Morning friends,

I’m in Chicago this week helping out my parents as my dad recovers from surgery. We would appreciate your prayers for his recovery. It’s taken much longer than usual and at 86 years old, he’s doing great, but it has been much harder than he planned.

One of my personal goals this year is to make more and more choices based on the person I want to be rather than how I feel. Just today I was at the grocery store picking up some items for my parents. It was sleeting (This is why I moved to Arizona, I hate cold freezing rain). I couldn’t find where I parked my dad’s car in the grocery store parking lot and I was getting wet, cold, and hungry. I started to grumble and complain.

But then I remembered I had a choice. I don't like myself when I whine and complain and I don’t want circumstances to determine who I am or how I behave. It was a simple moment of awareness – where I saw that I had a choice. I couldn’t change the weather, I couldn’t change the fact that I couldn't find my car, I couldn’t do anything about those things but I could get a grip on my mood and I did. It was a powerful moment to practice once again CORE strength, even when I was all by myself, nobody looking, nobody cared but me and God. But when we practice these things in the small moments we are much more prepared when the big moments come.

This week and next I’ve invited a guest blogger to share some insights she has learned this year in her journey after leaving her destructive marriage. Dawn has written here before and I’m sure you will be blessed by her words. At the end, she asks some questions and makes some challenges. I hope you will decide and commit. You won’t regret it.

The Glorious Unbecoming

By Dawn Perry

Perhaps what He noticed about her first, in eternity past, was that she was now answering to the names others called her. Their judgment had done its job. I’m sure that’s what broke His heart more than anything else, the crushing of her spirit.

As He looked back He saw more. The pain of her life ~ the events that caused the behavior, her poor choices made in ignorance, the sequestering of her soul, the futility of her own cyclical thinking, the many men who had fed off of her brokenness for their own gain ~ used her, chewed her up and spit her out. They were her norm. To her they were love.

This, along with the religious “others” that simply formed their own “church” at the well each morning to deliver their verdict on her life made up her tribe. That’s what was heartbreaking to Him ~ their “religion” that formed a wall leaving her on the outside.

That’s why He needed to go to her, to get up off His Throne, begin His role in the bloody and brutal process of redemption. The yoke of her slavery to it all had simply become too much to bear ~ for her and for Him. He knew who He had created, He knew her purpose, He saw how terribly off-course the whole thing had gone amidst the hotbed of the wrong “others” that surrounded her.

It was now time for Him to step in and set it all straight. He knew she needed Him, even though she didn’t know she needed him. So amidst even more scandalous controversy He chose to meet her that day, the male Messiah headed to the female Samaritan. He knew her knee would bend fully.

So that day He orchestrated something only He could provide for her. This was to be the day of her deliverance. The day He would move deeper to her dignity’s restoration as He called her His beloved and spoke tenderly, truthfully to her, drawing her to Himself. Once those had been secured, He would show her His plan … her destiny. This mid-day meeting at the well, in the heat of the noonday sun, so steeped in history, this was the Scriptural Day of her “Glorious Unbecoming.”

Here we are centuries later, Christ Sisters, and for so many of us, the story hasn’t changed much from the one in John 4 ~ a story of victimization, wrong assimilation of our own identities from others, and the dried up bones of a crushed spirit.

Here we are set to begin 2017 with the same excited anticipation and expectations that have met all of our other New Years ~ the superficial work of goals, diets, gym memberships, organization, more doing, more effort on our part ~ more of our own “cyclical thinking.” It’s the distracting layer covering the deeper work that He longs, yes, longs, to perform in each of us and we don’t even know it.

Just like the woman at the well, if we were to answer honestly, our best “cyclical thinking” delivered us right into these circumstances of pain that bring you to reading this. What if we were to succumb to the deeper work that Jesus desires us to do in 2017? Radical change ~ like the woman at the well. What if we committed to 2017 being the year of our own personal deliverance, restoration of our dignity, and the unveiling of destiny?

What if, with the deepest bending of our knees, at the end of 2017, we could look back with different eyes and see healing so transformational it calls for worship. It’s totally possible. It’s what He has come this year to offer ~ the deliverance of your own “Glorious Unbecoming.”

Over this week and next, we will explore the gift that Jesus went out of His way that day to deliver to the woman at the well, her personal one-on-one with the Master that would be her own “Glorious Unbecoming.” How He does that, the work and commitment entailed on our part, and results produced by our alignment with Him and His purposes for our lives.

Like the Samaritan woman, in varying degrees, we are all off-track. The difference is, we stand centuries later with the ability to begin at the end of her success story.

The Hero’s nod to His characteristic championing of the underdogs in life ~ that’s why He tucked her front and center in the midst of Gospel Scripture. Of this we can be sure ~ this story is because of His deep, deep love and commitment for women and His compassion for their brokenness.

It is that love that drove Him down off of His Throne, into human skin, to walk amongst the broken right to her that day ~ it is that same love that drives Him to us today. The question isn’t, “Is healing there?” the right question to ask is, “How badly do you want it?”

To begin the process, let’s start by asking ourselves this question as a framework for 2017. Let’s follow the example of scripture and begin with the end in mind. “How much of my God-given potential and calling do I want to have accomplished when I stand before Him to give answer and account for those very things?” Answer honestly.

What’s the number in percentage terms? I doubt many of you are going to come back with a 62%, 75% or even 90%. How many of the overachievers amongst us shot back with the 100% or even 105%? Then ask yourself this question. What are the deterrents that keep you from reaching that potential ~held you locked into your own cyclical thinking?

So as we stand at the outset of 2017, let’s agree to prepare our hearts to receive more of Him this year, less of us; because in all honesty that’s where the healing is ~ more Spirit-led, less worked based. More truth and reality as we allow the scales to be peeled from our tainted thinking.

If we look at the model worshiper in John 4 we can clearly see that she will be Spirit led and truth based. This is the worshiper He sets His heart on. Let's become, for the lack of better phrasing, gloriously undone!

In an unprecedented new way, with the marked precision of a front-line warrior, let’s set our sites, get ready to aim our fully surrendered, bended knees, and lock our gaze deep into His eyes. In ways that help us to reach our goals and reach our full potential of His calling in our lives. To welcome 2017 as your year of restoration and hope.

How can we know this can be true? She bore witness with a great AMEN in John 4; and, indeed, we can watch it unfold in our own lives. He placed her there, for those of us who needed to hear her story centuries later ~ the severely wounded, those trashed by “religion”, judged, humiliated, wearing badges of dishonor of our own making. They are laboriously quilted together with the names others have called us, the one’s we’ve believed to be true.

Christ Sisters, let’s take this opportunity next week to dissect the method of her healing, the same healing He longs to do in each of us. It’s quite simple, yet radical in its deliverance. Let’s look to see how He imparts to her what only He has the ability to give ~ her deliverance, her dignity, and her destiny. Let’s see how she was transformed by Him ~ broken to beautiful … deep down to her soul. Oh, how she ran that day after she sat with Him, right back into the midst of her oppressors ~ wrapped in her Glorious Unbecoming. She bore her new name proudly, it had penetrated her core, because He had given it to her. She was now victorious.

2017… it stands before us. I would encourage you to ponder and dialogue below through the following this week in preparation for next. How much of your God-given calling and potential would you like to fulfill in your lifetime? It is often said that deep level healing cannot occur until the pain of staying where we outweigh the pain of change, is that true yet in your own life?

What are the deterrents that are hindering your change and/or the fulfilling of your calling? Are they man-made, incorrect thinking, or a true season of God-given testing? How truthful do you think your own thinking is? Can you pinpoint where the enemy has taken footholds in your life and thinking?  (Click to Tweet)

Are you surrounded by helpful “others”?

Finally, I would encourage you to have this honest conversation with yourself. It starts with the principle Christ often used to those whom He encountered in His ministry. Do you WANT to be healed? If so, how badly?

95 Comments

  1. Wendy on January 4, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Thank you Dawn, this post comes at a most precious time in my personal walk with Jesus Christ. Yesterday I was at the courthouse filing for a divorce. I was a member of a large church had many friends I thought of as family. God brought me across the country to a little quiet place and begin to reveal to me how much he loved me. That he was not surprised by my failures or my sin. That he in fact knew them when he committed himself to the cross. He knew I would experience abuse and he knew why I would experience it. He knew the parts of my heart he would need to heal and he chose to pour his life out for me. There is nothing that can separate me from the love of Christ. He came to set the captives free he came to set me free from my own self condemnation and sin. The day before I went to the courthouse I spent it on the floor feeling so sad that I had to make this choice. Longing more than anything to pour my love out on my husband and have him receive it. I have come to forgive him and pray for him every day. This took many months and no contact with abuser in order to heal my heart. When I woke up yesterday getting ready to go to the courthouse God revealed to me that he was still there still loving me still forgiving me still pouring over me the healing waters of his forgiveness. I have come now to learn as the woman at the well, how amazing it feels to be loved and forgiven in your worst failures. God is not surprised by my failures he knew that I needed him and without him I could do nothing. So I receive his forgiveness I receive his healing but most of all I am humbled by such grace that knows no limits. Such a shame that we would put limits on God’s grace that we would worry more about pleasing man then giving him the 100% that we long to. I will not stand and give an account for anyone but myself when I stand before him. He has made it very clear from the beginning of the Bible to the end that he will never leave us or for sake us. He is not surprised by our sin and Jesus Christ was given to cover it all! I desperately need him because he is the voice of truth that tells me that I am forgiven and loved in every single one of my failures. I can learn from my failures and be better and deeper as a woman of God. I can take these failures and testify there’s nothing that my savior cannot do and cannot forgive. Please my dear sisters let us not stay in self condemnation. Run to your heavenly father he is the witness between you and your pain and sorrow. He knows the truth he will reward you as you seek him and give him your heart.

