Hi Friends

I’m in Chicago and just finished visiting with my family and doing a radio program for Moody Mid-Day Connection on The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. The response was huge and I hear more and more women being willing to tell the truth about how destructive their marriage has become. And, believe it or not, I’m also hearing from a few men, who recognize themselves in these destructive behaviors and want to get some help.

Sadly there aren’t a lot of good programs out there for them. Chris Moles and I are working on something and we will be doing a free webinar sometime this summer on what are the first steps of change for an abusive person.

On another note, I am going to offer my two session class Moving Beyond People Pleasing towards the end of June. If you are interested in being a part of this class please click here for more information.

Todays’ Question: I have been the brunt of gossip by three close family friends since I decided to end my emotionally destructive marriage. It really hurts. The ripples of them talking has penetrated deep into my social circle.

It’s been devastating. This was three years ago. I’m still not over it. How do I recover? (tweet that)

Answer: Gossip is toxic and that’s why the Bible speaks so strongly against it. I’m assuming by your question that these people are no longer close friends, but the pain is there nonetheless. David in Psalm 55 struggled with betrayal by a close friend and his pain was great. But your bigger question is how do you recover? I’m not sure if you’re asking how do you recover socially or emotionally but let me tackle the emotional one first, and then I’ll touch on the social one.

It’s been three years since this happened and I want you to ask yourself a question. What’s kept you from letting go of the hurt and anger? Sometimes we don’t let toxic emotions go because they feel so justified and we tell ourselves that we’re entitled to feel them. And you are. But what does it cost you to hang on to them? At this point they are crippling you, not helping you.

So how do you let go? You start by deciding to. That may sound rather elementary but our will is an important part of letting go of negative emotions. Sometimes we don’t realize that have a choice to let go. Negative feelings can be so consuming that they feel like they are who we are instead of what we feel.

Instead of saying to yourself, “I am so angry and hurt about this.” I want you to try telling yourself, “I’m aware that I’m still feeling angry and hurt over this.” When you say it in this new way, you become aware of another part of you that is now able to decide what you want to do with these feelings. Now YOU have your feelings, instead of your feelings having you. This small change can make a big difference. Our feelings are not who we are, they are just our feelings and sometimes we hang on to our feelings much longer than we need to. We can learn to let them go.

The second question I want you to ask yourself is “What purpose do these feelings serve today?” Our emotions function as warning bells that something is wrong. When we feel pain, either physical or emotional, it motivates us to take action to remedy the problem. Is the pain motivating you to talk with your family friends to attempt to reconcile or to confront them about their gossip? If not, then it’s time to let them go.

How do we let go? Here are a few tips.

First, enlarge your perspective. Instead of focusing on your pain, see what God has done in building your character or how he has drawn especially close to you during this time. In the Bible, when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, and Potiphar’s wife lied about him and he was thrown in prison, Joseph felt hurt but didn’t get bitter because he stayed focused on God’s purposes in all of his affliction.

God never allows evil to triumph if we are surrendered to his purposes (Genesis 37-46). That’s why Romans 8:28,29 can be such a precious promise to us. God will cause all things to work together for our good, but the good is to conform us into Christ’s image.

Second, refuse to rehearse the negative anymore. Don’t meditate on the bad stuff that happened. Instead, let you mind dwell on what is true, good, right and lovely as Paul counseled us in Philippians 4:8. Whatever we fix our mind on will affect our emotions. Practice thinking about good things in your life or your day instead of what happened to you.

Thank God and praise him in the midst of your suffering (1 Thess. 5:18). This brings honor to him and thwarts Satan’s attempt to get you stuck in self-pity and anger. Satan already used these people as his pawns to destroy your reputation, but don’t let him destroy you by hanging onto your bad feelings.

Forgive these people for what they have done. You may not be able or willing to reconcile the relationship if there has been no repentance for what they have done, but forgiving them releases the poison that they have infected you with by their actions.

Lastly, overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). What they did to you was evil. Refuse to pay them back with gossip of your own. Pray for them and if the occasion warrants, do good to them. The Bible tells us that by doing so, you will not be overcome by the evil they tried to inflict on you and it will be like heaping burning coals on their head.

Recovering socially takes time. You may need to build new friendships or find a new church if that’s where it originated. Over time, people’s character speaks for itself and if you do right, I believe that people will see the truth.

Friends, when you have been the brunt of ugly gossip, what have you done to let go of the pain and anger?

138 Comments

  1. Survivor on June 10, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This has been a big one for me!!! I was part of a very small church and when I kept my abusive marriage to myself, I had friends. When I needed to call 911, I had support for about a week. After that time, my church wanted a statement from me that I had forgiven H and that we were moving forward. At the time, I felt that was true, so I gave that statement.

    As time went on, things were still incredibly wrong and I began asking for help again. The leadership team simply did ‘marriage’ counseling, and when that did not work, concluded that I was problematic and ‘unwilling to work on myself’ and told me over and over that ‘marriage problems are two-way’ and that ‘it takes 2 to fix it’! The women stopped speaking to me and I lost all of my friends except my family. H would tell all of his woes to the people at church and some of them would even go so far as to text me about what I was doing that was ‘hurting him’ and what I should do differently. Several even became convinced that I was actually the one who was abusive. I exhausted myself trying to reach out to others at church, restore relationships, open myself up and be willing to answer any questions they might have, table my needs in order to care about whatever they might be going through, etc. Nothing made any difference. Eventually, it became clear that I needed a new church home. Now, I drive 40 miles ONE WAY for church every Sunday, but I have to say: It’s worth it!!!! Having a new circle of friends has been so freeing! I was already working towards forgiving those who had hurt me, but having new friends is really HEALING and that healing is so helpful in speeding up the process of forgiveness. When you feel that those are your only options for friends, there is so much pressure to ‘fix’ it–and many times, they can’t or won’t be fixed! Sad, but true.

    To the one who wrote in this question I would say: My heart goes out to you!!! This is such a painful position to find yourself in!!!! It is adding insult to injury. You have already been abused by your husband and you need care and support and instead you are experiencing further injury and pain! I am truly sorry that you are going through this! The thought that I want to offer you is that there are ‘other fish in the sea’. Find new friends–even if it means finding a new church! (And yes! I TOTALLY know how tough that can be!!! I am Mennonite, and I now attend a church that is ‘Non-denominational Evangelical Charismatic’!!! Imagine what a hurdle that was!) Dramatic change can be SOOOO scary, yet SOOOOO rewarding!!! I learned that when I couldn’t thrive where I was, I needed to actively move toward something different!! I still have a long, hard road ahead of me, but at least it isn’t quite as lonely as it once was!!!

    Blessings to all of you in your various difficulties and pains in your relationships! And thanks again, Leslie, for creating this community where we can come together and support each other!

  2. Susanne on June 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

    About 3 years ago, when I separated from my abusive husband I moved only 15 minutes from my church and friends, I thought for sure I would have their support and maybe even a visit or two (I was physically injured by my ex, as well as emotionally abused for 12 of our 13 years of marriage). Without going into great detail, I want to say that I agonized over this for almost 3 years as well. I prayed and asked why I felt so abandoned by those whom I thought would be there for me. After all, I would have definitely been there for them. What I discovered was that God wanted me to totally depend on Him. I was focusing too much on what the church and my friends were doing (or not doing) instead of seeking the Lord for His purpose and His plan for me. I could not change the way others acted towards me, but I could change my own way of thinking. I could choose to let go and release them and also release myself from the bondage I was in. I needed to truly forgave them with love in my heart. That isn’t always easy, especially when the wound is fresh. It took me awhile to realize that they had to answer to God, not me before I was set free. Do I like what happened? Certainly not! I was still hurt. The pain doesn’t go away instantly but I no longer let myself go back over and over what happened, or what should have happened. That is not fruitful or healthy for me. If I continue to seek His face, the Lord will bring me through each and every difficult situation as I trust Him alone. What others think or do is not my business…that I need to leave with God.

    I am praying for total healing for all those who are or have been abused by their partners, friends and churches. Love you!

    • susie on June 10, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Beautiful.

  3. Aleea on June 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Leslie, thank you so very much for this absolutely wonderful post!!!  So many excellent ideas for keeping our hearts clean in it: gossip is toxic; let go of negative emotions & feelings; all things work together for good to conform us into Christ’s image (even painful things); refuse to rehearse the negative (that hits me where I live); don’t meditate on the bad stuff; practice thinking about good things in our lives; thank God and praise Him in the midst of our suffering (God really cares about the quality of our praise doesn’t He?  Anyone can praise God when times are good.); forgive people for what they have done; refuse to pay back; pray for others; do good to them; et. al.  Oh my, just a wonderful list to work on.  I love when we work on our hearts!  If we can just keep our hearts clean and snake free, everything from God’s love to peace should just flow. 
     
    When you have been the brunt of ugly gossip, what have you done to let go of the pain and anger? 
     
    I notice, at least for me, I never pray for folks I gossip about, and I never gossip about the people I am praying for.  Prayer, to me, is a powerful deterrent to gossip (and even reverse gossip).  I always want to go deeper with God and so I know all that worry over ugly gossip has got to be surrendered to the Lord and I have to continue to clean it out of my heart.  I have had those moments when I lose myself in the beauty of His holiness, feel His love wash over me and that really motivates me to do what God says.  I know for me, each step deeper into the Lord’s presence reveals even more areas in my heart which need to be cleaned.  But I also know the Holy Spirit shows me areas of sin, not to condemn me (I have to trust that because it sometimes feels like condemnation), but to cleanse me.
     
