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 not only redeems us and restores us.

Research shows us that a key component to healing from an abusive relationship includes a community of supportive others who know what your life is like and can encourage you, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’m so thankful for this community. So many of you hold each other up through prayer, committing your time to share your experience, both the successes and the failures. We all experience both, but don’t always feel as comfortable sharing the failures, but they are there for each of us. Thank you, friends. I so appreciate you.

 

 

Question: As I look back, this destruction has been happening a long time. I have found emails dating back to 2006, 2 years after our 1st son was born. He lost his temper with our son when he was 10 months old…he said words out of anger to me that cut to the core of my being. He was selfish and hurtful and yet I kept living and pretending it wasn't that way.

I have tried all these years to pretend and patch things up until I couldn't do it anymore. In January 2016 he slammed my oldest against a car, came inside and yelled, “I am sick of you, and you, and you,” to all 3 of us. Anger burning in his eyes. He looked at my son and said, “Get your damn bag in the car!”

We were all crying. My son had to go to a hockey game and I had to let him go, scared of what could happen. I let my husband know I was done with the treatment of all of us and he needed to get help.

As soon as I stood up to him, my life fell apart. He was awful to all of us and the church that I have loved counseled me that I need to kiss his forehead and tell him, “I’ve got this” when he is acting out. They said that it is my Godly duty to sit and pray as God can change and do anything. I have been doing this for 14 years now and things are only getting worse.

I don't feel I can do this anymore. He has gone to counseling but has now found excuses for his behavior. He has blamed others, his childhood, and recently that it is a reaction and not a choice.

How does change really happen if someone can't take responsibility? Recently, I was in a car accident, and on major pain relievers and muscle relaxers, visit http://www.health-canada-pharmacy.com/tramadol.html. In the night, he pretended to be someone else and ask me personal questions. He asked why a pretty girl like me isn't wearing my wedding ring…if I loved my husband…if I am proud of him for all the changes he is making…when he didn't like my answers, he started yelling…get rid of the jerk…leave him!

It startled me awake fully. Then, he came around the bed saying “Honey, where are you? I have been looking all over for you!” I asked what he meant by that. My memory recalled the conversation the next day. I asked him about it. He tried to lie about it at first, but then he felt he didn't violate any boundaries or trust. He needed to know if I love him so he knew whether or not he needed to file for divorce.

He let me know he also did this another time after a surgery I had. My trust has been totally violated and I am not sure I can get it back. Twenty minutes later he said we need to go to couple's counseling or we are done. I refuse to do that at this point as our case was closed due to what they saw in our counseling and were advised to seek individual counseling.

I am tired of the threats, mistreatment of the kids and myself, and really don't like who I have become. As I start to move forward, people in the church including my Pastor bombard me. They tell me that I am the problem and that I need to make this right. My husband has used Scriptures against me… saying he doesn't believe in divorce and but on the other side he has threatened me with divorce at least 5 times.

The latest is my brother-in-law and sister want to mediate for us. Both have seen what I have walked through, but now that I have stood up to him, they are saying I need to stay in this marriage at all cost. They tell me that it will hurt the children more to not have a family unit. I don't feel that way anymore but am realizing I will not have support from the relationships I value most. I feel very confused on a day to day basis.

Our home is one of no peace but stress. I’ve been told that I will be disappointing God if I leave and it was my decision to enter this marriage. Both of my sons are in counseling. One talked of ending his life and the other developed very aggressive anger issues and frequent stomach aches. There are times I feel so desperate that I have wanted to end my own life but know that is not an option as I have 2 boys that need me.

With sexual infidelity being a way out I would be lying if I didn't consider it. I have read your book, I have searched scriptures, but how do I keep my mind straight when I am told I can't feel the things I do. I feel compassion for my husband, but not marital love…it almost feels like that part of my heart has been closed…maybe to protect me from more pain. I want him to get real help where he owns what he does, not make excuses.

How do I move forward when sometimes it feels I have so many on the opposite side? I don't want to hurt my husband or my kids either, but I am not sure I can live like this. I feel confused when I try to make decisions or unsure or afraid. Please help.

Answer: Your question clearly captures the confusion so many women experience when they are in a destructive marriage, especially when they are receiving advice from people they trust and respect, people who seem to have a hotline to God himself. These people wouldn’t outwardly say this is what they teach but the bottom line comes across like this: a man can abuse his children, his wife, commit adultery, lie, violate trust repeatedly, but if he says to his pastor or counselor, “I want to work on my marriage” somehow his wife (if she is a godly woman) is supposed to forgive him, believe him, and give him another chance. Even if this cycle is repetitive.

And, if she refuses, she now is cast as the unrepentant one. Now she is labeled as the one who is tearing apart the family, breaking God’s covenant of marriage, violating her vows for better or worse, etc. Sheesh! What pressure you must feel.

I don’t blame you for second guessing your decision to be done with this cycle. You have very little support and it’s very tough for most people to stand up against their own peer group.

Let me give you two questions to ask yourself that will help clarify your choices and when you answer them, it will give you a roadmap forward:

1.We know it is God’s will that we glorify him with our lives. Therefore, do you think you will glorify God most by kissing your husband’s forehead (enduring and forbearing) while he abuses you and your children? Do you glorify God most while allowing someone who claims the name of Christ to degrade you, abuse you, lie to you and mistreat you and your children? It clearly dishonors you and your children, but does silently enduring honor or dishonor God?

Or, Do you glorify God most by speaking the truth in love, calling the authorities, and separating yourself from a man who is clearly destructive and unrepentant in the hope that by your brave actions, he will come to his senses?

There are a couple of interesting passages in 1 Peter I’d encourage you to study. 1 Peter is a book that teaches us how to suffer in a way that glorifies God. The first passage says this: “If you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God CALLED you to do good, even if it means suffering… (1 Peter 2:20,21).

The second passage says, “But even if you suffer for DOING WHAT IS RIGHT, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats (1 Peter 3:14).

You and your kids suffer because your husband abuses you. You are suffering much like a rape victim suffers at the hands of her rapist. That kind of suffering is involuntary suffering, it is not virtuous or voluntary; it is forced suffering.

On the other hand, the kind of suffering that is virtuous, the kind of suffering glorifies God, and the kind of suffering that Peter is talking about is the suffering that comes about from doing something good. The apostle Paul teaches us that we are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). What is best in this situation? Is it good to allow the abuser to continue to abuse with no accountability or consequence? Or is it better to bring his actions to the light of truth, so that he might repent?

Will you suffer for doing that kind of good? Yes, and you have through the rejection and shaming of your church leadership. But that is a virtuous, voluntary suffering that most glorifies God.

2. We know it is God’s will for us to love, even our enemy. Therefore, do you love your husband best by enduring his deceit, his oppression, and abuse? Or is it more loving to hold him accountable, allow him to experience the legal and relational consequences of his behaviors in the hopes that he will wake up and come to his senses? Do you love him best by enabling or by confronting?

Much of the confusion and second-guessing yourself comes from the mixing up of two biblical concepts. Yes, God calls us to unconditional love (love even your enemies), but he does not call us to unconditional relationship (we don’t marry our enemies or even fellowship with them. That’s why we call them enemies and not friends).

The idea that we are called by God to maintain a relationship with someone even when he or she is repeatedly destructive toward us is not Biblical (Click To Tweet).

In my previous blog Is it Biblical to implement negative consequences, I gave plenty of Biblical examples of relationships ending because of unrepentant sin.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. God love for humankind is unconditional but he does not offer anyone unconditional relationship. He tells us that our sin separates us from him and that without repentance we have no fellowship with him (1 John 1:6). Our sin does not separate us from God’s love (Romans 5:8) but it does separate us from his presence (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Jesus distanced himself from certain religious leaders because he didn’t trust them. He knew what was in their heart (John 2:24). Throughout much of the Old Testament, God withdraws his presence from his people because of unrepentant sin.

God calls people to a covenant relationship that is like a marriage. He not only wants us to enjoy his love, he wants us to love him back (Deuteronomy 6:5). He not only promises us his faithfulness, he requires that we be faithful in return (Deuteronomy 4:23-24). The book of Hosea is a picture of God’s love for his unfaithful spouse (Israel). He longs for her, but his relationship with her will remain broken until she is willing to change.

In this sinful world there is no perfect person and in every relationship, there is some brokenness and suffering. That’s why Jesus tells us that when someone sins against us we are to go and talk to that person so that we can be reconciled. However, he also adds, if they refuse to hear you after you have repeatedly tried to get them to listen, he says, “Treat them as you would a pagan and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). Jesus says if there is no repentance, the relationship you once had changes. Pagans and tax collectors were not trusted, nor were they friends, although a good Jew would help a pagan or tax collector who was in need, fulfilling the biblical mandate to love one’s enemy.

Being in close fellowship with someone is not a right, even if both people are Christians. It is a sacred privilege. The apostle Paul advises us to distance ourselves from people who are continually destructive, especially if their behaviors or attitudes are sinful and unacceptable, both to us and to God (1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15).

Loving a person unconditionally may indeed require sacrifice and suffering but we suffer and sacrifice for another person’s good, not to allow them to continue to sin against us. That is foolishness, not biblical love. Too many people have been wrongly instructed that biblical love means they must be nice and suffer quietly, even as they are being mistreated and abused.

Friends, how and when do you second-guess your decisions? And what do you do to gain clarity?

335 Comments

  1. T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Dear Sister in Christ,

    I have been in your shoes. I have experienced the confusion. The cognitive dissonance between what “the church” was telling me/what I had been taught Scripture was saying, and my own heart screaming “something is terribly wrong, and I have to figure this out!” led me to getting away to a quiet place for a week, with no distractions. Just my Bible, my journal, nature and God. By the time the week was up, I was no longer confused. God had spoken clearly, making His heart for me known in large and small ways. He then led me to Leslie’s ministry, and I found a wealth of empowering articles and a supportive group of women that understood what I had gone through and could encourage me in my journey into the brave unknown. God was gracious to also put many people in my life who truly empathized and believed I was doing the right thing to stand up to and expose my bully of a husband.

    It sounds like you are either in a very close-minded, rigid, unhealthy church, or that you are not giving them enough details so they get a very clear picture of what’s going on. Even though my church was a conservative evangelical church, no one I spoke honestly to discouraged me from strongly confronting, exposing, and holding my husband accountable. So either get more honest with people, if that’s the problem, or get out of that church quickly and find a healthier church, one that is committed to the health of marital partners rather than to the outward shell of the marriage.

    It took me 30 years to figure out the truth, and the freedom, peace and grace God wants for us and our children. Don’t wait any longer. God chrishes you and your children. He hates oppression and abuse. You and your children need to get away from this destructive man immediately. He needs to be exposed for the fraud and bully he is. It’s his best chance of becoming the man he wishes to be. You would be helping him to get there instead of enabling him to stay in his sinful strongholds.

    I repeat: get help, get support, get a safety plan, and get out.

    P.S. your comment about adultery shows misunderstanding of Scripture, and also of God’s heart and intention. He would never want you to commit sin to escape a bad situation. He wants you to face the bad situation you are in and make steps to change it. Keep reading Leslie’s blog articles and listen to her videos. They will help you so much. (Also check out Patrick Doyle and Chris Moles.)

    Love and prayers.

    • Felicia on January 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

      As usual, the words I read today spoke directly to my heart. I’ve often thought about posting, but could never find the words. Today’s post says much of what I am experiencing. The main difference is that my husband has never done anything so overtly abusive as was described in the post. His actions are more of a neglectful nature, followed by angry actions that never obviously cross the line.. Shamefully, I often find myself wishing that he WOULD strike me and leave a mark.
      I keep asking myself, him, our pastor, our counselor, my friends “How many times to I go through this before I am justified in leaving?” I’ve been begging for a therapeutic separation for 7 months, since I found out that he had so neglected our son’s homeschooling that he would not meet the graduation requirements in time to actually graduate from high school, despite having been accepted to an engineering focused university and awarded a full scholarship. (I took over and got special extensions and my son worked 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week for the next 10 weeks to meet the requirements. He just finished his first semester of college with a GPA >3.5.)
      For the past 21 years I have been the “relationship keeper”, pursuing him when he neglected me, forgiving him over and over for the pornography use he tried to hide, supporting him financially and emotionally, even when he was childishly irresponsible and deceitful in his spending.
      After 19 years of marriage I did what the poster mentioned. I chose to enter into an adulterous relationship. God continued to pursue me, and I ended the relationship and confessed to my husband, determined to glorify God by allowing him to heal what I had broken.
      God has been faithful, but I now feel trapped in an endless cycle of being hurt, followed by his remorse and promises, followed by justification for his actions, then the calm that has become just the time before another hurt for me. I spend hours and hours trying to explain to him the difference between remorse and repentance and occasionally see a glimmer of true repentance.
      I, too, have been told by our minister that I need to forgive and love and pray that through these actions my husband will be redeemed (though there is always a question of whether he really needs to be redeemed because what he is doing doesn’t seem that bad and he’s sorry for what he did). I do feel like God could be glorified by me loving my husband that faithfully, if only I could choose that path. Instead, I feel trapped.
      We have another son. He’s 13. I keep telling myself that if I can just make it through 5 more years, the choice to separate won’t cause as much pain (though I know it will still be devastating) because he won’t be in the daily storm of it. We have kept the pain and tension behind closed doors, and could continue to do so. That’s what I think in my stronger moments. But days like today, I feel like I’m falling apart and can’t find the faith to believe that I can be held together much longer.
      Thanks for reading my post.

      • T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 11:31 am

        Felicia, listen to your heart. It is the Holy Spirit trying to lead His beloved daughter out of oppression and into freedom. Get out of that destructive relationship. Make boundaries that force your husband to take a look at himself and deal with his sinful strongholds. It is the most loving thing you can do, as Leslie said. It isn’t loving to allow him to continue in sin. Get support, get honest, and then confront, expose, and make boundaries to protect yourself from his abuse.

      • Felicia on January 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

        I just reread my post and realized that my depiction of my husband was very one dimensional.
        When I confessed my affair to him, he reciprocated with confession of the full depth of his pornography use. He supported me through the months of anxiety, guilt, and suicidal thoughts that followed my understanding of what I had done to him and the family of my affair partner.
        He has been faithful in seeking and attending counseling. He has been sober from pornography and masturbation for 15 months. He has never struck me or our children, and he has tried to address the behaviors that are hurtful.
        Meanwhile, I have done hurtful things to him, like yelling (especially hurtful because he grew up with a mother who was verbally abusive) and calling him names and assuming that his loving actions are being done out of selfish motives.
        These are the things that I feel keep me second guessing.and from following through on the threat to separate (the threat I know hangs over him and hurts him most).

        • T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm

          Felicia, thanks for the fuller information. Are you in counseling? It sounds like you really need some support and an objective, wise person to help you unravel all that is happening within and without. You need to discern whether you are wanting a separation out of your own guilt feelings or because he is destructive and unrepentant.

          Time alone/apart can bring the clarity you need. When you are in the middle of the situation thoughts become muddled and confused. You don’t need to “beg for a separation.” You just need to get the courage to make a sane and safe plan, tell him what you have decided to do, and then do it.

          • Felicia on January 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm

            Thank you TL. We/I have been in counseling for most of the 2.5 years since I ended my affair. We went to split sessions about 18 months ago when it became a pattern for him to nod through the session then attack me verbally on the way home for what I said. We’ve been doing a combination of joint and individual sessions for about a year now. It was our counselor who suggested Leslie’s book and website to me.
            I definitely need to keep focusing on setting and maintaining loving boundaries, but I feel like he finds new ways to hurt me or goes back to old behaviors as soon as I soften towards him, then he wants to “work through the hurt I caused by punishing him”, where boundaries = punishment and any he starts to rejustify hurtful actions that led to the boundaries and that he supposedly repented of.
            ARGH. Today has been a really tough day because he’s apologizing and asking me to give him another chance and I seem to fluctuate with every heartbeat between wanting to trust and being terrified of trying to trust again.



        • Aly on January 22, 2017 at 9:28 pm

          Felicia,
          My heart goes out to you and your family.
          I’ve tried to keep up to date on the posts after this… so now you are separating and focusing on your own recovery given the dysfunctional dynamic.

          I probably sound bias as a women or especially as a woman who is familiar with the hard to see abusive destructive dynamic.

          This statement I hope helps any process your going through given your choices with the affair.

          Maybe you have heard this before but have you considered that you clearly had a legitimate need met or at least attempted to be met in an illegimate way?

          By legitimate need I mean;
          (connection, value, respect by your husband and especially honor)

          I’m not supporting your choice obviously of betrayal but I want you to hear I understand your place of vulnerability to it.

          I realize you have chosen to separate, my prayer will be for a transformative marriage by you both and that separation would be a healthy beginning for you both.

          I have seen a few of these and if both parties are compliant to a guided separation by counsel and a strict timeline of goals etc. there’s great hope.
          Nothing planned or drafted out would scare me, especially given your dynamic cycle.

          I was ready to separate at one point in time but I gathered a navy seal team to help get out of the forest.

          You have been through so much, my prayers are with you.

      • Connie on January 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Even for those who believe only adultery justifies divorce, pornography IS adultery, and of the worst kind. It’s not even love, by admission of those producing it, it is aimed at men who hate women, to help them fantasize torturing them. UGH!!!!!!!

        • Aly on January 18, 2017 at 1:39 pm

          Yes! Our pastor just preached on this Sunday as we are currently studying 1 Corinthians.
          He expressed that sexual sin (many forms) is THE MOST ‘enslaving’ ~ of any sins because of the nature and bondage of it.
          He continues to humbly preach and teach God’s Word regardless of how uncomfortable it may be for our church community to face.
          He believes and is witness to the epidemic of the destruction of marriages and individuals that are impacted at any level of this.

        • T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 7:31 pm

          Felicia, That sounds horrible. Manipulative and oppressive. We all have our own path and timetable and learning curve. But it’s my hope that those of us that spent years in the same fruitless cycle of hoping for change/looking for change/ assuming change in our partners will be able to save some of you others some time and hestache. People who feel entitled and who are manipulative don’t change unless their tactics stop working and life becomes very painful.

          We want to believe they will change because we have invested so, so much. It’s very hard to come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to change and rarely move toward true and lasting change. They have to have compelling reasons. When we keep loosening the boundary at the slightest sign of change, they have no reason to change. Maintain your boundaries. Never, I repeat NEVER give in to their pressure or coercion. It only empowers them in their coerciveness and they lose more respect for you. You must do this even though it means you might lose the relationship. You might find this article helpful. I did! http://www.manipulative-people.com/contrition-behavior-and-therapy/

          And gorge yourself on Leslie’s books and Patrick Doyle videos to strengthen yourself.

          Rooting for you!

          • Ruth on January 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm

            The article you gave a link to is great
            I think every- one should read it!



          • Lori on January 20, 2017 at 11:21 am

            T.L. You said: “People who feel entitled and who are manipulative don’t change unless their tactics stop working and life becomes very painful.” Spot on! May I add my voice and experience of 29 years of marriage to yours? In a nutshell, you stated the problem so precisely and truthfully. I hope by adding my voice to this, it can help give another person pause to consider the stark reality of your words. Perhaps it may cause one to ask the question: “How many more YEARS of the cycle of hoping/trusting/believing, while bearing no fruit of change from my partner, do I want to invest? The more I invested, the harder it was to divest. You also said: “It’s very hard to come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to change and rarely move toward true and lasting change. They have to have compelling reasons.” Your words are ringing so true to my experience and I am happy to repeat them if it helps another. Sadly, after 29 years of marriage, and a year of separation, my husband continues in his behavior and seems to have organized a small church community to help him with his lifestyle. Even though his grown children (and 2 at home yet) want little to nothing to do with him, he continues to believe he is the victim and is masterful at convincing others of his belief. Seems the painful consequences of his behaviors have not impacted the change I was hoping for. However, the change has impacted me for the better. I am now able to see more clearly, am not sinning by my reactions to his behaviors, and for the first time in many years am beginning to have hope for my future, joy and true love and compassion for him as I pray Gods will be done in his/our lives. Not budging on the separation boundary however. I believe it was drawn by God and I obeyed. Love to those struggling with fear, confusion, guilt, depression, isolation and hopelessness. Keep connected here in this place. I believe it will get better.



      • Aly on January 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Hi Felicia,

        Thank you for posting and sharing your experience.
        I do agree so much which what T.L
        gave loving clarity to you on.
        I pray your heart will be open to that wisdom even though it’s scary to draw those boundaries~ sometimes they are the very thing needed for any change to move in the right direction.
        Another Five years??
        This is your fear speaking…
        many of us that have been through such a similar experience can relate and can relation to the bargaining process. That response is understandable given your situation but it’s not loving or wise to yourself, your husband or your children.

        You say you can hold on another five years.. tolerate what you need to tolerate etc..
        what do you think that expresses to your 13 yr old?

        Listen to the biblical wisdom of Leslies books, classes, etc.
        If you think that you are doing the right thing by waiting until the kids are grown, you might want to self reflect that … that decision might be more for yourself than for your husband.
        It’s hard to confront these realities but women here do understand personally what your being tossed and turned with.
        Being exposed to abuse of any form can alter our way of dealing with very unhealthy people, thus we can easily turn to our own self destructive coping skills that reinforce the unhealthy sick family.

        I hope you consider the freedom and courage in loving boundaries~ even a separation as a loving thing to do in hopes for a healthy reconciliation.

      • Aly on January 20, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        Felicia,

        I forgot to respond to this above so I’m sorry it’s a broken response.
        Here are your words,
        “We have kept the pain and tension behind closed doors, and could continue to do so. That’s what I think in my stronger moments.”

        My heart goes out to you and I hope you receive this with truth and love from a fellow sister in Christ.

        Those words are not in your stronger moments. Those are from the enemy that is making you believe it’s not that bad. Trust me your kids know what’s going on.. maybe not explicit details but please don’t buy into the fact that your kids are being protected from this dysfunctional system you tied to.
        I have a sister~ ‘married 25 years and this is her belief … her kids totally know and are affected deeply by the fact that mom and dad are not working together to show intimacy and connection to glorify God.

        Again the enemy wants you to believe that lie, so you can remain in the same position, and your children won’t reap the healthy responses to destructive behavior or betrayal!!
        It’s a family chain that God can equip you to break;)
        Trust in His way and His truths.

        • Felicia on January 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm

          Thank you for all who have been responding and praying for me. The last few days have solidified my calling to leave. Today begins the hardest part, as we will tell our children of my plan to move out. I beg your prayers for them and myself.
          As you know or can imagine, I am plagued by second guesses and my husband is adding to and restating my questions and fears with every conversation, but he is also, unwittingly, continuing to demonstrate the heart that is turned to his own desires and comfort and unrepentant. I am also seeing the impact of my unhealthy reactions on both of us and the need for this time apart to work through my own selfishness and pride.

    • Aly on January 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

      So True! God bless you;)
      Thank you all on this blog for your comments and concerns for those of us who find ourselves in a similar journey. It’s healing, it’s hopeful and mostly it’s the greatest chance for redemption of what God can glorify and heal!

      The confusion adds continued injury to one that is already suffering from the mental and emotional abuse.

      I think for myself, it was helpful for me to observe a pattern… sometimes these particular people come in many forms in our relationships, husband’s, parents, siblings and yes friends and peers that we trust and respect. So it can be hard to unwind the behavior with how one thinks or where their Christian belief system really is rooted’!

      The pattern for me eventually became clear~ It was SO simple that it was the why it was hard to unveil…and it worked well with my own underdeveloped or poorly taught Christian principles.
      The offender’s goal in not taking responsibility is that….,if ‘they’ can make you feel guilty or wrong for giving boundaries or requirements or even plainly confronting them, then they have succeeded almost 100% in keeping things remaining the status quo and not ‘really changing’ or showing progress of true heart change.

      If they don’t have to feel the bad feelings or the remorseful feelings of their own choices and they can make the victim feel bad for them, or worse feel bad for responding in a healthy way, then they have succeeded in their addiction to ‘not feeling bad for their OWN behavior choices’ or,
      Appropriate guilt or shame to motivate them to respect ultimately another person and most importantly the Holy Spirit’s voice for a true repentant heart.

      I am so thankful for the resources out there, that can validate the misplaced blame and confusion that will chip away at someone’s soul.
      Thankfully, we can be redeemed and have Victory in Christ’s love and truth for our healing.

      PS: my heart goes out to the women who have entertained the mere thought of infidelity, I myself was grateful for that irrational thinking because it got my attention to just how sick my relationship was and how my husband’s abuse was chipping away at my own value and worth. It revealed to me how far from the truth that was and that I would only be following into more destructive behavior against my own value/heart in Christ … certainly not ‘loving or valueing myself’ ..just like those that had made choices like that themselves. The Lord reminded me without guilt or shame for that ‘crazy thought’ of my ultimate covenant with him….above any other, and for that I am grateful.

      • T.L. on January 20, 2017 at 6:59 pm

        Aly, (and others!)

        Thanks for your kind words of affirmation to me. I wish we could meet in person, too. Maybe someday we will!

        Felicia, I think you are being given so much support and wisdom by Aly and Lori. We all hope you learn to recognize the manipulation tactics for what they are. Again, you have the choice and power to make good, healthy, firm boundaries to protect yourself from your husband’s self-centered manipulation tactics, and refuse to be moved by them. For example, if you are not willing yet to separate, you can inform him clearly that you will not engage in any conversation with him in which you feel pressured or emotionally bullied by him. That’s your boundary. He will cross it, of course, because he is a bully. When he does, you calmly tell him “I’m feeling emotionally bullied. I won’t allow you to pressure me anymore.” And then you walk out of the room or leave the house. When he objects, you ignore him, or tell him you are sorry he’s disappointed, but “I’m leaving.” And you do that CONSISTENTLY, every time. If he keeps it up, or it escalates, you need a firmer boundary. (Separation)

        I also wanted to mention this paragraph of yours:

        “I, too, have been told by our minister that I need to forgive and love and pray that through these actions my husband will be redeemed (though there is always a question of whether he really needs to be redeemed because what he is doing doesn’t seem that bad and he’s sorry for what he did). I do feel like God could be glorified by me loving my husband that faithfully, if only I could choose that path. Instead, I feel trapped.”

        I’m sorry to say that your minister is giving you bad advice. Your husband has a strong need to grow in respecting you. When you unintentionally enable his habitual sins of abuse against you by being “soft” on it, you increase his disrespect and increase the likelihood that he will continue to treat you in ungodly, selfish ways. You feel trapped because you are: in an endless cycle of wrongdoing, and then pretend remorse, and then wrongdoing, etc. Your heart is screaming to you that something is terribly wrongand wants out! God is grieved at this treatment of His precious daughter. God is always grieved when those He has given power to, use that power selfishly and abusively, instead of to lift and serve and love others.

        You need a counselor that understands the dynamics of spousal abuse, and reactive abuse, and can help you get stronger in your core and in your boundaries so that you don’t indulge in reactive abuse. That’s not who you are or who you want to be. Get some space so you can gather some peace and be who you choose to be, instead of someone who is reacting to the unending cycle of hurt, manipulation, abuse. If your counselor doesn’t, find another.

        Don’t let your husband’s claims of remorse fool you. He isn’t repentant. It’s just the manipulation cycle. His tactics are working, and he will pacify you temporarily and then go back to them. Repentance, remorse, and contrition are the work of the Holy Spirit. They typically happen when life gets very painful and lonely.

        We need to get out of God’s way and let Him go to work.

        I agree with the other women who advised you that your sons NEED to see mom get stronger and clear and take action. They need to see that women don’t tolerate that kind of treatment from men, and that if their dad wants to stay married to you he will do the work necessary to win you back, or lose you. And that is up to him. Oh he will say you are unfair, unforgiving, yada, yada. Anything to avoid facing his “demons,” looking inside, and dealing with the unchristian man that lives in there. Authentic Christian men do not abuse their wives. At least not for long. Because true Christians experience conviction when they sin, and they repent. The Holy Spirit living inside will see to it.

        Its great to have this community of wonderful sisters! But its super important that you have real friends walking alongside you, continually speaking truth into your life when you start to feel muddled. Women you can call and say, “I’m feeling like if I could just love him more….” and they will speak truth to that lie.

        Truth, grace, peace, and courage to you, Felicia.

        • Lori on January 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm

          Hi T.L. I am very new to this site. I joined in December of 2016. I find your words resonate very true to me. I think your contributions here are so very valuable and I want to thank you for taking the time to share them. You said: “Its great to have this community of wonderful sisters! But its super important that you have real friends walking alongside you, continually speaking truth into your life when you start to feel muddled. Women you can call and say, “I’m feeling like if I could just love him more….” and they will speak truth to that lie.” As valuable as that would be in a woman’s life at such a time as we find ourselves in, it is easier said than done to find such friends. Sometimes, the family and friends we have in our lives are ones who blame the victims as well. This multiplies our confusion, shame, guilt and torment. Very hard to emerge from such systems of beliefs our close ones hold as truth. A cup of cold water is indeed life giving, but very difficult (in my world) to find. I wonder if it is as difficult for other women to find the “real friends who walk along side that are a phone call away, who can speak truth” in our times of need?

          • Felicia on January 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm

            Lori,
            I have been blessed with three such women. As one of them continually reminds me, I had to (and still have to) let myself be supported. I will be praying that God brings those women into your path and gives you that little nudge to open up to the gift He is giving you. In the meantime, we’ll be here.

            Thank you to all who prayed for me today. We told our sons that I will be moving out and I know the conversation was bathed in prayer. I am trying to be as present with my boys as possible while they are processing. My new prayer request is that I will deal with my husband’s boundary pushing in a healthy and loving manner. While he told our boys that he is trusting and supporting me in this separation, he has continued to push me to reconsider and stayed as close to me as he could.

            I am mourning the coming separation from my home and boys (I’ll have regular time with them, but not daily). I’ll also be leaving my dogs behind. It may seem silly, but that is one of the hardest separations because one of them is a smuggler and is my most consistent source of touch.



          • Lori on January 22, 2017 at 1:30 am

            Felicia, Thank you for your message of support. It is very difficult to let people support me as trust is an issue for me. I want you to know I will be praying for you during this transition in your life. If you feel comfortable answering, I wonder why it is you that is leaving? Regardless, you are in my prayers.



          • T.L. on January 22, 2017 at 5:35 pm

            Hi Lori, and Felicia,

            Felicia, I’m praying for you as you prepare to leave your home. I was wondering along with Lori why it is that you have to leave? Is it because your husband won’t? Perhaps the reasoning is that since you want the separation, and he doesn’t, that you should be the one to leave? Where will you go? It would be a sign of God working in his heart to truly love you sacrificially to say, “I don’t want to separate, but if you need space, let me leave so you can be here with the boys.” I’m praying for you.

            Lori, my heart really goes out to you that you don’t have support people around you. That is an area that I was really amazed at God’s provision for me, and I know I’d have had a much harder time at making and keeping boundaries. The Lord brought such good, supportive, insightful help to me. I’m really praying He does the same for you. One thought: there is a Christian organization, made up of some really great people like Leslie, called DivorceCare that operates out of local churches all over the country. What if you found one of those groups and made a call, or wrote an email telling them of your need for support. I am sure they would support women in troubled marriages trying to avoid divorce, as well as people going through one. https://www.divorcecare.org/groups/search

            Love and prayers.



          • Felicia on January 22, 2017 at 9:29 pm

            Lori and T.L.,
            When I first started asking for a separation I was proposing that he get an apartment and we split custody with him living in our house during his week with our son. I was traveling about equivalent to 3 nights a week for work and had talked to my boss about going to one full week of travel and one full week home to accommodate the plan. He has been a stay at home dad for the past 8 years and is just starting up a handyman business, so I would be footing the bill for both residences anyway.
            My moving out instead of him doing so is for many reasons, not all of them good. While he hasn’t refused to leave, he also hasn’t been willing to leave. If he did leave, keeping our son in our family home and his tools for his business, etc. would serve as constant reasons to be around. By moving out I have the ultimate say in when I see him. This also serves to undermine his assumption that this is just my way of moving towards divorce instead of the therapeutic separation I have been asking for. He can’t say I’m “kicking him to the curb” so I can live a comfortable life without him. This demonstrates just how much I am willing to sacrifice, which shows how strongly I feel that this is the only remaking option I see for repairing and saving our marriage.

            He has not put any roadblocks around me spending time with our boys. I don’t know if he’d ever consider doing so, but I am pretty sure he is aware that doing so would be an overt demonstration of abuse that I and others would recognize.

            I found an apartment that I think is perfect today. While the apartment is tiny, the property has amazing community spaces that my boys will love spending time in and is right next to one of our favorite parks. I took two of my support friends with me to see it. They both felt like the apartment and building fit me very well. I am praying on it tonight and if my friends and I don’t feel any checks in our spirits tonight I will apply for it tomorrow.



        • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 9:10 am

          Hi Felicia,

          Yes, totally makes sense why you are the one moving out in your situation. So glad you found a little place that has such a good location for you and the boys. Praying with you that if God will see that you get it, if it is the best place for you. He’s so faithful in his leading and guidance to those coming out from under oppression and abuse. Blessings.

  2. Kathryn on January 18, 2017 at 9:28 am

    What if you have support from your friends and family and have separated yet the separation gives him exactly what he wanted in the first place? Freedom to live his old single life…We have only been married a little over a year and he never in his heart or mind wanted to leave his old life and move to a new city and be a husband. He has wanted me to fit into his life without making a life for the two of us. He is extremely toxic and can be abusive. He doesn’t love himself. I have been learning to set boundaries although it’s new and I am not clear sometimes how to do it and still love unconditionally. I am considering divorce as separation doesn’t appear to be changing anything. How do you know God’s will in this? When do you know that the “miracle” won’t happen. I have tried and prayed and sought help (3 counselors and 3 pastors) with all the same results….he refuses to look at himself and blames, lies, obfuscates, manipulates, charms, gaslights etc. I can no longer live this way even separated as I was single for 15 years and would rather be single than live separate lives from my husband….I didn’t get married to be a convenient girlfriend or to live separated for several years for him to have a coming to Jesus meeting yet I don’t want to short circuit any work God is doing as God as made it clear to me that He is definitely doing a work in me particularly when it comes to my abandonment issues. I am just not sure where to go from here…divorce or stay separated with little to no contact (as that just allows him to interact with his enmeshed family and the life he doesn’t want to give up).

    • T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Kathryn,

      Your husband is who he is and you cannot change him. The best chance he has for change and maturity (and there is no guarantee) is for you to refuse to accommodate and enable his immature, selfish behavior. He needs confrontation and exposure to have the chance of facing who he really is and choosing to change.

      He has been habitually breaking his vow to love and cherish you. If you separate, confront and expose him, you put him in a position to deal with reality and make a choice to amend his ways and get help, accountability, etc. Or to choose to remain in his present lifestyle.

      You need to know what he will choose so you can make an informed decision based on fact, instead of wishing and hoping for a miracle that has not been promised. God could do that miracle; but he isn’t obligated to. And you are not obligated to live with an abusive, entitled man. The marriage covenant is based on good-will promises. I don’t see good-will in him from what you have described. I see pure selfish siding with evil.

    • Aly on January 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Wow! So impressed by your actions and follow through. God bless you and your journey!!
      Wish I had those tools and wisdom to know what steps to take so early on in a dysfunctional marriage and yes the enmeshed family just just keeps pouring toxins into the stream.

      You already seem to being doing all the necessary Godly steps to seek after God’s will and His provisions.
      It can be hard and difficult to release them and hand them over completely… but it’s freeing and it gives room for the grief process to begin.
      At this point we hand them over and accept whatever the outcome that is.
      Your husband sounds highly defended and someone who does not listen to wise counsel …
      He’s highly ‘loyal’ to living the way he prefers, so let him.
      God does the same with us when we respond that way, He releases us to our sin in hopes that we will repent and reconcile with Him. Some do, some don’t.

      There is so much freedom and peace when we can trust God with the outcome of these individuals.
      You are not alone, you have support and validation.

      Prayers and God’s will for your hearts!

  3. Aleea on January 18, 2017 at 9:46 am

    . . .Thank you so much for all this teaching and providing us with this space to gain clarity by sharing our thoughts too and thank you for letting me have a voice.

    “Friends, how and when do you second-guess your decisions? And what do you do to gain clarity?”

    I don’t think our questioner needs to second guess too much, it sounds like she knows but maybe does not want to know what she already knows. I think this is an amazingly accurate statement: “. . . . .These people wouldn’t outwardly say this is what they teach but the bottom line comes across like this: a man can abuse his children, his wife, commit adultery, lie, violate trust repeatedly, but if he says to his pastor or counselor, “I want to work on my marriage” somehow his wife (if she is a godly woman) is supposed to forgive him, believe him, and give him another chance. Even if this cycle is repetitive.” That is truly amazing and I am sure it is true and it is the reason we need to second-guess what authority figures tell us. They really do not have a “hotline to God himself” more than anyone else. It is really hard work to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. But none but ourselves can free our minds. Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth and I know of no way to gain clarity but to start asking deep, tough questions. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed me with sense, reason and intellect has intended me to forgo their use, even when it comes to Him. I think if you shut down questioning in one area saying that is “off limits”, you shut it down in other areas too. The essence an independent mind is the willing to question anything, because in life you need to be willing to question anything.

    . . . .Boys will be boys, that’s what my pastor says. No one ever mentions how girls too have to be something other than themselves altogether. All this stifling of feelings. . . .Using ridiculous gossip as a means of policing. . .So, if vulnerability is the birthplace of love, courage, empathy. . . .If vulnerability is the source of hope, accountability and authenticity. . . .If vulnerability leads to greater clarity in my purpose or a deeper and more meaningful spiritual life. . . . if vulnerability is that path, . . .if shame derives its power from being unspeakable then here it is, for me at least: ―I don’t KNOW that my Redeemer lives, I HOPE He lives. Hope is very different from knowing. Faith claims are knowledge claims. Faith claims are statements of fact about the world: “God says you should not get a divorce.” I do not see how it is wise or humble to pretend to know things I don’t really know. Faith replaces wonder with arrogance disguised as false humility. I don’t KNOW and I bet if really pressed (―under even normative standards of evidence) no pastor really knows either. That has been my experience even with the “best”. Certainly he does not know in the way we know Paris exists and we could go there and all confirm it ―together. No amount of belief makes something a fact. To me, doubt is your intellectual conscience pleading with you to be honest with yourself. Wonder, open-mindedness, the disposition of being comfortable with not knowing very much (―so, so hard for me), living with serious uncertainty (―which truly is the actual case. . . what I call the “Desert of the Real”. . . .i.e. When all his resources were exhausted and Moses was brought to the barren, wind-swept, sun-scorched, horizons of his own emptiness ―then God came and told him what to do *or* it was a free-range vision, or a mental disorder, sunstroke, just a story in a book that didn’t really happen, et.al.), the genuine desire to know what’s really, really, real as best we can. . . . All that seems really important. The issue is packaging divorce and faith claims inside people’s social support networks. ―For example: Jane, how do you know you should not get a divorce and how do you know know there is a Trinity in the Godhead? Bottom line: ―Well, because the people at my church are really nice and friendly. ―And I feel that way too! If I get love and acceptance, I will fold like a lawn chair and believe anything in the Bible, no matter how weak the textual support or evidence, how low the probability it is really, objectively true (re: teachings on divorce and re-marriage, et.al.) . . .But, I also really feel Christianity is not a conspiracy or some kind of a deception. Something else, somehow, something else is going on at the intersection of psychotherapy, theology, neuroscience but I don’t know what it is. “Faith” seems the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief in any normative sense, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway because of the way it makes them feel: i.e. helps them have hope. And hope is r-e-a-l-l-y important. ―I love that feeling, being in love with Jesus. It is the best in love experience EVER! . . .We fear clear, honest, blunt dialogue, but what we ought to fear is the opposite of honest, open, real dialogue. To me, not claiming to know something I don’t know isn’t a character flaw, it is a virtue. Real humility is saying: I just don’t know pastor ―because I don’t, but you don’t know either. Numb the dark and you numb the light. . . . .We keep all kinds of parts of ourselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often really brave, really truthful, wild, colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of our hearts. We do this because… (―In therapy it is always *because* dot, dot, dot. . .) . . . .Because we are afraid of the world and of being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness (―standing up for ourselves and getting a divorce, finding the real love we need, knowing our real worth).

