custody).

    I had zero help from the church at large, but understand now that their failure was due to religious tradition and poor theology. Your writings are solid and biblical and will stand the test of time. May God bless you in your well deserved time of rest and recuperation.
    Blessings from [location redacted]. 🙏🏻

    He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
    ‭‭Psalm ‭23:2-3‭

    [For safety and protection, some details have been redacted. Editors.]

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Craig,

      For safety and protection, I’ve modified the screen name you submitted with your comment. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  15. Grace551

    That looks like a wise decision to me, Barbara. I hope you will soon feel much better and I have prayed for your recovery.

  16. Hopeful

    I completely understand, Barbara. I wish I could have better supported you especially when the depression tempted you with suicidal thoughts. I was unaware until I read this. Move on by all means. You’ve written and produced sufficient material that if anyone truly wanted help and to find the truth they could through your work. Clip this point and post it somewhere to remind you when the mocking heats up again.

    Remember the parables of the hidden treasure? Most don’t want to wake up and handle the truth. They like the compromised version of fake Christianity that is so rampant. Jesus was at His pinnacle of popular following. A week later every single person turned their back on Him. People are unreliable, fickle, and self-preserving. Thankfully YWHY is faithful, holy, and true to His word. Take a 7th month or year sabbath rest. And reach out anytime. Love and prayers.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Hopeful,

      For safety and protection, I’ve changed the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  17. Rebecca Davis

    God bless you, Barbara. ACFJ was speaking when almost no one else was. I hope your sabbatical will be restful and refreshing.

    • Thank you, Rebecca, for your blessings and for wishing me a restful and refreshing sabbatical.

      It’s true that ACFJ was speaking when almost no one else was. I noticed that you specifically praised what ACFJ was doing in the early days when Jeff Crippen and I were co-leading the blog. And I cannot help but notice that you gave no praise for what ACFJ has been like since Jeff resigned in 2018.

      You are well aware that in 2019 Jeff bullied me, publicly stoned me and nearly succeeded in crashing the blog. You have stated in recent years that you no longer promote Jeff’s work. So it burns like a slow poison pill in my belly that on this, my last post, you praised only the early years of the blog. It’s like blighting me with faint praise. A praise with a sting in the tail. You may not have intended your comment to come across that way, you may not have thought that your comment might hurt me, but I need to be honest and tell you that my first thought when I read your comment was “Ouch!” And the more I thought about your comment, the more it confirmed that my decision to give up writing was the right decision. Perhaps you don’t care, but I have lost sleep ruminating over your comment and wondering whether to reply to it.

      You are not the only advocate who has praised what ACFJ did in the early days….thereby implying that ACFJ has done nothing worthwhile in more recent years. Another advocate (who I shall not name here) did that too. When I noticed it at her blog, I asked her to rephrase the wording in which she promoted ACFJ. She eventually did make the change, but it took several polite requests on my part before she did. That is the kind of thing which has worn me out. These things hurt so much because no advocate stood with me when Jeff reviled me.

      • Rebecca Davis

        I didn’t mean for anything negative about you to be implied or inferred from what I wrote. Only that as of about 2015 or so there began to be a plethora of voices of Christians exposing abuse in the church and in “Christian” homes, but in the days before that there were very few, and yours was one of the few. I hope your rest will be restorative.

      • Finding Answers

        Dear Barb,

        You wrote (1ST JUNE 2022 – 5:34 AM):

        It’s true that ACFJ was speaking when almost no one else was. I noticed that you specifically praised what ACFJ was doing in the early days when Jeff Crippen and I were co-leading the blog. And I cannot help but notice that you gave no praise for what ACFJ has been like since Jeff resigned in 2018.

        I read Rebecca’s comment (almost) the same way you did. And I’m so sorry you were hurt so badly.

        Rebecca Davis wrote (1ST JUNE 2022 – 9:31 AM):

        I didn’t mean for anything negative about you to be implied or inferred from what I wrote. Only that as of about 2015 or so there began to be a plethora of voices of Christians exposing abuse in the church and in “Christian” homes, but in the days before that there were very few, and yours was one of the few.

        (Bold done by me.)

        You (Rebecca) might not have meant for anything negative about Barb to be implied or inferred from what you wrote, but if Barb and I received the same message from your 27TH MAY 2022 – 1:36 PM comment, how many other people might have received the same message as Barb and I?

        Thank you for replying to clarify your 27TH MAY 2022 – 1:36 PM comment.

        Rebecca Davis wrote (1ST JUNE 2022 – 9:31 AM):

        Only that as of about 2015 or so there began to be a plethora of voices of Christians exposing abuse in the church and in “Christian” homes, but in the days before that there were very few, and yours was one of the few.

        Me being me, I read other things in Rebecca’s (1ST JUNE 2022 – 9:31 AM) comment that might be implied or inferred.

        To me, in the phrase “yours was one of the few”, Rebecca is still referring to the ACFJ blog, and not specifically to Barb. She (Rebecca) still hasn’t written anything in her comment that is supportive of Barb’s ACFJ blog writings.

        And I’d re-write the phrase “there began to be a plethora of voices of Christians exposing abuse in the church and in “Christian” homes”:

        There began to be a plethora of voices of Christians / “Christians” exposing abuse in the church / “church” and in Christian / “Christian” homes.

        You (Barb) wrote (1ST JUNE 2022 – 5:34 AM):

        thereby implying that ACFJ has done nothing worthwhile in more recent years.

        I could list many examples, but I’ll limit myself to one of your (Barb’s) series that can be applied to so many different things (church(es) / “church(es)”, victim(s) / “victim(s)”, survivor(s) / “survivor(s)”, abuser(s) / “abuser(s)”, Christian(s) / “Christian(s), etc. / “etc.”).

        Blindness Series Digest

        Are abusers blind? Are abusers deceived? What does the Bible say?

        Blindness from Original Sin – part 2 of series on blindness and deception

        Blindness exacerbated by individual choice – part 3 of series on blindness and deception

        Blindness exacerbated by group choice and group-leader choice — part 4 of a series on blindness and deception

        Blindness as a result of being deceived by others – part 5 of series on blindness and deception

        Blindness as a judgment from God – part 6 of series on blindness and deception

        Story Faith Blindness – part 7 of series on blindness and deception

        Reaching Out, could you please making my links more readable? 🙂

      • Reaching Out

        Done. 🙂

      • I’m really glad that my Blindness series is mentioned here. Thank you, Finding Answers, (and Reaching Out). 🙂

        I know that you have found much help from my posts about blindness, Finding Answers. I might re-read those posts myself, to see if they have any points that help me in my recovery. 🙂

  18. Julie Bonn Blank

    I also just had to take an 8 month break from our industry. It is OK. Do what you need to do. I recommend the book “From Burned out to Beloved” by Bethany Dearborn Hiser. Here at AMS / Abuse Recovery Ministry Services, we also have one week online course on “Compassion Fatigue & Leader Boundaries” which has helped many. Praying for you.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Julie,

      I thought you might be interested to know that some time ago, we added some of the ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry Services) resources, such as the Cycle of Abuse to our Resources pages. 🙂

      There are also a number of times (many?) that we’ve referenced ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry Services) in our comments.

      For readers who might be interested, here is the link to the ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry Services) website: Abuse Recovery Ministry Services.

  19. Jane

    I appreciate you, Barbara. I bought your book a few years back and it really helped me during a difficult time to make a decision to leave an abusive marriage. I also understand burnout and the toll of exhaustion in the work you are doing. Take care of yourself. Thank you for everything you have done to help abuse victims!

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Jane,

      For safety and protection, I’ve modified the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  20. Seeing Clearly

    I have been pondering what to write for the last 4 hours. If only, if only you knew how your dedication has helped to heal and teach me to be a voice for myself. You are a treasure, Barbara.

    I weep as I learn of the depth of your suffering through this current time. I will be able to [put] more into words as time goes on. It was in [early 2000s], or so, in the midst of a suicide attempt as I filed for divorce, that I discovered ACFJ, and then the wicked abuse you suffered from Jeff….

    Barbara, you have greatly impacted my being. Thank you.

    [For safety and protection, the year was airbrushed. Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  21. Sarah

    I’m so sorry, I get fatigue like this, I am in horse rescue and the same results; it can weigh on you heavily with all the abuse toward them as well. May I suggest a resource that changed my life forever for the good? [Name of resource redacted] helps you be able to deal with this life and thrive. I wish you nothing but the best as I understand perfectly. Take care.

    [Name of the resource redacted. For readers interested in why the name of the resource suggested by Sarah was redacted, please read Our publishing policy. Editors.]

  22. Teri

    I want to thank you, Barbara, for your contribution and devotion to this ministry. I’m sorry for not expressing my thanks and appreciation for what you’ve done earlier (I came across ACFJ around 4 or 5 years ago). These past few years have been very difficult for me even before the pandemic started.

    While I was never married to an abusive spouse, I have struggled with abusive family members, friends, co-workers, and church members and I can relate to a lot of what abused spouses deal with.

    This ministry helped me open my eyes to wickedness that has been ignored in the Christian culture, I have also begun to see and appreciate how much God has been doing in my life, even before I gave my life to Christ.

    Running a ministry that advocates for victims of abuse (especially a Christian focused one) that is self-sustaining is very difficult. It can be a very thankless job. People who suffer in these situations are emotionally, financially, spiritually, even physically wrecked, and even when they get out they can still struggle for years to get back on their feet again.

    Also with how so many churches are so poorly equipped to deal with this, it is difficult to get help. Many victims of abuse end up struggling financially as well, it can be hard to give back, whether in money, time, effort, commenting, contributing to discussions, etc. Moreover, many people struggling with abusive situations want immediate relief from their pain, it can be very difficult to bring up topics such as Christian maturity and deep theological issues.

