Morning friends,

I’m in Dallas, Texas again. I’ll be speaking at Gatehouse on Thursday on Getting Rid of Negative Emotions. If you’re in the Dallas area, please come – it’s open to the public and I would love to meet you. Click here to get your tickets.

Friday afternoon I’ll be speaking to a large group of Christian counselors on Three Mistakes People Helpers Make when Working with Destructive Marriages. Please pray for me.

As a reminder, our early bird price for our CONQUER conference will be ending September 15 and the price will be going up $67 a ticket. Please don’t wait. Sign up now.  Click here to get register.

In today’s blog I’m not going to answer a specific question but share some thoughts that have been brewing around for a while about how women are taught to be godly.

 

                                                              What is a Godly Woman?

Let’s start with God’s word:

                                                  So God created man in his own image,
                                                   in the image of God he created him;
                                                 male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

                                                 Until Christ is formed in you. Galatians 4:19

I hope you have a passion for Christ and for him to be formed in you more fully. But let’s look more closely at what that looks like.

Jesus perfectly expresses the full image of God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). When we look at Jesus, we see a mixture of strength and meekness, courage and compassion, fierceness and gentleness, tough truth and amazing grace. While the Bible uses male nouns and pronouns for God, it also uses feminine metaphors for God’s attributes and character —so Biblically, God’s image is not strictly a masculine image.

When we look at qualities that are traditionally labeled masculine, such as strength and power, courage, resourcefulness, boldness, and initiative, we understand that no man would be a fully mature or godly man if he didn’t also embrace some qualities traditionally labeled more feminine such as humility, gentleness, meekness, and vulnerability. When a man embodies strength and power without gentleness or humility he is not capable of healthy loving relationships nor would his character be Christ-like.

Christian teachings (books, sermons, seminars, etc) have encouraged men to embrace these more traditionally labeled feminine qualities such as gentleness, humility, and compassion in order to be more like Christ. The problem I see is with Christian teachings being unbalanced with respect to how they teach females to become more like Christ. Most teaching I’ve encountered fails to embrace the corresponding idea that a Christian woman must also develop some culturally labeled “masculine” qualities for her to grow, be mature, and more Christ-like.

For example, when conservative Christians are asked to define the attributes of a godly woman, most describe her using traditionally feminine traits. They say a godly woman is humble, submissive, trusting, vulnerable, compassionate, generous, loving, a servant, and a good helpmate to her spouse. These are important and wonderful biblical qualities, but they don’t make a complete or mature person nor are these qualities reserved only for females. A woman who embodies primarily these traits may be lacking important Christian virtues for Christ to be fully formed in her.

Sadly, what often happens when a Christian woman displays more traditionally labeled masculine traits, especially in marriage or with other men, she may be labeled as anything but godly. If she is bold, assertive, persistent, direct, courageous or confrontational—she is often seen in a negative light, as if she doesn’t know her place as a good Christian woman.

That thinking is restrictive and unbiblical. It’s true that every person’s strength can also become a weakness if it is not balanced by other positive character qualities. Likewise, every person’s strength can be used in sinful ways, but that does not mean we should not encourage women to have those strengths. It means we need to shape and submit them to Christ’s agenda, not our own.

Therefore, for a woman to become spiritually mature and more Christ-like, we may need to grow in different ways than we have more commonly focused our attention on.

As women we need gentleness, but we also need initiative and resourcefulness like Queen Esther (Click to tweet).

We want to be servants and helpers but we also need to learn more problem-solving skills like the virtuous woman demonstrated in Proverbs 31. We want to be loving, but we also need to know how to take a stand and have the courage to resist injustice and wrong-doing like the Hebrew midwives did when they refused to follow the orders of the Pharaoh to kill Jewish infants.

We need humility but we also need to know how to be a leader and be assertive, bold and strong like Deborah, the Hebrew warrior, and judge. We like to please people but we also need to know how to be gutsy and say no like Queen Vashti did when her drunken husband wanted her to dance for him in front of his friends. Or if you are married to a foolish churlish husband whose conduct puts the entire household in danger, maybe you need to take some lessons from Abigail’s life when she refused to submit to her husband’s decision and initiated a bold move with David which saved her household from destruction.

