Morning friends,

As we turn the page on 2015 and enter into 2016, I want this to be a year you trust God more. I want you to trust him to be big enough, good enough and loving enough that if you, in all your frail humanness, make a mistake or get something wrong in your efforts to do it right, you do not have to live in fear of his disappointment or wrath.

I have a little book in my office called Children’s Letters to God. It’s a collection of letters children have written to God giving us a snapshot into their view of who he is. For example one little boy wrote, “Dear God, it rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about you that people are not supposed to say, but I hope you will not hurt him anyway. Your friend, but I’m not going to tell you who I am.” Another wrote, “Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. Nan” And, one more said, “Dear God, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool. Eugene”

Even as children we begin to form our view of who God is. Is he a God who loves and forgives or is he a God who keeps score and waits for us to mess up?

There was so much discussion regarding my blog two weeks ago called “If I Leave I’m Afraid I will Dishonor God,” I thought I’d add a few more thoughts to this whole idea of being afraid of disappointing or dishonoring God.

 

First, the Bible reminds us that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we are secure in God’s love we don’t live in fear or dread disappointing him. If we are born again, our heart changes and we want to please him in all we do. But the reality of that is we walk that process out by faith not by sight. That journey alone honors God, but truth is, we’re not always sure that when we make some tough choices (for example, to stay in a destructive marriage/ to leave a destructive marriage) if we’re really honoring God by those choices.

Here’s a similar illustration. If a child picked all her mother’s beautiful flowers in order to present a lavish bouquet to her mom, might not the mother be disappointed that her eager youngster stripped her garden bare? Perhaps. But a good mother knows the heart of her child. She knows her child’s actions were acts of love. She knows her child’s actions were meant to please her not dishonor or disappoint her.

In the same way, there may be things we get wrong in our desire to please God. We are children and as a result we are still immature, blind, and sometimes deceived.

God tells us that we won’t always see the big picture or spiritual reality clearly. But when we walk in faith and love, we do not live in fear of God’s wrath or his disappointment with us. (tweet that) Romans 8:1 assures us, “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Some responders questioned whether walking in faith might mean staying in an abusive marriage and enduring mistreatment in order to honor God by keeping one’s vow's. But let’s look at this idea more closely. When you made your marriage vow's is that what you promised?

Did you promise to allow yourself to be raped, mistreated, abused, lied to, cheated on, ignored or maligned no matter what? Are those the terms of the covenant of marriage that God intended? And is God a God who loves men more than women, or a husband’s right or needs or desires more than a woman’s safety? (Watch this video for an example of how ridiculous that sounds)

I don’t believe that’s what the Bible teaches.

In your vow's you promised to be faithful and to love your spouse in all its various forms. Can you do that and still say no to abuse and mistreatment? I think you can. It’s true we see numerous examples throughout the Bible numerous examples of brave individuals suffering faithfully at the hands of wicked people. The most potent example is of Christ with his tormentors before he was crucified. Yet, Christ didn’t always submit himself to abuse or allow others to mistreat him.

In certain situations it might honor God to patiently endure suffering but in most other instances it honors God more to flee. Several times the Bible mentions that Jesus left a situation where he was going to be harmed (John 8:59; John 10:39; Matthew 12:14,15). The Bible also tells us Jesus didn’t trust certain individuals because he knew what was going in their heart (John 2:24,25). There is only one time where Christ submitted himself to mistreatment and that was when he knew he was called to the cross. All other times, he fled the situation. Yet in each instance, he honored and glorified God.

The Bible tells us that abuse of any kind is an expression of hatred, selfishness, envy and pride; the very things God hates (Proverbs 6). These sins always destroy people and relationships, which we know God values and loves. Let’s be sure to look at the whole counsel of God and the context of each martyr’s story before deciding in our particular situation which actions might honor God most.

The closest instructions we get to this topic in the context of on-going relationship dynamics are in 1 Peter 3 where he talks about suffering in the relationship of slaves and masters and husbands and wives. I’ve already written a blog about this and you can read it here.

Recently I’ve been reading a commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther. He writes, “Men fast, pray, watch, suffer. They intend to appease the wrath of God and to deserve God’s grace by their exertions. But there is no glory in it for God, because by their exertions these workers pronounce God an unmerciful slaves driver, an unfaithful and angry judge. “

He goes on and says that there are two things that define Christian righteousness. “Faith in Christ, which is a gift of God, and God’s acceptance of this imperfect faith of ours for perfect righteousness. Because of my faith in Christ, God overlooks my distrust, the unwillingness of my spirit and my many other sins. Because the shadow of Christ’s wings cover me, I have no fear that God will not cover all my sins and take my imperfections for perfect righteousness.”

What that says to me is that you and I don’t have to be afraid of disappointing God. Will we disappoint God? Of course we will. We are incapable of pleasing God in every single thing we do, that’s why we need Christ. But we don’t have to be afraid of disappointing him because God sees us as he sees Christ. Not because we deserve it, or haven’t disappointed him, but because Christ stands in our place and we receive his righteousness.

That friend is the best news we could hear. Go forward in 2016 walking in faith and not in fear. That glorifies and honors God the most.

Friend, what helped you to finally rest in the security of God’s love instead of fretting that you were disappointing him?

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124 Comments

  1. Healing on December 30, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Learning that I will disappoint God and that I’m still going to be OK has been one of the hardest but most freeing things in my own healing journey. Thank you for these words, your continual encouragement, and your biblically wise teaching Leslie. Your book helped me to finally make sense of what was going on in our marriage. After over two years of working on my CORE strength, personal healing and learning to set boundaries, I’ve come to the point where it is very likely I’ll be moving out soon and getting a job. I’m scared, but I know I must.

    We are in our second separation and he continues to balk and dance around getting help. Our last one ended after 3 months when he came home regardless of what I said. I asked him to not come home yet until we were getting help and some things began to change. He wanted to just show me he loved me and was charming. I waited, hoping someone would help intervene and make my husband realize how seriously we needed help. Others can only help to a point. Ultimately, the hardest decisions have to be made by me.

    We finally started Christian counseling until a few months ago when things blew up again and he decided it was actually damaging our relationship. I now know better what I need, and what I will and won’t do in our relationship. I’m learning how to love him and set healthy boundaries. I’m learning to say no when necessary and how to be firm without bitterness.

    I still believe God desires to redeem our marriage and it’s my hearts desire, but I also know that only God can win the battle for my husband’s heart. Until then, I am committed to doing what I need to do for my own sanity and because I love my husband better now than I did before. My love now is out of caring for his own well-being and not out of my own neediness.

    Your book, videos, and newsletters have been a tremendous blessing in my life Leslie. THANK YOU!

    • Leslie Vernick on December 30, 2015 at 9:20 am

      You are so welcome. It’s encouraging to me to hear how God is working through you and I love your line “My live now is out of caring for his own well-being and not out of my own neediness” That is huge.

    • hopeful on December 30, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      I love your last paragraph. I am finding out that my love for my husband is completely different when it doesn’t come from a place of my neediness and codependency. That’s not love at all.

      I am having a string of days in a row where I know without a doubt that only God can win the battle of my husbands heart. I have some REALLY cool days when I feel strongly and confidentially declare that if my husband leaves, that will be his loss.

      • Jane on December 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm

        Once again, I am the odd duck out, as I have always rested in God’s love. My faith is strong. I am just wondering if a certain personality type is typical for staying in an abusive relationship. I have difficulty identifying with some of the concepts presented on the blog. Do others find they too, don’t fit the discussion?

        • Kaycee on December 31, 2015 at 9:32 pm

          Jane,

          If I read this blog 5 years ago, 3 years ago and maybe even a year ago, I would say that I felt loved by God and that my faith was strong. However, my marriage was a painful part of my life and I would not do anything (divorce/separation) to hurt my kids. Things came to a head and God showed me very clearly that if I didn’t leave, my future and my children’s future was going to have even more pain. I can look back now and see that in His time, deliverance took place. In His time, I began to see how I was deceived but also how God had always been my protector. In His time, he made a way out for me. It is not easy but when you know that God is leading you, you will know what to do. And yes, I think sometimes a forgiving, kind, easy-going personality will put up with more abuse than other kinds. I pray that God will guide you (whatever that may look like) very clearly in 2016.

          • hopeful on January 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm

            I did not rest in the love of God for most of my marriage. It’s been the last 2 years that I have needed God more than ever, because my husband made it clear that he was done..yet he is still here. I don’t know what God wants because I still walk around in a fog 90% of the time. I don’t know what 2016 will bring.



          • Hope2 on January 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm

            Yes. Me too. My faith was very strong. Only in the last year have I been so crushed and confused by the abuse that I’ve felt a disconnect from the love of God. That’s one of the biggest reasons I knew I had to leave. I was being destroyed.



          • Jennifer on January 2, 2016 at 9:55 am

            Kaycee YES! Exactly what I’ve learned this past weeks. As I type this my husband is packing. What a relief I feel that my girls and I will not be destroyed anymore.



  2. Leslie Vernick on December 30, 2015 at 9:22 am

    You can trust him that his love is that big that if you mess up, it’s okay, it doesn’t take away his love or care for you. Look at all the people in the Old Testament that messed up – including Abraham, Jacob, David – and God still blessed them. Yes they had some consequences (not punishment) for messing up but God loved them and blessed them in spite of their human frailty.