    Not to mention when you start talking about evil, wickedness, abuse, etc, you are at the edge of God’s sword when dividing who are the true followers of Christ and who either isn’t or [is] immature in their faith. You find out very quickly that Jesus wasn’t kidding when He talked about how many who claim to know or follow Him don’t. Even with online friends, it can feel very lonely.

    I agree with you with what you mentioned as far the issues with the pandemic and the corruption in governments. I am also aware of many people even in the Christian culture [who] are uncomfortable discussing these topics and the backlash that comes with bringing them up. To make things even more complicated, at least in U.S., many churches that push hard on patriarchy, traditional family models, etc. are the ones who also complain a lot about the corruption in the government. Many abuse survivors who get out of these church cultures will roll their eyes when you try to bring up legitimate concerns about what the state is doing.

    Another thing as well as discussing domestic violence is such a heavy and difficult issue. Sometimes thinking and talking about it too much can really wear you down. Sometimes people have to step away and get their minds off it to keep their sanity.

    I have heard about all the crazy stuff that’s happening in Australia right now, I can’t imagine what you have to deal with. On top of that, all the drama that you had to go through with this ministry as well.

    Again, I want to express my gratitude for what you have done. Myself and many others will be forever indebted to you. Please focus on taking care of yourself and God bless you!

    (I would be interested in your caveats about what Jeff teaches that Christians are not sinners. Nonetheless, please focus on resting and not pushing yourself too hard.)

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Teri,

      For safety and protection, I’ve modified the screen name you submitted with your comment. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  23. Finding Answers

    Dear Barb,

    (Part 1 of a multi-part comment.)

    Quoting Reaching Out (from the original post):

    The promises you made to ACFJ readers (and potentially to others) to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage or write a second book were made under different circumstances — there is no way you could have known when you made those promises what the future would bring. And if trying to keep those promises keeps you away from everything that brings you life, joy, etc., the promises aren’t worth anything, and trying to keep them would imply the books are more valuable than your life.

    That.

    From Mary Ann’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 7:42 AM):

    God bless you….for your selfless service to so many for so long.

    That.

    From Auriel’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 7:47 AM):

    I am glad that you have made a bold decision for self-care. You will never know how much you have helped me. You are a light on my path. Rest, God will refresh and revive you….You are precious and I am holding you up to God with great thanks. God bless your journey.

    That.

    From Beloved’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:06 AM):

    I deeply appreciate you – your writing gift, the personal support you gave me and the information in this blog. I’m happy that you’re taking care of yourself….You are a blessing and you are LOVED!!!!

    That.

    From Old Timer’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:15 AM):

    the burn-out, I relate to. The suicidal thoughts, the anxiety and not being listened to, being mis-represented, it all just grinds one into the ground….the sense that you are all on your own, and digging far deeper than most go. My prayers for you, and hope prayers that you recover.

    (Strikethrough / addition of the word “prayers” done by me.)

    That.

    From Grateful’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:21 AM):

    My heart goes out to you. I pray you’ll find REST….God….May He restore you and refresh you….place yourself into His gentle care….

    That.

    From Your Sister In Christ’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:22 AM):

    I’m so sorry that life has been hard on you because of your ministry. But please know your ministry has been helpful and life-saving….I know you’ve been struggling for a very long time. Please know I am grateful for your efforts and your sacrifice.

    That.

  24. Finding Answers

    Dear Barb,

    (Part 2 of a multi-part comment.)

    From Aussie’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:25 AM):

    You are incredibly careful and thorough in the posts on this blog. They have been very helpful to me….thank you!….I can understand the reasons for your decision….I….pray that you’ll find HAPPINESS ahead of you. Days enjoying God’s glorious creation….rebuilding your health with walks in fresh air and sunshine….your writings will continue to be helpful to those who come across them in God’s providence.

    That.

    From Where2or3r’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:41 AM):

    you have done so much, been there for so many of us, you leave us wonderful resources….God bless and comfort, refresh and restore your soul.

    That.

    From Leaningonhope’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 8:57 AM):

    Please know that you are loved and thought of and prayed for on the other side of the world….Self-care is the best medicine….you are so valuable and worth so much! Praying that you will have healing in your heart and mind.

    That.

    From Mary’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 9:03 AM):

    I’m praying for you!! You are a….courageous woman….Take care of you.

    That.

    From Janice’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 9:14 AM):

    I am grateful to have found your blog….I….pray that our loving and gracious Father….provides you with all that you need. Be kind to yourself and take good care.

    That.

    From AbusedHusband’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 9:28 AM):

    I hope pray you’re able to get a long, much-needed rest and refreshment…. Many of us have very much appreciated your writing….You’ve been a blessing!

    (Strikethrough / addition of the word “pray” done by me.)

    That.

    From Theresa’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 9:59 AM):

    having benefited enormously from your writings and blog posts….May you find rest….May God bless you.

    That.

    From Craig’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 10:48 AM):

    your….posts and articles were a Godsend to me….May God bless you in your….rest and recuperation.

    That.

  25. Finding Answers

    Dear Barb,

    (Part 3 of a multi-part comment.)

    From Grace551’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 11:10 AM):

    I hope pray you will soon feel much better and I….pray….for your recovery.

    (Strikethrough / addition of the word “pray” done by me.)

    That.

    From Hopeful’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 11:11 AM):

    You’ve written and produced….material that….anyone truly….find the truth they could through your work…..Love and prayers.

    That.

    From Rebecca Davis’ comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 1:36 PM):

    God bless you, Barbara….I hope pray your sabbatical will be restful and refreshing.

    (Strikethrough / addition of the word “pray” done by me.)

    That.

    From Julie Bonn Blank’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 1:40 PM):

    Praying for you.

    That.

    From Jane’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 2:24 PM):

    I appreciate you….Take care of yourself. Thank you for everything you have done to help abuse victims!

    That.

    From Seeing Clearly’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 2:55 PM):

    If only, if only you knew how your dedication has helped to heal and teach me to be a voice for myself. You are a treasure….I weep as I learn of the depth of your suffering through this current time….you have greatly impacted my being. Thank you.

    That.

    From Sarah’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 3:04 PM):

    I’m so sorry,…Take care.

    That.

    From Teri’s comment (27TH MAY 2022 – 3:42 PM):

    I want to thank you, Barbara, for your contribution and devotion to this ministry….I want to express my gratitude for what you have done. Myself and many others will be forever indebted to you. Please focus on taking care of yourself and God bless you!

    That.

  26. LookingToTheLord

    Dear Barbara,

    I have just read your letter tonight. I was very saddened to read about the personal challenges that you have been facing. You have made the right decision. You have selflessly poured into the lives of so many for many years. You have been a voice for so many of us that have had no voice. You have picked up the pieces for us and validated what has happened to us. Now, you must take care of yourself. That is what our Lord would want. He would not want you to publish a book or anything else on that list at the expense of your own life.

    Unfortunately, this whole battle will continue. I was talking to a male friend who recently became a widower at the age of 40. We talked about remarriage after abuse. He said that he has changed his view now compared to what it had been in the past, but it is not something he could do himself. His mother remarried a number of years ago after leaving his father, an abusive husband. He wouldn’t go to her wedding sadly, which he now regrets. He said that many people had supported him after the death of his own wife and he would lose their support if he married someone who was divorced, even after abuse. I don’t know if things will ever change much. I still feel very much like a second class citizen and have often been treated as such by Christians. I know you have too and much worse as you have been in the public eye.

    You have done everything that you could do, Barbara. Your writings are a legacy and have brought hope and guidance for many. I am inclined to agree with your counsellor that you most likely have burn-out. May the Lord give you the space and the grace to enable you to recover quickly. He is able. He is our great Physician, the lover and keeper of our souls.

    I will be praying for you. Thank you for the contributions that you have made to my life. May the Lord uphold you and strengthen you.

    With love and prayers.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi LookingToTheLord,

      For safety and protection, I’ve changed the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  27. James

    God bless, Barb. Take care.

  28. Sharon Roberts Radic

    Hi Barb,
    All the very best with your recovery.
    I find it amazing that you and other advocates manage to stay with it as long as you have, because of my own relatively smaller scale experiences, and points of identification with what you describe.
    Well done for taking care of the life God has given you, and for the huge body of work you have provided for survivors. Whatever remains open as resources with Reaching Out’s help, will be a lifeline for those who access it.
    Prayers for both of you going forward.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Sharon,

      You wrote (27TH MAY 2022 – 11:03 PM):

      Whatever remains open as resources with Reaching Out’s help, will be a lifeline for those who access it….Prayers for both of you going forward.

      Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

      And I intend to ensure our resources (blog posts, site pages, comments) don’t have any broken links, etc. 🙂

      There are still many people who find ACFJ a lifeline.

  29. Gany T.

    Barb, I am so sorry for your pain and exhaustion. May your decision to focus on personal recovery and refreshment be blessed and fruitful. And I’m glad you have a good counselor who seems quite skilled and very caring.

    A hearty “Amen!” to others’ many fine points and thanks, articulated far better than I can, although just two things from my own experience. First, my gratitude for being used of God to begin the process of opening my eyes to the reality of evil within the church and outside of it. Foundational truth, taught throughout Scripture, yet still eluding much of the church world, and even some abuse advocates to the fuller degree necessary. Second, my gratitude for your book, which I recently ‘re-discovered’ as the gem that it is (even without the revisions you have yearned to make), when drawing on it in somewhat unique circumstances / needs.