Just like a godly man needs strength and humility, boldness and gentleness, initiative and submission, the ability to speak tough truth and demonstration of amazing grace, so does a godly woman.

I want to challenge and encourage you to become more like Christ, and not just like our traditionally held ideals of what defines a godly woman.

Friends, how have you developed strength, courage, resourcefulness, leadership, and a bit of gutsiness? What has been the response from other Christian’s as you’ve grown in these areas?  

26 Comments

  1. Barbara on September 14, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I have to say that I have always felt gutsy when it came to expressing my opinion or objections in my marriage and
    It has not been well received not matter how careful I was with my words. I was 45 when I re-married and rather independent and my husband likes to control everything. It has been very difficult and I have felt ignored. I am now 67 and my 46 year old stepson thinks that I should just be submissive and just give my opinion when it is asked for even if the situation affects my life.
    In my situation I do not feel valued.

    • James on September 16, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Barbara,

      I think the reason that you don’t feel valued is that neither your husband or your stepson are treating you with respect.

      It grieves me to hear that neither your husband or your son values your relationship enough to consider your opinions. A wise husband will not only listen to his wife’s opinion, he will seek it out, especially on matters relevant to their life together. That’s part of what it means to live with one’s wife in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7)

      Your 46-year-old stepson needs to respect his step-mother or at the very least, mind his own business.

      Incidentally, it sounds very much like the step son is being triangulated into the relationship somehow and that needs to stop pretty much immediately.

      Does your husband gossip to his son about you?

      I hope you know that the Lord values you greatly. Though your husband is acting foolishly your Heavenly Father sees you as a precious daughter.

      Would your husband be open to receiving counsel?
      Do you have a good biblical counseling resource at your disposal?

    • Kate on September 16, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Barbara,

      I am just a few years younger than you and in a similar situation with my second husband. He is extremely controlling and ignores me most of the time. I have gotten used to being ignored all these years…that doesn’t bother me so much, but the controlling behavior does! I am finally starting to see how detrimental the controlling is to me, and how upset it makes me inside. I try to focus on the positives but his controlling behavior can override that, especially when he is explosive with it. I leave for a few hours when he becomes like a tyrant, but I’m starting to think I have some PTSD. He is all sweetness when I return–similar to an alcoholic. I am trying to figure out what my next step should be. I need to review boundaries as well.

      • James on September 20, 2016 at 8:50 pm

        Kate,

        I’m assuming you have had repeated, honest conversations with your husband about your his controlling behavior and how it affects you.

        Do you attend a church that would be willing to help you confront him?

        • James on September 20, 2016 at 8:52 pm

          “your his” was meant to be “your concerns about his…” Sorry for the confusing typo.

        • Kate on September 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

          James,

          Thank you for your reply. I hope this isn’t a repeat post—-as I started posting before and it flew off into cyberspace. My husband has difficulty processing words so any conversation is extremely difficult if initiated by me. However, I am just starting to see that this might be a manipulative measure on his part. He has some Autism spectrum characteristics. People at church see him as very anxious and are very gentle with him. I am careful about who I share with. One pastor told me to look for the good in him, which
          I do, but still get very rattled when he barks, shouts and controls me. I am beginning to see how it is better to just walk away when he is this
          way, rather than enable.

  2. Maria on September 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Leslie, all the qualities you mentioned are required to be successful in the workplace. These qualities are also needed for parenting. When working in a team, it is beneficial to have people with leadership qualities, assertiveness, initiative etc. The team is more successful when it has strong people. In the same way, a family should be stronger when both spouses have these qualities. Problems arise when there is competition and no teamwork. We need to be secure so that another person’s strengths does not make us feel inferior. Insecure people are threatened by other people’s strengths. Women (and men, too) with these qualities can still choose to submit. In the workplace, this is done all the time.
    It’s important that we as women develop these qualities and teach our daughters these qualities. Even women in good marriages need these qualities- their spouse may die and they may need to enter the workplace etc.