    • Pauline K. Ceprish on January 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      I pour out my love to my husband in so many ways and at the same time have this fear that I’m going to be abused verbally again some day when I don’t please him. And it still isn’t good between him and my children. He says they are trouble makers and calls my church family all nuts. I don’t know where to go with all this but to the Lord. I’m strong in my faith and believe as I read in my devotions this morning that ” The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them, He delivers them from all their troubles.””The lord will be close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in Spirit”. Ps 34: 17, 18 What I really question sometimes is if I can be healed in my broken heartedness staying in relationship with him or would it be better to separate again. He’s says he won’t go for a divorce and he wouldn’t sign a divorce. Please pray for me to make the right choice for me and my family of children and grandchildren and if you have any enlightenment on this please share. Thank you. Pauline

      • Pauline K. Ceprish on January 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        I pour out my love to my husband in so many ways and at the same time have this fear that I’m going to be abused verbally again some day when I don’t please him. And it still isn’t good between him and my children. He says they are trouble makers and calls my church family all nuts. I don’t know where to go with all this but to the Lord. I’m strong in my faith and believe as I read in my devotions this morning that ” The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them, He delivers them from all their troubles.””The lord will be close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in Spirit”. Ps 34: 17, 18 What I really question sometimes is if I can be healed in my broken heartedness staying in relationship with him or would it be better to separate again. He’s says he won’t go for a divorce and he wouldn’t sign a divorce. Please pray for me to make the right choice for me and my family of children and grandchildren and if you have any enlightenment on this please share. Thank you. Pauline

        • Dawn on January 6, 2017 at 1:41 am

          Hi Pauline,
          Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am grateful for the space you are making in your life to seek Christ daily. It sounds as if you have experienced abuse in the past in your relationship. I hear you say you are living in fear. That is a harsh taskmaster and certainly not evidence of the way Christ loves us. So is the fruit of your marriage love fear? That is telling of it’s health.
          One of the big takeaways we get from the woman at the well is that she was in desparate need of the right “others” in her life. The ones she had been involved in really crushed her spirit.
          I would encourage you to make sure you are in a community who truly understands and can offer you support in the circumstances you find yourself. Is there a recovery group you can attend ? Counseling ? Are you able to affiliate w one of Leslie’s groups?
          Because there tends to be a large ignorance in the area of spousal abuse in the evangelical community , it is imperative that the ones you allow in your life’s rowboat aren’t drilling holes in the back while you are desperately trying to row.
          If you keep seeking the Master, align w the right others and continue to educate and strengthen your core your vision on the future will begin to take shape. One small act of obedience at a time.
          Praying for you – for that healing touch you are craving.

      • Free on January 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

        If love could cure abuse, it would have be abolished a long time ago. You can’t fix an abuser with love or anything else. It is a thinking pattern of entitlement in which becomes a culture to them, ingrained in every cell of their being. The traits are control, manipulation, the desire to win, lack of empathy, ownership attitudes and often, immaturity.

        • Ruth on January 17, 2017 at 9:57 pm

          you are SO right. Can abusers change just from the offer of what Leslie calls extravagant love & grace? I believe they will choose not to. However, There’s the slimmest chance they MIGHT reform if they hit rock bottom and/or face painful consequences.

  2. Dawn on January 4, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Hugs from afar, Wendy! Yes, I am grateful today that you have allowed yourself the gift of becoming Gloriously Undone. Beautiful. You arrest to the same prescription as our Samaritan friend in John 4. You took yourself away for a time w the Master. Radical in thinking to many. Survival to you, I’m sure.
    Keep seeking Him. You’re right – He is there. He will never leave because He loves you so wildly…perfectly.
    When we look to Him we are RADIANT (emphasis mine), and we will never be ashamed. Ps 34:5
    I am praying for your Glorioius Unbecoming … Is 43:19

    • Pauline K. Ceprish on January 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      Thank for that comment “When we look to Him we are RADIANT, and we will never be ashamed.” Ps34:5 We are daughters of the King. We are his bride!!:)

  3. Jessica on January 4, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Everything that I read touched me deeply. How do we begin the deep healing when we don’t have those “at the well” moments?

    • Dawn on January 5, 2017 at 5:56 am

      Thank you, Jessica, for a great question. I would dare to say that even in the asking of it perhaps the stirring of the Holy Spirit and the longing for it has already begun.
      I would encourage us all to make room, time, and opportunity for those “at the well” moments. Let’s use our Samaritan woman in the story as an example of what her encounter looked like. My guess is, by her actions, she knew she knew something in her life wasn’t quite right. She was at the well, alone, at noon. The common custom would have had her there at daybreak, in the cool of the day, with the other village women.
      Once there she found Jesus waiting to draw her to Himself. Centuries haven’t changed or quenched that desire in Him to do the same for us. So her first responsibility was to simply respond to His question , because He had already done the work of meeting her where she was. It began with a simple conversation during a mundane daily task.
      By the looks of it, pretty quickly He captivated her with conversation and she engaged. He drew her to Himself with truth, ugly truths about her life. He was different though. His presentation of the facts captivated her and drew her in to Him. Others had spoken those same truths to her and they had driven her to a place of shame. More importantly He revealed to her who He was.
      Here’s the key, she believed Him. That moment changed her trajectory. It was her glorious unbecoming.
      In that moment He became the object of her affection and He changed her life. He gave her three key items that were only His to bestow upon her – deliverance, dignity and destiny.
      Once she understood who she was in relationship to Him, she was off and running. She couldn’t be contained – real, transforming love for the first time.
      Here’s the best news … nothing’s changed.
      His mission is still the same for each of us today. Will we make time to first invite Him in, then meet Him in deep and honest conversation (prayer).
      Will we listen to Him (through reading His word and when the Holy Spirit speaks). Most importantly, are we willing to believe He has the power to make that radical transformation in us and yield ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit.
      I believe, Jessica, those “at the well” moments are there for us today. The simple start is to admit what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked. and we invite Jesus to do His redemptive work in our lives.
      Then the freedom and transformation that ensues will have us running to share the same good news to others.

  4. Free on January 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Leslie, I recommend the song “Happy” by Pharell Williams. Works every time. 🙂

  5. Jessica on January 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Very uplifting post this week. Thank you.

    • Dawn on January 5, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Thank you, Jessica, for taking time to read it and comment.

  6. Nancy on January 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Dawn,
    What a beautiful post. This fall I went to a retreat for post abortion healing. I had carried the weight and condemnation of it for over 25 years. Jesus met me at that retreat and washed me clean. The depth of His love and healing caught me by surprise.
    But YES, just before I left for the retreat I came face to face with exactly that question. He asked me, do u want to be healed?

    • Nancy on January 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      The main thing that kept popping into my mind as I re-read these great questions just now was: the fear of man.

      The fear of man has been a deep seated, twisted root system in my mind and heart that has poisoned my thinking in so many ways. It was born from family situations ( family of origin and continued in my marriage) where perfection and image were the highest ideal.

      This is why the C of Leslie’s CORE is so crucial. Committed to living in truth.

      I have been praying for the fear of The Lord for about a year and a half now. I have no idea what it FEELS like ( I understand the concept – that I would care more about what ABBA thinks than anyone else).