    • Mary2 on December 30, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      This is exceedingly good news 🙂

  3. Maria on December 30, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Friend, what helped you to finally rest in the security of God’s love instead of fretting that you were disappointing him?

    For me, this happened after I realized (through counseling) what I was/was not responsible for and what my husband was/was not responsible for- I was responsible for my reactions to his behavior and he was responsible for his behavior. Once I saw that, I started working on pleasing God with my responses. I may fail sometimes, but I know He still loves me and forgives me. When I would take responsibility for my husband’s behavior, I felt that I was always failing because nothing I did had any impact, it was a vicious cycle- the more I did this, the more I felt I was disappointing God and being an awful example to the kids.

  4. Healing on December 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I forgot to answer the question. One of the biggest things that has helped me in learning to be OK with disappointing God is verbally admitting my failures and weaknesses then taking ownership. I had to start this by writing it down and getting honest with God. Then, I was able to start saying it verbally to trusted close friends. Then, I could say it verbally to my spouse regardless of his response. I’m still working on it. I also listened to a lot of messages and teachings on God’s grace and on Galatians, and I sought God’s work in my own painful hurts of the past where I took on shame.

  5. cyclesuz on December 30, 2015 at 10:02 am

    This is such a gift of a post Leslie, thank you. Your Christ centric thoughts and explanations have nudged me to look to Him for reassurance and confidence in His acceptance of me. For the last 1.5 years, i have constantly questioned what I should already know… praise God, I DID LEAVE WELL! It is the enemy that taunts with doubts and paralyzes with perceived fear, but when i go before Him for assurance that i have truly tried to take EVERY step in this journey His way, in His grace, i discover that despite some stumbles along the way, that my conscience is clear. This fills my lungs fully with breath, and my eyes with tears. It’s a freeing confidence to continue to walk forward in faith and healing.

    With the Lord’s leading and with biblical motives and support, i separated from a very damaging and destructive marriage. I am still waiting for a heart change for my husband and praying for restoration, and trying to manage the very difficult logistics of a separation and what lies ahead, BUT with truth-based boundaries. This is where God wants me to be right now. Waiting does not mean that i am doubting. Waiting does not mean that i am not moving forward in my faith walk and personal relationship with Him. I would love to encourage others like me, to know that when you feel judged when people do not understand, distance themselves from you, or are disappointed in you as you try to navigate this journey (staying OR leaving WELL), that God DOES understand, is NOT leaving your side and He is NOT disappointed. His love and grace IS sufficient to receive the gift of His righteousness. May we live in that fully, even on the days when we stumble. Seriously, THANK YOU for this post. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
    🙂

  6. Annette on December 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

    It is difficult to name one thing. It was a process of growth and healing. If I have to name one thing it was recovering my identity as a child of God and holding on to the grace that He has shown me over many years.
    2015 was a very difficult year for me. I moved out of my beautiful house and said goodbye to many things. 5 months later the divorce was finalized.
    I know I did the God honoring thing. This season was the best festive season in many years. My family (3 daughters and spouses, one teenage son AND1 grandson) were able to spend time and a holiday together in peace and harmony. There is still a lot of healing that has to happen, but I have peace and I am rebuilding my relationship with God.
    Leslie, thank you so much for your books. Reading them certainly helped getting the courage to do what needed to be done. To any woman out there standing at the edge of the precipice not knowing if you can draw the line in the sand and start setting boundaries: it is possible! Take on step at a time. God WILL lead you and guide you.

    • jane on December 31, 2015 at 7:55 am

      This is beautiful testimony to read. I believe you captured the essence of the struggle and highlighted the joy to be found. Bl

      When you think about the material loss, what was the hardest thing to loose? My girlfriend left an abusive relationship with a husband who was an ambassador. She had a yacht, three homes and assorted other worldly pleasures of the 1%. As it became likely that she would flee the relationship, her husband had her sign a few more “business” papers. She signed them without reading them because she trusted her husband. She thought she was the problem.

      Sometime later she realized that she had signed away all her rights to their money. She fought the documents in court but they were rock solid. She gets a “roof over her head” for ten years, which is of course something, but their multi-million dollar estate all went to him and his new wife! As a women who hadn’t worked in years she has been waiting tables at a restaurant, too poor for Obamacare and declines food stamps do to pride her debt grows higher and higher as she tries to survive.

      Abuse crosses all socioeconomic boundaries as well as all ages, races and religions. The only answer to all of life’s journeys issues in the word of God! Praise him in 2016. 🙂

  7. Aleea on December 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Re: being afraid of disappointing or dishonoring God.

    “Friend, what helped you to finally rest in the security of God’s love instead of fretting that you were disappointing him?” . . . .I have to admit that I am not totally or finally resting in God’s love. . . .But I have my moments of it helped along by people like you that speak into my life. History is full of serious Christian people who felt their whole lives they were disappointing or dishonoring to God. Listen, if Bible’s meanings were so apparent, we wouldn’t have all this confusion going on. . . . Historically many, many, many Christians thought we get what we deserve in life. That if we just tried hard enough, God would bless us.

    This book helped me realize it was not just me: God Is Disappointed in You –August 29, 2013 by Mark Russell, Shannon Wheeler. . . . yes, it often feels that way. That book is so honest it will have you laughing so hard. God and I still have a good laugh about it sometimes. “God is Disappointed…” is not an exegesis of the Bible, just a book on the Bible’s texts and why ordinary people would think what they do think about those texts. After all, what is the first rule of Bible interpretation? If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.

    Anyways, I was listening to Kim Fredrickson’s Compassion CD about a week ago and she was saying on there that “God desperately loves us.” That shocked me. I thought, “God desperately, I mean, d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e-l-y loves me! —Wow, that is really wonderful!!!” Now, how do I believe it? I can’t just start believing that I am, say, Joan-of-Arc. . . . So, here is the way I look at it: . . . . God cannot be disappointed in me because I have no way of surprising Him. He is not temperamental and touchy that would make Him human like me. He is never surprised by my actions. Instead of disgust, He reaches out to pick me back up so I can start over and over and over, He is patient and kind. He never seeks revenge when He is betrayed (—Well, on the revenge, I hope He doesn’t, I don’t *know* completely on that one. Re: Book of Revelation) Anyway, He already saw all of it coming long ago at the cross, but died anyway. I do know that God promises us that He draws near to us when we draw near to Him. —Finally, I *delight* in the fact that He knows my heart, because that means I know that He knows I want a deeper relationship with Him.

  8. Leslie Vernick on December 30, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Amen. Thanks Aleea, well said.

    • Aleea on December 30, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Leslie,
      . . . and thank you and your associates for making all this happen: blogs, books, resources, etc. . . . . I love when we work on our relationship with God. . . .somehow . . . . Somehow, I just feel if we all had that aligned properly (God-centered not other-centered) so many of our others issues would be put right too. . . . but it is a serious challenge. I noted in my journal this summer while reading “How to Find Selfless Joy in a Me-First World” . . . . From my journal: “This Christ-focused living is really hard. We can’t boast because that is wrong. We can’t self-loath that is wrong too. It is either vainglory or wounded pride. . . . .It is really tricky to stay focused on Christ.” . . . . . —And it is like we never get above this stuff. Look at your kickball illustration from “How to Find. . . .” How can you even remember these details? “. . . . I don’t want Leslie,” snipped Rhonda. “You take her.” “I don’t want her either. She can’t kick, but I’ll take her if you give me Kathy and take Betty. . . . . . Even retelling the story makes me recall the horrible shame I felt as a child. Shame! This feeling deep within our being makes us want to hide, disappear, and sometimes even die.” . . . . . —WOW, if that still affects you at that level even in 2003/2011, I don’t know, it looks like we may never get clear of all the shame, blame, shoulding, etc. . . . . And I am confessing it every day as sin: —excessive self-consciousness, shame, pride, self-hatred, vainglory —et. al. . . . .Anyways, I also like the model prayers in your books, very helpful. Re: “. . . . Dear God, I never saw some of my feelings as a problem with pride until now. I thought that I didn’t think enough of myself but. . . . “

  9. MomofThree on December 30, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you Leslie for your post!

    What’s helped me to finally rest in the security of God’s love instead of fretting that I was disappointing him is… REMINDING myself each time I’ve been convicted of my sin AFTER I’ve REPENTED that just as in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses just as we forgive those who trespass against us” that I need to forgive myself also. I can be so hard on my own self, my own worst enemy at times, we all fall short of the glory of God and it’s a constant reminder for me to release my shame or guilt. God knows my heart, he knows my desire to please him, he knows my struggles and for me, I have to keep a watchful eye on myself, my words, my thoughts because I can be so judgmental on myself and others and that’s not what God calls me to do, but to walk in his word, not take his judgment seat. This is something I’ve been working on for a few months.

    My husband is for the first time walking humbly before the Lord and truly seeking Him. I’ve cried tears of joy to see God’s work in our relationship, how only God can work in each heart on His timing and not our own

  10. Amy on December 30, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Leslie, thank you for this post. It gives me a lot of peace.

