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Morning friends,

I just returned from attending the American Association of Christian Counselors Conference in Nashville. It was an amazing event with over 7,000 Christian leaders from all over the world. I spoke twice on my new book and had lots of opportunities to talk with people about it. It was an honor to be chosen to receive the 2013 Care Givers Award.

This week’s video is the third one in the series describing what needs to happen in order for an emotionally destructive marriage to be healed. The video is entitled: “What Does It Take To Heal A Destructive Marriage? – Stability”.  I hope you’re finding these video’s helpful. I have put all 12 of these weekly videos on a single DVD so that you can share them with ministry leaders and/or friends you think would benefit. This DVD will be available for sale on our webpage for $25. However, as my blog friends, you can order them this week only at the discounted price of $15 plus shipping and handling. Just enter coupon code EDM15.

Tomorrow from 4-5pm ET I will be on the Chris Fabry show on Moody talking about my new book. On Tuesday, September 17th, which is the official release date of my book, I will be speaking on Moody’s Mid-Day Connection. I’ll be talking about destructive marriages and answering listener’s questions. Please join me at 1:00 ET, noon, CT.

Today’s Question: I bought your book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, and have read many others just like it. I was in a bad marriage. Although not physically abusive, it was verbally abusive. My husband also went out with friends at least twice a week drinking and going to unmentionable places.

I was a stay-at-home homeschool mom. All the advice that I received from my church, prayer partners and friends was to stay–to just submit to my husband as unto Christ. I did this. I can't even name all the books I’ve read, prayer groups that I went to and counseling that I attended on my own over the years.

My husband ended up leaving me. We sold our house, and he took all the money and left the country. I am now a single mom with a rebellious teenager. I was left without my home or furniture and everything gone. I am even unable to receive any child support since he is out of the country. My church was unable to help with the finances and really did not check up on me.

Now I am very bitter. If I would have divorced earlier, I would not be in such a bad position. Please tell me why the church is so adamant about a woman staying, but then when she’s abandoned and in financial trouble, they don’t really want to get involved

Answer: I am so sorry for what you’ve been through, both in your marriage and with your church. Sadly, your story is not that unusual. It’s understandable. Women have traditionally been groomed to be passive and defer to other people the power to decide what they should do.

It’s also tempting for those of us who are people helpers to tell those who come to us for help what God says you must do. Our motives are usually good. We want to help. We care. We’re afraid for you and your family, and we want to remain true to God’s Word. Therefore, we all have our opinion on what God says is best for you. However, it is very easy for people to tell other people what to do when they don’t have to live out the consequences of those choices.

A woman or any other person in a destructive marriage must come to see that they do have some important choices to make and they must not totally abdicate that decision to others who are advising them. That does not mean you don’t seek godly counsel or read outside books, but you must do the work to understand what God’s Word says to you about your situation.

For those reading today’s blog, it’s crucial that when you make your decision about what to do regarding your marriage, you think through the potential risks and consequences of your decision. What will it cost you and your children to stay living in the same toxic environment and what it will cost you to leave? Only you should make a decision so serious that it will affect you and your family for the rest of your lives.

Whatever choice your make won’t be easy. Whatever choice you make will involve future suffering and hardship as well as opportunities to grow and learn to rely on God. Many women in your shoes continue to feel helpless, angry and victimized because they believe or have been told that they have no choices. But that’s not true. I want you to know you still have choices to make. Important choices that will affect you and others for years to come. You not only have choices on what actions to take, but also on what attitudes you will embrace.

Your problem right now is that you feel your choices have been taken from you and you’re angry and bitter. You’re angry at yourself for following bad advice. You’re bitter towards your husband for walking out without providing for you and his child. You’re angry, bitter and hurt at your church for advising you to hang in the marriage but now it feels like they’re abandoning you.

Those toxic emotions don't damage anyone but you and possibly your child. I would encourage you to work through your anger and bitterness towards yourself, your husband and your church so that they don’t continue to poison you. If you don’t, they will be like an anchor on your back or poison in your soul. They are toxic, and hanging on to them will change you into a negative person. Although it’s hard not to, please don't let that happen. Satan won over your husband, destroyed your marriage, your family, and your finances, but please don't let him continue to destroy you and your son with bitterness.

Forgive yourself, your spouse and your church. Move forward in grace, freeing yourself from the emotional chains that now bind even more tightly than a destructive spouse. It is only in that place that will you be able to write a new chapter in your life where you will discover that your life is not over and that God still has a plan for your life–a plan for a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Friends, how did you get over your anger and bitterness towards yourself, your spouse or others who gave you bad counsel?

 

37 Comments

  1. Vikki on September 16, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Firstly, I’m so sorry for the question asker. The situation stinks and there is nothing good about it.

    One of my strategies that a friend recommended, two years before I ended it, was to absolutely not be a victim and try to see where I made a choice to “give my power away” (our phrase), and where we could take it back in a Godly way. I was truly hoping as I did this, I would truly help move the needle in our marriage and stop blaming.

    So, when I felt ignored, I said, “I’m not a victim” and would ask him for a response on something. If he didn’t, then I walked away.
    If I felt no power over finances, I’d ask him for passwords and help myself get acquainted with everything.
    If I felt another counseling session was going to personally damage me, I chose to not go.
    Whatever I could do to not feel like things were being done “to” me, I would do.
    It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was leaps and bounds from feeling like I was at his mercy (okay, so at least i could begin to see where I really was at his mercy and where I wasn’t!) 🙂

    This has come in hugely miraculous for me right now, being apart. On my tough days I say “I chose it. I’m now going to choose to watch God show up. I chose to stay with a man who was emotionally bankrupt and I am dealing with those consequences. Lord, I forgive him because he can’t offer me any more. Lord, move on my behalf and help me make ends meet. And Lord, help me heal so I don’t ever ever allow this again… like, ever. ”

    Oddly enough, when I just face my truth head on, there is little sting left, little bitterness, and HUGE miracles that were I to recount the last 90 days, I would spur a revival right here.

    I JUST found this tonight and wanted to share…
    http://cathytaughinbaugh.com/27-reasons-to-forgive/

    Sending prayers and love to the asker and readers that we would all know we are loved far more than what we experience.