    • James on September 16, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Well said, I like the team analogy.

      My bride is a very strong and capable woman. She is a leader in our community and a woman who is well respected by her peers.

      Rather than feeling insecure that I am married to a woman who is an assertive leader I am blessed to have her on the team.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I agree Maria, thanks for your input.

  3. Aleea on September 14, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    >“Friends, how have you developed strength, courage, resourcefulness, leadership, and a bit of gutsiness? What has been the response from other Christian’s as you’ve grown in these areas?”

    . . . .All our identity rests in the knowledge of who we’re created to be. . . No one should under-or-over estimate themselves. . . . .but if we belong to Christ, we must realize we have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. . . .Think about that (―realize that). . . It should be then our Light not any darkness that should most frighten us. Jesus is about radical, sweeping, encompassing empowerment. Our deepest fear should never be that we are inadequate; our deepest fear should be that we are powerful beyond measure. It is the light of Christ in our hearts, not our old sin nature that should most frighten us. . . . . If you truly belong to the Lord, then you are a champion eternal. A daughter of the Living Light. A person of the highest caliber, a child of God. God wants us so close to Him that we are radiating His glory. . . . . And there are no speed limits on the road to holiness.

    We also need to take studying seriously. We can’t be reading and learning all the time but curiosity, a sense of adventure, and an openness to learn, to teach, that is so important. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize how truly little I know. But that can help with remaining humble. Arrogance is a weed that grows marvelously on a dunghill and God just hates it. . . .One thing I have experienced is that the cleaner I can keep my heart, the more of God’s love I can experience. . . . .Heart as clean as possible; broken before the Lord; thankful, grateful and humble. That is where I want to be . . . . down low where the Grace of God can find me. — Our culture says anything goes; fear of God is almost unheard of. Too many people (―including me at times) are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry. God will not bless that, at all. All things as they move closer and closer toward God are so beautiful, and they are so ugly as they move away from Him.

    >“I want to challenge and encourage you to become more like Christ, and not just like our traditionally held ideals of what defines a godly woman.” . . .That is so, so beautiful and true. Christ was and is really tough on sin but His compassion and kindness was and is just mind-boggling. Everyone must quit thinking we know so much, and quit placing “knowledge” over Christ-like-ness. Think about how wonderful this is: My spouse is my partner in helping me live in a state where God can bless me and where I can have real life and real love. That is worth all the consequences, unless they have DSM-5 style issues. Living without accountability, responsibility and consequences just devastates people, it facilitates their road to ruin.

    >“What has been the response from other Christian’s as you’ve grown in these areas?” . . . .I’ve had my share of “come to Jesus” meetings with pastors, elders, et.al. I cannot believe how angry people can get. . . .But, . . . .but mostly it is just fear. I triggered their fears and they were triggering mine. I hate that. . . .But, if what we seek is Truth, we must have an overwhelming passion for it and an unremitting readiness to admit we are wrong. It is very, very difficult to change your mind about something that is a deeply held conviction. It is emotionally traumatic, and let me tell you most people are not willing to do it. Most of what is said in churches is rhetorically functioning in order to assure people that other smart people can hold onto the points of view that they already hold. . . . .But there are other points of view with equal and in many cases better support, and we shouldn’t write them off because they’re massively uncomfortable. If the Bible cannot go out into the world of scholarship and return stronger, then we are all fools and charlatans. I have faith in the Bible but I am also not afraid of truth (―well, I am sometimes.) But, we should not be afraid to go where the truth and evidence takes us. Christ does not want us living out of fear and other people’s expectations. We have to remember the deeper in God we go, the more faith God will require of us on the journey. The point is to praise God with our minds and hearts.

  4. James on September 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Aleea,

    I’m curious as to where you are theologically.

    In your last post on the previous blog, you mentioned the following.

    “. . . James for every one Dan Wallace there are ten Bart Ehrmans who are equally competent and they demonstrate that the textual variants do seriously matter, see: “Inerrant the Wind: The Evangelical Crisis in Biblical Authority.” . . . . ”

    Here you say this.