  4. T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Aleea,

    I completely agree with you that we need to question our authority figures, and should never follow them blindly. It took me a long time to truly understand and own this and be willing to do it and suffer the ramifications. But inner peace and clarity and freedom followed this brave step, even when storms ensued in my outside in my circumstances.

    I’d like to challenge a few of your statements/ assertions/definitions:

    I don’t agree that true humility is always claiming to not know. Pride can disguise itself as humility. One can be proud in one’s intellect, reason, senses and miss what is real and true and reasonable and knowable all while claiming humility. True humility will, eventually, come to a knowledge of truth. Because there is discernable, real truth in this universe. God exists, whether you have or have not come to know Him yet.

    “I just don’t know Pastor–because I don’t, but you don’t know either.” That’s not humility. That’s the opposite. It’s saying, “Because I don’t know something, no one else does.”

    Humility at least remains open to the possibility that there is a “knowable unknown.”

    Your blanket judgments and disdain for those who have faith in God, and your faulty definition of faith is offensive.

    Faith is not a coping mechanism for weak minds, as you seem to infer. It is a gift from God to those who truly seek to know Him. Because you don’t have it, and don’t understand it, you categorize it as nonsense. Again, I would question your belief in your own humility.

    Your characterization of “hope”
    is another mistaken notion. Christian hope is not the equivalent of “a strong feeling of optimism, a wish.” Christian hope is based on historical facts of the life of Jesus, and is a deep certainty that what is promised will come to pass. It is a solid belief based on trust in the character of the one who made the promise.

    I know my Redeemer lives. And that is not pride, it is humility before a God who exists and makes Himself known to those who truly seek Him and acknowledge His right to be God. My knowledge is based on intellectual wrestling and reasoning, deep questioning, open-minded and open-hearted reading of the Bible, and inner illumination.

    Not all Christians are stupid, blind, unquestioning followers of blind leaders. The “blind follow the blind” in and out of church. And the blind also follow no one, and feel around inside a round room and get nowhere, because they refuse to believe there is a door and turn the handle.

    I pray for faith and hope and peace for you, Aleea.

    • Aleea on January 18, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you T.L.

      I really appreciate you reading what I wrote and commenting. Thank you so much.

      Humility at least remains open to the possibility that there is a “knowable unknown.”

      —That’s good and I agree but it seems to me that God cannot be so subtle, so undetectable, so unfalsifiable, so intangible as to be just nothing. Any untestable; undetectable; unknowables disable all our reality checks. . . .The reason I think we need real evidence, evidence that scales with the claim is because I have an extraordinary capacity to believe whatever makes me feel good. The only path to truth seems like objective evidence. All and anything, —everything— is true by faith, including Islam “Muhammad was the last prophet” and Mormonism “Joseph Smith was a prophet”, et.al. Faith proves everything and all claims and seems to me not a reliable way to evaluate truth claims. Why don’t people argue over the theory of gravity? Why are people not debating if puppies and kittens exist? —I like puppies and kittens! . . .It seems to me that it is impossible to figure out which claims are correct if the tool one uses to do so is faith. As a tool, as a method of reasoning, as a process for knowing the world, faith cannot adjudicate between competing claims (“Muhammad was the last prophet” versus “Joseph Smith was a prophet”). Faith cannot steer one away from falsehood and toward truth. This is because faith does not have a built-in corrective mechanism. That is, faith claims have no way to be corrected, altered, revised, or modified. For example, if one has faith in the claim, “The Earth is 6,000 years old,” how could this belief be revised? If one believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old on the basis of faith, then there’s no evidence, reason, or body of facts one could present to dissuade one from belief in this claim.

      It seems to me, that the only way to figure out which claims about the world are likely true, and which are likely false, is through reason and evidence. Maybe there is other ways but I don’t see them as really reliable. No amount of belief makes something a fact. The pretending-to-know-things-you-don’t-know pandemic hurts us all. Believing things on the basis of something other than evidence and reason causes people to misconstrue what’s good for them and what’s good for their communities.

      —And the reason I think that this really matters is that I think believing things without evidence that scales with the claims causes people to drop their guards and they port that error to other parts of their lives: to dating, to marrying, to believing their spouse has changed, not good. . . . .I am so grateful for all God has given me. . . .especially being given a chance to have a voice too. Why not apply the same logic, reason, evidence and facts we do to the divorce and re-marriage questions, to other parts of the Bible? . . . otherwise it remains repressed.

      When I was a child, parents in my neighborhood told me stories (—Not my parents they just yelled or hit me.) But the stories others would tell me were “your so brave” —when I was actually crying or “you’re so fast” —when I knew they had just let me win. I wasn’t brave or fast but they were stories good parents told kids to give them a sense of mastery. I loved when people would say those things to me but I also knew it wasn’t really true. . . .I see that in the Gospels. Jesus is the hero we really, badly need and that story gives us a sense of mastery and hope but maybe, possibly it is just a story we tell ourselves to gain mastery? The problem is that it is a story that says “I’m right” and you’re wrong you ________ —whatever you want to call me. I’m just being totally honest here with as many masks off as possible. (—I wish you knew how hard that is for me to do. I hate siding with agnostics, etc. but I am trying to confront myself without hiding.) In an analogous way, fighting and dying for ones beliefs can be the activity of someone who is unwilling to do the really difficult work of looking at why they hold those beliefs (—possibly defense mechanisms?) in the first place. What problem are those beliefs trying to solve? For me, in the past, it was easier to fight for them than question them.

      Thank you for praying for me. I really appreciate that you would do that for me and I appreciate you and the fact that you would take the time to respond. T.L., could it be that we are both wrong and it is something else that neither of us have found yet? That could easily be true too, right?

    • Kandi on January 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you T.L.
      Great way to defend Christian and biblical views!

      • T.L. on January 30, 2017 at 7:40 am

        Hi Aleea,

        I can appreciate that your heart is wanting to find the quickest way to free women from abusive relationships. I think that’s a commendable desire.

        I share some of your concerns with the way the Bible has been and is being used to hold people in bondage. I differ greatly with your conclusions, and think that you are “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” It seems to me that you are trusting in the wrong scholars and imputing good motives to them, while distrusting the good ones and impugning bad motives to them.

        If you read my exchange with James you will see that I am not a literalist fundamentalist, and I believe it is a confining, legalistic mindset.

        However, the trustworthiness of the Bible is solid, in my opinion. I just think it’s the people who try to use it to hold people in legalism that are untrustworthy.

        I respect your process, I respect your right to your opinions, I respect your personhood and value.

        Light and truth and grace to you.

        • Aleea on January 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

          Thank you so much T.L., I appreciate your patience. I feel like I walk on TOTAL eggshells when I post here because so many of the issues are dealing with identity and people will just about kill over identity. I so appreciate when you are gentle, even when you may feel I am not. I always so try to be gentle but I am sure I totally fail so, so many times. As I say below, I was praying today: Heavenly Father, teach me how to communicate with love and without being combative. . . . I consistently read and study the Bible and if I see a way of making my heart cleaner, I do it. I want my heart as clean as I can make it so more of His love can get through. I listen to God with a broken heart but I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed me with some sense, some reason, and some intellect has intended me ever to forgo their use. ―But without God, people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. ―You can forgive me and I can forgive you because we both know God wants us to do that. We know that is best for our hearts and it is consistent with Love, His love. But the very moment God is “figured out” with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.

          “I just think it’s the people who try to use it to hold people in legalism that are untrustworthy.” —I totally agree with that T.L., BIG TIME!!! That is a very good and useful way to think about it. . . . . —It could be that with or without Christianity, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes Christianity (e.g. —telling people to stay in totally horrible “marriages” where people are just destroying each other; -or, in the past, telling people God’s will for them is slavery; et.al.)

          T.L., I’m not ever trying to throw the Baby out with the bathwater but without a literalist, fundamentalist approach, it is very hard to know what is Baby and what is bathwater. I don’t always see how you keep the meaning in the claims if it is not literal but I also see so many things where the probability that it is literal is extremely low. Like the Jude One postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’ corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him (―as counterparty collateral) discussed above and in the book of Jude in the New Testament. ―Now, as I said, it is a common pagan myth and I see it in scrolls that predate the Bible like the Dead Sea Scrolls (For example: Testament of Amram (4Q543, 545-548)) . . . In Jude, we see the exact same thing with just different names ―this postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’ corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him. . . . What is the probability that, that is literally true? Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities (―staying in a horrible marriage, etc.) Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth. Extraordinary claims require e-x-t-r-aordinary evidence.

          “However, the trustworthiness of the Bible is solid, in my opinion.” I agree, to me it is truer than true but not always “true”. It is always theologically true AND CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE but not always historically or literally true. That may actually make it not true but all I know is that what it is teaching is true. . . .I also really feel Christianity is not a conspiracy or some kind of a deception. Something else, somehow, something else is going on at the intersection of psychology, theology, neuroscience but I don’t know what it is. “Faith” seems the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief in any normative sense, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway because of the way it makes them feel: i.e. helps them have hope. ―And hope is r-e-a-l-l-y important. ―I love that feeling, being in love with Jesus. It is the best in love experience EVER!

          ―And I know I am a walking contradiction but the Bible is full of them too, so it makes me feel better. There are contradictions everywhere: in Matthew, Jesus declares, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” In Mark, Jesus says,“Whoever is not against us is for us.” Did Jesus really say both things? Could He really mean both things? How can both be true at once? For me, the search for truth takes me where the evidence leads me, even if, at first, I didn’t want to go there. Different authors have different points of view. You can’t just say, “I believe in the Bible”.

          Oh my, the people here are so smart. In fact, they are dangerously intelligent. They believe things for very good reasons but the reasons seem way more psychologically based then manuscript and archeological evidence based ―but they have excellent reasons. . . .Anyways, people wrap themselves in their beliefs. And they do it in such a way that you can’t set them free. Not even the truth will set them free. T.L., you know we see that here so many times with women agonizing over staying in relationships that are just destroying them because this passage says this and that passage says that. Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of Love makes skepticism a virtue. If we can’t think for ourselves, if we’re unwilling to question authority, then we’re just putty in the hands of those in churches who are in “power”. You could just as well say that a person asking serious questions is a deeply committed Christian with at least a rudimentary knowledge of human fallibility. Could it be that asking deep questions is the first step towards truth and out of abuse?

  5. Connie on January 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    In the Boundaries book, the authours explain how the law of gravity always causes things to fall down, but if you interrupt this by holding your hand in the way of what is falling, it won’t hit the ground. In the same way, if God is trying to teach someone something by letting them suffer the consequences, and we rush in with what we think is ’empathy’, covering for him by pretending to others that all is well (Living a lie), picking up after him, and generally giving him a life of comfort, you are not helping but hindering God (that is why in several places the Bible says to have nothing to do with them). The ‘church’ tells us to pray for his change, yet at the same time often tells us to interrupt that process. They suggest that our prayers change the inner man, but that never happens, only in movies, otherwise everyone around Jesus (including Judas) would have bowed the knee. Prayer only changes outward circumstances to cause the person to want to choose the right way more than the wrong way because it’s getting darned uncomfortable. So then if we keep ‘being nice’, we could be out of God’s will. If that makes sense.

    As I read the question above, I couldn’t help thinking, “If the wife was acting one fraction of that badly, you know what names they would be calling her, right?”

    • T.L. on January 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Connie, I think that is such good insight. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Nancy on January 18, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Your last paragraph makes so much sense, Leslie.

    The idea that loving someone can require suffering and sacrifice, yes, but that suffering and sacrifice is for their good. Not to enable them to continue in sin.

    I think that says so much!

    Is it going too far to say that enabling is a sin? I think of it that way, but don’t know if that’s too harsh a statement…?

  7. Christine on January 18, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I do not know how a victim is suppose to confront an abuser when her church is obviously on his side and has already chosen to be deceived. She is choosing to take on the whole church and most likely in a state of confusion, emotional and physical weakness.

    She is struggling to maintain her own sanity and the abuser becomes enthrilled by another way to use the church to abuse the victim.

    We were in this situation where the Pastors had already made up their mind and that marriage should be saved no matter the cost. They were closed to the truth. It was obvious that my daughter was wrong before it even began. She was extremely unwell due to the abuse. We decided to concentrate on her, get her counselling, and physical care because she had a bigger battle to fight for. The survial of herself and the battle for her child.

    She had minimal contact and in this time she was able to heal and fight with a clear mind for her child in the court sysytem.

    So personally, I don’t think going down the track of Matt 18 is the best option for many cases as the victim becomes abused from the very people that are meant to protect her. Abusers hang out in Churches that they know would be blind to their abuse of their partners as these Churches have certain common practices. Seriously, if they are telling you to kiss his forehead they are not going to have the wisdom to keep you safe. And you are not in a position to keep yourself safe.

    Leave your current Church and go to a Church that has a right and biblical view of marriage. That will keep you safe and give you the time to heal. In the meantime, your husband will continue to destroy but at least you will be at a safer distance. And seriously, you can still pray for him at a distance.

    I believe that there are many genuine cases where you would skip the Matt 18 process and go straight to 1 Corth and thess situation.

    If the majority of the Church was really healthy and equip in this area of abuse then there wouldn’t be such a need for this great site and many others.

    Save yourself and your children.

  8. Connie on January 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Right after I read this, I went to read the Bible and it opened up at Proverbs. Chapter 10 verse 18 says, “He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool.”
    Chapter 9:6-8 “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame: and he that rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”
    10:23 “A fool finds pleasure in doing evil.” or, in KJV, it is a sport
    23:9 “Speak not in the ears of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

    I think I’ve made a big mistake dragging a fool to counseling. And trying to reason with a fool. According to the Bible, I’ve asked for abuse then. Jesus said they will destroy the pearls you give them, and then turn around and tear you up too.

    The pastor for whom I do office work, told me that in seminary they were told that the pulpit attracts narcissists. There were a lot of things that I didn’t know back 20-some years ago, but when the pastor said I was to appear before the church board, I said, “No way.” He was shocked. “Why not?” I said, “Five reasons, I’m a woman, I’m middle-aged, I’m blonde, I’ve just gotten out of the psych ward, and you’re all men. I don’t stand a chance.” To his credit, he said I was right. Funny/sad, but there you have it.

  9. T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Aleea, I’m a bit confused; in the beginning of your comment back to me you say, “It seems to me that God cannot be so subtle, so undetectable…”

    Hearvyou speak as if you believe God is unknown by you and unknowable, because you can’t see him with your senses or prove him with your reason. The first point, I’ll concede. No; you can’t detect him with your 5 physical senses. But reason? To me, it is against reason to not believe in God. And “how it seems to you” doesn’t make God’s existence true or not true. Things are often not what they “seem.”

    Later you so you are so grateful for all God has given you…this seems a reversal of your first paragraph. You do or you don’t believe in God? Because you can’t really be thankful to a being you don’t believe in. That’s not reasonable or consistent.

    And if you believe in this God you are thanking, you are believing something you can’t prove with your five senses.

    Or is it that you believe in “a God” but you don’t know who He is or what He is? Again, that still throws out your argument that we should only believe what our senses tell us.

    Anorher inconsistency I see in your reasoning is that you say you need verifiable evidence. There is no verifiable physical evidence for God, aside from the physical, verifiable, historical fact of Christ. You can’t personally discern him with your senses, but others did. Is it his existence you reject? Or his claims about himself?

    It’s really strange to me that you would join an overtly Christian site and try so hard to plant seeds of confusion and doubt. It’s ineffective, unhelpful, and honestly, I think it’s very disrespectful. The women in this community are being helped quite effectively without tossing out their belief in Christ. He’s not the one confusing and misleading them. When they draw closer and closer to Him, they begin to see they had been following man too closely, not Him. He sets captives free.

    • Aleea on January 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      T.L.,
      . . .I think the quickest way to get people out of their abuse is for them to start doubting because doubting and questioning might change their perspective about staying in their marriage, listening to their pastor tell them to stay, or worrying about what the Bible says about staying in their abusive marriage, etc.

      . . .I still have the deep-seated conviction that there’s some hand to hold but I can see why its working out in the churches is dangerous also. I have been on this site —for years— reading these stories and I believe that too much faith leaves one naive and gullible and open to being controlled, especially in the church. Lots of what happens in churches is mind control built on manipulation of attachment needs. How do we find words for describing the levels of betrayal and emotional and spiritual torture that fragment and destroy a child (Hell) or cast traumatic shadows over the whole of adult life (God hates divorce; Wife submit, et.al.)? Qualitative and quantitative research with adults and children reporting church life abuse has found that it occurs alongside other forms of organized church abuse (Scott 2001, Snow and Sorenson 1990, Waterman et al. 1993). —What good is faith if it divides people? —What good is any belief that leads to hate? —Beliefs divide us, values and doubts unite us.

      For me, I don’t know how to describe it other than “believing doubt” and I still more forward with the Lord. My point is I don’t know, I hope. That is very different from knowing. Maybe it is wrong but I have believing doubt. —And doubt may not be the enemy of faith at all. God is infinite, beyond our understanding—we better have loads of doubts because if you understand Him, maybe you really don’t understand Him. Maybe He chooses to reveal Himself in ways that spark more questions rather than settling them? That is the way it has been with me. If we are in a relationship with an infinite God, it is all going to be serious mystery, right? —But that makes me wonder what “IT” really, truly is.

      I think it is even more nuanced than that: The world does not consist of 100 percent Christians and 100 percent non-Christians. That is just black and white thinking. There are people (—a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name and lots of them are in “ministry.” There are other people who call themselves agnostics but are not and they are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves a Christian. . . .Some people are doing loops of the entire circuit, maybe more than once a year. Belief is not what you explicitly say. . . . It’s the opaque, coded beliefs that lie behind it in actions. . . .A lot of believer’s actions indicate they believe nothing like what they say they believe. For so long I tended to react to people as if they believed exactly what they were saying they believed but their actions often told me something very different. There’s a barrier between their beliefs and their day to day actions that is almost impregnable. It is one thing to believe and another to know.

      . . .Again, I think the quickest way to get people out of their abuse is for them to start doubting because, again, doubting and questioning *might* change their perspective about staying in their marriage, listening to their pastor tell them to stay, or worrying about what the Bible says about staying in their abusive marriage, etc. . . . .Over the years you observe so many things that conflict with Scripture done by leadership that are just not right. Because of the indoctrination and not being allowed to ask questions, you just put it on the shelf. Eventually, the shelf gets heavier and heavier and finally just breaks. Just like with abuse, nothing strengthens authority so much as silence. Doubt is the first ray of illumination. Behind every unquestionable belief is a system of control. You can spread an ideology only by bombs. Either by real bombs or love bombs (manipulation). . . . —And I still love Jesus and pray, even if you can’t understand how. I just do, period —and please pray for me. —Thank you T.L.

    • T.L. on January 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Hi Aleea,

      I think defining terms is important because we use some of the same words but meant very different things. This might confuse some people who read your comments.

      I already mentioned the difference in the use and understanding of the word “hope.”

      There are also different meanings for the word “faith.”

      One who truly knows and has faith in Christ is not engaging in wishful thinking. That person is confidently trusting (faith) in Christ Himself: in His existence and work on his/her behalf. It is a gift that has been unmistakably seen and received. It is a confidence and trust that can and will be tested, at times causing one to question or doubt under trial, but always resulting in a stronger trust (faith.) This is because Christ is a living person, who will always prove Himself faithful and true to the one trusting in Him.

      I think when you use the word faith you are sometimes talking about blind, naive, trust; sometimes you mean wishful thinking, and sometimes you are talking about a religious system or code of beliefs.

      Take this comment, for example:

      “…too much faith leaves one naive and gullible and open to being controlled, especially in the church.”

      I disagree. It’s not too much faith that does that. It’s faith in the wrong thing. Or too much ignorance. But not too much faith in Christ. True faith in Christ will not leave one vulnerable to being controlled. It will do the opposite. It will illuminate the mind, give one insight, wisdom and understanding. The more faith in Christ I have, the more I will be set free from the control and manipulation of man, because I trust implicitly in no one but Christ. The pastor is just a man. A fallen, broken human, just like me. The church is full of us fallen broken humans. There are relatively good churches that love people and lead them honestly, gently, and well. You may never have been to one, they exist, fortunately. And there are relatively horrid churches that mislead and abuse. Very sad.

      So it isn’t too much faith that leaves one open to abuse. It’s misplaced “faith.” It’s an ignorant or lazy mind and will that does not want to think for itself. True Christianity is a rational belief system that has been distilled by the systematic thinking, questioning, and investigating by some of the greatest minds the world has ever known. It is not a blind, unthinking, unquestioning acceptance of someone else’s made-up story.

      “Lots of what happens in churches is mind control built on manipulation of attachment needs.”

      I agree. It happens. But not in all churches. There are good churches out there led by good, godly, humble men. I’ll name Chris Moles and Patrick Doyle as two godly men leading good churches that love people and honor Christ well.

      “How do we find words for describing the levels of betrayal and emotional and spiritual torture that fragment and destroy a child (Hell) or cast traumatic shadows over the whole of adult life (God hates divorce; Wife submit, et.al.)?”

      How indeed! It happens inside and outside of the church. It’s called abuse of power and we must arm ourselves and others against it. It’s called wolves in sheep’s clothing and we are to be alert and discerning and teach others to be the same.

      “—What good is faith if it divides people?—”

      If one’s highest value is to unite people for their short stay on this earth, then true Christian faith won’t serve you well at all. Christ Himself said that He would bring division between even close relatives. Believing in (trusting in, relying on, being committed to the person of) Christ means division, because it is an exclusive belief. There is no other way to God, but through Christ. this is his claim of himself; and it is offensive and divisive, though that is not the purpose. The purpose is to give abundant life to people, and to save eternally all who will be saved.

      “Beliefs divide us, values and doubts unite us.”

      Beliefs can both unite and divide us, and do. So can values. If I value personal property rights and land development and you value the environment and conservation, we will divide over our values. Doubt is the same: if you doubt that I am well-intentioned, and I doubt that you are, we will not be united. So its not true that beliefs alone divide us or that values and doubts unite us.

      Your paragraph about Christians and “nuance”: There are authentic Christians; those who truly know and follow Christ: imperfectly, stumbling into sin at times, maybe even a flat out fall…but over the course of their life, the fruit of the Spirit will be clearly seen. Then there are those who claim to be Christians, because they think its the right system, the right religion, or it makes them feel good, or…whatever the many reasons people join other organizations. These people, over time, will either become true Christians as they open their hearts to what they are hearing, or will continue to be the frauds that they are. And over the course of time, it will become obvious. (The rotten fruit will show) And then, among authentic Christians there is a continuum of maturity. Some Christians may not act very “Christian,” as they are as yet babies.

      “A lot of believer’s actions indicate they believe nothing like what they say they believe.” True. So don’t believe them unless their behavior begins and then continues to change and aligns with what Christ teaches. Don’t assume every person who calls themselves a Christian is one. The old analogy, “I can stand in a garage and call myself a car, but that doesn’t make me one” applies. That’s where critical thinking skills are needed. This is healthy doubt! “Ok, you say you are a Christian. But you are given to outbursts of anger? You are hiding secret sins, like pornography? You are afraid of accountability? You try to manipulate me? You bully me? You try to make me afraid? You lie to me? You don’t know how to apologize and make amends? I’m sorry, I doubt very much that you are really and truly a Christian. And I don’t think God wants me to be in relationship with a liar, a hypocrite and a fool.” That’s good, healthy doubt. Do that to a person, and you are doing a healthy thing. A good thing. A loving thing. (Loving to God, because His honor is at stake, loving to yourself, because you have worth and value, and loving to the other person, because you are not enabling their farce to continue.) And the same evaluating skills need to be in place toward your pastor and leaders. They should be leading by humble, godly example. We are told to test the spirits, to search the Scriptures for ourselves, and to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing.

      Oh my goodness, this is long! I hope you discern the love behind it, and don’t feel “preached at!”

      I just read your recent response to someone else, and I have to ask:

      Do you only look at scholars who have a bias against religion/faith/belief in God and/or the Bible? Do you give equal time to those who have the opposite bias? Have you read any N.T. Wright, for example? Francis Collins? Alvin Plantinga?
      Or R.T. France, or Scott McKnight, etc?

      Have you read the entire Gospels for yourself? With an open mind and heart? Even if you don’t believe in their historical accuracy or claimed authorship, are you open to the possibility that you might be wrong? Or more accurately that the people you are reading/listening to might be wrong…might have an agenda, too, just like Christians? Could it be that their “open minds” are really closed minds? And they are simply warring against faith because deep down inside they don’t want to accept that there is a God? Or ok, maybe an impersonal, vague, benevolent being, but not one that actually knows me and that I am beholden to…?

      Not only Christians have biases and agendas. Everyone does.

    • Aleea on January 30, 2017 at 6:56 am

      Again, thank you T.L., I read your post three times and prayed over it even more. . . .Yes, I have read all those authors except Scott McKnight and have certainly read the New Testament and the Bible many, many times and I have vast portions of it memorized (―As Paul would say, that is speaking like a total fool but it is true), etc. . . . .

      We cannot end abuse if people cannot critically think and evaluate things. “My pastor told me I have to stay in my marriage and what is implied is ―And I don’t want to wind up on the wrong side of God and pay the consequences.” That which we are told we cannot speak of are the things about which we must never stop speaking. . . .Let me try (—I will probably fail) making my point about rational thinking, evidence and reason and why when you abandon it you are open to serious abuse. The point is that once you just start believing stuff with basically no evidence but lots of parallels in legends and myths, you can easily think you should stay with an abusive husband because there is FAR MORE textual support for doing that. Actually that is what those passages meant to Christians for like 1900 years. . . . .Okay, Lord help me, . . . . in Jude One, Michael the archangel and Satan are disputing over the body of Moses. This is in the New Testament!!! . . . Below is the text I have open. It’s from the oldest New Testament Greek apparatus (Papyrus 72 ―It is the earliest known manuscript of that epistle of Jude (P. Oxy. 2684) . . .ὁ δὲ Μιχαὴλ ὁ ἀρχάγγελος, ὅτε τῷ διαβόλῳ διακρινόµενος διελέγετο περὶ τοῦ Μωϋσέως σώµατος, οὐκ ἐτόλµησεν κρίσινἐπενεγκεῖν βλασφηµίας, ἀλλὰ εἶπεν, Ἐπιτιµήσαι σοι κύριος. . . . . . So that is in Jude One. English is just as good, but full disclosure, —I still have an ego I need to be working against too. I know. . . . But just let it sink in. ―Really let it sink in. ―A postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’ corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him (―as counterparty collateral). ―Now, it is a common pagan myth and I see it in scrolls that predate the Bible like the Dead Sea Scrolls (For example: Testament of Amram (4Q543, 545-548)) . . . In Jude, we see the exact same thing with just different names ―this postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’ corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him. . . . ―I thought to myself, Lord Jesus, you know I love you, BUT YOU ALSO KNOW that is just crazy talk!!! . . .That is on a level with tooth fairies, leprechauns, Sasquatches, flying pixies! . . . . ―I know the rationalizations, ―rube goldbergesk explanations. ―The amounts of ingenuity used to harmonize blatant crazy stuff like that in the Bible would have cured cancer by now, ―seriously. Once you believe stuff like that, you will believe, easily, that you should stay with an abusive husband. That is what I mean when I say the quickest route out of what your pastor says is to start questioning things, —d-e-e-p-l-y questioning them.

      We cannot end abuse if people cannot critically think and evaluate things. That which we are told we cannot speak of are the things we must never stop speaking about. Those that are abused need to question everything, —all of it. When confronted with inner conflicts, we are tempted to obscure them by externalizing the antagonisms—something that is done through the hatred of others and/or the hatred of the self (—you know, it is like turning the scapegoat mechanism inward). The more difficult, courageous path involves being real with the antagonisms. As a child abuse and neglect therapist I talked to recently told me: I do battle daily with Christians enamored of the Old Testament. I bet you do, —makes sense!!! How do we find words for describing levels of betrayal and emotional, and spiritual torture that fragment and destroy a child and cast traumatic shadows over the whole of adult life? —It’s a healthy thing to hang question marks off of the things you have long taken for granted.

      We surround ourselves with safe people, people who will appreciate our cherished views. I’m trying to not do that by being here. What good is a blog where people agree with what I say. We will learn nothing. Fundamentalism offers identity, security, and simplicity, but at a price: by binding believers to things in the Bible that make no sense (—Staying in abusive situations, et.al. because that is what the Bible teaches unless you start all the text twisting and going against thousands of years of interpretation.)

      T.L., I don’t know what the answer is but look at the price we pay in the lives of those who are still asking unbelievable questions in the light of the last 275 years of Biblical archeology and textual manuscript finds. They are still asking unbelievable questions (―and it is because sans text twisting IT IS what the Bible teaches and was the plain historical “Christian” sense for 1900 years). We cannot end abuse if people cannot critically think and evaluate things. Re: “My pastor told me I have to stay in my marriage and what is implied is ―And I don’t want to wind up on the wrong side of God and pay the consequences.”

      The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum. Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a “lady” . . . . I hope you will find some way to make some trouble on behalf of all women.

      . . .Fear is VERY bad soil. It grows obedience like corn, which grow in straight lines to make weeding easier (—Pull the Aleeas out by the roots).

      . . . .I am just one small, insignificant voice. A dry leaf that can be crushed and blown away BUT behind what I saying are mountains of scholarship that would make anyone not willfully blind really, deeply wonder. That’s why people are debating it, it is not clear —at all. . . . .But, as always, every last person should do what the Holy Spirit tells them to do. You are only free when you are obeying some deep, inward voice of God. Obeying from within, not what your pastor is controlling you with for institutional church purposes (—And there are good pastors who are our friends, but the Holy Spirit first, —always). You are free when you belong to a living, organic, believing community, —it is just true for me too. Faith, it seems to me, in its most correct form, never removes responsibility to deeply think and d-e-e-p-l-y evaluate; it removes fear of responsibility. The results are complete opposites with the greater saying, God’s will is my delight, —right??? You have to really think deeply about it to really get it!

  10. Aly on January 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I agree T.L. with your comments and how you are interpreting this dialog.
    Aleea I wish I could have real time dialog with you to understand more of what your going through and what you are speaking into.

    I have read many of your posts and I can take away that you are a deep thinker and certainly a person who ‘reasons’.
    Which by the way, I greatly respect and admire those that choose to critically think and ponder many aspects of life.

    Where do you think that reasoning or gratefulness came from?

    Myself, I’m an evidence ‘gatherer’~ why not..
    how did I get the ability to gather evidence in the first place to make a conclusion or theory?

    From your previous posts, my heart goes out to your hurt. I believe you were given parents (or parent) that I would hardly give the verb parent to and that has greatly damaged an accurate safe trusting view of a consistent God or biblical worldview .
    When we are little girls are parent or parents ‘imprint’ our ability to see and draw near to a safe God or God image. Some parents are horrible examples of this.
    Some are ok, some are still stuck with the same baton their parents gave them. But they are apathetic and like their mud pies. I digress sorry.
    I’m not trying to get on a blame the parents train ~ I’m speaking only in terms of how we begin a journey of seeing who God IS. Even though that is a lifetime journey;) and then the journey of trusting who God is.

    I will add a couple comments that hopefully will be helpful when it comes to evidence of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection and the ability to trust God Breathed scripture OT and NT.
    1.Manuscripts for one of the Bible.
    2.Archeology ~ evidence via dates and findings that give evidence of biblical history
    3. Prophesy ~ ok this is quite fascinating.. if your a true skeptic.. study study study and make your own conclusion.
    4. Statistics of prophesy,
    Do the math. It’s amazing what evidence is present and available if we are willing to discover it.

    I will continue to pray for your heart as you turn close to Him;) even if you turn to investigate, and question.
    Mere Christianity is a classic and you might enjoy the writting style.
    Blessing and hugs to you.

    • Aleea on January 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      Aly,
      —I apologize for not seeing your post sooner. I am like a mouse in a maze with a tablet. I appreciate your thoughts.
      Aly, I only think deeply when I don’t get real love. When I get real, pure love, I don’t even care what is or is not true. I know that is shameless but it is the way I feel. It’s like I can’t be adult enough to just ask people for real love and prayer.

      Re: “Where do you think that reasoning or gratefulness came from?” —That’s a very good question. . . . From God. It’s all God, everything is God. . . . “For in Him we live and move and have our being!” (Acts Seventeen). . . . I always think about it as me, a sunken ship, inside an ocean and that ocean is God (is real love). —I am convinced of that but that is just God not Jesus and the Gospels (see below).

      Re: “. . . greatly damaged an accurate safe trusting view of a consistent God or biblical worldview.” . . .That is also very true and I guess I don’t trust the Lord. We view God the way we view our parents. In fact, there are whole books on that research. My parents were monsters, so res ipsa loquitur God. That said, I do not want to manipulate rescue (poor me). . . .and I have so much to be thankful for. —But what can I do?

      Re: “I digress sorry” . . . .Please, don’t be sorry, I know how I view God is an issue. . .I don’t know what to do about it and I have thought and worked a lot on it.

      Re: “Manuscripts of the Bible.” . . . .Unfortunately, I could talk for days on this but to briefly outline:
      I. The Gospels Were Written by Persons Unknown (Not Eyewitnesses)
      II. The Dates of the Gospels (All after 70AD), so The Gospels are based on an Unreliable Oral Tradition (Jesus spoke Armamaic, the Gospels are in Koine Greek. In a court of law that is hearsay and gossip.)
      III. The Gospels Have a Theological Bias and an Apologetic Agenda (They are not reporting data, they are selling ideas.)
      IV. The Gospels Contain Fictional Forms and are Inconsistent with Each Other and Known Historical Facts
      V. There is No Independent Support for Gospels Claims
      VI. The Gospels Testify to Things Beyond Belief (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.)

      Re: “Archeology” . . . .I had so much written out on this that the site bounced it. See “The Bible Unearthed” —The scholars in that book blow me away. It is like the boldest and most hard hitting synthesis of Bible and archaeology in maybe hundred years, —a totally honest assessment. Also, Philip R. Davies, “In Search of Ancient Israel” Thomas L. Thompson, “Biblical Archaeology and Israel.” “On the Reliability of the Old Testament,” by Kenneth Kitchen, totally fresh and astonishing insights. —maybe also see: Dr. Marc Z. Brettler, The Creation of History in Ancient Israel. ―Even as skeptical as I tend to be, I never saw all this coming.

      Re: Prophesy/ Statistics of prophesy. . . . Okay, this I will look into further. I have not looked at the statistics on the prophesies.

      Re: “I will continue to pray for your heart”. . . . Thank you so, so much. . . . Aly, the Bible has issues beyond what we can even comprehend. It has vast factual mistakes spanning every discipline: manuscript evidence, archeology, cosmology, evolutionary biology, textual contradictions, textual variants, interpolations, redactions, textual alterations, unverified authors, subjectively canonized books. . .BUT when I pray, I can feel just overwhelmed with something good, clean and right. —I don’t know maybe it is just me imagining. Something there is real like what is described in “God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Theology” by Dr. Tad DeLay, Dr. Peter Rollins. Repressed issues from childhood abuse trauma and PTSD are really hard to get at, maybe impossible.

  11. Aly on January 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    So true!!
    Thank you T.L. For writing that out..
    blessing to you;)

    • T.L. on January 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      And to you, Aly!

    • T.L. on January 21, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Hi Aleea,

      I hope you are able to see this response, because the stream we were on is out of response buttons.

      I’ve gotten that exact error message you got twice myself, but my message still posts. Maybe it is a device issue, as you say.

      Regarding your response to me of January 21 at 7:01 am:

      I appreciate you taking the time to type out all the books you have read, and to tell me the ones you would recommend for me. Only I’m not confused and searching. There was a time when I was searching. But I have found. So I have no compelling drive or even interest to read the books you have recommended. When you find what you are looking for: living water that quenches the thirsty, longing soul; you don’t need to look elsewhere. I know whom I have believed in, and He satisfies the deepest longings of my soul.

      ” . . Those fears are not there to scare you or me, even though I am afraid too. They’re there to let us know that something is so worth it. It is so worth it to try to find the truth. The only way to do that is to be really fair and honest to the point it hurts.”

      What fears are you referring to, Aleea? I am not sure what you are afraid of? And I am not afraid, so am not sure why you are trying to reassure me. I do agree wholeheartedly that it is worth it to try to find the truth. But it is actually find-able. I do hope you arrive at the destination one day. My heart goes out to you in your present state of confusion.

      May the peace of Christ be yours.

    • T.L. on January 21, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Aleea,

      I hope you are able to see this response, because the stream we were on is out of response buttons.

      I’ve gotten that exact error message you got twice myself, but my message still posts. Maybe it is a device issue, as you say.

      Regarding your response to me of January 21 at 7:01 am:

      I appreciate you taking the time to type out all the books you have read, and to tell me the ones you would recommend for me. Only I’m not confused and searching. There was a time when I was searching, and I was confused. But now I have found. So I have no compelling drive or even interest to read the books you have recommended. When one finds what one is looking for: living water that quenches the thirsty, longing soul; you don’t need to look elsewhere. I know Whom I have believed in, and He satisfies the deepest longings of my soul.

      ” . . Those fears are not there to scare you or me, even though I am afraid too. They’re there to let us know that something is so worth it. It is so worth it to try to find the truth. The only way to do that is to be really fair and honest to the point it hurts.”

      What fears are you referring to, Aleea? I am not sure what you are afraid of? And I am not afraid, so am not sure why you are trying to reassure me. I do agree wholeheartedly that it is worth it to try to find the truth. But it is actually find-able. May the simple truth of the gospel of Jesus illuminate and satisfy your soul. May His love transform you, heal you, bless you, and give you peace.

  12. Lmsdaily115 on January 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I really was moved by this article. I have been very confused as well. My husband does not physically abuse, but is emotionally distant, won’t accept his part of the decay of our 20 year marriage. I try so hard to have faith that he will wake up. He blames me for everything, won’t listen to anything I try to bring up. Won’t go to counseling…but I go for me. I, too have wished for something to happen that would be biblical grounds for divorce, but then I think that it is just a mid life crisis and God keeps telling me to stay, very clearly. Yet, I’m not sure how long I can live like this either. He is not the same man I martied, in fact a complete stranger. I find myself losing more and more of my love for him. I have appologized and repented, but he doesn’t know how to forgive and refuses. He thinks it’s stupid to claim that God has forgiven me and that it doesn’t count. I just don’t know how to know whenbenough is enough and to move on. I don’t want to hurt the kids, in 5 years, they will be grown adults. There is no blatant abuse, as far as I know, no adultry, drugs, porn…so why does this seem so wrong. How can you tell if it is just a dry patch, or an attitude that will never change. I’m trying like heck to kerp deep depression at bay. It is a constant battle. I am always made to beleive it is my ferlings, thoughts and attitude that are wrong. I admit, I was very disrespectful in the past because of my fear, hurt and frustration. This only pushed him away further, but I found God and have turned from that. I understand how to love and respect now. Yet I feel so lonely and punished daily by his physical, emotional and spiritual neglect. I’m drowning.