  2. Joy on September 17, 2013 at 6:11 am

    I feel for you because I was in the same position – homeschooling for 26 yrs, never allowed to have my own opinion, enduring physical violence (including being threatened with a loaded gun twice), watching my 7 children be seriously abused (ex: breaking a wood baseball bat over my 10-year-old), but not allowed to make any attempt to stop it, constant emotional/mental abuse – for 40 years. And my husband was a PASTOR! I stayed because he told me – and I believed from the verses – that God wanted me to stay; that I was submitting to God when I submitted to Him and that He was answerable to God for what He did with the kids and I was answerable to God only for how well I submitted. I stayed, believing with all my heart I was pleasing God and that He would take care of things – somehow, someday. Counsellors told us he needed to work on his anger and I needed to work on my submission (because he lied during the sessions). . . no help.

    I finally left last year, feeling like he would have killed me soon if I hadn’t and because the last counsellor was the only one who ‘got’ it. He could see through the deception and my silence to the abuse, and he told me I was allowed to exist and that I was enabling my husband’s sin by staying, among other things.

    I chose daily to release my bitterness and anger. That’s the only way I was able to stay and not puke when he demanded sex every night.

    Anger is an emotion GOD put in us, like Himself, to spur us to action when there is a wrong or injustice. Anger is not sin! What we DO with that anger is where the sin comes in. We can release it back on the offender, or we can release it to God to get vengeance in His time. I had no choice. Releasing it on my husband was NOT worth the consequences. I knew the devastating effects it would have in me if I sheltered the bitterness inside, so I daily – no, hourly – released his wickedness to God. I pictured myself literally rolling the torturous heavy burden off my back into Almighty God’s open hand.

    God IS sovereign and allows everything that He does for a purpose. I sure couldn’t see the purpose at the time, but I clung to the FACT that God is good and God is loving. I “trusted my soul to Him who judges righteously.” 1 Pet 2:23

    Ps 119:68 – “You are good and You do good. God, teach me.”

    Acts 7:34 – “I have seen, I have seen the affliction.” God knew every time he shoved, restrained, slapped, etc. God heard every false accusation, intimidation and belittlement.

    I ran to Col 1:11 – “longsuffering with joyfulness” and Ps 61:2 was my life verse…”from the ends of the earth (we were in Australia) will I cry unto Thee when my heart is overwhelmed.” I “exchanged a spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise.” Isa 61 It was an hourly choice.

    In conflicts, we are powerless to change the other person. I chose to show love my husband (tho there was none left naturally), not because he deserved it, but because it’s what God gives me.

    But when it’s time to leave the marriage, God tells you. Or in your case, he leaves you. Yes, the church usually abandons you, but no one is really educated in the unique world of abuse. No one understands unless they’ve lived in that world. It doesn’t go away with the pat answers and verses. Maybe you and I can help educate them? Get the leaders to read Leslie’s book.

    People abandon us, but God never! Release yourself from the prison of bitterness by rolling your husband’s wickedness and cruelty over into God’s powerful hand. Let God’s love and sunshine flood your weary, shredded soul and give you rest. “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” “And the peace of God which passes all understanding” will fill your soul!

    Don’t let that wretched man steal your joy any longer. He’s done enough damage in your life. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” “Bring every thought (of him) into captivity”, smash it into the rubbish bin and be FREE! God has a bright future ahead for you!

    I just found out my husband got himself a girlfriend and has filed for a divorce. I asked him to get counselling, and take other steps toward possible reconciliation, but this was his choice. So be it. I will leave him and his chains behind. I have found an area in this world where I can serve my God out of gratitude for all He’s done for me and I am content and at peace!

    • Eileen on September 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Joy, Your post was amazing! I saw strength and complete trust in God for it all! That is SO inspiring and gives me great hope in my situation! God bless you for writing this!

  3. Ann on September 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

    By giving it to the Lord every day,many times a day.Leslie,your advice is so right….she will only destroy the life God has given her and her son from this day forward if she clings to the bitterness.It is soooo hard.I hope she could find another church and a few supportive Christian friends to help her through this very lonely time.Also,Alanon( not simply for support for those effected by alcohol abuse)is an excellent source of help and support.My prayers are with her.And so grateful the talks went well.Thank you for being the voice to the voiceless.Ann

  4. Dora on September 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

    My hurt was not with my husband, but with a friend at church that rejected me. But I kept running through Why did it happen and what’s wrong with me that she rejected me, I shouldn’t have done this, I shouldn’t have done that…

    A couple people at church said I was in idolatry and one person asked if I ever thought about getting deliverance. OH.. and a pet peeve of mine… when people say God “allowed” this hurt in my life. Um.. I seriously don’t think the God I worship purposely harms his children. They always use that scripture about God working all things together for good. I think that is a mentality where people have to blame someone so they blame God. Instead of looking at the positive and saying yes this really hurts this bad thing that happened. God please work this out for good.

    All these things feel extremely hurtful. Now I am with people that really believe God is good. I decided to go to another church and leave all those judgmental misguided people and ministries behind. Now I am making new friends and we are doing women’s studies and I find I am fitting in much better with these women and they are not so darn negative! I told one that I had been hurt and she immediately said “there is no condemnation” here.

    It has been very very difficult to rid myself of the anger and bitterness. I’d say just keep giving the hurt to God and CHOOSING to forgive. The sooner you can drop that hurt and pain the better, that is your choice… when you are rejected you can tend to feel like a victim. You were victimized… but you are NOT a victim. So precious daughter of Christ God is not any of these people he loves you and wants to comfort you.

    To get over things, this is just what I did… I read books on forgiveness and I don’t usually listen to Joel Osteen, but I grabbed 4 of his sermons that I felt applied to me and listened to these positive uplifting messages over and over. I also really like Malcolm Smith and listened to him a lot http://www.doorwayto.com/purewordcounseling/id199.html and of course Leslie’s book was important. I am choosing to do good things for my self, the best thing being to forgive and be free of this bad friendship.

  5. Linda@Creekside on September 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Oh yes … that anger, bitterness, rage is so all-encompassing and overwhelming. It saps the energy we need to make wise decisions and live well and form healthy relationships. It seems to creep up on us and wrap itself around our souls and begin to define us, instead of who God says we are.

    For me, it seems like an ongoing conversation with God is the only thing that cuts this off. As soon as that person or that situation comes to mind, I purposefully picture myself, hands uplifted, releasing it right back up to Him.

    ‘Cause in the end, He’s the only One who can help me, reshape me, free me up.

    Thinking of you today, dear friend, whoever you may be. I know for sure that others share your story.