      If anyone has any experience with this journey from fear of man to the fear of The Lord, I’d love to hear it 🙂

      • Dawn on January 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

        Yes, Nancy, I understand fully about the props we use to surround ourselves to create the scripted stage of a perfect life. It traps us in some pretty dark places. The more resources we have the better equipped we can make the stage look to the community. The fact that we are rooted and committed to that system speaks volumes of our foundational belief systems. The fear of anything, but especially man, is a wicked captor and an evil task master. I was gripped there for most of my life.
        Yes, the Belt of Truth in our spiritual armor is a core piece of equipment. Take a moment to notice where it is placed ~ over our “loins” or “guts”, the very place from which health originates in our body. WOW.
        As for your prayer, maybe think on this; what if you prayed to be washed anew and for an abundantly overwhelming filling of the Holy Spirit and deep awareness of His love for you.
        I have noticed in my own life that the more I have come to understand and become intimately acquainted with Him and how deep His love is for me, and who I am in Him, my love for Him grows. As that love for Him has grown, so have I. As I grow and become more secure in my own identity through Him, the less I care about who or what anyone thinks of me. That fear of man has been replaced by an overwhelming desire to receive more of that love. For the first time, I understand I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love (His towards us) drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
        So I now understand that I am required to revere Him for who He is (that’s my understanding of that type of fear I believe you are seeking here). While I stand in awe of His awesomeness, I can also understand that I can receive an abundance of His perfect love for me. That love is trustworthy. There is NEVER a time that it is not acting in my best interest. That very thing is what allows me to love Him freely and fiercely, and most importantly without fear. He doesn’t have it in His character to be able to cause me harm. THAT is radical. Who else in the camp of man can that be said about?
        Thereby the work of perfect love has been completed, it has done its job. There is no more crippling fear… there is only the residue of my total awe at His perfect love towards me.
        Does that make sense?

        • Nancy on January 5, 2017 at 9:56 pm

          Dawn,
          The fact that a belt sits at our gut. Wow, indeed! I had just shared last week on this Blog, that a big part of my journey has been learning to trust my gut, and reconnecting with my body. I’m learning that I know the truth when I hear it. I also know when something is off.

          The rest of your response I will read and re-read. Asking to be washed, filled abundantly with the Holy Spirit and a deep awareness of His Love for me- yes.

          Thank you.

          • Dawn on January 6, 2017 at 1:53 am

            I am in agreement with you for that Nancy, and it is His desire to give that to you. So let’s thank Him in advance for that.
            Yes continue to make more room for Him and the right others , weed out the ones who no longer align with your values. His voice is so clear when we are able to eliminate the peripheral noise.
            You are loved. I am praying.



          • Nancy on January 7, 2017 at 6:13 am

            “Continue to make room for Him and right others, weed out the ones who no longer align with your values. His voice is so clear when we are able to eliminate the peripheral noise.”

            Let every heart prepare Him room – that’s an active, intentional process isn’t it?

            The Lord gave ourvfamily a great gift this Christmas. He removed both our mothers to other cities (first time in 20 years that both were gone on Christmas day). We invited believers to celebrate Christ on Christmas! What a difference that made.

            We now have a template for preparing Him room.

            It was this emotional space, I believe, that allowed us to have a very frank discussion where my husband realized that he had put our marriage on a pedestal and decided to join me in separating, emotionally and physically, from our marriage- I had separated from him at the beginning of April.

            Eliminating the noise and preparing Him room in my own enmeshed heart is painful. I am tired. But I am so grateful that He will never give up on me!



    • Dawn on January 5, 2017 at 8:50 am

      Thank you, Nancy, for sharing. How beautiful and free you must feel right now after carrying such a weight for all of these years.
      I am sure there are others who need your story because it is a sacred trust ~ that’s what miracles and transformed lives are. They are gifts of sacred trust because they are no small thing.
      So yes, delight in His presence … in His fullness of joy. That will be a light in a dark place to many who need to see it. Like our Samaritan friend. Take your healing back to the people that need it.
      Ps. 34:5 Those who look to Him are RADIANT and they will never be ashamed (emphasis mine).

  7. Aleea on January 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Leslie, I am so praying for your dad’s recovery from surgery.

    Dawn, thank you so much for this, very thoughtful and very helpful.

    “Finally, I would encourage you to have this honest conversation with yourself. It starts with the principle Christ often used to those whom He encountered in His ministry. Do you WANT to be healed? If so, how badly?” . . . .Wow, that’s a very good question, my counselor, Dr. Meier, always tells me: “Aleea, part of you desperately wants to heal (—get over your past: Let yourself feel. Let yourself heal), but a smaller part of you is resistant and keeps sending/re-sending the bill to your mother (—my childhood abuser) for payment.” I always pray: “Lord God, I know I can if You help me. I can let go and fully forgive her.” . . .But forgiveness, like salvation, like sanctification is not a one time decision; it is a journey and a process that takes time, determination, et. al. I’m damaged, I’m broken, I have trust issues. —But I still try to say: “I’m healing, I’m rediscovering myself, I’m starting over.” But I also suspect that at a very deep level what I am really wondering is if I can fully trust all the claims made for God. I somehow have wrapped healing in with Christianity and maybe they are two separate things. . . .I so don’t want to be intellectually dishonest. In the law, what can be asserted without evidence (—evidence that that scales with the claims) can also be dismissed without evidence. Everyone can have their own opinion but never their own facts. That is why extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence that scales with the claim. Some days I don’t know which is harder for me to believe: that God did everything in the Bible or that God can bring back to life all the beautiful things my mother killed in childhood. Both seem pretty unlikely and highly unnatural to me. So I am always praying: Lord, I believe; help all my unbelief. That seems the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels.

    “What are the deterrents that are hindering your change and/or the fulfilling of your calling? Are they man-made, incorrect thinking, or a true season of God-given testing? Can you pinpoint where the enemy has taken footholds in your life and thinking?”. . . .These are more excellent questions. . . .In her books, Dr. Judith Herman, constantly talks about the conflict between the will to deny horrible facts and the will to proclaim them aloud being the central dialectic of psychological trauma. . . .―I feel that about my childhood but Christianity as well. . .—Oh, the questions people would ask if empowered to do so, ―Wow. . . People way too often admonish, “Don’t rock the boat,” or they urge us not to injure the good work the church is doing in other domains by posing too many questions. Worst of all, they ask us not to disturb the faith of believers, as though the suppression of knowledge can somehow advance the faith. In so doing, they are postponing a rendezvous with the issues that are emptying the churches and crippling the intellectual integrity of Christianity. . . .Evil seeks to discourage others to think for themselves (—it fosters dependency). That is why we have to help people understand not what to think but how to think. How do you evaluate what you see without letting your emotions hijack your intellect? That is not easy to do as our own world views carry their own criteria for plausibility. Most people, me too, given the choice to face a hideous or terrifying truth or to conveniently avoid it, choose the convenience and peace of normality. —And as I have learned, that doesn’t make them strong or weak people, or good or bad people. It just makes them people. —But, that whole mentality conditions us to be slaves. The minute we abandon our inquisitive nature, we cede our consciences to the whims of abusers: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, et.al. . . . .When we’re afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. I know I do. Our fear paralyzes us. Fear is always the driving force behind repression.

    “How truthful do you think your own thinking is?”. . . .Another, really important question. I look for my own motivated reasoning and if I can see any, I go after it by increasing my reading/study/questions on the other side of the arguments I want to be true. When you do. . .well see for yourself. For me, I just don’t know lots of things anymore. Not claiming to know something I don’t know isn’t a character flaw, it is a virtue. . . . .And I know for me that is being honest because I am no longer pretending to know things I just don’t know. Examination and reexamination are allies of truth. . . .What if beliefs about our spouses are functioning the same way (—Oh, they are basically good) and that keeps us from finding out the truth much quicker because we are overlooking all the things that just don’t add up. People get used to anything, after a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. —Anyways, I don’t see any other way to catch abuse quicker then refining our God-given rational, critical, logical reasoning abilities. . . .But, as always, you listen to what God tells you and think independently but think about the way you think too! . . . .Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.

  8. Yvonne on January 4, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Aleea – WOW – I enjoyed reading your response. There were a couple points that really hit home for me – I will certainly be meditating on these. Appreciate your honesty – your willingness to be vulnerable and sharing your journey with us. will be praying for healing!

    • Aleea on January 6, 2017 at 6:26 am

      Thank you so, so, so much Yvonne for the prayers. . . . All my posts can be reduced to one sentence: Please pray for me, and know that I am praying for you!

  9. Yvonne on January 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Dawn – you are a powerful writer. I am very interested in the follow ups. I have been monitoring my thinking since 2011 – when my husband had his last impaired driving in our marriage. So much of what I thought was true and real was deceit and false. In the years to follow I have often chatted with a counsellor about how I think about something – desperately wanting to change how I thought. The manipulations, lies and deceit had me so stripped of confidence that I really did not know if I thought right about anything – I learned to shut off my intuition, shut down my courage, boldness and confidence and became a very wonderful puppet. I appeared strong on the outside but the inside had crumbled so desperately I was afraid to be me – so much of what Leslie has described in her article of resourcefulness, strength, courage, compassion, etc. I squashed it all for man’s approval and to remain in a marriage.
    Thank you to all the brave souls bearing their stories – each one helps – each one gives me insight into a deeper part or perhaps even opens an area I’ve never considered.
    Sisters – stay the course – we are heading straight toward the goal!

    • Dawn on January 6, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Thanks, Yvonne. I can relate. When your “life rug” gets ripped out from under you there is a period of time that feels like a free-fall into a black hole of space…but for Jesus. There’s the lifeline!
      Here is the verse that comes to mind regarding your above situation. “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, I came that they may have life and have it ABUNDANTLY!” John 10:10 (emphasis mine).
      May we all commit to our own Glorious Unbecoming in the months ahead, and may 2017 be the year that we see life’s abundance in Him.