    • T.L. on January 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Lmsdaily115: Can you leave for awhile? It really helps immensely to get away, get alone with the God who made you, loves you, and weeps with you. Listen to His still small voice within.

      If your counselor isn’t helping you to grow in respect and care for yourself as a beloved child of God, find one who can.

      Listen to Leslie’s videos, read her books, blog articles, and the comments of women who have been there and learn from them.

      Give up talking, pleading, and trying to change your husband. It will never work. Work on you: change yourself. Strengthen your CORE, as Leslie’s teaches on. Turn away from misplaced hope of a changed husband, and place all your hope in the God who loves you. Work on strengthening and nurturing that relationship and you will grow and change. God will show you, step by step, new, brave ways of being and doing.

      Love and prayers.

  13. Robin on January 19, 2017 at 2:23 am

    I think when as Mom’s we are on survival mode, and the people that influence our decisions can’t hear us, it’s easy to second guess ourselves. We know part of the truth, but it’s like we can’t allow ourselves to think on the destructive behaviors too much. But as our children get older, and it doesn’t get easier, and they are being slapped around, lied too, and abused……. the Truth becomes more evident for us. But it’s definitely a huge process to be ready to quit pretending, and be ready to stand up and walk out Truth. As I read this woman’s words, I saw how many of us on this blog could say that’s their story too.
    Sometimes the thing to do next is take a action step that you havnt been ready to take. God has something beautiful for us, as we desire to hear and act on the Truth.

  14. Wendy on January 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    We are all so blessed by Leslie and her life. Thank you Leslie for making a choice to follow and seek the heart of Christ. Thank you for being the very hand of God to reach into our lives and give us direction at the darkest time of our lives.
    I am so thankful for the strong women on this blog who are brave and honest. My daughter did not need a perfect mom or a perfect family. She needed to see her discouraged Momma saved by the hand of God. She needed to see my sorrow turned into joy and my weakness turned into strength. She needed to hear me say that God was delivering me and loving me and also loving her. We cannot offer a perfect world to ourselves and our children but we can offer a perfect love as we seek to follow the advice of Godly women who have given their lives for our very cause. Leslie has chosen to follow Christ and seek after His wisdom and love. This is very tangible and very real and gives us concrete help and direction. The love of God is the most tangible thing there is on this earth. He will flood a fearful heart and bring peace and calm. He will flood an indecisive mind and give you direction. He will give you the strength to do what you know is best for your family. This is not something anyone can do for us. The greatest treasure is stepping out on the wisdom we receive from Leslie and those who help her and the word of God. We find His love meets us at our very moment of decision to trust Him and leave an abusive relationship.
    We must determine in our hearts to turn away from the abuse and seek hope and believe in love. We must determine in our minds there is a better life and there is a very real God that promises to give us peace in the midst of trials. The first step must be taken trusting Him for the strength to move forward.
    My prayers are with you all today my dear sisters.

  15. Wendy on January 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I would like to say that the hardest thing for me was leaving a man I knew was sick. As his wife there was a part of me that truly wanted to help. I have learned that only God can do that.
    Letting go and realizing that I may never understand why a person would lie and manipulate on such a hurtful scale was hard.
    Walking away from my church and finding a safe church was very hard but the best decision I could have made.
    My precious Grandson and my Daughter were abandoned by her youth pastors family and his son the father of her Baby.
    He is 5 and has been asking about his Dad for 2 years now. His dad is only 10 hours away and attends church every Sunday yet has had no communication with his son. I say that to say this, I will never be able to wrap my mind around such neglect but that is not what my Grandson and Daughter need from me.
    I have to let it go and give that battle to God. I have to forgive them over and over so that the love of God can flow through me to my precious Grandson.
    On any day I can chose to be angry and blame but I chose to believe!
    I believe that one day at a time God will give me the love and wisdom to build a new and real life with my kids. Today is my last day with them and we have been together for one week. We are happy and very blessed.
    The devil will find us and try to steal our joy don’t let him win!! Fight this fight on your knees chose to believe one day at a time God can and will make beautiful from evil.

    • Ruth on January 24, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Thank you for sharing this testimony. Your daughter and grandson will reap the benefits of of your decision to follow hard after a OVERCOMING walk with Jesus! 😊

  16. Nancy on January 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    HI Aleea,

    Christ asks us a question,

    “Who do YOU say that I am?”

    ( not who does this theologian, or that Doctor, say that I am – but who, Aleea, do YOU say that I am?”)

    I would encourage you to sit with the gospel of John and ask Him to reveal himself to you. Personally, and in a way that leaves no doubt at all.

    If you seek Him with all your heart, He will reveal himself to you. That’s a real promise. It involves coming before a mighty God in repentance. Pride is an incideous thing that keeps us leaning on our own understanding.

    • Robin on January 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      Aleea, I totallyam in agreement with Nancys words to you, I would have liked to say the same . We love you but we don’t get healed by talking about all those great people in our lives. Jesus wants a private conversation with just you and Him. You are a beautiful and eloquent speaker and writer. But I have sensed many times it distracts you from what is most important.

    • Aleea on January 20, 2017 at 6:05 am

      Thank you so much Nancy. . .

      “. . .Christ asks us a question, “Who do YOU say that I am?” . . .I had to really think and pray about that. . . I want Him be my Savior but I fear I am just a total fool and He is just an archtype. When you look at heros from the Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, all these heros have the same Mythic Hero Archetype: supernatural savior who was born of a virgin, healed the sick, raised the dead, changed water into wine, walked on water, rose from the grave and ascended bodily into the sky. . . But so did Hercules, Apollonius of Tyana, Romulus the founder of the city of Rome, et.al. Millions and millions of people totally believed all the things about other Gods. . . Mithras was the Jesus of Mithraism, that was practised in the Roman Empire from the 1st to the 4th century, until the Christians killed all of them off (—evolution in religion?). —And it is significant that the early Christian apologists (1st and 2nd century) argued that these parallels to the gospels were counterfeits in advance, by Satan, who knew the real thing would be coming along later and wanted to throw people off the track. This is like the desperate Nineteenth-Century attempts of fundamentalists to claim that Satan had created fake dinosaur bones to tempt the faithful not to believe in Genesis! At any rate, and this is my point, no one would have argued this way had the pagan myths of dead and resurrected gods been more recent than the Christian.
      • Romulus: Roman state God, his death and resurrection celebrated in annual passion plays.
      • Osiris: Egyptian God, those baptized into his death and resurrection are saved in the afterlife.
      • Zalmoxis: Thracian God, his death and resurrection assures followers of eternal life.
      • Et.al. . . .for thousands of pages. The evidence is like an unending road.

      “Who do YOU say that I am?” . . .So, I guess Jesus is an inner therapy to an outward liberation and I can feel it but I see no real evidence for it. Sometimes I really fear it is just a language game, an emotional intimacy language game. A language game, where projecting confidence absorbs other people’s dread. I know my Redeemer lives vs. I hope He lives. Like when you project lots of confidence, that for some reason makes me feel better and makes me want to believe. Whatever is going on I bet it is psychological. Francis Schaeffer used to say that the Christian need never fear following the evidence wherever it leads because he will never, in a striking phrase, fall off the edge of the earth. That is, he will never find his faith destroyed by the facts. —And yet, Schaeffer used to turn right around and give a list of approved positions Christians may hold on creation and evolution, the only ones allowed by the Bible. In my experience, Tillich was right in that fundamentalism destroys the humble honesty of the search for truth. Research is by definition open-ended. How can there be any sincere research —for example, the historical Jesus question when the outcome is dictated in advance by one’s faith? How can there be real open-minded research when you know already your faith will be borne out? It comes down to a circular argument: If you believe it, you will see it –or- believe and you will see. It is a dangerous game because it can get you to submit to abuse, especially spiritual abuse. When pastors refer to the biblical approach to home-economics or the biblical response to politics or biblical womanhood, they are using the Bible as a weapon disguised as an adjective: Ephesians six; First Peter, et.al.: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. . . . Likewise, you wives, be in all subjection to your own husbands. . . .God hates divorce, wife submit, turn or burn, et.everything. It is setting people up for abuse to swallow a whole raft of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors by an act of simple faith. i.e. I believe the Bible and am under the authority of my pastor, that short-circuits the process of researching the issues with primary source evidence and coming one’s own conclusions.

      Thank you Nancy. I appreciate you. . . .In the past I have been so easily deceived because I am so quick to hope. Who doesn’t want it ALL to be true? I really need it to be true, that’s what bothers me. There are all sorts of books offering advice on how to deal with life-threatening situations, but where’s the advice on dealing with just totally embarrassing ones, —like this? I guess it is pain that changes our lives.

  17. Content on January 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I needed to read this today. After almost 3 months of separation, the confusion is becoming less and less (just like others who have walked this road before have testified), but sometimes, I still do the mental gymnastics trying to decide if I am “seeing” things right now, if I’m really in God’s will, etc. The next “step” that will probably highlight some confusion for me, I think, will be the decision of divorce.

    Mostly, though, I am feeling amazingly free and hopeful for my future – God has done a lot of work in a couple of weeks’ time and part of that was really working through the surrender of my marriage and the intact family unit. Through a series of God showing me again how sovereign He is and how much I can trust that He is working for my good, I almost feel like a completely different person than a couple of weeks ago.

    I agree with you, Leslie – the community here is amazing. I still struggle with the fact that I have had to even come to a website like this and get support (I’m sure you all can relate), but I am so very thankful for those who have responded to me and encouraged and prayed for me.

    At the beginning of the Red Sea journey – still a while to go…but thankful to have a God whose promises are true.

    • Ann L on January 19, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Content, just a note to say yup, yup, that’s been my experience, too. Been living on my own for 5 months today. Such clarity, such peace. I still mourn the loss of what I had (in my deluded state) imagined our future to be, and I still routinely remind myself that my husband’s inability/unwillingness to address his addictive behaviors is enough reason to not return.

      And I still have to remind myself that it wasn’t all my fault, and that even if I were to remake myself in the image (behaviorally) that he claims would make things right — it wouldn’t — because there were two pieces to this puzzle.

      I agree, this community has overall been very helpful and what I learned from Leslie’s clear videos, etc, has really, truly helped me build that CORE.

      Lastly, yes, I really worried at first that absorbing these lessons was just me being willing to give up, just me looking for any excuse to leave the marriage. Hang in there and enjoy the peace. It’s such a gift!

      • Content on January 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

        Hi, Ann. I’m glad you are feeling God’s peace.

        I don’t know if this is a temporary feeling for me or I suspect I’ll waiver between it and mourning. But, the last week, I have been surprised to sense that the love I feel for my husband is really just a love I would have for any human being. I have no desire to return to my marriage and the broken heart feeling and constant tears are gone. And I have a lot of deep joy and am truly loving life and smiling.

        It’s so strange that I’m hoping I’m normal and this is healthy, haha.

        I’m sure there are stages of grief and I know I have a long journey ahead, but I just wanted to encourage you that there are joyful days ahead.

      • Content on January 19, 2017 at 11:14 pm

        Oh, I wanted to say, too, that I still think at times, “If I were a better housekeeper, more organized, etc maybe he wouldn’t have been able to resent me. ” But then God is quick to remind me how wrong that thinking is.

        Our minds are still being renewed from the subtle and not so subtle messages we’ve heard for years.

  18. Aly on January 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    T.L.
    Thank you so much for writting that out, so well expressed with truth and love;)
    I have a hunch if we met for lunch It would move to dinner based on the vast amounts to cover, validate and just plain see the picture on the wall… and I would be blessed! So thank you for taking the time to write such important and critical truths of the Christian faith.

    Aleea was responding to me via my thoughts and perspective and yes I have a few things yet to reply to especially in regarding The Gospels given in the last post.

    I do believe at the core of ‘doubting’ or even entertaining the doubt is ….Who will we ultimately ‘worship’?
    When we doubt Christ, it can justify our rationalization in a Plethora of ways. It certainly can help any denial and any control we want for our own counterfeit peace. Thus self sabotage yet again;(
    But wait; He still loves us and waits for us to turn to Him!
    We were created and designed for worship;) how awesome is that.
    Especially if we worship the one Worthy of worship.

    You’re a blessing thanks again for all of your posts;)

  19. Robin on January 19, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Content, us women,many of us would do that one thing to fix our marriages. Wouldn’t we love that?
    I had a friend who use to say no matter what you did, he would raise the bar higher.
    I love hearing your healthyness. What a nice change for you!!!!!

    • Content on January 20, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I know, it’s quite a change from where I was two weeks ago…so thank you for praying and for the others here who have prayed for me!

      I am diving into job search mode and getting excited – although very sad to think about summers not being available full time for my children. I’m so thankful they are older and will be ok without me, but it is not something I think is ideal. Also a little nervous trying to figure out how much I need to survive and to pay off my half of our ridiculous debt (I don’t want to file for bankruptcy if I don’t have to).

      Anyone have any resources or some good websites/blog posts to help me figure out how to walk through these next steps? I’ve never lived on my own before and my husband has been in control of all of our finances.

      • Robin on January 20, 2017 at 11:50 pm

        Content, the sooner you file for divorce, the sooner you lawyer can get you some money for Maintenance while you’re waiting for court date for divorce. I was given Maintenance immediately after filing. (About 2 weeks).

        • Content on January 21, 2017 at 8:50 pm

          Thanks, Robin.

          I just don’t know what my next step is re: divorce or just staying separated. Waiting on God’s clear leading. Until I know, I guess I stay where I am. 🙂

        • Content on January 21, 2017 at 8:52 pm

          And, so far, thankfully, he is still providing and working and nothing has really changed monetarily (except that we are going further into debt because of now having extra expenses of separation).

      • Felicia on January 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        Content,
        I’m what Dave Ramsey terms a nerd, so hopefully I can help with a few logistical tips.
        The activity of dividing assets and debt can vary from state to state and depending on your spouse’s willingness to work with you. There are online forms and tools available. I’ve glanced at them, but haven’t settled on any yet.
        The process of determining what you need to live on and how to move forward is a bit simpler. Two tools I have appreciated are Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and mint.com. The first helped me build a budget and long term plan, the second helps me manage and maintain them.
        There are a lot of unknowns for you right now, so you will have to estimate some things, but now is a time to fill in as many blanks and get access to as much information as you can.
        While there are a lot of unknowns, you can rely on a few known. You have been an encouragement. You are loved and cared for by God in ways no physical manifestation can comprehend. That same God understands the physical nature of your being and will care for that too. You are not alone on this journey and there is at least one woman praying for you as you read this.

        • Content on January 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm

          Felicia, thanks so much. Such sweet comments. I woke up anxious this morning about things and very quickly, God had led me to His promises in Matthew 6 regarding not worrying for anything and just seeking His kingdom and righteousness first. And a couple of Psalms. He is so good. Immediate peace and a remembrance of what He’s done just these past few days to show that He is so in control and leading me.

          As painful as this journey has been, I know that the spiritual treasures have already been worth it – learning to trust Him in a deeper way and learning more than ever that He really is enough and that I can be content 🙂 in Him no matter my circumstances.

          I will look into those resources you mentioned. Thank you.

  20. Nancy on January 20, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Aleea,

    Are you willing to sit with the gospel of John and ALLOW it to penetrate your heart?

    ( This is what I mean by ALLOWING it to penetrate your heart : that if something jumps out at you, that you would sit with that, WITHOUT distancing yourself through analysis or looking up what others say about the passage. That you would simply ALLOW that passage to sit in your mind and heart. )

    And are you willing to answer the above question in one brief sentence, starting with either a yes, or a no?

    • Aleea on January 29, 2017 at 5:42 am

      Nancy, thank you so much for that. I really appreciate that you would care. I had to do this over and over, and over multiple days to really clear my mind and let it soak in and get the analysis (distancing) out of my head. ―Let me tell you Nancy, ―that is no easy task*****

      “Are you willing to sit with the gospel of John and ALLOW it to penetrate your heart?” ―Yes, certainly I am.

      “And are you willing to answer the above question in one brief sentence, starting with either a yes, or a no?” ―Yes.

      “Who, Aleea, do YOU say that I am?” ―God too. Co-equal with the Living God. . . .

      . . . If you (―not you Nancy) . . . .if you, regress me to a helpless child (―I know that is not anyone’s intent) and make me fearful and afraid (―Even if you are not trying to do that), sure my mind gives me all the “right” answers. But all it takes is some days of safety and. . . .and I wonder. . .I really wonder. . . .Mark, Matthew, Luke. . . .there Jesus asks his disciples who people say that He is but never comments on the topic Himself. But John’s Jesus totally departs from this greatly by having Jesus speak all the time of His authority, identity, relationship with God and his disciples. John is the latest gospel and is written near the close of the first century. The story appears to be evolving and evolving in ways you never see in Mark. . . . Something to think about.

      “If something jumps out at you, that you would sit with that, WITHOUT distancing yourself through analysis or looking up what others say about the passage. That you would simply ALLOW that passage to sit in your mind and heart.” ―Yes, and here is what I most remember: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness (Aleea, it’s always Aleea’s fault ―my mother’s voice of abuse) comprehends it not.

      *****John’s authors (plural) . . . The Greek shifts so dramatically ―it is like three different people wrote “John” and the ending is obviously edited multiple times per the manuscripts still in existence. John’s Gospel is the work of trained minds who wrote serious rhetorical Greek; but Acts four says that John and Peter were both illiterate fisherman et.al. Nancy, both Peter and John, also a fisherman, were “agrammatoi”, a Greek word that literally means “unlettered,” that is, “illiterate.” ―Where did they learn Greek at that level? What is that about? . . . .Those questions go on forever. The synoptics (Mark, Matthew, Luke) tell that us Jesus performed exorcisms, but John does not. . . .Why? ―What happened to all those devils? The synoptic Jesus refuses to give signs of his authority but John’s Jesus is prominent in lavishing an entire series of signs in order to prove his authority. ―What is that about? John omits any mention of the raising of Jairus’s daughter but according to Mark’s gospel it was John who was a privileged witness. Nothing is privately discussed (per the synoptics) but John is all publically open. You see all these books on the “Synoptic problems of the Gospels”, I find it interesting that this “problem” simply disappears if we assume the Gospels were not intended to be read as literal truth. . . Something to think about too.

      Nancy, again, thank you for that. I really appreciate that you would care. . . . .I think I understand: with no analysis, if I don’t think much about it, it is all true. If I start asking questions. . . .Well, it is like a pill: if you swallow it whole, fine . . . .if you chew on it you want to spit it out. Yes, everything is simpler when you don’t think much about it. Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye, if you don’t look at any issues really closely, you don’t see them. Even, really, deeply sad things are beautiful from a great enough distance, therefore you just want to get away from them (―all the text issues) and you get so far that yes, the Gospel of John is beautiful but that is so different from historically true.

      Now, Nancy, I really see promise in the idea of “analysis” being a distancing mechanism. The most common emotional defense is avoidance (―ineffective but a coping skill for any stressor. I used to do that with all Bible issues. The Bible is full of serious issues) and I expressed it through my denial (―Aleea, those text issues are not really bad, I barely see any issues). I learned that keeping busy, well it kept me at a distance from my feelings (―The Bible has serious issues). . . . .I took the ways I busied myself—becoming overachiever & workaholic—as self esteem. Obviously it is not. But whenever my inner feelings did not match my outer surface, I was doing myself a huge disservice. . . If stopping to really ask DEEP questions means being barraged, no wonder we are reluctant to do it, ―me too.

      I try not go to Bible studies anymore at my church, just prayer services where we pray for people and ourselves. The people around me can’t tolerate the questions and don’t appreciate my journey. Even I am sick of my “journey”. If you break your leg, there is no stage in the healing process when your leg feels better than it does after it has totally healed. There is pain and itching and loss of strength. From the moment your leg is broken, it continues to feel bad … until, gradually, it starts to feel less bad. It’s appropriate that it hurts. Studied deeply, the Bible will just break your heart apart. So I think we’d better look at what grief might offer us. It’s like what they say about self-doubt: it is not going to go away, and therefore I need to think about how it might become my ally. Grief might be, in some ways, more fully valuing what I have lost ―my childhood.

      I always thought that growing up would bring escape and freedom but the personality I formed in all those environments of coercive control. . . .well, I am not well adapted to adult life. I am still a prisoner of my childhood. Attempting to create a new life, I just reencounter the trauma. Jesus is the hero we need, but reality, it is a hard road. I keep thinking it is something I don’t know but what if it is something I don’t let myself feel and what if Christianity has nothing to do with healing, it is just a numbing device, a distraction all its own? But it seems so useful: It is a comprehensive explanation for everything (―Jesus did It!) and I am not sure but I think it decreases my uncertainty and anxiety and reduces my cognitive load. . . . And since I use it as a simplifying algorithm to put myself on the side of moral virtue then, maybe, most of the time, it allows me to be a good person with a minimum of effort, not bad at all, even if it is not true in any objective sense.

      Over time, most who have been abused in childhood find everything, even the Bible (inerrancy and infallibility), really fails any survivor’s exacting test of trustworthiness and that causes me to withdraw. The isolation just goes on and on. I act just like an animal after a prolonged series of traumatic experiences, the evolutionary system of self-preservation seems to go on to permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment. The guarantee of safety in a battering relationship can never be based upon “a promise”, no matter how heartfelt. Rather, it must be based upon the self-protective capability of my person. I really have not developed a detailed and realistic contingency plan or demonstrated my ability to carry it out, so it is really hard to trust. . . . .My counselor is so kind and gentle and yet I can’t trust her enough to heal. . . . I need that moment when a sense of connection is restored by another person’s unaffected display of generosity. Something I believe to be irretrievably destroyed . . .faith, decency, courage ―that gets reawakened by an example of serious altruism??? . . . .Or maybe I could be that, somehow, for someone else and help heal them and somehow co-heal? Establishment of safety (―my counselor says I am locked down there). . . . I can’t get to full remembrance and mourning and certainly not reconnection. I was praying “Lord God, I hate to say this to You but I think the Bible is just in the way, this has nothing to do with the Bible, ―does it?”

  21. Aly on January 20, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Hi Aleea,

    I have much to respond to your comments but I will go further into the Gospels and the Theological aspects via email due to the emphasis of this blog. I happen to be studying the Gospels currently.

    I feel as a sister in Christ and a Believer in the Bible to warn you of many scholars out there that will do anything to redirect truth an freedom to your heart.

    As for me and many other Christian’s the biblical truths only freed me of oppression via family issue and toxic church faith beliefs. That’s why I do find it wise that you are willing to search out truth. I have hope that the Holy Spirit will etch these truths on your heart.

    I’m watching a pattern in your writting and on your avatar.
    My heart goes out to you deeply as I know you have been tormented and abused and this can seriously effect ones reasoning skills over time.

    I observe that you make a statement about a belief and in the next statement self refute it, that’s concerning to me.
    Here’s why;
    Sometimes we think and reason to ‘a bent’ that’s most familiar to us. Similar to defense mechanisms that are self sabotaging… I know you are well educated in this area.
    If doubt is familiar then it might feel most comfortable ultimately.
    See I believe you doubt based on fear of the pain of disappointment ~
    But doubt is giving you more ability to stay on the wheel then get off the wheel and rest in His Love and find confidence in it.
    There must be something safe and familiar or powerful with doubt for you?

    Many of your comments concern me but I’m only an ambassador but it seems tormenting in some degree to me.
    As an ambassador of Christ, we profess and care about the Kindgom of the Lord. The ruler of this world will always run chaos, his games are not all that inventive.
    Look at Genesis… create doubt with Eve.. ask her to question what was said truly?

    Blessing and prayers for your heart and mind. Many people around you are caring, loving and empathetic to your past wiring and are certainly not of your parents mindset.
    They won’t be the consistent contridictors of character like you have experienced.
    Sure, they won’t be perfect… nor is that possible but they will offer truth in love.. and isn’t that what your searching for anyway?

    This is not my own theory but one I highly respect:
    “Many of us are hurt in relationship, and many of us will be healed in relationship.”

    • Aleea on January 20, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you so much Aly. I appreciate that you would be this generous with your time.

      “I feel as a sister in Christ and a Believer in the Bible to warn you of many scholars out there that will do anything to redirect truth and freedom to your heart.” . . . .But maybe tell me why Aly? Consider this: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world, even their pets. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime? Except in rare cases, I don’t understand why professional scholars would do that. That has been my experience anyway. I find they rejoice in the discovery of their own mistakes. That’s another book they can write. When all is said and done, scholars do no more than find what is already there.

      “I have hope that the Holy Spirit will etch these truths on your heart.” . . . .I do too.

      “If doubt is familiar then it might feel most comfortable ultimately.” . . . .Doubt is a horrible feeling for me but I understand that we reason in ways that are familiar to us. Aly, I just want God’s love and I feel I have felt it many times before but I want Him to really love me consistently in ways that are just too clear to question.

      “See I believe you doubt based on fear of the pain of disappointment ~But doubt is giving you more ability to stay on the wheel then get off the wheel and rest in His Love and find confidence in it.” . . . I do everything based on fear. I’m afraid of everything, even Leslie Vernick (—some, I assume, very nice, caring, patient person with a website about abuse). It is very sad and I don’t understand why I fear like I do. —And yes, if we view God like we view our parents, who can really trust Him.

      “There must be something safe and familiar or powerful with doubt for you?” . . . . Doubt may allow me to avoid personal responsibility but I don’t know how, maybe I have repressed the why. I’m going to live by the morals of the Bible even if the Bible is not true. I certainly can’t figure out all that is good or right myself. I guess I don’t understand people text-deconstructing when passages are hard.

      “Many people around you are caring, loving and empathetic to your past wiring and are certainly not of your parents mindset. They won’t be the consistent contridictors of character like you have experienced.”. . . . I agree that there are. My counselor is consistent, loving and empathetic we just get nowhere. I want to let go but I don’t know what of.

      “Many of us are hurt in relationship, and many of us will be healed in relationship.” . . . .That’s true and that’s the basis of psychotherapy, I think. I don’t have that relationship yet, even with my counselor. I have simply not found that relationship yet. A relationship of deep trust to have healing and personal growth. Psychotherapy seems a natural healing process but I think the relationship has to be a match. . . .If the relationship is really good, all that you need to add at the correct time are the questions. . . .Compassion is even more powerful than courage. Sure, with courage you can conquer a world —but only with compassion can you heal and build it. —And really, any genuinely loving relationship is one of mutual psychotherapy.

  22. monica on January 20, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Hi,

    Thank you for the blog post. I really appreciated the description of the difference between unconditional love and unconditional relationship along with the Scripture reference. I had always known that to be the case (that God’s love for me is unconditional but that my fellowship with him is closely aligned with my repentance or lack of it) but it’s always great to have a point of reference in the Scriptures.

  23. Robin on January 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Content, the best resource is the Holy Spirit. He is into multiplication and can surprise you how he fills in all those holes. My husband controlled all the money also and I was bewildered as to what do I do now. Walk in your faith asking The Lord to guide you, lead you in wisdom. Everyday I look back and see how the Lord provided for me that just doesn’t add up on paper. I think part of it is a righteous reward for standing up to sin. I’m proud of you Content, you are making great strides for your freedom and your children.

    • Content on January 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      I like that (He is into multiplication)- thank you. I have seen His hand so much in the last few days re: job possibilities – “running into” contacts…mutual acquaintances with an attorney I’m in contact with a job about who, unsolicited, called and put in a good word for me. Then leading me to the passages in Matthew 6 today about not worrying for anything. My only job is to seek His kingdom first. He’ll take care of the rest.

  24. Aly on January 20, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Aleea,

    It seems based on your expressions that you have been through a lot of trama. I’ll be brief here:
    Because a few things you wrote I am confused on and don’t understand.. such as what do you mean by you get nowhere in your therapy?
    How are you measuring?
    What goals do you have and where are you forming those goals and standards from?

    I hope the counselor you have is not only a Christian belief based counselor (I would be surprised to hear he/she is~ this isn’t to discount them but I guess I would be surprised) …but also someone who is giving you trama therapy, EMDR etc.
    Some of your reasonings seem like you are ‘ trama bonded’ to a predictable outcome. My heart goes out to you and I’m sorry that you have not found the intimate safe relationships for healing.

    I can’t respond yet to all of your questions above, but in reference to why do we loose the good things we love? Such as death etc. which you were referring to.
    From a biblical worldview this is simple:
    This is a broken warfare filled world and this certainly is not my final dwelling place, Thank the Lord for that!
    But mostly as a daughter of the King… my purpose is to bring glory to God even in a broken world and state because of who is living within me.
    It’s not because of me and has nothing to do with my own abilities but how the Lords goodness can work in and through me. Again with only God’s goodness and mercy I can align my heart and desires with His.

    • Aleea on January 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Hello Aly,

      “What do you mean by you get nowhere in your therapy?” . . . .I mean we have been at it for almost two years and I certainly don’t feel much progress. . . but who knows, maybe we have made some.

      “How are you measuring?” . . . . ―Wow, that is a serious and deep question because very little gets measured in therapy. I, personally, am measuring by the level of horrible pain I feel when I have PTSD episodes. Aly, it hurts so, so bad that sometimes I just yell out: “God allows what he hates to accomplish what He loves? ―That is so mental!!! I hate you, God. I hate you as though you actually existed! And yet at other times I know You are there and love me. I am so eradicably superstitious and afraid and yet I know there is every biological reason why I should be. Take away you, God and I will worship something else. ―God save me!!!” . . . .Aly, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans for healing. . . . .When the PTSD comes, I know then that I have not stopped believing in God. I’ve just stopped believing God cares. There might be a God, and there might not be. Either way, we’re on our own. And yet sometimes I feel we are not and feel His Love. ―It is illogical but it is the truth. If you think God’s there, He is. If you don’t, He isn’t. For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, maybe no proof is possible. . . .And if that’s what God’s like, ―well what can I say? Most things in the world aren’t black, aren’t white, but most of everything is just . . .different. ―And now I know that there’s nothing wrong with different, and that we can let things be different, we don’t have to try and make them black or white, we can just let them be grey.

      “What goals do you have and where are you forming those goals and standards from? I hope the counselor you have is not only a Christian belief based counselor (I would be surprised to hear he/she is~ this isn’t to discount them but I guess I would be surprised)” . . . . I would say she is a very serious Christian. . . . Nobody knows the Bible at that depth and prays like that without knowing God. ―Although who knows. She looks for God the way I do: like a woman with her head on fire looks for water but what is different is that she has a joy that seems a sign of the presence of God.

      “But mostly as a daughter of the King… my purpose is to bring glory to God even in a broken world and state because of who is living within me.” . . . .That is so, so beautiful. You may be very surprised at the people you find in heaven. God has a soft spot for total sinners. His standards are quite low. . . . Aly, what is happening when you are fully experiencing God’s love and letting it perfect you and how do you really know it is from God?. . .That God possibly does not exist, I cannot deny but yet my whole being cries out for God. At times, I feel God’s love like when I sit in front of a fire in winter —you know, you are just there in front of the fire. You don’t have to be smart or know anything. The fire just warms you.

  25. T.L. on January 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    You haven’t yet answered my questions about why you are selective in reading only scholars biased against faith and not those biased towards it. We are all biased. You are as clearly biased against faith as I am towards it, and seem to believe that makes you somehow more intelligent or honest. It doesn’t.

    In fact, it appears that you are not honest. And you are certainly not clear in your thoughts. They go round and round on an endless spiral and try to suck others in. No thank you. I like clarity and truth and logic.

    For example:

    “Consider this: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world, even their pets. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime? Except in rare cases, I don’t understand why professional scholars would do that. That has been my experience anyway. I find they rejoice in the discovery of their own mistakes. That’s another book they can write. When all is said and done, scholars do no more than find what is already there.”

    I can’t follow your logic in this paragraph. You say that since we are all going to lose everyone and even our pets, why should anyone want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime. And then you imply that scholars are therefore kind and would never purposely mislead anyone. And that’s why you believe them. (That is, the scholars that are biased against faith, the Bible, Christ, etc.) Did I understand your attempted implications in this paragraph?

    It’s really strange: either naive or devious, but very suspect, that you assume that unbelieving, unchristian, atheistic and agnostic scholars would be only and exclusively well-intentioned and should be trusted implicitly, and that Christian scholars like Francis Collins, Alvin Plantinga, N.T. Wright, etc., should not be trusted. Very strange indeed.

    And then concerning your response to Nancy’s question about who do YOU say Christ is; you throw up a smoke screen argument about myths. There are a couple of definitions of the word “myths.” One is the definition that makes most Christians nervous: “A widely held false belief or idea.” But another definition is “a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.” That “myth” may be true, or untrue.

    Because humans are hard-wired by God to search, to look for meaning and explanation (because there IS meaning and explanation to be found!) people since ancient times wondered…and to make sense of the world around them, they used their God-given imaginations and told tales…a myth can be a false story (not factual) and a myth can be a true story (factual.) All the gods you mention and all their details are based on made up beings (not factual), not a person who actually existed in history. Jesus was really here, on our earth, and there aren’t any reputable scholars, even atheistic ones, who would dare to dispute that. The best spokesperson I know on the mix of the convergence of myth and Christianity, of story and truth, is the great thinker, scholar, and mythology expert C.S. Lewis. Here’s an excerpt from an article about Lewis and Tolkien and myth online (and the link is below the excerpt)

    “An idea is either true or false but both true ideas and false ideas must be meaningful, and it is imagination that makes them meaningful before reason makes them either true or false. For Lewis the imagination is the organ of meaning as reason is the organ of truth. But myth lives in that middle ground between truth and meaning, experience and knowledge, abstract thought and concrete reality, reason and imagination, head and heart. And as myth transcends thought, says Lewis, “Incarnation transcends myth”.

    He writes:

    Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens – at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Orsis, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle.[24]

    The miracle of Christ is myth-made-reality; it is a true story, an historical fact. Goodness! Aleea, so sad that you prefer following the foolish, darkened minds of atheists and refuse to open yourself to knowable truth that stands firmly on, but transcends beyond mere facts.

    Lastly for now, I hope you will be responding to Nancy’s question about your willingness to “sit in” the book of John and give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to open your eyes and heart to the Gospel of Christ.

    Light and truth in Christ to you.

  26. Aleea on January 21, 2017 at 7:01 am

    —I apologize T.L., I did not see your question. It is very different on a handheld tablet vs. a computer with a big monitor. My responses keep getting bounced (—not posted) so I keep having to shorten them, but. . . .let me try this:

    “. . . .why you are selective in reading only scholars biased against faith and not those biased towards it.”. . . .I feel I am not, but I easily could be. The easiest person to fool is ourselves. I read them side-by-side (—hence the utter confusion). I read “How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee” as I also read “How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature” side-by-side, fair and balanced as I can (-as best I can, I am very human). I also love the Spectrum Multiview Book Series from InterVarsity Christian Press. They offer all kinds of topics. In the books, they give proponents of major positions an opportunity to make their cases. Each of the other contributors then offers a response. For example: Psychology & Christianity Five Views, —that book has become a standard introductory textbook for students and professors of Christian psychology. Five views on Divorce and Remarriage. The Historical Jesus Five Views (—that book has Dr. Robert M. Price, Dr. John Dominic Crossan, Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson, Dr. James D. G. Dunn and Dr. Darrell L. Bock —five extremely divergent views in a really hard hitting but totally understandable dialogue. That book was 2011 Christianity Today Book Award winner!) I think this helps us think more carefully about what we believe and appreciate more the perspectives of others. Biblical Hermeneutics, Five Views, etc., etc.

    If you don’t believe in freedom of expression for people you disagree with or even despise, you don’t believe in it at all.

    Francis Collins I totally trust. I love that guy but he believes in serious evolutionary biology, DNA-style. The type of evolutionary biology that makes the Genesis account fiction. Paul clearly believed the Genesis account was actually real. He teaches that life evolved by processes of random mutation and DNA crossover, genetic drift, horizontal gene transfer, and natural selection. We are the highly refined products of experimentation carried out in a design laboratory that has been running itself for billions of years. We are first cousins to the chimpanzees, descendants not of any biblical Adam but of lumbering hairy ancestors who were building fires and hand axes in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago, because their legacy DNA is actually in ours. Accepting this has been especially difficult for me, because evolution deconstructs most foundational doctrines. Numerous “science-savvy” theologians have emerged to “help” but all they are doing (re: the marriage and divorce questions) is changing the historical and time tested meaning of the texts, just like Barbara Roberts in her book “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion”. In a setting where she had to make the arguments she does from the extant texts, factoring in the textual variants and the teachings of conservative scholars from church history, I simply don’t see how. Verses are questionably interpreted and there’s an incredible amount of text twisting. The bulk of her argument takes connecting 1st Corinthians with desertion through to abuse, unbelievable in light of church history and extant texts. —She seems to be trying to change the Bible while not changing it. Again, —She seems to be trying to change the Bible while not changing it. . . .Text twisting because the plain sense no longer makes sense for her purposes. —And Barbara is an awesome person and I totally understand why she did what she did. —What else could she do? The Bible has serious, unrecoverable structural issues, —what else could she possibly do?

    Maybe, if you choose, read “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Your Real Beliefs” by Dr. Jordan Peterson. Read it chapter for chapter along with “Simply Christian: Why Christianity is True” by Dr. N. T. Wright. . . .I like both books very, very much. My “faith” goes up with the one and down with the other. Again, if we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people, we don’t believe in it at all.

    T.L., bottom-line because of space restriction, thank you for caring enough to respond. I really appreciate that. I am thinking deeply about everything you say. T.L., don’t be afraid of your fears, it is probably not the “Satan” even if it is some “Beelzebub”. I’m always amazed at how human most people really, really are. They are just people and very practical at that, even scholars. . . Those fears are not there to scare you or me, even though I am afraid too. They’re there to let us know that something is so worth it. It is so worth it to try to find the truth. The only way to do that is to be really fair and honest to the point it hurts. That may mean for me way more applogetics reading and for you, a whole lot less, maybe read: The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined (Lives of Jesus Series). The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you or I believe in it because reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, —it doesn’t go away. You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you but at the same time, a thing is not necessarily true because people die for it (9-11, et.al.) Science will fly you to the stars, faith into a building (re:9-11).

  27. Aly on January 21, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Aleea,

    Is truth objective or subjective?
    Im sad for you as you are very intellectual and I pray that your ability to reason certain things are keeping you from the very intimate things you desire. I guess that is if you really do mean your are searching, as you claim?

    There are many forums out there that dialog and research the things that you are quite exposed to when seeking for evidence. Some of your dialog goes far above my head but it does seems to contradict itself eventually.

    I can tell you I am not an cousin of the chimp!
    If that were so, there would not still be chimps;) given the science based theory that you propose.

    Again, based on your own postings you have had a difficult imprint of abuse and self torment by parents you call monsters. Why do you then believe in a divine standard of love if you entertain that the human race isn’t all that intimately created in the first place?

    Again, I agree with T.L in her comments and challenges to you to examine or at least be willing to see that there is a motivator of why you continue to ‘invest’ in these subjective agnostic places.
    I do love and can respect some of your raw honesty when it comes to your fear.

    Your hiding from intimacy and love and it’s certainly the one thing that will slow and or stop your wheel.