    For me, the best way to deal with slander is to seriously pray and keep on praying about it: God will either remove it, or remove the sting of it, or just remove me.  I always try to remember that no amount of other people’s praise can heal a bad conscience, just like no amount of slander can really hurt a good conscience (When my heart is clean and I know it, I know it, no matter what is being said about me.)  I’m sure everyone has noticed that most of the verses written about praise in the Bible were voiced by people faced with crushing injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other difficult situations.

  4. Leslie Vernick on June 10, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks Aleea, and for that good catch on my typo yes it is the Karpman triangle – an old tool used again and again but it is a good visual on what happens in these relationships.

    • Aleea on June 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Leslie,
      . . . . To me, if you are inside the triangle and aware of the roles and switches and consequences, the escape is available from any corner, and at least in my thinking, it has this structure: In relative terms, put a low value on everything else but Jesus Christ and that motivation doesn’t come from your pain but from His love (real love).  So, we escape the Triangle by putting the Lord God above people and focusing ourselves and our behavior more on Him than on what other people like (or would like us to do).  We are pleasing not pleasers.  In God’s paradigm (His order) we stand as equals towards each other but as creatures in dependence towards Him as our Creator.  So the exit, to Christ’s arms, offers us the way off the co-dependent, dysfunctional treadmill by being vulnerable, being caring but being assertive. . . . . . Oh, I was thinking today about our Cinderella journal, our Cinderella story from your Feb winter post: she switches from victim double persecuted (mother then stepsisters), to victim triple rescued (fairy godmother then mice, then prince), to victim persecuted again (after midnight) then victim rescued again.  Anyway, that is something like eight switches!  That is exhausting just thinking about it! . . . . . .  It all goes wrong when we shift those proportions and view ourselves as say a dependent victim towards others.  No wonder we then get nasty feelings that we find hard to handle!  With the Lord God, we come in contact with what He sees in us: our potency and our power.  In God’s hugs (cherishing embraces when I pray, not all the time but a lot!) and protection, I can face reality being no longer powerless but equally important, my need to be seen as pitiful is lessened as well as the need to play some other dysfunctional roles.  That has happened for me by daring to increasingly take responsibility and by becoming more real and focused on the good of God and also in others.  I bet being arrogant can trigger a switch so humility is of greatest value.

  5. Hope on June 10, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I’m not divorced but over the last few years while coming to terms with the abuse I was under I confided in Christian friends. They had witnessed my being verbally abused in the past and I commented on questionable current behaviors and they exited the friendship. Makes me wonder if they ever were friends, why do outsiders feel deserting is their role. I came to understand some are blind to the abuse. I was, I could smell it in some incidences but not call it out. Just wonder and not understand. I’m sorry I didn’t understand, it would have helped my own relationship, and others maybe prevented it from growing more abusive. We all know there is much denial along with lack of understanding, I’ll forgive those who don’t understand, but some are inexcusable and that takes time and healing, we must give ourselves time and it’s o.k. if that takes years.

    • Lonely wife on June 10, 2015 at 11:36 pm

      Hope, I think a lot of times people just don’t want to be bothered!
      Unfortunately, in today’s society, so many people have the mindset that it’s all about “Them”, and if your life is unhappy, oh well, suck it, buttercup!
      Just today my older sister blasted me, telling me that marriage takes two, and that I’m too hard on my husband, and I have my own faults also!

      I just put the phone down and walked away, and when she stopped talking, I picked the phone up and told her I had to go.
      I’m not even going to debate this with her, I love her, but she wouldn’t even read this blog when I asked her to…. just to try to educate herself on what my life is like.
      Do I forgive her…yes, but I also know that I can’t depend on her to be there for me….so I don’t.

      • Hope on June 11, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        Yes, I understand having to put the phone down, you’ve progressed to this point and others just don’t understand. I know now it is a mindset, shut down to truth and a way of life for some, who think they are so spiritual that their own marriages would never fail so what is your problem; and the old it takes two thing……It’s easier to turn the other cheek than to truly love your neighbor and carry some of their pain. So many woman want to believe lies because they truly fear truth and coddle the sin hoping it will subside in actuality it is becoming a beam.

      • Lizzie S. on June 15, 2015 at 7:23 pm

        It does “take two,” to make a marriage truly work, that is. It only takes one to destroy it, no matter how long it takes us to realize it and take corrective action.

  6. Lonely wife on June 10, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    It’s been 4 1/2 yrs since my husbands emotional affair, and though I HAVE gotten better, I still find myself thinking at times, about the betrayal, the lies and gossip my husband told about me, the hurt from it all….and how my husbands cousin helped cover for him, and spread even more lies about me to his family…and as I think about it all, I spiral downward into the Pit of feeling sorry for myself, of feeling hopeless….so yes, refuse to rehearse the negative…that’s been my goal for awhile now and I find each month that goes by, it does get easier!
    God has shown himself real to me in so many ways these last four yrs, and He’s given me new friends and new ministries to serve in, so I praise and thank Him for that!

    I recently wrote on my blog, “Is It Possible To Be Happy?” and I wrote about it all being a state of mind…I’m choosing to be happy, I’m choosing to be in a more positive mood, even though nothing in my marriage has changed, I HAVE changed!
    Thank you for this blog Leslie…I refer women here all the time…they need TRUTH in their lives, not the lies that they are being told!

  7. Anna on June 11, 2015 at 12:26 am

    I was one of those listening, and sobbing, during mid-day connection. I felt so validated by what was FINALLY being spoken out loud that I wrote in and my email was read and discussed on air. It was like God himself was telling me “It’s okay now, you can be healthy and done with him.”
    I had most of my friends drop me like a bad habit when all our crap came spilling out. First they rallied, then they couldn’t hang in. At first I was so hurt, but I began to realize that there was also a lot of compassion fatigue. We don’t know how things are really going in another marriage or what our honesty is stirring up in others. Most people either have no idea what to do, or cannot find a helpful source to turn to. They have their own pains and struggles (and since I’m 36, that means most of my friends have kids too) and they don’t see themselves making any difference so they burn out. Some were never a friend, but most just couldn’t handle the drama. I get that. Frankly I’m so sick of it all I could puke too!
    I’ve been separated for 2 1/2 years and trying to give every opportunity for growth/change/hope. He’s just spiraled downward and today I was finally able to end things in a way that was healthy for me, and for him! (He sure didn’t like it, but it was done for both our goods.)
    Thank you Leslie, for putting a name on this crazy thing, for telling the truth to the church, and thank you ladies for the support you’ve all been as I’ve read my own story in all your words! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. Brenda on June 11, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Aleea,
    Totally off topic, but I thought I should ask. How are you progressing with your mother? Have you been able to speak truth to her? I have a hard time speaking to my mother as she doesn’t want to hear the hard truth. She avoids truth like the plague. She wasn’t abusive to me, but coddled the males in the family who were to me and others in our family. She protects them from consequences.

    Your statement is so true. If you’re spending time praying for someone, you aren’t gossiping about them. I do think there is a problem with a lot of Christians though with differentiating between gossip and speaking truth. How many times I have seen women’s groups duck their heads when one tries to bring to light the abusive situation she is in because it is considered gossip by others. So, so sad.

    I don’t know of any gossip about me first hand, but have suspicions!! I spoke to a single man at church a while back and as I walked away a married woman grabbed ahold who was sitting behind him and whispered in his ear while looking at me. My thoughts went to, ” watch out, she’s the divorced woman that should have a scarlet letter on her chest.” In actuality, it matters not what she said. He is my age and has his own mind. We’ve had a dozen or so hello’s and even less short conversations. The thoughts I had needed to be taken captive. If she, or anyone else in the congregation, only knew how uninterested I am in a serious relationship with a man, I’m sure it would be shocking.

    Blessings, Brenda

    • Aleea on June 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Brenda,
      . . . . So I have been working hard in counseling on the issues related to my mother but I am far from being able to speak truth to her yet.  My mother used to beat me horribly and in counseling, we have had to work through all of that.  It has been horrific because I usually just flat out freeze.  The last three weeks it has been the same: I just go dead blank, like a flat-spin and I have no answers.  You can imagine how different that is for me because I always have lots to say about everything.  My counselor says I’m not really frozen but literally, nothing comes into my mind at those times.  No anger, no words, no pictures, just total numb and a blank white sheet for “thoughts.”  
       
      Questions I simply can’t answer no matter how hard I try:
      1)  I’m not happy if my Mom is not happy with me because. . . . .
      2)  I insist I have to do this impossible thing (Make my Mom happy) because. . . . . 
      3)  I tell myself it is my job to regulate my Mom’s wrath because. . . .
      4)  I insist on agreeing with my Mom that I am not worth the effort of protecting because. . . .
       
      I’ll tell you one thing I do know, a lot of life is repairing the damage from our parents.  It is just that sad.  Not only our first parents but our direct parents too!  Children should be raised by labordors and golden retrievers, versus mothers that rage. 
       