    ” have faith in the Bible but I am also not afraid of truth (―well, I am sometimes.) But, we should not be afraid to go where the truth and evidence takes us. Christ does not want us living out of fear and other people’s expectations. We have to remember the deeper in God we go, the more faith God will require of us on the journey. The point is to praise God with our minds and hearts.”

    Do you subscribe to Bart Erhman’s agnostic skepticism or do you have faith in the bible?

    Bart Erhman, self-proclaimed, has no faith in the bible.

    I’m just curious as this blog is very much about women growing into biblical character.

    Lord be with you.

    • Aleea on September 14, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      Hello James,

      I am fully a believer in God, Christ, the resurrection of Jesus and the Bible, absolutely. It is the Word of God. . . .but someone who does careful research into the facts, is researching the facts. We don’t smear agnostic cancer researchers and not use their research because they are not believers. All I am saying is that Bart Ehrman is a very, extremely careful researcher in term of the facts (As are many, many other non-believers.) Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own set of facts. Facts are facts. ALL FACTS are safe. Anyone who keeps back the truth, withholding it based on ignorance or motives of expediency or “to increase faith” is a criminal to Christianity. The locomotive of New Testament textual research, paleographology and archeology will not stop for suicidal persons astride the tracks. These facts go through international peer review. They are solid. His opinions are not facts, that’s different. I’m talking about pure research.

      By the way, Dr. Sarah Beckwith, Dr. Ehrman’s wife is a believer too. Pray for Bart Ehrman, he knows better. I don’t know what happened with him. I saw him read aloud recently an e-mail form a student who said they were praying for him. I could see the look on his face, that e-mail went right to his heart and he was still troubled by it, he knows better. . . . . Life is very hard and it can turn people bitter. Our job is to love them and not create witch hunts. Mistrust and suspicion are at odds with this type of love. Scripture condemns such thinking as “evil suspicions” (ὑπόνοιαι πονηραί see First Timothy Six, et.al.)

      I know you are just asking for clarification and I so welcome that. James, that’s a good thing!!! Thank you for the questions. I appreciate them and I appreciate you.

      I forgot to add from my last post: See: “Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views” edited by Dr. Wayne House; “Remarriage after Divorce in Today’s Church: Three Views”; “The Living Text Of The Gospels” See Chapter 5, The Sayings on Marriage and Divorce. . . Dr. Parker is a very reliable New Testament textual Greek and Latin scholar, technical but it is pin-point accurate. . . . Also, see: Margaret Schatkin, “Divorce In Early Christianity”, 2nd ed., edited by Everett Ferguson, New York: Garland, 1998. —And Gloria Shell Mitchell did an excellent job in her PhD dissertation: “Compassionately Addressing Divorce: A Redemptive Model.” 2007