  6. Dotty on September 17, 2013 at 10:35 am

    The only way is Jesus! Recognizing my sinful nature and His suffering for me, He lifts me out of the bitterness so I can be happy again and see others’ brokenness, and also see daily blessings around me. I realize it sounds simplistic, but it’s the simple Gospel, if we can believe.
    I’m still in my emotionally rough marriage (I don’t want to call it destructive, because I’m believing in God’s healing power) All I know is that God somehow keeps lifting me up as I give it all to Him. A few weeks ago I couldn’t imagine any good future, then after communion service, the bitterness and depression lifted, and I was able to give my husband a nice birthday present, and enjoy life again. May God help me when I am weak.
    Some time ago our pastor told me my only hope was in God, that I could leave, but what good would that do? So, we don’t know the future, but the decisions are ours.
    Lord Jesus help you as you go on from this point in your life. “Look up, for your salvation draweth nigh”

  7. Lana on September 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Bitterness if not gotten out will eventually affect you physically and make you sick. It is so important to go to a christian counselor. Isaiah says Jesus will be a husband to the “widow”, and since you are without a husband please call on Jesus. He will not leave you or forsake you. Ask Him for His wisdom for your situation. He is the best counselor, friend, confidante. He truly has your back.

  8. Shawna on September 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I joined a Christian support group at another church, ARMS abuse recovery ministry service in Oregon. This is how God kept me from turning my back on church. I also read a book, “When you’ve been wronged: moving from bitterness to forgiveness”, by Erwin Lutzer. Above all this it is super natural. I have two teens still at home, even though my husband ignores and disrespects me I am staying for them. I don’t depend on the kids for emotional support. Understanding that they hate to see their father’s behavior. I try to validate their feelings without jumping in to attack their father. Focusing on the kids future and helping them grow and develope healthy relationships, keeps me from bitterness.

  9. janet tobler on September 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Miss Leslie wrote: Friends, how did you get over your anger and bitterness towards yourself, your spouse or others who gave you bad counsel? to the hurting sister, I am sorry for your experiences. What you experienced was very wrong. Both from your husband and from your church family. It was plain and simple wrong! I know exactly what you went through because the same happened to me. It was not that I gave my power or my choices away to anyone. They were taken from me through false, ungodly counsel. That is the real truth. I REFUSE to make that statement in the circumstance I had. What I do say to myself in regards to the false counsel I received is this… I trusted that the Christian counselors and churches and Christian books to provide me with accurate godly teaching. I trusted their counsel to help make my decisions which I thought were based on godly truths. During the years of trying to find the real godly truth I made poor choices which had grave consequences for me and my family. James 3:1 says, Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly and Isaiah 30:18 says Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! God’s words gave me comfort. Comfort to know that I was allowed to speak the truth. I was given false counsel and based my decision on that false counsel. I did my part, I studied, I listened, I prayed. Their false counsel brought grave consequences. I was comforted in knowing that god is a god of justice and I trusted those words. I recognized that we ALL have choices. Those choices can be right and wrong. Those choices whether right or wrong would hurt or bless me. It is a consequence of living in a fallen world. I refuse to acknowledge that I did anything wrong while following this false counsel. I do acknowledge that vengeance belongs to the lord and I learned that I had to have faith that god would see to it and I had to let it be. That scripture lead me to another scripture. Matt 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. That was a hard pill for me to swallow but I dedicated myself to trust god’s goodness. Forgiving did not make the pain go away. Forgiving said that I trust god and his ways. Forgiving did not say I must trust anyone else. Forgiving does not make the pain go away. I had to grieve my losses just like a death. I still experience consequences from the false counsel. I will say that god taught me through all of this his graciousness, towards me and those who taught me falsely. He taught me what forgiveness really means. He taught me what a real healthy relationship looks like and the example was between HIm and his son Jesus. He taught me how to really listen to the holy spirit and he taught me the difference between the spirits voice and all the other voices. He taught me discernment. He taught me that there is more than black and white, right and wrong thinking. He taught me what the world is like which causes me to long so deeply to be with him in my real home. He taught me how to have peace and joy even though I have heartache and sorrow. He taught me how much HIS GRACE will over power all this fallen world. This caused me to soften my heart towards my enemy and it eventually allowed me to let things go. GOD TAUGHT ME THAT IT IS A PROCESS AND GOD NEVER CONDEMNED ME WHILE I WAS LEARNING THIS. My sister, you are at the beginning stages of this process and you will grow and you will heal. What you experienced was WRONG! I will boldly stand up for you and say you were not at fault. I acknowledge that. Take the next step whatever that is. Again I am truly very sorry. Seek god HE will answer. He really will. He will teach you specifically. You don’t need anyone else. Open that bible
    And keep reading it. God will teach you the way you need to be taught. He knows you better than anyone else. You don’t need to believe that you have to be taught by a pastor or a book. When you seek HIM, god will answer you. He will teach you. Listen to the spirit and let the spirit guide you what to study. You can do it. You are a child of god. A child of the King. He has equipped you. The spirit is inside you, my sister. God gives us credit for trying. He knows we are dumb sheep. God is most excellent and faithful. Keep reading your bible and keep talking to god.

  10. FloridaLizzie on September 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Congratulations, Leslie, on your new book. I believe the Christian world is ready for your message, as it seems like destructive relationships and marriages are far too common today. My sympathy goes out to the woman who wrote this question.

    I will volunteer some things I have done to heal, even as I am still in the process since my husband of 27 years left me in December. One thing I did was begin learning about what abuse is and better ways to handle it and stop it. I went to a Boundaries class and take part in Al-Anon. Part of me feels that my changed attitudes and behavior led to my ex-husband leaving. I also took responsibility for myself, and recognized that I believed my marriage vows were in sickness and in health, and I honestly felt my ex-husband was and is mentally ill. Life is so much better since he left, but I did not feel freedom from God to leave, and am thankful that when my ex left, I felt freedom that I had done all I could do. If you never felt free to leave in your heart, don’t blame your church.

    I joined a Divorce Care group at another church, which gave me a safe place to be with others in a similar situation. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect everyone in a church to be an expert in divorce, so I didn’t put that burden on them. I did the homework that came with the Divorce Care materials, and it really helped me work through the negative emotions. I also did a lot of journaling about what I was feeling, and it seemed to help let it out of me. It’s normal to feel some anger and bitterness in this situation for a while, but it’s not healthy to stay there. Because I feel my ex-husband is mentally ill, I think it’s helped me have a little more compassion. That said, I’m thankful he lives hundreds of miles away now.