      My counselor keeps telling me that by bringing all this into my conscious awareness, I can begin to choose to stop acting on it if I wish.  But that is the hard part: conscious awareness.  That is the part I am trying to bring before God for His grace to help me turn from the ways my mother taught me so that I can choose the good.  My doctor says we need to get to my defenses and I need to stop putting myself down about them but instead not show any respect towards the defenses either.  Apparently, I have held these defenses up for so long, as if they are good and yes, they worked in childhood to keep me “protected” —but now I have learned to seal myself in a kind of glue in order to “seal out the bad” and I just freeze. —So, I can’t develop intimate relationships because I stay frozen solid. ….Also, apparently it is not healthy for me to keep holding up the glue like a false god to worship…  I am judging myself all the time: I leave myself alone when I do something right, when I do something “wrong” I ZAP myself.  I spent all kinds of time in prayer and reflection with all the questions about my mother but I make no progress, absolutely none.  No fight, no flight, all freeze.  Entire sessions of nothing but crickets.  She says we are making progress.  I choose to believe her.  We will get there by the grace of God.  But, do you know I can’t just get in the car and drive home after working with her?  I almost wrecked the car three times on the way home four sessions ago. . .It really, really got to me. . . . .So we moved up the appointments by two hours and now I get myself way calmed down before I leave.  All that with my mother, it just freezes (just locks me up) —in my mind.  No fight, no flight, —ALL Freeze.  . . .But I will tell everyone this:  If you live near Leslie or any seriously qualified counselor you trust, do go work with them.  I don’t know why anyone would not want to go to counseling.  It is so wonderful to have hope and work on healing even if I understand the pain that is coming and the progress is slow.  At the end of most sessions, I do note a significant decrease in anxiety, but I come out fatigued, a lot like going for a hard workout at the gym. 
       
      ”. . . watch out, she’s the divorced woman that should have a scarlet letter on her chest.”  . . . . I know you know this already but all of us, each one of us have enough sin to level ten city blocks in every direction (—And if God let His restraining hand up, you’d see it immediately.)  That’s how we know the Bible is true.  It’s got a totally realistic position on what people are really, really like.  What were you supposed to do?  “A prudent women sees danger and files for injunctive relief (including but not limited to divorce, criminal and civil penalties, including monetary sanctions), but those that don’t use the courts suffer for it.” (Proverbs 22:3).  Honestly, what were you supposed to do?   . . . .Anyway, I know anthropologists say gossip creates social networks, gossip serves to bond social groups, control behavior in social groups, control free riders in social groups, create social cognition, et.al. (RE: cognitive underpinnings of gossip). . . .but God says NO to it and He knows best.  So all of us in the church need to say no to it too. 
        
      1) How do I make a decision to be loved? What does that really, really mean?
      2) How do I convince myself that I am really worth loving and protecting?

  9. Brenda on June 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I had no friends when I was going through divorce. My family live far away. My youngest daughter lives 2 hours away and with our work schedules we don’t get together often. I started making a few friends once I left, but the ones I have are so busy that I don’t see them often. I am alone A LOT. Most that I talk to are online. I keep hearing that we are to be community in the flesh, but I don’t feel like I have that soft of community.

    Brenda

    • susie on June 11, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      If you lived near me I would love to get together with you. I have found a really great prayer group and the women are so supportive and friendly. I also started going to a domestic abuse support group and I love being with women who know what its like to go through this. It’s so hard at first to reach out to new people or old friends you lost along the way. I had so much anxiety a year ago when I started busting out of my isolation and telling myself the truth. I told a counselor, “they’re all so busy and they are going to reject me!” And he said, “you have no idea how many women sit here and say that exact same thing. Are some of them going to reject you? Yes, but just move on to someone else.” So I set a goal to reach out to one new person or old friend a week. And I really started to plug into groups. Especially other moms and families with small children. Little by little things picked up and now I have a full support network. But it is awesome how often God will still speak to me through strangers who are part of his flock. Trust God to guide you into good healthy supportive relationships. He wants to love us through His people and to love his people through us. They ate missing out if you don’t bring what God has put in you to the table.

  10. Brenda on June 12, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Susie,
    I would like us to be able to get together, also. I went to a couple of support groups, but they did not want the women there to get too friendly. That was actually one of the rules. Thou shalt not come here to make friends. It never made sense to me. The facilitator had me thinking, “Do you kiss your mama with that mouth”.. I haven’t found any Christian groups, although I do have a couple of ladies interested in coming along with me to start one. They don’t personally have experience in abusive relationships, but know people who do and feel that divorce in those circumstances is permitted and they would like to help spread the message.

    How do you find old friends? Those that I had prior to marriage have moved away. I live in a part of the country where people are leaving, not coming to. I work full time so getting into groups isn’t easy at this point. A lady this week suggested that I get into a Water Zumba group, but they are all during the day, so that doesn’t work for me.

    I am doing alright. I have more up times than down and feel that I should be thankful for what God has given me and think less about what I don’t have. If you get to mid Michigan, I’d love to get together.

    ((((HUGS)))) Brenda

  11. your Brenda on June 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Aleea,
    I’m sorry for my slow response, but there was much to absorb. I can understand being blank when discussing a person who should have loved you and caused great harm to you instead. I will pray that the Lord gives you what you need to speak truth and be free of the hurt your childhood has caused you.

    I tried using the 4 questions that you have replacing mom with the person or persons that I need to deal with and my answers were mostly related to being trained to fear and walk on eggshells. I believe now that I am worth protecting. While growing up I lived in fear on a constant basis. I can relate to the questions and to your suffering. My mom was not abusive, but the abuse was happening on her watch. I have forgiven her for that, but cannot have close relationship because she continues to enable the abusers in the family and holds them above the victims of the abuse. Those of us that were abused in vile ways are suppose to simply let it go without the repentance, making amends and truth being told. If I cannot speak truth with those family members, then there is no relationship.

    You said: “Not only our first parents but our direct parents too! Children should be raised by labordors and golden retrievers, versus mothers that rage.”

    I’m not sure what “direct parents” are. I fell in love with each one of my babies when they were born and had the instinct to protect them as best I could. My mama bear went into full force immediately. I don’t understand why mothers who do not feel that and want to hurt their children don’t do the right thing and give them to loving people who want to have children and can’t.

    I think we all Zap ourselves pretty good when we mess up or think we did and don’t spend enough time who we are in God’s eyes. The more we look at Him the easier it gets to stop sweating the small stuff. For myself I can make a mountain out of a mole hill over nothing. So that is something we, God and me, are working on. I have to say He does most of the work. I do more resisting.

    ”. . . watch out, she’s the divorced woman that should have a scarlet letter on her chest.”

    You are correct on all that you said. I don’t have to concern myself with what others choose to say or find fault. I’m sure they have enough of their own and really haven’t taken the time to know me anyways.

    Your last 2 questions are something that we work through every day. God’s Word says that I am loved and I believe what He has said and what Jesus did on the cross is prove of His love. There is no greater love than giving up your life for your friend. He is not only my Savior, He is my friend. I have not experienced that kind of love in any human and will settle for nothing less again.

    Praying for all of my Sisters in Christ. Brenda

    • Aleea on June 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Brenda,
      Thank you so very much for this.  I just now saw it (-just right now).  I have the worst time knowing what has been posted to where.  I need something like a blog vision app to track what is even going on.  I think in the future, blogs will just be totally viedo conferencing where you can see the other folks, chat live, immediately send resources (e-books, pdf white papers, et. al.). . . . Anyway, what you are saying means a lot to me and makes so much sense.  Those of us that were abused by our mothers can not simply let it go without our (my) mother’s repentance, and the truth being told.  Honestly, Brenda, I don’t even know how she would ever make amends.  I have chemical pathways burned into my brain that may never fully be healed and I have serious resources and expertise trying to help me heal the damage. 
       
      “I don’t understand why mothers who do not feel that and want to hurt their children don’t do the right thing and give them to loving people who want to have children and can’t.” . . . . How true.  Completely true!!!  If you hate your children and are telling them all the time you never wanted them (telling me I was unwanted and not worth protecting) and you are beating them (showing me that I was not worth protecting by beatings) why not give them to loving people who want to have children.  I completely agree and your “My mama bear went into full force immediately” -to me, that just means you are a good person who wants to protect your children.  What real mother wouldn’t?  
       
      “I think we all Zap ourselves pretty good when we mess up or think we did and don’t spend enough time who we are in God’s eyes. The more we look at Him the easier it gets to stop sweating the small stuff.”  . . . . .Well said also!!!  All our identity rests in the knowledge of who we’re created to be.  We are His workmanship made in His image.  He loves us and to Him we have the greatest value. He gave His life for all we are worth. . . .NOW, . . .I can say this and it is true but I have a very hard time believing it (because of my mother) for me:  All of us, we are totally, completely equals.  I am as valuable, precious and special as anyone else (I really don’t believe that for me (for Aleea) but I know theologically it is true). . . For all of us, our value comes simply in the fact that we live, period.  Life is a gift only God could ever give (Jeremiah 1:5, Acts 17:25).  You are valuable and special simply because you are here, period. . . . .According to my counselor, I know all this but I need to start really believing and acting on it.
       
      Or the way God would say this in the New Testament:  I have gnosis (γνῶσις),  I have knowledge that is the intelligent comprehension but is not personal and experiential.  What I need is epignosis (ἐπίγνωσις),  “intimate, personal, experiential knowledge.”  That just shows you how you can really, truly comprehend something but can’t operationalize it.  I see the truth staring me right in my face and I still choose to let my mother’s image of me and her words control my mind.

    • Aleea on June 18, 2015 at 11:50 am

      Brenda,
      I wrote you a full response to this the other day.  It must be caught in the moderation process but thank you for your thoughts, I very much appreciate them.  If I don’t see that post in a few days I will try to repost. . . . Anyway, what you are saying means a lot to me and makes so much sense.