    Reaching Out, your words to Barb (quoted in the original post) are wise and kind. Thank you for all your important, exacting technical work, and for welcoming and safeguarding readers, old and new. We remember the monumental task you quietly and efficiently took on when the blog was almost entirely crashed a few years ago. Ditto to Barb’s comment that you are a godsend. My prayers have been / will continue for you, and for your ongoing work here.

    Barb, you have sown generously and may you reap a measure of that now. Sending love and prayers.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Gany T.,

      You wrote (27TH MAY 2022 – 11:54 PM):

      Reaching Out….Thank you for all your important, exacting technical work, and for welcoming and safeguarding readers, old and new. We remember the monumental task you quietly and efficiently took on when the blog was almost entirely crashed a few years ago. Ditto to Barb’s comment that you are a godsend. My prayers have been / will continue for you, and for your ongoing work here.

      Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

      I enjoy all the things I do (technical work, safeguarding readers, proofreading, Moderating comments, etc.) on — and for – ACFJ. 🙂

      And thank you to you and Barb for thinking I’m a God-send.

  30. Teres

    Barbara, thank you for your faithfulness to revealing abuse in the church. That divorce is sometimes necessary to save lives. You have helped so much more than you know. I speak personally as well. I understand, or at least I hope I do, the battle you have been fighting. Take all the time you need to recover. You are a champion and champions need a refilling and pass the torch on to another faithful shepherdess. God Bless you in your recovery. I hope you will keep us posted in the chapter of your life. God bless you. I will miss you.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Teres,

      For safety and protection, I’ve changed the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  31. Suzanne

    Caregivers burn out when they have only one person to look after, but you have thousands. It’s no surprise that you need a break. Your work has helped many, including me. May God refresh and strengthen you, Barbara.

  32. Sister

    Barb,

    My first reaction is to give you a congratulatory standing ovation for a job well done. Bravo! Your work is literally a Godsend to survivors liberating them from bondage. I love reading all the comments that are testifying to that fact.

    Make no mistake, you may be done writing, but your writing is not done. Your body of work stands on its own and it is enough. It will continue to bless and free people.

    Regarding not updating your book or writing another book, you are not breaking any promises to ACFJ readers because they were not promises to begin with. You merely stated your intentions and now you have changed your mind for the sake of your mental health which is a wise decision.

    Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the blog / blog readers! I hope you enjoy your well deserved rest.

    Sister

  33. Hope

    Dear Barbara,
    I understand, and I’ll bet most, if not all, who read you do.

    I agree with Reaching Out, none of us can see the future, only God can. Circumstances do change, for everyone, and this time for the entire world in ways most people cannot see or understand. Who could have known?

    Please take all the time you need to heal. Whatever it takes, and however long it takes. Your path will eventually become clear, even if it’s to do something totally different from writing – and that’s just fine. God will make it known to you when the time is right for you.

    I hope you know that your blog has done a world of good for many people; it has done a world of good for me. I am so grateful that I found you when my life was at it’s very darkest. It stayed that way for a very long time, and it’s not over yet – it may never be – but it is improving, I am improving, and as so many who read you, I too am healing and your blog and all the comments have been instrumental in that. You couldn’t know, but you went through it with me by your teachings and enlightenment and encouragement. It is because God led me to you that I am still breathing. Thank you. I will miss you and I am praying for peace, comfort, and healing for you, and also joy.

    My family moved right before COVID hit and upended the world, particularly the state we moved to. We moved again last fall, to a much better place. Please know that if you need a break, you are always welcome in [location redacted], USA for as long as you need; you have my email. God bless you.

    [For safety and protection, the location was redacted. Editors.]

  34. J. D. Gallé

    Barbara:

    The online sphere fosters much vanity, narcissism, toxicity, and outright stupidity on its various (anti-)social media platforms (sic). Much of it I personally have elected to do without, and, in my judgement, am better for it.

    Given the precariousness of the digital realm, perhaps at some point you may wish to consider having a portion of your original content from this blog made available and preserved via publishing it in printed, physical / material format.

    More importantly, however, I hope that health and healing shall follow you for the rest of your days.

    The entire creation is indeed in a state of groaning, and the times in which we live are growing increasingly evil. Many are feeling it, witnessing it, experiencing it all round the world. To put it simply (and bluntly): spiritual warfare is amping up.

    Thank you, Ms Roberts, for your perseverant labour. May God bless you, preserve you, and guard your thoughts and emotions in the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7).

  35. In gratitude

    God bless you, Barbara. You’ve delivered many insightful messages, thank you. As a believer and survivor, please know these were a valuable and much needed gift.

    It is a natural process to hand the torch to the next in line which may or may not be known at this time. This is clearly your time to pass on the torch, rest and focus on your next steps of the journey. Your posts were a gift and we thank you for them. Please go on to your next step now, looking forward, never back.

    Thank you, precious Sister.

  36. Brenda R

    Barbara, I love you so much. It has been hard for me knowing so many people have turned on you and wondering who they are. You know I can’t see so well anymore, but still want to keep my eyes open. It is not right and I am so sorry that you have gone through all of this. It is time for you to love yourself and let God be in charge. If He wants you to write again some day, he will send you a sword and tell you it is time for battle. A crown awaits you for all you have written and the people you have helped in His name, including me. One day we will meet in His city. I look forward to that day!!

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Brenda R,

      For safety and protection, I’ve modified the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  37. Paul

    Remember you are saved by grace not your good works. You are a brave person who has exposed evil.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Paul,

      For safety and protection, I’ve modified the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

  38. A woman told me that she had:

    been exposed recently to the dark underbelly of the survivor community and the shunning and the cliques and the celebrity culture and a lot that is just plain unhealthy.

    (She said this on the Facebook post featuring this blog post.)

    I’ve copied below what I wrote in reply to her.

    I grieve for what you have suffered from the dark underbelly of the survivor community — the shunning and the cliques and the celebrity culture. It is a very real phenomenon.

    Here are a few things I have noticed about the so-called advocates who participate in that dark underbelly. The list does not imply that all those ‘advocates’ are guilty of each item in the list.

    1. Misuse of the name of God. E.g., using the acronym OMG.
    2. More interested in exposing and going after abusers than in how to interpret Scriptures which tell us how to respond to abuse.
    3. Hostile defensiveness and snark when I have asked them a legitimate question….immediately turning the conversation back on me by implying that I am in the wrong for asking them the question.
    4. Ignoring my comments at their blogs / Twitter accounts / Facebook accounts, etc.
    5. Not acknowledging me when I email or message them.
    6. Mocking me on social media.
    7. Recruiting their friends and followers to join in the mocking.
    8. Blocking me on social media.
    9. Badmouthing me behind my back.
    10. Assuming that because they feel hurt by something I said or did, that I am AN ABUSER. This seems to correlate with an inadequate definition of abuse. Note: I define abuse as a pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his target subordinated and under his control. (Sometimes the genders are reversed.)
    11. Giving themselves elevated titles such as “seasoned advocate” and putting down other advocates who they deem to be less seasoned than themselves.
    12. Claiming that in their advocacy work they do not show partiality to victims. For example, they claim to support all victims regardless of whether their abusers were high or low profile leaders. But in practice they do show favouritism. They publish the stories of some victims, but refuse to publish the stories of other victims.
    13. Attempting to divert any discourse on abuse into either an egalitarian debate or an LGBTI debate.
    14. Refusal to attend to any complex argument involving multiple variables that cites evidence and uses logic to support its case. Ignoring such arguments. Shunning the person who presents such arguments.
  39. How do you discern a good advocate from a not-so-good advocate? Sarah McDugal has some good advice on this: We must also build up. Note: while I think her post sets out some good principles, I not convinced that Sarah McDugal has followed those principles in her own career as an advocate.

    I’m adding this link as Further Reading at the bottom of this post.

    • Finding Answers

      Thank you, Barb, for the link to Sarah McDugal’s post We Must Also Build Up.

      From Sarah McDugal’s post We Must Also Build Up:

      We cannot only tear down.

      We must also build up.

      That.

      many are….washing away….the subconscious subcultural assumptions about entitlement, relationships, beliefs, power, the character of God….everything….we absolutely MUST cultivate skills of critical analysis and thinking.

      That.

      It can be easy to trade one “leader” for another, to replace one abusive set of voices in your past, for powerfully persuasive and life-giving new ones. There is a sense in which the voices of….[many]….do bring freedom and hope to those drowning under….messages that kept you enslaved

      (Modification in square brackets done by me.)

      That.

      But you cannot stay there, settling into a new comfort zone where you have merely traded old voices for new ones.

      That.

      If you want to be set free….you must take on the challenge of thinking for yourself.

      That.

      Do the research.

      Read the scientific studies.

      Explore scripture for yourself.

      That.

      come to your OWN conclusions….Search it out for yourself. Accept no one’s word without asking questions.

      That.

      recalibrate as you continue to grow. Do not stay static and stagnant

      That.

      Glean what is healing and useful….What matters most….a tender, genuine heart of service.

      That.

      Critically assess….not only for factual accuracy and evidence-based resources, but also for compassionate kindness.

      That.

      Ask yourself questions

      That.

      It is crucial to dismantle destructive ideas and dangerous systems…..critical analysis so that….[you are] better equipped to….make thoughtfully discerning decisions

      (Modification in square brackets done by me.)

      That.

      Maintaining a healthy sense of teachable self-doubt, compassionate dignity, and kindness

      That.

      As you move along your….journey….keep these….mind:

      1) Do not merely substitute old leaders with new ones.

      2) Seek to cultivate habits of critical, thoughtful analysis.

      3) Glean….from many sources

      4) Assess the content AND the spirit — looking for humility and kindness.

      That.

      We cannot only tear down.

      We must also build up.

      That.