    I’m confused of how this website and blog help you given whatever your current circumstances are?
    Are you in an abusive marriage.. have you gotten out? Are you dealing with a difficult controlling relationship? Are you enmeshed with family toxic beliefs or past church beliefs that have confused you with what is right and that what seems right?

    I realize you are a skeptic and it isnt my job to convince you of anything it is my hope to speak in truth & love to give Glory to God where many try to misrepresent Him and or create unnessary doubt….I do hope you find the peace that you are called & designed to find… even if you don’t like the process. But let’s face it, God’s a patient God! He can be patient while at the Same time be profoundly purposeful with His economy. He created and designed the Universe and is Holy beyond my own head comprehension given a broken world. He is sovereign, Thank you Lord!
    I mentioned prior for you to do the math! Study;) statistics of phrophesy.
    Study physics. Study the Laws of thermodynamics
    You mentioned Biology;)
    Yes, go back and find the answer to where the very first cell derived from and the ‘internal’ components and mechanics of that cell. This cannot be explained apart from a cell Designer!

    ‘Much care and prayers for your heart to be open to see God but mostly to surrender to one worthy and trusting to.

    • Aleea on January 27, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Aly,
      Thank you for the reply. As I said, it looks like I can finally post again . I don’t know technically what was happening. . . .Anyways,

      “I’m sad for you as you are very intellectual and I pray that your ability to reason certain things are keeping you from the very intimate things you desire. I guess that is if you really do mean your are searching, as you claim?”

      Aly, I’m not intellectual. What I fear is that Christianity is an excellent system to help us mere mortals deal with our short and troubled life in the universe but that whether what we hope for in the afterlife materializes or not is not as important as that we believe it will materialize and that gives us hope. That is what r-e-a-l-l-y frightens me.

      “If that were so, there would not still be chimps;)” . . . .Aly, as best I can see and who knows, we did not descend from Chimpanzees —we just both share a common ancestor. . . . It is sort of like, if I’m descended from my Grandmother, why is she still alive?! . . .If dogs came from wolves, why are there still wolves?! . . . Anyways,

      Aly, logic cannot comprehend love; so much the worse for logic. . .but I don’t see why God would make logic, reason, evidence, etc. a misleading perception leaving the unconscious or the intuitive being all that really matters in any spiritual endeavor, and that the conscious, rational, logical, analytical mind is the mortal enemy of spiritual awareness and soul growth. I just don’t get that. —And yet in psychology, I see that everywhere: understanding deepens, the further removed it becomes from knowledge. It just seems so crazy.

      “I’m confused of how this website and blog help you given whatever your current circumstances are?” I am in counseling for and trying to heal from childhood abuse. This website is about abuse, especially spiritual abuse. My counselor says: Never hide yourself! When you say something, don’t be in the shadows! I have difficulty initiating relationships, obviously. Healing from childhood abuse is not going mad, it is going sane but it feels the other way around. It takes hmmm, Wonder Woman courage and Superman strength to heal the wounds. . . because it brings so much change. . . .and I am inclined to hold on to the stability I created in the chaos of my past experiences. . . . I also believe there are things our minds hide from us, —me too! The other day I wrote in my journal to myself:

      “We aren’t the weeds in the crack of life. We’re the strong,amazing flowers that found a way to grow in the most challenging conditions. —I think about God at so many of the breaths I take. I know He can stop it at any time. . . .If there is a heaven, agnostics will be the first to put their foot there; they take time to find God personally. They risk losing everything when they decide He does not exist. While believers appear to swallow anything that churches throw at them to protect their own self-interests to get to heaven at all cost, agnostics want a real God and I believe God will not disappoint such a genuine breed of human beings and yet it is easy to dig your own graves with our own pens. Is faith a natural evolutionary trait of the human mind, selected by Nature as an internal coping-mechanism? . . .I just don’t know.”

      Aly, maybe instead of trying to create a community where there is no outsider, the real answer may lie in understanding that there is a sense in which we are all outsiders? —Maybe??? In concrete terms, this means that a community faces its own lack, rather than ignoring it and thus creating a scapegoat who must carry it. . . .

      “Much care and prayers for your heart.” Thank you Aly. —I do sincerely, really appreciate that and I am so grateful that you would respond to and pray for me.

  28. Aly on January 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you T.L. for your encouragement and support on this website.
    You are indeed giving Felicia clear things to look at amongst the ‘crazy cycle’ and with such compassion;)

    Felicia, not sure if you see this comment or maybe it will benefit someone else who is in a very similar circumstance.
    Before I give some action details of my own journey when dealing with a spouse (who I love dearly) who was very destructive to our marriage… I will give a big warning!
    My marriage issue was abusive emotionally mentally and spiritually.
    I was not (yet) ever fearful of any physical harm.
    That doesn’t make it any less damaging but I must preface the warning especially when boundaries need to serve their purpose. Plus, I was married to a professing Christian man. There are different roads one can take when dealing with believing or non-believing spouses.

    Even though thankfully we have a redeemed marriage, restoration is daily work by us both and my husband is a surrendered heart to ultimately God. He has had Lots of intervention….plenty of false starts to authentic change.. which was actually a blessing in hindsight for my heart with God.
    I used to resent the false starts because it dropped me so farther down the tunnel… but now I see they were warning signs for yes more boundaries on my part!!
    Ugh ~ are you kidding me!

    Our circumstance was bad really bad, because there was so much good and normal healthy things that clouded the veiled dysfunctional dynamic. Hope that makes sense…

    there were not an affairs, not any porn addiction, & money probs etc.
    but what I tolerated was being disrespected and dismissed for being my own self with a heart that loved my husband and wanted to draw close to him emotionally and of course spiritually;)

    Marriage is a Spiritual Union and Covenant;) thankfully that began to root my belief system of marriage.

    My husband’s destructive attitude and behaviors toward me were breaking our marriage covenant. Over and over. He was the perpetrator.
    Our home was a home that was to be a safe place for us to thrive and be refreshed from a world that beats us down.
    What was taking place was my husband was bringing the worldly beliefs and attitudes into our sacred home that we together are responsible for.
    He was bringing a battle in the home that was unnessary.
    Ok I’ll try to summarize.
    I was completely exhausted.. over different seasons decades.. I would leave and then always return with the hope of what he said he would really follow through on..
    I have children that I am responsible to love and protect and that I will seek out.
    I wanted to leave~ in hopes for his reality to come to his senses etc.
    But pull my children from their bedrooms!
    My own close supportive friends struggle in understanding why I would draw this conclusion and boundary.. but in hindsight they were fearful.
    I had gotten to a point of realization about marriage covenant. Goodness I studied convenient so much .. my head would need rest.
    But then the peace came..,
    Why should I pull my children from their home and myself when we are not the ones violating the relationship covenant??
    I saw my own crazy reasoning!

    God didn’t pull himself from the garden of eden, Adam and Eve were extracted out.. un welcome.

    So, it was crystal clear… my husband needed to see that his behaviors would reap his consequences. He didn’t get the privilege of staying in a sacred place when he couldn’t keep the covenant, regardless if he is the main financial provider.
    For my situation, I saw how much being in a safe cozy beautiful home added to his entitlement and very destructive behavior. It kept him from experiencing tangible pain of a cold car or hotel.
    Why should our children be the ones frightened or suffer anymore consequences (such as leaving their home), when it was my husband’s poor choices?
    Again these cases can all be different and we all need lots of prayer, support and biblical guidance.
    But I was revealed one day that the reason the cycle is continuing was simple… I was the only one experiencing the suffering, and why should a person change when they are not being met with the painful consequences.

    Even then.. there are those that get painful consequences and stay in them foolishly.

    I hope that encourages any perspective because drawing that boundary was the beginning of an actual marriage for me and my husband and for my children to have some safety.
    Blessings and prayers to you T.L, Felicia.. and all.

    • Nancy on January 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Aly thank you.

      Your story is so encouraging to me. This Christmas my husband realized that he too had put our marriage on a pedestal. After battling the enemy by myself for 8 months ( I separated from him ( emotionally and sexually, not geographically) after much prayer, sleepless nights a well rehearsed speech and written letter to him), he realized his idolatry of the marriage was destructive. He agreed that he too needed to separate from the marriage. What a relief! I am no longer battling alone, we are fighting the enemy together! ( weird how us both agreeing to ‘separate’ brings us together – which is why none of this would make sense to one without the Holy Spirit!)

      I have been priveledged to watch the Lord work with him and am constantly reminding myself that my focus needs to be on The Lord- this is where my work is. But at the same time am now wondering about allowing him back into my heart. I recognize that it is VERY hard for me to hear any of his hurt with regards to me because in the past the underlying motive for his sharing ‘vulnerability’ was blame. Now I see he is being transformed but I am terrified that if I empathize with his pain, I am taking responsibility. I have a lovely sister who warned me not to shut myself down too completely ( she separated for 2.5 years and now has a God glorifying marriage). I’m reading beyond boundaries and it talks about trustworthy people. I recognize that I cannot be trustworthy without intervention from The Lord. I am not able to get past my own defensiveness to empathize ( which is what listening is) because I am scared of being hurt again.

      Anyways, I just realized in all this on top of this website full of Godly women to support me, I also have a sister who can physically pray over me – one who has been where I am.

      Aly, if you have any words of wisdom here, I’d appreciate them.

      • Felicia on January 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm

        Aly,
        Thanks for sharing your story. I’m praying for the kind of clear thought and discernment God has provided you on your journey. It’s difficult at this moment to know what is real. I believe I see clear patterns of abuse all through our 21 years of marriage now that I am willing to call his actions by that name and I struggle to find memories of times when he was the husband God calls him to be. There were happy times, but when I look closer, I see the sin and hurt that was active and hidden by him or brushed under the rug by me. It’s my prayer that God will take the hurt and bitterness that cloud my memories and either remind me of times when my marriage was what it should be or give me assurances that I have come to see the truth (probably a lot of both). Either way, I’m holding to the promise that the truth will set us free. I want to be free to love him, whether it be as my husband or as the father of our children and a fellow human being that I may not be able to be in a covenant relationship any longer.

  29. Connie on January 21, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    About the Aleea question (sorry, Aleea, I’m going to talk about you a bit), I’d rather an honest seeker than a dishonest Pharisee who thinks they have it all figured out and then uses that knowledge to oppress the already oppressed (and most of us have run into far too many of those). God said that we’d find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts. And only God knows where someone’s heart is really at (though sometimes it’s pretty plain to us, too), and what detours may be taken to get to Him. And all our talking doesn’t impart the Holy Spirit on another person. We don’t have to be so insecure that we need to defend God. And I don’t believe that He’s easily intimidated at someone’s doubts and questions and detours. If we are seeking Him, He will answer them in His time and way, if not, we can talk ourselves blue and get nowhere.

    We know them by their fruits. I see no fruits of contempt or narcissism in Aleea’s posts. God can and will separate the wheat from the chaff.

    When I think about my life, getting involved in the Gothard movement for instance, that was not only wrong but caused so much oppression for me and my family and so many others. That was Pharisaism and heresy, but I was so firmly convinced it was the truth, yet because I was seeking God with all my heart, He came through and brought me out. When others warned me, I set my feet more firmly in the lies, at the time. I am so grateful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, because only He knew what I needed and how to guide me out of that. If I would have listened to those others, I would have been following yet another human. God’s plan was to duct tape myself to Him.

    I am not saying that those women here who are debating with Aleea are Pharisees, not in the least. I’m just trying to say that I don’t think her research and questions and doubts are as serious as you do, that’s all. I love this blog and it makes a good prayer list. 🙂

    • Nancy on January 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      “God’s plan was to duct tape me to himself.” I’m gonna use that one, Connie 🙂

      All very nicely said. Thanks.

    • Content on January 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      My thoughts also as I’ve read the exchange….the verse that came to mine was the same. About seeking God with all of our hearts. That journey looks different for each of us. I think of the scientists and atheists who God brought to Himself fully after loads and loads of research and thinking.

      And God can and will use all of it in the future in Aleea’s life. She will be able to minister to others who are like her and she will understand them and will be able to answer their skepticism and doubts in better ways than we could.

      Just a different perspective.

      • Aleea on January 27, 2017 at 11:48 am

        Content,
        That is such a beautiful thought/ perspective. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

    • Aleea on January 22, 2017 at 4:09 am

      . . .I so appreciate those kind words. . . .Please pray for me. I would so appreciate that. I know how busy everyone is and I know everyone needs prayer. I don’t want Christ to just be some kind of inner therapy. I want to experience the outward reality of God, really, deeply —consistenly. Lord God please, may my darkness be broken into by inescapable light from You.

      I also want very badly to challenge the ease with which we succumb to the false divide of labels, that moment in which our empathy gives out (—I do it too and constantly need to challenge myself) and we refuse to respond openhandedly or even curiously to see people with whom we differ. As I see it, to refuse the possibility of finding another person interesting, complex and as complicated as oneself is a form of violence. Total violence. At bottom, this is a refusal of nuance, and that nuance is sacred. To call it sacred is to value it so highly that we find it fitting to somehow set it apart as something to which we’re forever committed. Nuance refuses to envision others degradingly, denying them the content of their own experience, and talks us down tenderly from —the false ledges that I have put myself on. When we take it on as a sacred obligation, nuance also delivers us out of the deadly habit of cutting people out of our own imaginations. This opens us up to the possibility of finding one another beautiful, I certainly do and the possibility of real communion. It could be that there’s no communion without vast nuance.

      . . . .My understanding of the early Christian Way is almost no one argued over what the Bible meant. Mostly because they had so few of them, mostly people were totally illiterate and just trying to stay alive, etc. In early Christianity, beliefs were very secondary, not primary. Christianity was a “way” to be followed more than it was about a set of beliefs to be believed. Practicing compassion and love and praying was w-a-y more important than any “correct” beliefs about Jesus and God. Beliefs were not even that clear yet. Before the 4th century, beliefs were all over the map; it was unbelieveable and beliefs were not the object of faith. God was the “object” of commitment—and for those Christians, God as known in Jesus. That Christian faith is now so much about beliefs is really a rather odd notion, when you think about it. It suggests that what God really cares about is the beliefs —as if “believing the right things” about Jesus and God is what God and Jesus are most looking for, as if having “correct beliefs” is what will save us. —And if you have “incorrect beliefs,” you will be in trouble (—burn in hell). Those early Chrsitians did not think that God cares so much about “beliefs” unless I don’t understand that either. That, to me, is clearly what early Christians thought. God was the Lover who so desired to be in deep relationship to them. Rather than sin and guilt being the central dynamic of the Christian life, the central dynamic was relationship—with God, the world, and each other. The Christian life was about turning toward and entering into relationship with the One who is already in relationship with us—with the One who gave us life, who has loved us from the beginning, and who loves us whether we know that or not (—And so often I do not know it because I can’t feel it, sometimes I do however), who journeys with us whether we know that or not. . . . .Jesus research from like the 8th century forward seems involved in textual looting, in attacks on the mound of Jesus tradition that do not begin from any overall objective set layer of facts, do not explain why this or that item was chosen for emphasis over some other one just dropped, and give the distinct impression that the researcher knew the result before beginning their research. It is truly a grab bag. It is impossible to avoid the suspicion that Jesus research is a very safe place to do theology and call it history, and especially to do autobiography (—People see in the text what they bring to the text, —me too!) and call it biography. —And the issue is that the past is recorded almost exclusively in the voices of elites and males, in the viewpoints of the wealthy and the powerful and males, in the visions of the literate and the educated, the males. . . .This just dawned on me recently: How do we Christians know which is our true God —our Bible’s totally violent God —radically violent, or our Bible’s nonviolent God? I think it is the biblical Christ. Christ is the standard by which we measure everything else in the Bible. Since Christianity claims Christ as the image and revelation of God, then God is violent if Christ is violent, and God is nonviolent if Christ is nonviolent. This is even given, as everyone knows, in what we are called: Christ-ians not Bible-ians, that means, maybe, the ascendancy of Christ over the Bible. . . . .So, practically, if the Holy Spirit tells a women you need a divorce, get a divorce; —maybe don’t text twist and context shift to “prove” what cannot be proven from those texts. Maybe it can be “proven” but I just don’t see it yet. The past is a very foreign country. They do things VERY differently there. —We don’t need to do violence to contexts and texts, torturing them to say something they never said or would even have thought of. The heart of God’s justice is to make sure that the “weak and the orphan —the abused” have received their share of God’s resources for them to live and thrive.

  30. Lori on January 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    “How do I stop second guessing myself?” For me, there are several answers. 1. I immerse myself in prayerful reading of the bible and I journal what I hear from Holy Spirit. When my heart beats for my Savior first, He has led and guided, corrected and clarified for me faithfully. 2. Lately, I have been reading the stories of people here on this blog that have served to validate both my experience, and decision on how to respond to my circumstance. 3. I listen to my children ages 24, 21, 18 and 15. The most amazingly raw, honest and vulnerable things are said by them if I will truly listen to their voice and not try to “fix” their perspective of their father ( or myself ) so they aren’t injured by the truth of his lack of care for them and disregard of their humanity. Who knew that their insights and expressions would be so clear, truthful, revealing and helpful? As difficult as it is to hear how they feel about their father, or how they see him, it is their experience that matters, not how I or their father want them to see things. Listening to them like this has been empowering to me as it was not a luxury I was afforded in my family of origin by my parents or siblings (alcoholic family), or, during 29 years of marriage with my husband or his family. My perspective and voice seem to be threatening to the systems I have been biologically and maritally linked with. It is not my intention to threaten anyone with my views, but it is necessary to my existence to have them. Listening to my children has helped to validate my own experiences with said people. Hope this makes sense?

    • T.L. on January 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Lori, I can really relate to your comments above.

      “1. I immerse myself in prayerful reading of the bible and I journal what I hear from Holy Spirit. When my heart beats for my Savior first, He has led and guided, corrected and clarified for me faithfully.” So good, and so vital.

      This blog has strengthened me too. There was one post on this blog–oh–it was the first guest post from Dawn, when sooo many women were responding and commenting. As I read their stories and experiences, I felt I was reading my own…and seeing the same patterns and cycles and m.o.’s. That helped me to see more clearly that trust must be earned over (a long!) time when it is broken, and strengthened my resolve to maintain the separation boundary and wait for true repentance that is demonstrated by heart change, resulting in changed attitudes and actions. That can only be proven over time.

      Also, not just close friends, but my kids have been so validating as well. My adult daughters, especially, have helped me see more clearly and sometimes feel like cheerleaders. And as I became brave enough to finally stop pretending (that he wasn’t that bad, that he was trying, that he was changing, that just around the corner would be the breakthrough) I was able to have talks with each of my kids, asking their forgiveness for not “waking up” sooner, and validating their pain of growing up in our oppressive home. It went a long way in the healing and restoration of our relationships.

  31. Aly on January 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply and explain your experience with what you are facing.
    I hope my situation and my own journey can be of encouragement to your heart and your walk with the Lord.
    I will do my best to offer any wisdom (certainly not my own derived).
    I’m confused as to some of your comments about your husband having insight on him putting the marriage on a pedestal and or the idolatry of the marriage and what that means?
    So I don’t want to make assumptions but I will give you some things that helped me out of the maze my husband kept pulling back into (not intentionally for the most part)
    And then there were 2 times that were very intentional, but thankfully I’m a pattern finder;)

    First, as much as I believe I needed to stay focused on the Lord (as you mentioned) and mind my own journey… that posed a conflict because I entered into a marital Godly covenant. Let’s compound that.. we have children too.. We have another God given gift of responsibility.
    So technically I have multiple responsibilities that all are priority and all intertwine ~ and integrate meaning how I’m connected to God will affect how I am connected to my spouse, kids, family, Friends etc.
    As the role of wife, God says I am my husband’s ‘helpmate’ his ezer.

    To desire a healthy thriving growing marriage with God placed at the center is not idolatry but is designed by God for our best.

    My husband and I worked hard on this in many different ways together and with intervention. As months turned to years and babies turned to toddlers.. i was blessed with my desire to uncover every stone in our path.
    Yes, I have quite the book collection.
    By far the Bible gives clarity to so many of these dynamics that I’m so thankful I have the Holy Spirit and many wise people in my life to help me make sense of something not easily seen. Having Biblically sound and integrated Godly people in your life is critical! Many Christian are in the church and believe in the essentials but i think there are a limited amount that are integrated growing ones.

    As a helpmate how could I help my husband if I couldn’t define the problem or if I didn’t have any insight to the cycle.
    I read pretty much anything biblically based Marital out there… I mean we have a 50% divorce rate.. I can’t be alone in wanting to investigate the disease!
    Let alone find preventatives if that’s possible.

    I agree with your friend that said to be careful not to harden your heart. this is true and I would say that I never had to harden my heart to find healthy boundaries.

    I love my husband and loved him very much back then but we didn’t have a marriage or a partnership for that matter. Thankfully we ‘liked each’ other which was a blessing for our hearts going through this process.

    I was doing marriage alone so to speak while he was still doing independent living… in some expression. He’s a wonderful man with great strengths, he would have given me 10 millions dollars rather than giving me his heart.
    That’s not a Godly marriage. Plus, he deeply struggled with seeing who God is.
    Sorry for the longer lack story..,
    Because he had walls and intimacy issues with God…. those transferred to me.
    Then they became more and more harmful as the years went on and the closer I got to discovering the deeper problem.. it was the enemy not wanting us to find out what’s behind the curtain.

    But thankfully God claims the victory with those who surrender.
    Ok .. back to the intimacy issues. And no I’m not speaking sexual ones… that was puzzling we had a pretty satisfying area there.
    When a spouse is more avoidant with emotional intimacy etc., it’s virtually impossible to have a one flesh bond as God designs. It’s easy to have a functional one but to know (to know ones heart-even as they themselves are discovering their heart and just how much they are loved and cherished by God) is a whole other dimension.
    I’m sorry for the long example here but I hope our journeys are intersecting in some ways for God’s ultimate purpose.

    Obviously both myself and my spouse have parts in the dysfunctional marriage but having the Lord to come alongside ~ using vessels of professional counseling, books, heartwork, conferences, accountability groups has been a blessing.
    In counseling it was determined that he was struggling deeply with avoidant addiction which comes out of attachment issues.
    Read How We Love~
    Maybe you will find your past injuries and see how we react to relationships out of our attachment bond.
    If we have an attachment injury, which most do..
    We tend to struggle with how we see but mostly trust God in our lifetime journey.

    I will continue to pray for your heart and healing! These dynamics can be restored and we can trust God with the outcome;)
    Even if it’s an outcome we are deathly afraid of.

    I knew what God had etched on my heart and I was worth having an authentic loving marriage of where I could be cherished and covered by my husband if he was willing.

    My first love will always be the Lord and in that I was loved beyond my own ability to fully grasp…,for that I could rest in.
    Praying for you all that you can feel loved and cared for by Him.

    • Content on January 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      So relate to that statement, too…that he would give me $10 million dollars before he will give me his heart. As he is an unbeliever, I had resigned myself to our marriage remaining that way, even though it went against everything I felt it should be. But, when lying was thrown into the mix, everything changed. I guess that was my line. I think God has allowed it all to push us to a crisis point because I believe that this separation is going to ultimately lead to my husband’s salvation (when, who knows?…but I believe God has made that clear to me in my spirit).

      I’m so happy for you both that your husbands are seeking after God and are willing to humble themselves and let God mold them. So beautiful. I can’t wait to hear more of your stories as they unfold.

      • Nancy on January 21, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        Hi Content,

        It’s such a priveledge to share stories, experiences and insights isn’t it? Whatever the differing circumstances, we are all developing CORE strength and in so doing learning to walk with Him. Now, there’s a gift!

        Realizing that my h had a problem with deception was my line too ( he would do anything to avoid admitting he had ‘failed’ me. He simply could not face failure.)

        It’s not surprising that as we draw nearer to Jesus we can tolerate deception less and less. After all, He IS Truth 🙂

  32. Aleea on January 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    T.L. / Everyone,
    I did give answers to all your questions, each one, carefully. I love answering questions but some never get posted and amazingly some post and then are not there hours later. Each post all last week and even now gets this e-mail with nothing else following:

    Assistant
    To: Aleea_rodgers@yahoo.com

    Hello,
    We got your help request! One of our team members will respond to you as soon as possible.
    Thanks!

    —Anyways, I don’t even know what that means but I did answer all the questions. I’m always amazed that people read and ask me questions. —I would never not answer them if I was aware of them. . . .Talking about my favorite topics: Jesus & God & the Holy Spirit, healing from abuse, our relationships, why we are even on this earth, what is really true —how can I not be interested in that? I always answer but God decides what does and does not get posted. I can only try to post. I’m so amazed that even what posts, posts —especially across foreign airport and really lame Wi-Fi networks using “AirPort Utilities” routing packets just everywhere and dropping connections.

    Re: “Who do I say Jesus is?” . . .Jesus is God and whom I seek when I dream of happiness. He is the whatever you want to call it waiting for me when nothing else I find satisfies me. He is the beauty to which I am so attracted. He who provokes me with that thirst for real love and real life —fullness? —I guess . . . that will not let me settle for compromise. He who urges me to shed all the masks of all my false selves and false beliefs of my abuse and church propaganda about who He is and what He says. He who reads in my heart the most genuine choices. . . .Reality is a very hard road. —Lord God have mercy on me! “Jesus died for our sins” means the abolition of the system of requirements, not the establishment of a new system of requirements. . . .i.e. You can’t get divorced except for, a, b, c, etc. . . .Anyways, if I “don’t answer” it is not because I didn’t try. —Again, I’m amazed that people even care enough to ask me. I love that! . . . I just so pray I can one day learn to express myself with far less words and in ways that are far way more meaningful and helpful.

  33. Nancy on January 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Thanks for the response. Our goal is to have a marriage with God at the centre. What we had was a dynamic where ‘the marriage’ was a thing, a separate entity that would somehow save us- an idol. I have kept my commitment to my husband as his Ezer, while placing our ‘marriage’ at the foot of the cross. And now after 8 months, he has too.

    I can totally relate to your statement that your husband would give you 10 million dollars before he would give you his heart. My h and I get along well, and are good partners in the raising of our kids. Intimacy is the issue. I will get How we Love. I heard that couple on Focus and listened to that podcast a number of times. Good suggestion.

    We are in the process of asking couples at church to pray for us. This is an important step. He is in counselling, I am in counselling. When to move to marriage counselling is a decision that needs to be Spirit led for sure.

    We are also in the process of drawing boundaries with our enmeshed families- huge part of the problem ( we never did the ‘leaving’ before the ‘cleaving’- boy did that mess things up!

    Anyways Aly, thanks for your words.

    • Aly on January 21, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Dear Nancy,
      Oh yes enmeshed families. Not sure if you’ve read any other postings of mine but this is a such a painful place.
      I will pray for you and your husband as you navigate through.

      So glad to hear that you and your h are both working on counseling.

      Since you can relate to the comment regarding the $ verses the heart issue I would consider couples counseling in conjunction with what your doing..
      I’ll tell you why,
      Because my h was working individual and was prone to strong avoidance addiction thinking patterns, denial, and some very skewed wired in beliefs it was wise for us to be in couples counseling so we could ‘grow together’ in the process.. so I could be a safe person alongside and he also for me having a 3rd party was pivotal in our process.
      Yes, it was critical that he work on his own issues and I myself work on mine, but joint counseling gave him the place to work on the healthy tools of communication, empathy, compassion etc.
      If he tried when we were alone it was easy for him to fall into an addictive pattern of push away, harm, dismiss, deny, twist, blame shift.. you know the tactics.
      Again the cycle. And then again the escalating power control.

      It was very hard to hide in front of a very good counselor who could watch firsthand. The behavior addictions are not easy to break mostly because it was how he survived coping during the growing up years.

      Ok maybe this is a bad analogy but a pleasurable ‘toddler’ is always fun to be around especially when things are going ‘their way’, low stress etc but
      Tell them no.. and watch out!

      Maybe that’s not what your dealing with first hand but I want to encourage but give warning too so that your h won’t have Months of individual counseling with temporary fruit.. which is what I experienced many years ago when I trusted my h was doing his work, ‘finally.’ Some fruit but not consistent Heart change as Leslie refers to quite often.

      I would have loved to have a heads up knowing what to look for and what ultimately would be the best forms of intervention given our dynamic. Yes we are unique but not all that inventive.

      The How we love book on attachment is wonderful, I hope you enjoy it …they do workshops and have great tools to put into action immediately.
      ~Helping us become more Christlike to our spouses as we respond to the roles each of us have in the marriage.

      It was a good resource for my h because he could see himself and relate to the ‘avoidant’ and mostly how that impacted his ability to grow closer to the lord authentically. And the best part it wasn’t written by his wife..even though he accused me of contacting them to write the book~ Madness as he would accuse me that I contacted our pastor on what to preach..,
      Thankfully we can laugh at that today;)

      I come from an enmeshed family of origin with abusive thought patterns and double standards to simply put. They are professing believers but have no fruit or desire to have more than a superficial relationship~ more avoidance! Sad but also contradicting especially as we are believers in Christ because the last time I checked we worship a God that is anything but surface level.

      The more I worked on my dysfunctional marriage the more upset my extended family became.. go figure?
      It took a lot of counseling to unravel but then again those that are the perpetrators and are not the recipients of the destructive behavior have little to effect them!

      They want power, control and the luxuries of believing their mindsets of lies. Again denial is a powerful thing.
      Thankfully with healthy loving boundaries my h began to build his recovery, not just for me or restitution but for his heart with God.
      He has real Godly men in his life ~ that is a critical element of growth
      They are not posers.
      He has his bible study and his books by the 100’s that have impacted his ability to break from the bondage of control and fear.
      Mostly, I’ll pray for your husband that he experiences his worth and purpose in Christ, it will bless his family;)
      Love in Christ to you all and so grateful for sisters out there with such wisdom, love and compassion.
      Aly

      • Nancy on January 21, 2017 at 11:19 pm

        Hi Aly,

        Yup, I can totally relate to the toddler analogy. Funny! ( when I’m not dealing with it!)

        I have been thinking a lot about couples counselling. It didn’t work a number of years ago because the counsellor didn’t recognize the dynamic ( and I didn’t either . I just felt more confused). Now that I am ‘armed’ with Truth I will pray about it. I am very wary of counsellors ( mine is from Focus by telephone as there are no ‘focus approved’ counsellors in my region – she was the one who recommended Leslie’s book and the lights just came on!).

        I do recognize though that I can be very defensive. I never used to be like that, I’d give my heart and be happy with ANY reciprocation whatsoever. Now though, I keep hearing Patrick Doyle’s voice saying, ” you have no business being vulnerable with someone who isn’t safe”. My h isn’t safe, for sure, but he’s really trying. It’s heartbreaking really.

        In our case I’ve become the avoidant one and he’s ( always been) the pleaser. I can’t trust his motives as far as I can throw him. His asking if I’m ok has nothing to do with me, it’s all about avoiding conflict so he can feel less tense, like a good husband etc…

        My h recently started a men’s group and asked 4 others to help get it started ( Godly men, not posers, as you say). He was going out to the church this week and our 13 year old said, “oh your going to the church to fix something?” ( in the past that was his role- surface stuff while getting all kinds of accolades) when my h answered, “no, I’m going to a men’s group.” She lit up and spontaneously jumped into his arms! It was really beautiful. He said that was his confirmation that he was doing the right thing ( he’s terrified but still taking steps of obedience).

        We pray together each day ( silently because I can’t trust that he won’t manipulate while praying). Praying together is good, and doing so silently, I feel safe.

        I’m very grateful for your openess Aly because it makes me realize that while I do see hope and my h is seeking The Lord, there is still MUCH work to do.

        Thank you so much for your prayers 🙂

        And yes,enmeshed families! oy yoy .

      • Felicia on January 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

        “Mostly, I’ll pray for your husband that he experiences his worth and purpose in Christ, it will bless his family;)”

        Can you pray for my husband too?! 🙂
        I can’t tell you the number of times I have prayed (a bit more strongly than you suggest) that God would hit my husband with that knowledge like a 2×4, because however He was trying to communicate, it wasn’t working.

  34. Aly on January 21, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Lori, totallly makes sense!
    Love your ability to give free agency to your children;)
    Blessings to you, your freedom in Christ and your family!

    • Lori on January 22, 2017 at 12:33 am

      Aly, Thank you for your encouragement and response. I love the relationship I enjoy with my children, and, as you say, my freedom in Christ.

  35. Robin on January 21, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Content. If I was able to live the last 3 years over— the one thing I would do differently is quit trying to figure everything out and live by my faith alone.

    God loves us so much and He cares greatly for a provision after an abusive husband has done such a miserable job of it. I don’t know how many times I’ve told my counselor- if I had known what a wonderful husband God would be– I would have left a lot sooner.
    So if u hear nothing else hear this-
    GOD HAS THIS!!!!!!

    • Nicole on January 21, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      THANK YOU!

  36. Robin on January 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Content, you better believe it. Wait on Him alone. He has the perfect answer for you. I’m hear to listen but listen to Him first!!!!!

  37. Nicole on January 21, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I can’t even begin to count how frequently I second guess myself. But now, right now is my most critical time and I still second guess. I’ve received message after message from the Holy spirit to leave my abusive husband of 8 years and I still am afraid to do. I say I’m ready but when it comes down to saying it, I cant. I’ve heard Him say “leap and I will catch uou” and still I am afraid to jump. My husband has proven to be incapable of change despite years of encouraging it and demanding it. I know I cannot change him and my expectations of him are unrealistic, but my fear out weights my action. With three very young children, I am afraid on so many different levels. The amount of loneliness I feel right now, is far greater than I’ve ever experienced. I live and trust in the Lord and yet, hear I am…waiting. why!?

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Nicole, I just saw this message, and I don’t see a response to it; however, its really getting crowded around here and its easy to miss some!

      I think we can all relate to taking a long time to take the action we sense the Lord is telling us regarding our destructive marriages. To leave goes against so much bad teaching we have received from the church. We fear God will not approve. We fear we are making a mistake on some level. To leave means trading the familiar (even the bad familiar) for the unknown (what if its worse? What if I fail? What if…) We are wired to nurture and care for others, not ourselves. It’s hard to break out of our co-dependent belief that we can help them, change them. So many reasons.

      Things that helped me:
      1. Leslie’s materials and her CORE class. Patrick Doyle videos.
      2. Friends/ counselors/support team that spoke truth to me when I started to go into denial and co-dependency or fear mode.
      3. Reading through the comments on this blog. I couldn’t believe the common threads running through our experiences, and how we were all being manipulated the same way.
      4. Most importantly, staying close to the Lord. Remembering that He was near, that He stands with the oppressed. Having a few key Scriptures memorized that I would say out loud at such moments. “God has not given me a spirit of fear! But of power, love, and a sound mind!

      Grace, peace, and courage to you.

  38. Robin on January 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Nancy, Leslie STRONGLY SUGGESTS against couples counseling– until there has been some real heart change . It’s a huge risk when u don’t feel safe with your husband. Be careful!!!!

    • Nancy on January 22, 2017 at 12:00 am

      Thank you for your concern, Robin. I’ll read, pray and seek counsel about it. I’ll wait on The Lord for an answer. But I do feel that it’s time to begin considering the possibility.

      I won’t rush into anything. (We’ve been in couples counselling and it was harmful, not helpful).

      Thanks so much 🙂

  39. AgainstTheGrain on January 22, 2017 at 3:24 am

    WOW I hardly know where to start except Thank You to all of you that now I don’t feel alone or crazy. I’ve lurked on the blog for about 6 weeks not having time to post my story. Now I know this confusion is the normal reaction of a victim of abuse.
    After 4yrs my Counseling Pastor finally determined my oppressive husband is an emotional, mental, and spiritual abuser, he is also VERY self deceived, extremely selfish, and very proud (all terms he used to describe h). Thankfully no physical abuse but he did have a gun and fainly threatened suicide (no I didn’t feel guilty).
    I have 6 kids (ages 19-7 the oldest in college out of state the rest are home schooled) Over Christmas the cycle started again and he convinced himself lavishing love all over me was the answer to him emotionally, mentally, and spiritually abandoning us starting about 6+ yrs ago. – my 2 oldest even confirm this timeline. My oldest surpassed h’s maturity level and our 5th son started having seizures, destroying his “perfect image” family. The culmination was and increase in abandonment (though he stayed home), and silent anger. I had the perfect Christian family idol too but got rid of that idol and some others . . . sadly h has not. In fact, I seem to be the idol as he looks to me to “fix” him (which I now realize started early in our marriage).
    Sorry – going all over here.

    Where we are now is: 10 days ago me and 2 pastors confronted, intervened, and gave an ultimatum to my h – basically repent or you’ll need to leave. He was shocked. Playing the victim (which in his mind he still his from his own father’s abuse that’s still controlling him from childhood), lying about veiling committing suicide saying he didn’t remember…my pastors were IN HIS FACE, even called him a home wrecker. Thankfully he finally agreed to give up the gun or he would be gone as I planned on staying elsewhere and him leaving the house that night if he hadn’t done that. Seeing what they did has given me courage to gently be in his face as well and not be afraid to set boundaries. He is a passive/aggressive, silent anger person so there’s much uncertainty of how he will react to any little thing – spilled milk, fridge open, a glance that means nothing. 3 of my boys are afraid to be in a car with him as the silent anger is so tense filled, 2 are in counseling to deal with the hurt and 1 of those shows traits of being just like him – blame shifting, passive anger, etc. which I’m getting counseling for me to know how to heal after deciding I wasn’t going to be a victim any longer, and how to help my boys heal and not become the abuser their father and grandfather are.

    After the ultimatum, his behavior has gotten better – interacting with the children (which before he spent most nights in the basement watching YouTube or whatever thinking we were abandoning him, or just going to bed), communicating with me more, started seeing a trained counselor in Nov., etc. BUT there is not an ounce of humility. None. To have humility you have to have repentance first and there’s none of that or responsibility for what he’s done. Sorrow, yes but in a selfish way (you all know!). During the ultimatum I stated I would know if he was humble because it would be like he’s born again, again as I struggle to think of 2 times in 25yrs that he was humble.

    He said this week he feels he’s changing so fast he won’t be patient for me to heal (blah, blah, blah), but no repentance = no humility = no heart change. It’s just the cycle again. When I explained that we still don’t trust that it’s not the cycle – we’ve seen behavior change before. He got angry . . . I calmly said something to give him an example of what humility sounds like – he pointed an aggressive finger at me and said “I could say that, but it wouldn’t be real.” I simply said – “then I guess there’s no humility yet.” Then he went into silent treatment mode sucking his thumb, of which I called him out on and went about my merry life (Leslie’s article on silent treatments really helped). I’m making it uncomfortable for him, not letting him get away with the childish behavior and even he wonders if he should leave (go to a Christian healing place for 30-60 days – but with no repentance that won’t help). I agreed that I need to be taken out of the picture because he keeps looking to please me instead of his Heavenly Father.

    My Confusion – when I pointed out what has taken place this week to my pastor – who also put a repentance time frame of 2-3 days which initially he said 30 days! – he applauded me for giving calm answers of humility as h is slow to grasp these things, he stated that I needed to give my husband hope. If he wanted to take me on a date, ask for details and let him do it. He needs hope. After feeling so protected, and that they understood at the ultimatum . . . I feel now that they don’t. They are trying to preserve the marriage at all costs even stating to me before the ultimatum that most couples that separate do not get back together and the kids most assuredly fall away from the Lord. I felt the manipulation as he said it!
    So now I’m sort of back to the same place I was before the ultimatum – only worse. Before there were no less than 5 men trying to appeal, reprove, etc. to my h to no avail, and an impasse with counseling because he refused to do the work, stopped going to church, hasn’t been to small group for almost 2 years now . . . but now he’s directly been given an ultimatum, called a home wrecker, etc. and he STILL refuses to repent, humble himself, and take responsibility for his actions . . . and apparently my pastors are willing to give him the benefit of “trying” with little thought of the healing we need without his toxicity around (h called himself toxic to us). Not to mention my teens know he was given an ultimatum to repent or leave – what sort of example is that when there’s not follow through? “I guess we don’t really have to repent after all” I can hear my one son thinking . . .