  12. Brenda on June 12, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I have no idea how the word “your” got in my name on my last post, but it sure is.

  13. Brenda on June 12, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    That should have read, “I think we all Zap ourselves pretty good when we mess up or think we did and don’t spend enough time looking at who we are in God’s eyes.

    • Lonely wife on June 12, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Now isn’t that the truth, Brenda!

  14. Robin on June 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    It’s really a hard adjustment, when friends turn away from us because we stand up and speak truths no one understood about our destructive relationship. My husband had done so much to attack my character, that I knew it was needed to make some separations. If I had not done this– the pain would have gone on indefinitely. Rather than having to face running into dear friends that now support my abusive husband- I literally left town. Switched churches switched to new friends and totally accepted a new life was necessary. It does sting when people gossip and even partake in lies. So I chose to remove myself. I don’t even go to the grocery store locally unless it’s absolutely necessary . How do you heal. ?? You let them off the hook. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to say, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing. The pain is more severe if we hold on to it and don’t accept- change is necessary for me to thrive. As I let go, God brought newness into my life with new people who don’t know my story or history. God will work this out for my good, if I ask Him too. He only wants the very best for Hos children !!!!

    • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Robin, Good for you! I wasn’t as wise. I changed churches and moved to a town only about 15 minutes away, however, I made the mistake of telling my story to the new Pastor and some of the leadership. I’ve been in this church for about two and a half years and feel that I’ve been kept back because I’m separated and soon to be divorced.

      • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        Susanne, do you mean they are holding you back from being in leadership??
        I can only share what worked for me. I made an appt to speak to the Pastor after attending his church for ; months- and shared my story. He supported me fully in divorcing a man that was very toxic and had a long history of not choosing to get appropriate help. In fact he even strongly said to me- you won’t take him back – right?? He is sick. From then on in our conversation we talked about me being involved as a small group leader for women that perhaps have experienced what I had. We talked about many things that revealed to me he was supporting me fully. When my divorce settled, I text him and he was very happy for me that I could finally move on. I made a point of joining the small group he led- so I could test him further and get to know him. He has told me, he is not God, and when a woman leaves an abusive relationship it’s not up to him to judge. I would encourage you to consider being in s church that you know has your back. What a difference it has made for me!!!!

        • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 7:50 pm

          Yes, that’s what I mean. Some of the ladies put my name in for deacon last year and I was called in to the office to discuss it. We decided it wasn’t time for me. This year my name was in for both deacon and elder. I wasn’t even called. When I spoke to the Pastor, he said it was because of what I was going through, meaning my separation. At that point, I had already been separated for about 2 1/2 years!

          • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 7:56 pm

            I am so sorry Susanne, that must really hurt. I know my counselor is presently working with local pastors to feed them info- to give them better understanding. Have you read, A Cry For Justice- by Crippen?? Really speaks to what you shared.



        • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm

          No, I have not read “A Cry for Justice” but I will definitely read it.

          At my previous church I was really involved in leadership until we separated. Then everything was taken away. I felt as if I was being punished. I don’t have to be in leadership. That’s not the point. I just feel like I’m being held back. I’m thinking of giving my Pastor the article that Leslie wrote on Biblical reasons for separation.

          • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm

            I think that’s a great place to start. Let us know when you’re going to do that and we can support you in prayer, that God would cause him to be open to it.



          • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 8:13 pm

            Ok, I will let you know. Thank you so much.



          • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 8:14 pm

            A Cry for Justice is different than any other book on abuse. I highly recommend it. I’m handing copies of it to every pastor I know. Most abuse books are for the victim of abuse. While this is helpful to the victim- it’s written to the church leadership to help them understand what a spouse goes thru. I saw myself in every chapter crying as I read the truths of my life in such a tender way. I loved the chapter on Divorce it helped me to remember the truth of how an abuser breaks covenant with his wife- it is him who caused the divorce. He gave us beautiful illustrations to validate what we go thru and how the church leadership us violating U.S. Instead of the perpetrator.



          • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 8:25 pm

            Robin, After reading your last comment on the book I think I will read this book first, before setting up an appointment to see my Pastor. I just might want to give him the book after I read it.



  15. Brenda on June 13, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    People that will gossip about you, are not your friends. Friends would come to you if they thought something wasn’t quite right and would try to understand and support you.

    • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      I am so grateful to have met all of you here on Leslie’s blogs. Our stories might be a little different but have some similarities. I’m not happy that anyone has to go through any abuse at all, however, I’m so glad that we support one another. It’s wonderful to know that others are praying and that they do understand!

      • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 7:52 pm

        Your words Susanne remind me of what we were doing BEFORE THIS BLOG. Out there struggling alone, wishing someone cared enough to come alongside and give us some hope!!!

        • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm

          Robin, Yes, that’s exactly how I felt before I went on this blog

          • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm

            I hear you!! It was a LIFELINE for me, as I started the separation process.



    • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Very good point Brenda!! We should consider who our true friends are , that stay loyal as we travel thru hard times!!!!

  16. Robin on June 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Susanne, I liked your comment, ‘I don’t have to be in leadership’. True. But what we do need is respect and being treated in a honoring way – not less than– because our abusive spouse broke marriage covenant. We would have wanted our story to end differently and a Pastor who disrespects you and disqualifies you for leadership- is not loving you like Jesus.

    • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      That’s so true!

    • Lonely wife on June 15, 2015 at 12:24 am

      Yes! Well said Robin!

      • Robin on June 15, 2015 at 12:36 am

        Thanks Lonely wife. Feel passionate about Pastors not disclosing women from leadership – but more passionate they honor her as equal to anyone else in his church!!!!!

        • Lonely wife on June 16, 2015 at 11:15 pm

          Yes! I feel that women have been marginalized in most churches and that has to STOP! And it has to begin with the church leadership….
          I think I’ll buy this book for my pastor also…we all need to work together to stop abuse in our churches!

          • Robin on June 16, 2015 at 11:44 pm

            Lonely wife, I would love to see every abused woman on this blog, pickup a copy of A Cry For Justice by Crippen. It would build up confidence and boldness to understand why many are choosing to separate and the chapter on Divirce eloquently and thoroughly with excellent handling of Scriptire walks you they how an abuser breaks the marriage covenant long before there is a divorce. This book prepared me well to walk in the courtroom with my shoulders held high and confidently that I was fighting for my own need of justice!! Amazing read!!



  17. Robin on June 14, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Suzanne the book was sold out on Amazon for a longtime, so I got mine off of CBD. I read this as I was walking towards finalization of my divorce– and instead of being left feeling like a less than soon to be divorcee- I walked into it as a daughter of the King- who was very loved , but violated.

    • Susanne on June 14, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      I just looked for the book and found it on Christianbook.com. Just this afternoon I found myself thinking about being divorced in the next few months. I love your comment about walking into it as a daughter of the King who was very loved. I will meditate on that instead of what I was thinking today. That was just what I needed to hear, thank you Robin.

      • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 9:01 pm

        Spouses that are abused are dissed, verbally abused and trashed and so much more. They lose their identity and their self esteem and Mr Crippen has watched this for years as he is a pastor, and his message is these women have been violated in their relationships- and their hearts and lives are broken. U.S. The church going to stand up to the call to help them heal and move in from their wounded places- or are we going to join forces with the abusers and give them a second injury?? He handles Scripture so well, I just smiled the whole time I read the book, and now I’m rereAding it so I remember what he taught me. Glad you’re gonna take a look at it. I plan on handing it to anyone who will take a look at it!!

      • Robin on June 14, 2015 at 10:49 pm

        It’s a lovely gift how all of us on this blog experience different things at varied times and we can just keep passing it around the circle of friends never knowing who God wants to bless next!!!

  18. Brenda on June 15, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Robin and Suzanne,

    Amen!!!!
    Brenda

  19. Susanne on June 15, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Greetings friends! In this blog we’ve been talking about friend’s gossiping about you. I have a question about a friend that had known for quite some time that my ex h didn’t want the marriage and had no intention of EVER trying to make things right. She spoke to him back when the separation was new and I was still hoping and praying for him to repent and move towards change. Do you think my friend should have spoken up about this before now? Apparently, she told him she wouldn’t let me know what he said to her. I’m really beginning to wonder who my friends really are! This is so frustrating….the church, friends….so glad I can trust God!!!

  20. Brenda on June 15, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Suzanne,
    I am trying to figure out why your friend would be talking to your h in the first place. Why would she tell him that she wouldn’t tell you? Who’s friend was she anyways. Was she listening to you speak of reconciliation knowing that it was not what he wanted? I believe I would have a problem with that. Has she tried to make amends?

    I may be too critical, I don’t know. I didn’t have anyone who I could call friend when I separated other than Jesus. Not that He isn’t my best friend. I prayed for a long time before He saw fit to allow me a human friend.

    Brenda

    • Susanne on June 15, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      Brenda, I asked myself the same questions. She definitely knew I was hoping for reconciliation at the time and she tried to tell me to move on. She just told me this tonight, so I guess I’m still in shock. I should have asked her some questions but she caught me off guard. She asked me not to tell him that she told me…wow! She knows we haven’t spoken to one another in a very long time…and why is she protecting him instead of me? This really hurts.

      • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2015 at 10:53 am

        Susanne, I had a friend who betrayed me not too long ago and it hurts awful. But I also think this is an opportunity for you to speak up and share with her how her new information has impacted you and ask two questions. If she was your good friend, what was her reason for withholding this important information that your husband shared with her? And, why is she telling you this now? I think she may have gotten caught in the middle – trying to hope with you, yet realizing that he had said some things to her in confidence that she promised not to reveal and hoping he might change his mind. That’s the best interpretation I can come up with but I would ask her and see if she shows any concern for how this has hurt you. Sadly during these times sometimes the people we thought were our friends fail us.

        • Susanne on June 19, 2015 at 10:46 pm

          Leslie – Thank you for your insight. I will ask her the questions. Yes, her answers will definitely tell me the reason she withheld this information and chose to tell me now.

          I’m sorry you also had a friend betray you recently. It does drive us right to the Lord, doesn’t it?

  21. Brenda on June 15, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Suzanne,
    I’m not sure why she is telling you now!! What gain is there other than for her to feel relief by coming clean? Her telling you to move on could have been her way of not hurting you with the truth that she knew then. Maybe take a couple of days to let it all process and pray through it. I don’t know what her motives could be and maybe after you have taken some time you will be better able to seek answers from her. I can believe you were caught off guard. I would have been as well.
    I will pray about this with you, Brenda

    • Susanne on June 15, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Thank you so much Brenda. Wise advice! I will take a few days and pray about it. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you sister.

      • Susanne on June 19, 2015 at 10:38 pm

        Brenda – As I was taking a day or two to pray and find out what the Lord would have me do about this friend, she called and left me a voice message. You see, during our phone conversation (before she told me what my ex h said to her) I had invited her and her husband for a BBQ this coming Saturday. I was wondering how I should handle the situation and how I was going to feel with them coming here. I thought I should cancel or postpone it, but she called to cancel!

  22. Leonie on June 15, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    My court appearance did not go well today. The judge felt that I was making false allegations against my abusive husband and being vengeful she scolded me saying I might lose custody of my 4 year old and even suggested that my 3 kids from my first marriage to to my ex’s for supper every 2 weeks with my 4 year old so he gets time with his step children. He has yelled at and terrorized us all for years and my bigger kids don’t want to spend any time with him. She removed the restraining order and pretended we can all be one happy family. I suspect my husband has been indecent with our little one. He has a massage parlour addiction and was arrested for assault a few weeks ago. We are separated and I am safe but now very confused.

    • Robin on June 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      Leonie, thank you for sharing how it went in court. Do you remember me saying when you had your first court appearance, to see it as only the beginning of many things during the divorce process?? My husband also did something similar as your abusive husband– looking like HE HAD WON. He only won that first appeArance in court, and then it all went downhill for him from there. It does get better , and we must hold onto our faith. And the Truth. The Truth will come out during the process and his true colors will surface and be evident for all to see. By the end of the divorce process it will be likely things will look much different and that is why it’s important not to look at what is seen today – but absolutely KNOW God is at work even when we don’t see it and is working out a plan just for you!!!!! Will be praying for all that concerns you!
      Robin

    • Susanne on June 15, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      Leonie, I will also be praying for you during this time that the truth will be revealed. Those things that are hidden will be brought out into the open. Keep trusting the Lord. Know that you have sisters in the Lord that are holding you up in prayer.

      • Robin on June 16, 2015 at 12:03 am

        I’m praying for you as well, Susanne. I know you’re going thru a difficult time. I’m so sorry.

        • Susanne on June 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm

          Thank you so much! God bless you abundantly.

  23. Brenda on June 16, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Leonie,
    This is such injustice!! How can a judge order you to send your children that are not his to be with him? He has no legal right whatsoever to those children. Is the judge not looking at the charges of assault or is that hear say? I can understand your confusion. I am right there with you. This country is upside down on the difference in right and wrong. I don’t believe that God is happy with this at all. I am praying for you and your children that a hedge of protection is put around you. Also, praying for this judge to open her eyes from the blindness that she now sees through. ((((HUGS)))) Brenda

    • Robin on June 16, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Brenda and Leonie, I forget the legal terms but her lawyer can fight this and ask for another judge, throwing this one out. I think bits called
      Something prejudice and anyone can dismiss one judge – I did — and so did my husband. She needs to get her lawyer in there fighting for her!!!!

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Courts and judges are terribly uneducated and unaware of DV issues especially when the abuser is more covert and charming. Leonie surround yourself with good support, educate yourself on the court system and your rights, make sure your lawyer understands abusive relationship dynamics and hang in there for the long haul.

      • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 7:47 am

        Leslie,

        Could you list the resources you mentioned in a previous post?

        Thank you..
        Lisa

  24. Leonie on June 16, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks Leslie, thanks ladies for your encouragement. Pray that the Holy Soirit will give me words to say as I endeavour to protect my small daughter. My ex will have unsupervised access with her all weekend.

    • Lonely wife on June 16, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      I am praying Leonie!!

    • Robin on June 16, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      Remember God is Your Defender. We will join together and ask Him to protect the little one and tenderly keep her in His Safe arms– and that your lawyer will intervene against the judges ruling!!!

    • Allison on June 17, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Praying for you and your children at this time!

  25. Aleea on June 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Leonie,
    I’m praying for you too and your name (easy to remember) is very helpful in that respect!  In fact, I am praying for everyone touching your situation.  I know it is complex.   . . Thank God we have the Lord’s attention!!!  I have been in court rooms where I can hear the judge trimming his nails, his nails!!! (click, click, click) instead of listening to the case!!!  Superior preparation, superior attitude, never give your power away and make sure your attorney leaves no stone unturned.

  26. Lisa on June 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Aleea,

    Would you be able to give us some more detail/direction as to what would be included in these you mentioned:
    –superior preparation
    –superior attitude
    –never give your power away
    –attorney leaving no stone unturned (how able to determine this).

    Thank you,
    Lisa

    • Aleea on June 17, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Lisa. . . .So, as you know, full disclosure first: I am a tax attorney for the IRS in the TAX courts.  So, I’m often trying to understand all this just like many of you.  God has me here to work on my abuse issues (-especially from my mother or at least in counseling that is what we are doing first, obviously, I have multiple issues) and I am here to pray for people and encourage them if I can.
       
      –superior preparation: Get seriously “up-to-speed.”  You know your own resources (-internet, -library, etc.) but for me that means going to Family Law | WestlawNext | Legal Solutions | Westlaw Family Law Practitioner Research (this is what I do but I have a subscription) and read every relevant case you can find that is like your own (similar fact patterns, similar controlling law, similar appeal process, et. al.)  If you don’t like reading the actual cases read/ research books that summarize them, once you get started, you will find an outrageous amount of information.  The reason you are doing all this is so that you can ask your attorney solid questions and help manage/ contribute to the process (if God forbid you need the process).  This is part of not giving your power away!!!  The great thing about legal questions is that you can dive in anywhere.  It’s just English.  It is not like math where without a serious foundation in calculus you can forget understanding Laplace or Fourier transforms, etc.  
       
      –superior attitude: Work hard to get the correct image of just who you are from God: I hear in so many precious people’s comments that post here these words: Who am I to be cherished?  Who am I to have real affection?  Who am I to be treated like a precious treasure?  Who am I to be really loved? -And I sit in my plane seat thinking: Actually, really, who are you NOT to be!?  If you truly belong to the Lord, then you are a champion eternal.  A daughter of the Living Light.  A person of the highest caliber.  You are a child of God!!!  Your playing small does not serve the Kingdom of God and certainly not the cause against abuse.  There’s nothing spiritually enlightened about shrinking so that men and even other women won’t feel insecure around you, -that especially applies to our husbands.  (Now full disclosure: my counselor says I can easily see that this applies to others but I have totally failed to apply it to myself.)  That said, I still want to get everyone to come forward with me and sign a vow (cyber sign it):  Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in exposing verbal, physical, financial, spiritual, et. al. abuse, as far as you can discern them, while trying your best to maintain the peace and unity of your marriage (if you are still in it) and your church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account? 
       
      –never give your power away (see superior preparation)
       
      –attorney leaving no stone unturned (see superior preparation)
       
      Anyway, I pray for you every day too (And I pray what I pray for all of us: Empowerment!; The biggest possible faith that produces the greatest possible abandonment to God; A deeper relationship with Christ; More real love and more real life for all of us!!!)***          
        
      With smiles,
      Aleea
       
       
      ***If God’s love is always there: infinite love, infinitely offered, how can I choose God’s Love in every moment of my life?  How do I get to where God’s love truly satisfies me at the deepest level of my being and I actually know it because it causes me to radically want more while not leaving me feeling empty, -ever!  If you know, please help me by sharing. . . . . . Anyway, I think we access the limitlessness Love and the very Life of Christ from an unquenchable love for holiness (as He is Holy), deep cleaning our hearts and keeping them clean, through obedience.  Dying to ourselves and daily living wholly to Him, walking the road of obedience, which means we are empowered not doormats, even if I don’t know how to fully do this yet (My counselor says I give my power away, -in a bad way.)

  27. Allison on June 17, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Thank you Leslie for this article.

    My BFF lived across the street; we shared so much in common: kids same age, sex (DD20 & DS24); husbands both engineers, same age, same issues with their mothers, i.e. they came before us. We joked and said we saved each other thousands of dollars in therapy because we spoke every day.

    As I began to tell her the truth about what was going on in my marriage, she is the one who labeled it emotional abuse.

    I started telling her about his drinking and the boundaries I laid out last fall. Then I told her about my plans to leave in January.

    At the same time, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and faced a lumpectomy and radiation.