  11. Mary2 on December 31, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Aleea – the comfort I find in not being able to boast, (of course in ourselves we cannot) but according to St. Paul, we can – “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” – I reckon if there was more of the right type of “humble boasting” the gospel would become more attractive – instead of us sometimes giving the idea that all it really consists of is walking around thinking how awful we are – Paul did that as well (“the worst of sinners” – so that slot is actually already taken, lol). I feel like humble boasting of what God has been able to teach me in the darkness – I am so grateful for it, thank you Lord 🙂

    • Aleea on December 31, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Mary2,
      Re: prideful boasting vs. humble boasting making the gospel more attractive. . . .Definitely, I agree with you!!!
      . . . . Oh, by the way, on our discussion on time you said: “Time is a human construct whereas God is eternal with no beginning and no end, something our finite minds cannot fathom. Time is to do with chronology – but there is another word – kairos in the Greek which has a different meaning which at the moment escapes me – so time-pressed as I am at the moment.” . . . . So, having lots of time rotting in airline seats, I looked up ever ocurrence in the N.T. of kairos and for good measure I threw in chronos. In the N.T., what is happening when referring to kairos depends. . . —blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah [—Oh, do you know my counselor even says that to me: “blah, blah, blah, blah” about some of things I say] —ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .And she took and loves the Greek. . . —ha, ha, ha . . . . —Okay, so bottom line: If in Him we live, and we move and we have our being [inside/ outside time] . . . . Maybe, think about this: Everything has to have a cause, —right? But God is this uncaused, cause. To me, that is a total red line overload for us humans. Like a square circle. It is like asking at what temperature does the number 7 melt? What does the color blue smell like? I think, as a human, there is no way to even think about it, we just enjoy the Lord!!! The uncaused cause is a game we are playing with language but it is a totally incoherent notion. Maybe, there is nothing to know because it is not even a valid question? It is an unintelligible question. Anyway, to me, that is so clear from the study of those inside/outside of time words in the N.T. . . . .I say we taste and see that the Lord is good and then we just enjoy Him, otherwise we lose our minds. . . . because, at least for me, I honestly can’t understand Him. In fact, there is no end to the things I don’t understand. The maker of the stars would rather die for me than live without me??? I can’t understand that, all I can do is believe it.

  12. Charlotte on December 31, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Thank you, Leslie, for this wonderfully comforting post and very important reminder about fear of disappointing God. Unfortunately, I grew up in a very dysfunctional home with very little love. I was taught that God was a God of punishment and to be feared; not a God who loved and certainly not one who loved me. It has taken much of my life to “unlearn” these ideas which were imprinted in my early years and to overcome a lot of shame. I was set up to be in a dysfunctional and abusive marriage. It’s hard to even know what love is for someone brought up as I was and causes an unhealthy desire to please and not disappoint in order to be loved. But thankfully after many years of praying and seeking, I have found His love for me which is the most precious thing in my life. Thank you for the reminder of not being afraid to disappoint God and as you so eloquently say, “Not because we deserve it, or haven’t disappointed him, but because Christ stands in our place and we receive his righteousness.”

    All the best to you and others who post here as we start a new year of hope, walking in faith & not fear.

    • Charlotte on December 31, 2015 at 10:19 am

      I also meant to say that my upbringing and misguided and unhealthy beliefs has been a large factor in staying in an abusive situation for so long. It takes such a long time to realize that “something” is wrong when you don’t know what a healthy relationship is and even longer to figure out what that “something wrong” is. A lot of sadness for so many lost years but I try to focus on where I am now rather than where I’ve been. And praise God for bringing me to where I am now.

      • Mary2 on December 31, 2015 at 7:20 pm

        Just about all of this resonates with my own walk Charlotte, it is such a comfort to hear it from someone else too – thank you 🙂

  13. Sal24 on December 31, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I married in the church and remembering at that time learning about marriage and what that really means to God. Catholic priests are not to marry. Instead they marry the church and thier relationship with Christ is their model of serving the Lord. They take vows and devote thier lives to God. When I got married I felt I was doing the same thing. What better way to honor the Lord and serve God? My marriage was to be a model of a loving relationship to christ, that I would serve him through my marriage, through my vows. He commanded that instead of celibacy, I was to be fruitful and multiply. So I did. But the failure came when I failed to model to my children how to honor God in marriage. In therapy I told my therapist that I pray my children never marry and fail God like I did.

    I used to think by taking a vow ” in sickness and in health ” meant I would stay in sickness and in health. I truly believe my husband is sick (mentally ill) but I have learned from Leslie that by ignoring this and enabling him is not loving him in his sickness. It makes him worse so It is very freeing to look at my marital vows with Gods eyes and understanding that it is my love for God that will honor Him in the end.

  14. Amy on December 31, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Leslie,
    I’m so grateful for your blog and your ministry in helping people have healthy marriages free of destruction and abuse.
    When I was walking through a separation almost 7 years ago, your words were a source of encouragement and comfort to me. And one of your posts spoke about what it means to suffer for Christ.

    So many of us who have lived through or are still living in abusive marriages have wrongly been told that we are called to suffer as Christ suffered, and that kept me feeling trapped in a marriage that was full of abuse and destroying me and my children. But that blog post you wrote was the first time I ever heard the truth about what it means to suffer in the name of Christ. Suffering is not about just staying and taking abuse day in and day out, it is about standing up for what is right (which abuse is NOT) and that is when our suffering will often occur.
    And I know that first hand as does anyone who has ever chosen to leave and say no more to abuse in their life. At that point the abuser will often up their tactics and unfortunately, it is the victim who tends to suffer greatly for taking a stand for what is right. We lose friends, sometimes family members, church family, financial security and even our children. We have our reputations ruined by lies, we lose our homes and feel we have to defend ourselves for leaving.

    I believe God is honored when His child calls evil for what it is and takes a stand against it. I don’t believe we honor God by staying in abusive marriages; we honor God when we put Him first in our lives and try our best.
    And we need to remember it’s often not us, the victim of abuse, who has broken the marriage vows.

    When I started seeing God as my Father it changed my perspective and I realized that just as my children will disappointment me I will but I will never stop loving them, I too will disappointment my Father God but thankfully He continues to love me and never leaves me.

    It’s not until we stop seeing ourselves in the way our abuser has portrayed us and instead see ourselves in God’s light and beauty that I think we finally let go of worrying and being fearful — and that is the day we are set free.

    • Mary2 on December 31, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      What a simply AWESOME post Amy, thank you so much, I am copying it into my journal which helps me live in the truth of it and the events that unfolded for me. 🙂

      • Mary2 on December 31, 2015 at 7:15 pm

        …. And what is it about even Christian people that prompts them to even want to believe the worst and be more content with lies than with the truth that God knows? Appearances, assumptions and hearsay….. what a lot God has to rid his church from – in people who try to give the appearance of perfection.

    • hopeful on December 31, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      I am starting to see myself the way God sees me, not the way my h.sees me and I have had moments of freedom. I have had days where I firmly beleive that if my h.leaves the marriage it will be his loss. My h.accuses me as the abusive one and blames me for the state of our marriage. I have been emotionally trampled on with threats of divorce for a year and a half. I am just coming out of deep despair, shame, blame, remorse. I felt myself go back into it tonight because he is in one of his rejecting moods and not talking to me. I tried to give him a kiss and he is avoiding lip contact. I will simply not allow another year go by with this nonsence. Either commit to our marraige or leave.

      • roxanne on January 1, 2016 at 5:26 am

        Hopeful, what a rough start to your New Year. I really enjoyed Amy’s post too. I think your h. must be getting something out of the relationship or he would have left. Do you have the courage to leave? A separation might be the perfect thing for you to work on your emotional health.

        On a crazy note, I can’t imagine why you would want to kiss someone who acts as he does. I think I would be repelled by him. Are you hoping the physical affection will change his mind? Do you use touch to feel loved? Is it your love language? Maybe that makes the thought of separation more difficult.

        • Hopeful on January 3, 2016 at 8:24 am

          Roxanne. I do not have the courage to leave. For many reasons. Losing my home, tearing up my boys home, financially I couldn’t afford it.

          I am on a journey to heal from my brokenness that contributed to the breakdown of our marriage. Whether my husband stays or not, I am going to heal. At this point, he is very stuck in blaming me. He has not been able to change his outlook. He says the same thing every time our marriage comes up. He is a broken man, yet won’t look at himself. Christmas night he did have a moment of authenticity and admitted that his harsh treatment towards me throughout the years was such a waste of time and he started to cry.
          I am working on my CORE so that I can set boundaries and stick to them. I am not 100% ready to stick to them. I am learning to speak my truth, stick to the facts, and zip my lip when I want to lash out at him.

      • Amy on January 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

        Hopeful,
        I pray for you dear sister that in this new year you find the courage and strength to do what is necessary to take care of you. That may mean filing for a separation to allow yourself some time to start getting healthier so you are better able to think clearly which will make it easier to see your situation clearer and know what to do.

        I disagree with the comment that your husband must be getting something out of the relationship or he would have left…my ex did the exact thing for years. What they are getting out of the situation is more control and manipulation. Someone who loves and cares for another does not treat them as your husband is doing. He will most likely never be the one to file for divorce or leave, he is content with how things are because he is being enabled to keep doing what he’s doing.

        When my ex walked out on me in ’09 it came to light a few months later he only did it to show me I couldn’t live without him and try to convince everyone that I had kicked him out — well, his plan backfired because he didn’t think of the fact that with him being gone I was able to gain the strength, courage and clarity of mind to see how truly abusive and destructive my marriage was and had been. I stood up and said no more, and then at that point he started making a point to me and everyone else how he did not want a divorce it was just me not willing to reconcile, etc etc.