  10. Teddi on January 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Excellent article!

    • Dawn on January 6, 2017 at 2:58 am

      Thank you, Teddi, for taking the time to read and comment.

  11. Roby on January 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Your phrase “a wrong assimilation of our own identities from others” is particularly powerful for me. It is quite a battle to draw lines and set up boundaries. What God has really put on my heart to ask Him this new year is this, “Who do You say that I am?” I really want him to write that all over my heart in such a way when my mouth says it, my whole being believes it. I think of Gideon who was fearful and somewhat cowardly and God called him Mighty Warrior. I want to know who God says I am so I can live in and towards that identity.

    • Dawn on January 6, 2017 at 3:06 am

      Yes! Yes! Yes!!! Roby, you’re on it!! I LOVE that interaction w Gideon. Such a signature trademark of our Heavenly Abba Father, the calling of the end from the beginning. Here He finds Gideon cowering in the threshing floor and speaks his true identity to him – Valiant Warrior. He saw Gideon, like He sees each of us, as He created us. Giving Gideon an opportunity to join Him in that vision He had for His life.
      Yes, Roby, may we each seek and see ourselves as He created us. This is truth. This is who we are!

  12. Dawn on January 5, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Aleea, I love your posts. They are thought provoking and help in the “iron sharpening iron” department.
    Here’s where I found some well needed freedom in some of this, as I myself tend to be very analytical and logic based. I found myself caught in a trap of “overthinking” ~ analyzing to death, pontificating on several potential outcomes to each situation, orchestrating my responses, struggling for control. Quite honestly, I finally had to admit to myself it was my desire for control, often times my attempt to manipulate outcomes. Ouch. That was a harsh truth that the Lord graciously showed me about myself. He showed me graciously that my best logical thinking had twisted me right into my present circumstance … YIKES! He asked if I could just STOP. STOP for the first time in my life, and just receive. WHAT? That was speaking a foreign language to a chronic over producer / over thinker.
    That’s where I am now, learning a new dance …with Him. Learning to receive and respond. Learning to approach each unfolding event first with worship. I mean sit there long enough until I can get up and act in accordance to the word He has given me on the situation based on the woman I’d like to become. That’s where I see you are, getting the work done to live out of your CORE belief system … war on, Christ Sister!
    One step at a time, unburdened by my own overthinking…less doing, more being. EEK. It’s all very uncomfortable yet freeing … this learning to let Him love me.

    • Aleea on January 5, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you so much Dawn,

      . . . .I would not say I am analytical and logic based. —I love emotions. I am so, so emotional. You would not believe how emotional. I cry so easily. —I think the analytical and logic based stuff exists in case I have to defend myself. As honestly as I know how: I am afraid and scared. I think I am afraid of real, honest, true love. I want God to take me in His arms and just love me to the ground. . . .I want real love but I think if I got real love I would completely fall apart. —Anyways, that is what Dr. Meier has told me. . . .I try not to control situations but I think I tend toward control. . .but I also love chaos because in it new learning happens. . . . I don’t really know what that even means to “STOP and just receive.” . . .But, sometimes when I am praying, I just stop and imagine my head in Christ’s lap, just that, nothing else. Just me and the Lord. That’s my new dance with Him, no dance. . . .But Dawn, I don’t know how to receive. . . . “Less doing, more being.” —I get that but I still don’t know how to receive. I say it this way but I can’t do it: The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable. . . .When reading the Bible, I see so many things expressed symbolically, everywhere, maybe because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate. . . . .I hate loneliness and the pain of being alone and yet I love solitude, just the glory (—or whatever is going on) of being alone in prayer. —Anyways, thank you for caring. . . . .I think I am too chaotic to ever get depressed. Depression somehow requires an ordered mind where the depression can get a hold of something. And always, I just love suggestions for growth, . . . .“learning to let Him love me” . . . I get it and don’t get it ALL at the same time. . . .Here is what I am thinking: Maybe there is just Love. The separation of faith and love is always a consequence of a deterioration of Christianity. . . There is only Love. Love is the emotional expression of a courageous YES to our own true being? . . . Somehow, when we can do that, we are able to create something beyond, logic, reason, evidence? —Anyways, the first duty of love is to listen, thank you for listening.

  13. Aleea on January 5, 2017 at 10:37 am

    . . . .“Don’t stay too long in the shame-filled grounds of relapse” . . . .They would not be “shame-filled” if so much shame was not involved in all of this healing, especially when it is linked with Christianity. In churches, that shame is like a wound that is never exposed and therefore never heals. I feel ashamed I don’t believe the party lines of everything in Christianity but I see no way to do that without being intellectually dishonest. I have had plenty of times when I have looked at this and thought: Faith taints and often removes our curiosity about the world. Faith replaces wonder with epistemological arrogance (—I know that I know) disguised as false humility. Faith immutably alters the starting conditions for inquiry by uprooting a hunger to know and sowing a warrantless confidence. . . . .The principle of analogy is so simple, so natural, that everyone uses it in daily life. I get to my hotel after a long hard day of travel and sit down in front of the television. The first image I see is that of a giant reptile squashing tall buildings. Is my first hunch, “Oh! The news channel!”? —No way, I surmise the cable set box has been left on the science fiction channel. —Why? Because one’s world of contemporary experience does not include newscasts of giant dinosaurs wreaking havoc in modern cities, but one has seen monster movies in which such disasters are quite typical. Which analogy does the TV screen image fit? . . .If one had sufficient evidence to warrant belief in a particular claim, then one wouldn’t believe the claim on the basis of faith. “Faith” is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway. I am so sorry but everywhere I went to school that is called intellectual dishonesty. . . . .But, we are complicated, it could be true in another sense that I don’t yet understand. Everything is not just rational but it does look like beliefs almost always depend on the community in which you were raised or live. It seems, therefore, that belief very likely tracks not truth but social conditioning. What if God rewards those who are totally honest, really honest and have to walk alone because of it, those who don’t believe on the basis of insufficient evidence. No amount of belief makes something a fact. Few things seem more dangerous than people who think they’re in possession of the absolute truth. What is so bad about honest inquiry with sincere questions and an open mind that says “We just don’t know.” . . . .I have been thinking lots about this and it seems “God loves us” really, in reality means “Love is really important,” “Love prevails in the end.” Love is and does but not dogma.

  14. Jessica on January 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I believe that it is very difficult to hold fast to the truth when you feel that you are in a destructive relationship. Your mind is polluted with so many different things. You battle being disappointed in yourself as well as deal with the criticism from others from past mistakes. When your spouse feels like the enemy it crushes your spirit and you never know if it is “deserved” criticisms or whether you need to speak up and stand up for yourself. The only truth you have is the Word of God and if you aren’t familiar with it or have a relationship with God you feel so lost. You have to stand firm on what is true and not the lies. A constant battle. Moment by moment.. step by step sometimes. And a belief that He is there and He is faithful no matter what our feelings say.

    • James on January 5, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      “The only truth you have is the Word of God and if you aren’t familiar with it or have a relationship with God you feel so lost.”

      Very wise words indeed.

  15. Dawn on January 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Aleea – you are so very wise and very welcome !

    • Aleea on January 6, 2017 at 6:30 am

      . . .please (—if God leads you to) pray for the application of useful knowledge in my life so that I can really heal. . . . .Emotion without reason (—and I really have to work very hard not to operate totally out of emotion) lets people walk all over you. . . . But, reason without emotion is a mask for just cruelty. . . .We all practice self-deception to a degree. I know no woman who can handle complete honesty without being deeply cut at each and every turn. There’s not enough room in a woman’s head for sanity alongside each grief, each worry, each terror. . . . . Subconsciously, we probably know why everything that happens is happening, but a truth suppressed is a reality ignored. —And it is such hard work to get the unconscious into our awareness. Once we really see it, we can feel it, God can then heal it, sometimes way more than once. . . .But it involves so much crying. I am so tired of crying. . . . .Unless we learn to know ourselves, we run the danger of destroying ourselves. . . . i.e. The first person you have to resurrect is yourself. —Have you ever had an experience with God as wild as your most incredible life experience? I think I have but it involved even more crying. Christians are such cry-babies, ha, ha, ha, ha. . . . .but maybe the only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are infants.

  16. James on January 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Dawn,

    Thanks for filling in for Leslie as she is caring for her father. Lets all keep Leslie and her dad in our prayers as he recovers.

    I have a question about your contributing blog which was, incidentally, very well written. You certainly have a way of capturing one’s imagination with words. I hope you continue to use that gift.

    “Here we are centuries later, Christ Sisters, and for so many of us, the story hasn’t changed much from the one in John 4 ~ a story of victimization, wrong assimilation of our own identities from others, and the dried up bones of a crushed spirit.”