    Confusion? Oh yes. I need clarity. Today in my bible reading I’m in Isaiah 37:21+ and wonder if the Lord was telling me that I am the She it talks about that’s despising my husband, that I’ve mocked and reviled against the Lord, (although I don’t feel angry and I empathize knowing my h is acting out of his own victimization of his childhood, it actually saddens me and makes me sick that he wont repent and take responsibility ie. grow up!). v 27 that my kids are the tender grass and could be blighted before they’re grown, that my complacency to love and honor my husband will be the ruin of all . . . Oh, dear Lord give me wisdom. Help me to know what the next step should be with or without pastors support.

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      AgainstThe Grain,

      So glad to have finally seen this! Sometimes when these blog responses get to be so many, its easy to miss some. I responded to your posting below, and asked some questions, which you had already answered here.

      I wonder if your pastors would be willing to watch Leslie and Chris Moles video to people helpers on Destructive Marriages?

      I wonder if you feel safe telling your pastors basically what you said here. Because you are right; they are back-pedaling and that’s the worst thing you can do with a baby/bully/manipulator. Maybe they will listen to your concerns and realize their error? If not, you will need to go esewhere for support.

      Oh my goodness, what happened to you when you were reading your Bible was the enemy and your own fears (which are also from the enemy) whispering lies to you! Satan does not want you free. He wants you in bondage, in oppression, in fear. Remember how he spoke Scripture even to Jesus to try to confuse Him? Jesus fought that attack with Scripture Himself. Remind yourself; say out loud,

      “No! God has not given me a spirit of fear! But of power, love, and a sound mind!”

      And here is what your Father says to you:

      “But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.…’

      You’re in a spiritual battle. Keep your weapons handy!

      You are strong and courageous. The Lord is with the oppressed, not the oppressor. Count on that. He is FOR YOU. He’ll be there for you.

    • Felicia on January 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Against the Grain,
      My heart aches for you. Your husband’s lack of real repentance and humility sounds very familiar, as does the call by pastoral staff to love and care for my husband “that he may be won over”.
      We told our boys (13 & 18) this weekend that we are separating and I am hoping to move out this coming Saturday. This is after 7 months of chance after chance and cycle after cycle ter the first time I asked for a therapeutic separation. The main thing that has kept me trying was the desire to not subject our children to even a temporary split family, but a close second was knowing that I wouldn’t have support from our pastor or my parents. While they express that they love me and will support me no matter what I choose, they always fall back to reminding me that I am to love and support my husband. When I finally broke in front of my parents and asked something to the effect of “why am I the one who needs to give more love?” They responded “because you are the stronger one”. I’m sooooo tired of being the stronger one.

      I have needed to come to a place of trust, not in myself, not in my husband, not in any human, but in God. I used to believe that there was one right path – God’s perfect will – and if I strayed from it I would never know peace until I got back on that path. I didn’t realize that I was limiting God’s love to depend on my righteousness (or my husband’s). I have learned the beauty of God meeting me where I am when I stray and either guiding me back to the original path or taking me in a direction I never expected. I know that decisions made from the place of pain I’m currently in are usually not the best, so I keep praying that God protect me and those around me and trust that, even if this separation could have been avoided, He can still walk with me and straighten my path as long as I continue seeking Him. That is how I try to short circuit the second guessing.

  40. Aly on January 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for your response.
    My heart goes out to you especially as these dynamics make many facets of a marriage and family complicated.

    You and I would have much to relate on especially since you can relate to Patrick Doyle’s directives etc.
    As you know he’s a recovering addict of many areas. I believe he brings a lot to the discussion on how to lay out biblical truths and clarity, for example most addicts think that they have a forgiveness issue when in reality it’s a trust issue. Most addicts are very good at denial or manipulate to avoid accountability.., looking at themselves basic insight…,and on and on.
    Most addicts want a quick fix and little work to repair a relationship problem. Usually they want the control of how that should look and how that should affect their daily life. Bottom line is relationships take work and energy in many forms. Similar to that of having a newborn~ But they can be way rewarding by reaping things that are sewed.

    I feel like I can’t speak much into your situation as I’m confused about what the offenses are ~ not that you need to reveal detail but you commented he’s the pleaser and your annoyed by that because again it’s motivated by self. I’m curious if your h has been evaluated with any other symptoms clinically, anxiety dis. Etc.
    behavioral, aspergers

    I’m sad for you as you wrote you don’t trust your h even during prayer time. Does he say hurtful things to you? Is it not genuine? Are you dealing with a betrayal and your heart is closed to any place for him?
    I’m confused, but I do think good counsel can address these areas because your h is probably still very underdeveloped emotionally. That is if your dealing mainly with a lack of emotional connection with you husband where the cycle of tactics fall into place every time you both draw near?
    My husband was very much so underdeveloped but needed in addition to many interventions Godly safe men to help grow up emotionally..,so to speak.

    So the counseling issue:
    You wrote,
    “Now that I am ‘armed’ with Truth I will pray about it. I am very wary of counsellors”

    I can totally relate to where you are and I want to encourage you and give you hope.
    It’s good to be cautious about counseling but you also mentioned that you feel you are ‘more avoidant’ given your dynamic shift.
    My h had to unravel many of his his preconceived ideas in counseling which helped him get unstuck, one of his protective mechanisms was thinking he could make final assumptions to protect him from getting hurt.
    – I wasn’t directly hurting him, he was hurt by past unsafe betraying people so I got to wear their shirts for a while.

    Our counselor is certainly a navy seal tied to God’s Word as our anchor.. that is a blessing but we are required to work with her.
    And by being committed to a process… many other things go on the back burner.. such as I would much rather be out planting flowers 😉 doing something enjoyable or functional is not always fruitful.

    I’m assuming you are dealing with an abusive pattern and or intimacy fear in your marriage but maybe not? If so,
    I strongly believe in professional intensive weekends and longstanding programs to help aid the level of interventions.

    You wrote:
    “I keep hearing Patrick Doyle’s voice saying, ” you have no business being vulnerable with someone who isn’t safe”. My h isn’t safe, for sure, but he’s really trying. It’s heartbreaking really”

    My questions would be…
    What specific actions make him unsafe to you in sharing your heart or problem solving?
    Doe he know what those are and have you told him?
    What do you need from him to feel safe or at least he’s working on becoming safer for you?
    Mostly, what is it that makes you feel like you have a partner or that you feel seen?

    Maybe consider reading ‘safe people’ together.

    One thing that has been very helpful is for many years I’ve asked my h to read and invest in what I’m willing to read and invest in.
    This way he and I get to dialog about how we are receiving the info. What we are learning and what we can implement.
    If your h is not a reader~ go audio;)
    Has he read or watched any of Leslie’s examples?
    Or P. Doyle?

    I’m sure we could talk for hours over this and my hope and prayer would be that you get the path for the recovery work needed.

    If you do go into couples counseling, my suggestion is that they are well grounded in biblical truth, addictive behaviors, attachment wounds and bonds,
    Abusive cycles and yes family of origin is necessity.

    Praying for your heart and I trust God will restore and heal you by His love alone.

    • Nancy on January 22, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Aly,

      Thanks for your thoughtful questions.

      So our destructive pattern is dependence. In effect we both made him saviour. I needed him to save me and he needed me weak so he could save me.

      When I mentioned deceit in another post ( to Content, I think), I’m not sure if I’m using that appropriately. His untrustworthiness comes from what you describe as behaviour of an addict – good at denial and manipulation to avoid accountability. There has been no betrayal per se. The denial and manipulation cause a fog that makes truth seeking a difficult task indeed. And yes, because he has little insight he is not developed emotionally, at all.

      He doesn’t say hurtful things. He ‘just’ ( as though that were a small thing) avoids truth and accountability. That is why I cannot trust him.

      When I confronted him it was with his lack of accountability. I had gone to therapy for years working on myself, the marriage etc… I had manipulated him into marriage counselling which backfired because the counsellor did not see the abusive dynamic ( worked on techniques). What I realized is that I am 100% responsible for me but 50% for the marriage. So I told him that I had to withdraw my heart and my body. I had criteria for me re-engaging in the marriage ( he seek counselling, accountability group- all the stuff in Leslie’s book). And that the choice was totally up to him.

      And so..,. that has resulted in LOTS of waiting…lots of praying. It’s really up to him. He’s in counselling ( with the guy that we went to as a couple, not a Christian counsellor- he knows how I feel about that). He’s getting together with Godly men ( it’s not an accountability group per se). Has reached out to a few Godly men ( one at a time) to ask for support.

      In our intimacy dynamic it’s simple. I share that I am hurt by something he said or did (if the offender is not him, he’s very supportive and wonderful) he instantly gets defensive and cannot get past the overwhelming internal dialogue that he has failed me. That results in him trying to convince me that I misperceived, got it wrong etc…He is ( in the words of John Townsend Beyond Boundaries) more interested in managing his image and my impression of him, than he is in my feelings.

      Have I told him this? Yes. Has he heard it? I doubt it. Conviction and wanting to know what the dynamic is, has to come from him.

      And so I pray and lean on The Lord, and continue to work on me.

  41. Connie on January 22, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Aleea, your mention of the early Christian Way is an interesting one. I’ve often heard the verses about ‘all scripture is profitable…’ and ‘make sure you find yourself approved of God….’ and then the person quoting goes on to talk about how the Old Testament isn’t that important, when actually the verses were written when there was no New Testament. There are so many ways in which we can get sure of ourselves and miss something important.

    And I totally agree, that Christianity is all about relationship more than what we exactly believe. I was raised Mennonite, and one of Menno Simons’ favourite quotes was, “When people stop living the gospel, they start arguing over doctrine.” When people start arguing over doctrines or specific beliefs, I like to say, “I don’t care what conclusion you come to, you’re not changing God’s mind, and more than likely you haven’t a clue what that is.”

    • Ann L on January 23, 2017 at 6:39 am

      “When people start arguing over doctrines or specific beliefs, I like to say, ‘I don’t care what conclusion you come to, you’re not changing God’s mind, and more than likely you haven’t a clue what that is.’”

      That’ll preach, Sister!

      I would add that when people start telling someone what’s right and what’s wrong while thumping their Bible, they’re usually speaking out of the need to be right and hiding it under the cover of “authority.” When someone speaks from love, they present their foundational beliefs as a perspective. They may be convicted that their perspective is The Truth in Accordance with God’s Will. The difference is, they love others and are willing to love others enough to offer that perspective free of coercion in the form of condemnation, manipulation, fancy proofs, etc.

      • Ann L on January 23, 2017 at 6:49 am

        Sorry. I meant to soften all that with a qualifier such as “My thoughts on this are…” or something to say that this was my approach rather than the factual tone it has.

    • Aleea on January 27, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Hello Connie,
      “When people stop living the gospel, they start arguing over doctrine.” When people start arguing over doctrines or specific beliefs, I like to say, “I don’t care what conclusion you come to, you’re not changing God’s mind, and more than likely you haven’t a clue what that is.” . . . . .

      Thank you Connie. It looks like I can finally post again . I don’t know technically what was happening but it doesn’t matter. . . . . . As I say, God decides what gets posted! I am so grateful to God for all I have.

      I really like the quotes! Here is sometimes how I say that exact same thing: Maybe no one really knows what God really thinks of anything. God only knows and no one can claim to penetrate into His total mysteries. Those who do, well, maybe they are trying to control you in some way.

      I think our task is not even to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it. . . . Honestly, out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there!!! Where the soul lies down in the grass and the world is too full to even talk about, where I sell my cleverness and buy total bewilderment. Things I have learned along the way that are really important to me:

      1. Really, deeply tell the truth, even about God and Jesus.
      2. Do not do things that you hate.
      3. Act so that you can tell the truth about how you act.
      4. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient. To me, what we talk about here (soul healing) is so, so meaningful.
      5. Remember that what you do not yet know can easily be more important than what you already know.

  42. Aly on January 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Nancy;)

    Thank you so much for writing that out. I feel I see so much and can relate to what your going through!
    You were so gracious to write back and certainly didn’t have too but I do understand more.
    I can relate to the loneliness of a spouse in denial and or taking steps but then again are those steps in conviction or walking through the motions? That’s not a question for you, but probably for him.

    And yes, boy have I been in your corner. It’s frankly a place of grief while it’s a place of hope in fragments.
    I understand more of your inability to trust him even in the process.. so I hope you hear validation in my response.
    And I believe you are wise to be cautious.

    This is where my journey came to a turn.. I hope it helps with your strength and your worthness of being heard, valued and cherished as a wife that is more than a role. …
    because we had been down the path of him getting individual counseling / and pastor counseling and bible study men groups etc. plenty of poser accountability groups out there.. thankfully my h can admit in past poser and can now identify the what it is and what it REINFORCES.
    So I’m with you in the longing and that pain of all of that oh and the emotional pain and time it’s costs!!

    I’m writing you so that you feel validated cared for and can see the hope and restoration in these dynamics;) praise God for that! He secures the Promise Land, but equips us the claim it for His glory.

    I like what you said about the percentages of you and your percentage of the marriage.
    For me,
    I see my h as ‘more responsible’ for the well being of our marriage because God calls him to lead and be the head of our home. This was a big lightbulb for him and myself to be affirmed that I’m not his enemy but working with him. Does he have it in him naturally?.. no. but with the work of the Holy Spirit to guide him and support.. definitely yes.

    Back to the dynamic:
    I began doing my best to be objective and look for the fruit! Behavior and thought process that is especially when my h was driving the intervention plan.
    Guess what God spoke clear as he does in His word about a good tree bears fruit etc.

    I came to yet another ‘alter’ decision.
    I had a list of requirements for him if he wanted my participation in the reconciliation of the marriage of God’s design.
    The requirements were hard for me, it’s not my natural comfort… but it was the very best for him and both of us. Again we were not seeking comfort! that’s a dead end. If it came to it that he had to quit his job to do all the developmental work which is very time consuming I was up for the sacrifice of that and knew I could trust the Lord in our path.

    I required many interventions (character ones mainly) he himself could not require nor did he have the insight of why or the long term benefit. How could he..? I guess call it a maturity issue but also a deep denial issue of self! Especially if he could function at his most comfortable bent and have little consequences to feel the pain of controlling the health of the marriage.

    P. Doyle quotes..
    inspiration or desperation can move us to change!

    Because your h is prob very underdeveloped emotionally etc he is probably not the ‘best judgment’ of what path to follow.. meaning his feelings probably always lead him to his beliefs and choices.. let alone if he has any intimacy issues or belief issue with value and worth about himself. Ok that compounds yet again the wall!

    I wish my h could weigh in here, he would tell you his hard wired belief was to discount and dismiss anything that came from my perspective. As you noted above.. how you feel and why your desires matter.. your h is so uncomfortable with the image of who he thinks he is with what he is doing. Very shame based identity and fragile.
    That is wearing.. and I was chipped away for years by him finding more tactics to hid deep insecurities not dealt with… plus trying to bang my head against the wall. But my heart wanted and was worthy of answers to all of this chaos.

    This is my experience with my h…
    The hard part with these low functioning connected injuries (please gorge on How we love material) is they can manage just about a cookie crumb of a relationship and are quite satisfied with the idea that we live under the same roof and have the same address!
    This is where the mental abuse and denial is so painful to the one that is crying out … this is not ok or reasonable.
    See I was an object and role-‘ good Christian wife’
    Based on his family of origin wiring.
    When your valued as an object and a role.. there is not room for individual space or free agency so to speak. Heaven forbid you confront how h makes you feel or how his behavior affects you.

    I didn’t want to become a parent to him~ but I did want to be a helpmate.
    There’s a difference.

    I tell you all of this because as I look back and forward.. ( we are lifetime on recovery)
    I wish I had made different decisions of strength and goodwill for the both of us. I wish I had more wisdom early on and surrounded by me of what Living in a mutual loving marriage (not perfect) but with God at the center is …better than I could have imagined!

    I write to give you HOPE and also share what seemed to be pivotal places of authentic growth for my h. And share the areas that I can say that was the blind.. leading the blind. My h can attest that he himself and many other Godly men struggle immensely in getting honest, vulnerable with themselves & peers/mentors and their journey. It’s an epidemic in our culture and it growing in women too.

    Ultimately, it’s God’s plan and will but He uses many things in our lives to bring us to Him. I wanted to be a faithful servant to Him.

    My h thanks me today (as I thank him for his willingness to seek after God’s perfect love for his own heart) but he is well aware of all the pain, heartache & the underdeveloped places
    that ruled our home. thankfully, God grants us another day that we can choose differently and love one another well.

    I hope you feel supported given your circumstances and I’m in prayer for you and your journey.

  43. Kelly on January 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Thank you Leslie! How do you move on after a violent destructive marriage that you feel will be more of the same if I allow him back into my home? How can I get past the fact of the abuse still in my mind and body even though I pray everyday in God’s Holy Word? I don’t want reconciliation at all! Even if he so calls changed because how do I know when I’m older and unable to work or take care of myself that the abuse won’t come back? I don’t want to be 60 and on the street because I believed his lies again. My kids are the wild card because they believed and adore him. If I file for divorce they will call me the sinner! I will also not have enough money to live on because I have been a stay home Mom for 21 years and no degree at this time. Thanks for all you do for us making our situations clear to us.

    • Connie on January 23, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      That is exactly where I was at, over 20 years ago. I was not well at all, had still 5 children at home, home-schooled, hadn’t had a job since before marriage, not much college……my Christian doctor told me to separate, so with fear and heartbreak, I did. God provided in really miraculous ways. In my case, people asked me to look after their little ones in my home, I was able to get piano students, play pump organ at a funeral home……little things, but with the child support it was ok. And I never looked back without a shudder. The pastor told him I’d take him back in a few days but it didn’t happen despite all the whining.

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Kelly,

      Are you being pressured (besides from him) to let him back into the home? Go with your gut, not with those who are pressuring you.

      All that you are feeling is so understandable after what you have gone through. Leslie has said that healing typically takes 4-5 years for every 10 years of abuse. So unless a miracle happens, your healing will take some time.

      How old are your kids?

      Connie’s experience above may really encourage you. The Lord will take care of you in ways you can’t now imagine.

      Also, check out the ministry Give Her Wings…

  44. T.L. on January 22, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Aly,

    So gracious of you to share so much of your story. I am really learning from you, and from Nancy too.

    It’s beautiful and hope-giving to see the ways that God has restored marriage for you, Lori, or actually, maybe re-created would be a better word than restored. That’s what I am hoping for…a new marriage; recreated according to God’s heart for His children. But am determined to be content in whatever the outcome. Still, seeing that some men do respond is encouraging!

  45. T.L. on January 22, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    I apologize if my words have sounded like I don’t care about you, or I don’t “see” you, care what you think, etc. That’s not true and may be one of the casualties of trying to speak through the means of a computer. I also do not disagree with everything you say. I have lots of questions about life, theology, the Bible. But I have NO questions about whether Christ is who He claimed to be, and that He is worthy of all of my worship and allegiance. I can’t pretend that I think He may or may not be God, or may or may not have risen from the dead, or may or may not be my Redeemer. He is. I would die for that belief. It’s not a belief of the head only. It is a belief of the heart, the soul, the life.

    I, like you, have problems with people who “proof-text” Scripture, who do ridiculous mental gymnastics to make it say something they want it to say.

    How we interpret the Bible is important, but will obviously vary according to our insight, openness, and respect for it. To try to understand it for the purpose of knowing God’s heart and mind and love and care for us is the important matter at hand. His revelation of Himself through all of redemptive history, culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Christ is the important matter.

    I agree that we will not stand before God and be examined on whether we hold to all the right beliefs in all the right doctrines. Thank God! I’d surely fail! But I am certain one thing will matter to the utmost: do we know, have we accepted, have we received the precious gift of salvation in Christ? Have we put our trust in Him so that we are covered by His blood, His grace, His provision for us?

    “The Christian life was about turning toward and entering into relationship with the One who is already in relationship with us—with the One who gave us life, who has loved us from the beginning, and who loves us whether we know that or not (—And so often I do not know it because I can’t feel it, sometimes I do however), who journeys with us whether we know that or not. . . .”

    The Christian life in the early church, as today also, was about turning to God through the recognition and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord. It was about accepting that they were out of relationship with God, and could in no way earn it by being good enough or smart enough or believing all the right laws and doctrines. It was about believing in Christ’s bodily resurrection, which was a shocking miracle, witnessed by many, that validated what he said about Himself. This is what started the Christian movement.

    It is utterly true that God has loved us from the beginning. But it is not true that He is “already in relationship with us.” The reason Christ came was to bring us into relationship with the Father; “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.” We were at one time out; now through Christ we are in, if we place our trust in Him (not in a church, not in doctrines. In Him) : in His Lordship over all of life, and even death itself, as demonstrated in His resurrection. The early Christians were ready to live for this faith, or die for it.

    I hope that helps a bit. Praying for the light and peace of Christ for you.

    • Aleea on January 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Hello T.L.,
      It looks like I can finally post again :). I don’t know technically what was happening. . . . . Anyways, I certainly never thought you didn’t care or didn’t “see” me. Given the information I have, I perceive you do —unless you have posts I have not even seen yet or thoughts towards me unexpressed.

      “. . . I have NO questions about whether Christ is who He claimed to be, and that He is worthy of all of my worship and allegiance.” . . . . —That is so beautiful and I hope you never lose that!

      “Praying for the light and peace of Christ for you. . . . ” Thank you T.L. —I sincerely appreciate that and I am so grateful that you would pray for me!

  46. Lori on January 22, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    T.L and Aly,

    I agree with T.L. that it is very encouraging to see that some men do respond. I also want to thank you Aly for sharing in depth of your experience. I avoid too long of posts as I am not sure it is wanted by most here, but your post helped me so I will share some of my story now. I met and married my husband some 29 years ago when I was a born again Christian at the age of 24. I had been so moved by the closeness of my Lord to me and yet very new to bible study. He, on the other hand was raised in the Mennonite church and was deeply indoctrinated into methodology of religion. I did not know that not everyone that says they are a Christian actually have a personal relationship with Christ. The years that have followed have been full of the heartache of not being unified in spirit. There was sexual abuse in his childhood home that went unspoken of and was denied even when proof existed. He was a victim, but did not tell me of this until we were married. He wrestled with pornography as a result and ended up abusing a couple of children he was responsible for at a bible study in his parents home when he was a teenager. This kind of news trickled out over the years of marriage and when I learned of his abuse of others, I asked him if I needed to be concerned about him with our own children. He told me as long as I took care of his sexual needs, they would be fine. For years, I believed it was my job to keep him satisfied so our children would be safe. I worked hard at that until I realized how abusive that was. I never told anyone about it because I was afraid and weak. After 6 months or so of working at servicing him (makes me sick to know I did this), I told him I wouldn’t be servicing him anymore. His response seemed to be genuinely sorrowful that he had hurt me in this way. He also said he did not feel at all that he was a danger to the children. However, the fallout from that was, as one could imagine, trust was shattered and I never left the kids alone with him. I rarely left our small children alone with anyone. There were known child predators in his home of origin that he had told me about and he still demanded that we attend holidays there. I had my hands full watching our children and making sure they were not in danger until I realized that they were always in danger there. He had promised to watch them very closely, and I believed he would help. When he proved unreliable, I immediately quit going to his family holidays with him and demanded that the kids not attend either. I threatened divorce if he wanted to push it. My fear with divorce was that the kids would probably share every other weekend with him and I would not be able to protect them. I was not up for exposing his family history of predatory habits to anyone and was unequipped for dealing with it. I feel ashamed that I only protected my own children and did not do more to expose the secret sins under the roof of his parents house. I had no extra energy to spare as my only support (my mother) had passed away and I was fighting the battle alone. I also had health problems at the time. My husband was the enemy in our home and I had only found my strength and voice to stand up to him once it was about protecting my children. My children do not say they have memory of any abuse, but they never really liked being at his family holidays. All their cousins were notably older than them and it was not difficult for my children not to be part of his family functions. But boy have I paid the price over the years by his hatred of me for exposing the abuse to his parents (who did nothing to stop it). He tried to say that I was controlling him because I did not want him to attend his family holidays either. I really wanted to create our own healthy family holidays together, and he was very clear that his “family” was his family of origin, not the one he created with me. It has only been in the last year (we have been separated now that long) that I have realized how much he truly hates me for interfering and making his life miserable. It is difficult for me to realize that my denial of his hatred of me caused me to continue to hope to be loved by him like I longed to be. I am still pained by the knowledge that he never truly loved me all these years. Perhaps that is also partly why it has been difficult to leave Him. It has been very painful to realize this truth. He has said that he may be losing his wife, but he will not lose his kids. He has been entirely unavailable emotionally to any of us and the kids speak of how they are relieved that he is out of the house. The “kids” are 24, 21,18 and 15. They all seem to have similar feelings about him; that they don’t really know him and that they are valuable to him only if they have something to offer him, like the entertainment and enjoyment of watching their athletic activities. I am not sure what kind of name can be put on his behaviors, or if he has a condition but I know that he has not taken responsibility for his destruction and denial of any issues. He seems to think he has not done anything wrong. At the very best, he may feel shame for a minute, but goes somewhere in his head to cover it up and comes out blaming me and hating me for exposing his failings. I had no idea his family rule was not to see or speak of our or anyones failings. Buyer beware! At the root of Christianity, I believe is the practice of allowing the Holy Spirit to convict of sin so that we can respond rightly in humility, Godly sorrow and repentance, rending our heart and not our garment. “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..” Constantly asking Him to search my heart and see if there be any hidden sin in me. Seems he lives in a completely opposite way. Really. He says he does not know how to make repairs or reconcile. I have seen him do a pretty good job of it though when he might lose a business deal over an unhappy customer. Way too much of my life has been spent trying to convert him (thought he was a Christian?), trying to reconcile with him ( what need was there? He didn’t do anything wrong!) I became a person who was so desperate I resorted to yelling and screaming to be heard. All that seemed to do was to convince him I was crazy, and I felt horrible physically, emotionally and spiritually after my reactions to him. It was I who needed to repent ( turn in the opposite direction ) back to my first Love and STOP hurting myself, him and my family by fighting. I needed to get out of the cycle and let go. I have grieved the loss of what I dreamed would be a good marriage based on Christian values, and I have been terrified of how I would live alone and raise the 2 children I have left at home. I now realize, I pretty much raised them alone anyway, at least that is what they and others have said. How would I live without: Trust being broken on a daily basis, sleeping in the same bed with a man who was willing to take advantage of my emotional vulnerability to serve his own sexual needs, lies, deceit, manipulation, neglect, the emotional abuse of denial and blame and an underlying resentment/hatred of my need to be heard and validated, my need to be reconciled after his destructive behavior? Of course, at the time I decided to ask him to remove himself from our home, I did not realize all the good reasons I was doing it for, I only saw the shattered dreams, and the diminishing hope for our marriage to be repaired to give glory to God. I worry often about the effect of this chronic pattern of destruction on our children. I have apologized to them as God (and they) reveal the places I have walked in sin. I am enjoying a wonderful relationship with each of my children now and have been very close with them all these years. Thankfully, I guess, their father didn’t want much to do with them until they have gotten older now and have more to offer him. He wasn’t around them much and I often took the kids by myself on weekend outings as my husband didn’t want to be with us. He spent his time working and helping his aging parents. I have apologized to my husband for my sinful reactions to him, which are now greatly minimized because of the better boundaries. It is so nice not to have to apologize to someone who has lived such a destructive lifestyle. God has been so tender and faithful to me in this time and I know I am healing from so many years of feeling crazy with self doubt and the messages from him and his family that I am the problem. I heard this message also from my family of origin, (alcoholic, rampant infidelity) so it has been especially difficult to untangle from those messages. I guess it brings me back to the original question though: “How do we stop second guessing ourselves?” I want to always be open to the idea that I have my places of sin and failures so I can address them with God and people, yes, but I also want to be honest in my assessment of others so I can make adequate boundaries to protect myself, my heart. Be honest and truthful about what is really happening.

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Dear Lori,

      Thank you for sharing your story. My hearts grieves with yours for all the pain, abuse and confusion you have lived through, and I respect and honor you as a woman of great strength and courage. I’m so thankful that the Lord has helped you to grow strong, to see clearly, and to find safety for you and for your children.

      I think a lot of us, maybe all of us, who have been in abusive relationships have “codependency issues.” We are quick to feel compassion for the other, and think that it is our job to help them, fix them, etc., but we do not have healthy “compassion” for ourselves. I think a lot of us are sort-of “hard-wired” toward mercy and being nurturing–but not to ourselves. We think we are always supposed to spend ourselves on behalf of those around us. It’s hard for us to learn that that isn’t what God is calling us to do, because it seems so “Christian.” This perhaps, may be the root of why we second-guess ourselves…? Sometimes, though, I also think a certain amount of second-guessing ourselves just shows that we are soft-hearted and have enough humility to take a sober look within, even as we are having to take a sober look out. It isn’t easy to come to negative conclusions about our spouse. We don’t want it to be so, and our minds have an incredible capacity to deny the truth so we won’t have to face the truth, and grieve the loss of our dream of a godly husband and good marriage. So some of the second guessing is residue denial, I think, also.

      “God has been so tender and faithful to me in this time and I know I am healing from so many years of feeling crazy with self doubt and the messages from him and his family that I am the problem. I heard this message also from my family of origin, (alcoholic, rampant infidelity) so it has been especially difficult to untangle from those messages. I guess it brings me back to the original question though: “How do we stop second guessing ourselves?” I want to always be open to the idea that I have my places of sin and failures so I can address them with God and people, yes, but I also want to be honest in my assessment of others so I can make adequate boundaries to protect myself, my heart. Be honest and truthful about what is really happening.”

      Yes! Honest with ourselves and about ourselves, and honest and truthful about others, too. That’s so healthy, Lori. You are making so much sense.

      Patrick Doyle has a video on Self-Doubt that you might find helpful. I did, though I can’t at the moment remember what he said, as it was awhile ago that I heard it. But here’s the link:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXdR70HflBI

      You’ve been separated a year now. Leslie says that for every 10 years of abuse, it takes 4-5 years to recover. That’s staggering and a bit discouraging, I know. But let it remind you to be kind to yourself as you heal. That’s what I remind myself of…how would I think of/treat someone that has gone through what I have gone through? With lots of care.

      Praying for a resurrection miracle in your husband and in your marriage, but either way, you are safe and secure in the love and provision of your Savior.

      Grace and peace to you.

    • Content on January 23, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      “At the very best, he may feel shame for a minute, but goes somewhere in his head to cover it up and comes out blaming me and hating me for exposing his failings….
      How would I live without: Trust being broken on a daily basis, sleeping in the same bed with a man who was willing to take advantage of my emotional vulnerability to serve his own sexual needs, lies, deceit, manipulation, neglect, the emotional abuse of denial and blame and an underlying resentment/hatred of my need to be heard and validated, my need to be reconciled after his destructive behavior? ”

      Wow, as I read others’ stories, it just continues to amaze me the similarities.

      Honestly, reading everyone’s stories today just makes me mad — mad at the Enemy because he is the one blinding and binding our husbands.

      God, set many men free as a result of this work you are doing of raising up your daughters to be strong ezers for their husbands! Thank you for setting us free from lies, but Lord, we want our husbands to be set free as well! The enemy is coming in like a flood, Lord – lift a banner against him! And let us be willing to walk wherever you ask us and do whatever you ask us. Let us walk in the joy of the Lord and let your strength and power be abundant in our weakness during this journey. Give us your wisdom, Lord, and let us seek your voice and guidance alone, knowing that each of our situations is unique. Speak to us because we are hopeless without You. In Jesus’ powerful name –

      • Nancy on January 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

        Amen.

      • Lori on January 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm

        Content, In agreement with your prayer here.

      • Felicia on January 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm

        I want that to be my prayer too. God help me focus my anger where it belongs so that I can be filled with your healing and pour it into others.

      • T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 6:37 pm

        I’m in agreement too, Content. It really is amazing to see the common threads and it shows the devious master-mind behind it. I really think that the lord is purifying his bride by having women rise up and say: No. We will not tolerate sin and destruction under our roofs in the name of Christianity. We stand against it, we are willing to pay the price, and we will commit oursleves to prayer…even when they are feeble prayers because we are so weak, bruised and battered. The power is in the One who answers the prayer, not in the asker. He hears us.

        • Content on January 24, 2017 at 8:39 pm

          I feel exactly the same way, T.L. Have had many conversations with my mom about the same thing. God is doing something with this strengthening of His daughters. I believe that this is part of a plan that God is using to counter, too, the damage that porn is doing in the Church. Enough is enough and it’s time to take a bold stand against this sin that is destroying people’s lives and families.

          It *is* so obvious to see, as you said, the mastermind behind all of this. Deception, manipulation, condemnation, resentment, blame, guilt, lies, pride, selfishness…..

          But, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!!!! The enemy is defeated and even this chaos and destruction that we see now….well, God is ruling over all and He is sovereign and not surprised. He has a plan and is going to take what the enemy means for evil and super-abundantly and exponentially turn it all on its head and use it for great good in His children’s lives and for His glory. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord!!

          From Meyer’s NT commentary about that passage of being more than conquerors:

          “We gain a victory that is more than victory; we are over-victorious. Luther well renders: “we overcome far.” …. there is contained in our passage also a holy arrogance of victory, not selfish, but in the consciousness of the might of Christ.”

          I love that! That we can have almost an arrogance of victory — but not in ourselves, only in the power of Christ! We will boast in Christ and watch and wait to see His working unfold.

  47. Nancy on January 22, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Aly,

    Your responses are both encouraging and grounding. Forvexample “it’s a place of grief while a place of hope in fragments”. Yes. That’s exactly it. I don’t want to be in this place, I want to be care-less with my h ( letting my guard down and just being myself), but that would be damaging to us both. But I need to fight my own denial that he will miraculously wake up emotionally whole, and I can just relax into him. That, I think, is my biggest struggle – staying in the reality. My latest saying is ( I might have gotten it from one of you lovely ladies),,”Healthy people live in what is, not what they wish things would be” That’s HARD. The C of CORE.

    “He secures the promised land but equips us to claim it for His glory” Oh Aly, this is so precious. In February The Lord gave me “no longer slaves” through our worship team at church. The lyrics say, “you split the sea so I could walk right through it.” And then “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” This was monumental for me. Confirmation from The Lord that I was on the right path. I haven’t heard them play it at church since then…until today 🙂

    “Very shame based identity, and fragile.” Yes. This breaks my heart. I have always known this and when guilt gets the best of me is when the devil tries to convince me that my boundaries are adding to that insecurity. I struggle with this. I do love him and also really like him. I hate to sit in the reality that he thinks so poorly of himself. ( he had an awful childhood and my empathy has been misplaced in allowing his denial of it).

    Yes, not wanting to be a parent but a helpmate ( researching Ezer has helped me a lot).

    “Decisions of strength and goodwill for the both of us.” I will pray about this. Can you elaborate? ( if time allows. My goodness, you’ve given me so much!). Maybe sitting in the reality of how poorly he thinks of himself will drive ‘decisions of goodwill for the both of us’

    Thank you so much Aly, for your time and for sharing your God glorifying story!

    • Nancy on January 23, 2017 at 9:41 am

      I woke up this morning very clear. On Saturday evening our little family watched Prince Caspian together, there’s a song at the end ( The call). Here are some of the lyrics:

      “Then the word grew louder and louder and grew into a battle cry…. All you can do is know who your friends are as you head off to the war. Pick a star on the horizon and follow the light.”

      Time to ask The Lord to send His navy seals. Time to begin training in earnest as that team is gathered in His name.

      “The Lord has secured the Promised Land, but He equips us to claim it for His Glory”

      Amen.

      • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 10:11 am

        Nancy, so gracious of the Lord to bring that to you. Very inspiring!

  48. Aly on January 23, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for your comments on this! It’s refreshing to hear your position;)

    It’s common for those that ‘have abuse mindsets’ in relationships to abuse, misuse, & twist doctrine to yet again Reinforce their thought process on why their behavior is not ‘that bad’.
    And why they don’t need to have personal accountability. It has been my experience that when gently presenting doctrinal truths, they are quite ignorant as to what truth is and how to agree with truth especially if it makes them uncomfortable. They claim Christianity but only the verses and parts Or passed on family beliefs that enable abusive patterns ~THIS is clearly misusing God’s Word to reinforce their denial and the upper power position in relationships that has been oh so comfy..
    It’s very painful to watch those you love resist and twist the gospel to fit their comfort. This doesn’t add up for me? Because they are clearly in conflict with themselves.. even when it’s presented in love to restore them to a healthy mutual place for all parties.
    Plus, they accuse those that do study to understand God’s word as being ‘conditional’ talk about mind games..
    They certainly are unwilling to study it themselves to have contextual knowledge and wisdom which does produce fruit in behavior.

    This is such a sensitive wound for me in ways because when I used to gently express to my h why I believed how we are instructed to treat one another as husband and wife etc….
    Because we were both professing Christians. He would throw the Bible at me, and tell how I think nothing like the world! I would try having dialog to seek to understand his beliefs and behaviors ~ (toddler tantrum) ..that would infuriate him. He could question me, but I was not to question him.
    Again more powerful abuse tactics and double standard rooted belief (yeah that was a horrible weed to battle out)
    Thankfully, our story didn’t end there. But at least it was clear who was wanted or felt entitled to be in charge.

    Again, I struggle being convinced that these person(s) have received the fullness of Grace, the truth of the Gospel message …accepting they are a child of God with a heart toward transformed thinking and behavior. Romans 12:1-2

    So thankful for Leslie and many others standing for scriptural truths!

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Aly,

      So true! Again, its encouraging to know that your husband had so much in common with mine…but authentic change happened. You have shared so much already, and so forgive me if you already told this in another message, but what would you say was the turning point for him? What got his attention and made him begin to look within and take responsibility instead of minimizing, rationalizing, spiritualizing, and denying? Was it your boundaries? Separation? What types of interventions (you mentioned multiple interventions in another post.

      Thanks, Aly!

      • Aly on January 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm

        Hi T.L.

        I love reading your posts to so many they are so encouraging and full of such care but mostly wisdom!

        So thank you for taking the time to respond;)
        I’m sorry for my delay I wanted to answer your questions not rushed and give any back story that might be helpful.

        Yes, praise God the authentic change came about. We had many false starts.. meaning relapse of abusive behavior and tactics… all the things you mentioned above. Talk about a let down of pure agony!

        There is so much he and I have in common and love about one another and we could have such healthy-times’ but seriously the. ‘Cancer so to speak was well rooted’
        But also Just lying underneath..

        Here’s the blessing with a professing Christian,
        As a Christian our behavior tends to reveal our beliefs, our beliefs reveal our worth, our worth is reflected in our identify.
        My h didn’t have this technically nor did he have his heart and worth rooted in Christ.
        Intellectually maybe.. but not holistically;(

        Ok let’s talk interventions, boundaries etc.
        All of them! Consider it the mothership! And I was willing to put anything on the alter, house, jobs, retirement etc anything that would get in the way of our healing!