    One of the biggest things I did was take God at His Word. When He said, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” I knew it was too hard for me to do that in my own power, but that God could and would help me if I was willing. I had to face the fact that I have been forgiven much as well. I had a lot of anger at the divorce lawyers and had to work harder to forgive them than my ex. My church family has been pretty kind, but some folks just didn’t know how to handle it, and that was okay. All I know is that forgiving set me free. I am determined to do all I can to heal and be a trophy of God’s grace. Whether I ever remarry is not important to me. I used to homeschool, and I realized that learning to support myself is a big step in my growth. I decided to trust that God really does have good plans for me, and He would take care of me. Blaming others did me no good. Asking God to take away my fear and anger daily worked over time.

    You can do nothing to change the past. But you can do plenty to change your future. Asking God to help me heal and be thankful was a huge help to me. Believing that He has a future and a hope for me has brought much peace. I don’t want to be a victim, but an overcomer. I hope in time you will see that God has set you free, and He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all you ask or imagine. He will do His part, but you must do your part. It will take faith and courage. But you and your son will reap the rewards of doing the work required to heal from the trauma you have endured. My prayers are with you.

  11. Alene on September 17, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    My thoughts on avoiding bitterness…
    1. very helpful seeing a counselor for practical advice on how to respond in various situations, I knew the spiritual concepts. This is one on one discipleship!
    1b. Reading personality info, boundaries info, and other books for growth.
    2. feeling the feelings before I jumped to positive truth
    2b. learning to grieve has been huge. Staring the feelings right in the face and acknowledging them so they settle down and naming it “this is very sad, I would have liked to have had an easier marriage…it really hurt when — said, that is disappointing”…
    3. realizing I needed a circle of support outside my family and seeing the Lord providing as I seek it.
    4. reading a couple of Proverbs in the morning (wisdom focus) and a Psalm at night before bed (Praise focus); bookends of God’s words for my day
    5. jotting small and larger things I’m thankful for each day; the strength to get out of bed, to make eggs for my husband, to do my morning routine,…thankful for the zinneas blooming outside my window,…that I did two loads of laundry
    6. “it was what it was” and “it is what it is” are helpful words
    7. I always slather on compassion and understanding on the situation, for myself as well as the other person. He doesn’t know any better, I didn’t know any better at the time, that counselor is only human and did as much good as he could but didn’t do it all, etc.
    8. currently, taking some steps to get some space for a break. Everything accumulated last year and I need a little space to recuperate. My relationship with the Lord is more important than my relationship with my husband and I was slipping into some bitter comments. I was hoping for change and I need to be strong enough to live in the reality of what is right now.
    ((I Corinthians says if an unbelieving husband choose to dwell with the believing wife, ok, and that how does she know if she will save him? It also mentions peace. Is it possible that ‘dwelling with her’ implies he is choosing to dwell WITH her not just live in the same house, she’s choosing to dwell in love with the Lord. Don’t the following verses imply that peace is important but that we don’t often focus on that? that she doesn’t dwell with him, but he with her, that there is a choice, and that there is more depth to those verses and God’s heart than a surface reading suggests? I haven’t looked in depth and don’t know the answer to all of that.))
    10. Either God can redeem this or He can’t…he’s either real or he isn’t…
    11. listening to sermons with strong trust elements on line so that is part of the circle I choose.
    12. as I choose to grow, I feel strength. As I gain skill for how to live this more wisely, I feel strength. When I feel strength as I take the action I can take, I feel less bitter and I feel hope. As I take responsibility for my choices in getting in or allowing the situation, I feel less bitter and more realistic, standing in need of grace myself.
    13. pondering scripture like I Peter 3 or Is. 54, digging them deeper and deeper
    14. realizing that when I do struggle with bitterness, that it shows my lack in myself and need to rely on the Lord more and more…

    • Dot on September 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks for writing this. It’s got lots of positive things to do each day as we wait on the Lord.

  12. Laurie on September 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Forgiveness gets rid of the anger and bitterness. Not the kind of sweet, sappy, fake forgiveness that runs on the surface but doesn’t change you, but the hard, tough kind of forgiveness wrenched out of you from down deep. This forgiveness is rooted firmly in your sometimes shaky trust in God, when everything in you cries out in protest at the injustice of what you’ve endured.

    I had a moment, when I knew with crystal clarity that God wanted me to forgive my estranged husband face-to-face. Forgiveness had been in the air for several weeks before that moment; God used a variety of means to focus my attention on the subject, then brought internal gentle pressure, and then finally brought to me the moment of reckoning: we were separated but were to meet in a public place so he could get something he needed from me (a car title so he could trade in his old car to buy himself a new vehicle) and he would finally confess to me verbally the affair I already knew in my heart he was having. (He would not put anything in writing on Facebook or an email, to be used against him in the future). He was there only to further use me and hurt me, I was there unwillingly, heartbroken,angry and oh so bitter, but clinging to God and following the internal guidance of the Spirit.

    As I pulled into the parking lot, a song came on the radio: Matthew West singing “Forgiveness”, a song I had seen him perform live only a couple of weeks prior. I sat in the parking lot, listening, tears streaming, knowing God wanted me to forgive him, and finally, reluctantly, agreed to do just that, let it go and trust God with the outcome. I collected myself, dried my tears, and went in to meet with him for what turned out to be the last time…

    When the moment of truth finally came, sitting there at McDonalds, facing the man who had broken me so thoroughly, heart, mind, and spirit, body and soul, once more being kind to someone so undeserving… he looked me dead in the eye and said “something” made him feel like telling me straight out that he had been cheating on me in the months before finally abandoning his family (leaving me an unemployed housewife and homeschooling mom)….

    ….I looked at him calmly, dry-eyed, dead in the eye, and said those three little words:

    I forgive you.

    In a very rare moment of unguarded reaction, he started to say, “How could you forgive me…?” then quickly looked away and clammed up again.

    But oh! That moment of hard obedience released it all, like a lance piercing an ugly angry festering boil. The anger and bitterness and heartache just melted away, and I was FREE!!

    That night, I was on the mountaintop with God, free from the chains of unforgiveness and free to walk away at last from a life of bondage to a man that wasn’t able to love me or any woman, for that matter.

    Who knows what seed was planted that night in my husband, when I forgave the unforgivable? It’s been 9 months since the night God set me free. As for my husband, he has moved on to focus his energy on creating a new life devoting his considerable skills to winning over my replacement while playing the sad victim for friends and family. I thank God that he leaves us in peace (after trying numerous times to draw me back into his web of deceit and abuse, and failing). Despite many uncertainties about the future, my trust is in God, not any man, and life gets better and better for my little family.

    Forgiveness was something I resisted for many years; people are funny that way, aren’t we? We want mercy for ourselves when we offend, but justice for the others that have offended us.