    I’m curious what lead you to see the woman at the well as a victim. She is at the very least, committing sexual immorality. It is even possible that when Jesus said, “The man you have is not your husband” He meant that the man she has is someone else’s husband.

    It is entirely possible that this Samaritan woman is the “other woman” in a man’s life. In either case, she is not the victim she one of the abusers.

    I think this makes the story all the more glorious. Jesus came not to give living water to an innocent victim but to a sinful woman who was gloriously undone by grace.

    • Nancy on January 5, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Hi James,

      “Hurting people, hurt people”, comes to mind. Most abusers, I would think, were victims at some point with “wrong assimilation of (their) identity from others”.

      I’ll get out of the middle now, and see what Dawn has to say 🙂

      • James on January 6, 2017 at 2:38 pm

        Nancy,

        That has been my own experience at least. Many of the men I have worked with have some pretty horrid stories to tell of their own childhood.

        There is a delicate balance I see here, perhaps you see it as well.

        For example. I am walking with a man through recovery to a porn addiction.

        It appears to me there are a number of dynamics at play.

        First, he is responsible for his own choices. No one made him continue to look at porn. He has to own the harm those choices have impacted his marriage.

        Second, he was hurt by his own father’s poor choice. To “help him become a man” his father bought him a pornographic magazine on his 12th birthday.

        Third, Jesus offers healing and forgiveness. He needs to move past the identities that ping pong back and forth in his own estimation. One moment he is the innocent victim and he is angry at his father and angry at his wife that she doesn’t have more compassion for what his father did to him.

        The next moment he sees himself as a filthy and unholy man who cannot bear the weight of his guilt.

        Perhaps the key is to let go of both of those identities. He’s not the victim, he is now a new creation, he is no longer yoked to that sin. He is no longer filthy, the blood of Christ has cleansed him from all sin.

        He is forgive, he is free to drink of the water of life, like the woman at the well. And he is free to go and to tell others how meeting Jesus made all the difference.

        • Nancy on January 6, 2017 at 3:54 pm

          Yes, James, I see the delicate balance. Breaking free of being a victim involves first acknowledging that we were victimized. That acknowledgment provokes a ‘reaction phase’ – anger- after all it was wrong for his father to give him a porn magazine! That’s righteous anger! That pain needs validation. The trick is not living too long in the reaction phase, it’s moving through that to a healthier mindset. This is what you are helping him to do.

          May God Bless this man as he faces his sin and that of generations before him. May God Bless you as you walk with him through it!

          • James on January 7, 2017 at 1:23 am

            “That pain needs validation. The trick is not living too long in the reaction phase, it’s moving through that to a healthier mindset.”

            Very well said.



          • Nancy on January 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm

            Hi James,
            It strikes me that this man might really benefit from you praying over him – specifically against generational sin.

            A friend of mine has done that for me, and I really appreciated it!



        • Content on January 10, 2017 at 6:32 pm

          James,

          I’m almost positive something horrible happened to my husband when he was young to shut him down. I have a few reasons for believing this that would be inappropriate to share here, but I do believe it might have been sexual abuse.

          Sadly, his shutting down has led to a lot of pain in our marriage and after years of me pleading with him to open up to me, to talk to me and putting up with him stonewalling and gaslighting me, I am now separated from him for the past three months. I have never really known my husband at all — he is a mystery to me, really. I know as much about him as I guess any roommate that has sex with a roommate would know and other than that, as much about him as anyone in my family knows.

          I totally believe God led me to separate from him and I have a clean conscience in that I warned him for several years that I was going to reach a place of shutting down emotionally with him since I could not open up to him or share my hurt with him without him getting angry and walking out on me and then having to endure days of silence until he was ready to talk again. Other issues, too, like lying which he refused to take responsibility for (which was the real kicker for me….) and ongoing ogling of women throughout our marriage. (He was exposed to pornography when he was around 8, I think?)

          I don’t even know why I’m typing this except to maybe hear some hope. I would love to hear some stories of hope, not “these men are too far gone for Christ.”

          Have you seen men with the issues that we talk about here reach the bottom and finally cry out to God and be willing to open up about their childhoods and start to live from truth, not hiding?

          I already know that God can reach anyone. And, I really believe that God has told me that my husband will be saved. The hard part for me is that I have not heard from God any kind of “when” that would be and I have to accept that my husband could find another woman, marry her and be saved later down the road.

          I’m in the process of doing the work of surrendering the outcome of my marriage to God, but surrender is painful. I keep thinking I’m there and then the grief and trying to grasp it all back comes on again. Although, I guess, grief can come even after surrender – especially after being married for so long.

          Well, anyway – thanks for any stories of hope. I do know that my hope needs to be in Christ and not a restored marriage.

          • Connie on January 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

            There are two ministries from which I have seen true change and healing. One is Caring for the Heart and the other is Elijah House. Both of those go to the heart and take Jesus into one’s past for healing, but the person has to really want to be healed first. And one thing the Lord impressed on me a few years ago was ‘no excuses’. Hurt people hurt people? Not an excuse. Many people who have been hurt do not hurt others. Rough childhood? Time to get healing for that, too. Don’t understand? Cry out to God and He will help you figure it out. We will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart, turn over every stone, dig for the pearl of great price. My current h found much healing in the first ministry, then he stuck his heels in the ground and said no to God in going further, but they would have prayed him through, I know. You’re right, surrender is the key. Let everything go. I think we wives try to help too much. They want us to be their mommies and spoon-feed them and then they resent us for doing it.



          • Content on January 10, 2017 at 11:17 pm

            Thanks, Connie.

            Surrendering and letting everything go are definitely the big issues right now for me. I feel God has taken me further into the surrendering this week, but there is much more to go, I know.



  17. Dawn on January 6, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Thank you, James (and Nancy) for your comments.
    Yes, our woman at the well certainly had the ability to be both victim and abuser – I had never thought of her in those terms before. This is why male perspectives are good. I can see her as a victim, at the very least, of her community. If it was better to bear the noon day sun than their presence in the cool of the morning, that speaks of significant pain.
    Nancy, yes, I agree with you … hurting people hurt people. Victims can easily inherit and assimilate the traits of their faulty foundations. So it is quite possible she bore the scars of both victim and abuser.
    While we can only speculate what Jesus meant when He made the comment about her current situation, of this we can be sure … she knew exactly what He meant, and she knew it to be true.
    The next part is what makes me fall madly in love w Jesus again and again and again. The “something” about Him that drew her in. His tenderness toward her, His validation of her pain, His lack of condemnation of her. Yep, all of that helps us to see
    that inside His love and redemption there is both room for the victim and the abuser. No matter our past lives, each Glorious Unbecoming begins on bended knees. May each of our knees bend quickly and fully as we become Gloriously Undone. Selah.

    • Connie on January 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      I wasn’t going to pick on details to distract from the message, but since it’s been started, I’ll chime in. I read an article written by a Jewish Rabbi about this story. He said that we Americans are far too quick to jump to conclusions and don’t understand the times of this story. If this woman did what we think she did, she would have been stoned long ago. Most likely she was barren, and had been kicked out by her husbands for not having a child. And the man she was with now, was likely someone she’s had to hire herself out to as a maid. It doesn’t say she was sleeping with him. Maybe she was being shamed by the other women for being barren, maybe she just didn’t want to hear the others chatting about their babies, or both, which explains being at the well alone. Either way, the hero and center of the story is Jesus, He alone knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, obviously this woman was set free and healed, and the power of love overcoming the love of power is always inspiring and healing, thanks be to God!!!!!!

  18. Nancy on January 6, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Grieftograce, dear Aleea. Pray about it. I am praying for you 🙂

  19. Wendy on January 6, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I am in a conundrum right now and it might help to have other people’s perspectives on this question in my life. I have suffered thirteen years of emotional and sexual abuse in my marriage. Through it all my husband’s counter punch has always been that I express myself too strongly, and I don’t measure my words before I say them. Yesterday we were in marriage counseling. The Christian counselor said my husband was not setting out to hurt me and just needed tools to learn how to love me better (FYI he was sexually violent for over ten years to the point where I became suicidal and only stopped when he became afraid that I would file for divorce). I explained that I believed there was an element of deliberation and self-awareness to my husband’s actions and gave an example – last week my husband said he had an epiphany. He realized that he tended to abuse his authority. My husband immediately interjected and denied saying that. He said he only meant in that specific situation. After that I basically shut down. On the way home, he tried to convince me that I heard wrong. I was very hurt that he was once again making me feel crazy. When we got home, I sent this email to my therapist.

    Hi [Therapist]

    Just so you know, on the way home [husband] claimed that I was mistaken – in your office he didn’t deny that he said he tended to abuse his authority. That he was merely further clarifying what he had said before. I believe the term for this behavior is gaslighting. I am convinced that [husband] is a covert narcissist and feel you’re feeding his delusions by telling him he is basically a nice guy who would do the right things if he just knew how. And it makes me feel victimized all over again.
    Please cancel my appointment for next week. I will not be coming.
    Thanks,
    [My name].