        My h functioned daily on ‘not being ingaged’ It’s as if he was on co-pilot! Relationally in ways.

        Because he was quite successful very academically awarded, that pretty much gave him a ‘Im going pretty good here’
        His value system and belief system was what needed to be examined because it was what would ultimately help him see his own thought process. Especially how he sees God! If you can’t see God accurately, how can you know him personally and know his character and Love let alone trust him?

        How does one learn insight? Self reflection, accountability etc.
        Well, they need to throw out all of the things in ones life that reinforce the attitude and replace those areas with things that are consistent and life giving and God honoring.

        My beliefs began to assist my boundaries with him:
        I got to a point were I could see how much harder and willing I was to work at this then he was and he was definitely in need of a huge overhaul!

        I couldn’t handle the long places of progress to be right back to a destructive abusive cycle.
        It’s maddening right?

        Our counselor saw this early on and actually said it’s kind of a blessing.
        Here’s why,
        What he claimed he wanted in the marriage could be measured so to speak.
        So I could gently reflect these things to him: this showed his inconsistency and conflict within himself.
        Here’s what you say you want, value and think is important to the health of our marriage but here’s the action you do.
        Sometimes the action was (no action) when he was supposed to respond.
        Basically things became clear for him that he was inconsistent with himself and he always gave himself the pass, denial.. manipulation blameshifting etc.
        this became a pattern and he could see that excuses designed the escape of not ‘having to feel’

        Not sure if that makes sense…

        He had a pretty invasive plan to get healthy ~ not that much different than losing weight and getting physically fit but this was mind body soul work!

        Counseling 1week (if behavior tactics came back.. 2 times a week and another counselor on board)
        Bible study
        Daily eating of God’s word for his heart ~ and discussion
        Audio books
        Podcasts ~ lots of discussion here..,
        (Intensives)
        He had to feast on all of the good things to build the character he wanted to reflect and especially desire to become who God was wanted him to become.

        Old life was turned quite upside down..
        lots of casual wasted time things were removed from his schedule and he immersed in recovery ~

        Friends/ buddies were removed if they reinforced any of the mindsets that triggered his thinking back to an attitude of entitlement (I guess)

        He had to form new friendships ~ Godly mature men, not the posers.. we went around that mountain.

        I better hit submit or it’s going to kick me out..,
        Hopefully you have a picture..goodness do I sound like a warlord?
        I’m not, but it was the best love I could offer and he feels so grateful because he’s not dealing with the bondage and drowning me anymore!

    • Lori on January 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Aly,

      You said: “They claim Christianity but only the verses and parts Or passed on family beliefs that enable abusive patterns ~THIS is clearly misusing God’s Word to reinforce their denial and the upper power position in relationships that has been oh so comfy..
      It’s very painful to watch those you love resist and twist the gospel to fit their comfort. They certainly are unwilling to study it themselves to have contextual knowledge and wisdom which does produce fruit in behavior. I struggle being convinced that these person(s) have received the fullness of Grace, the truth of the Gospel message …accepting they are a child of God with a heart toward transformed thinking and behavior.” Wow, couldn’t have said it so concisely or clearly myself. Makes me feel compassion for them as I think it would be easier to have not been raised in such an indoctrinated religious system. Not sure how I would have turned out had religion been my families addictive system. Grateful for a born again conversion in my 20’s.

  49. Lori on January 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    T.L. Sharing a very personal and painful piece of my experience in marriage yesterday was for me cathartic. I have held so much pain in such a private way as I have struggled to muddle through the years. I have allowed myself to be held silent by fear of how people would respond if they knew I stayed with a man who wasn’t sure he was sexually safe with our children. I feel ashamed that I would actually stay in such a potentially dangerous place to children. It is comforting to me to read your response to my sharing as I experienced compassion and understanding in a place I never dared share with anyone for some 15 years or so. Thank you. I truly believe my children were not harmed by him sexually, but am open to the possibility if they were to tell me otherwise. I am not sure I am looking for a resurrection in our marriage at this point. I am feeling lucky to have survived, and I did plenty of damage myself raging at him and fighting to change him. 4 – 5 years of time for every year of abuse? Hmmm….perhaps given the family of origin I came from (Father who was alcoholic, with infidelity issues all denied of course, who had his masters in counseling and did an emotional and mental number on his children) plus 29 years of marriage to a man who followed in my fathers footsteps. (thought he was the opposite of my father as he hadn’t had a drop of alcohol in his life and was a “Christian”). Not sure if I can work through my trust issues with him. In the year we have been separated, he only reaches out for time with his children. He makes no effort to suggest reconciling or working together on the marriage anyway. I have always been the one to suggest counseling etc. We have been to 5 different Christian counselors and each time they began to want to explore his issues, he quit going. I think I am giving up on the hope of experiencing a Godly marriage. Might be spending my golden years healing with my Savior and enjoying my children/grandchildren. Perhaps I will learn how to develop healthy friendships with women and learn to trust there. This was a good start for me. Thank you for your compassion and encouragement. It is a cup of cold water to me. May the Lord bless you and the wonderful women I have had the pleasure of hearing stories from here on this blog. Feeling hopeful and a little more clear each day.

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Dear Lori,

      My heart is so deeply touched by your story and your woundedness. I wish we could sit in the same room and that I could really be present for you, listening, coming alongside, telling you that you are a beautiful soul and God is bringing beauty from the ashes of your dreams. He is.

      I wouldn’t guess that there is a single one of us that has gone through whatever form of abuse in our marriage that does not battle guilt feelings for not having “woken up” and gotten sooner. Help and support wasn’t as available then (right at our fingertips now!) and we didn’t know where to turn. And we were manipulated and controlled, in one way or another.

      Also, the lashing out you did? Leslie and Chris talk about reactive abuse; which is described below:

      “Eventually though the victim may have had had enough and may end up exploding. They may even lash out in an abusive way thinking it’s the only way they’ll be heard. The abuser calls this kind of reaction proof that they are indeed the victim. They use the explosive reaction to reinforce their claim that the other person is aggressive, is far too demanding, is unreasonable and so on. Sometimes they may say this while crying to show how hurt and frightened they are or in a calm voice to point out how unstable the other is. One way or another they will never take responsibility for their behaviour or actions.

      A good indicator of who is the abuser and who is the victim is quite a simple one. Most victims admit wrong doing, apologise for their feelings, behaviours and even their reactions to how the abuse affects them. They may even admit to how badly they have reacted to being undermined, devalued or neglected.

      On the other hand abusers never accept responsibility or admit fault. Instead they tend to explain their actions. For example, ‘Let’s look at why I said that’, ‘That shouldn’t have had to happen’, ‘You make me do this’ and so on. The victim will always blamed. Any acknowledgement of the other person’s experience would be like an admission of guilt.”

      So while our reactive abuse doesn’t make us innocent, it is understandable, and maybe a necessary step in trying to get our lives back from the manipulator. And we admit and confess our part in the unhealthy cycle. And we are forgiven.

      There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

      One of the things that has been therapeutic for me, as I know it has been for you, is the frank discussions with our kids, where we admit our part in the ugliness and ask for their forgiveness. We validate their feelings; we allow them to work through it, we honor their process, too.

      Another thing that has been therapeutic, and you did it in your post, is to drag what is in the darkness into the light. When it is in the darkness, it has power over us. It incites fear and shame and controls us. When we expose it to the light we see that it, too, is not too big for Christ provision. There is no sin and shame that He has not taken upon himself to set his beloveds free. And so we bring it into the light, we name it, call it what it is. We renounce and reject it as having any power over us.

      I couldn’t believe how free I felt once I started naming things, both my own sins and sins done to me. “This happened. That happened. And I am loved anyway. I am seen. I am safe.I am loved.” It was a powerful process. Part of it involves telling others, as you have just done, and seeing that you survive the telling. You are still seen, and valued.

      Take your time, Lori. God wants you just to be with him and let Him love you and bless you and affirm you.

      Please forgive me, but there are so many of us interacting and there are so many details, but are you in personal counseling presently?

      Holding you in tender love from afar, up to the throne of grace. God bless you.

      • Connie on January 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        I would add, to the part about the abuser not apologizing, that he/she may apologize (well, pretend to anyway), with tears even, and then add a,”BUT, you should…….” Or, he will only apologize after you do, to show that he’s the bigger man. And the next day do it again and forget the promises he made.

        • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 2:42 pm

          Connie, so true.

  50. Lori on January 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    T.L. You asked if I am in personal counseling presently. You also said how bringing the darkness to light is so very powerful in setting us free. Perhaps it would be a good time to gather the courage to do that just now. Another dark place for me which I have not shared until now is that the 5th counselor my husband and I saw did not work out well for me. He separated my husband and I by saying he needed to work with me first personally because of my acknowledged family of origin issues. My husband didn’t seem to know what his issues were, so we all agreed I would go first, since I wanted personal help so badly also. My husband was never so happy to bolt from yet another therapy session. I sincerely wanted help to work on my life. Over the course of the nearly 3 years of individual counseling with this “Christian” man, I felt valued, listened to, supported and genuinely cared for. It was perhaps the first time in my life that I felt such connection and care from a man. It was also the beginning of my taking back of personal power in my marriage and I believed the counselor helped me stand up to my husband and say no to his sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. However, I did not know the counselor was grooming me for his own sexual interests. I am ashamed to say that after 3 years, one day I complied with his advances and ended up providing his sexual needs as I had my husbands. It was a brief time (2 – 3 sessions), and I told my husband about it. My husbands response was “Why can’t you bring any of that home to me?” ( I had left off providing his needs for about a year and a half) I felt so dependent on the counselors support emotionally ( I was isolated ) that I didn’t see it coming. I filed a complaint with our state counseling site and ended up sitting across from him in a legal hearing which got him suspended from ever practicing in our state again. Apparently, his permanent suspension is only limited to our state. I wish I could warn other women about him. I was astonished and enraged when he got his turn to tell his side. He lied, and blamed me for being an emotionally abusive wife to my husband. ( I had told him I would rage at my husband and wanted help to stop.) He very much did what was in his power to discredit me and my psychological state. This was a familiar happening to me by now. This is also why it is so hard for me to not second guess myself. How could my father, husband, Christian counselor and family systems all be wrong? Perhaps I AM the problem, has always been my thinking. I have not sought personal counseling since. (This was in 2005-2008). Financially it would be a hardship, and I have not known where to begin. Again, trust is an issue and I know I would not ever again be in 1 on 1 counseling with a male. Tears are flowing here and I am grateful for a safe place to unveil my shame and sorrow. I don’t need or want to be rescued as my Lord and Savior is Who I trust. There is such relief in this unveiling though. If we could sit down face to face, honestly, I may never have shared this. It has been such a place of shame for me. I am, however so very grateful for this forum and the safety and support I feel here. It is a positive start for me to drag my dark places into the light. My Lord knows of these places, but there is something powerful about sharing it with people. Thank you T.L. for asking about counseling and your encouragement to bring the dark places to light. Blessings to you in His Love and great care for us His precious people.

    • Felicia on January 24, 2017 at 1:28 am

      Lori,
      I am so glad you have been able to share the shameful things. While we know on some level that God forgives us, we often need to experience that forgiveness through another human being. Please know that there is at least one woman on this site who has carried similar shame.
      I allowed bitterness and hopelessness to take root in my heart and ignored the wooing of God. My response to Him was “come talk to me when you’ve dealt with my husband”. When a man came along who seemed to enjoy my company I called it friendship until I couldn’t deny that I valued time with him more than time with my husband and children. Then I told myself that I wasn’t wrong to give another man the parts of my heart my husband didn’t want. I thought I was “safe” because no man other than my husband would want me sexually (I now see that I wasn’t dealing with my husband’s pornograhy addiction as well as I thought I was). You can probably guess what happened next. I willingly gave myself to another man, knowing that he was married with children. I considered breaking up two families so that I could be happy. I thank God that he would not let me rest in my sin. While I will forever carry the knowledge of the hurt that I caused my husband, another man that I supposedly loved, and (heaviest of all) another wife and children, I also carry the knowledge of how much I have been forgiven.
      There have been many times lately when I have watched my husband “repent” and thought “It is to my shame and God’s glory that I know what true brokenness and repentance look like, because I have experienced them”. I also remember that it was (and still is) a process for me. I want to want to be ready to give the same grace I have been given if/when my husband begins that process. Maybe after this separation has provided some space and rest I will be able to remove on of the “want to” and the “if” from that statement.

      • T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm

        Felicia,

        This confession of sin, and this confession of redemption is beauty from ashes giving hope to others. You wrote it so beautifully. What a deep work of grace in your life and heart.

        “I considered breaking up two families so that I could be happy. I thank God that he would not let me rest in my sin. While I will forever carry the knowledge of the hurt that I caused my husband, another man that I supposedly loved, and (heaviest of all) another wife and children, I also carry the knowledge of how much I have been forgiven.
        There have been many times lately when I have watched my husband “repent” and thought “It is to my shame and God’s glory that I know what true brokenness and repentance look like, because I have experienced them”. I also remember that it was (and still is) a process for me. I want to want to be ready to give the same grace I have been given if/when my husband begins that process. Maybe after this separation has provided some space and rest I will be able to remove on of the “want to” and the “if” from that statement.”

    • Ruth on January 24, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Oh sweet Lori, I wish I could give you a big hug. What a tragedy. You have been abused at every turn. I am so sorry.

      People who like to sin-level haven’t considered Jesus’ HARSH words for those who offend or cause a vulnerable one (not necessarily just younger) to stumble. IT WOULD BE BETTER THAT A BIG BRUTE TIED A ROPE AROUND THEIR SCRAWNY NECK, ATTACHED THE OTHER END TO A CONCRETE BLOCK, AND THREW THEM IN AN ICY RIVER.
      What your ‘counselor’ did to you was pure evil. Your husband is terrible.
      The fact that haven’t lost your mind after amount of abuse says YOU ARE resilient and amazing. I don’t think I would have had the strength for that level of pain. I might have completely given myself up to drug addition as a coping mechanism.

      I also admire your honesty and transparency.

      • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        Ruth, your empathy has touched me and I have found such love and care here on this blog that my faith in the true church of God is being restored. I am believing that what my husband has been doing and saying in our 29 years of marriage is indeed terrible, but this separation has allowed my the time to step back from his ongoing abuse and experience Christs compassion for his condition of being bound and blind to the truth. Please join me in prayer for his salvation. I am going to be well taken care of by my Lord and He has already brought you beautiful women into my life to walk home together with. His provisions will be plentiful for me, but I am worried for my husband as the only Jesus he has known is the one his mother taught him of. The Jesus Aly shared about in one of her posts. The one created in their own minds that serve to keep them from having to live truly accountable lives. He desperately needs to know the true Jesus and as his wife, I would be ever grateful for your prayers for him. I don’t know what the future is for our marriage, but I know He needs Jesus and I still love Him from my heart. I guess the same could go for the counselor, although I cannot say I pray for him. Perhaps I should?

        • Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 8:57 am

          Lori,we’ve all heard testimonies of women prayed for decades with a ‘made up mind’ for their husband’s salvation to finally see him saved. Those ladies were warriors spiritually and sometimes 😔 had to be warriors emotionally just to live in that out.
          I feel impressed that in your situation you’ve been so wounded in the battle that the Lord has you pulled out of the direct fighting for a season. He is bandaging your wounds. The Holy Spirit will be the Balm to soothe the tender and crushed parts of your spirit.
          I feel badly about what happened with that counselor. Obviously, you wanted to fix your marriage. I mean 5 counselors – that’s persistence! It reminds me of the woman with the issue of blood; she had gone to every doctor she could find; they tried every treatment and experiment on her But her suffering only grew worse until in her desperation she heard about JESUS…
          If I can only Touch the hem of his garment…
          She hoped He wouldn’t even notice her BUT He Noticed🙂.

          He is also working his healing power into you. 💗

          Back to the issues of prayers for others. First, prayer for the counselor: If I were you, I would just pray that God would bring Justice to that situation and that no other ladies would be victimized. Then leave it with Jesus. You are under NO compulsion to regularly think about or pray that Predator.
          On the subject of praying for your husband, I still believe your primary focus right now should be your relationship with Jesus. The abuse you’ve endured has been so severe that you can be a more effective prayer warrior after you’ve laid down your burdens of brokenness and grief.
          You can keep praying for him a little through this process but God wants to focus His attention on YOU.
          Your H might stay a jerk til the day he dies AND THAT’s NOT ON YOU!
          GOD WANTS YOU TO GO ON AND LIVE WITH JOY and freedom.
          Maybe this guy will finally open up his eyes and decide to join you. Who knows? Or maybe he’ll get saved years later and by then, you will have no desire to reconcile but you’ll have a deep peace that you know God answered your prayers and the man won’t go to hell.
          That’s just my discernment. Anyone else want to chime in?

          • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 9:30 am

            I do, I do! Yes, yes, yes, Ruth! My spirit is in complete agreement with what you are speaking to Lori!

            Lori, we wrap you with the blanket of the love of Jesus, and call you to rest in his arms and let Him love you and take care of all the externals. You need lots of time to heal…in His love.



          • Lori on January 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm

            Ruth,
            You wrote: “If I were you, I would just pray that God would bring Justice to that situation and that no other ladies would be victimized. Then leave it with Jesus.”

            Done. Thank you. Free now. Seriously, I know it in my spirit.

            and: “I still believe your primary focus right now should be your relationship with Jesus. The abuse you’ve endured has been so severe that you can be a more effective prayer warrior after you’ve laid down your burdens of brokenness and grief.
            You can keep praying for him a little through this process but God wants to focus His attention on YOU. GOD WANTS YOU TO GO ON AND LIVE WITH JOY and freedom.”

            Got it! I receive this. Thank you for your life giving deposit of true hope for me today. This one feels a little more like I will be walking it out. Not a one time “Done” like above. I am experiencing joy again and a presentness in the present that has been elusive yet desirable.
            THANK YOU for your deposit today Ruth. Can’t wait to meet you someday. 😉



          • Lori on January 25, 2017 at 1:51 pm

            T.L.
            You wrote: “Lori, we wrap you with the blanket of the love of Jesus, and call you to rest in his arms and let Him love you and take care of all the externals. You need lots of time to heal…in His love.”

            Thank you for this. I want to let you know your prayer was answered already. This a.m. as I awoke and lay in bed, I distinctly felt His loving presence and felt wrapped in His love for me. I felt His peace and assurance that I was out of the jungle and going to survive. I felt a sense of being able to not have to be strong…tears again….that He is my strength. That it is okay not to have to battle for my (or my childrens) lives for a minute. I never realized how exhausted from being on guard I have been. I would really like to move out of this town and farther away from him and am praying about that possibility. Both my father and husband live here and my daughters would like to be farther away also. My 15 year old daughter fears running into her father at a grocery store or somewhere. He has not demanded to see her but often asks her to go places with him. I support her honest voice in responding to him as I want him to know it is not my influence but genuinely her voice that is speaking. She is the only minor left of my 4 children and I struggle to know what is healthy to advise her in with her relationship to him. I appreciate prayers with this need as well. Praying for you, yours and my precious new friends of differing temperments and giftings here. You are all such a blessing and I thank God once again for His provision of safety and healing here among you.



  51. Lori on January 23, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    T.L. you said: “My heart is so deeply touched by your story and your woundedness. I wish we could sit in the same room and that I could really be present for you, listening, coming alongside, telling you that you are a beautiful soul and God is bringing beauty from the ashes of your dreams. He is. ” You may never know how deeply I am touched by this. Thank you for your love and encouragement. Especially for the reinforcing statement that he is bringing beauty form the ashes, and for telling me that I am a beautiful soul. This brings me to tears. Also, thank you for clarifying the difference between the abuser and the victim being the abuser shows little to no sorrow or responsibility for destructive behavior, while the victim acknowledges their guilt and sincerely desires to change. It helps me to see that my “reactive abuse” was what I needed to repent of and I could only find strength to turn from that behavior if I was separated from the stimulus causing me to respond. So, thank you, from my heart for taking the time to share, care and invest. Blessings

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      I’m so grateful to be useful to the Lord in communicating His love for you, Lori.

  52. T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Oh Lori. You just dealt evil a severe blow by stepping into the light with this. I’m so grateful that Leslie has made this space for us to meet and encourage each other.

    I am so sorry for the abuse of power this man inflicted upon you. I’m so sad that where you looked for help, you were betrayed. His actions were reprehensible, for he used his power of authority to feed off a vulnerable lamb. I’m so sorry.

    I’m glad you had the courage to expose him and help bring about some justice. Such a clear example of not being overcome with evil, but overcoming evil with good!

    I will be praying, not for a rescuer, but simply for a few friends (counselor or otherwise) that you can trust. Probably someone outside your current circle. And yes, a woman (or 2 or 3)

    Can I share a really great resource with you? Have you ever hear of Diane Langberg? She is a Christian psychologist in Pennsylvania. Maybe other women here are familiar with her work, but I wasn’t. She’s a powerful speaker with a depth of insight that is remarkable. (Like Leslie.) She speaks and trains other counselors and has quite a few videos available on YouTube on subjects like Trauma, Complex Trauma, Use and Abuse of Power and Authority in Church and the Home, Sexual Abuse, Narcissism, etc. I’ve been further enlightened and strengthened by her teachings. Not only does she impart helpful information, but she exposes deception and evil in churches and Christian homes without flinching, and she promotes the truth and love of Jesus with great boldness and compassion.

    Lori, keep stepping forward. You are strong and courageous and the Lord is with you. He’s going to bless you and make you a blessing.

    • Lori on January 23, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      T.L. Thank you for the resource reference of Diane Langberg. Especially as the subjects she covers seem to be part of my portfolio. So glad to know she promotes the truth and love of Jesus with a wonderful combination of boldness and compassion. Thank you also for the encouragement to keep stepping forward and to take my time. These are the things I hear my Lord saying to me also. What a wonderful Savior He is to me. Such a tender Shepherd. And, yes. Looking for His provision of tangible support outside my current circle. God is using you in my life and I can see how others are being helped by you here. It is such a blessing to know there are a variance of women here with commonalities that we can share in different stages of dealing with these difficult relationships. I pray for each one here.

  53. Robin on January 23, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Kelly, how many years have you been married?? You might qualify for having half of his retirement or savings– I did. For me even tho 3 of my 4 kids sided with their dad- I had to make a decision for ME. They were all young adults and living on their own. Yes I don’t like the chaotic mess of him deceiving his children away from me- but I also know that as I gain more healthyness after 30 yrs of abuse, they will come around. These are hard decisions, and only ones we can make ourselves. I’ve never regretted one day of being divorced. I was wounded every single day within my marriage with him. I won’t reconcile and I know he’s not headed towards better life decisions. But I want to emphasize how wonderful my life is today. No stress or abuse or total chaos over the smallest thing. I have a new life and God has over and above provided for all my needs.

  54. Aly on January 23, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Lori, Thank you for your response and encouraging way of seeing some of the ways dysfunctional and abusive families misrepresent a Gospel message. Talk about compounding confusion!
    Thankfully God wasn’t going to let me settle or rest with that.

    Wow, each of you are such treasures to write and share and be so loving and willing to have space for our stories, grief and victories.
    I struggle with my long posts so I apologize in advance. Writing is not my best trait, but thank you to those who are gracious to ‘track with me’;)

    This is some of my personal experience with this type of enmeshed family of origin ; maybe some of you can relate maybe not.
    Addictive families or systems tend to design their belief based on their level ability to function in denial. My professing Christian mother’s denial/coping skills are profound!
    I do sympathize that she has Fear-based faith..
    but truth is available if she desires to seek it.
    I believe that His Perfect love casts out Fear as the Bible states!
    And in only His perfect love can we grasp our worth as His own.
    This isn’t to mean I don’t have fear, or fearful thoughts and feelings… but to mean His Love is what gives me courage in the midst of my fear.

    Most dysfunctional families emit a very distorted view of love, or what they believe to be loving. They are highly invested and bonded to remain status quo or at least centered around their what they claim to believe but their actions continue to reveal their inconsistencies.

    I was raised in a ‘born again home’ I guess they would say they converted. I was ‘not’ indoctrinated in laws and or legalism or toxic church power. Almost indoctrinated to an apathetic attitude towards Christianity.
    But what was and is currently present is no evidence of reverence for Christ~
    Christ is not at the center of the family system, the family system ‘is’ hense idolatry.
    That became confusing because I love my family I grew up with I mean the plaques in the home say:
    (Family forever Always)
    I’m serious they state that.
    So I began more investigations. The more I discovered the more their beliefs contradicted scriptural lessons and teachings. Weird??
    How is this.. the more I investigated even basic definitions… i was told that their definitions were more valid! Somehow mine didn’t get the same weight. Hmmm more puzzling…
    I would also be told things like when they break trust, forgive and move on.
    Or things like…let’s agree to disagree. Ok I can operate in places like that, but wait we are supposed to agree to disagree about the Basics and essentials of the Christian faith?
    Even though you are using the Christian faith of forgiveness as a standard for being in relationship? Again family of origin definition trumped even Christ’s teachings!
    Again, their arguments continue to conflict with what is professing and show a double standard of what they define to tolerated but they have no toleration for someone else’s perspective or where we might derive or align that perspective.

    Because of the history of addiction in the family line, the addictive mindset is LOYAL to the addiction (regardless what the addiction would be described as, substance or behavioral)
    Addictions come in all forms. (The Family image)

    It was almost as if their Gospel message was: ‘saved by Christ alone not of any works’ …
    Was interpreted to not have an attitude of growth and change. They want salvation but no personal responsibility as being ransomed (undeservingly so)

    Here is the pattern to me:
    Addicts always like a simplified one step process. Similar to the belief of ‘forgiveness equals trust in their mind’ because they don’t want to go through a process of earning trust, they just think they are entitled to it’
    Certain converts misuse the Gospel as they create their own Jesus based on what meets their inflexible demands.

    I believe in Justification by Christ, apart from anything of myself.
    But I believe that being a professing Christian makes one more accountable to growth/change than not being one.

    I didn’t have to change or work first before my salvation was granted (ALL done by Christ) but the change and desire to grow was evidence of my salvation (conversion) in Him.
    This will be lifelong work in me. But I do believe that Christ died to save us and change us into more and more of His image. I pray and hope my afflictions (my own and those done to me) can bless someone and be used for His purpose & glory.

    • Content on January 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      “I pray and hope my afflictions (my own and those done to me) can bless someone and be used for His purpose & glory.”

      I think you can just go ahead and thank God because He *will* absolutely do these things – is already! No need to hope or pray….it is what He does! So thankful that He is a Redeemer and uses all things for our good and His glory!

    • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Aly, Are you the pattern finder on this blog? 🙂 What a true blessing to me that you have discovered such patterns. You said: “Here is the pattern to me:
      Addicts always like a simplified one step process. Similar to the belief of ‘forgiveness equals trust in their mind’ because they don’t want to go through a process of earning trust, they just think they are entitled to it’. Yes! That’s it! H thinks if I don’t just magically somehow put all the past behind me, I have not forgiven him. Somehow it is my job to sweep it under the rug. Forgiveness has been a discipline and choice I have set my heart to for MY sake. I receive no benefit by holding onto bitterness and I have devoted myself to forgiving as Christ forgives me. He has empowered me to let go of bitterness and not hold a debt against my h. However, that does not mean I trust Him. Christ tells me to guard my heart as it is the wellspring of life. Trust of my h is his responsibility to earn out of sincere heart change and consistent behavioral good fruit. I agree with you, this is the essence of the Christian faith and we who have been recipients of Gods mercy and forgiveness are all the more concerned that we don’t offend Him easily. We are concerned to quickly admit our failings and thus walk more closely with Him. We would do well not to devalue His grace by expecting Him to turn a blind eye to our failings or sweep our sins under a rug in collusion with us in our plan to not confess them.
      You said: “Certain converts misuse the Gospel as they create their own Jesus based on what meets their inflexible demands.”
      Yes! Exactly!!! How dangerous it is to create one’s own Jesus. In doing so, we are in danger of believing we have found Him when we couldn’t be farther from Him. (Pharisee) A Jesus of our own imagining created for our purpose of turning a blind eye. Yikes!!! I remember my mother in law saying there was no need for her to apologize as “It’s all under the blood”. I can remember her telling me to put aside my concerns about the sexual abuse going on in her home (and having gone on in her home over decades) in this manner. It’s all under the blood? Like unconfessed sin magically disappeared there or ? Regardless, Aly, your investment in writing your thoughts here to tell of your experience and observations is such a blessing to me. I am copying it and pasting it into a document I am keeping comprised of contributions from others who have written on this blog as a reminder and encouragement for later on when I know I will need it. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

  55. AgainstTheGrain on January 23, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    This is ME!
    12 Days ago me and 2 of our pastors confronted my husband and gave an ultimatum. After 4 yrs of on and off counseling, my pastor came to an impasse with h because of his denial. He continued to get frustrated because I stopped enabling him. Then FINALLY last Dec my pastor told me they have concluded that h is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually abusive, and a home wrecker and he needed an ultimatum. We waited for Christmas and my son to return to college out of state. At the ultimatum he was shocked, didn’t believe I was so scared (there was a gun involved, him threatening suicide, etc. which he denied to them and I corrected him), you all know the typical blame shifting, etc.
    Now coming up on 2 weeks he has NOT repented, there is NO humility (he’s passive/aggressive so deceives himself in thinking passivity =humility). Even said to me he could say something that sounds like humility but he’d be lying. I’ve told my pastor all of this and he still tells me to give him hope. Because he’s “trying” more than he has before, choosing to interact with kids more, communicate with me more, going back to church . . . . As I listened to Patrick Doyle last night I fully realize he’s just playing the game of behavior change – his heart has not changed.
    So, if I and my pastor’s don’t follow through with the ultimatum – isn’t he still getting away with it?
    I think we (my 5 at home kids are afraid of his anger re-appearing) need to heal separately from his toxicity, and maybe when he’s alone he’ll truly turn to GOD instead of approval from me. He claims Christianity but some question that since there’s no fruit. BUT, many say separation automatically leads to divorce . . . but I guess that would be up to him and his repentance.
    He started seeing a Counselor in Nov. but not much help yet.
    My confusion – Do I have him leave or not? There’s still no trust in the home and won’t be without repentance and humility.

    • T.L. on January 23, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      AgainstTheGrain,

      To clarify; what was the stated ultimatum ? Repent or leave?

      It sounds like you have pretty clear insight into his manipulation tactics. Patrick Doyle is a great one for wisdom on that.

      This sounds like a truly destructive home and unsafe for you and your kids with the gun involved with his kind of character. From what you have said here, it sounds like having your husband leave would mean more safety, sanity, and peace for you and your kids, and would serve as an incentive for him to do the work of change, and open his heart to repentance.

      I think when people warn that separation leads to divorce they are mainly referring to legal separations. It’s my understanding that it’s because once you get lawyers involved, they are more invested making money through the divorce process. I don’t know how true that is, but I have heard it mentioned.

      • AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 23, 2017 at 7:19 pm

        The ultimatum was to repent in short order or he would need to leave the home (I have 5 kids I Homeschool and felt if he’s the abusive one he can be inconvenienced). In Dec pastors said we’d give him 30 days but by the ultimatum they said 2-3 days.

        Also to clarify – he reluctantly gave up the gun at the ultimatum. That is the only way I’m still here even though he only threatened his own life he was secretive about it.

        On Dec 22 the Lord gave me Pr 22 during my regular devotions: Drive out a scoffer and anger and abuse will cease. This was confirmation for the ultimatum. Then today I went to read Pr 23 and thought I’ll read 22 also since I didn’t yesterday and it didn’t click until I started reading it . . . This is what the Lord gave me a month ago. Lord, are you confirming again that he needs to leave? He also calls himself toxic and wonders if he should leave. But to leave on his own would be admitting responsibility. If I ask him to leave he can blame me- which at this point it doesn’t matter.

        I go through confident times like this then very unsure times and wonder how I would make it. I have a degree but been home for 20 yrs. I would have support from 2 local churches – well I think my church would still support me. That’s part of the confusion as well.

        • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 1:08 pm

          Against, responding to your comment: “My confusion – Do I have him leave or not? There’s still no trust in the home and won’t be without repentance and humility.” I pray the Lord continue to assure you of His will in this so you experience His sure direction and peace. I pray it will be an anchor for you in times of doubt and turmoil. The decision really belongs to you I believe. No one can make it for you. What do you hear your Lord saying? Confirming? I will pray for clarity in His message to you. Also responding to: “I go through confident times like this then very unsure times and wonder how I would make it. I have a degree but been home for 20 yrs. I would have support from 2 local churches – well I think my church would still support me. That’s part of the confusion as well”. I wish I could say that even when you have an anchor for your soul, this roller coaster of confidence/lack of confidence will dissipate, but for me it hasn’t. It seems it is a place of battle for my trust. God has promised me in His word that He will not leave or forsake me….and I am astonished to learn of how many more scriptural promises there are for women in our position. If I have time later on, I will try to cite them here to encourage us in His care for us. I pray His peace and strength for you today and in the days ahead.

        • Content on January 24, 2017 at 5:08 pm

          “If I ask him to leave he can blame me- which at this point it doesn’t matter.”

          Right. This is something you need to have settled before you take that next step because you’re absolutely right – he will blame you and also, it doesn’t matter. 🙂 (Haven’t you been either subtly or not-so-sutbly living under that blame anyway full time? Might as well accept it and move away from it….believe me, you will realize how much that cloud of condemnation and blame was there all along once you are away from being under it and seeing the cloud from a distance)

          The blame in the aftermath of our separation was what led me to draw yet another boundary of no speaking about our relationship until he was ready to face his lying and emotional abuse.

          I’ve re-thought that boundary a few times, but every single time, I come back to the fact that it was the Lord who led me to that because anything else at this point would just leave me in the fruitless conversation that looks exactly the same as it’s looked all along….that’s what I need to have space and get away from. So, the boundary is pretty blunt and clear, but the ball is in his court and I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to come back to me.

          It is hard to know that he will blame you and it is hard to accept that he will probably tell his friends and family how wrong you are. This is part of the cost of taking this step – knowing that you may well lose relationships and be slandered. This is where you identify with Christ and understand a little bit more and more what He went through for us.

          Speaking the truth, being blamed, being misunderstood – Christ is taking us nowhere He hasn’t already been.

          Praying for you all today…

          • Content on January 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm

            I re-read my comment and it looks like I am encouraging you to separate.

            I should not be doing that as that is a decision between you and the Lord. However, I *did* want to confirm that yes, you will probably be blamed and that it doesn’t matter and that accepting that is part of the process of getting to that next step.

            I pray God will clearly lead you and you will know. For me, God just kept confirming it in different ways in the days that led up to our separation. I was almost begging and looking for signs *not* to separate, but He was clearly leading me in the other way.

            You will know. Trust that He will show you and know that you don’t have to worry about whether you will miss His leading.



      • Robin on January 23, 2017 at 10:29 pm

        Separation does often lead to divorce, where separation failed to see repentance and a commitment to restore all that was stolen.

        In my case I was going for a legal separtion and my lawyer felt strongly that I should file for divorce. My husband had been hiding investments he had kept hidden- and my lawyer wanted me to have a comfortable Maintenance/Support pymt. When you separate whether it’s legal or not each party is responsible for their own finances. Because I filed for divorce, my lawyer was able to get me Maintenance so I could stay in my home and pay all the bills. My thought was not against divorce as my husbands counselor said to me- he was hoping filing would put him on his knees in sorrow. Plus he also told me if it takes a divorce to wake him up- there can always be another wedding as the Covenant between us had been destroyed.

        • Content on January 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm

          How did you find out he was hiding investments, Robin?

  56. Aly on January 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Against the Grain,

    So glad that you are equipped with a team of Godly counsel! Glad you are exposed to P. Doyle and his wisdom on addictive processes.
    He says you are to believe the behavior, not believe in the ‘hope of the desired behavior’. Something like that 😉

    Ultimatiums can be hard to draw but it seems based on the evidence of behaviors, that he (your h) has truly created the ultimatium; repent, admit to abusive behavior, get interventions to follow a process of restitution character growth, (sounds like he needs a lot)
    And on and on… my list would be extremely long.. not to punish but to require the best possible hope of an outcome that my children and myself are worthy of.
    (Or Leave) I guess is his other option.

    I don’t believe that separation actually is the first step from divorce.. sometimes it is.
    But I believe in a guided structured separation under two or more counselors/ pastors if need be …that has clear rules and expectations to give the best possible growth outcome!

    I would also require a mental evaluation in case their are brain issues ‘contributing’ to his reactiveness verses responding.

    Prayers and God love for your strength!

  57. Aly on January 23, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Felicia,

    Thank you for your response and I will pray that God will guide your steps.
    I hope you feel well understood on this forum.
    Many of us have walked in your places, not all are identical but they are very familiar.
    I wanted to comment on the memories and the ability to weigh out what happening in your toggle.
    You mentioned something about bitterness of remembering the times that were bad. Having a hard time remembering to good times… Sorry that’s a serious paraphrase…

    Here is where my journey took me I hope if offers any support to second guessing:

    I couldn’t forget the all the times of chaos of abusive behavior and manipulation to dismiss my value as a spouse.
    But I continued to pray to God to keep my heart soft.
    Remembering my reality began to keep me safe.
    Remembering for me only assisted in seeing the patterns. Remembering was pivotal for me because h was very good at rewriting history or what actually took place or what actually was said.
    I wasn’t bitter to remember I was wise as it helped my head focus on the battle in my home.
    So, I guess I dont see your bitterness… (maybe you are) but I see your grief.

    • T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      Aly, (and all!)

      The topic of memories makes me think of the fact that my husband accuses me of only seeing the bad in all our years of marriage, and that there was also good, but I never focus on that. I thought of an analogy the other day: if your living room has a big, big pile of poop in the middle of it, it is totally unacceptable! It’s overwhelming in sight and stench, and you will have trouble seeing ANYTHING good in that room until the huge pile of poop is cleared out. So only being able to focus on the bad, while the bad remains undealt with, is not unfair or mean. It’s healthy and appropriate!

  58. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 24, 2017 at 1:28 am

    T.L. thanks for this. Today I asked for clarity from the Lord on these verses and I see how this could become my attitude if he’s allowed to stay w/o repentance and true heart change, which he has to allow the Lord to do. If he does not a therapeutic separation (which I brought up with h tonight) may be the best thing for all or our tender grass (children) could continue to be blighted b4 they’re grown.
    We had a good conversation tonight – I think he is self deceived still thinking things will be back to “normal” in a few months. Wrong and twised beliefs from his childhood of emotional abuse won’t go away quickly. This is hard for him to accept as comfort is the idol and this will be anything but comfortable.

    Thanks for your confirming words – the Lord used them.

  59. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 24, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Aly – Process of restitution character growth – THAT’S what a good friend whose marriage survived porn after a retreat center has told me . . . But so far that hasn’t happened. I just started seeing a counselor to help me and my boys to walk this road of healing so mayb that’s something to discuss with her since my h sees a different counselor at the same place. I feel he needs a plan because without one it will likely take longer and may not happen.

    He just SO much puts dependance on my reaction it’s almost like I’m the god he’s trying to please, or the mommy a little boy needs approval from. Another reason therapeutic separation may be good.

    God know what will reach his heart and promises wisdom when I ask. He will lead.

    • Aly on January 24, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Against the grain,

      I don’t have many details of your situation, but I want to respond to your thoughts above.
      You see two different counselors~ Separately
      Oh goodness..
      This can be difficult because given some things you mention via your h.., he sounds very capable of decieving himself back to feeling ok and finding some form of peace. Or settling with some form of peace.
      Again you both may not be reading the same story or waking away with similar likeminded thinking and resolutions.
      Having 1 counselor can listen to the story unfold
      with both parties voices.