    I felt it awkward for her when others in our circle of friends began to question why I was gone. So I sent an email explaining things in February. I regret that now as it was too detailed, but I sent it to explain that things must have been so bad for me to leave.

    Well, someone decided to print it and put it on my H’s car.

    That was four months ago and since them my friends have abandoned me. It is especially hurtful since I was going through breast cancer treatment, and ultimately needed chemotherapy. I lost my hair and was sick. While others going thru chemo post pics of their friends supporting them, I was abandoned.

    Ultimately, I decided to reach out to them, inviting them to lunch saying cancer changes things and that I missed them. We all went but it was very superficial. Half left and two who stayed longer to talk are very religious in a big named denomination church. They both told me that it was up to me to make things right and to take my H back.

    My BFF who is on Facebook ignores me publicly. She made a comment to one of my posts about two months ago and when I replied, she deleted it. She only texts or sends messages once or twice a week and rarely about cancer or how I’m doing. Just to ask medical question about her daughter with a common ailment or vent about issue with her son.

    It’s like she is ashamed to friend me or publicly comment on any of my posts. I don’t post a lot… but it is particularly hurtful when you’re supposed BFF doesn’t even “Like” your post that your daughter shaved your head or you’re finished chemo. Yet she can “like” a casual acquaintance’s post about her daughter’s birthday. It know it’s pathetic school girl stuff, but it is hurtful.

    I did message her once asking about our status and she ignored it.

    So I’ve been in prayer as to how to handle it. But I do think Leslie’s advice above is spot on: Forgive them. Ask God to help relieve suffering. Overcome evil with good. Over the years, she has confessed many things to me that I would NEVER betray to anyone else. I pray for good things for her and her family.

    In the meantime, I am trying to make new friends in a new church in a new town. I don’t know the future of my marriage but I know that it will be based on watching for the signs of true repentance from my husband and not based on pressure from anyone else.

    Thank you Leslie for your work. It is such a blessing in my life!

  28. Leonie on June 17, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Thank you, Ladies, It is so amazing to have this online community covering us in prayer, I am so grateful and God is opening my eyes to more pertinent information that pertains to my case. It is scary to hand over my innocent precious daughter to someone who keeps choosing evil as a lifestyle.

    • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      Leonie – it is very scary when our children are in the hands of someone who is abusive. Prayer is our mightiest tool!!!!!!

      • Leonie on June 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

        Just pray that she would be safe, the judge really chewed me up & spit me out, saying I am using a tactic to keep my daughter from her dad. I am so worried about her, she is so young & vulnerable. I am seeing the financial truth about everything too, so many things that my husband yelled at me about were actually paid for by the mortgage that I brought all the equity to. So many things need to be repaired & done in our home now and he would always yell at me that I just want to spend money, (in actuality, I would just want to repair things that had been broken.and needed repair.) I feel like someone could write a documentary on the systematic abuse he was doing financially & verbally,. He was taking advantage of me financially and yelling at me because I would ‘t comply with his agenda. When I look at the whole picture, I was complying, it was like I had a blind fold on and he was just doing what he wanted as he led me to sabotage myself. So what was he yelling at me about on top of it all. He wasn’t paying my way, he wasn’t paying anything for my bigger kids, he was driving my cars but I was paying for insurance & repairs. When I stayed home after being laid off 2 years ago he was yelling at me that he was going to have a vey bad retirement because I wasn’t working. Meanwhile he is collecting the monthly pension from his deceased common law partner where he lived before. Her 15 year old son should have gotten that pension because he told me they couldn’t live together & he kept moving out because there was too much fighting …. I think I married a professional, slippery financial scammer. Please pray that I can provide enough proof of the basics. He has a massage parlour addiction and in addition to all of that he was locking up the house so my older kids couldn’t come home if I was out or it was their week with their dad. If the court & the judge can get a glimpse of the truth of what really went on. It is such an over the top comprehensive picture of abuse, it is shocking. I truly have experienced what Lundy Bancroft explains as a mini fascist star complete with propaganda: I am praying that everyone involved in our case will see and experience the truth. Thank you ladies for your prayers, I need to pull together my financial statement and all of the proofs of all this and write out ‘my case’ before Monday.

        • Susanne on June 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm

          Leonie – I’m curious how your ex is collecting a monthly pension from his deceased common-law partner. Don’t pension cease when someone passes away? Maybe it’s different where I live. It’s none of my business…I was just wondering how he’s collecting that. Anyway, I want you know that I’m praying for Holy Spirit leading and guiding you through all of this and for God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.

          Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

  29. Brenda on June 17, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Allison,
    You have been through so much and have a beautiful outlook. New friends will come your way–true friends. Blessings to you, Brenda

  30. Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Thank you Aleea.

    Are there any issues you have found in your research that might pertain to all of us that we could question a lawyer about?

    • Aleea on June 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Lisa  . . . .no. . . .well, yes, some ideas. . . . Oh my gosh, every mistake you can imagine: not getting payments up front whenever possible, not securing all payments with assets and insurance, not factoring in the effects of inflation on the cost of your kid’s college, or on your retirement, not understanding derivative social security benefits, forgetting to change the beneficiaries on life insurance, IRAs (SEPs), wills, so the estates they wanted to leave to their children, new partner, charity go instead to their x!!!  Not realizing to get coverage for the potential future liabilities they still have where they part ways in a business.  Every mistake possible you see.  Many have multiple mistakes.  We have to view divorce as a cold legal process: divide the assets, debts, create a plan to care for your children, it has nothing to do with setting up a recovery plan to work with our emotions (that is where people like Leslie come in).  It is so important to separate the two. . . . . But I would say one of biggest issues is overlooking the mediation option (this all depends on what state, what controlling law, et. al.)  In many cases, mediation may be the quickest and cheapest way of reaching an agreement (Full Disclosure: I may view that a neglected option because that is my choice in tax cases.)  To me, mediation is often times a more viable option then trial, you avoid much of the emotional trauma that you and your kids might otherwise have to endure.  . . . . I see mistake after mistake of not evaluating based on costs and benefits.  It does you no good to “win” and then bankrupt yourself with huge attorney’s fees.  Nor does it make sense to fight over assets you will later have to sell to pay your attorney.  All decisions, just as coldly as possible: cost vs. benefits.  In the cases I have read/ am reading that is so true.  It gets so nasty.  I would want (my personal filter again) the least negative impact on my kids and my emotions.  You have to be super prepared to go this route because many issues are nuanced.  I just think not moving quickly to divide assets and separate fairly is a MAJOR mistake.  Often, it seems, early in the divorce process in these cases especially, people can fairly divide property.  If your soon to be x feels a win in a decision in which you win too, good.  In fact, very good!!!  Make decisions that care for you and leave your soon to be x’s feelings about winning or losing (whatever that even means) to your x.  But if your spouse is a jackass, you will have to go to trail and you want a lawyer who has the knowledge, skill, has the judgment and experience in the divorce process.  It does not matter if you like them if they are seriously skilled.  Remember, divorce is a cold legal process.  I have had attorneys I basically despise (and I have had to repent of that) on my tax teams but when we got into mediation, they were just brilliant and gifted at getting serious results and they made it happen because they had the skills and especially the technical knowledge of the case law.  Make sure your attorney is rated by Martindale-Hubbell; West Law; etc.  Keep records of everything and do serious preparation and research.

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Aleea,

      I went to a lawyer and after a question she asked me, she snapped back at me when she didn’t understand my response. You said not to worry if you don’t like them as long s they gave knowledge. She has been in practice 25 years. It really upset

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      It really upset me.

      Her staff is just her and her secretary; is that a good thing or does that drive costs up?

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      I would gladly use mediation, however I keep reading that abusers won’t do that and then you wind up going to court anyway. Have you seen this? I keep thinking what Robin said–go for future financial security and don’t nit pick over the tangibles in the house. I know the lawyer my husband has secured and she is the best here. She *only* practices family law. She is recommended on even local forums. I have been to 2 lawyers and both say the know family law well. I can’t find any client ratings, but peer views are high. For one of them

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      For one of the lawyers they are rated by 2 different companies and one peer rating is high and the other is in the middle.

    • Aleea on June 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Lisa,
      I wouldn’t worry about their manner as much as their effectiveness and team support (-ask to talk to former clients.)  It sounds like if someone’s staff is just a secretary, I would question that.  Going to court (unless everything is straight forward) takes real resources.  As you well know, the biggest issue is results vs. the costs of those results (-and you have to make educated guesses at a lot of that.)  It sounds like you have some options (at least the peer views are good!)  I would continue searching and asking lots of questions.  Since you think your spouse is not going to tolerate mediation, obviously go to court but, as Robin said–go for inflation-adjusted (I’m putting in inflation-adjusted), future financial security.  Get the best attorney you can find and try to stay all over the process.  I’m seriously praying for you.  -All decisions, just as calmly as possible: costs vs. benefits (-And I realize a lot of that involves probability distributions based on guesses.)  -Just keep thinking, thinking, thinking and asking lots of questions.  -And, I just love Robin’s comments about staying close to God during the whole process.  That seems so obvious but we start trying to do things in our own strength and often forfeit God’s best help.

    • Lisa on June 19, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you Aleea for helping clarify things. It is a big help!!!

      I’ve tried focusing on lawyers that only practice family law or may have 2 or 3 sub areas they deal with. I don’t want someone who covers so many bases he/she is stretched too thin with other legal areas and isn’t well enough versed in family law. Most are charging $250.00 to $275.00 an hour with a $7,000.00 retainer fee.