  40. Helovesme

    Barb, there are too many words to properly describe how much your hands and your heart have made a real impact, in a real world, full of real people with real hurts. People who need to be treated with real dignity, because abuse does everything it can to steal, kill and destroy every bit of that dignity.

    The heart of Christianity, the essence of the Law, is summed up in how we treat each other (Matt 22:40). Then why are victims of abuse, one of the strongest antithesis to this commandment, shamed and blamed, shunned and silenced?

    For anyone to not only speak of being abused as Barb has (which is already hard enough), but to then speak UP for the abused as Barb consistently has, often comes at a price that I honestly do not think can be described. They are connected of course, but they are two very different experiences.

    A comedic episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” came to mind that I hope will resonate with ALL of us, not just Barb. Bit of a backstory: Ray is the younger brother, overly praised by his parents, and got married, had kids and carved out a career with somewhat ease.

    Robert is the older brother, a successful cop but is hardly praised by his parents, is divorced and still lives at home, perpetually living in but struggling to escape Ray’s shadow. So he is somewhat needy and neglected, moody and morose.

    The episode is called “The Dog,” and my memory of it may not be 100% accurate (it is a hard one for me to re-watch), but I believe I’ll capture the heart of its message:

    Ray finds a stray bulldog and wants to keep it, but his wife Debra isn’t on board with that! They make flyers to find the owner, but once Robert literally locks eyes with the dog, it is love at first sight. Their connection is real AND responsive—and mutual. There is no doubt that both of them feel like they were meant for each other. For a character like Robert who experienced a lot of rejection, his heart immediately felt less broken, more complete.

    Unfortunately the owner contacts them and they break the news to Robert. But before the owner shows up, Debra notices that Ray and Robert’s parents had the dog fixed. She clues Ray into this, but Robert has no idea.

    The owner is a well-dressed older woman who is sincerely glad and grateful to be reunited with her fur baby. She is all sweeet and smiley as she walks out the door, but in a two second turnaround, she comes back and is all sour and scowling. She is angry and demands answers. She calls the dog “broken” (along with some other choice words I am sure).

    Robert is watching and you can tell he doesn’t understand. Ray, who DOES understand, tries to diffuse the situation by saying: “he’s still a delightful companion.” Her response? “Companion, my eye!”

    It’s when she calls the dog “worthless,” I believe, when Robert steps in and cries out, in a voice full of real pain and passion: “don’t talk that way about him!”

    I’m not sure if he finally caught on that the only value the dog had to this sweet looking lady, was all about pure and personal cash profit (breeding him), and without that function, the dog meant absolutely nothing to her. No interest in him as a personal companion, and only a tidy sum of cash would appease her wrath, at least enough to let Robert have the dog permanently. Ray, the more cash-successful brother, complied with her demand and it was happy ending for everyone! Regardless if Robert figured out that the dog had been fixed, it would not have mattered a bit to him. He wanted AND needed that “delightful companion!”

    During this whole altercation, the dog seemed oblivious to being the center of so much drama. They chose a fur baby that barely showed any reaction, but that was not why Robert reacted so strongly. He cared about that dog as a real being with real relational value. That sweet old lady only cared about that dog as a real vessel with real cash value. He only had the power to please her in a very limited, very specific way! Once he was fixed, she brazenly and bitterly demeaned and discarded him. Even though she walked away with cash in her pocket, I don’t think that pleased her enough. I think she would use that cash to find ways to make more cash. That is the only thing that seemed to please her.

    (Side note: I am not disparaging anyone who breeds fur babies; it was the WAY she treated that fur baby, going from nice to nasty once his usefulness to her had been taken away.)

    Although the episode was comedically written, I think the woman’s immediate and intense rejection of the dog resonated very strongly with Robert, whose character struggles to feel valued and valuable himself. Being rejected often revolves around being objectified. This is something any and all victims of abuse can truly relate to.

    If you go back and read Barb’s combination of reasons why she is stepping back from public writing, you might connect some of them with the themes that ran through this episode. Barb has incredible value in her writing, something her readers clearly reap great profit from (as in providing a real service to those in real need!). If she chooses to not engage in that writing, she should be fully recognized and treated as having not having one bit less value. She should never exploit herself in the name of helping the exploited.

    I know about burnout on a personal level; it was a horrible combination of brokenness and bitterness. This was from many years ago; however I am now personally struggling with a whole new cycle of burnout. I think it is different for everyone. However, I have noticed this: professing Christians can be the least helpful and the most harmful when you are falling apart and (for some people) in danger of falling away from the Lord. They will most often kick you when you are already down, and condemn you for being weak and crying out in pain, not knowing how long and how hard you tried to hold it all in, tried to hang on for dear life.

    It is imperative to never forget our intrinsic worth in Him has everything to do with Him, and has nothing to do with us. When that is all that matters, nothing else seems to matter.

    It can be hard to be praying when you need to be praying the most! When that happened to me, a near total stranger told me he was praying for me and I nearly lost it because I needed to be prayed for so badly, when praying was not coming easily to me. Praying for you, Barb, as a way to both honor your work in Christ, and honor you as a work in Christ.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Helovesme,

      Good to hear from you! 🙂 🙂

      For safety and protection, I’ve changed the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

      • Helovesme

        Reaching Out, thank you! I cannot believe I forgot to use my username! That really makes it obvious how long I’ve been away!

        I also clicked the notify me of new comments box which I also forgot to click last time!

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme,

      I’ve missed you….and it’s so good to hear from you again. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      You wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      Barb, there are too many words to properly describe how much your hands and your heart have made a real impact, in a real world, full of real people with real hurts. People who need to be treated with real dignity, because abuse does everything it can to steal, kill and destroy every bit of that dignity.

      (Bold done by me.)

      That. 🙂

      Barb Helovesme, there are too many words to properly describe how much your hands and your heart have made a real impact, in a real world, full of real people with real hurts. People who need to be treated with real dignity, because abuse does everything it can to steal, kill and destroy every bit of that dignity.

      (Strikethrough and bold / addition of your name, Helovesme, done by me.)

      That. 🙂

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      Barb has incredible value in her writing, something her readers clearly reap great profit from (as in providing a real service to those in real need!).

      That. 🙂

      Barb Helovesme has incredible value in her writing, something her readers clearly reap great profit from (as in providing a real service to those in real need!).

      (Strikethrough / addition of your name, Helovesme, done by me.)

      That. 🙂

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      I know about burnout on a personal level; it was a horrible combination of brokenness and bitterness. This was from many years ago; however I am now personally struggling with a whole new cycle of burnout.

      I’m so sorry you’re struggling with another cycle of burnout, Helovesme.

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      I have noticed this: professing Christians can be the least helpful and the most harmful when you are falling apart and (for some people) in danger of falling away from the Lord. They will most often kick you when you are already down, and condemn you for being weak and crying out in pain, not knowing how long and how hard you tried to hold it all in, tried to hang on for dear life.

      That.

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      It is imperative to never forget our intrinsic worth

      That.

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      It can be hard to be praying when you need to be praying the most!

      That.

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      Praying for you, Barb….honor[ing] your work in Christ, and honor[ing] you as a work in Christ.

      (Modification in square brackets done by me.)

      That.

      You also wrote (4TH JUNE 2022 – 11:11 PM):

      Praying for you, Barb Helovesme….honor[ing] your work in Christ, and honor[ing] you as a work in Christ.

      (Strikethrough / modification in square brackets / addition of your name, Helovesme, done by me.)

      That.

      • I second the praise Finding Answers gave to Helovesme.

      • Helovesme

        Wanted to thank you personally, Finding Answers, for the incredibly kind and generous words. I am very sorry it took me this long to offer simple gratitude.

        I am very much wanting to list out all sorts of ways that Barb has made an impact; I am compiling them in my head so I can express them in an organized way.

        Some of this delay is because in America, where I live, in recent times there have been terrible and terrifying and traumatic events. We are still somewhat reeling.

        But I will say this: I am one of the ones who was not commenting on this site for a good while now. Barb reached out to me personally and treated me with such dignity while expressing her honesty. That should not be a rarity, but for me, it is! That is the kind of person Barb is. Abuse advocates should never use abuse as a way to advocate for those abused, but for some reason that is quite normalized. It is one of the reasons why it has been hard for me to not remain silent when I so badly want to speak.

        Barb also allowed me to write about one of my greatest joys; my fur angel baby boy (my beagle!), and offer narratives about how the Lord used that four-legged angel to teach me, well, so many things. Other professing Christians had been so contemptuous and condescending about him, but Barb was so encouraging and edifying. I was initially nervous, tried to leave room for whatever reaction it may or may not get, but for once in what seemed like forever, I was surprised in a positive way! Most of my surprises have involved betrayal and being blindsided.

        There has been a lot of warmth and generosity and room to express ourselves on this site in ways that, for me, is a breath of much needed fresh air.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme,

        You wrote (9TH JUNE 2022 – 8:52 PM):

        I am very sorry it took me this long to offer simple gratitude.

        No apology necessary. 🙂 In your earlier comment, you wrote about struggling with another cycle of burnout….sometimes even the simplest things can take a long time.

        Some of this delay is because in America, where I live, in recent times there have been terrible and terrifying and traumatic events.

        That.

        my greatest joys; my fur angel baby boy (my beagle!), and offer narratives about how the Lord used that four-legged angel to teach me, well, so many things.

        I remember reading your comments about your fur baby. 🙂

        There has been a lot of warmth and generosity and room to express ourselves on this site

        That.

    • Thank you, Helovesme, for your very thoughtful comment. When I read your account of The Dog episode from Everybody Loves Raymond, I pondered it at length. I want to find that episode and watch it for myself. But being me I have put it on my list of DVDs to look for in thrift shops (Aussies call them op shops).