    I was not expecting a mea culpa – maybe I am misunderstanding his intent and techniques, but I did expect an email saying your appointment is cancelled and I am here when you feel ready to return to counseling. But but he has ignored me since then (and he is normally good about responding right away), which seems to validate what my husband says about me. Please can anyone comment on the email? Was I disrespectful, or maybe rude, unfair? Thank you.

    • Robin on January 10, 2017 at 12:18 am

      Wendy, Leslie often suggests it’s not wise to attend couples counseling- that it would be better for each spouse to have their own counselor.

    • Connie on January 10, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      I agree that couple’s counseling is not a good thing. If the counselor doesn’t know that, then he doesn’t understand abuse, which is already clear in what happened anyway. First, I would journal everything, secretly of course, even use a voice activated recorder in your pocket. If nothing else, for your own sanity, because I see that, like my 1st h, he has you confused by his reinventing history and crazy-making. He used to have epiphanies as well, and promptly forget them, then tell me I heard wrong.

      And yes, it is deliberate. Surely you have mentioned to him what is hurtful to you, and if he continues, then it’s deliberate. Reading Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That” as well as “Fool-proofing Your Life” by Jan Silvious were huge eye-openers for me. If it was not deliberate, then he would do it in public, not just behind closed doors, as in the car when the counselor wasn’t listening. It sounds like he’s into porn? That is adultery, not to mention horrid. I just read this week an article where porn producers were asked questions, and one thing they said was that they cater to men who hate women and love to see them suffer and be demeaned.

    • Dawn on January 11, 2017 at 4:04 am

      Hi Wendy,
      Thanks for your vulnerability. I have to agree with the concept that trying to put effort into healing a broken covenant relationship – your marriage – without starting with the individual foundational pieces of you and your husband is akin to slapping chocolate icing on a cardboard box of cake mix and serving it as dessert.
      Addressing the reality of what’s underneath the icing helps is to identify what we are dealing with. Is this a box or a cake … what do we have here. We can do that by identifying what actually lies underneath the icing. In the case of the cake mix, like a marriage, there are additional ingredients tthat go into it to make it what it’s supposed to be. Good ingredients, just the right amounts. We measure ingredients for accuracy and check them for freshness. This is common sense. No one wants to eat a cake that was made with rotten eggs or six cups of salt. Something is wrong with that (or us if we do).
      Yet what I often see in the evangelical community is we value the cake so dearly that we are either willing to smother the box w icing or throw rotten ingredients into the mix to make one. Then we’re told , “Hey, it looks like a cake just be quiet and eat it.”
      We become wise when we stop eating the box and begin the process of examination on the ingredients we are using to create – whether it be a cake or a marriage. That process in life can only begin when we are honest with ourselves and say, “I’ve got to make sure my ingredients are fresh. If we both need to take time to gather fresh ingredients or healing and then bring them back to the table then that’s what I need to do. “.
      But the important thing is that we stop eating iced cardboard boxes and learn how to bake delicious cakes with ingredients of the highest level. Hopefully we can learn to do that with our partner, but if not, I can still learn to bake a delicious cake alone.

      • Content on January 11, 2017 at 12:56 pm

        Now I’m hungry. LOL

        Just kidding….great word picture. 🙂

    • Ruth on January 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      Wendy, you were not rude at all. Your counselor should never have been so naive and imperceptive in the first place. The counselor should have at least emailed you back with a modicum of professional much less ‘Christian’ concern. I’m not so sure why this person chose this job.

  20. Aleea on January 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you for praying Nancy. . . .I don’t have to tell you, you have a PhD in grief. . . .grieving is so hard and complex. . . .I’d like to take my grief, set it all down in some airport and fly out of there and leave it resting there, never to retrieve it. . . .But it is important that we embrace the grief, because it seems to me another aspect of our grief is love. . . .The better we grieve, the better we love and live! . . .Oh, and I have never stopped praying, ever. I always pray despite all my many doubts, . . . . prayer gives me back the power reason takes away. Reason and doubts are necessary; they keep us on the right path.

  21. James on January 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    “This is why male perspectives are good. I can see her as a victim, at the very least, of her community. If it was better to bear the noon day sun than their presence in the cool of the morning, that speaks of significant pain.”
    Yes. I happen to think you are right here. She was probably scorned and treated quite unkindly by others who looked down upon her.

    And what a transformation!

    She goes from being a scorned and marginalized women to being the bringer of good news to her whole community!

    Grace is truly amazing!

    Again, well written and I hope you continue to use your gift.

  22. Nancy on January 6, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I totally agree, Aleea and that grieftograce retreat could be your proverbial airport!

  23. Dawn on January 7, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Love the conversational threads here everyone.
    It confirms my confidence that heaven is just going to be a blast!
    Nancy, I would love to learn more about the grief to grace retreat. Sounds very interesting.
    We are blessed to shoulder next to one another through the valleys of the shadows of death.
    Prayers appreciated this week as I head to court to do a final divorce mediation. May He be glorified.

    • Nancy on January 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      HI Dawn,
      Grief to grace retreat was developed by the same person who developed the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat for post abortion healing ( that I recently attended) – Theresa Burke

      I haven’t been to grief to grace ( would love to, though). Like at Rachel’s Vineyard, they do what’s called Living Scriptures – powerful indeed. I can’t describe how deeply I was touched and healed through that week end experience, except to say that Jesus cares DEEPLY for us. We serve a God of LOVE.

      You can check it out at grieftograce.org

      Also, Dawn, I will keep you in my prayers. May He be glorified, indeed.

  24. Aleea on January 8, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Nancy, thank you so much. I sincerely appreciate that and I appreciate you. . . . I have prayed much about it and wondered about their “Living Scripture Exercises” . . .As I read the “Stories From Attendees” on their site, I see the incredible power of forgivness to heal these wounded souls. i.e. People realizing that their abusers are a person created by God too. —That the abuser too was born a child of God, —somehow. That seems so powerful! . . .Maybe, Grace says: I choose to see my abuser (my mother) as a person created by God too. She too was born a child of God. . . .Unbelievable, inconceivable. . . yet undeniable all at the same time. —My heart’s desire is to let my greatest fears walk right out the door. Unforgiveness is so much stress, I tell you. You just keep going round in circles instead of taking a straight path which forgiveness offers . . .But, to me, at the same time, insidious half-truths linked to healing are deeply demoralizing. As I always tell myself: Tell the truth as best you know about Jesus and the Bible, no matter how hard and where you don’t know what that is, then Aleea seriously study until you have some things you really, deeply know from primary sources. . . . .The total victor stance so often promoted in church just feeds guilt and shame, inhibits true grieving, encourages grandiosity and can drive any church member to be alone to shield their vulnerability. This is what I mean when I say: I don’t have the peace that passes *ALL* understanding. I don’t lead a Victorious life. I don’t Conquer anything!!! I have loss but it is only the loss of having to pretend I don’t have loss. —Vulnerability Ahh, yea, —yeah! . . . So, just be you and follow your heart/mind all at the same time. Everything starts from inside of us, then comes outside of us. . . . And happiness simply forms like a rainbow in the kindest, warmest, compassionate—especially to ourselves and most grateful to God, hearts ♫♪

  25. Robin on January 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Content, I hope no one on this blog said toyou, ‘these men are to far gone for Christ’.
    I think someone probly said, these men could make the choice to seek healing but it is rare that they do.
    I think those two statements are not anywhere the same.
    It is discouraging if we don’t keep our hope in God alone. I’m sorry for your pain and anguish.

    • Content on January 10, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      You’re probably right, Robin. I think it just sounds like that to me many times. But, that is a good and important distinction.

      Thanks for your compassion. I was wondering earlier if others go through the same level of grief I am? Some of you sound so strong and sure. I’m sure of what I’m doing (couldn’t be doing it if I weren’t convinced that God has led me to this place), but not so strong many days.

      Thanks for your other comment below, too. I have cut off basically all contact with my husband other than talking about plans regarding our children, etc. There is nothing to talk about until he’s ready to face the truth. And he’s definitely not there and I’m definitely not up for any more emotional turmoil and blame from him. A few times over the last two weeks, I almost sent a text saying “I’m praying for you” or something that would show my care for him..and God would not even let me do that. He has me completely letting go of him. Just wish my emotions would catch up with my actions a little better. But, I’m only almost 3 months in, I think I’m being hard on myself.

  26. Robin on January 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Content, I do think there are things a woman can do to keep her husband from repentance and growth. She can be there for him, when what he really needs is for her to get out of the way, so God can do His work. It is hard to wait not knowing what the outcome will be. What I have witnessed in men who seek for that level of help they need- is the spouse doing her part to put her trust in Christ and use that time their separated to become more intimate herself with Jesus.
    I’m praying for peace and trust for you while you keep looking for Christ to speak to you………..