  13. Ami on September 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    It is a journey for all of us. Some of us got out before they destroyed our lives completely, some of us are weathering a bigger fall out. It is painful and can leave us utterly bitter and angry. Only God and God alone can heal up the broken hearted, show us truth in what we need to do to overcome this great trial. God lead me to few close friends that I could rely on and pray with. He lead me to Leslie’s books and showed me where I had developed bad habits and had sinned myself. He strengthened me, helped me to take captive my thoughts and cast down all imaginations. It has been a over 2 years since I started my journey. I have watched God transform me through the renewing of my mind in Christ Jesus. I have held scripture in my heart. Scripture that was tough to swallow as I dealt with anger, malice and rage…… Last night I had to meet with the man I called my husband for 22 years and come to terms in our divorce decree because we had chosen a process through collaborative law that is for people who want to stay out of court and will decide together what is best. That DID not fit one of us. My husband is selfish, greedy, a bully, arrogant, manipulating, demanding, and very childlike in temper and tantrums. The difference is what God had done in me. Nothing had changed in him. He “tried” to bully me, use scare tactics, threaten me and play the victim all in one setting. BUT by the grace of God and prayer from a few friends and 4 of my 5 children, I found strength, courage and had a sound mind through it all. I fought for what was most important to me, my 2 youngest children still at home. I too homeschool and now will be able to continue, because I gave him what he NEEDED most, his money. I will still be cared for and be able to work on a degree to go back to work within 4 years. But I walked away from an even larger amount of money to have this peace and also have my children full time without him have any control over them because money is his idol

  14. Beth on September 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Ladies, what a beautiful work God has done in your hearts and lives so that you have been graced to hear and believe TRUTH and sort out the very sad relationships you found yourselves in. One of the most painful parts for me in choosing to finally leave my minister-husband was that it all was upside down. I knew that others would view it as losing my integrity to leave, but they didn’t live in my house and know the stark differences from the climate in public and private. It was becoming an IDOL to cling to the financial security and frankly, the perks of the respect of others because we were “in the ministry”. It became more wrong to STAY. I loved so much about my husband and felt called to minister alongside him, yet the disparity from the public to the private life was so wrong and particularly hurtful to our kids. One of the biggest lessons was that the Bible has balancing principles. For example, it is true that “love covers a multitude of sins” but Proverbs also teaches that if I “cover” for someone’s sins, I join him in them. If I allow (or don’t stop) verbal or physical abuse, I am condoning it. I would grasp onto one truth in the Bible, yet close my eyes to the truth that were balancing principles I should also consider. But initially, I was SO ANGRY with God for not jumping in and saving the day and totally changing my husband’s heart. I had been the gentle, quiet, submissive spirit that was to be prized in a woman, but I had not stepped up enough to hold him accountable for uncontrolled and unprovoked temper tantrums toward our kids or me. But I had to realize that there are no promises that if I do right, my spouse will respond in kind. I tried to focus on grace and forgiveness and merciful waiting for change, but at some point, I needed to remove myself and the children from the complete instability in the home. (When your kids call to hear the “temperature” and check to see if the “coast is clear” and tell you they will never return home to visit you once they break out of the chaos, it’s BAD.) I applaud men and women who have had the courage to leave when there is no other option, who forgive those who have hurt them, and who are determined to figure out what responsibility they had in the relationship in terms of personal wrong doing that didn’t help the situtation. None of us are without sin, and often when provoked or pushed beyond limits, we rarely choose the right words and actions every time. I want to forgive and release it to God, seek forgiveness for where I failed, learn and move on. Another challenge is letting it go and not dwelling on it endlessly. I keep telling myself, “Don’t be Lot’s wife. Only look back to reflect and grow, but when you obsess about the past, you can’t move forward in a healthy way. The road you are walking can’t be straight if you keep looking over your shoulder. Look ahead. Move FORWARD to the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus and victory in His love and grace!”

    • Lonely wife on December 13, 2014 at 5:57 am

      Beth…I NEEDED this…I really did! I’m looking at separation in the future…and it’s scares me to death to be honest! Married 29yrs…a homeschool mom also…and yet, I have to do what’s right for my children! I thank God that my youngest is in high school and all my family supports me!

  15. Donnie on September 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    In my opinion, spousal abuse is similar to religious persecution. God always gives His children the God-approved option to “flee persecution” to a safe haven, both you and your offspring. Don’t ever feel guilty of fleeing to safety, just as a Christian who flees religious persecution should not receive condemnation. If your spouse’s heart is truly right with God, they will be broken and contrite toward Jesus and toward you, with fruit of repentance demonstrated over a LONG period of time that clearly shows they are walking in the Spirit as a lifestyle. On the other hand, if your spouse files divorce, makes threats of violence, or lives in adultery with another person or with pornography, then you know their true heart is absolutely inclined toward evil.

  16. Ami on September 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    My whole comment did not make it on my reply.

    I left lthe meeting last night feeling I did not know the man that sat in front of me… But I left feeling peace and knowing God had forever changed me. I have become more than a conquerer! I have watched God care for me even through the suffering. Something happened to me that transformed me and I can firmly say and believe, it was the Spirit of God. When this all started 2 yrs ago. Long story short. I started setting hard boundaries and sticking to them and then giving a two month ultimadum and when he didn’t follow through, asked him to leave, wherein he did many things to make me look like a horrible human being and that he was suffering for no reason. Anything to get him back in that door. I stressed counseling that he only stuck to for 6 times. As he had done for 22 yrs…. I went through some very dark times, including wanting death for myself. But God was always there. I continued to cry out to Him, knowing only He could save me and my family. And He has stayed true to His promises, to never leave or forsake me, To be my Fortress, my Stronghold, my ever present help in times of trouble and soooo many more. I have come out of this with battle scars but I truly can and will continue to pray for my husband but know I am set free from the prision he had me in. No guilt, or shame attached. I have had to battle mindsets let go of toxic people in my life knowing I can not change them. A good book to read is the Hiding Place the Ten Booms went through extremely hard trials and suffered much loss. The book brings to life how He is always there with us and miracles happen even in consentration camps. The Apostle Paul has much to say on trials and suffering. You have suffered greatly, and you have a God that loves you and knows exactly what you need to move forward to be able to forgive, flurish and live a life that is an example of His amazing love. I will be praying for you.

    • Lonely wife on December 13, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Ami….you wrote this over a year ago, but I just want you to know that I NEEDED to read this! Thank you!

  17. Teri on September 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Oh, Original Poster. I am so sorry that happened to you. You did not deserve that- from your husband or your church. I am separated from my abusive, adulterous, unrepentant husband and it looks like we are headed for divorce. So be it. God is good.