  5. Janet on September 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much… AGAIN! LESLIE.
    I was raised by an abused and abusive mother, (whom I believe was both codependant AND narcissistic). A controlling and dominant, often cruel father (for 7 yrs) then a sadistic and cruel narcissistic, mysoginistic jealous and childish step father.
    I was Fully taught that women were worthless, with no value or worth other than “wifely duties” & servitude to her husband and others, (especially men), while being good for nothing and fit only for child -bearing, destined only to be restricted and trapped by her unwanted and pre – determined kids that brought with them an “expectation of motherhood by proxy” These kids were of course to blame for everything because they were, the outcome of “filthy sex, dirty men and must be blamed and punished (by all parties) for their “sin” / wrong doing, (which was simply “being born”).
    Nevertheless I grew up knowing what I didn’t want in my marriage, and what kind of husband I did want. I spent many years “working on myself” to make sure I would be a good wife and mother to my much wanted kids. I was determined to be happy. My sole/soul aim was to make sure “I did everything” to make everyone happy then my happiness would/could naturally follow. I learned ALL THE PITFALLS (from my mother), so there was no way I would “get it wrong”.
    This was my job, my purpose, my aim, my ambition, my hope and my life. It was also what I wanted, my feelings, my personality and my identity!
    Im sure You can imagine what comes next.
    30 years on, im newly divorced and walking out my healing (with the Lord) while working at bonding, repairing, and hoping for full restoration of my relationships with my two girls. I have still a lot to learn!!! My husband, a careful, solid rock, salt of the earth, kind, helpful, loving, yet shrewd and traditional man (to others), was (IS) in fact a sadistic psychopath, with NPD. His subtle and COVERT emotional and mental abuse was brutal TO ME, ONLY, destructive to my relationship with my children and (“friends”), while being life threatening for me. The final “legacy” that he will leave my (our) children is still to be unveiled.
    By the Grace of God, I found Jesus, and He is reparenting me and teavhing me everything “NO ONE ELSE” HAS EVER TAUGHT ME. truth, love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, patience, joy, peace, self dicipline, self respect, dignity, self worth, SELF CONTROL (self sacrificing) AND (personal) BOUNDARIES, self compassion and self nurture, being my most difficult lessons to learn.
    Im only just learning that neither my feelings nor other people’s opinion can define me. And that my Identity is in Christ while my Character is being refined and strengthened as HE renews my mind and re- teaches me about “who I am” as a person/woman/mother and friend, as well as being a daughter of the living God. WHILE HOPING to be transformed in to a Christ like Godly woman, I love to hear and learn from your Godly and scripturally faithful teachings.
    You have demystifyed, clarified and confirmed, once again, a very controversial understanding and wrongly/mis “taught” definition of gender “expectations, that will hopefully help bring peace to many “guilt ridden” women and men.
    Certainly for me, you have brought affirmation while reassurring me of my ongoing transformation as being made more Christlike, despite “other’s opinions” &self seeking attemots to subdue, crush, control or dominate me in to submission. I can be strong, confident, and (Christ) assured, when speaking tough love, at least as gracefully as my “healing journey” and spiritual maturity allows.
    Thank you Leslie. Your teacjing and this site has been invaluable for me these last 3 years.
    God bless you and all the lovely bloggers in this community, as you all continue your individual journey’s.
    SHALOM

    • Maria on September 15, 2016 at 6:19 am

      Janet, You mentioned that you are trying to restore your relationship with your two girls. Do they have a relationship with their father?

      • Janet on September 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm

        Unfortunately yes.
        They are both of an age to make their own decisions.
        I must keep my trust in the powrr of God to turn all this around and bring him to his knees, and them to the Lord and peaceful awareness.
        Thank you for asking Marie.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks Janet, so glad you are healing and growing up in Christ.

  6. Maria on September 15, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Barbara, I was reading a devotional by Rick Warren last week about how God had made us all unique, there is no other person in this world like you. Sounds like your husband is trying to make you fit in his mold for you. Don’t let anyone change the person God meant you to be. Instead of focusing on what your husband and step son and telling you to be, I’d encourage you to focus on pleasing Christ in everything. That has helped me tremendously.

    • Aleea on September 17, 2016 at 5:07 am

      “Instead of focusing on what your husband and step son are telling you to be, I’d encourage you to focus on pleasing Christ in everything.” . . . .that’s so, so beautiful Maria and that focus should self correct everything else. If we displease Christ, does it really even matter who else we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease? That said, Christ wants us reaching out to the difficult people because His ministry and Christian origins clearly show us He wasn’t about a bunch of nice people getting together once a week to sing hymns and get a feel good message, that we(I) may or may not apply, depending on the depth of our(my) unconscious anger for others. It was/is about caring for and helping the broken hearted, the extremely difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive (—I hate that but Christ wants us doing it!), the wicked and the liars. It is about turning the other cheek when someone really hurts you. It is about loving one another and making amends. Sans DSM-5-style issues, it is about allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them —generally— endless chances. —And that is why we always give Christ our best because He is the God of endless love for us (“I am the God that always rescues you.”) . . . .I know you know all that, I’m reminding myself 🙂

  7. Aleea on September 16, 2016 at 11:05 am

    RE: Men were particularly prone to attribute high femininity to low masculine women and high masculinity to low feminine men.