        Please hopeful, seek help in a qualified Christian counselor who has experience with abuse and take the steps to free yourself from this crazy-making cycle you are living in. I lived it too for 20 years of my life and destroys who you are as a person. That is not love, that is not commitment — that is your husband breaking the marriage vows to love, protect and provide for you.

        I have a good friend who joined Leslie’s core group and it has helped her tremendously.

        Praying for you…

        • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 5:36 pm

          Amy, I agree that what they are getting out of the situation is the satisfaction of more power and control. For some reason the arrangement works for him. I am hopeful that Hopeful can find the strength to separate.

        • Hoepful on January 3, 2016 at 8:33 am

          Amy

          This would be the second failed marriage for my husband. He won’t file because he feels that I caused this. He has said that he will never leave this house because he lived here before we got married.

          I am in counseling now, however she is not Christian. My insurance does not cover Christian counsellors and I do not have 100.00 to pay their fees. I am starting an intense group tomorrow for 20 weeks, lLiving Waters, led by Christian therapists and trained leaders.
          I don’t know why he stays. He may be petrified to leave and petrified to work on our marriage. Several months ago he said that he didn’t want a divorce, but will not emotionally connect with me because I am not a trustworthy person. My husband is full of pride and has isolated himself from any Christian growth, Christian men, accountability partners. He attends a weekly Mass, but that’s it.
          I continue to put one foot in front of the other and pray that God is working behind the scenes.

          • Amy on January 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm

            Hopeful,
            Obviously, I do not know you or your husband, but through my own situation and from what other women tell me, usually an abuser is adamant about not divorcing simply because it’s part of their power and control. They want the victim to feel bad for even thinking of divorce, and if and when the victim decides to file for divorce, or even a legal separation, the abuser will then use that against them as well, telling the victim and everyone else how much he wanted to work on the marriage but she only wants a divorce, or how ungodly the victim is because they refuse to reconcile, etc etc etc.

            Our marriage was my ex-husband’s second marriage as well, and it made it known that he would never, ever divorce and even though our house was one we both had moved into during that marriage he made it known how he would never leave it because it was HIS house.

            Everything you say is so similar to not only my experience, but so many other women who have contacted me through the years.

            Good for continuing to keep moving and for seeking help even if your counselor is not a Christian. Remember though — God is always there so yes, He is always working ‘behind the scenes’ but it is your responsibility to take steps towards leaving an abusive situation, and once you walk in that direction He will walk along side of you directing your steps.

            And don’t get me wrong, I think you going to counseling is great, but if your husband is doing nothing to change his abusive ways or doesn’t even acknowledge his behavior and actions are abusive, no amount of work you do for you is going to change the state of your marriage. Abuse is an individual issue, NOT a marriage issue, meaning your husband is the only one who can make the choice to acknowledge and take responsibility for his behavior. Kind of like an alcoholic — until that person admits they even have a problem nothing will change with them or with their relationships.

            Praying for a mighty work to be done in and through you. Keep focusing on God and know He will never stop loving you know matter what choice you make.

            Blessings!



  15. Autumn on December 31, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Leslie! After a two year separation I recently filed for divorce. It can be a nagging feeling in my head that I am disappointing God because I sought divorce. My goal is to do what is right. I was not thriving in my circumstances and i believe that divorce is the best option at this time.

    I want to encourage others who struggle moving forward to make the decision to divorce. The pain, sorrow, fear and heartache are very real, but now there is real hope in a better future. Because the future is not all tied up in waiting for a spouse to change, but embracing the changes within yourself, clinging to God for a new direction and being set free to live a life that makes a difference!

    • Mary2 on January 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      I am glad for you Autumn that you feel you have made the right decision. However, there are some others including myself who know that God would have them stay, and I’d like to encourage these sisters to trust God totally in providing the way promised as in “He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond your ability without providing a way through” – (not necessarily, ‘out’). I was never physically abused but there has been much control……. the way out for me has been to keep my heart as close to God as I know how and allow Him to heal the brokenness there – in being open to doing that (once I found the correct resource 15 years ago) – I began to see things with different eyes…. and my h. has dropped his moodiness, sullenness, non-communication etc. and makes great efforts at genuine affection which my heart can tell is the real thing and not just for what he can get. God knows the rest of what still needs to be done, but it is possible 🙂 I had given up to the extent of suicide, but God had other ideas….Divorce could never have been an option for me but I will not judge those for whom it is.

      • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        I do t believe Mary2 that divorce is an option for any of us. We go into marriage believing faithfulness will be upheld, and our vows will be kept. Divorce only becomes an option when those vows are broken, and we must take steps to protect ourselves and our children. Divorce would never be a first option. We desire for our relationships to be worked thru and healed. But for many of us- that is not a true reality and divorce is a necessary ending to our lives. And yes, God is pleased that sin is halted and we no longer participate with it.

        • Mary2 on January 2, 2016 at 6:10 pm

          Of course Robin, no couple walks down the aisle in the belief that divorce would be the outcome. Choices can only be as good as options, and sometimes this option has to be chosen, agreed. Is God displeased with me because there is still sin in my marriage relationship I wonder? Jesus came to heal and to restore, and I’ve come to trust and believe that this will be done His way and in His timing. Not just my own heart, which still possesses pockets of sin, but in my husband’s also, likewise.
          If I left I would have had to battle more in the way of sin. I choose to trust the mighty Deliverer and what I’ve experienced of His faithfulness in my situation. And now, I really must sign off and go on sabbatical with my work-in-progress husband 🙂

  16. KJworried on December 31, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I need help I should have realized what was going on when my husband would not get married in a church

    • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      What kind of help have you tried? Are you in one of Leslie’s groups? I would suggest that you begin to get information and grow stronger. Be informed and read everything you can to help you make good decisions. Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why does he do that?”

  17. Mary2 on December 31, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    If we could understand God He might lose a lot of credibility!……. As you rightly say, all we can do is accept His invitation to believe, and that becomes our righteousness.:)

    • Aleea on January 1, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Mary2,
      “If we could understand God He might lose a lot of credibility!” . . . . .Brilliant, I agree!!! . . . . But, I’m at the end of myself and have let go of what I think I know, so I ought to be discovering LOTS of things about the Lord God at this point. I’m praying and letting God do most, but not all, of the worrying. . . . . —Suffering becomes more bearable if it at least it counts for something like helping me become a better person and trusting God.

  18. Leonie on January 1, 2016 at 7:04 am

    “It’s not until we stop seeing ourselves in the way our abuser has portrayed us and instead see ourselves in God’s light and beauty that I think we finally let go of worrying and being fearful — and that is the day we are set free.”
    Thank you Amy, I think those words help all of us! We truly do want to see our selves truthfully as God sees us and he is truth! This is an exciting way to begin 2016!
    I am so glad that I am no longer living with my enemy! The inside of me told me constantly that I was in the wrong place while I was still with him. It was the right thing for me to separate from my ex.
    Jesus is the lover of my soul, when God looks at me he sees the righteousness of Christ!
    I am wearing the garment he gave me that is white as snow! Thank you Leslie for this post, we can celebrate the truth that you bring us each week!

    • hopeful on January 1, 2016 at 8:49 am

      I love the idea that we can choose to see ourselves the way God sees us, or choose to see ourselves the way our husband’s see us.

      As my husband from, a distance and no physical touch, wishes me a good 2016 and to have a good morning l can feel myself falling into a pit of rage and disappointment. I am starting the first day of 2016 seeing my value in the way he is treating me. ( last night we were sexual ).

      Lord..help me and help all of us start our day over as many times as it takes and seek you out for love and well being, not our husbands.

      • Maria on January 1, 2016 at 11:21 am

        Hopeful,
        I can relate to your feelings – I used to feel so angry, disappointed, confused, hurt etc.etc. when he would ill treat me the next morning after we had been intimate the night before. What added to my confusion, was our pastor’s sermons telling us how a spouse is sinning by withholding sex from the other spouse. Some women’s Bible studies that I attended taught this too. What made things worse, was after I had been intimate with him and he was mean, my responses were not God-honoring. Then, I would come down on myself for that. Adding to my negative feelings, was the awful feeling of being used. It was a bad cycle. I went against my pastor’s sermons etc. and stopped being intimate with my husband. I then started focusing on pleasing God in whatever I did. When I fail, I extend grace to myself, just as Christ would. My objective was growth, not perfection. Looking back, I can see growth. I came to the conclusion later that sermons, books, seminars etc. geared towards healthy marriages do not apply to abuse situations. I really wish pastors, authors etc. would start such sermons with this. I don’t know your full story, but in my opinion as long as you are intimate with him, and he continues to mistreat you (even after you have expressed how his behavior hurts you), you will be angry and react poorly. That’s just a natural consequence in life. Expecting a different outcome is insanity. May I ask you why you are choosing to be intimate with him when he is ill treating you?
        On a practical note, it may be helpful for you to write down the lies that you believe by your husband’s treatment of you and counter that with some truths from the Bible. Every time that lie comes to your mind, recite or read the passage that speaks against it.