    It’s interesting to me that so many of us seem to be homeschoolers. What’s up with that? I’d love to see Leslie offer a workshop at one of the homeschool conventions! 🙂

    Hang in there, OP. Find pleasure in the little things. Mine is reading in bed. DH never allowed that. I’m praying for you.

    • Dot on September 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Yes, we homeschooled many years, too, though the marriage got worse when the youngest started college and I got a part time job.

  18. IkZalHandHaven on September 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    This is for all you pastor’s wives out there who are or have been married to someone like the one below… Beware ladies when you seek Biblical advice from someone like this..

    Sep, 2013
    How To Spot a Manipulative Church Leader

    Donald Miller
    I grew up in a small town in Texas and attended a small church. I loved my church. I loved the jovial pastor, all the men in suits who rubbed me on the head as I came in and out of the sanctuary, the kind ladies who always brought us muffins in Sunday School and especially the youth camps we’d go to over the summers. Church was my second home, and it almost feels like I spent more time there than in my own home.

    One winter, though, our pastor decided to retire. We threw an enormous party in his honor. I’ll never forget person after person walking to the microphone to tell stories about the many years he’d shepherded our congregation. People cried, we sang, we brought gifts, we ate food, we laughed until late into the night. It took a full month for everybody to say their goodbyes.

    I am eternally grateful the first minister I encountered was such a good man.

    Because the second minister I encountered wasn’t.

    *Photocredit: Cornell University, Creative Commons
    A committee was put in place to replace our pastor and the committee decided to hire a dynamic young man from Louisiana. The man had been a traveling preacher, moving from church to church to perform revivals, to tell people about Jesus. He was a tall man and loud. He flailed his arms as he spoke. He talked about God’s power, about God’s wrath, about God’s love and to be honest he was quite moving. He was incredible at getting people to respond. He had a sharp sense of humor, would occasionally say shocking things to test our loyalty and see if we would turn on him or go with him, he knew the Bible inside and out and knew how to play human emotions like a fiddle. On any given Sunday we would experience a range of emotions from guilt and shame to fear and sometimes joy.

    I even remember his first sermon. It was entitled “Appoint those you trust and trust those you appoint.” That should have been an obvious sign to everybody. He was saying, without question, if you hire me to be your pastor, I am the boss. You must never question my authority.

    Soon, the entire congregation fell under his spell. We loved it when he delighted in us but feared screwing up. One Sunday he snapped at the man working in the sound booth so sharply the man turned red from embarrassment. The pastor, realizing he’d gone too far, explained, ferociously, that God is a God of excellence and wouldn’t stand for mistakes, even from volunteer sound guys. He then quoted a passage about how we were supposed to be perfect even as Christ is perfect.

    Looking back, this was all manipulation. People who care about the truth understand they are capable of self-deception and surround themselves with accountability. This pastor got rid of the accountability. He drove off any elder who wouldn’t submit, once again, quoting scripture and spinning the Bible so that those questioning his motives looked like infidels. He even said he felt justified using violence against them, simply because they refused to trust the leader God had appointed.

    What made the situation so difficult is that the church in fact grew. His off-color sense of humor seemed relevant and even worldly while his knowledge of Scripture gave the congregation a sense of security. In fact, I’d say a sense of security is the main reason people were drawn to the church.

    • • •
    Don Riso and Russ Hudson, perhaps the worlds leading experts on the enneagram, talk about controlling, bully-personalities as being secretly afraid. Many of them had been molested as children and subconsciously believe people are out to get them. Determined to never be molested again, they make themselves big, try to sound tough, try to intimidate people and will never allow themselves to be vulnerable. They insist that anybody close to them be submissive and will lie and cheat to protect themselves and their empire, all the while posing as a righteous hero. When extremely unhealthy, controlling personalities are stressed, they get great relief and a feeling of power by dominating others, even sexually. It is thought that many Priests who have molested young boys did not have a purely sexual motive, but took comfort in dominating young men to gain a sense of security and power, all the while acting as a shepherd in the church.

    What happens under the spell of a master manipulator is people unknowingly submit their sense of security to somebody else. They relinquish the responsibility God has given them to govern their own lives to a powerful figure who says to them “look, just do what I say and you’ll be fine.”

    What they don’t realize is the extremely insecure manipulator is gaining security from controlling people, not from protecting them. Being wounded himself, he only wants to surround himself by those who are weak and who will not question him. He subconsciously considers this his layer of armor. The manipulated masses are his protection against outside intruders.

    Many people came to know Christ under the manipulative pastors regime. And anytime he was questioned, he used his knowledge of Scripture statistics about church growth and Christian conversions (though they were greatly exaggerated) to bolster his case and run off accusers. Most people were afraid to contend with him because they knew he would attack them ferociously.

    The church, then, became a revolving door. More than half the people who visited smelled him out and went away, and the pastor didn’t mind this at all. He only wanted the submissive, those who would allow him, using scripture, to guide and command every aspect of their lives. He even posted the names of tithing and non-tithing members in the lobby. Those who disagreed with him were written up as insubordinates to God in letters sent to the entire congregation, humiliating them and running them off for good. He even went as far as to threaten lawsuits.

    And yet, as said previously, the church grew, filled with submissive people. The more intuitive walked away rolling their eyes.

    The pastor, of course, grew more and more controlling. He told the congregation what they could and couldn’t read, what they could and couldn’t watch on television, what they could and couldn’t see at the movies and even who they could and couldn’t vote for.

    • • •
    Things grew very dark, however, one evening when the pastor found out one of the elders he wanted to get rid of had visited a bar on the edge of town. The man and his wife had gone on a double date with some friends and went out to the bar to hear a band. Somebody informed the pastor and he had the elder paged and told him to meet him at his office. What unfolded was nothing short of a scolding and a witch hunt. The pastor embarrassed the elder and belittled him and informed the church he’d asked for his resignation from the elder board. The elder hadn’t so much as sipped a beer, but the pastor wanted to get rid of him anyway.

    Within a few weeks, the elder took a gun from his gun cabinet, and took his life.

    The pastor, of course, felt no remorse, blaming the event on the elders secret life in which he visited bars.

    Ultimately, the power-mongering was too much and too many people began to leave. Manipulators, however, do not care to restore anything and will gladly take the ship down with them. They need to feel their power, whether that is to raise somebody up or tear them down. This pastor needed to destroy the church before he left. He slowly fired every member of the staff, then resigned to start a non—profit that mobilized Christians to take up conservative political causes and fight the democrats.