      How does one get to talk with previous clients? Are most lawyers willing to give that info out?

      I’ve searched and searched for weeks for online client reviews and they are next to none. The peer reviews could just be lawyers “scratching one anothers backs”—most are friendly with one another outside a case and courtroom, having drinks or dinner together. Just thinking–clients most likely don’t want to have their phone number given to a stranger.

    • Aleea on June 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Lisa,
      I’m so sorry for this delayed response, on a Blackberry mobile inside that postage stamp box, well, it is easy to miss things. . . . So, the only way to get to talk with previous clients is to ask and many lawyers I know are willing to give referrals because they are the ones giving the referrals to you.  My dentist, my doctor, etc. all gave me plenty of satisfied patients to talk to, most professionals will do that.  You probably know Luke 18:1-8, a judge (who is both a total, complete atheist and lacking any compassion (-this judge neither fears God nor respects people, see Luke 18:1-8) he is repeatedly approached by a women, seeking justice.  Initially he rejects her demands, then rejects her again and again.  He eventually honors her request, so he will not be worn out by her persistence.  God is demonstrating the importance of persistence in prayer, –but also in life, never giving up.
       
      “—most are friendly with one another outside a case and courtroom, having drinks or dinner together.” . . . . So that is called the universal attorney-to-attorney respect law.  It is sad, but most businesses are “op-opted” like that.  Doctors generally speak well of other doctors and cover for their profession.  Dentists do the same even in cases of supervised neglect, etc.  All we can do is ask lots of questions and keep generating options and keep thinking.  Fortunately, God has set up the world so that, generally speaking at least, when we put serious time into something, we get good options and alternatives.  Then we have to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each option and alternative.  It is so hard initially (I’m seriously praying for you) but once you get going, you should see results.  I rarely see a case where God does not reward superior preparation.

  31. Robin on June 18, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Lisa, not sure if this is helpful or not….. But this is what happened for me in re: to picking a lawyer or having the best one out there.
    My husband went 90 miles down the road to a larger city to hire the best. I stayed in my town and my eldest daughter picked my lawyer out after seeing this lawyer at work in the courtroom. He came with no referrals, I was even told by another lawyer friend of mine he didn’t have a high reputation by the judges as when he did what he does in the courtroom, he could be a little rude and disrespectful. Because my husband is a Sociopath my daughter felt this was the right lawyer for me. I’m telling you this as my husbands reputable – bigtime- lawyer that looked like he was from New York in appearances– did little good for my husband. My local small town lawyer was used by God to defend and fight for me. I personally don’t think it’s about which is the perfect lawyer although it’s good to check them out for sure. I believe when we draw near to God and ask Him to lead us and direct all our steps – He is faithful to provide what we need in a good lawyer. Do your research, find out from reviews and others if you can- but make it a priority to be close with God and allow Him to provide all that you need in the divorce process. Today my lawyer and I have an excellent relationship. He treats me like a daughter I believe because he knows how much change I went through in being rescued from an abuser- and he understands that he opened the door for me to be able to have him on my support team!

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Can a citizen go into the courtroom and actually watch a divorce proceeding or did your daughter work there? I would love to be able to see how these lawyers perform and choose that way. Of course the judge you get is just as important. We have 5 that sit on the Family Court; you never know who will be assigned the case.

      • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

        She was viewing a friends divorce. Not sure what the rules are for who can enter a courtroom.
        We were able to choose our judge more/less. We had the first judge thrown out because of prejudice. (He favored my abusive husband). We got appointed a lady judge and my husbands lawyer filed prejudice because they did NOT want s woman judge presiding over an abuse case. But God intervened and appointed another lady judge who was known to be very supportive to the women in abuse cases. Interesting enough – another God intervention- the first male judge that favored my husband presided over Settlement Conferences and my husbands true colors were revealed and in the end of Settlement that judge came over to my side.
        On a earlier post I remember someone asking about mediation. This is usually after Settlement Conference fails. My DV Counselor told me she does not recommend mediation in abuse cases- it’s not very workable to sit with your abuser . Because their goal is only to win.

        • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 6:57 pm

          They won’t even consider the abuse, because he hasn’t physically touched me in 9 years. I never went to or called the police. I only have on paper approx. dates and description of the verbal and physical abuse. They probably could care less. It’s like you have to walk into court with 2 black eyes and even then they don’t always side with victim.

          • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 7:06 pm

            Yes I know it’s hard to prove and focumentation is important. I’m confused he was abusive- but now hasn’t been for 9 years?? Doesn’t make sense unless you’ve been separated for that long!



  32. Robin on June 18, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Sorry about spelling I meant documentation

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      He has been verbally abusive throughout the marriage. Not every day, not even every month, but when it has happened it’s been explosive–screaming in my face, cursing at me. He physically harmed me 5 times over 20 years. He has tried to deny me and the children much needed emergency medical care. The last 3 years he has kept the finances from me just because I went to a neighbor after he was nasty, calling me names , something I never did before. He said his nasty words then went out and then I ran to a neighbor’s house. When he came back i was still at the neighbor’s; my children knew I was there because i called them. He started saying I was having an affair just because i wasn’t in the house when he got home. His meanness can be very covert too. No one sees it or hears it, only me. I stopped interacting with him 3 years ago within the house. One year of that time he worked out of state.

      How much do i have to take before you would consider it abuse?

      • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 7:47 pm

        One of the times he physically attacked me he shock me so hard 3 weeks after having a cesarean he tore my scar tissue at the site and my head was snapping back and forth violently!

        • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 7:49 pm

          *shook

      • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        Lisa that is a good question and only one you can answer. Now that im out of it– my only regret is not leaving sooner. It’s ridiculous how much abuse a victim tolerates thinking she has too. My counselor has explained to me I couldn’t get out sooner due to abuse also in childhood. A healthy woman does not accept destructive behaviors that jeopardizes safety for her family. Lisa I’m wondering why you are concerned with what the court or judge thinks about abuse when what matters is what you think about it. When you think rightly about it, things will line up so you can proceed in being rescued from it.

        • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 7:54 pm

          Lisa I just read what you wrote about his violence. So why are you still there???

          • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 8:06 pm

            Many women stay for a variety of reasons. One was my children. He didn’t do his dirty work in front of them. I became ill after taking a drug that was suppose to help with panic attacks. It destroyed my thyroid function which left me vulnerable to all kinds of germs and I’ve fighting for my health for the last 10 years. I also cared for one of my parents in my home until i feel so ill i could barely function. I handled my parents finances the last 5 years and have medical responsibility for my one parent. Just lost my other parent. I put myself on the back burner to care for my loved ones.



      • Leslie Vernick on June 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm

        It is abuse and Lisa if you called 911 and went to an emergency room those 5 times of physical abuse you would have “proof” and documentation about his abusive behaviors. Even threats of abuse, throwing objects at you (even if he misses) are considered physical abuse. It is abuse. You are not taking care of you and you are not helping him by allowing yourself to be abused. Time 1 you didn’t know. But by time 2,3,4, and 5 it’s time to see it is abuse. Please don’t wait for time 6.

        • Lisa on June 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

          Now I realize how stupid I was for not reporting him. I was concerned with the children seeing him taken out of the house by the police and I was afraid what he would do if they let him back into the house. I lived with no family around and barely knew neighbors, because we moved so much. My mind was a twisted mess and I felt such shame.

          • Lisa on June 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm

            Oh, now he stays physically clear of me, because his lawyer warned him. He feels very smug now that he financially abuses me and even told a close friend he is all set to divorce me, just waiting on the last child to graduate which isn’t too far off.



  33. Robin on June 18, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    My question then is will you continue to think staying is best for your family?? There are many women on this blog that thought staying for the children was right. And found out they were wrong. Very wrong. In the future if you continue to put yourself as you say on back burner- do you see everyone loses???

    • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      It’s my loss. My children wanted me stay. They didn’t want to move or be dragged between two households. I may not have made good decisions, but my heart was trying to do what I thought was loving.

      • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 9:47 pm

        It sounds like you have found a contentedness in where you are. God Bless You, Lisa.

        • Lisa on June 18, 2015 at 9:53 pm

          Are you being sarcastic?

          • Robin on June 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm

            Not at all. It sounds like you have made peace in doing what you say your children have asked you to do. That is not sarcastic that is me accepting what you need.



          • Leslie Vernick on June 19, 2015 at 12:58 pm

            We don’t always know what the right decision to make and most women try to make the best decision they know to make in the moment they’re in. But Lisa I do think you would honor God to take good care of yourself, to be a good steward of the body and the life he has given you. Even Jesus took care of himself while he was also serving others. He didn’t always put himself on the back burner. He slept. He got away by himself. He took time to pray and nourish his spirit and soul. That is not selfish, it is necessary for you to be able to love your parents, your kids and make good decisions that will affect them and you for the rest of your lives.



  34. Brenda on June 19, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Praying, Leonie. Stay strong!!!!

    • Robin on June 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Yes Leonie, we support you and will be holding you and your daughter close to our hearts all weekend. Try not to let all this discourage you. One thing I had to learn over and over was it could keep me distracted and ineffective to focus on all the garbage. To stay strong we must keep our minds firmly focused on the One who is really in charge !!!!!!

      • Susanne on June 19, 2015 at 10:55 pm

        Amen!!!

  35. Brenda on June 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Suzanne,
    The Lord was working for you. Her cancelling was God going before you and settling the controversy and awkward feelings for you. I am sure she is disturbed by this probably far more than you are. In a different way of course. If I had to venture a guess, I would say looking in the mirror right now if pretty hard for her, as well it should be.