        • Lonelywife07 on January 3, 2016 at 3:35 am

          Yes Maria, what you’ve written is so true. I haven’t been intimate with my H for 1 1/2 yrs…and it was such a HUGE relief when I finally said “I can’t do this anymore!”
          I’d told my H for 2 yrs that I was not interested in sex, that I felt used by him, that I wanted an intimate connection with him, not just “sex” ….and he always said the same thing, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
          But nothing ever changed. It was only after I read Leslie’s book and she had an example in there of a wife asking her husband if he’d rather have just sex, or a loving, sexy wife….and the husband replied that if he can’t have the one, he’d take the other, well, that really spoke to me…because it was selfish, and I saw that my husband was also being extremely selfish.
          He has a history of infidelity, and nothing has ever changed with my husband.
          He hurt me, broke my heart, and today is 5 yrs ago that I found out about his emotional affair…and he’s not changed one, single bit….he’s not worked on himself at all, he’s still the same person, except now he’s “trying to be nicer.”
          What kind of man has to TRY to be nice to his wife…and he’s a grump even more than ever…even my youngest son, who is autistic, says “Dad, why are you always in a bad mood?”
          I know what the problem is, he is living a fake “Christian” life, and there is no joy of The Lord in his heart and life.

          My marriage was emotionally abusive, right after I found out about the emotional affair, now it is a disappointing marriage….so I’m staying for now.
          I’m still not sure what God wants me to do so I wait and I pray.
          I went to counseling 6 months ago, because I was confused about some things that had been happening in my life…and my counselor helped me to see that God was showing me that He was there for me, because my husband is not.
          I was comforted by that…God was revealing to me that in spite of my disappointing marriage, God sees what I’m going through….and He cares for me.
          And that gives me peace.

    • Amy on January 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Leonie,
      It is certainly not easy to see ourselves through God’s eyes while still living in abuse — that is much easier said than done. I believe that’s why it’s imperative for someone to separate from their abuser for a period of time to be able to gain clarity of mind and allow God to open their eyes to their worth.

      After my ex walked out I started reading through the Psalms and I gained the strength and courage as I realized how important and worthy I was to God — everything that my ex told me I wasn’t.

      I’m glad that 2016 will be a year of freedom for you and hopefully for many others too.
      I’m not sure where this year is leading me, but after 7 years out of an abusive marriage I’m excited to say, I feel that healing has taken place and God has greatly blessed me.

      Blessings!

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 3:30 am

      Leonie- if I may…….
      ‘When God see’s me He see’s the Righteousness of Christ. I would take it one step further and say He not only see’s it – He says I AM THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, in Christ. For me that means I cannot any longer pay attention to what my destructive relationship says about me. I am Righteous. I am the daughter of the King. I walk in Light and Purity. Ivtake off that cloak I was wearing because I allowed my abuser to cause me to believe his words about me – and I put on the new cloak of all God says I am, thru His Righteousness.

      • Leonie on January 2, 2016 at 9:13 am

        So amazing, thank you Robin!

        • Mary2 on January 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

          Yes, I am copying this one into my journal… thank you Robin.

          Just to say we are “on sabbatical” for 3 months and will re-subscribe to this AWESOME site in April 🙂 Many thankyous to all the dear sisters here from whom I have learned so much!

  19. Leonie on January 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Hopeful, I find too that when I get my head into
    God’s word and pray that God will help me to see and speak truth and make sure I look to Him, and pray. The fear and oppression lifts. Our battle is more spiritual than we realize so the more you can distance yourself from an oppressive person who wants to keep you in fear, the more free you become. Praying scripture helps me a lot. Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer – deliver us from evil … any passages that you have memorized that remind us of Gods love and care, help and promises for us really lifts the darkness and fear! I love Psalm 91 and 27 and 34 as well!
    God is for you, he will hold your hand and lead you through! Fix your eyes on the Lord!

  20. Kristen Lain on January 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I really hope I make it through this year alive

    • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Kristen, Can you tell us a little more what you mean? It is time to tell someone what you are going through. Who can you trust? Do you live in a city with a domestic violence shelter? Please tell another person what you life has been like. You are not alone in this situation and there is hope.

    • Lonelywife07 on January 3, 2016 at 3:38 am

      Praying for you Kristen….please reach out to someone you can trust…don’t let your abuser do this to you!

  21. Kickjl on January 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    In this short day my husband has proved some of my thoughts things will never change

    • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      I believe you. What would you like to do about the fact that things will never change. You can change you. What will you do differently this week? He is 100% responsible for his thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes, you are NOT responsible for his behavior. Don’t let him try to talk you into being the solution or take the blame for of his problems. Your life has extreme value to Christ. How can you honor your life today?

    • Lonelywife07 on January 3, 2016 at 3:43 am

      If your husband is abusive, you are right in saying things will never change…abusers rarely change, that’s a fact.
      So YOU do the changing kickjl….educate yourself, read books that will help you to see that YOU are not the problem…and grow your relationship with God!

  22. Mary2 on January 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    For pastors to start sermons in that way, they would have first to acknowledge that abusive marriages exist – and because pastors address Christians primarily in their sermons, there’s this fogging misbelief that marriage for a Christian cannot be abusive.
    And sometimes there is no choice in whether or not to be intimate with the h. We do it for many reasons, one of which may be we have lost the ability to say No because of the very real consequences – which we know from experience would be the outcome, – and do not trust our ability to stand firm on our “choice” in ways that would be constructive for our sense of well-being.

  23. Mary2 on January 1, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I have to rely on that last sentence a lot Aleea. Richard Rohr says that transformation into the real self doesn’t take place without it – as human nature will play to its strengths as long as possible. Being at the end of oneself is actually the best place to start, therefore! 🙂

  24. Leonie on January 1, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    A prodigal daughter on ‘a cry for justice’ website wrote:
    “If there was insanity in my life, it was the level of personal sacrifice and self-abnegation I lived in, in order to serve my husband and “win him” for Christ. The admonition to have a “meek and quiet spirit” to win husbands does not apply to abusers. You cannot win batterers to Christ by following their orders that give them support while they destroy the temple that the Holy Spirit lives in. We are first and foremost daughters of the King, this is something to get firmly settled as our identity.
    Humility doesn’t demand we give up our identity as one deeply loved by God and become fodder for some male to wipe his feet on in the name of being a “good wife.”

    The post was called “A totalled woman gets restored.” It really spoke truth to me, I was not in a real marriage, but I was being used and exploited – of course my ex didn’t want to separate, everything was set up to serve him and for him to have the best of everything at the expense of everyone else in the house.

    • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      Ahhhhh, yes Leonie. The ENTITLED man: lover of no other but is emotionally wounded self. His thinking patterns rarely ever change and certainly will never change is he has no interest in changing.

      • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 5:56 pm

        his emotionally wounded self

  25. Tiffany on January 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Shunned and rejected at a church .Gods Love has spoke to me in his word .Not sure of the verse but somewhere in there it says even when I am not faithful he is .He will never leave me or forsake me .

    • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Do you want to talk about being shunned and rejected by your church? That must have felt terrible.

  26. Maria on January 1, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Mary2 & Leonie, I wonder if pastors realize the damage they cause by giving bad advice. Usually when people reach out to them, it is because they are desperate and need help. Telling someone who is oppressed to be more giving, to sacrifice more etc. instead of dealing with the sin of the oppressor is like joining hands and supporting the abuser.

    • Mary2 on January 1, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      Absolutely! And because of the state I was in I was vulnerable to believing them Maria. I don’t think pastors do realise their damage – it would mean they might have to retrain to do something else. People will believe what they want to, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to stay and take it. Believing things cannot make them true unless the God of the Bible agrees, and they are not His counsellors.

    • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      That is why I think it is great when churches have counseling pastors on staff. I don’t know how well seminaries prepare a pastor for the huge burden of counseling. Some pastors are great preachers, yet aren’t very strong in shepherding. I think it is great to start to talk with your church pastor when you need help but, be sure he has some training in pastoral care. Ask for referrals, a wise leader is humble enough to admit that they are weak in certain areas.

  27. Leonie on January 1, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    It really is. That was my experience in my 1st marriage – the pastor told me to make sure I run to the door and kiss my husband when he came home from work. I couldn’t do it, I felt like vomitting. He was so awful to me, so mean, there was so much crazy making, he had a girlfriend/was having an affair. He kept insisting he needed the girlfriend ‘because of the way I was’??? We had just returned from 2 1/2 years living overseas. He didn’t hide the affair, he ground my nose in it. He was telling the kids ‘mommy is no good.’
    I left that church with my 3 very young kids as it was obvious that the pastors we’re siding with my ex and there was no help there for me. I went to some counselling with him but it was always twisted to make it that I had the problem. (I did, I was married to him.) Yet his sins were so obvious – he was married with 3 small children and a girlfriend. Yet I was blamed ??? He kept wanting to have meetings about me as though I were in kindergarten. Eventually I wanted nothing more to do with those churches, my ex and any more counselling! How blind could they be! I did go to them for help and they got it wrong. He makes a lot of money and gave a large tithe and still does at the same church! We were new in town, we had bought a home and he moved out 15 days after we moved in, I am still there!

  28. Mary2 on January 1, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Yes, I went to my church family also requesting some guidance and was treated like a 5 year old……. Pastors seem to side with the husbands as Eve is more likely to be deceived and they can’t see past that. Eventually God drove us out of their church, but I got blamed for causing all the trouble because people preferred to believe lies rather than the truth. So much easier. Women are easy scapegoats.