  27. Robin on January 10, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Content, I do have compassion for you. It’s hard to separate, it’s hard to walk away and not want to help him. I do understand the grief. We should talk more about that on this blog. Yes some of the women may sound strong but that’s because they’ve walked thru so much and are probly relieved of daily abuse. We’re praying for you, and don’t give up hope, but do let go. For your own peace and joy.

    • Robin on January 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      And Content we all have our days and phases of grief. When we have to walk away and make room for God to speak with him it’s like tearing half of our body apart/ part of ‘us’ is missing. The way I survived my hardest days was by journaling my thoughts and taking them to my counselor to vent. I also believed I could not allow him to abuse and be destructive anymore and I needed to leave to free me to make the choice to heal. When I was no longer there to blame for everything he had to own his own stuff. These are very hard steps but you’ll make it. And embrace your grief. It means someone you loved very much is in need of a special touch only the Lord can do. Your grief as painful as it is, has deep meaning. It validated for me how much I wanted my husband to want to be a whole man. Not miserable, rager, taking life out on the woman who was suppose to be his best friend . We’re rooting for you!!!!!

      • Content on January 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm

        Thanks so much for your kind and compassionate words, Robin. They mean a lot to me.

        I am definitely embracing the grief. Sitting in it, as they say. Letting the tears come and not trying to hold back when they do. Got angry at God last week (and He came closer to me and didn’t run away…encouraged me within a couple of hours and told me I was safe emotionally with Him — good, right?!)

        It seems God wants me to camp out on the Joseph story – everywhere I look, He is putting that in front of me. I do have a strong sense and belief that my suffering is for the good of others – and even my husband, at some point down the road. I think when Christ lives in us, then He will live His sacrificial life out of us (which is always to bring life to others). We enter into His sufferings and know Him (I count all things loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord).

        Thanks again for the love and cheering on. 🙂

  28. Robin on January 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Content, proabably the number 1 thing I said to self everyday during my recovery was — whatever I’m walking thru today is much better then ‘living a pretense’. It is no fun to pretend all is well at home, so as I walked forward I felt confident that every pain I felt was necessary to stop the game of pretense and hope for a day of reality in our relationship. As I got stronger, I realized even if he didn’t accept the gift of healing, I could go on knowing I did and that was enough .

    • Content on January 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Tell me about recovery. Do you really stop crying? Do you stop replaying all the scenes from your marriage? Do you stop trying to figure it all out?

      I did look back over some past emails today that helped me remember why I separated. I usually feel stronger after those times of remembering the hurt and pain.

      God showed me last week that the pain I am in is like chemotherapy or radiation and that it is necessary for healing, but that He *is* healing me… And that I will make a complete recovery…! I love that your words (about the pain being necessary) just reminded me of that.

      • Nancy on January 12, 2017 at 4:24 pm

        Hi Content,

        Do you have Godly women in your life? Women who can pray for you? Even if they are not local, reaching out ( even in emails) and asking for prayer is so helpful. Having sisters battling alongside is strengthening.

        I am praying for you.

        • Content on January 12, 2017 at 9:58 pm

          I do… I have a ton of support. I am so blessed. I felt much stronger today. I know the cycle of grief will take time to go through. I do have stronger better days at times and then seem to go backwards.

          I think it’s the unknown of the coming days that is also weighing heavily on me. Will he file for divorce, do I, will things be revealed to me that I suspect, etc.? Those kinds of things. I just have to keep consciously choosing to trust God’s timing of revelation for each step. If I don’t know these things today, I can rest in His sovereignty and perfect plan.

          Thanks for your prayers, Nancy.

          • Nancy on January 13, 2017 at 7:08 am

            So glad to hear that!



          • Nancy on January 13, 2017 at 10:12 am

            On Friday’s I ‘get together’ on the phone with a sister to pray for our husbands. We are using StormiecOmartian’s Power of a Praying Wife.

            This morning in preparation for our prayer the one that jumped out at me was : his repentance. ( we usually choose one each to pray through). I thought of you, Content ( praying this for your husband) when I saw this prayer.

            What I need to be careful of when praying for him, is that I get the log out of my own eye, first. Especially when I’m praying for something like repentance! Ha.

            This Friday time is me excercising the E of Leslie’s CORE. Empathy without enabling.



          • Content on January 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

            Would love to talk about both the repentance (and getting the log out of our own eye first) and empathy without enabling.

            What’s going on in your spirit with those topics (if you want to share)?



  29. Robin on January 11, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Content, I’m not sure how long my recovery will be. I lived 30 years being abused everyday, I think it’s going to take awhile longer and reading and reading some more Others stories helps me to heal. Some days I cry because I feel he stole so much from me and other days I’m so happy that I was rescued from that awful abuse. There are no magic answers – you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. For me, I basically live out of town. That makes even tho my residence is the same all my social life and shopping and church is at least an hour away. I did this to limit the opportunity for those who would judge or condemn me for my divorce. I have never regretted leaving. I am happier then I’ve been in 30 years. I walk in freedom, not imprisoned anymore. But do I remember our life together- sure. It takes time. But with each new thing I go towards to build a healthier life- I remember those things less.
    TAKE ALL THE TIME YOU NEED TO HEAL EMOTIONALLY. MOVING ON — DOESNT TAKE A DAY.
    IT TAKES A LOT OF LITTLE STEPS TO BE ABLE TO BREAK FREE OF YOUR BROKEN SELF….

    • Content on January 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      I am so sorry the abuse you suffered was daily. 🙁

      So thankful that God is walking you right through all of this and healing you. It is good to hear your testimony of freedom and the joy that you have. I’ll pray for you as God brings you to mind. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

      • Robin on January 12, 2017 at 10:08 pm

        Thank you Content.
        Try not to need answers today. It is so freeing to walk the walk of faith and just focus on today, and what God is leading you in just for this day.

        • Content on January 13, 2017 at 12:13 am

          Yes… One thing I say when I start going there in my mind is “I don’t have to worry about or figure that out today” … And then I move on. And remembering that God’s grace will be sufficient for me whatever He calls me to do or walk through.

  30. Robin on January 13, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Content, I really had no plan or preconceived idea what I was going to do. I was one of those women that couldn’t be convinced to leave her marriage. But my husbands counselor visited mine, and then she told me he asked, ‘why is this woman still with him’ and as she relayed that back to me she said, yes what keeps you from leaving? The next week I went to visit a lawyer and he told me to divorce, that in our state a legal separation would not protect my interests nor give me support. So there I was signing papers. Next I waited for him to leave town for a week, I packed my bag and went and stayed with a safe friend for two weeks. It all happened in a whirlwind. I didn’t have time to think.
    I’ve never looked back. Doesn’t mean my heart hasn’t hurt. But he never called, never contacted me about a possible reconciliation. We’ve been divorced for 18 months now and the door is still open. But I am growing healthier and he’s going the opposite direction. I have had a real sense of true reality. It has really helped me to understand, it’s not up to me. He must make the choice to heal on his own. All I need to do is let go and wait. But in the waiting move forward and build a beautiful life……

    • Content on January 13, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Sometimes,, God calls us to move and it happens quickly.

      So, when you say the door is open, did you communicate that to your ex husband somehow? Just curious.. And I’m sorry to hear his heart is hardening. But glad that his life and choices are not controlling yours or stunting your growth and healing.

  31. Robin on January 13, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Content I left him a letter stating what I needed when I left. And a hope of reconciliation if he did those things. He never responded .
    FYI my situation didn’t happen quickly. It was way past time to slow the destructive craziness. But after I had been with a counselor and read Leslies books even tho I didn’t want a divorce, I saw the truth and hesitantly went towards how I believe God was leading me. I don’t think we always feel good about it, but our hearts tell us it’s time to have that negative consequence.

    • Content on January 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      It’s so hard. I keep trying to figure out a way that I have seen things wrong (as my husband says) and try to figure out a way to reconcile. But, every time I replay things in my mind, it just confirms again that I did hear from God and am right where I need to be.

      And more of a call from God to surrender everything to Him — not just my marriage, but everything….I realize now more than ever that He has not been my all in all. I want that so desperately – this is almost even a very new thing within the last 12 hours or so, this feeling that, while I thought He was my one desire, He really wasn’t. And a desperate feeling for Him to take me to that place. Along with that, a realization that I want to really forgive my husband. Like really forgive and just set him free – whatever that means. I want to be free from the obsessive thoughts about our marriage and free to live my life and not worry about how to respond to his texts or comments. Just free to let God live through me and forgive through me (not to reconcile, though, obviously until there is true repentance). Free to enjoy this life without all of that other junk hanging in the background all the time.

      I will wait on God to do these things and cooperate and obey by His grace alone.

  32. Robin on January 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Content, are u familiar with Lundy Bancrofts books? My daughter brought the 2nd one to me- SHOULD I STAY OR GO? It changed so much how I was thinking. My counselor says we do repentance in layers. I keep forgiving him, one layer at a time.
    I have heaviness in my heart on certain days, because I really loved him. Those are times I pray for him. Myself receiving so much healing, I am able to better understand he is a wounded man (like all of us) and needs healing. Why would I expect a wounded man to act healthy??