    Shortly after he left the church, the pastors own daughter committed suicide in the bathroom their family home. He had one other child, a college-bound freshman. To this day, his son will not speak to him, and the pastor does not speak of his children. His wife is thought of as a kept woman.

    The church, some twenty years later, has not recovered from the destruction. There will never be restoration or reconciliation because the manipulator will never repent.

    Repentance, is, after all, an act of vulnerability. Manipulators will not put themselves in a place of vulnerability for fear they will once again be abused. They do not trust anybody. Instead, they demand trust from everybody around them. Those who do not submit are considered enemies.

    The devastation from a manipulator goes beyond the loss of life. Too many to count walked away from their faiths because of his tactics. Manipulators are skillful movers of people, so we often see their many accomplishments, but they are even more skilled at hiding the devastation caused behind the scenes. Christian leaders who are manipulators bring people to Christ at the expense of pushing many, many more people away.

    Here’s how to smell out a manipulator in a religious setting:

    A Christian leader who is manipulative will:

    • Never be truly vulnerable. They will never tell stories about their weaknesses. If they do, those stories will be about how they are too strong, too devout and too many other things that are more or less humble brags.
    • Always have the true answer, and truth is truth because they said it. The truth is the Bible is complex, but a manipulator knows they can’t get you to submit if they don’t have ALL the answers. Certainly trained pastors have answers, but nobody has all the answers. Manipulators do. They want to tell you how to live.

    • They make you jump through hoops. If you want to get married, you must go through hours of classes so they can approve. If you want to be a member, you must sign a contract or a statement of theological belief. Now many wonderful churches do this sort of thing, but when there is a manipulative leader, you’ll normally find an endless number of hurdles to jump over. They want to test you, over and over, to make sure you’re being submissive.

    • They will never let you off the hook. A manipulative leader can never, ever let you be fully free in Christ. There must always be something wrong with you or else you will no longer need them and will no longer have to submit.

    If you’re in a church with a manipulative leader creating the culture, I believe you should leave. The only way a manipulator stops manipulating is when the manipulation stops working, and by staying, you’re saying to the manipulator that it’s working. If you fight them, you’ll lose.

    For more about dealing with manipulative people, I recommend Harriet Braiker’s book Who’s Pulling Your Strings.

    Don’s new book (still untitled, October 2014) will talk about this phenomenon a bit more. If you’d like to know when the book comes out, sign up on our mailing list. You’ll also get a free copy of Don’s audio book, Through Painted Deserts.

    Donald Miller is the founder of Storyline, an organization that helps people live better stories. Get regular updates from Donald on Twitter (@donaldmiller) and read over some of his life ambitions on MySubplot. To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.
    « What to Do if Your Dreams Feel Unachievable

    • Leslie Vernick on September 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      I’ll be anxious to read that book.

    • janet tobler on September 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      IkZalHandHaven says: I WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND Leslie’s NEW BOOK. IT IS AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER. FOR THOSE OF YO WHO DON’T HAVE ANY… I RECOMMEND DESTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS, HOW TO ACT RIGHT WHEN YOUR SPOUSE ACTS WRONG AND HER NEW ONE DESTRUCTIVE MARRIAGES. let’s support Miss Leslie, she has helped us so much.

      • Leslie Vernick on September 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

        Thanks Janet, We have a special discount on the 12 session DVD that has been playing on my home page as well as my new book. The DVD’s was reduced from $25 to $15 with a special code found in this week’s blog (at the beginning) and $4.99 off the price of the book with that code found in the newsletter this week. Sorry I can’t remember what they are off hand.

  19. FloridaLizzie on September 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Leslie, I agree with Teri that I am finding it interesting how many of these writers in emotionally destructive marriages have been homeschoolers. I think so many of us went into homeschooling believing it was our calling from God and would help our children grow in godliness. Instead, I think it seemed to provide a great environment for some pretty severe dysfunction to grow and thrive unchecked in our marriages. It’s hard for me to comprehend how something that seemed to start out so well became such a mess in far too many homes.

    I’d love to see you address this in one of your posts. Too many of us gave up careers, income and years of work experience to focus on raising and educating godly children in a godly home. My ex-husband seemed totally committed to that at the beginning, but now we are divorced. By God’s grace I’m going to make it. But far too many women are left with children to raise and few job skills. I don’t understand what the dynamic was that allowed such a huge shift. Would you consider addressing that some time in a blog post?

    • Leslie Vernick on September 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      I think it’s interesting too. I wonder if anyone has ever read a study on homeschool children as well as families. I do think that homeschooling can be a safe haven for children to grow at their own pace without the bullying or temptation that many school children face. On the other hand homeschooling can isolate children and families and keep them in their own little enclave and when that enclave is unhealthy and toxic, no fresh air gets in to help them think differently or do know that something is dreadfully wrong.

      • IkZalHandHaven on September 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        Jealousy. I think men who are insecure and need their women to dote over them are threatened by their wives spending that much time on the children. I think women like me who attract abusive men are by nature nurturers and are thus attracted to the nurturing benefits home schooling provides. Many times they/we give up “everything” for someone else. This is a real and present threat to an insecure abusive male.

        • Jody on September 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

          I have written several times and wanted to add a comment to this post about homeschooling. We too home-schooled till my husband was deployed in 2005. Then only the oldest at that time finished because she was self-motivated and old enough to know for herself what would work for her. She is a senior in Bible College now and going to be a teacher. My other three children went into public education as K, 2nd and 4th graders. They were quiet at first but quickly caught up and are near the top of their classes. It was a joint decision to home-school, something we both agreed with. Interestingly enough, it was with a teacher of the public school that my husband had an affair with. It seems that this teacher provided more intellectual stimulation than I did and his boundaries were real loose. I never felt manipulated to home-school, though I think for us personally, we would have had more quality time together, instead of doing laundry till midnight, dishes, and having the overall struggle of running the house on my own. I am glad that I was able to spend more time with my children in the beginning of their schooling, but a lot of that time was frustrating to them and I, lots of yelling, and lack of respect on their part. Of course, my voice got louder after several attempts, and always my husband would hear the end and accuse me of always yelling. I would explain my frustration and he would say he would love to be able to stay home, and would enjoy it. He would’ve too, but nothing else would have been accomplished. It just did not work for us, but I don’t regret trying. Just wanted to put in my two cents worth.