    • Aleea on January 2, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Mary2,
      . . . .You may know all this already but all that control comes much later as you see Christianity becoming institutionalized and some men going for a total power grab. You can clearly see this if you do studies of Prisca, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis, Julia and the mother of Rufus and the sister of Nereus, all of whom are high profile women in the early church and it goes on and on with Junia, a woman whom Paul calls “foremost among the apostles.” . . . . Male scribes had vast difficulty with ascribing apostleship to women, and so got to changing the text to circumvent the problems. I put an example of this in my Gravatar —in the pictures section. See the manuscript and the margin note. Notice the one scribe is calling the other a “fool” and admonishing him to stop changing the text to win arguments. . . .
      “αφες τον παλαιον, μη μεταποιει”
      “Fool and scoundrel, can’t you leave the old readings alone and not alter them!”
      —Women are just extraordinary creatures! —Men are just extraordinary creatures! It is very important for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! Women are not more likely to be deceived or more gullible than men. God would not say that because God made us and He knows better. Only a misogynistic scribe who is getting pressure from the power structure above him is capable of something that unhealthy. . . . Nor are men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus instead, we are all just people. —Just broken, hurting, beautiful people. Christ came for women and men who are marginalized, objectified, weak, et.al. Let’s never let pastors or counselors get away with this utter crazy talk. Once you go to the texts and contexts, those “arugments” fall apart. History is so important because history dismantles so much nonsense.

  29. Aleea on January 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Leslie,
    . . . I finally got around to listening to your Focus on the Family interview from the end of October (re: Living for Christ in a Me-First World). I especially appreciated the comments at the end regarding that section from that book: Are you a fan or a friend? . . . .What I especially appreciated was the call to examine ourselves regarding the false conversion aspect of that (re: “. . . depart from Me, I never knew you.”) I hope folks understood/ understand the gravity of what you were saying there and that is something that almost can’t be said enough in the happy, clappy, everyone is a friend of God times we live in. It is really easy to think we are a friend of Christ when we are just his fan or worse. . . . Thank you for caring about the dangers of false conversion. Maybe me too, but it is clear from those contexts that Christ will tell many in that day “. . . depart from me, all of you…. to tell you plainly, I never knew you.” Obviously, all the things we talk about and work on here add up to absolutely nothing if we (If I) have gotten that wrong. I was thinking about it as I was listening: “Do I really, r-e-a-l-l-y love and want Christ or do I just want Eternal Life and Happiness?” Christ wants us to crucify our selfish, me-first identities and die with Him outside the city walls, —nasty, nasty stuff (rejected by the religious, the culture, et. al.) On the Cross, Jesus lost it all. It is beyond our comfort-laden, abundance-filled, self-improvement-addicted culture to understand that, and we (I) am immersed inside that culture —big time.

  30. Maria on January 1, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Aleea, do you have a link to that interview?

  31. Kickjl on January 1, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Ugh why won’t anyone talk to me

    • Aleea on January 2, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Kickjl,
      “. . . In this short day my husband has proved some of my thoughts that things will never change.” . . . .I think it is never the changes that we want that change everything. We have to be the change we want to see even if it means really hard things like showdowns or leaving. Change always walks hand in hand with loss, with serious upheaval.

  32. Jennifer on January 2, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Thank you Leslie this is just what I needed. Last night I told my husband I was done with the marriage. His response was verbally attack me and My 2 teen girls and of course to tell me I’m incapable of loving and not marriage material. Thankfully God was with me and for the first time I was able to let it roll off and know it’s a lie. I’ve stayed because I’ve had Christian friends say work it out, trust God, God doesn’t like divorce. But your blog 2 weeks ago woke me up and this one confirmed my decision. This is my 2nd marriage and my teen girls from my first marriage have been attacked verbally/emotionally so bad that I started to think: in a year when they graduate are they going to leave home and never want to come visit me because of fear of what their step dad will say or do? When they have kids will they not want to bring them over to visit? I now believe God is OK with my decision, my desire is to grow in Christ and staying in this marriage, I am unable to grow (my focus is always on my husbands behavior and my thoughts are not kind thoughts). I see my husband study God’s word or go to Church buto then verbally and emotionally destroy us on a daily basis. I will continue to pray for my husbands heart, but I will do it while my girls and I move on and get well. I’m 45 and I’ve spent 30 years total (yes I was with my ex at age 15) having my self esteem and mind destroyed. NO MORE, it is NOT what God wants for me or my girls.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      YEAH JENNIFER!!!!!! SO PROUD OF YOU FOR MAKING THIS GIGANTIC STEP. I know how hard it was to accept this place. You go girl!!! So much is waiting for you, you haven’t even imagined yet!!!!!!
      ⛄️????⛄️

      • Jennifer on January 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

        Thank you. He packed and left today. Of course he was very easy to talk to and gave me a hug, not making it easier. Sadly, I shut my emotions down so long ago and I’ve become so cold and I think after so long I’ve started acting like him. I hate how I’ve become. But now I can focus on God.

        • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm

          Congratulations Jennifer! What will you do next? You are right that things would get worse after the girls left, often he gets even more abusive because there are no little eyes or ears to hear him. The danger goes up exponential. Change the locks on the doors, please.

          • Jennifer on January 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm

            I’m not sure what I’ll do, I’ve never been on my own (EVER). Sadly, Monday he is having knee replacement surgery and he said he doesn’t want me there. His family is not near either. So he will basically have no one and he thinks he can do it all on his own. I do know that my girls will have a peaceful end of junior year and senior year next year (may be broke but maybe we can find joy). I am a truck driver (local and long distance with weekends off) so I do make decent money but our rent is $1000 plus I have a stupid car payment now. But nows a good time to start trusting God.



          • roxanne on January 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

            Jennifer, you are a strong woman, being a truck driver is no easy job. I have so much confidence in you. The total knee will take lots of rehab and he won’t be discharged from the hospital without a ride. Be careful not to be sucked back in to his drama. He can cancel the surgery. It is an elective procedure. He knows exactly what he is doing. If you or I didn’t have support we would reschedule the procedure until we arranged the other elements of our life that needed attention. The surgery is another example of selfishness. I bet he tells the healthcare team quite a story. Be sure your telephone number is not listed as his contact person after the surgery.



          • Jennifer on January 3, 2016 at 8:20 am

            Thanks Roxanne I love being a truck driver. His knee is surgery is a must have, he’s on disability and there’s nothing left holding his knee together. I sent him a text last night and said I will pray he learns that he can learn to have peace and joy in his life and that he gets help for his anger. It’s just to bad it couldn’t be with us. My girls are already so much more relaxed and even went out together last night with friends. I’m so glad I found this blog to help me see I didn’t have to stay in this. That saying misery likes company was so true, but now I will not be sucked in to being miserable.



  33. Mary2 on January 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I did not know any of this Aleea – and also, I do not know what a Gravatar is, lol! I am beginning to understand my experience and life history better now, amazingly through the circumstances which set me up to fail – instead of fearing God’s wrath over them I realise that this fear comes from projecting ppls’ issues onto God and expecting He will do the same in the name of justice – without any grace/mercy being taken into account. But still, I know that “they” were wrong in assuming what they did and trawling for stuff from me they could dismiss so as to discredit my reputation – all of which I now realise simply doesn’t matter because of God’s vindication, which I worship Him for now, and through all eternity by His wonderful grace and mercy. Indeed, what other people think about me is actually none of my business. I also know that, in being the result of parental errors and their “hand-me-downs” men are like you say, in the same boat as women as regards their frailty, it’s just that the men (generically) seem to have more ego-pride to get healed – but not necessarily in the case of weaker men married to stronger women whose control then gives them the appearance of “witches” – each sex having their pet go-to labels to avoid arriving at the real issues which may not want to be seen. Sorry for rambling at the end here. I love what you say about History – and it’s a privilege in God to be involved in Herstory 🙂

    • Aleea on January 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      Mary2,
      A Gravatar is just that picture of the wildflowers next to my name, just click it and inside you will see the documents/ pictures.

      “I realise that this fear comes from projecting ppls’ issues onto God and expecting He will do the same in the name of justice” . . . . Wow, that is really true. I see that all the time in my counseling with my issues related to God. They are similar issues that I have with my mother. Our parents are our models for God, what a nightmare!

      “. . . all of which I now realise simply doesn’t matter because of God’s vindication, which I worship Him for now, and through all eternity by His wonderful grace and mercy. Indeed, what other people think about me is actually none of my business.” . . . . that is really beautiful!

      “. . . . each sex having their pet go-to labels to avoid arriving at the real issues which may not want to be seen.” . . .I have prayed for years for one good humiliation a day, and then, I try to watch/ realize my reaction to it. I have no other way of spotting my denied shadow self. Why does it seem we would rather be ruined than changed? We would rather die in our dread than climb onto the cross of the present and let our illusions die. . . . . And I think that is because right words make all of us feel falsely important but right action, doing what Christ actually said, that keeps all of us forever beginners.