      It’s when she calls the dog “worthless,” I believe, when Robert steps in and cries out, in a voice full of real pain and passion: “don’t talk that way about him!”….He wanted AND needed that “delightful companion!”

      One of the reasons I blogged was that I wanted and needed the delightful companionship of other survivors. What I didn’t bargain on was that some survivors and advocates would pour vitriol on me.

      He [Robert] cared about that dog as a real being with real relational value. That sweet old lady only cared about that dog as a real vessel with real cash value. He only had the power to please her in a very limited, very specific way! Once he was fixed, she brazenly and bitterly demeaned and discarded him.

      The sweet old lady is analogous to the advocates who care only (or chiefly) about the cash value and celebrity status they can get as advocates.

      Once many of those survivors and advocates were ‘fixed’, i.e., once my writings had fixed their misunderstandings of Scripture and dispelled their false guilt, they brazenly and bitterly discarded me.

      I’m not saying I’m the only person who has been brazenly and bitterly discarded by survivors and advocates who have drawn what they wanted out of my well and then treated me with contempt. Others who have been treated with similar contempt are Andrea Alexandrova, Sister, and “Chris” who was abused by Jeff Crippen in his Tillamook church. (That list is not comprehensive, so please don’t take offence if I left out any names.)

      • Helovesme

        [Comment #1 in a set of comments by Helovesme — Eds.]

        Thank you for the kind words and your words in reply to mine. After I wrote that comment, the images and ideas from that short scene kept coming! And your thoughts kind of ran parallel my thoughts, which I consider to be a great compliment to me.

        What I didn’t bargain on was that some survivors and advocates would pour vitriol on me.

        When I look at the four humans standing over and above the fur baby (who, with his drastically short legs, made the humans seem especially tall), I realized only ONE of those humans actually had the fur baby’s best interests in mind: the impossibly tall Robert. The other three were talking about, and talking over the dog, but seemingly oblivious to his presence. But he is right there the whole time, his life and quality of life being tossed around like a beach ball.

        The dog just stood there, with no change of face or body movement to indicate a lack of obliviousness. Perhaps that spurred on their unfiltered back and forth communications! But IMO, dogs are capable of understanding and / or knowing that they are being talked about. They may not be able to make full sense of it, or fully grasp the narrative, but they are far more intuitive than we give them credit for. They can and do feel rejected.

        But I suppose it is more convenient to assume: either dogs are incapable of experiencing rejection, OR that they don’t intend for dogs to take that rejection so “personally”. Either way, they can’t be held accountable for causing a pain that dogs may or may not be able to feel, OR they can’t be held accountable for causing a pain that dogs chose to take so personally.

        I am on the shorter side as a human being, so I understand how fur babies feel when they are literally looked down upon, plus my human “worth” has been drastically diminished by humanity, so I see myself as the “dog” many times. He was right there the whole time. All you had to do is move your head slightly down to be reminded of that.

        But Robert didn’t have to do that, and as the tallest one there, it made him the least likely to remember the dog’s presence. He was focused on the back and forth dialogue, but no doubt he was the only real advocate for the dog. He was the only one who did not deviate from the dog’s true worth. And he did not have to be reminded that that was where the focus needed to stay. In all the discussions among his fellow humans, Robert’s unusually high height did not impede his unusually soft heart from staying focused on his best bud, who was unusually low to the ground.

        Perhaps as Barb’s detractors tossed around her “worth” as a human being, a Christian, an abuse survivor AND an abuse advocate, these are various ways that they dodge accountability. Reducing a dog’s worth may not feel like out-and-out rejection (the dog’s worth is only “reduced” since he cannot be bred anymore). But it upset Robert enough to, well, yell an old lady who was also a total stranger to him.

        She really did come off as “sweet’ at first, which is why I thought that would resonate with you: how many times have people gone from sweet to sour indirectly about you, or to you directly? It is fair to question if they were ever “sweet” in the first place.

        discarded by survivors and advocates who have drawn what they wanted out of my well and then treated me with contempt.

        I think there is a difference between writing a book to advocate for the abused and advocating for the abused by writing a book.

        I have to say that it has to take hard work to keep the focus on what or who you are advocating for versus the advocating itself. Example: if you support an animal charity, focus on the health and welfare of the animals. Yes, advocating for the changing of laws may be a part of it, but no current or changed law should make a dent in how you care for those animals.

        (continued in 2nd comment!)

      • Reaching Out

        Helovesme,

        Two things….

        I was so happy to see your comment. 🙂

        In your comment, there is a sentence that is incomplete. I’m not sure if part of the sentence is missing, if part of your comment disappeared into cyberspace, or, if, perhaps, you were mid-thought. I’ve put [missing phrase?] at the end of the incomplete sentence in your comment.

        I’m not sure if you want me to delete the part of the incomplete sentence (as well as my [missing phrase?]), or if you would like to complete the missing phrase (or whatever may be missing).

        If you submit what you would like me to do in a separate comment, I can make whatever change(s) you want to your comment, and then delete the comment with your suggested editing changes.

      • Reaching Out

        Helovesme,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. 🙂

        And I’m glad it was only problems with the Internet that caused the loss of part of your sentence (and not an even bigger part of your comment).

        I’ve added the missing part of the sentence to your comment.

      • Helovesme

        [Comment #4 in a set of comments by Helovesme — Eds]

        No, thank YOU for the super prompt reply about the incomplete sentence. It is rare but our Internet was “down” all evening, but my husband managed to help me to find a temporary way to finish the job, but even there issues came up! Talk about trying to stay connected. 🙂

        I never, ever wonder (anymore) why the Christ so passionately railed against legalism; why Paul came down so hard on it. Why it is so dangerous and deadly. You can paste a label that says “not poison” on a bottle of poison, but if you drink it, the results will clearly say otherwise. Legalism is a spiritual poison and it absolutely has and does and will continue to leave nothing but death (in all its forms) in its wake.

        One of the hardest things (I’ve noticed) is knowing how to reply to legalism, how to properly challenge it, how to even correctly discern it.

        I tend to see legalism and those that espouse it as the path to Biblical salvation, or included as part and parcel of Biblical salvation for the human race, as wholly indifferent to the human race. They simply do not care about the human race.

        But I’ve seen persons like this be and become very passionate; practically frothing at the mouth. They do not seem indifferent, right? The more “worked up” they get, the more you might be convinced to take them seriously. No one gets “worked up” over something meaningless, right? So you sit up and pay attention.

        Making a lot of noise does not mean you legitimately care about something, and it certainly does not automatically mean you are legitimately in the right! But I have fallen for this sort of thing, time and time again.

        Since the Lord writes His law on our heart as part and parcel of the New Covenant, it is wise to ask Him to “write” words like this from His Word:

        And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;

        And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.

        When Elijah heard the voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, What are you doing here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:11-13 AMPC)

        When I have experienced burnout or experienced brutality in general, I was tired of all the “noise” around me. I longed for His “gentle whisper” within me. Legalism can scream all it wants, but it will never give you what you truly need.

      • Reaching Out

        Helovesme,

        I’m not sure, but you might (?) be still having some sort of Internet issues. Or perhaps (?) you unintentionally (somehow) submitted two draft comments (one incomplete comment, one complete comment) in the same comment.

        In the comment you submitted, the first part of the comment contained almost all of the same text as the second part of the comment, except that a) the quote from 1 Kings 19:11-13 used a different Bible translation, and b) the first part of the comment was missing your conclusion.

        I’ve done two things: 1) I’ve deleted the first part of the comment that was incomplete, and 2) I’ve taken the liberty of adding what I believe to be the correct Bible translation (AMPC) after your 1 Kings 19:11-13 quote. If I’m incorrect, please let me know if the Bible translation needs to be changed from AMPC (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition) to something else.

        I hope you don’t mind my making such arbitrary decisions without contacting you first. 🙂

      • Helovesme

        Please don’t apologize! I can see I likely overdid it in order to correct things. Internet is fine now, but when I tried to fix the incomplete sentence I think I accidentally reposted the original post AND the corrected version corrections separately. Through no fault of the ACFJ website, it kept giving me different error messages so I think I tried a few more times than needed.

        When I had copied and pasted the 1 Kings verse, I actually liked another translation and I thought I had erased the original, replaced it with the one I liked—perhaps I did not do it properly or correctly? I confess to have been in a bit of a hurry, but I thought I had done it correctly. Grr!

        Whatever changes you made are FINE, I am sorry I saddled you with more work. I will try to be more careful in the future.

      • Reaching Out

        Helovesme,

        You never saddle me with more work. 🙂

        If I remember correctly, the other 1 Kings 19:11-13 quote you had in your comment was from the NIV (New International Version). I went and re-read the NIV 1 Kings 19:11-13 before replying to you — as I once emailed to Barb, doing what I do on the ACFJ blog (Moderating, Editing, fixing links, researching Bible quotes, etc.) is my version of studying the Bible, etc.. It’s my Bible time. 🙂

        I’m including the NIV 1 Kings 19:11-13 quote in my comment, for anyone who might be interested in the other translation you, Helovesme, liked:

        (11) The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

        Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. (12) After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (13) When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

        Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
        (1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV — New International Version)

        I’m also including a few other versions of the 1 Kings 19:11-13 quote, for anyone who might be interested….words (which words, and the way they are put together) can make such a difference in whether or not someone enjoys what they are reading. And everyone is so unique. One of the blessings of the internet is having access to so many different translations of the Bible.

        (11) And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

        (12) And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

        (13) And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
        (1 Kings 19:11-13 KJV — King James Version)

        (11) So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. (12) After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. (13) When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
        (1 Kings 19:11-13 NASB1995 — New American Standard Bible 1995)

        (11) Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.”