      • GrievedByItAll on September 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        I too am a homeschooling mom in a destructive marriage/dysfunctional family…
        I think if a study were done, the key elements which would stand out in most every case would be:
        1) distorted view of roles/headship — heavy emphasis on submission… and seeing the wife as needing to differ to the husband in all things … i.e. that her basic purpose in the marriage is to facilitate his agenda…. (In a twisted way, the husband adopts the Genesis curse as the mandate to follow rather than Christ’s example which modeled overcoming that curse through tender servant-leadership). The wives are not being allowed to raise this concern and ask for dialogue on it… It is a closed door… and that is why spiritual abuse from the church plays a heavy connection to perpetuating the abuses at home
        2) Comfort with mask-wearing … pretending to be in public/church someone he is not in the private relationship… and
        3) I would venture to say somewhere underlying the need to cover-up/construct a false image is the secret involvement with pornography… For the same mindset that sees women as subservient is the mindset that is most open to the lure of porn (because it feeds that excitement of exercising power over women). Involvement with porn over time turns a heart to stone… cold, callous, indifference – total lack of empathy. These negative traits are not in full force early in the marriage… It takes a while for a heart and conscience to become seared, so they don’t start showing up until well after making the commitment to homeschool and when the children are entering in to the more challenging adolescent and teen years –requiring parental team-work. That’s at least when things started falling apart in my situation… It was the lying and disrespect by our eldest son that was the catalyst. These character struggles were never addressed by husband — I had to always handle them and the area of discipline on my own… And in fact, he would come to the side of this son – enabling the lying and disrespect to continue. Now – knowing what I know – it makes perfect sense because my husband was himself living a lie and disrespecting me through his porn use. (Didn’t know it, though, at the time…) As I expressed confusion and tried to appeal to him about his neglect — leaving me handling matters with the boys alone, rather than hear my heart, show understanding, confessively face the root issues, and with humility deal with them, he instead allowed his mind to interpret my appeals in a negative way, responded with defensive/deflective tactics, and things just continued to spiral further downhill from there. It is all boils down to pride verses humility. By and large, men of homeschool families typically are connected to churches with a strong commitment to Biblical truth. But this Biblical truth gets unfortunately twisted and taken to an extreme in certain areas resulting in adoption of a patriarchal mindset that promotes pride and power in men. This in turn, then, cannot allow the men to be seen as weak or in need of help in any way. Walking in truth ends up taking a back seat to maintaining appearances, and when truth is pushed aside over and over again over time, the conscience becomes hardened and self-delusion sets in… It’s a domino effect… One lie requires another to protect and conceal… And then, when the wife finally begins catching on to the reality of the situation, she becomes a threat to exposing this truth. Therefore, her character and reputation must be destroyed by the husband in order to save face.. It becomes essential for him to make her either appear to be the problem in the marriage or insane….

        That is at least my take coming from a homeschooling family…

  20. Linda on September 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    My tips for getting over anger and bitterness:

    1. The best thing is to never let bitterness take root. I try to be self-aware. How am I thinking? How am I feeling? Do I sense bitterness in my spirit? Bitterness is a dangerous thing…as Leslie says, it is toxic, a poison, and taints your life and those who are close to you. The moment I sense any bitterness inside of me, I stop dead in my tracks to deal with this very unhealthy way of being. It can destroy you if you let it continue.

    2. Realize that we are all sinners…me included. Mostly, people do not intend to harm me, they are just as clueless about things as I am, trying to deal with their own weaknesses and failures. Even if their actions are intentional, they are probably reacting out of their own pain which has nothing much to do with me. And if someone harms me with evil intent, it does me more harm than good hold on to what they have done to me, which leads to…

    3. Forgiveness. There are many books written on this subject which are much more eloquent than I am right now. Bottom line for me is to let it go. Just let it go. What is the advantage to holding onto that pain? Seriously now, what possible good is it? Do you think by hanging onto bitterness that you will somehow be recompensed for the perceived evil done to you? Release the offender by saying in your heart, “You don’t own me anything anymore.” Wow. How liberating is THAT??? We are here on this earth for such a short time. Let us learn the things God has set before us so that when Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, we will be ready to reign with Christ as co-heirs. THAT is our future. Live NOW in a way that is befitting of our position as children of the Most High King. This is our reality, not some pie-in-the-sky dream.

    4. Be confident in the Lord, He has your best interests at heart. Acknowledge Him with every step you take, and He will make your path straight…many fewer plot twists in your life. Don’t rely on other peoples’ “connection” with God to help you through your life. Have your OWN connection with the Lord.

    Take a step of FAITH. Just one little, tiny step. Do it. Be courageous. God honors courage. I know…I am living it like never before and what a grand adventure I am having. You can have that grand adventure, too, if you are willing to trust in the Lord. He is able, and if He is able, then YOU are able.

  21. Emily on September 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I truly believe the Church(in general) has not done enough to build up and strenghten marriages. Teens need to be taught the importance of seeking a godly mate and every couple needs to have premarital counseling and all churches need to take advantage of all the excellent Biblical material available to offer couples opportunities to grow in Christ as a husband and wife. But now we are dealing with the fact that so many “couples” are choosing to not even get married. There must be some way to reach these with the Truth about men/women relationships and how God’s design is best.

  22. IZHH on October 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Someone on this blog mentioned Joel O’Steen and that listening to his recordings gave them a lot of encouragement. I haven’t really listened to him in quite a while and I know how some of you think about his theology and that it may be a lot of fluff. But sometimes a good healthy dose of Joel is good for the soul. Recently I found his YouTube video number 592 called “Move Forward”. It was just the encouraging words that I needed. One thing he said in the video that really struck me. He talked a bout a hiker who had to amputate his arm because it was stuck under an 800 pound rock and had died. If he did not cut off his arm with a knife his whole body would’ve died. Some of us who are living in a dead marriage feel that way. Because part of us (meaning our mate )is spiritually dead and spiritually infectious, it is infecting our entire being. It is no surprise to me that 25% of suicides are committed by women with emotionally distructive spouses. Some days I really do feel like it’s either going to be him or it’s going to be me. The oppression is so intense. Anyway listening to Joel this morning on my way to work gave me a big lift.

    • Dora on October 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Hi IZHH
      So glad you were encouraged by Joel, I hope you keep listening to encouraging things and find joy in every an any tiny, stupid, small thing until something can be changed in your situation. That’s what I did when my heart was broken. ~Love & Hugs~

    • Vikki on October 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      I just looked at Video 592 – total answer to cry for wisdom today. “Move forward and God will pay you back.”
      I don’t normally watch Joel, so this was a great thing! Thank you for sharing!
      🙂

      • IZHH on October 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

        Thanks Vicki I’m glad you liked it. I have watched it twice and gotten new insights each time.

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