      I’m making assumptions here but if his mother was very preoccupied ~ growing up he could have a whole line of false beliefs about how to cope, blameshift etc. even how to make progress or how he interprets recovery.

      Ive been down a similar road, so I hope it aids in any discovery of the disease.
      If we only treat the symptoms the disease can go underground and never get fully treated.
      I believe in looking for the fruit to give evidence of repentance.

      Sometimes we are so beaten down, starved for hope that when we see any fruit ‘an orange’ we are grateful.. when in reality we are picking it from an apple tree!
      Apple trees produce apples
      Orange trees produce oranges.
      Look for the fruit and investigate;)

  60. Remedy on January 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Good morning! I am overwhelmed reading your stories……wow……thank you for sharing so much of your heart and journey toward healthy and whole living.

    Aly, i read your latest post, but did I miss earlier the details of how you set your boundary for your own health and what your husband did in response? How long have you been at the turning point and working toward wholeness and how long before he began to realize depth of trouble and ‘desperation’ to really work on changes?

    Lori, thank you for your story….can relate on so many levels. Your articulation of it blessed me to know I am not crazy or imagining my reality.

    This message from Leslie has really hit a raw nerve within the church exposing the two interpretations of suffering in our Christian walk…..what does the Bible really, really teach in these types of situations. Thank you so so much Leslie!!!! You have articulated what I have seen from the Scriptures and why I struggle greatly when it is twisted by the church and many leaders.

  61. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Hi Remedy,

    I am overwhelmed too with these posts and plan to respond to several others who have and are sharing their journey ‘out’ so to speak.
    Lori, T.L. Felicia, Against the grain..
    I’m sure I’m missing someone but I think those are on this tag, but what a blessing it is that we have a safe place to express ourselves.

    Remedy, I’ll do my best to answer briefly..I struggle putting a number on it because I don’t want to discourage or think that there is a timeline with uncovering or healing exactly.. I think given the dynamics and infractions that timelines vary for everyone.
    For me alone…
    At least the past 10 years have been at play (full time seeking, so to speak). Our journey technically began with me deciding I needing to understand my beliefs. And why I kept contributing to the problem, what was my part. I needed to understand The ‘messages of belief in my head’ weather they were true or false.
    For example: my mother wired in me Early on that I needed to always think the best of others regardless of how I felt in the situation.
    Bad belief modeling. Dismissing my own feelings. Etc
    Hard to think the best of someone when they continue to be destructive and overpower so they can stay addictive.
    To what ever they actually are addictive to??
    This belief set me up to (tolerating) a person not taking any personal responsibility for behavior .. down to just plain basic uncaring or insensitive protection. Auto pilot living is not living. My husband though autopilot was the safest form, it was for him because it kept him from investing in real relationship, when you invest and you connect there’s always a chance of rejection and of loss too. So he was on a wheel I had no idea the depths of!

    Our journey (which we are still on)
    Was complicated. but God does complicated! praise Him! There was a simple part too.. I’ll explain later.
    I knew what God’s word said and I knew what He had placed in my heart … so why weren’t we able to thrive and grow Even together? Why did my h dismiss any thought or suggestion~ because it came from my own lips and he has no respect for me. Why? Over and over I thought what is going on..
    What was in fact happening was we were growing sicker together.

    Defining what’s wrong with the dynamic can take the most work and time. I think Leslie’s material is great at giving levels of unhealthy.. disappointmenting, difficult, and destructive marriage.
    Similar to cancer it’s gets graded and leveled based on many factors but that is how they determine the protocol and what medicine is needed to kill what needs to be killed.

    ‘Many false beliefs in my own thought process and my husband’s needed to be killed’ in order to move on so healthy beliefs would be able to grow and thrive. God clearly knew this and continued to be our true north as we took the Mt Everest journey;)

    In terms of behavioral addictions.. and attitudes/beliefs
    Think of termites in a house.. you pretty much have to gut the whole thing and rebuild.
    This was extremely tough on my h because his addiction are avoidance and perfection based.
    Ok this doesn’t come out so clean or early to put your finger on.
    I’ve said before I needed a navy seal team of help and resources.

    I’m not saying avoidance is the worst combo here but it’s tough because they are hardwired to not feel , and certainly not feel any pain of another!
    The avoidance could be described as simple as rejecting any evidence of any sort. Ok denial!
    Those that are in denial are destructive to those around them but mostly to themselves!

    I came to place of seeing that I was ok if the marriage didn’t survive .. I mean the marriage wasn’t really a parternship anyways.
    The House was on fire and I was determined to get out with my children before they began to think or take on any of these traits or behaviors!
    They have some but we are in a position now to help rather reinforce.

    God for me was inescapable ~ the gift of salvation was profound in my heart. It reminded me of a kind of love that meant sacrifice ~ but the right kind.
    If my child was kidnapped, we would have given anything, sold everything got whatever team we could to ransom!

    I couldn’t settle with knowing I had a responsibility to get out of a burning house and grab my children, we may be burned and bruised but we were getting out.
    This is an analogy but I hope it helps in my process of seeing really how sick I was becoming by tolerating not really existing as a helpmate to my h.
    I think my h came to a point of reality that I was going to continue to get healthy and in order for that to happen he had to acknowledge the sickness or let the marriage go.
    It was hard for him because he was so satisfied with the state of the marriage.

    As we continue to do our work individually and together we are able to comfort one another in the pain of childhood wounds that impacted our horrible coping skills.
    Today, our worth and identity is rooted in Christ
    only. We hope to give that gift to our children in a healing way.

    I hope this explains some things here.. it’s hard to write out what’s so emotionally complex.

    Prayers and healing for all of us on this journey of feeling and seeing His love pour out!

  62. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Against the grain!
    Oh my goodness can I relate to this!! Proverbs is amazing at building some very clear reality and predicting foolish behavior~ that of your h.

    It was amazing to me when I hit huge forks in the journey the people that actually stood alongside me verses the ones I expected to.
    Lost a few cherished friendships;( due to their own abusive childhood patterns and enmeshed families of false beliefs.
    But God was so faithful to me and the healthy ones know how to support because they can see out of their own lense a healthier reality in some ways.

    You are so right in thinking that you are not going to play the mind games your h plays in who will he blame etc.
    I want to encourage your strength in that.

    Addictive behavior will blame any possible thing or person regardless because that’s where their bondage is.

    For me I had to remind myself I was battling the mindset ‘and behind’ the mindset was a precious spouse I dearly loved, one I was willing to divorce or separate or whatever to get free!

    I’m praying for your heart today and so Thankful you have God’s truths at the center.

    • Nancy on January 24, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Felicia and Aly,

      Yes, ” behind the mindset was a precious spouse I dearly loved.”

      What continues to help me in realizing this is a SPIRITUAL battle against rulers of the air, is the paraphrase of Eph 6:12 :

      My battle is not against my husband, my battle is FOR my husband AGAINST evil.

      • Content on January 24, 2017 at 8:14 pm

        Amen

  63. Lori on January 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Felicia, Thank you for sharing your story with me (and those here on this blog). One of the most touching stories for me from the bible is the one where Mary (the harlot) washed her Saviors feet with her tears (moves me to tears now). As much as I am touched by her brokenness for her sins and the sins of those committed against her, I am more moved by Christs response of compassion and empathy for her. I imagine her coming face to face, heart to heart with the Lover of her soul and truly feeling no condemnation in His heart for her. Oh, how she must have known His love for her was TRUE and been convinced that He was worthy of all of her trust. He has met with me in like manner although I often need reminding to trust that His forgiveness is TRUE and VAST. My memory of such sins is such an easy place for the enemy to use against me. As huge as I know my sins are, His Love, Mercy and Grace are perfectly mixed together in a balm that heals my soul. The alabaster vase of perfume she offered to Him was provided first to her by Her Savior Himself and how well she knew it ALL belonged to Him. How easily it enabled her to Worship Him with ALL her heart soul and mind. Like the Pharisees who hosted the meal for Him but did not KNOW Him, or their own need for Him, perhaps pride may be a hurdle for some to not receive His provision and pardon. Luke 7:47 “Therefore I tell you, because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” When I am broken to this degree, I find I simply have no other choice or resource and a blessed thing that is. When we deny our sins we make Him out to be a liar and the truth is not in us. When we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins. We have FELLOWSHIP with Him and we can walk in His light. I am grateful for the fellowship I have here with those who have come to KNOW Him and their need of Him. It amazes me how close (in proximity) the Pharisees were to Him, but how far away their hearts were from Him. How, indeed, they were enemies to Him. How it must have enraged them that He would attend to such a one as Mary, after all their years of detailed and recountable “service and devotion” they had labored at in the name of religion. My gaze must not be on them, but on my Loving Savior, so I may worship Him unashamedly in the midst of hostilities. He is my peace, He has broken down many walls. He is my High tower and place of safety. He is my shield and the defender of my faith. He alone is my Rock and Salvation. He not only carried my sins to the cross, but His word says He carried my SHAME. I am still praying that truth sink deeply into my heart and soul (like the rich and aromatic oiled perfume Mary offered her Savior). I pray that for you today also Felicia. I am reminded and relieved today that He would remove my garment of stain and replace it with His robe of purity. One thing out of all of this I KNOW Felicia, He is for us. Who can be against us? Blessings and Peace in His Perfect Love

    • T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Wow, Lori. That was incredibly beautiful and powerful! Thank you for the beautiful testimony of Christ’s lavish love and grace! This sentence, especially, jumps out at me:

      “As huge as I know my sins are, His Love, Mercy and Grace are perfectly mixed together in a balm that heals my soul.” That is so beautiful. Don’t our hearts just melt at his goodness to us?

      Thank you!

    • Felicia on January 25, 2017 at 2:03 am

      Lori,
      Thank you for that encouragement and reminder of the story of Mary.
      In the early days of recovering from my affair, my husband and I were encouraged that our marriage could one day be a beacon of hope and witness to God’s healing for those who had fallen into the same sin. I want to have hope that we can add recovery from a destructive marriage to that ministry and serve together, but even if that never happens, I want to be faithful to the calling that the forgiveness I have received has put on me.
      I am using the phrase “want to” a lot. I’m realizing that my heart is bruised and it’s hard to reach out for hope right now. I’ve always loved the verse Mark 9:24 “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'”. I don’t feel capable of much hope for my marriage right now, but I am asking that God help me overcome my hopelessness.

  64. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Lori,

    Thank you so much! If you only knew how many people told me I was to be quite and how most anything I said was dismissed. Your words are healing to my heart and I’m thankful.

    Your story!! Wow can I say thank you for your bravery here.. I feel privedged to read your story as you pour your heart out. I hope you can feel the prayers and support in spirit;)
    You have so much to offer especially as it comes to seeking Him personally and I so agree with you we can stand strong on His promises!

    I’m writing on a handheld so forgive me for typos etc.
    you wrote:
    “H thinks if I don’t just magically somehow put all the past behind me, I have not forgiven him.”
    Spoken like a true addictive thinker….
    Here is the pattern of thinking..
    I said I was sorry now the responsibility and trust in the relationship is dependent on you!
    Way ‘to avoid responsibility h’ and way to spiritualize their own faulty view biblical principles.
    So yes!! I so agree with your clarity on the tactics that are so hard wired in them.
    I mean look at your reference to your mominlaw ~ looks like she taught this belief early on in her home even if it was unspoken. He caught it.

    You stated:
    ” how dangerous it is to create one’s own Jesus.”
    Exactly!
    It’s idolatry at the core while claiming in a saved life through Jesus..
    sounds like 2 ‘masters’ to me and certainly conflicting beliefs to avoid accountability.
    You’re mom in law ring true to the difference in knowing about God and knowing Him personally.

    This is where the fork in the road is for me…
    Those mindsets are dangerous and her mindset and her family role feeds the disease.
    They are soundbite Theology themes ~ and they end up attracting many addicts in general.
    which can dismiss the sanctification process entirely.

    If I was exposed to her dialog often, probably a good thing I’m not;)
    I would be a broken record out of love…’what do you mean by that’?

    Your story about your mother-in -law is angering. Her denial was so SELF centered only and she spiritualized abuse and thus in my experience joins forces with the abuser and or oppressor. Ok seriously..,
    Given her belief system..This is not love for the Lord, herself, her husband and for her family~
    Using those twisted views of scripture is spiritual abuse and is damanging to our souls!
    Lori, she offered you more koolaid for you to drink and thankfully you didn’t!
    Thankfully and Praise God you are free to see truth, grow in His authentic Love and fullness of Grace and be used for His purpose.
    God will continue to pour blessings over you and seek and can rest in Him!

    • T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you Aly, for all that you have written about addiction and its many forms and common behavioral patterns. I think my husband is addicted to work/ministry, which makes him feel affirmed and worthy.

      When I read yours and a few other people’s words to the effect of liking their spouses, having times of close friendship in the past, etc., I stop being able to relate. My husband always had to view himself as above me in intelligence, role, status, everything. He had to feel superior, to me and to everyone. If he was not looked to in every conversation as the Important Person/Authority Figure/Expert, he would become agitated, angry, or simply completely unengaged. You can’t have much of a friendship with a person like that.

      One counselor I saw, after I described some of his personality traits and behaviors, picked up his iphone, looked up a definition, and read it to me. It was a description of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), which differs from OCD, and which I had never really thought about before. I was stunned by how the descriptors applied to him. It gave me compassion that he had an actual personality disorder, but it also made me even more committed to firm boundaries to force him to get help. I think personality disorders are basically entrenched patterns of sin that begin as coping mechanisms for childhood pain. He has a lot of that. But he has used ut as an excuse for his ungodly behavior, and I won’t be complicit to that anymore.

      Separating has given me space and time to be able to detach from some of the anger I feel/felt that has interfered with my desire to feel compassion for him. I want to feel compassion. But I want to make my decisions based on the wisdom, direction, and counsel of the Holy Spirit. And He is clearly saying: Be firm! Stand strong!

      Are you all familiar with the song Take Courage?

      Slow down, take time
      Breathe in, he said
      He’d reveal what’s to come

      The thoughts in his mind
      Always higher than mine
      He’ll reveal all to come

      Take courage my heart
      Stay steadfast my soul
      He’s in the waiting
      He’s in the waiting

      Hold onto your hope
      As your triumph unfolds
      He’s never failing
      He’s never failing

      Sing praise my soul
      Find strength in joy
      Let his words lead you on

      Do not forget
      His great faithfulness
      He’ll finish all he’s begun

      And you who hold the stars
      Who call them each by name
      Will surely keep your promises to me
      That I will rise in your victory

      Here’s a link; so encouraging!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r49V9QcYheQ

      • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        T.L.
        You wrote: “Separating has given me space and time to be able to detach from some of the anger I feel/felt that has interfered with my desire to feel compassion for him. I want to feel compassion. But I want to make my decisions based on the wisdom, direction, and counsel of the Holy Spirit. And He is clearly saying: Be firm! Stand strong!” Yes!!! Same here. I really do not know what the future is, but I trust God for it. Thank you once again for sharing more of your story. It helps me to see that we have experienced many similarities. Praying for you now as you follow His lead. Much love to you.

      • Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

        Thank you T.L for posting this video, it’s lovely 🙂

    • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Aly, I do feel supported in the Spirit here. It has been a HUGE blessing to me to read the responses of understanding, affirmation, love and compassion flowing from specific women here. I really did not expect it. It has given me hope and confidence that perhaps I am actually out of the jungle and on the path He has called me to. I do hope to encourage others here as well and not just be a recipient. I am praying for each of us. Blessings and thank you for sharing all that you have with women here. God is using you and your story to bless.

      • Aly on January 25, 2017 at 9:26 am

        Lori,

        I read this post late I think..
        Just want you to know that God uses his people in profound ways. He has done this in my life and I thankful that you are finding safe relationships and support.
        You mentioned the jungle and finding a path with Him now.
        That’s such a great example.
        For me, the jungle was such a black hole ~
        But somehow God’s spirit draws me back (even though I can be triggered) because I know I have sisters in Christ finding their way out. I call their name hoping they hear my voice but mostly the confirmed voice of Him who will equip them out to freedom.

        There’s been many of times I’ve been lead back to the jungle, women in fear and distraction and I will weap for their hearts to consider the banquet table and to trust I’ve seen and tasted His goodness and faithfulness…..regardless of the outcome of my h I was called to love Him, my mighty savior more!

        Praying for your hearts today my dear sisters in Christ.

        • Lori on January 25, 2017 at 1:10 pm

          Aly,
          In response to: “Regardless of the outcome of my h I was called to love Him, my mighty savior more!”

          Yes! Me too.

          Regarding the jungle. I never want to go back there again. With each step forward, I can see that it is putting much needed distance between where I am and where I was. Just the thought of the jungle causes such anxiety I cannot look back. Eyes ahead, and moving forward even if I have to crawl. Thank you for the encouragement and wisdom you have offered. Such a boost!

  65. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Love love love this Lori!
    So truth and given with such accuracy of what receiving Him encompasses!
    Thank you so much for writing such wonderful truths that can etched on our hearts;)

  66. Sophia on January 24, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you all!!! In the highest court…as humans stand to accuse and condemn…the gavel comes down hard, the highest judge calls out “INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE”. He has made us, He has rescued and redeemed us, He has made us the righteousness of Christ. His is the ONLY vote that counts. I am so very grateful for that!!! ❤

  67. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks Aly your words are kind, refreshing, and healing. It so is the mindset and way of thinking. Honestly sometimes -most of the time- I wonder if it’s so deep rooted that he won’t want to go through the work of uprooting them. I know God can- but will he allow Him to.
    God knows and has planned our future for our good and His glory.

  68. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Aly – I understand what you’re saying about the counseling. We all go to the same place – me, h, 2 boys- and each have our own safe person. They do sort of discuss with each other so we’re all on the same page going in the same direction as a family. Since h has signed a release for me I can call and talk with his counselor, and have, so he’s well informed. However, I have not signed a release for h to know my counseling. Hope that makes sense.

  69. Robin on January 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Content, they were in business file in his room locked. My daughter and I suspected there was a good reason he kept it locked. When I questioned him he lied and said they were his Moms business. We got a locksmith to open it for us and there were thousands of dollars and investments he never shared with me. He went out of town for 2 weeks and while he was gone I both filed for divorce and took his business file to lawyers office. Imagine his outrage when he returned and saw thebusiness file broken into and emptied……….

    • Robin on January 24, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I left him a note he could see my lawyer about his files. This is why 3 of my kids sided with him. They felt I manipulated the situation. And when I went to court and brought with me documents from my daughter and myself sharing what it was like to live in his home- the 3 kids thought I had been very disloyal. They grew up with the abuse and totally knew he was a sociopath but they didn’t feel good about sharing family secrets. I’m sure he gave me the house hoping I’d leave his investments alone.

      • Content on January 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

        Oh, yikes. This is the kind of stuff that scares me.

        It’s so sad when trust is broken. Because of lack of trust, I have no idea if my husband is capable of something like this or not. I have just been praying that God will open my eyes to see anything that’s in the dark that I need to see and trusting that He will do so. And, even leaving it in His hands if I am left destitute. God can handle that, too.

  70. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you against the grain for writing!
    My heart goes out to you as your in a process of healing and of hope as I read your last few posts.
    My post is long because well this process is quite indepth with some complex aspects.

    I hope my journey can help but also expose any areas where I personally found myself with the despair at the progress. More importantly for what my children would have to grieve if counseling would be a helpful medicine.
    ‘My h needed several interventions, I needed my own for the reasons of my own parts of the dance.

    Your journey is your own, so me sharing what I feel helped the most in Character growth and accountability is only based on hope to save you from any ‘unnecessary trips’ to China in a boat. I’m banking that you currently are not in China but you get the metaphor;)
    I wish someone had given me some of the warnings earlier on via the counseling arena because there is nothing worse then doing biblical counseling with great hope to see some new fruit quickly turn to old fruit.

    I don’t want to spiritualize quick fixes (if you read my past posts,you know it didn’t go that way) nor do I want to spiritualize LoNG roads must equal a greater outcome. This is not always the case.
    Both my husband and my ‘family of origin’ parents are evidence that long committed marriages DON’T EQUAL a Godly covenantal safe marriage.

    Here’s where I was with counseling.. one minute I had a somewhat participating spouse, then next gone!
    In short…
    The illness was that deeply rooted or entrenched (as you questioned your concern above) and the Lord was going to hold me, & guide me, while I sat in the reality of it.

    I personally have seen and experienced the benefits of how particular ‘mindsets’ take a collaborative approach. Think of it as a board meeting.

    Yes, it’s great your h is in consoling and my h needed that in addition to be in Godly guided cognitive therapy.

    Here’s what I see as an important role as wife (ever) in this regard: you are the frontline recipient of his holistic health, right?
    With not having an intensive collaborative process of which he is accountable to.. it’s hard to measure and see where things are moving~ (our hearts and our desires of hope can overcome our realities)… if ‘he’ is the only one interpreting what the therapist is asking of and or requiring of him!
    Hope that makes any sense;) remember if he does have an addictive pattern mindset, he probably is not the best judgement of behavior, given his infractions.

    My reality of the depth was hard, but how was I going to navigate the interventions if I couldn’t grasp the disease.
    I couldn’t risk another failed short term change to save my sanity. Nor could I continue with my children along for the detour.

    I can’t tell you the amount of times my h’s addictive thought patterns, excuses, blameshifting and oh faulty interpretations of expections where exposed for what they are in front of our therapist! Talk about feeling validated and not crazy.

    Not all Counselors have the same perspective, but I totally support individual counseling (a must) with joint counseling as a place of exposure and thus treatment.

    My h alone with his counselor… it was easy for him to be on ‘good behavior’ report status etc. deceiving himself and saving face~
    Now us both in the room facing things.. I wasn’t going to protect him so he can have his denial. (This was my own old part)

    I hope this explains more of what I experienced and I will pray that God will continue to reveal what’s necessary for your safety and mostly for a ‘new marriage hope’

    My h and I knew he needed surgery on his mind and heart so to speak in why he responded to me the way he ‘thought right’?
    but counseling (watching us in action/dialog) revealed he needed a heart transplant ~ praise God (possibly authentic salvation for h)
    Because ultimately God was able to reveal Himself in a very broken marriage.
    Praying for your heart and hoping you know you are worth whatever interventions you require to feel safe again.

    • Aly on January 24, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Oh goodness forgot to mention that if your h is dealing with integrity issues/ porn etc
      Then in addition to what I wrote above.. he will need added recovery aided in that specific area too.
      That’s a bigger process involving many other accountability ~ you don’t have to be his accountability of that.
      Hope that makes sense .. maybe you already have that measure in place;)

  71. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Yes T.L. Exactly;) I can visualize that so well!

    This was my defective thinking early on in an abusive cycle.
    My family of origin message to me was this:
    ‘Don’t be so sensitive, let it go..your always pointing out..
    There is so much good that outweighs the bad, nobody is perfect and on and on.. ‘ (again your ruining our comfort denial)
    this type of reasoning toggle leads to ‘no accountability’ for unacceptable behavior.
    It’s quite epidemic.

    I believe repentance and Godly sorrow lead to action, not inaction.
    God gets all the glory and all the victory, He does invite us to suit up (armor of God) and participate in the process that grows our faith!
    Still amazed by His wonders;)

    • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Aly,
      You wrote: “My family of origin message to me was this:
      ‘Don’t be so sensitive, let it go..your always pointing out..
      There is so much good that outweighs the bad, nobody is perfect and on and on.. ‘ (again your ruining our comfort denial)
      this type of reasoning toggle leads to ‘no accountability’ for unacceptable behavior.It’s quite epidemic.”

      Same messages from my family of origin. In addition to these messages, recently my brother told my sister he wished I could just see the other point of view. My brother has never accepted the idea that I separated from our father some 15 years ago as my father continued to be an adulterer and raging alcoholic. My mother kept his secret like a good wife he knew she would be. After her death, I found the strength to leave the family system. I think my brother still believes I am wrong for this and views me from the lens of this belief. He believes I am wrong for separating from my husband even though he knows nothing about my story of marriage. My brother visits my father often in the small town my father and I live in. He travels some 75 minutes to see my father, but has never stopped at my house as he drives by it to visit me. Talk about not seeing the other side of the perspective. Why so much time invested and devotion to a man who lived a lie under our nose. My father is now married to the woman he had an affair with for 15 years while married to my mother. I was 13 when he began the affair. I used to have to wait in the car while he visited divorce women to help them as they “needed his expert counseling.” Each of us 4 children were made to go for car rides with him (as a cover that he was spending time with his children). He drank heavily on the rides and we visited several homes. In high school my friends would tell me who my father was sleeping with in our small town. I spent my time at home alone whenever I possibly could. He didn’t like that I postured myself separately from the family. I think now, it threatened the system. I found a closeness to God in that separation alone by a canal I visited daily. I was 13, and I know our Savior was watching over me. The most painful and confusing part of it all was not the loneliness, ( it became a friend of mine), but when I would try to raise the question of what was wrong with our family (at 13), I was told I knew nothing of a troubled family and I had so much to be thankful for. I should focus on that. This is getting very long, but I wanted to say that the messages from our family of origin are meant to keep us from really seeing the truth. Meant to keep it from being seen so the abuse and neglect can continue and no one has to feel sincere guilt or face the difficult task of changing. So tired of the messages and so encouraged by the new messages I am hearing here in this blog from many. Expose…Expose…Expose. Thankful for the safe place to do so and the wisdom you and many are sharing.

      • Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

        What is wrong with people?!?
        Your father should never have acted that way but to act like YOU shouldn’t complain ?!? Ridiculous!
        It’s hard enough to be a teenager with a normal life and you had to live with THAT?!?
        Then your brother became the total jerk, secret-hider just like dad. So, now he’s salt in your current wounds. I’m so sorry.

        Earlier, I was hopefully responding to your posts in wisdom.
        Now, I just wanna drive to where ever you live and start SLAPPING PEOPLE.

        • Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 9:45 am

          That was to Lori’s Post

        • Lori on January 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

          Ruth, 🙂
          You said: “Earlier, I was hopefully responding to your posts in wisdom.
          Now, I just wanna drive to where ever you live and start SLAPPING PEOPLE.”
          Made me laugh out loud! Having no idea what you look like, I am left to picture you doing that and I am chuckling now. Thank you for your righteous anger. I do love to laugh and though the topic is serious, your expression brought me to a lighter hearted place. THANK YOU! What is wrong with people? I have heard it said: “Hurting people hurt people”. Perhaps that, but I think there is an awful lot of exposing here about what is wrong with people. Very helpful. Love you sister.

        • Nancy on January 26, 2017 at 8:16 pm

          This cracks me up! Laughing out loud 🙂

  72. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Hi T.L
    Thank you for writing!
    Your responses here are so valid and filled with such truth in love;) they are blessing to us all here.

    I’m so sorry for what you have been the recipient of in your marriage and the realization of the clinical situation.
    I’m glad that your separation has aided in clarity and I hope that it will give you the strength you need to develop compassion but yes healthy boundaries. I think you and I can relate much to that page;)

    I’m thankful you still see God’s love for you and your heart throughout all of this! That you are grounded in biblical truths that will sustain you;)

    As far as the marital friendship aspect, my heart goes out to you here~ I wish I could hear more of your heart on this? I want to know.

    I can relate so much to the treatment of the ‘up down position’ or ‘unequal importance’ or being treated like a role and object in someone image movie.
    And yes you are Spot on when you referenced the disorders develop as a coping mechanism out of childhood wounding.

    I’m curious if you have been counseled to address this disorder with you h? Or if he has done any of his own discovery of his ‘personality injuries’?
    You mentioned work and ministry addiction.. so he probably has conveniently/subconsciously set up limited availability toward growing out of this area.
    (But I hope I’m wrong about that)

    It’s hard to be close or safe with someone who doesn’t see you as an equal partner or as a gift from the Lord.
    Obviously, he is or has broken his convenant marriage with his attitude or ‘mindset’ especially if he thinks of himself as better than you.
    I wonder how he thinks that honors or aligns with his role as Godly husband?

    For me personally, i have compassion for these husband’s that struggle with these areas (addiction, childhood injury disorders etc)… but sometimes the most compassion I can show is loving them differently ‘authentically’ than they could do for themselves in the moment.
    They are bonded to a counterfeit form of love ~& identity that God can set them free of!

    Praying for your heart.

    • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Aly,
      I love how the Lord is using you to minister to T.L. She has been such a blessing to me and been used here to minister to others. You have responded to her with such care and love and it is a beautiful thing to see. I am grateful for your experience in recovery that you can offer but more than that, your sincere desire to know her better. What a blessing.

      T.L. I echo Aly here when she says: “As far as the marital friendship aspect, my heart goes out to you here~ I wish I could hear more of your heart on this? I want to know.” Holding you up in prayer, both of you.

    • T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Aly, I forgot to respond to these two things:

      “I’m curious if you have been counseled to address this disorder with you h? Or if he has done any of his own discovery of his ‘personality injuries’?
      You mentioned work and ministry addiction.. so he probably has conveniently/subconsciously set up limited availability toward growing out of this area. (But I hope I’m wrong about that)”

      No, I haven’t been counseled to address it. But haven’t been counseled against it either. I’m thinking about it…I would only be able to suggest it, as he hasn’t been diagnosed himself. Just my counselor hearing about him, suggested and believes he is, without talking to him. It needs to be done carefully, perhaps as, “You might want to take a look at you and see if it sounds like it might relate to you…” because they don’t trust anyone other than themselves. His counselor had to be meticulously vetted by him, and I don’t know if he is trusting him or not. He has to control things; it’s part of the disorder.

      As far as time: I reached out and exposed what was actually going on in our marriage and that we were terminal if he did not get help to various significant people in his life, all of whom confronted him and basically required him to take a sabbatical to work full-time on this. So that’s good; though there is at the moment no communication from him about what all he is doing. I am learning from you some important things about multiple interventions and a team of people/counselors holding him accountable and with me as a strong voice in the mix. Thank you for those details.

      “It’s hard to be close or safe with someone who doesn’t see you as an equal partner or as a gift from the Lord.
      Obviously, he is or has broken his convenant marriage with his attitude or ‘mindset’ especially if he thinks of himself as better than you.
      I wonder how he thinks that honors or aligns with his role as Godly husband?”

      He gives verbal and mental assent to me being a gift from the lord. But not heart and emotional assent. When I was utterly desperate and told him I was not going to make it in this marriage, instead of feeling remorse or taking a look at himself, he accused me of giving up and not trusting God. How could I think about leaving? What about my vows before God? I was so thankful, because the holy Spirit gave me wisdom in that moment. I told him: You are the one who has repeatedly, habitually broken our vows. The VOW is to “honor and cherish.” The time frame is “till death do us part.”

      He will admit that he has not loved me well, but goes into justification/victim mode: “the way I was raised, damaged in my home…etc.” He has confessed and repented and is trying and changing, so I should forgive and let him back in the home…sound familiar? At this point, I think he sees a measure of his wrongdoing, and has repented of some of the actions. But the attitudes of entitlement and superiority are intact. I can tell. And I will know, as you all will know, when they have been broken. Looking for brokenness, contriteness, sorrow over sin, a seeking to make amends…only then will he be worthy of the privilege of living with a daughter of God again. In a mutually edifying relationship where we each seek to serve the other, outdoing one another with kindness and good deeds. As I told him: if we are both doing that, its beautiful. If only one of us is; it’s ugly! Done with that!

  73. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 24, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    I didn’t feel like you were encouraging separation at all. This is a hard thing and I know God will give wisdom.

    We briefly touched on a “house” separation last night – he said he would sleep somewhere else. But that only makes it easier for him since relations are off limits right now which is a consequence.

    I’ve been wondering if behavior change is enough. He claims now he’s changed and has better behavior but even P Doyle says you can fake the fruit of the spirit. Our counseling pastor and the few friends he has at church are all telling him to “do” what he knows is right and the rest will come. I get that – faith into action. But I don’t think they realize that people like him need a contrite and broken heart not just behavior change since they deceive themselves so well.
    So like Aly said REPENTANCE leads to change and action but CAN action lead to repentance or just more deception? I think in short order the underlying wrong attitudesand beliefs will be evident.

    • Content on January 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      I have a good friend whose husband is showing and demonstrating a willingness to change and hear his wife’s heart … For several months now. She is having to remind herself to let nothing “slip” if old behaviors/patterns pop up and to be proactive in addressing them which feels scary at times because it rocks the boat. .

      She has a counselor’s heart and God is giving her an uncanny ability to be strong and firm yet grace-filled in the hard conversations and working through these things. There was a hard season of some strong boundaries (no physical intimacy) which led to his willingness to hear her.

      She is a big believer in the fact that sometimes patterns can be reversed and new thinking take hold as someone commits and is willing to change.

      Each situation is unique and I would caution from buying into looking for a cookie cutter outcome. Maybe God will bring change in behavior first which develops into a deepened trust between the two of you which enables him to be vulnerable and face hard things in his life which them legs to genuine repentance. Who knows? Repentance is really a change of behavior, it looks different for each of us probably.

      God will lead and guide. Willingness is huge and in my case, my husband flat out refused more counseling (after promising me he would and then going only once) and after telling me I was a bad mom for going to church on Sunday mornings and Bible study once every other week, along with cursing at me and gaslighting me and then not apologizing (standard behavior on the never apologizing unless I practically begged it out of him), I knew God was confirming it was time to separate. He wasn’t/isn’t willing to work on himself and sees me as the problem.

      Praying for better things in your case! I’m seriously so thankful for my friend and seeing God work in her marriage. I pray the same for you.

  74. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I am praying for you and I’ll pray for your husband!
    Lori, it’s healthy for your heart and healing to be held and be of focus.

    Praying for all of you amazing warriors.. 😉

    • Lori on January 24, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      Aly,
      Thank you for praying for me and for my husband. Thank you for your sensitivity to assuring me that it is healthy for my heart and healing to be held and be of focus. These are words inspired and you may never know how healing they are to hear. Thank you for sharing them to me. They are a new language I am enjoying learning! 🙂

  75. Robin on January 24, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Content, in re: to your comment about hoping your husband isn’t deceiving u with money like mine did- I was very fortunate to have such a wise and strong counselor. She really pushed me to get that locked business file open, as she said a healthy husband would not lock anything from his wife. So my advice, is don’t assume you can trust. If your marriage is destructive it is likely there are deceptive things going on……….

  76. T.L. on January 24, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you, Ali.

    Oh, yes! I do still see God’s love for me! In fact, pulling out of the fake world that my husband was compelled to show the world to prove his worth and status, has opened me up to new levels, new “receptacles” to receive God’s love. Exposing the deeds of darkness: the harshness, selfishness, indifference, and pride that ran rampant in my home, but was disguised for the public was scary, but worth it! The Lord blessed and empowered me ever step of the way.

    You asked:
    “As far as the marital friendship aspect, my heart goes out to you here~ I wish I could hear more of your heart on this? I want to know.”

    I’m not sure what to say; maybe you could ask more specific questions?

    There was no mutuality in our relationship, like friends have. His opinion was the only one that mattered because…ahem..clearly–he was more intelligent, educated, knowledgable. He was more capable and savvy. When I tried to contribute to a conversation or discussion, HE was The Determiner of it’s Value. If my contribution supported his view, I was right, and I was submissive: two check marks! If my opinion did not support his, I was wrong and not submissive. I had no voice in my home.

    Being OCPD: the person must think of themselves as perfect, and wants others to view them that way too. They are so utterly insecure that they are driven to this perfectionism. So it was very important to him that I was the best wife around…or at least he could promote the illusion to himself and others. Where my imperfections glared: not very organized, a bit forgetful at times, not a type-A driven personality, too laid back–those things made him frustrated and angry. I would be berated in front of our kids (never publicly, but open game in the home!) “Don’t you think!? You never put things where they belong!” And he never apologized, because he was always right. Oh, every once in awhile, during family worship, he would give a dramatic general apology in prayer for his temper and his words, etc. But never a personal, specific apology to me or the kids. So multiplied offenses, which make fences, which only come down when dealt with. Impossible to have a friendship.

    The only times I could say I felt anything like friendship with him, would be the times, early on, when he made himself vulnerable, actually opened up and shared his pain over the abuse in his home of origin. We wept together over the mental and emotional abuse he, his sisters, and mom endured. I listened and wept with him. But he hardened more over time, in order to protect himself from hurt, and to project his superior image. I think he became so (anxiety-driven) entrenched once fatherhood set in in “fulfilling his roles” as “Christian” leader, husband, and father in our home that his authentic self disappeared, and his role-playing self grew. He once told me he doesn’t know how to do anything but play/fulfill his role and his duty. His drive to be right and do the right thing is super strong (even though this is such a blind spot-obviously he DID NOT do the right thing.) But he thought he did. He believed in his divine calling as head of the home (in an oppressive, domineering way) having come from a patriarchal background, and having the conservative Christian community and homeschooling community support this aberrant extreme. He had strong opinions of the right way to do everything, and that was imposed on all of us.

    So OCPD people must control their environment and the people around them. They must make them do the right thing (as they determine.) Very oppressive. You can’t have a friendship with a person like that.

    There were times when he could be kind, sort of. Though even then, the motivation was always to appear good. It came out of imposed values, rather that a heart that was filled with the goodness of God. On occasion he seemed to feel genuine empathy. But not often, and still something seemed off.

    All this time, I was so confused because he was so “devoted” to God: in one form of ministry or other; all he wanted to do was “serve the Lord.” Didn’t care about making money, or buying nice things (in fact–horribly frugal–another symptom of the OCPD) Led family worship every school day. (though harshly rebuking any kid that got the least bit distracted.) He did this because its what a good Christian father is supposed to do, –fulfilling the role–not because he had a heart of worship.

    It’s taken me years to admit that I do not know, I have no assurance, that he truly knows Jesus. Knows tons *about* Him…but the fruit of knowing Him is frighteningly lacking.

    He is counseling/coaching in a program for destructive men. It’s a 6-month program and he is in the 2nd month. We have been separated for that time. I have no evidence of heart change yet. I know God is able to do this impossible task; I just hope my husband can let Him into the fortified walls that guard his heart.

    Picturing working through things with him, as you have done with your husband is hard for me to picture, indeed. I am the ultimate traitor–I have pointed out the Emporer’s nakedness. His illusion of perfection and superiority is gone. We DON’T have the perfect family he led others to believe. He doesn’t have it all together. He is having to face himself instead of living in his roles. For him to ever trust me to journey with him? I can’t imagine it right now. I’ve asked him to give me just a very minimal idea (not details) of how the counseling is going…not a word. Fortunately part of the counseling is checking in with me periodically for feedback. It has happened only once so far.

    So that’s a little more about where I am at on this journey…

    • Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

      TL,
      I’m so glad you’ve started sharing on this blog. Well, i wish nobody was a part of this ‘club’ so to speak but you understand what I mean.
      You’ve had to be SO strong to live within a marriage where there’s no appreciation and no emotional support. I imagine you must be tired.
      I am impressed by your wisdom. Your H has sent out false messages to you right and left, but you have countered with truth. Well done.
      I have been encouraged by reading your posts. They are so compassionate and eloquent.🙂

      • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

        Ruth, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement!