    • Content on January 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      I have the other Lundy Bancroft book (can’t remember title, the more popular one).

      I know he is wounded. Had a friend tell me a few weeks ago: “This isn’t going to change your marriage, but I just felt like I should tell you that our husbands are doing the best they can with the tools that they have right now.”

      But, that seems to also contradict the message from Bancroft and others.

      For me, what it boils down to is that my husband has been taken captive and is blind and literally cannot see. That helps my perspective more than any other thing. I can have compassion and realize that, apart from God’s grace, I would be right there, too.

  33. Robin on January 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    For me Content, empathy came as my healing increased.

    • Content on January 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      That’s good and encouraging to hear. Do you have ways you can share that you’ve been able to express empathy to him or has it been more of an internal empathy for him?

  34. Robin on January 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Content, it surely is a process but the fact that God is showing you more is a great sign. He loves us so much and walks gently and lovingly .Dont try too hard, He’ll let u know what is next. I’m truly happy for you to be where you are.

  35. Robin on January 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Content, husbands who are destructive and won’t acknowledge it are held accountable. They do have a choice. As long as they refuse healing, nothing will change for them.
    We can have empathy for their wounding but not let it become an excuse. Everyone of us must decide will we surrender our life to the Lord. I found it very necessary to completely let go and make him responsible for his own life.

  36. Robin on January 14, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Content I do not express empathy to him. That would not be letting go. My empathy is between the Lord and I. A husband who has been destructive needs to be left alone to sit in his mess. My adult children keep me posted that he’s as miserable as he always was- I don’t choose to have contact with him. He would try to make me responsible for his stuff. When he repents my choices might change. But I am working very hard on me. And I’m a lot of work!!!!! Lundy Bancroft has a chapter in his 2nd book that talks to women about what to do while you’re waiting for change in your spouse. I love it so much and it helped me to see all the things I could do to create a healthy life while the husband is doing whatever. In the end Lundy says it’s a win-win thing for the spouse who works on herself and builds a healthy life- as whether he comes back in your life or not/ you have prepared yourself for the future.

    • Connie on January 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Exactly, Robin. And the statement that everyone is doing the best they can is so not true. Many people are, but many are not. If that were the case, the Bible would be written quite differently. God expects a believer to treat others kindly, and if they are not seeking God with all their heart and turning over every leaf to get help, they are not doing the best they can. Isn’t that what you are doing? I sure am. These guys are so used to using others (especially the wife) that the slightest move toward them on our part sets them off again to manipulate and control us, and take their eyes of Jesus. In the past we have tried to be their saviour, and it didn’t work, because we aren’t. But that conditioned them to try to constantly make us their scapegoat. NC is the only way to go.

      Here is a good article that came out yesterday: https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/shame/#comments

      • Content on January 14, 2017 at 7:35 pm

        Maybe I’m wrong…but I think there could be space for showing gratitude to my husband and just showing him the respect and kindness I would to anyone else in my life – as appropriate and I think the difference would be whether you were doing these things to hopefully “win” him back (wrong, unhealthy motive) or in response to the Spirit’s leading (which for me, has been doing it just to show general respect and kindness and it’s even better when I know I have truly let him and the outcome of our marriage go).

        I don’t engage in any trivial conversation and shut it down very quickly. Have said no to conversation about our relationship until certain conditions are met (and he has respected that boundary).

        As far as empathy and not sharing that with him, now that I think about it…yes, I get it. My husband was trying to make me feel guilty about the fact that he would be spending Thanksgiving alone and I didn’t even reply. There was nothing to say to that. It’s his actions that have landed us all here and no matter how I would have responded, it wouldn’t have ended well anyway.

        But, some might say there would be a compassionate way to respond even in that without really getting “pulled back in”. Just a quick short statement like “Yeah, that’s hard.”

        I don’t know….just thinking and processing.

        • Connie on January 14, 2017 at 7:42 pm

          You’re right. I’m not talking about being disrespectful or unkind or rude. Just not engaging when you know they are trying to suck you back in to their game. Gratitude is always appropriate when someone does something for you. Just as long as you stay emotionally detached. They can smell that a mile away.

          • Content on January 14, 2017 at 7:53 pm

            Ok, that helps me to know that I’m on the right path. Thank you!



          • Connie on January 14, 2017 at 8:59 pm

            It’s hard to describe this dynamic, for sure. And for those who have never been there, I can see where it seems rude. I’ve tried very hard never to be disrespectful to my xh, but some of my kids think otherwise, because he whines to them about me hanging up on him. Of course, they didn’t hear the conversation, and for some reason it is ok for him to lie about me, but not for me to tell the truth about him. But they don’t realize that they are doing that, either. Deception is a scary thing.



  37. Nancy on January 16, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Hi Content,

    To your question about repentance, getting the log out of my eye and empathy.

    So, what happened when I went to pray a prayer of repentance this past Friday, for my husband was….conviction! It came down to a simple ( but difficult) passage where Jesus explains about the log. So, simply put, I cannot go before The Lord asking for my husband’s repentance if my own heart is not right with Him. That’s it. Doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t pray for conviction and repentance for my husband, it just means I need to pray for those things for myself FIRST.

    The Lord sorted me out last Friday, and it will affect my Friday prayer time from now on. Confession will come first. ( I teach my kids to pray like this – ACTS Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and THEN and only THEN supplication). When .i pray for my husband’s change of heart, that’s supplication…the LAST step. I had been jumping right to it and neglecting the first three in my Friday prayer time with my friend!

    As for empathy, I’m very careful with that because it’s empathy WITHOUT enabling. My empathy mostly comes out of time praying for my husband. I know where the damage comes from, I know why he had hardened his heart. I understand VERY WELL ( as most empathetic partners do) where it all comes from. My mistake has been trying to ‘save him’ from that pain – that’s the sin of enabling. So, when I listen, I do so with an open heart and a CLOSED mouth ( as long as he’s talking about his journey, if I sense blame, the conversation is over).

    I suppose the empathy piece for now comes down to talking to God about my relationship with my h, and listening to my h about his relationship with God.

  38. Pauline K. Ceprish on January 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    As I reread my comments and the comments of others in regards to what I wrote, I realize I’m getting nowhere in my relationship with my husband and he will be what he is til I make a move away from him. I really feel I need to move out and stay out, esp. when He’s making comments like his thought I was coming down to shot him last night when He woke hearing sounds upstairs where I was sleeping. I just got up to go to the bathroom. It’s like he wants something to give, realizing our relationship is really on the rocks. But HE doesn’t want to be the one to make a move to separate or divorce because it would make him look bad.
    When I slipped on the ice this past tues. the 10th he took me to the emergency room where I got and X-ray of my back and thank God My ribs where not broken, just very sore, bruised muscles. I didn’t get a one inch cut in my head that really bleed but didn’t hurt at all. They stapled it with 4 staples that come out this friday 19th. He was there for me and it went fine driving to the hospital and at the emergency room, but on the way home and the next 3 days were pure heal to me. I called I can help crisis, sharing my hurt emotionally and the stress I was under knowing I had to stay home and recoup under his care. He cared for me in a revengeful way to get back at me for the way he thought I mercilessly and not meeting every need when he was recouping from his hip surgery two years ago and this past summer with a shoulder operation. I literally want to die not being able to get out and be with those who encouraged me at church, school volunteering and at my daughters home babysitting. When I called crisis one night after he very surely help me to settle for bed on the couch he talked to them too, admitting he was verbal with me, of course not mentioning it being abusive. Then told them I was physical, bipolar, and saying he couldn’t take it and talked of going for a divorce after we hung up. He didn’t do that and didn’t do that the day later when he mentioned it again. He does not change with anything that happens accidentally and says God caused it to happen and gets more and more bitter toward God. I dread going though a reverse shoulder operation with him he is talking about having March 8th. I don’t think I can measure up to his idea of a good nurse for him. I’m not even I good wife as it is now according to him.

Leave a Comment





Read More

My husband is physically abusive. I’m afraid.

Question: My husband constantly loses his temper. Sometimes he throws things, other times he hits me or pushes me around. It’s getting worse. I’ve tried to make him happy but nothing works for very long. I am trying to honor God and stay with him but I’m afraid. The kids are also seeing all of…

Read More...

How Do I Stop Second Guessing Myself

Morning friends, I love the sweet interactions you have with one another on this blog. I see how so many of you have grown and are functioning in CORE strength, reaching out to other sisters to help them along the way. Thank you, Dawn, for your guest posts and encouraging us in believing that God…

Read More...

Overfunctioning Doesn’t Fix Things

Morning friend, I appreciate all of you and your contributions to help women who come here confused and scared, looking for other godly women to help them see Biblical truths in new ways.  There is so much growth and maturity in the responses since I started this blog 10 years ago. It’s encouraging to see…

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?