  34. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Jennifer, After his initial reaction of verbally attacking you and your kids he gives you a hug? The hug is such a lie too. I envy your ability to tell him to leave. My h doesn’t even know I am contemplating a separation. My fear is in his reaction. These blogs have been a wake up call that it really doesn’t need to be this way for me or my kids. I’ve put a call into an attorney to figure out my rights so that’s a first step I guess. Also, I too at times am so surprised at my own behavior that I too feel like I am starting to act like him. Right now I have put up boundaries to protect myself while I try to figure things out. Even with boundaries he is fighting to control and manipulate indicating to me that I have less time then I think. Good for you Jennifer ..I’ll say a prayer for you. Robin and many others here are convincing proof that the greener.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Sal24 I can say – you are right where you need to be. It’s baby steps, one at a time. Contacting the lawyer was huge for me as it made everything so real. Scariest day of my life!!!! But moving forward is the way out. Don’t be afraid of his response, I can promise you it won’t be good. He will likely make promises he hasn’t kept in 30 years just like mine did. Remember whatever happens in lawyers office is not a final step. It’s you standing up for yourself and your children saying – here’s my new boundary. He still gets to make choices. It’s not like you’ve taken choice away. You’ve just found your own voice and you’re about to use it!!!!!

    • Jennifer on January 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Sal24 I actually told him last night I was through. We have been in the same house all week but I slept on the couch and we didn’t speak since Wednesday. So all was texted last night. I feel for him he has been through so much but I’m tired of making excuses for him. Good job calling an attorney, thankfully we can do an easy divorce because the kids are from my first marriage and there’s nothing to fight over. Prayers for everyone here. It’s not easy to find people that believe you when you say there is verbal and emotional abuse and that you can’t just “fix it”.

      • roxanne on January 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        It is not fixable without consequences, if ever. Take the time you need to work on yourself. Give generously to healing, counseling, reading, writing and becoming the woman God designed you to be.

  35. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you Robin. I am going to an attorney under the advice of my therapist. It’s to get my questions answered and to figure out my options. It is a priority that I stay in the home with my son until he can finish highschool and so his life will not be disrupted as much. A separation of a few years may be the new boundary. i just am not sure how to present that boundary to him. Really don’t know how that will look. That, I give to God and I will listen for his direction.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      One thing wise to consider and run by an attorney- is when u set new boundary what would u do if he decided to file for divorce??
      My counselor kept after me to plan for the worst but hope for the best.
      I will keep praying for you and your son.

  36. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Robin, I guess that is one of the questions that I need to be educated on. What is the difference who files? Emotionally, I would be relieved and grant him the divorce and see if we could mediate.
    Honestly he is incapable of being the “bad guy” so I’m not sure that would happen.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Laws vary from state to state. Your lawyer will tell you your states ruling. I did initiate divorce as I didn’t want to prolong what we had already prolonged 30 plus years. It did work in my favor. It is important to talk to an attorney even if divorce isn’t on your mind. You need to know what to expect. I personally have strong feelings about women who choose to separate instead divorce. Separation you can lose a lot as you both are responsible to have your own support. I divorced at my attorneys recommendation to get house, and half retirement pension which he said was half mine after 30 years of marriage.

  37. Robin on January 2, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Sal24 I don’t know how open you’ve been with your son but have u considered letting him have a voice in the decision ?? Have u pondered how he would respond if u told him u have a plan to leave after his graduation? FYI – my destructive relationship got much worse after my husband retired and kids moved out. He no longer had to perform with no one there to observe his abuse.

    • Jennifer on January 2, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      I have 2 teen girls that graduate next year (my husband has been in their lives since they were 3 and 4. Their real dad moved 3 states away and only sees them 14 days a year). My oldest daughter was so happy I said I was through, my other daughter is sad because her and her real dad don’t get along and now the only dad she’s known is leaving. But they are both relieved they will not have to be screamed at and put down or him being mad all the time. Plus all they did was hide in their rooms. Ask your son, you might be surprised how he feels.

      • Robin on January 4, 2016 at 1:06 am

        Jennifer you will never regret taking this time away from destructive spouse– to enjoy your children while they are still at home and without constant chaos. I’m so happy for you and your girls!!!!!

      • Leonie on January 4, 2016 at 7:05 am

        I did the same thing Jennifer and my 17 year old daughter is going through grade 12 in a calm peaceful home! So glad I made the move. I went through old text messages last night because I have a court date coming up – both of the Christmases past I had discovered phone #’s of prostitutes in the weeks before Christmas – and I was reading about the trauma as I texted a close friend & confronted him and got blown up at … So glad that is all over and my kids don’t have to witness mom going through ‘stuff’ all the time! Such a relief, I separated from my ex in May, 2015.
        I hope you have peace for your girls in 2916 too!

  38. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Robin, excellent considerations. I will speak to my therapist about this. At this point in time my therapist is making sure that my son is clear that he is not to blame in what’s going on between h and I. My h in an abusive rage told my son that if we divorced it would be his fault ( my son) this is a terribly destructive abusive thing to say to a boy. Moving forward, I am making sure I undue that damage making it clear that that’s a lie. i don’t want to give him more than he can handle.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      I’m continually amazed to read from women the destructive things a husband will tell his child to hurt the mom. I just want to say, Grow up will you??? It is pathetic and I’m so sorry.

  39. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Robin, crazy isn’t it? It’s his only son. Part of the boundary that is in place now. Is if he puts blame on my son or bad mouths me to him again, I told him that that’s a deal breaker. He knows exactly what that means. My son asked him the other day what his new year resolution is and my h said “to be nicer to you cause your bigger than me.” Give me a break.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      So when u say that’s a deal breaker-what is his consequence ?? If u don’t mind me asking?

  40. Lori on January 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I personally am glad I can’t totally figure out God. If I could he would be limited to what I can imagine. I have a good imagination, but if I did that I would create God in my image, and that would cease to be who he really is. I’d rather marvel at Passages like Romans 11:33-36 and Isaiah 40. Knowing how great he is and yet he is still interested in little old me! Wow!

    • Aleea on January 5, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      “Knowing how great he is and yet he is still interested in little old me! Wow!”

      Lori,
      That is beautiful. . . . I bet God does that to keep us clinging and humble. . . . because I know, for me, if I get one good day, bam, I start getting arrogant. I constantly have to find my way back to God’s heart!!! It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes us back into His angels. I don’t deserve Jesus, and yet, when we accept the gift, proclaim Him as Lord, and then start living our lives for Him alone, undeserved grace is what we receive. —Lori, that’s when God really works, when we are at the end of our resources, —in this case, our knowledge.

  41. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Robin:
    That would be when I tell him to leave.
    To go sleep and live elsewhere. I have only asked him to leave one other time about 10 years ago and he refused. Actually, he slept at a friends house for one night and his friend told hime to go home and man up. We went to counseling and he became a therapy drop out. Things did change for a little while and I found core strength and was able to get through. But now we are right back to that bad place.Today he says things like “you can’t change me, this is how I am”
    That was kinda my wake up call to really start putting my foot down.

    • Robin on January 2, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Im so happy for you Sal24. We don’t know the end of your story yet or mine but it’s exciting to watch each other gain strength and stand up for what honors Christ most!!!
      Someday I will have to share how much your husband has in common with mine. They would probably get along great– from what I’ve heard they think a lot alike!!!!!!

    • sunflower on January 3, 2016 at 12:29 am

      I have memories of telling of my husband to leave but he wouldn’t leave. He was bigger and stronger than me and he blocked my exit too. So my advise is when you tell him to leave and he does, get all the locks changed. Do not talk to him on the phone. Gather his things and find a neutral party to collect his items from him. Start splitting the money now and have a safety plan in place. If there is any hope for change, he has to feel some consequences. He is abusive, not a troubled person who has no idea what he is doing. Only you can saver yourself at this point. Be brave and kick the bum out.

  42. Robin on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 am

    Sal24— I am in a place after being separated from my perpetrator for over 2 years now- that because I don’t have to live with him and his abuse I feel my heart is softening and gaining compassion for his woundedness. I don’t make excuses for his destructive behaviors, I’ve just been freed from the daily stress and chaos and understand he is hurting too – even if he never acknowledges it or gets the help he needs. So be encouraged – when the time comes you will be ready to separate, you too will have peace and tranquility again and will be able to think of his name, without anger or stress………

    • Aleea on January 3, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      “. . . . I feel my heart is softening and gaining compassion. . . . I’ve just been freed from the daily stress and chaos and understand he is hurting too –even if he never acknowledges it or gets the help he needs. . . . “ —Robin, that is a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y beautiful and shows some real healing. My counselor is always telling me that resentment is where we are constantly re-sending a bill to the same person again and again and again for payment. Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the hearts of others, it only changes ours. —Now, imagine, for a moment, how crazy this is when it is not a husband, a mother, a person —but, as many times in my case, God Himself. God is always trying to give blessings to us, but our minds are usually too full of junk to receive them.

  43. Robin on January 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Yes, I’ve been going thru major healing time in my life. This is why I believe women who are in destructive relationships would benefit greatly to separate and find out what they need – when they are no longer bombarded by abuse tactics. It feels great to know who I am and what I need. One advantage I’ve had is intense weekly therapy sessions for almost 3 years . God can heal us, but it’s been very helpful after so many years of abuse, to have a person to talk these thru with and the relationship has done so much for me to be able to gain trust again in people.

    • Aleea on January 3, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      “This is why I believe women who are in destructive relationships would benefit greatly to separate and find out what they need – when they are no longer bombarded by abuse tactics.” . . . . .I totally agree, but it took me a long, long time to understand that place (Re: what honors God the most vs. rule conformity and disappointing God.) Now, I finally understand that every time God forgives us, every single time, God is saying that God’s own rules (re: slavery, wearing multi-fabrics, divorce, remarriage, et.al.) DO NOT MATTER, as much as THE RELATIONSHIP that God wants to create with us. —How could I not have seen that??? My ability to miss the point even amazes me at times!!! —Anyway, in prayer and solitude before God, I am able to let God define me the way I was always supposed to be defined—by relationship. That relationship demands nothing of us but presence itself. Not performance, just my presence.