        At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. (12) After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. (13) When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

        Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
        (1 Kings 19:11-13 CSB — Christian Standard Bible, HCSB — Holman Christian Standard Bible)

        (11) He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before Yahweh.” Suddenly Yahweh was passing by, with a great and strong wind ripping the mountains and crushing rocks before Yahweh; but Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. (12) After the earthquake was a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire. After the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. (13) It happened at the moment Elijah heard, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him and said, “Elijah, why are you here?”
        (1 Kings 19:11-13 LEB — Lexham English Bible)

      • Helovesme

        [Comment #2 in a set of comments by Helovesme, going by time of publication — Eds.]

        I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:21)

        This has been one of one my “informal” rules of thumb when communicating with those that profess Him. If the only way you can understand their profession of Christ is by excluding Christ, then you can and should legitimately question if they are sincere, born again believers.

        There is no such thing as finding a magic law or verse in the Word (or worst of all, apart from the Word) that will ever reduce or negate our full and complete dependence on His grace. For abuse advocates that profess Him, they should not attempt to give victims and survivors a “to-do” list that will miraculously cure or erase what was done to them.

        Replacing one abuser, who likely lied to the victim by promising “better treatment” from him, as long as she kept “bettering” herself with an impossible list of demands.

        With an “abuse advocate” who now lies to the victim by promising “better days” for her, as long as she keeps “bettering” herself with a different yet impossible list of demands. Both entitles likely claimed their narratives were straight out of the Word as representing Christ, although the advocate will try to come off as a kinder, gentler version of the abuser’s portrayal of Christ.

        First, there is no such thing as a kinder, quieter, gentler “abuser.” Both of these scenarios are intent on controlling the victim. But honestly, I easily bought into the: “just give me a list of things to do so that I will never be abused, or avoid being abused, ever again.” I wanted to be controlled in the name of eventually being in control myself. I can understand this notion, but it was 100% wrong to be told, and to tell myself this—because it either reduced His grace or set it aside completely. A profession of Christ can never exclude His grace in any way, shape or form, or else your profession of Christ is lacking the fullness of Christ, or lacking Him completely.

        Our dependence on His grace is not about being controlled by Christ (being transformed by Him is not being controlled by Him). It is about a connection WITH Christ. Also, being connected with Him is not a guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to you, because well, the Word is unequivocal on this subject. You rest in, rely on and rejoice in His grace because you trust that He is (and always was, always will be) in control. That doesn’t mean we sit passively with knowledge. Actually those that are aware of this, aim to abide in this, are often the most active of His laborers!

        SO, since this page has given me so much room for so much grace, here is a personal testimony about my beagle that gave me much needed Biblical perspective:

        In my home and life, these truths came into hard focus when I became an informal “personal trainer” for my untrained and overweight beagle. So I had 60 pounds of an out of control fur baby that resisted every effort to be controlled, and needing to lose about 15 pounds to save his life and improve his quality of life.

        Slowly but surely (not to mention painfully) it became clear: “righteousness never comes by the leash.” I tried a handful of different leashes, improvised and ad-libbed various methods to either control him by force or force him to embrace self-control. He became “Beagle Knievel” finding ways to outsmart or escape the leash. Tightening or loosening the leash could endanger his life even more (depending on the leash, by choking his neck or other areas of his body): How did I save his life while not ending his life? How did I save his life while not ending my sanity?

        I was 100% in the right for wanting to take care of him and do the right thing. But my “rightness” was all I knew, so all I knew was that I had every right to assert that “rightness.” There were rare occasions that he wasn’t literally dragging me down, pulling me in every direction opposite to mine, and being a noisy nuisance (especially when he saw cats: his sworn enemy!).

        For humanity, laws (in general) are intended to keep us on something like a “leash.” The intentions are often righteous, with the noble goal of creating a functional humanity. As each and every dysfunction humanity is known for comes up, a law is created to counteract and limit or remove access or ability for those dysfunctions to run rampant. As humanity becomes adept at finding loopholes within the laws, we create MORE laws to close those loopholes. We think, someday we’ll find the “magic law” that will finally create a controlled civilization.

        Long story short: The beagle lost the weight. I did not (completely) lose my mind. How? No, I never found a “magic” leash that created a “controlled and self-controlled” beagle. No rules, no laws, not even “discipline” did the deed.

        I did find a leash that had the best comfort level for both of us, but that was just the start. I used the leash to make a connection with him instead of using it as a means to control him. Even fur babies resent being treated as objects to be controlled, but they might respect being treated as lives to be connected with. With that in mind, no wonder humanity never truly thrives when too many freedoms are taken away in the name of creating a thriving humanity.

        At first, he wanted to get away from me to chase cats. THEN (no joke) I had the feeling he wanted to chase cats WITH me. I was in just as much disbelief as anyone else. So we ran, but we ran away from the cat so he’d have the feeling of pursuit, plus he got all that adrenaline out of his system. The connection with his mind enabled me to create a solution we could both live with. And it worked both ways. If I tripped and fell down, or one of my shoes would break, he kept pace with me as we limped home.

        Doing the right thing or reaching the right goal never comes by a leash. Control is never achieved by rigidity. What kind of a quality of life would my beagle have had, if he lost weight and therefore lived longer, if it was done at the expense of losing his spirit and installing a spirit fear in him? He likely would have wished he’d never been born at all. And I would have no right to share this testimony as a demonstration of being connected to His grace. It would be full of self-righteous, self-congratulatory bravado that professed Christ but in reality excluded Christ.

        (One more comment to finish this! I recently experienced an unexpected loss, so this took me some time to gather my thoughts together!)

      • Helovesme

        [Comment #3 in a set of comments by Helovesme — Eds.]

        When it comes to abuse advocacy, what it should and should not look like, I thought this might help. I once read one of the most beautiful descriptions of Christ:

        He never loved at the expense of righteousness, and He was never righteous at the expense of love. Both love and righteousness were perfectly met in Him.

        I think we tend to lean towards extremes. We aim to love, but neglect righteousness. We aim to be righteous, but we neglect to love.

        The Pharisees were often righteous at the expense of love, yet seemed to find everything right and nothing wrong with that. Which is why I think He said in Matthew 5:20:

        ….Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

        They had no love in their hearts (John 5:42).

        When we think of 1 Corinthians 13, we immediately think “Love is patient. love is kind” and so on. But that starts in verse 4. It is the verses BEFORE that confront us, BEFORE the descriptions of Biblical love comfort us.

        If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

        I am nothing, I gain nothing. No amount of rightness makes you righteous before Him, if you have not love.

        If professing Christians are advocating for the oppressed because they aim to represent Him as He truly is, where love and righteousness were never sacrificed in order to satisfy one over the other, you are something, and you have gained something.

        But if they display an agenda where love is treated as expendable, broken as if it is an “egg,” while claiming that that is what it takes to make an omelet, I’d suggest you are nothing, and you have gained nothing.

        If you ask me how we should proceed from here, my answer is I have no idea. But I DO think I have a starting point: I have no interest in being a nothing, in gaining nothing. I also have no interest in treating others as though they are nothing, as if they mean nothing.

  41. Frank Morris Elder and Pastor of Counseling

    Barbara, I met you a few years back, I had read your book during my own research for “Women Why Are You Weeping?”. I had been following Pastor Crippen as well. I want to commend you first of all because you are [a] jewel among writers. I remember you recanting of a remark you made in your book, once you were enlightened further. That alone is priceless! Barbara, you are an evangelist, and the same rules apply to the pen as to the tongue. Speak it and leave the result to God the Holy Spirit to perform the outcome. You’ve done well remember that, please take care of yourself. Love, Frank.

  42. Lou

    I was so moved by everything you wrote – and I do mean, EVERYTHING. You poured your heart out, and did so truthfully and sincerely. Your sincerity is just – beautiful…. It truly is, and I dearly appreciate it. That beauty also includes your anger, frustration, exhaustion, etc – emotions which are often viewed as “negative” – but they aren’t negative at all – as they are absolutely real, human, reasonable, and (overwhelmingly), valid.

    Barbara, you have been a fierce warrior, from the very beginning, fighting for the truth to be known. You’ve been sidelined, brought down, and maligned to the point of viciousness, by people who, when called out by you or others, refused to look at themselves, refused to search their hearts, and instead of appreciating the opportunity to question themselves and have open and honest dialogue with you, they lashed out in anger, and sometimes, outright vengeance toward you. My suspicion grows anytime I see a great show of blind anger, followed by adamant self-righteousness, and then vicious attack. — And that is exactly what took place, from everything I’ve read over the years, on your blog, and on the adversary’s blog. It is evident! Thumping the Bible, and perverting and distorting scripture, is a huge tell-tale sign. I realize you know all this – I am re-stating it, to let you know that your efforts to make the truth be known, have not been in vain. I’m sure I’m in the majority on this, as it’s pretty gosh dang obvious, just what the truth is. In contrast to such self-righteousness, you’ve questioned yourself openly, at times, and I love that – in anyone. None of us are perfect, and it does everyone good, when we can admit our doubts, and practice discernment not only in how we view others, but equally important, within and toward, ourselves.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, but have commented only a few times. However, my lack of comments, has no bearing on the positive effect this website has made in my life. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me…. Countless times since I left my abusive marriage several years ago, I have come back to read, again and again. There is always a new insight, or a reflection of how this website was a light that broke through the darkness I was living in, years ago…. And it is still a light!, as I’m still learning, and still want to know more, and I’ve also experienced such empathy toward other’s suffering, reading their comments and stories.