    . . . . I was thinking more about this balance of feminine and masculine traits. . . . It struck me that we will not need to seek nearly as much from others “what we do not have” if we find it in ourselves. —So, if we can balance more (feminine needing masculine and masculine needing feminine) behaviors, . . . if we cultivate those qualities in a balanced fashion in ourselves, we will be able to be less dependent. . . . .This is not going to be easy because we are immersed in a worldview that has emphasized and elevated the masculine for the past five thousand years (—at least). . . . .Men must learn to be less controlling and more allowing in their ways. Women must be more assertive without sacrificing their warmth and softness. Men must not be afraid to cry about all kinds of stuff and really show their feelings. Women need to express themselves (—speak up) way more (—for the love of God!) Men must rely more on their intuition, while women should develop their logical thinking. . . .deductive, inductive, et.al. approaches.. Men need to stop doing and striving so much and learn how to just “be.” Women need to become more independent and expressive. —As always the key is balance, separateness. Maybe we can develop a stronger sense of self and a centering in ourselves, while still maintaining all our ties and responsibilities. . . . .Wholeness, balance is needed because, generally, we have certain characteristics that dominate, and those throw the others down the drain or “under the bus.” We can repress large parts of ourselves but in doing that we are not fully human, fully whole. . . . . So it seems to me that whatever works is actually grounded in its opposite. Feminine and masculine are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. Maybe the most important thing is to maintain way more balance because someone who had exclusively masculine or feminine qualities would not even be a human being.

  8. Leslie Vernick on September 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    So true, knowledge is never the way to intimacy with Christ, although we should not shun knowledge. The Bible is God’s word so it can and should stand up to examination and questions. And the more humble we are, even with knowledge, we know that we don’t know all we need to know to be SURE we know we’re always right.

    • Aleea on September 19, 2016 at 6:01 am

      “. . . knowledge is never the way to intimacy with Christ. . .” . . . .hmm, —well, maybe because real intimacy with Christ is operating in a different registery? (—I don’t know how to describe it but to say that.) . . . Any faith that must be supported by evidence is not real faith. —Because once you have evidence, you don’t need any faith. Only by being in love with Him do we know anything of Him. Being in love with Him is what allows me access to that registery (—A registery filled with unseen love, unseen power). Love is the key to everything of God in Christ. . . . . The witness of the Holy Spirit is more powerful than knowledge. I feel that at times when I pray and do reflective listening, petitioning (—just begging really)/ pouring out my heart to Him. . . . .Unseen love/power. The witness of the Holy Spirit is more powerful than knowledge (—That’s why the Holy Spirit, to me, is the entire CORE. He is The map of meaning/ The model.). . . .So even if all arguments for God’s existence and many aspects of Christ’s historicity were totally refuted (—everything), we could continue to have faith in Christ even in the face of seriously damaging objections. Objections which I certainly cannot begin to answer, many of them are so powerful. But the witness of the Holy Spirit is more powerful than that knowledge. . . . You don’t have to know or “believe” anything to experience it. —Just pray and listen. That, at least for me, leads me to clean my heart, really/truly serve others. . . . .Love illuminates Christ. Love points away from ourselves to Him, the Love that stands beyond our existence. . . . Love is all about grace, any form of force or coercion, or manipulation eliminates it immediately, at least, it sure looks like that to me, it is that fragile. . . . .Because all “that” moves the relationship entirely from love to obligation. Love is dead to all other forms of coercion, it is inherently fearless. When I think about that, I realize there is not much real love in this world. That makes it so much easier to love and want Christ.

  9. Nishbar lev on September 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I feel I am in the worst pit ever. My husband and I do not talk much anymore, but when we did he would always say his friends tell him “I wear the pants in the family.” I was always confused and offended at times when he would tell me that because it would be in regard to him asking me if he could go out of town or to a sports game. Sometimes, I would say no it wasn’t a good time– whether it was financial reasons or the fact that we had something else going on. I thought it was healthy communication, not that I wore the pants. His friends wives call them out on everything in front of us. I’ve never done that type of thing, yet he says his friends say that about me. I’ve often wondered if he projects how he feels when we have discussions on things and when I give my opinion.