      “. . . .intense weekly therapy sessions for almost 3 years” —Wonderful!!! . . . . .I love counseling too but it is such a godly, love-filled, safe environement where I am so encouraged to deeply share everything that —that, I’m just terrified that everything will burn. It is so safe that deconstructing, demythologizing, pyro-theology, it is all coming to the surface because we are just being totally, completely honest about everything, including God. . . . . —Anyways, what a really, super cool growth experience you are describing. What you are describing about your ex-husband is a glimpse of what Jesus experienced on the cross: instead of eyes that burned with hate a look of love was there. For me, real love is what empowers change and makes me desirous of change, the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.

    • roxanne on January 5, 2016 at 2:48 am

      Robin, your posts reflect your wisdom. Your voice is important on this blog. Thank you.

      • Robin on January 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        Roxanne, thanks for the high five!!
        I wish I could say my journey has been easy, but it has not. Every step gave me options to go towards the hard road and gain wisdom – or take the easy path and continue to struggle. But I can say it was so worth it/ every painful part had something valuable to teach me!!!!

  44. Jenny on January 6, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I had struggled in an emotionally and somewhat physically abusive marriage for 12 years. I had left twice but returned. A year ago last fall, things were especially bad. One Monday, on my way to work,I stopped at church and prayed for an answer, for guidance, for help. Literally that day doors opened and help and support came my way. Three days later my husband had to leave and my daughter and I had our peaceful home. Things just fell into place. I am now divorced. It was a year of struggle and challenge but also of peace. With the help of so many–and this site ranks high in that category–my daughter and I are beginning to see light. It takes awhile to find one’s wings again. I have a good job and many supportive friends and family. And still I have times of doubt and sadness. But I turn to my inspirations, I pray, I remember the hopeless, damaging life I lived and focus on my hope for the healthy, creative loving future God intends. I know he answered my prayer that day and showed me the path. As I said, it hasn’t been void of thorns, but those thorns are lessening and in their place is the promise of life and love.

    • Jennifer on January 7, 2016 at 6:42 am

      Thanks Jenny I needed this today. My husband left Saturday and like you my girls and I are in a peaceful home now. But it’s so bittersweet when you miss the “good man” but are thankful the angry, mean man is gone. Thanks for the encouragement and God bless.

  45. Upset on January 7, 2016 at 3:03 am

    My husband is not abusive physically or manipulative. My problem seems to be unique. My husband finds it difficult to find a job of his qualifications and he has not worked since the 3 year of our marriage until now which is 15 years. He looks after our son instead. If a job does not pay well he will not pursue it as he says it would be more cost effective to look after our son. I agree with him on this as at least our son has personal attention from his father. What I am concerned about is that as a sole breadwinner all the financial burdens are on me and I am in my mid 50’s now. I have health issues and may not be able to work for many more years. I wanted to buy an investment property now, with some cash I have saved and part loan with the intention that I could later sell the property when its value has appreciated. The proceeds would help meet the family’s needs in the future if I really cannot work any longer. My husband was dead against this idea. He wants to use the cash for other expenses. I get the impression that he expects me to continue working as long as I can, irrespective of my health. I know that any income I earn is for the benefit of the family but surely I am entitled to make a business or commercial decision on my own. Do I always have to bend to his decision even if I think it is wrong? I think he is trying to control the finances. He won’t let me tithe and I am constantly feeling guilty when i pray. If I tithe, I do it secretly without telling him. Our marriage is not open because in a way I fear his reaction. It is hard to discuss finances with him, particularly as he is unemployed. What should I do? It is easy to say trust and fear God only.

    • Jenny on January 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

      This is financial abuse. And it is legitimate abuse. Many times the man makes the money and feels justified in controlling it. You make the money and yet have no control over it. I had a similar experience. My husband wouldn’t work for the same reasons–it was more cost efficient to stay home with our young daughter–even when she started school. And from that domain, he sat back and controlled me.Amazing. I left the house everyday to work, and yet still felt imprisoned. I feared speaking to co-workers, being friendly, or going on any errand after work for fear of his reaction. He would claim he had plenty of money in his account one day, and the next scream at me for leaving him without means to take care of daily needs. Crazy. I was also afraid to ask him to get a job for fear of his reaction. The few jobs he had had during out marriage ended with his angry resignation. He was always “being mistreated at work”. Try being mistreated at home, I always thought.

      How old is your son? Could your health issues be related to the stress of living as you are? I know how hard it is to leave, but is that a possibility? Can you start steps in that direction? Take it to prayer? The money you saved–could it save you now? I believe God does not want you to live this way. I will pray for you. God Bless!

      • Upset on January 7, 2016 at 11:14 pm

        My son is 9 years old. I don’t think my health issues are related to stress. I cannot leave the marriage as my son is so young and close to his dad. I have my own savings and I do not have any joint account with him. However he has access to my account where the salary is credited to. I let him have use of this so he can pay for expenses and take care of our son’s needs. I don’t want a situation where I am handing out money to him for each and every expense since that may be demoralising to him. I have no fear of talking to my coworkers or having lunch with them or attending office functions in the evenings without my husband. I have been paying for the house mortgage all these years. There is no question that he will continue to live in it and share it with my son after my demise. Would it be unreasonable if I insisted that the house be transferred to me in my name only after the mortgage is paid off. I want the house as a security for me as a wife and also because I paid for it. His family have been hinting that he should also own it as he takes care of our son. I am very confused over this as I want to honour God.

        • Maria on January 8, 2016 at 8:19 am

          Upset, You should probably talk to a lawyer to find out what the laws are inyour state.

  46. M on January 8, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    This blog and the comments gave mad me feel quite depressed about my marriage. Basically there is no hope but to leave. Full of regret, should’ve left sooner.

    • Robin on January 9, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Dear M, it is depressing at first when we realize all we ignored or missed. In time you will see you did what you could- and could only do from what you know. It gets easier as you begin to enjoy a new freedom- and realize you still have much life ahead to live and do so much differently, than in the best. Let us encourage you- so much good is around the corner for you!!

    • Aleea on January 9, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      M,
      I don’t like reality one bit either, but as they say, it is still the only place you can get a good meal. When we confront real issues we are going to get D-epressed. It is well known that deep thinking has been linked with depression. The common interpretation of this has been that it can cause depression; however, many studies show it actually just brings our latent depression into the open, instead of us masking it with false hope, telling us that we already were unhappy, BUT just didn’t (want to) know it. . . . . . .Everyone has regrets and plenty of them, you are not alone. You’re not living if you’re not regretting. . . . . .But the future is never just one choice. It’s like thousands of them. —And they never stop. We choose our future every day of our lives. Let’s make new ones minus the false hope which causes us to waste our lives. Just make certain you don’t exchange one false hope for another false hope. I don’t know but we can probably only avoid the swap through serious self-awareness.

  47. Anne on January 13, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Leslie, thank you once again for your words. Thankfully, I am married to s wonderful man who is the extreme opposite of abusive (by the Grace of God, as you’ll see)…however, I was the child in an abusive home. This, as you know I’m sure, has caused some serious emotional wounds in my heart and I’ve been in solid Christian counseling for a few years now and no longer have contact with my abusers (my parents).

    While I have done so much healing, there is this area of relationships with other women that I have been struggling with immensely. I discovered about 8 months ago that I have a nasty habit of subconsciencely choosing controllers and codependents as my close friends (with a few exceptions, thank God). A few months into these relationships, I would start to wonder why I felt so bad all the time, why they felt they could talk to me the way they did or bully me or question decisions my husband and I had prayerfully made together.

    Of course, upon realizing this pattern of mine, I had to embark on a season of “heavy weeding” in which I needed to distance myself from those people I had been drawn to out of sheer familiarity whom were actually hard on my heart. Doing so, while necessary, caused a lot of guilt, an emotion I am overly prone to anyway,

    Was I being loving? Should I have confronted? Did I hurt them in pulling back? Was God disappointed with how bad I seem to be at friendship? These were the questions I woke up to every morning and which plagued my thoughts all day. So. Much. Guilt. So much responsibility felt for everyone!

    I regularly read your blog, and yesterday I came upon this post and it was EXACTLY what my heart needed. God sees my heart, He knows what it’s been through, He knows how badly I want to please Him and bring Him glory. He also knows that even on my best days, I will fall short of this in some way. He planned for that, and that’s why He gave us Jesus. False guilt does nothing to honor God and merely provides a foothold for the Accuser.

    While yes, I have made mistakes in these past relationships, I have learned so much and have gained wisdom for the future. Because of your post, I have been able to let go and move forward, releasing the heavy burden of guilt so that I am better able to discern who I should even really befriend from the start, leaning more heavily on the Holy Spirit to be my guide.

    • Aleea on January 13, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Anne,
      That is beautiful! Especially “leaning more heavily on the Holy Spirit to be my guide.” Those dysfunctional relationships are familiar, like family so if we are NOT on guard we fall into them and especially given how sensitive you are re:“. . . .These were the questions I woke up to every morning and which plagued my thoughts all day.” “all day” “So. Much. Guilt. So much responsibility felt for everyone!” Wow, that means you have to be EXTRA careful with your heart and boundaries.

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