    I know this was very long….but I needed to express these things, and if you need to truncate it for length, that’s OK. The main thing I want to get across is this: you were and still are, the most fierce warrior I have ever known, on the subject of what the Bible says about the sin of domestic violence, and about DV in general, you’re an expert. While I don’t personally know you face-to-face, I do know you – just as all the other readers do – as you poured yourself out, honestly and sincerely, on these pages. So, Barbara, fierce warrior that you are – thank you for all you have done. Rest now in listening to God and your own heart, and I know you will go, wherever He leads you.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Lou,

      For safety and protection, I’ve modified the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you’ve used on the blog. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

      And my apologies, Lou, for the delay in moderating your comment – for some unknown reason WordPress sent your comment to the Spam folder.

    • Seeing Clearly

      I appreciate your words, Lou. You convey many of my thoughts and experiences, as well. I could feel Barbara’s exhaustion in your words, if that is possible. I have felt this same exhaustion as I reached out to a nephew in ministry, hoping he would become interested in Barbara’s ministry; hoping he could become a truthful voice in the church. I mailed him Barbara’s book and welcomed dialogue since his uncle, my ex, was also a minister. Unfortunately, the common response occurred. He closed the door on dialogue. Once again. my passion and concern for abuse in the church was silenced. I have learned so much from Barbara’s teachings. She has played a major part in my healing after divorce. Patriarchy holds a strangle on the church at large. I know this, fiercely, first hand.

  43. Sassinsweet

    I am so sorry that you are feeling this high anxiety, and lack of gratitude and honesty from the church and other advocates. Understatement I know.

    I have enjoyed getting to know your sweet spirit, and I pray that you will care for yourself, and get refreshed, as much and more, than you have helped us. You are only responsible to care for yourself, not us, mostly strangers really. So please don’t feel you have made any commitments that you can’t “pivot” on. Very freeing. I pray you will feel peace gush all over you, like being anointed with oil – don’t know if that would feel very pleasant – but you get my drift.

    PS – [I] know I need to work on my maturity, and I’m not the only one – your articles, especially on Joseph are very illuminating and inspiring. Don’t let them win, rest up and explore caring for you. You, made in the image of God, who needed peace and quiet away from people too – I suspect we need much more. Anyway blessings and virtual hugs from a gushy, much recovered survivor sister. xxx

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  44. My omnibus thank you to all of you who have commented kindly on this post. If I am not naming you, please don’t read anything into it. I have printed out all the kind comments on this post, re-read them several times, and will continue to revisit them.

    Thanks, J. D. Gallé, for your suggestion that I publish a portion of this blog content in printed / physical form. I’ve tucked that idea into my “maybe do when I have recovered from burnout” basket. Like you, I sense the groaning of the entire creation and the evil of this world intensifying.

    Frank Morris, I treasure your calling me “a jewel of a writer” 🙂 and your other wise advice.

    I am still feeling “a weariness of Jeremiah proportions” but am gradually recovering. In the early weeks I was spending a day in bed every week; during the last few weeks I have not had to do that.

    Thank you to everyone who has told me that my book helped them through desperate times. I look forward to hugging you in His city. You will find me in the library there. 🙂

    I am taking the advice to rest as long as I need to. I’m gently attending to finding worth in my being, not only my doing. I’m watching movies and reading novels. Sometimes I look at books of 19th century paintings, playing a game of imagining I live there and deciding which house I would live in and which window would be my sitting room. Sometimes I walk in the bush and imagine I’m walking through a Frederick McCubbin painting. I’m enjoying the two churches and two Bible study groups I go to each week. Occasionally I feel led to dig into a theological article or some passage of Scripture. I’ve had new insights about Scripture but am not laying upon myself the burden of writing them up. Maybe one day I will, but not yet.

    • Grace551

      Happy to hear what you’re doing, Barbara. I feel it’s the right way to go. Praying Psalm 23 for you, especially that the Lord will restore your soul.

  45. Thank You

    All the best to you, Barbara. Take good care of yourself. Do not be hard on yourself. As many posts have been, even this post is helpful to me; that burn-out can take many years to heal is not something I knew, but needed to know. Thank you.

  46. Finding Answers

    Helovesme,

    Reaching Out commented (24TH JULY 2022 – 7:48 PM):

    I was so happy to see your comment[s]. 🙂

    (Addition of the letter “s” in square brackets done by me.)

    That!

    In your (Helovesme’s) comment (24TH JULY 2022 – 7:23 PM), you wrote:

    dogs are capable of understanding and / or knowing that they are being talked about. They may not be able to make full sense of it, or fully grasp the narrative, but they are far more intuitive than we give them credit for. They can and do feel rejected.

    That. And the same thing is true about many people.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    But I suppose it is more convenient to assume: either dogs are incapable of experiencing rejection, OR that they don’t intend for dogs to take that rejection so “personally”. Either way, they can’t be held accountable for causing a pain that dogs may or may not be able to feel, OR they can’t be held accountable for causing a pain that dogs chose to take so personally.

    That.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    I am on the shorter side as a human being, so I understand how fur babies feel when they are literally looked down upon, plus my human “worth” has been drastically diminished by humanity, so I see myself as the “dog” many times.

    I am so sorry humanity has treated you so badly, Helovesme. Those who have treated you so badly obviously don’t know you and your true worth.

    In your comment (24TH JULY 2022 – 8:08 PM), you wrote:

    There is no such thing as finding a magic law or verse in the Word (or worst of all, apart from the Word)….to give victims and survivors a “to-do” list that will miraculously cure or erase what was done to them.

    That.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    For abuse advocates that profess Him, they should not attempt to give victims and survivors a “to-do” list that will miraculously cure or erase what was done to them.

    Replacing one abuser, who likely lied to the victim by promising “better treatment” from him, as long as she kept “bettering” herself with an impossible list of demands.

    That. And the same thing is true about many people, not just abuse advocates who profess Him.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    there is no such thing as a kinder, quieter, gentler “abuser.”

    That.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    being connected with Him [Jesus] is not a guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to you

    (Addition of the Name “Jesus” in square brackets done by me.)

    That.

    In the same comment you wrote:

    SO, since this page has given me so much room for so much grace, here is a personal testimony about my beagle that gave me much needed Biblical perspective:

    Thank you for including your personal testimony about your beagle….

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    Doing the right thing or reaching the right goal never comes by a leash. Control is never achieved by rigidity.

    That.

    In your comment (24TH JULY 2022 – 8:11 PM), you wrote:

    [A person is] nothing, [A person] gain[s] nothing. No amount of rightness makes [generic] you righteous before Him, if [generic] you have not love.

    (Modification of Helovesme’s comment, including the addition of the words “A person is”, “A person”, “generic”, and the letter “s” in square brackets done by me.)

    That.

    In your comment (25TH JULY 2022 – 12:35 PM), you wrote:

    I never, ever wonder (anymore) why the Christ so passionately railed against legalism; why Paul came down so hard on it. Why it is so dangerous and deadly. You can paste a label that says “not poison” on a bottle of poison, but if you drink it, the results will clearly say otherwise. Legalism is a spiritual poison and it absolutely has and does and will continue to leave nothing but death (in all its forms) in its wake.

    That.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    legalism and those that espouse it….as wholly indifferent to the human race. They simply do not care about the human race.

    But I’ve seen persons like this be and become very passionate; practically frothing at the mouth.

    That.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    Making a lot of noise does not mean you legitimately care about something, and it certainly does not automatically mean you are legitimately in the right!

    That.

    In the same comment, you wrote:

    Legalism can scream all it wants, but it will never give you what you truly need.

    That.

    • Helovesme

      Wanted to say THANK YOU to both Finding Answers and Reaching Out for the kind words and generous replies. I am very sorry it took me this long to say that; I kept pushing it aside or to the back of my mind because I had wanted to have more time to formulate a much more thoughtful reply than just “thank you.”

      Then I realized that that is kind of lame; doesn’t take much time or effort to say “thank you” and it means so much to say those words, and means a lot more to be thanked.

      One of the biggest things that prolonged and intensified my own experiences with being burned out, was feeling isolated from others, and others feeling isolated from me. While it is fair to say I needed some “space,” I very much would have appreciated being reached out to now and then, just to be reminded that being isolated does not have to feel like total isolation from the human race.

      America landed on the moon in 1969; we are usually more familiar with two of the men who made history, but a third man was there, too: Michael Collins.

      He describes what it felt like when his two colleagues were on the moon, he stayed in the ship and he orbited the “dark side” of the moon. He was completely cut off from ALL human contact, no way to communicate with any member of the human race. For that time, he may as well as been the only human being in existence, and it was truly terrifying to him and very difficult for him to endure.

      While I am sure he received as much training as possible in preparation for this portion of the journey, I have a feeling that nothing can truly replicate the actual experience of it.

      For me, one of the most terrifying “Twilight Zone” episodes is called “Where is Everybody?” Note: spoilers ahead!

      A man walks into a small town that looks normal, seems inhabited (cars are present, a movie reel is running, food at a diner is fresh). But he cannot find one single human being. Even worse, he has amnesia: he has no idea who he is or how he got there.

      He tries to stay calm and collected, even a bit jovial at the craziness of it all, but the frustrations keep piling up. A human shaped figure in a car turns out to be a mannequin. How is a movie being shown with no one running it, and no one watching it?

      Your mind races with him, tries to imagine all the possible scenarios along with him. He finally breaks down and frantically pushes a button to cross a sidewalk.

      Cut to a group of military-type men, calmly watching him on a small screen as he cries and begs for help, as he keeps pushing a button. None of them make a move to help him, so you might think he is a victim and they are his captors.

      No, that is not the case. They are observing him, but it is the job of others to actually remove him from the small structure he was occupying. They put him on a stretcher and eventually answer questions from the press waiting outside, which also answers OUR questions as well!

