I’m sitting again on the deck of the ship in the South of France. I’ve never been here before but it is just beautiful. In the harbor there are yachts that look like mansions, the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But for a moment, it’s fun to get a glimpse of it.
By the time this is posted, I will be close to heading back to the USA. We land in Rome and will spend a few days in Italy and then head to Chicago to visit family.
Our goal for this summer was to get a break from the hot sun in Arizona, but here there is high heat plus high humidity. Lesson learned. Pizza oven hot is easier for my body than steam room hot.
Today’s blog is from a dear woman in our blog community. Aly has been a regular contributor here for years and I invited her to share some of her thoughts about her own journey of healing. These are her words:
Leslie I just want to thank you for all you do for those who like me found themselves in a pattern of unhealthy and destructive relationships. If I had been asked about emotional abuse or what is destructive behavior 10 years ago, I could not have given a clear answer let alone think that it could happen in other relationships outside of marriage.
My story is one that I originally thought began with my dysfunctional & escalating destructive marriage but in reality, it began far sooner with both my husband and my own earlier experiences in our upbringing. The more I searched for answers and grew in my own boundaries the more the destructive behavior revealed itself. That’s not original for many or any of us really, so no need to expand.
As I was praying and thinking about what it is I want to share I felt a lot of things. Where does one begin in a journey of discovery especially if they are continuing to see that something is not bringing about the healing and wholeness with the Lord that He promises?
I think what often gets us confused is that when we live in a destructive environment we’re seeking survival. But others who don’t understand these dynamics often accuse us of looking for “happiness.” Or they tell us that we’re being “discontent” with our circumstances.
Our gut knows that’s not true. But how many of us get caught in this trap of allowing those lies to continue in our head even as we are getting closer and closer to seeing clearer and clearer?
Another common explanation offered to me for “what was wrong” was that I was at fault because I was seeking too much from my marriage.
Today I can smile and realize just how crazy that was because a person must first be in an actual marriage to seek too much and I was in a Non-marriage. I was seeking what I thought I had committed to. A partnership, a union, a relationship that He designed with such sacred places of vulnerability, trust, and honor. A marriage that would give glory to Him.
As a fairly young Christian mother, I loved the Lord, my husband and especially my children. I searched for spiritual comfort and godly answers to what was “wrong” with me and my marriage.
Where does a young Christian bride and most likely a mother go for safe and godly counsel for marital issues? We’ve been taught it’s the church with all its biblical resources.
I won’t give out my age, but I found A LOT of resources out there for someone like me looking for answers. Some of those resources helped. Some just left me more confused. My caution to anyone seeking help is to first pray and ask the Lord to write His truths on your heart as you follow and study Scripture in context.
Sadly, much of the church advice and counsel I received came from those who were totally unaware of the patterns of abuse. While I was in pain and on the confusing receiving end trying to make sense of what was going on, I wondered why I was seeing so many other destructive marriages and so many of these same marriages were pretending they were fine when they were not fine. I fear these examples of destructive marriages pretending to be something other are flooding our churches at a very unheatlhy rate.
Plus, many who are either aware of their unhealthy marriage or blind to it, are the key contributors offering help to the vast majority of destructive marriages in the church (This is probably another blog topic, that I don’t feel can ever be brought to the table too much).
Therefore, It made me extremely sad when I opened my email of 2018 to see yet again another very large Christian organization that focuses on ‘Christian marriages and families’ Post an article: Does God Want Me In A Bad Marriage?
I knew I needed to stop and read intently before assuming …. here we go again. Please, Lord, I want to be wrong so show me that this organization has done their homework and has offered a well educated ‘warning.’
Guess what, they did! At first, I felt a hope that I knew I needed to continue reading. Moment’s later, sadness and healthy protest. Yes, healthy protest. The warning emphasized only ‘physical abusive behavior!’
The person who wrote the article’s warning must be ignorant to the generational pattern of abuse they are passing on even in such a simple and minor way of a warning. In my opinion, this perspective epidemic and it all falls onto our shoulders to take the responsibility to speak out as a Christian community even if we can only address it in our own families, it must be exposed for what it is.
As I read through the entire article, it was almost identical to all the ‘single verse scriptures’ that kept my destructive ‘Christian’ marriage on its chaotic path. It was a reinforcement of rationalizations and spiritual examples that did not apply to my situation and further caused damage to my marriage and my children in the boat with us (helpless, powerless & dependent upon us to navigate).
Thankfully today, and by God’s grace, we are in a safer place and one that can grow and find real hope and answers to such vital things. I praise God for His strength and His pursuit of my freedom out of confusion and inaccurate theology that we find lurking everywhere.
My continual prayer and my question to the Lord is this: How many are out there Lord that need examples of your whole Scripture to assist them in their journey through and out of destructive relationships?
Again, I am reminded what a blessing Leslie’s ministry and others like hers are to our strength and especially our growth even when seasons are painful. Thank you, Lord, for your plan and purpose.
Friends, what was your ah-ha moment, where you started to see more clearly through the hazy maze of false counsel or inaccurate “diagnosis” of what was wrong that finally led you to the truth?