    I feel so alone right now though. He is on many leadership committees at church and I am not – I was in some leadership roles but due to the nature of our marriage and the state I was in, I didn’t feel it was right for me to be leading others. I finally confided in a woman I trusted at church about the abuse. She and I had a lunch and at the close of our lunch, she said I’ve got your back. I’m on your side. It felt great to FINALLY have someone nearby (my family lives out of town). She ended up forwarding our private text messages to him (and excused it after I confronted her), and directly contacts him to discuss our marriage and now I feel even more alone in this battle. I feel betrayed. I don’t feel like I can talk to anyone. I feel no one believes me or think I just need to get over it and forgive. I do think I have forgiven but I believe too much damage has been done. My soul has been crushed by my husband. He has taken things that were not his to take. He says that he’s a changed man now. The man I knew for 10 years is not the same anymore (we’ve been married ten years). I don’t believe he’s changed that drastically first of all, but even if he has those ten years almost destroyed me. They almost ruined me. It is by the grace of God I am here. So, what if he’s changed? I have too now. I am not the same woman he abused for ten years. I have many moments of weakness, though. I wish the family, friends and church leaders could say to me, “what he did was wrong and I am so sorry. Whatever decision you make I will support you.” I just want someone to acknowledge it was indeed wrong. They can still love him and support him in whatever ways he needs.

    If anyone has words of encouragement I would love to hear it.

    • Janet on September 27, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Oh Nishbar.
      I am so filled with compassion and empathy for your situation.
      I completely get it. It hurts and it is so wrong. Your feelings and explanation sound so familiar….and im still wIting, 3 years on (after I made him leave ) for SOMEONE TO SAY THE SAME TO ME…. TO VINDICATE ME AND AFFIRM MY HEARTACHE…. but it’ll never happen until “my God” says so.
      Of course He understands, of course this is so so wrong and humiliatingly unjust….
      But “MY FATHER SAYS DRAW NEAR TO ME ALL YE WHO ARE WEARY AND BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST…..TAKE UP MY YOKE, CAST ALL YOUR BURDENS ON ME, AND I WILL GIVE YOU PEACE”

      You have been burnt and scalded in this situation, but you are not wrong!!!!
      Only look to your loving father for affirmation!!!! Please believe me…. i am no nearer getting anyone to belueve, lisren, care or understand my “story”/ situation/life etc…. even though the longer im apart from him (im now divorced) sadly but knowing its right…. the more shocked i am as new revelations, insighrs and understandings keep coming.
      Im actually thanking God for “revealing to me” the full truth of my (past) situation. It was horrific! But its only with an ibjective view can I see the full picture.
      The enemy is workubg his guilt/doubt/self blame/confusion/self condemnatioh/self judgement strategy on you.
      This IS AN INJUSTICE AND IT’S ABUSE! !!!
      Remember
      “MY PEACE I GIVE YOU, MY PEACE I LEAFE WITH YOU”
      WHERE THERE IS CONFUSION….THERE IS THE ENEMY.

      I cannot tell you what to do…. I can only advise from my own understanding and situation.
      1.. Draw near to God, abd He will draw near to you”
      2. Trust in the Lord with ALL YOUR HEART, lean NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.
      3.ASK FOR WISDOM AND IT WILL BE GIVEN.
      4. BUILD UP YOUR CORE STRENGTHS… read Lesleys book…THE EMOTIONALLY EESTRUCTIVE MARTIAGE.
      5. READ JOHN CLOUDS BOOK…. NECESSARY ENDINGS.

      BELOVED whatever you do…. dont sit back and wait another 10 yesrs.
      I can now fully see that for 20 years, I was holding in to “HOPE IN ME” & BELIEVING IN MY HUSBAND TO LOVE ME!!!…..I WAS CONVINCED THAT ONE DAY HE’D LOVE ME, IF I COULD JUST GET IT RIGHT. IF I CHANGED…. IF I TRIED HARDER!!!! AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN,.., IF I CAN JUST MAKE HIM HAPPY….. IF I CAN JUST STOP THIS…. IF I WERE JYST GOOD ENOUGH…. IF I WAS LIKE HIS MUM, HIS EX WIFE…. You name it, i tried it! I cut myself out, LIKE a paper doll, shrinking in size with each cut… to find i was like a speck of ash on the tip of my finger, waiting to be puffed away like the smoke of a cigarrette!!!
      I was holding on….. TO NOTHING!AND SURVIVNG OFF MY LOVE FOR HIM.