      He is an astronaut preparing to journey to the moon, which includes facing the enormous stress of isolation from humanity. He pushed that button to indicate when he had had his limit. It is described to the reporters that while they have the means to keep his mind as busy as possible, there is no substitute for the desperate need for human interaction.

      The poor man tried to apologize for breaking down, which is automatically rebuffed: “nothing to be sorry about.” I forget the exact amount of time he was able to take it, but they seemed to indicate it was impressive. He had hallucinated that entire scenario of being in a deserted town in a last ditch effort to maintain his sanity.

      He then looks up at the moon and jokes for it to not go anywhere, he’d be arriving there soon enough. Despite his understandable limits of endurance, he was not going to give up entirely.

      Every victim of abuse does not experience abuse in the exact same ways, I think, nor do they react to the abuse in the same exact ways. But I do think that every victim has experienced some form of being isolated, feeling isolated—as if they are the only human beings in existence. As if they do not simply orbit the dark side of the moon in total isolation from humanity, they live on it.

      A longer reply than intended, but hopefully helping others (and myself!) to feel just a little less isolated!

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme,

        You wrote (11TH AUGUST 2022 – 1:12 PM):

        Wanted to say THANK YOU to both Finding Answers and Reaching Out for the kind words and generous replies. I am very sorry it took me this long to say that; I kept pushing it aside or to the back of my mind because I had wanted to have more time to formulate a much more thoughtful reply than just “thank you.”

        Then I realized that that is kind of lame; doesn’t take much time or effort to say “thank you” and it means so much to say those words, and means a lot more to be thanked.

        No need to apologize. Sometimes it can take a lot of time, energy, effort, etc. just to say the words “Thank you”.

        You also wrote:

        One of the biggest things that prolonged and intensified my own experiences with being burned out, was feeling isolated from others, and others feeling isolated from me. While it is fair to say I needed some “space,” I very much would have appreciated being reached out to now and then, just to be reminded that being isolated does not have to feel like total isolation from the human race.

        When babies don’t get healthy human touch, they fail to thrive, and sometimes even die. For some people, healthy human contact (whether physical or non-physical) is much the same. And when one is burned out, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to reach out to other human beings.

        And no matter what anyone says (especially Christians and / or “Christians”), saying that God and / or Jesus Christ, etc. is all you need is full of expletive deleted.

        And many times, people are too stupid, ignorant, naive, victims of abuse, etc., to realize and / or understand when someone is burned out.

        I’m so sorry no one reached out to you….no wonder your being burned out was prolonged.

        You also wrote:

        America landed on the moon in 1969; we are usually more familiar with two of the men who made history, but a third man was there, too: Michael Collins.

        He describes what it felt like when his two colleagues were on the moon, he stayed in the ship and he orbited the “dark side” of the moon. He was completely cut off from ALL human contact, no way to communicate with any member of the human race. For that time, he may as well as been the only human being in existence, and it was truly terrifying to him and very difficult for him to endure.

        I wonder if, even for a few moments, Michael Collins enjoyed being alone, looking out into space, no one around to talk at and / or with him. A few moments to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of what he was seeing and experiencing.

        You also wrote:

        there is no substitute for the desperate need for [healthy] human interaction.

        (Modification in square brackets done by me.)

        That, for many (most?), but not all people. And one also needs to define what is meant by the word “interaction”.

        You also wrote:

        The poor man tried to apologize for breaking down, which is automatically rebuffed: “nothing to be sorry about.”

        Not knowing the tone of voice used when the others rebuffed (replied to?) the poor man with the phrase “nothing to be sorry about”, they might (intentionally or unintentionally) have made him feel worse than he already did….

        You also wrote:

        Every victim of abuse does not experience abuse in the exact same ways, I think, nor do they react to the abuse in the same exact ways. But I do think that every victim has experienced some form of being isolated, feeling isolated–as if they are the only human beings in existence. As if they do not simply orbit the dark side of the moon in total isolation from humanity, they live on it.

        That.

        A longer reply than intended

        For me, your replies and comments are never too long. 🙂

      • saying that God and / or Jesus Christ, etc. is all you need is full of expletive deleted.

        I agree!

    • Helovesme

      Thank you again, Finding Answers, always lovely to read your personalized angles and insights. Regarding Michael Collins, I did not read this entire autobiography, just a portion of it.

      Since space travel was fairly new to humanity, you may be onto something when you wrote:

      A few moments to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of what he was seeing and experiencing.

      There is nothing saying he could not have experienced a portion of terror AND tranquility.

      When you brought up what is or is not meant by “human interaction,” I am sorry I should have clarified: I was attempting to “sum up” the attitude from the actors in the “Twilight Zone” episode I referenced. One of the men in charge of speaking to reporters alluded to having limited substitutions for human contact. Judging from the astronaut’s hallucination at the end of his “isolation training,” he seemed desperate to speak to, or just “see” another human being. He is overcome with joy when he saw a mannequin of a human being, thinking he or she was real. His hopes were quickly dashed; a replica of a human being was not enough to experience the kind of connection he was hungry for.

      As for real life, where it is not a script or a show, yes we would need to dive deep to discuss what is or is not meant by “interaction,” specifically “human interaction.” I would honestly have to give it a lot of thought, but even then I think my definition would fall short!

      You wrote:

      Not knowing the tone of voice used when the others rebuffed (replied to?) the poor man with the phrase “nothing to be sorry about”, they might (intentionally or unintentionally) have made him feel worse than he already did….

      My take: the astronaut seemed to have felt as if he had failed or fell considerably short of what was expected of him. As if he should have “toughed” it out and had embarrassed himself, not to mention possibly jeopardizing their eventual mission to the actual moon itself. He may have expected that a goal as lofty as space exploration is more than enough motivation to overcome something as basic as loneliness, even prolonged loneliness.

      Also, he had become nearly hysterical by the end of his hallucination. I am personally a very private person. Imagine having a nervous breakdown with a handful of people watching it, a handful of people waiting outside to be briefed about it. The man who rebuffed him seemed to want to reassure him that falling apart is not equated to falling short. Hopefully the intention to show compassion did not end up unintentionally showing him contempt, or condescension.

      My favorite part, really, was him “talking” to the moon, which he could plainly see in the night sky: “I’ll be there soon!” That little hint of hope (and humor) left me (as the audience) with just the right touch.

      Unlike the moon, we cannot literally see the Lord Himself or Heaven itself. But we believe in both with the eyes of faith:

      being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ([Paraphrase of] Hebrews 11:1)

      When I suffer in severe and serious ways, I am often unsure what I am hoping for, uncertain of what I cannot see. This fictitious astronaut, after a certain period of fictitious suffering, brought his mind back to the point of why he was enduring the nearly unendurable, why he was bearing the nearly unbearable. Sometimes I look up and only see the moon. I’d like to look up and see beyond the moon, to the One who lives beyond the moon, but also in my heart.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme,

        In your comment (21ST AUGUST 2022 – 8:10 PM), you wrote:

        There is nothing saying he could not have experienced a portion of terror AND tranquility.

        That.

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        One of the men in charge of speaking to reporters alluded to having limited substitutions for human contact. Judging from the astronaut’s hallucination at the end of his “isolation training,” he seemed desperate to speak to, or just “see” another human being. He is overcome with joy when he saw a mannequin of a human being, thinking he or she was real. His hopes were quickly dashed; a replica of a human being was not enough to experience the kind of connection he many? most? people was were hungry for.

        (Strikethrough, bold / addition of the phrase “many? most? people” and the word “were” done by me.)

        That.

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        As for real life, where it is not a script or a show, yes we would need to dive deep to discuss what is or is not meant by “interaction,” specifically “human interaction.”

        That.

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        My take: the astronaut seemed to have felt as if he had failed or fell considerably short of what was expected of him. As if he should have “toughed” it out and had embarrassed himself, not to mention possibly jeopardizing their eventual mission to the actual moon itself. He may have expected that a goal as lofty as space exploration is more than enough motivation to overcome something as basic as loneliness, even prolonged loneliness.

        Thank you for providing how you perceived that episode of the “Twilight Zone….I wonder if you might perceive it differently now….and how other people might have perceived it then, and how those same people would perceive it now….and how people who never saw that episode of the “Twilight Zone” would perceive it now.

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        Also, he had become nearly hysterical by the end of his hallucination….Imagine having a nervous breakdown with a handful of people watching it, a handful of people waiting outside to be briefed about it. The man who rebuffed him seemed to want to reassure him that falling apart is not equated to falling short. Hopefully the intention to show compassion did not end up unintentionally showing him contempt, or condescension.

        (Bold done by me.)

        That.

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        My favorite part, really, was him “talking” to the moon, which he could plainly see in the night sky: “I’ll be there soon!” That little hint of hope (and humor) left me (as the audience) with just the right touch.

        I wonder if that would’ve been my favourite part, too. 🙂

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        Unlike the moon, we cannot literally see the Lord Himself or Heaven itself. But we believe in both with the eyes of faith

        That.

        In your comment, you also wrote:

        When I suffer in severe and serious ways, I am often unsure what I am hoping for, uncertain of what I cannot see. This fictitious astronaut, after a certain period of fictitious suffering, brought his mind back to the point of why he was enduring the nearly unendurable, why he was bearing the nearly unbearable. Sometimes I look up and only see the moon. I’d like to look up and see beyond the moon, to the One who lives beyond the moon, but also in my heart.

        (Bold done by me.)

        That.

      • Thank you, Finding Answers and Helovesme. I enjoy reading your conversations. Even though I don’t often have the concentration to read all of what you’ve been saying, the parts I do read make me happy and give me insights and food for thought. 🙂

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