    You know I have thought of this, also. The xh used to go places and meet with friends or family and tell them that I didn’t want to go or didn’t like talking to them. He put a barrier between me and other people that didn’t need to be there. It doesn’t matter any longer. What I didn’t understand was why someone didn’t have the gumption to say, this is what he said, what did I do to offend you?

    I am so thankful to have a Savior that will never fail us.

    Brenda

    • Susanne on June 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Brenda – I now this friend will be calling me soon to try to set up that BBQ time here. I would prefer to talk to her face to face about all of this instead of on the phone, however, I’m not sure I want to invite her over at this point. I know what you said about her perhaps being disturbed about this, but I guess after living with my h for 13 years and not seeing true repentance for anything he did, it’s difficult for me to believe that those who call themselves friends and then betray you more than once, aren’t similar.

      I agree with you that people should speak up. Then they might find the truth, instead of believing everything they hear. I heard someone say once: don’t believe everything you hear, and only believe half of what you see. Funny, but certainly has some truth, doesn’t it?

      • Susanne on June 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

        Sorry, typo: it should say: I know this friend….

  36. Brenda on June 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Suzanne,
    Very true, indeed. Maybe when you’re ready, meet with her at a neutral location. Go for coffee? You are right though. When thinking about it and visualizing a person who sees you often, each time that truth wasn’t spoken a lie was told instead. The sin of omission.

    I didn’t have friends of my own while I was married and now that I’m not I am very choosy with whom I call “friend”.
    Brenda

    • Susanne on June 21, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Brenda, that’s good advice. The next time she calls and wants to get together, I will suggest meeting at a coffee shop.

      Since I separated from my husband, I started seeing who my true friends were. I’ve been my 93 year old mom’s caretaker since Feb. 9 of this year. Since then it has become quite evident who my friends are because I could not leave my mom for the first 3 months and only had 4 hours of respite time. Promises to come and visit me were made but that never happened.. Strange how they had so much free time when I was able to go to see them prior to this happening. Oh, the Lord has been showing me so much and I, like yourself will now be choosy as well. There are true friends and there are acquaintances. I need to guard my heart.

    • Robin on June 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Brenda, I hope I made that list!!

      Robin

  37. Brenda on June 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Robin,
    You are on it, my friend!!
    Brenda

    • Robin on June 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      I am relieved and blessed Brenda!!

      Susanne and Brenda,
      Friendship can be a tough thing. I was attending the church of my dreams as I filed for divorce. When I decided to switch churches, not one person contacted me from my old church to check on me. It broke my heart. So I understand how you ladies feel.
      Robin

  38. Brenda on June 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Robin,
    That is sad. I was away from church for 3 weeks in a row in May for various reasons. One person said that she hadn’t seen me in a while when I went back, but no one called or anything to see if I was ok. If I decide to leave this church, it will be for a smaller one.
    Brenda

    • Robin on June 21, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      The only sense of it I could make is I was viewed as abandoning my husband who was still attending and perhaps appeared ‘righteous’. I was very visible in the church, played piano served in women’s ministries – so I was surprised when no one ever called. Again j learned to depend on the Lord and He did give me a beautiful new church experience!!

  39. Brenda on June 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Robin,
    That happens all too often. The abusing spouse stays at the old church and is coddled, while the abused finds the need to move on. Shunning is alive and while in today’s church.
    Brenda

    • Susanne on June 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Brenda & Robin – I left a really big church when I separated from my husband. I was also in ministry and leadership, but they had already stripped me of my duties. I am now in a church of about 150 people and I’m not sure that it’s much different. I couldn’t attend church for about 3 months and although they knew my circumstances, it took a very long time before anyone called or visited and I only had 2 visits since February. Now I find myself praying about leaving this church (for other reasons that I’ve already mentioned).

      I just started reading the book A Cry for Justice. I couldn’t wait for it to come via snail mail, so I purchased it Kindle edition. I just took a little break from it but will be going back to read more tonight. So far, it is amazing. Thank you for recommending it.

      • Robin on June 21, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        I can’t tell you enough how much I love it!! My counselor is reading it and she is very impressed with his new ways of handling Scripture, accurately but in the interest of abuse victims!!

        • Susanne on July 29, 2015 at 1:45 pm

          Robin and Brenda: , I posted this on another blog and should have posted it here. Anyway, here goes: I sent an e-mail to my church elders, along with a copy of Leslie’s Scripture Supports for Separation from a Destructive Spouse. During my separation I was nominated for deacon and again this past year I was nominated, but the church leadership decided that because of what I was going through, they wouldn’t even call me for an interview. My question to the elders is simply to ask what the church’s position is regarding abuse, separation, divorce and allowing someone to be in a leadership position. The response I got back was that they would love to meet with me and talk about my concerns next week, but before they do, they want to ponder it and pray about it. Is it just me or do you think the answer should be simple, straight forward, right from the rules and regulations of the church or policy and practices, whatever they go by? I know we should pray about everything, but I’m not asking for an opinion in this case, nor do I want it sugar coated. I’m having a little trouble knowing how to reply without sounding like I’m demanding an answer. I do know that these particular elders had both been previously divorced before they got married to each other. I have to wonder if I need to get married again before I can serve in my church! Not doing that, just saying 🙂

    • Robin on June 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Yes I hear you Brenda!’ I was told by an acquaintance that he isn’t fooling anybody but they are still going to consider me wayward most likely. That’s exactly why I might live here but most my life is spent down the road in other communities!!!

  40. Brenda on June 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Suzanne,
    I’m glad you are reading ACFJ. I think a church is much like a courtship. Either we date and find that a marriage can be in the future or those first dates say we need to try something else. I did hear someone say a while ago that he had been in the church that he had been in for 5 years before he finally began to feel comfortable and accepted.

    A visiting minister last year talked about when he first became pastor of his church where he spent 30 years. He said when he arrived the church had luncheons once a month after the morning service. The reason for this was to get to know any new people who had been attending and make them welcome. He noticed rather quickly that people went and sat with their friends and family while the new people sat at a table alone not being met by anyone. He stopped those luncheons immediately.

    • Susanne on June 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Dear sisters in the Lord: I’m in a place of contemplation. I don’t know who my friends are anymore and I didn’t even attend church yesterday, but stayed home and watched TV preachers. It’s really unusual for me not to WANT to go to church service. I couldn’t go for a few months due to being a caretaker 24/7 and now that I can go, I’m hesitating. I really need to pray about where the Lord wants me to be. I would appreciate your prayers at this time. I’ve never been in this place before and it’s a lonely one indeed.

      • Robin on June 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        Susanne I’m praying for you as well. These kind of times have served me well in and for my life. Once things got complicated and I couldn’t continue to just do as I always did- and I quit church totally for 8 months. Others judged me as rebelling. But it was one of the sweetest times with the Lord and me. Didn’t have all the Sunday morning distractions, and it gave me a time and place to be still and listen for Him to minister to my hurting heart!!!

        • Susanne on June 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm

          Thank you Robin. Hearing that helps me.

  41. Brenda on June 22, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Suzanne,
    Praying for you Sister. I have that happen to me once in a while. Sometimes I listen to a sermon online. I’m not into a lot of tv evangelizing, but whatever works for you. The important part is to listen to God and not to man. He is our best friend. He will guide our steps and make the path straight. I know I have said that I don’t have a lot of human friends and sometimes he wants to be alone with us. He will give us what we need!!
    Praying with you, Brenda

    • Susanne on June 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you Brenda. You and Robin always know how to comfort others, even when you are going through your own rough times.

  42. Brenda on July 29, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Suzanne,
    This type of situation heats my blood up!! So many churches shoot from the hip instead of having protocol that would be beneficial along the way. I believe in prayer, but this sounds like buying time. If you have to be married again before being in a leadership position, that pushes out a person who was never married. The church that I intend doesn’t allow women as elders, deacons, pastors. Women’s ministry is allowed for other women, but that’s it. The questions that you have should be easily answered and in written format. There should be no delay IMO.
    I will pray for you and with you Suzanne. I know how much you want to serve and the invisible lines get pretty blurry along the way.
    Brenda

    • Susanne on July 29, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Brenda, Our church allows women in these positions. We have female deacons (one that I know of who has never been married). It’s certainly not my heart’s desire to be a deacon or elder. I simply want to know their take on separation and divorce so I know where I stand….simple as that. I will write back tonight and ask for just that. Thank you for your input and prayers. Love and blessings, Susanne.

  43. John on November 20, 2015 at 10:15 am

    As a male, my divorce although amicably ended, has cost me a few friendships. 2 close friends of mine in particular that I have known for 20+ years. Their wives were chummy with my ex wife and once we divorced, for no reason whatsoever those friends stopped calling, texting and or inviting me to parties / get-togethers. I found out through the grapevine that my ex wife was basically telling the wives of those two particular friends that I had cheated on her which was completely false. I was very hurt, angry and confused as to why this happened. I spoke to several consellors and they basically told me that it is expected. Every war has casualties, every victory has its price. I have paid out of pocket and have taken a lie detector test via my lawyer which has proven me right and no decepetion. Divorces are brutal, but when it comes to friends, I would rather have two quarters in my pocket instead of fifty pennies.

  44. Sherri on March 9, 2022 at 7:20 am

    This was such a good article. Exactly what I needed to hear and things I need to put into practice for healing.

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