      Somebody once told me that there is always a pay off, when we stay.
      I was furious!!!!
      The Lord has now shown me what my pay off was….
      I did not want to accept that he didn’t love me….
      So if i just held tighter and tried harder, it wouldn’t mesn he couldn’t love me, or that i was unlovable, if i could just prove it to myself!!!!….
      Then when I found out that i was no longer any USE TO HIM….because he couldnt abuse me anymors (i was being zero tolerant), again, the pain and humiliation “THAT I WASNT EVEN GOOD ENOUGH TO ABUSE”
      helped me to hear from the Lord that i was actually co-dependant! But this hurt too!!!!
      How can i “be so wrong?”
      Without being wrong as a person??? I hated myself… my identity was so wrapped up in whay he thought, said, wanted or didnt want…. other people’s thoughrs, feelings and opinions/or lack of them…etc…
      Its veen an eye openibg, heart rending 3 yesrs…BUT THE LIVE, PEACE, JOY, AFFIRMATIPN, FAITHFULNESS, BLESSINGS, RELATIONSHOP, WISDOM, INSIGHT, UNDERSTANDING AND LIBERTY the lord has given me and filked me with over the 3 years is ASTOUNDING, AMAZING AND INEXPLICABLE!!!!

      You may never know “WHY?” MY SWEET, but remember this, the pain is in the question!!!!
      Just trust the Lord, He will make all things work for the good of those who love HIM AND ARE CALLED FOR HIS PURPOSE…WHAT THEY MEAN FOR EVIL, HE MEANS FOR GOID, FOR THE SAVING OF MANY SOULS…
      HOLD IN TO HIM!!!! HE’S GOT YOUR BACK! HE GOES BEFORE YOU, HE’LL NEVER LEAVE YOUR SIDE AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGH AND LUFT YOU UP ON EAGLES WINGS!!!!
      SWEET NISHBAR, YOU ARE NIT ALONE! EVEN IF YOU FEEL IT, THERE ARE WOMEN HERE (AND SOME MEN) THAT REALLY DO KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. COS WEVE LIVED IT TOO.
      listen to EMILY SANDEZ: MAYBE…
      I THINK THIS SONG WILL SPEAK TO YOU.
      GOD BLESS MY SISTER, MY FRIEND..
      RUN TO THE LORD, HE IS YOUR HEALER. LET THIS SITUATION DRAW YOU NEARER TO HIM IN EVERY WAY. HEL NEVER LET YOU DOWN! & HEL RESTORE THE YESES THE LICUSTS HAVE EATEN..,THE BIG ONES AND THE SMALL ONES.

      ALLOW HIM TO RENEW YOUR MUND TO SEE ALL THESE THINGS THAT YOU ARE DISCOVERING AS JESUS SHINING HIS LIGHT INTO THE DARK AREAS OF YOUR LIFE THAT YOU NEED TO ALLIW HIM INTO, IN A DEEPER WAY…. AND TGEN YOU WILL REJOICE IN YOUR TRIALS, BECAUSE EACH NEW DISCOVERY THAT ONCE CAUSED YOU PAIN WILL BE A “REVELATION” THAT SETS YOU FREE!!!
      KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE…
      (Within yourself, even if you do choose to stay).
      God bless
      Janet xx

      • Janet on September 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        Waiting***

        • Janet on September 27, 2016 at 4:35 pm

          Nishbar, Sorry for all the typo’s…. i wanted to make sure i finished my reply before my daughter arrived home and i was broken off to cook dinner.

  10. Aimee on November 26, 2020 at 7:14 am

    It would be lovely if you would write a book or bible study on biblical womanhood. There are so many misconceptions in our world that offer an unbalanced view in either direction. I appreciate your clear understanding of womanhood, marriage, and what being a Christian really looks like.

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