    • Lori on January 26, 2017 at 12:37 am

      T.L. You wrote: ” I am the ultimate traitor–I have pointed out the Emporer’s nakedness. His illusion of perfection and superiority is gone. We DON’T have the perfect family he led others to believe. He doesn’t have it all together. He is having to face himself instead of living in his roles. For him to ever trust me to journey with him? I can’t imagine it right now. I’ve asked him to give me just a very minimal idea (not details) of how the counseling is going…not a word. Fortunately part of the counseling is checking in with me periodically for feedback. It has happened only once so far.”

      It must be impossible to have friendship with someone who believes you are a traitor. Someone who believes you are an enemy now. I understand and we share so much in common. Very “religious” husbands whom we wonder if they even truly know Jesus, but know a lot about Him. I use to tell my husband it was like he had built a fortress for himself with no access in for anyone, and the only times I remember him being emotionally connecting was when he spoke of his childhood abuse early on in marriage. After that, it was like the topic was off grounds. Forever. When I would suggest that it might be helpful to find someone to help us work through our childhood injuries, he said he had already forgiven his older brother who had sexually abused him. Nothing more to work through. I seem to get off track relating to you and telling my story. We also have in common very conservative christian communities (my husband grew up mennonite and I was only born again at 24 years old) and home schooling. I can imagine the part about your husband needing to check in with you periodically as part of his counseling must enrage him. After all, HE is not the problem (in his mind) and how he must resent having to give an account to you (the traitor). I am praying against his possible underlying hatred and resentment of you for standing, and exposing. I am praying for your spiritual,emotional and physical safety. I am praying the Lord will enable him to say yes to Him, to bend his knee and bow his heart to His loving Creator so that he might learn to know Him. Praying God comfort and guide you as well. Much love to you.

  77. Lori on January 24, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    T.L.
    Now it’s my turn to tell you my heart is touched by your story. How painful for you to not be cherished and loved because your husband needs to feel perfect. I am happy for you that you were able to pull out of the fake world your husband lives to impress. What slavery he is in to care so much about what others think, when they probably don’t spend much time thinking of him at all. What slavery to care more about what they think than he cares about what his own wife and God think. I pray the Lord comfort you and preserve your heart as you follow in His care. I pray the Lord will help your husband let Him in those well fortified walls. Perhaps your separation is serving to help cause those walls to be compromised somewhat? I am sorry that you are shut out of the process right now, but perhaps that is for your own safety? Praying for you, your husband and children.

    • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Lori,

      Thank you, dear, unknown sister in this battle! Your compassion and prayers mean so much to me!

      I’m ok being out of the process, in one sense. It shows me clearly where he is at: scared and trying to stay under “the cloak of darkness.” Not repentant, not ready to come into the light. I need to know that. I am watching and waiting and taking care of me. I will move forward with the Lord, with or without him. But I will never be sucked into his vortex of pretense and destruction again…therein lies the abyss!

  78. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 24, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Aly I really like and appreciate your thoughts on counseling and have wondered about attending with h since his perspective is so skewed, and there is masking going on. I guess that’s why I’ve called and told his counselor about our pastors determination after 4 yrs,the ultimatum, gun, etc. as I knew he wouldn’t.

    My plan is to pray about each of his sessions weather I go or not. Doyle said in his reconciliation video that joint counseling should only be when there’s true repentance and humility – makes sense as otherwise it’d just be an arguing session. Yet, that also may be a way to know if there is repentance and humility.

    I do desire there to be an action plan with measurable progress before reconciliation is considered. I’m hoping the Christian Counselors would think so too and provide a plan.

    Bottom line in all of it is weather h will do the work when comfort is his idol.

    Only God knows, and I can trust His plan for our good.

  79. Aly on January 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Lori,
    Thank you so much for writing and sharing your journey. Oh my goodness you have been through so much I’m thankful we get to walk along side one another (figuratively).

    I have so much to reply to your comments I’m sure I will miss something above.

    First, I’m so sorry for the toil you have had to deal with given the illness.
    I agree with you hands down that you have exposed the ’emperors faulty clothing’
    And look out for all of the tactics on steroids!
    Yes, I agree it’s quite impossible to have any form of a friendship with such a dynamic and I’m pretty sure given proverbs it would get you caught in their ‘web’

    I hope you hear in my heart how sorry I am that your were treated by him and I’m glad that you have stood up to challenge and take back your worth and value especially in front of your children.

    I actually feel strongly, as I have had a similar journey with someone in such ‘denial of self’
    That the actions you have given him are actually the greatest gift possible! Even if the marriage doesn’t get restored or built, you have honored God by doing what is for your h best opportunity of hope!

    The fact that he’s in a program designed around these behaviors and I assume character growth.. and he has NOT communicated his process to you is alarming. Sounds like pouting and punishing?

    I guess I think there a several things that can reveal evidence of fruit, not just a contrite heart or humility and sorrow for wrong doing … but the action and the attitude of the recovery work.
    The attitude is one of gratefulness for a possible opportunity to rebuild what was destroyed by destructive behavior.
    And you are not the one that is responsible for the rebuilding of this! this personality will not like that they have to do more work to earn rights back in the relationship. In fact he might even try to tell you it’s 50/50 or all the things above you wrote about his spiritual abuse, when you exposed his contridiction of self or their double standard. This does infuriate them.
    The more they despise not having the power and control they once orchestrated.
    All of this you know… so just validating;)

    The only compassion I have for him is the vortex of lies he is or was bonded to.

    I’m thankful you have P. Doyle confirming things that are painful but usually essential.
    I think he says something like Pride is the absolute opposite of Godliness.
    And a person that has been corrected like you h, will choose to be loyal to his pride and control or will surrender to God’s ways.

    And yes you clarified above that he has made verbal notes that you are a gift from the Lord.
    But what I mean was do you ‘feel treated’ like you are? Or have you ever been treated in that manner by him? Where it’s genuine and not just to get back in a place where he can shift and manipulate his needs.

    Ultimately, the way he is to ‘serve the Lord’ is by serving and humbly leading his family. Paul speaks into this in 1 Cor in detail to the church.

    I’m in prayer for you.

    • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Hi Aly,

      I think you mixed me up with Lori…I think your response above to her, was really to me?

      You said, “That the actions you have given him are actually the greatest gift possible! Even if the marriage doesn’t get restored or built, you have honored God by doing what is for your h best opportunity of hope!”

      I truly believe this!

      And “The attitude is one of gratefulness for a possible opportunity to rebuild what was destroyed by destructive behavior.”

      Have not seen even a hint of this.I know what I am looking for, and I am not fooled or sucked in by the old behaviors.

      Yes, Patrick Doyle’s comments on pride have been helpful!

      And as to your question: no. I have never felt treated as if I were a gift from God. I have been treated as if I was a bother, a nuisance, a prop to make him look good, a useful servant (meals, laundry, mother to his children, sex object.) But not as a cherished gift from God.

  80. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 25, 2017 at 2:51 am

    “Willngness is huge” and I’m not sure it’s willingness yet or just doing what looks good and like he’s trying. He and our counseling pastor came to an impasse since h wasn’t willing to do the simplest thing like daily read a 1 page devotional. And the apologizing thing I totally get – less than a handful in 25yrs.

    You are very right that each situation is unique much like salvation is unique as God knows our heart and how to reach us but we have a free will to resist. Most situations with h God had to really push him, and with many things when push comes to shove he will act if there’s something in it for him.

    I applaud you for your strength through the emotional junk you’ve been through. Praise the Lord for His guidance with you.

    This will be THE hardest thing for h if he chooses to walk through it. God knows.

  81. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Against the Grain,
    Thanks for your posting.
    You wrote:
    “h wasn’t willing to do the simplest thing like daily read a 1 page devotional. And the apologizing thing I totally get – less than a handful in 25yrs.”

    Ok, so all of the Christian women’s groups, seminars, bible studies etc.. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this complaint and or grief!!
    I have brought this to our own male pastors elders to expose the big issue of someone looking like they are in agreement with Christian belief/ worship but what is exposed behind closed doors has a similar theme!! This is crucial to the health of our church communities ladies.

    I agree so whole heartedly with Lori, her history…. that it must be exposed, exposed,exposed! We can trust God regardless of the outcome we might hope for.

    I’m not saying that reading a devotional makes you saved or being someone who can apologize for wrong doing makes you saved… but the ‘uncomfortableness’ that the h has in doing so is to me EVidence to look closer at an authentic faith. It doesn’t add up to me and many people in church male or female want to dismiss the heart issue… when in reality there is probably an iceberg underneath!

    Certain evidence like these can expose the enslavement of a sinful heart and unchanging one at that.
    These things were in my home early on and I complained not because I wanted a pastor for an h but it was a heart and significant issue for me.

    Raising children I feel responsible as God instructs me to Teach my Children the truth and love of God.
    Having a husband for many years not model it as a ‘serious factor’ in Christian parenting broke my heart.
    If they didn’t see us take our Christian faith seriously, why would or should they be imprinted to?
    I mean we take lots of other worldly things seriously and passionately.., why is that the faith is a minor area when it should be a center area.

    I guess what I’m saying is that the men & pastors in the church have a huge responsibility to address what is going on in so many men across this generation and the previous one with their faith.

    I have more to write on the behavior of your h because I can relate but have to run!
    I happen to feel the greatest hope for change is Expose expose expose;)

    • AgainstTheGrain -Vanessa on January 26, 2017 at 2:53 am

      Aly –
      Ohhh the similarities in parts of our story – “Certain evidence like these can expose the enslavement of a sinful heart and unchanging one at that.
      These things were in my home early on and I complained . . .” I remember talking with a pastor’s wife within 6 mo of our wedding about how h didn’t read his bible, and we NEVER prayed together. She didn’t think it was a bid deal – I was a young Christian and didn’t know any better. But he had and has been around Christianity long enough to fake it on the outside…I don’t know his heart. I’m EXTREMELY cautious that this is what’s happening now with behavior – especially since he said last night that 3-4 men have been encouraging him to “just do what’s right, no matter how you feel”. I GET that because he does respond to what his lying feelings are telling him, so he does need to do the right thing regardless of how he feels. BUT my challenge with that is that someone with addictive behavior is just looking for the fix formula – I do XYZ then I’m off the hook and everything is fine. So I guess eventually, the action will lead to heart change, or expose the fact that he’s still faking it. The question is how much time?

      What you said above about men being exposed in the church I completely agree with – with h and many men probably, when exposed and confronted by no less than 5 men . . . he ran. Stopped going to small group, church, anything where any of those men would be because the conviction of being in the same room with them. All the while him claiming “they (and me) need to have grace with my as I’m going through this hard time.” Never mind that that has left me effectively a single mom of 6 as he stated, “it’s just too much to ask of me right now.” That would be referring to being a dad, or acting like an adult. Thankfully, and finally when confronted with an ultimatum our pastor said he was a home wrecker . . . but I don’t think h believed him.

      My concern now is my 5 boys that haven’t had the example of a truly loving, engaged, humble, Christian father. I know boys (men in general) can be proud, but wow, the lack of humility, sorrow when there’s little offenses or big ones, the blame shifting, and selfishness is big. BUT how many kids are not raised with Christ in a dad OR mom and God has his hand on them…already chosen. I have to trust that God knows their hearts, what they’re dealing with in all this, and know that He will take them where they need to go to follow Him. My responsibility is to be gospel centered, model it to the best of my ability, and leave the rest in His hands.

  82. Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Hello Everyone,

    I want to express my gratitude to all those who respond with such Grace and Truth. Your hearts and the time you have taken in sharing the depth of your stories and the way you have offered your hearts, asked questions, supported one another in respect, is such a blessing to me.

    One of the casualties of coming from an enmeshed family and continuing in that unhealthy pattern has been my friendships. In my lack of appropriate boundaries and unhealthy attachment style ( which I will learn more of when HOW WE LOVE comes in the mail!) I have participated in the destruction of friendships ( which were not built on Christ to begin with)

    And so I want to say that I have come to this site to see what I can ‘get’ out of it, but in witnessing the love and care you Godly women are showing one another, I am convicted ( yes, gently because that’s how our incredible Abba does it- gently ) of my selfishness.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. What a blessing you EACH have been to me.

    • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 9:11 am

      So sweet, Nancy! I have found it the same–what a blessing!

      I pray that the Lord will teach you and bless you through that book, and will bring you close friends to bond deeply with.

      Blessings to you.

      • Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 11:22 am

        Thank you so much T.L. 🙂

    • Leslie Vernick on January 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you Nancy for sharing your vulnerability and heart. I applaud your self-awareness and honest and hope you continue to be a part of this wonderful and loving community.

  83. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Thank you for the correction! Sorry Lori and T.L.
    ~aly

  84. AgainstTheGrain Vanessa on January 25, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Felicia – I know hope is a hard thing to grasp for me sometimes. Paul Tripp”s book New Morning Mercies had this for Jan 23:
    “Hope is not a thing, not a location, not a situation, not an experience. Hope is a person, and his name is Jesus.”

    I believe Jesus can do anything, but I find it challenging to believe my h will choose to change long term.

    Again from Tripp’s book:
    “What are you asking of something when you place your hope in it? You’re asking it to give you peace of heart. You’re asking it to give your life meaning. You’re asking it to give you purpose and direction. You’re asking it to give you a reason to continue. You’re asking it to help you get through difficulty and disappointment. You’re asking it to free you from envy or anxiety. You’re asking it to give you joy in the morning and rest at night . Now, that’s a lot to ask of anything. That fact confronts you with this reality— if your hope disappoints you, it’s because it’s the wrong hope. What we’re all searching for is hope that won’t disappoint us, that won’t leave us hopeless in the end.
    Sturdy hope that does not vanish with the constant changes in situations, locations, and relationships that make up all of our lives— hope that simply will never, ever disappoint us— can be found in only one place. It is not to be found in a certain thing. It is, in fact, a person, Jesus. Whether you have realized it or not, he is what your hoping heart has been searching for, because what you’ve really been searching for is life, real heart-changing, heart-satisfying life— life to the fullest, life abundant.
    True lasting hope is never found horizontally. It’s only ever found vertically, at the feet of the Messiah, the One who is hope. Place your hopeful heart in his hands today.”

    • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Sooo good, Vanessa! And goes right along with Leslie’s new blog post today! 🙂

  85. Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I am SO sorry to anyone who had an experience similar to the original poster who was abused by her husband. She went to her church, the body of Christ, and they re-abused her and are holding her HOSTAGE TO MORE ABUSE AND MINIMIZED HER SUFFERING. They was accomplices to his acts of evil. Even worse they are in positions of spiritual authority, therefore they will be held to a higher standard of accountability. I would not want to be in their shoes.
    The original poster needs to leave this toxic church and get in a church that’s not crazy.
    It sounds like her sons her in dire need of PEACE. One has threatened suicide. So, it’s time to take drastic measures! Sounds like dad is the major cause of strife and anxiety in the house. He needs to go. If not for mom, do it for the BOYS! Before it’s too late!❤️❤️
    Be a warrior Momma!!
    Fight for your boys!

    • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Amen to all of that Ruth!

  86. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Ruth,
    I have felt those exact feelings! Thank you for posting and giving a voice to righteous anger against God’s own daughters’ here.

    The enmeshed of families is so filled with control and identity.
    It saddens me greatly and I can see where Jesus spoke truth to the Pharisees.
    Many people have been taught that the Pharisees were the Jewish people of ‘great legalism’, some of this is true but what was most important for me to study and understand that the ugliness of their religion was their ‘bloodline enmeshment’ so to speak. Their attitude of double standards that were clearly self refuting once unraveled.. and then when you do unravel their belief they cry legalism .. distorting the power of grace and justification on our behalf.

    They, the Pharisees thought they were ‘entitled to relationship’ based solely on their lineage!
    Yes, Jesus came from the Line of Judah to fulfill prophecy.

    So when we speak of these attitudes in the family enmeshment comfort/rules, they feel that their blood negates their behavior or responsibility. Not so!

    Again, many people I love are probably saved by Christ (only God knows that) but that doesn’t mean I’m in a healthy safe relationship with them all. And yet as many of you can attest to the manipulation tactics of being called a legalistic person, or a Pharisee when you place healthy boundaries…when in reality the true Pharisee being them, completely misses Jesus and feels entitled to their lineage.. as if they had any power or creation in that path or family line.
    Same can be true for marital status of the same entitlement …
    That would negate them of destructive behaviors or if they are required to to anything about them then they are feeling that legalism is what’s taking place.. when in fact, it’s love and safety.

    Stay sane and safe beautiful warriors!

    • Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Oh boy Aly!

      Did you ever put your finger on the root of Pharisaical thinking and beliefs! For sure legalism is a part but that’s a superficial definition as is hypocrit. Really YES, that it is that bloodline entitles one to relationship. That’s the thinking. “Because you are related to me, I can behave as I want and you are obligated to stay in relationship ( plus I will then use the Biblical concept of forgiveness against you, by requiring / blaming/ shaming you into not forgiving my abusive behaviour towards you).”

      Thank you for articulating this. You know you said in an earlier post that you are not a good writer. I disagree. You have a gift of articulating deep truths!

      I told my husband that I would try one session of couples counselling ( with a Beleiving counsellor that I have found).

      Please pray for me. That “He will surely keep His promise to me and that Inwill rise in His victory” ( thank you T.L. For the video you posted earlier on this thread).

      As I make my list of requirements for my h, what I am coming up against is this feeling that it is “unfair” of me to be asking to be in this position of “authority” over him. I know that’s from the enemy because I know that my h has destroyed my trust and he needs to be accountable. I don’t. But it feels as though I’m taking on the position that he held for so long.

      Any words of wisdom here?

      • Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 11:26 am

        Oops…”by requiring/ blaming/ shaming you into “forgiving” my abusive behaviour towards you”( which amounts to sweeping it under the rug).

      • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm

        Aly and Nancy,

        I’m enriched by your insights here, too Aly.

        And Nancy, I too get haunted (temporarily) sometimes by similar thoughts:

        I complain that he does not love unconditionally, but I am putting conditions on what he must do for me to “be able/willing” to love him, to live with him, to show him affection. Then I have to battle and untangle that with careful thinking: No; I AM loving him by refusing to enable his destructive (to himself, me, and the Kingdom) behavior anymore, and putting him into conditions where he will have to choose for God, or for his pride. Unconditional love does not equal unconditional relationship.

        Sometimes I think: oh my gosh! He has a personality disorder precipitated by ongoing complex childhood trauma. And I am adding to his trauma by exposing his weakness and coping mechanisms. Then I have to remind myself that he has a PD because he habitually chose self-protection over God’s ways, even when it was no longer “necessary” for childhood coping. But I still battle feeling mean.

        I also get hit with: Oh no! What have I done? I am exposing his nakedness (see story of Noah’s drunkenness and his sons) I am humiliating him. I am “tearing my own house down” (Proverbs 14:1)

        These thought usually come when I am all alone, I triggered by anything. Just out of the atmosphere, it’s like a big dump truck backs up and unloads on me.

        I have come to recognize it as the work and strategy of Satan: he waits till we’re alone and vulnerable (like Jesus in the desert) and then he dumps his lies on us. He will even use Scripture, just like he did with Jesus, to accuse and confuse us.

        Leslie’s and other’s solid instruction and your voices on this blog are so strengthening. I’m soooo grateful to Leslie and all of you!

        • Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm

          Yes, these thoughts DO usually come when I’m alone and vulnerable ( like Jesus in the desert)!

          And unconditional love does not equal unconditional relationship. Truth!

          I was talking to my daughter this morning about self doubt ( she has a presentation today and she is TOTALLY prepared and voicing thoughts like, “what if I forget a whole section?” I was telling her to say, “get behind me satan!” and to rest in God’s ( and our) love for her.

          Now I will do the same with these thoughts of doubt about holding my husband accountable.

          It’s kind of neat that the guidance that I didn’t get from my mom (but by the GRACE of God, I can give my daughter), I am now receiving from sisters in His kingdom.

          When I began finally accepting and grieving ‘the mother I never had’, someone told me that He will bless me with nurturing in His kingdom far greater than .i’d experienced. I am coming to experience that, thanks to sisters like you, T.L. that allow me to then go further and take ‘face to face’ steps of faith in my church ( I asked a sister for prayer and she has come alongside so beautifully- just by me asking for prayer!).

          When we ask for prayer we don’t need to relay all the details. We can wait on The Lord for genuine responses 🙂

          Thanks for relating your journey with these particular thoughts of self doubt, T.L.

          • T.L. on January 26, 2017 at 5:24 am

            So glad it was helpful, Nancy. I love what you said about the nurturing that comes to us in the kingdom. It is congruent with what Jesus said in Mark 10:29-30

            “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

            Such a promise! And we are seeing some of it’s fulfillment in our lives. And it is rich.

            I love how you came alongside your daughter with that encouragement to reject self-defeating thoughts that come from the pit.

            I’m learning to sit and think deeply about everything and not to be afraid of thoughts or feelings. To recognize, admit, evaluate, and then place it in the apprpriate “file.” My heart? Or the trash heap?

            Walking in the light is abundant freedom and joy!

            Bless you. Xo



  87. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Nancy,
    Thank you so much for your post.
    I have much more to respond in detail here.. not all do I have the specific answers but I do want to offer the wisdom that was given to me continueously through a difficult process.

    I’ll will return to this post!
    As soon as I can…
    In the meantime I hope you can watch YouTube any How we love attachment videos &
    Addiction video of P.Doyle etc
    The counselor has to be well equipped in this area and trama therapy too if possible.
    I’m not sure I would go into a thought place or expectation of a onetime couples therapy session .. so maybe I don’t understand what you mean by this?? I wouldn’t want you to set up any unrealistic expectation that would one give you any false hope but also any wishful outcomes.

    Maybe you can clarify.

    Goodness wish talking via phone was possible;) so you could hear my tone etc.

    • Nancy on January 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Aly. Thank you for your questions, because it encourages me to articulate what is in my head and in my heart.

      My commitment to go one time is because I need to know firsthand if I can trust this counsellor. I was referred by a Godly sister who went through a 2.5 year seperation. I spoke to him on the phone and so far, it’s good.

      If I feel like I can trust him, then I can make a bigger commitment, if not, I will continue to ask for referrals from appropriate people.

      As I’ve mentioned I have seen significant changes in my h since April (when I confronted) and from all I’ve read and watched and read and watched and blogged and read and watched…I believe that I am witnessing conviction and not pretense.

      What I have realized since ‘talking’ with you is that my requirements of him are too lax and there is no measurable plan. This came from a ‘wait on The Lord’ place as well as a ‘my h should be leading us’, place. Your ‘claiming the Promised Land for His Glory’ quote convicted me of passivity in this, and pointing out that your h was not CAPABLE of making the plan of rescue ( out of the woods) made me realize my expectations for an ‘instant leader’ are not based in reality.

      So….my plan is to get clear on what MY needs are in continuing to move towards reconciliation of a God Glorifying marriage. What do I need to see in him? How is that measured? What do I feel safe enough doing together? (Regarding books, videos etc…) What do I need for him to take in ( Patrick Doyle is on this list). Do I need him to allow me to talk to his counsellor? ( this would be a hard one for me to ask).

      Also, I need to get clear what areas of myself I WILL NOT explore in couples counselling. Any specific thoughts here? My fear of taking too much responsibility is what is driving a need to be sure that whatever issues are explored are only the ways that I contribute to ‘the dance’. The issue that brings us to couples counselling is his acknowledgment that he is not trustworthy.

      Hmmmm. I guess that’s the starting place of this one session:

      HIS ADMISSION, NOT MY FEELINGS. See…clarity in working this through.

      Didn’t know there were how we love videos on YouTube 🙂

  88. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    My chime in is:
    YES YES YES!
    Thank you for writing what’s Lori heart needs to hear and read to be validated in. 💜
    God bless you and God’s wisdom through you;)

  89. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Lori,

    I’m so sorry if I wrote on a metaphor that caused any harm.
    You are in need of great care and tender healing for your heart!
    I pray you are feeling the power of His love in ways you couldn’t have imagined and that you will be resting in all that He will do to wrap your heart and affirm your value💜 All of this healing takes time and nurturing. He is already using your story in Amazing ways! Thank you again for your bravery in sharing.

    I speak of the jungle as to my own journey and my rescue.
    I had to be carried out and for that I am grateful beyond words. Do you know how hard it is to carry someone out carrying so much grief?

    Absolutely it was God ~ but he used so many vessels to carry me out (revealing reality) because I was leaving many behind whom I loved deeply.
    I’m crying as I write because in order for me to be in contact with them I have to live in the jungle in denial, and I won’t.

    I had to trust those carrying me because they understood the mental torment I was under.
    It’s one thing to imagine freedom, it’s a whole other thing to taste it.

    He bandaged my wounds, left my emotional scares (for his purpose) and gave me a heart I always desired but never owned.
    He showed me that my faith in His promises were true.
    He showed me how I can embrace so much joy & freedom in His truths and so much pain in the grief of loss.
    He always saw me, even thought I couldn’t quite understand it, but my heart can hardly express what it feels like…. to be seen by Him!

    So for He and I… He knows my heart because He personally knew what it needed for healing.

    Maybe you can understand why my heart is drawn to the jungle..
    those that were used by ‘God’ to carry me, lead me out ….were drawn back to get me.
    I’m grateful.

    • Lori on January 25, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Dear Aly,
      I never felt wounded by you at all. I trust your heart. If I felt a disagreement or a barb, I think I would bring it to you in a question form first to see if I misunderstood you. So much misunderstanding to be had and wounding where none is meant. That has not happened to me at all in this forum. Thank you for caring and I am so appreciative of the metaphor as the jungle is a dark hole. I too have left many behind and have a sort of survivor guilt and intense sorrow that I am separated from many I love dearly. I know your pain and God has been gracious to supply loving sisters here to speak truth, wrap me in prayer blankets of His love and I cannot begin to share how deeply I have been ministered to here. I only do not want it to distract from other precious sisters who are in desperate need as well. Felicia, Nancy, T.L., Vanessa, Nicole, Aleea…I am praying for us all and want you to be assured Aly, that I was not in any way wounded by you. Quite the opposite. Part of the sorrow I believe we feel must be a mili-fraction of what Jesus feels when he purchased our pardon and offered it free of charge only to see many refuse rescue. To choose addiction over freedom when he is able to deliver. How many will not be with Him in eternity but instead will be forever separated from Him. I can only imagine how that hurts our Saviors heart. So grateful we have a High Priest who can identify with our sorrows. I am also thankful for you Aly because you have taken the time to let me know you can identify with my sorrows as well. Apparently, we are in good company. Love to you.

      • AgainstTheGrain -Vanessa on January 26, 2017 at 2:26 am

        Very well put, Lori –
        Aly – I SO appreciate the questions you ask, as for me they help to bring clarity! I am a question asker myself and like to figure people out (gifting, I think, and partly sociology degree). I so appreciate your heart and consider it a blessing to gleen from your insights and wisdom from experience.

  90. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks so much for expressing more of your feelings here.
    I’ve read a few more of your post replies to other women and I’m wanting to understand your pain and what your dealing with when I you refer to him be untrustworthy?

    I have prayed about this because my heart is heavy toward anyone facing attachment issues/addiction that lead to abusive cycles.
    I hope you can hear that in my writing?

    I think it’s so wise to evaluate a plan and seek help (the best of help) given the situation you are in.
    Here are some of my questions:

    You posted your h is more of a pleaser attachment… has this behavior caused you to not trust him to the level of trust your at?
    Or has he begun more destructive/harming tactics to avoid responsibility?

    Have you ever been asked what you’re needs are? If not, I’m interested in knowing.

    This isn’t a selfish question ~ we all have ‘legitimate needs’ that God uniquely designed for our husbands in marriage.

    You mentioned you’re more ‘avoidant’ you think?
    I wonder if this is true to your past pre marriage or developed overtime by your marriage dynamic?

    Your faith in God does not seem avoidant based on your writings and your ability to connect on the grades of connection and messages we learn early on.., Which makes me curious about an avoidant imprint?

    As you might recall.. goodness I don’t expect you to we have had such wonderful ladies sharing their hearts the past few days..
    But my h is in avoidant addiction recovery (intensively)
    So I hope you can hear my heart filled with understanding and care just based on understanding certain aspects.

    I read your questions your pondering and I so agree with how pivotal they are.
    I wonder about your comment on you not wanting to be in contact with his counselor or not feeling comfortable to ask for that transparency?
    Transparency is key here because it exposes and reveals what can then be dealt with.
    Plus, how are you to learn and grow in intimacy with him?
    Intimacy is knowing him more and deeper emotionally and spiritually .. not sexually.

    You wrote in a previous post:
    “The issue that brings us to couples counselling is his acknowledgment that he is not trustworthy.”
    Ok he can agree he is not a trustworthy person and that creates an unsafe marriage bond let alone environment.
    What lead him to this acknowledgement? His heart or evidence found?
    What is he willing to do to discover why he is not trustworthy?
    Does he value trustworthiness in general?

    I’m curious about your comment and him not being safe;
    Do you think he could learn how to be a safer person to you?

    I’m sorry I asked a lot of questions here;)

  91. Aly on January 25, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Lori,
    Thank you so much for that!
    Writing can be difficult to discern tone but I so appreciate your words of clarity for my heart.
    I’m sensitive to your journey and know you have been so mistreated in your process, but you are so restored and gracious!
    I’m beyond thankful that you see Him! Love to you as well💜

  92. Lori on January 25, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Aly,
    Thank you for your care for each of us here. You are a blessing and your insights paired with your care are so very valuable. I so appreciate how you are willing to share your own story when it serves to help bring clarity, experience, or love to us here. My heart holds you as a dear dear sister in Christ.

    • T.L. on January 26, 2017 at 5:11 am

      Aly, Lori articulates my thoughts so well. Your heart for all of us, your sensitivity and love, and your desire for your past lessons to be useful for the body of Christ is just beautiful. Thank you for your ministry to us.

      • Nancy on January 26, 2017 at 3:28 pm

        Aly, I want to add my voice here. You are indeed ministering to each of us. You are a blessing!

  93. Nancy on January 26, 2017 at 6:44 am

    HI Aly. Gosh your care is so evident in the thoughtful questions you ask and the time you are taking with your posts.

    I’ll try to answer each one.

    His untistwothiness is solely based in him lying ( or avoiding the truth, misleading, half truths). John Townsend says the degree to which you can trust someone is the degree to which they care about their effect on you.

    The other day he confessed – after we had an entire conversation about logistics – that he had mislead me. Nothing “big” but omitted to say, “oh ya, I already thought about that and had considered it.” In his silence I planned this whole thing , meanwhile, he stayed silent. I hope this makes sense. He confessed- I would have had no idea one way or the other. His omissions/ lying are usually about taking the easy way out or peace-faking. He is extremely do-dependant ( extreme pleaser) grew up with a disabled mother, was the main care giver of her ( even though had other sibs) a father who beat ONLY him. His motive is to placate, please, have peace, to avoid, avoid, avoid. He is only beginning to recognize how much he values external peace over truth. He is embarrassed about it. And yes he values trustworthiness and truth telling but I doubt he realizes how difficult it will be to root out,

    When I confront things can go south quickly. He gets extremely defensive and will turn it on ( blame shifting) me if Indon’t leave ( this is why I don’t feel safe confronting him. But according to Leslie’s book this is more of a Sanity issue than a safety one- because he can’t hear gentle truth). It usually takes time, but will take responsibility within a half a day, or do. (used to punish with silence now goes to the Lord when he’s in pain and even though we might not agree there is no tension the way there used to be).

    So maybe he’s a pleaser as well as an avoider

    My “avoider” is new ( because I often don’t use my voice, I just leave. but this is maybe more to protect myself). Maybe I’m a vacillate, not sure. Need to study these.

    I realized the hesitation in asking for transparency is from Satan ( thanks to T.L) I need to be bold here. It’s over identifying with one of my h’s thought patterns that everything needs to be ‘fair’

    If he can learn to tell the truth and hear the truth and care more about his effect on me, then yes he would learn to be trustworthy.

    You asked me great questions about me. They will take time to think on. I have to go now, but will write later.

    Thanks again.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      Sorry, I just saw this.

      • Nancy on January 27, 2017 at 3:58 am

        Thanks Leslie 🙂

        Aly, please don’t feel you have to take any more time. We’ve covered so much ground in the last couple of days, and reading all the posts, I feel I have a good sense of what I need to do on Monday (couples counselling).

        I look forward to one day meeting each sister I’ve encountered here, in this amazing community.

  94. Nancy on January 26, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Aly,

    I put in the wrong email on the last post it’s awaiting moderation.

    His untrustworthiness is two fold:

    I cannot trust him with my vulnerability ( John ?Townsend- the extent to which you can trust someone is the extent to which they care about their effect on you)

    I cannot trust him in ANY conversation- no matter how benign ( as you’ll see in an example in my other post that’s awaiting moderation) because he operates in co dependence which means he is constantly reading me and telling me what he thinks I want to hear as opposed to how he feels. He has very little centre. Up until the last year or so, there was no husband in our relationship, it was me talking to me if that makes any sense. I told my counsellor that it’s like a codependent house of mirrors in our home ( because I obviously have those tendencies too).

    Now that he is being made new in Christ I see that changing. But it’s deeply rooted indeed.

  95. Aly on January 26, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Oh my goodness Nancy thank you for your words here!

    (Ok so I’m unclear about the moderation term via our posts.., so maybe that has happened to some of my responses too.)
    I’m sorry if any of you have not received a response, you all are so kind to let me write my journey and I’m thankful for your sensitivities and compassion in this circle of beautiful warriors!

    Yes Nancy!
    I see you and can understand and have experienced some of my own and h behaviors that come from a little ‘center’ and or ‘undiscovered self’.

    John Townsend is so great on nailing the trust factors that one person struggles to identify and or at best desires to develop.
    Which would go back to developing insight and someone with ‘little core’ has little insight to steer the ship or navigate toward safety and let’s say healthy ‘agency’ in the marriage.

    Developing insight for some requires pain!
    Some are so walled in ‘protecting pain or feeling pain’ (addicted to something or thought belief) that it makes the process a bit grueling at times but that’s why supportive loving women who ‘get you’ are so so critical.

    When one has little regard or insight for how their effect is on another,
    It compounds the road of growth. But doesn’t Leave us hopeless entirely.
    You can probably guess why I needed a team of seals to reinforce what was difficult for my h to value my voice alone or perspective. He needed the consistent voice of many playing the same song to develop the character that was necessary for my safety.

    I heard your heart from a previous post that your uncomfortable making requirements for your h because it makes you feel authoritative toward him.
    I feel requirements for me to identity and lay out were part of my growth in being assertive where I certainly needed to be.
    They were not harsh, they were reasonable given the dismissive behavior and the danger that the dismissiveness and or peace keeping can cause~ ok back to family of origin cycles.
    For us, the dismissive attitude to the legitimate needs of myself …was modeling ‘I don’t value you, wife’
    What would this teach my children indirectly or covertly?
    What do you don’t value, you can’t honor or respect.
    Would my children see that they are made in the image of Christ and that is valuable? Would they develop honoring God and valuing God?
    Sorry I digress… but these were the questions that ‘motivated me’ to find my reasonable requirements for healing.

    You mentioned the leaving and cleaving at one point…which is so necessary for us all that move toward a union like this.
    But when one marries one that has not learned ‘how to cleave’ (Healthy bonding of self development) … it’s hard to leave what’s not been cleaved! Hope that makes sense☺️

    Requirements certainly can sound like an authority type of word. But we all live by and through requirements daily.
    It’s part of life in our home of being individually responsible for our behavior and interaction.

    God says to love Him with all my mind, heart, strength and soul.
    To be in action of this a few things are required daily for my own good and nourishment.
    When we read (digest) His word for our hearts we discover more about His nature and His truths of our image and value.

    I saw God work amazingly in this area for both my heart and my h.
    My h was quite comfortable passing the banquet table of God’s Word and not eating.
    You can’t eat when your not hungry.

    His counterfeit food of ‘worldly thinking ‘was satisfying and it was reinforcing all those beliefs he formed about right/wrong etc as a child.
    They were more assumptions made to truths in his mind.
    And thus we respond in behavior to these patterns. His view of God and the Character of God was not the God of the Bible…at that time…

    I’m not sure if any of this is making sense ~ I just want to give a picture of what I WAS in a house of mirrors as you referenced. And give any hope to health.
    Although in my house when I would reflect back a truth or an image that countered/contradicted what my h had put in a box and ‘sealed’ in his mind…
    look out~ because holding a mirror up when their identity is not in the true Christ (insecurities implode)

    Back to requirements..
    I feel requirements are ‘not power terms’ so to speak…
    Anyone can not do what they choose not to, right?
    But I’m not naive enough to think that those with deep intimacy and insecurities will misuse healthy terms to bend to their comfort mainly to avoid pain. It’s painful to look at our broken state as humans with God. Thankfully He swoops us up!

    Does God require us to receive Christ in relationship and acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior of our fallen state .. in order to be reconciled back to Him?
    Meaning I have to participate ~
    This doesn’t mean I’m earning ‘a right relationship’ with the Lord? No
    It means I recognize who I belong too (God) and I was ransomed.

    The reason I write this out given your dynamic, mine as well (although different in ways) and the measures you are making to get your h attention is that discovering and developing what being a Child of God is a process.
    In that process of growth, our behaviors and attitudes continue to reveal our beliefs about that.

    God created us for relationship it’s His design. Anyone can have a love affair with God alone and isolate themselves in the world.
    But God says we are the Body of Christ, relationship with Him is essential but also with others.
    You know all of this but so many misquided (good hearted intended people) have a belief that ‘all you need is God’
    Very dogmatic beliefs that sound spiritual and bring a sense of faith, But is that what God says?
    No, why create eve?

    Marriage and many relationships tend to expose these inconsistencies, which is a blessing for our OWN Good!
    Not all spouses are willing to ‘feel and deal’ and they lose a treasure that was for their own heart.

    Requirements are loving in the way:
    Love~ can be defined as choosing the highest good for the other person.

    During many years of my process I would hear lots and lots of Christian ‘sound bites’ beliefs that would give me a small relief but not really feed me. I wish I had the ability to ask many ‘tell me what do you mean by that’?
    I had so many older Christian women telling me that I was to just pray and God would heal and that I didn’t have enough faith in God.
    What they didn’t have for themselves they couldn’t offer.. they really liked the belief that we are so removed from any action or anything uncomfortable in ‘faith’.
    The more I studied God’s word, His people, His promises,… there was participation of His people in the process with His plan and will. It was a journey of itself for me to find healthy women that were safe and supportive and were not tied to Wishful thinking or false Hope.

    Requirements for my situation were necessary and responsible!
    They provided a path and a way to measure and expose.
    Exposure for us was pivotal because the inconsistencies are what revealed what one would say is a ‘priority in theory’ was in reality way down on the list when evaluating action.

    (This doesn’t create a safe trusting relationship especially in marriage)

    My thoughts on requirements were helpful in protecting me and giving my h the best opportunity for insight and a healing process with the Lord.
    Addicts with certain mindsets certainly want the littlest investment with the greatest rewards to feed what is mastering them.

    I’m thankful your on this site and learning about yourself and more of what God’s economy is comprised of.
    Praying for your heart as you navigate💜 and trust in His ways.

  96. Nancy on January 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Re : the comment awaiting moderation ( I still don’t see it posted). The first time an email is entered when posting, the comment goes through a moderator and you get a message at the top of the comment saying “,your post is awaiting moderation”. If the system recognizes your email then you’re comment is automatically posted. Because I accidentally got a letter wrong in my email on my post this morning, the system didn’t recognize and so that comment is awaiting moderation. It will show up as Nancy but my avatar ( The photo of the cross with the Psalm) will not show up because of the incorrect email I wrote in.

    So, your comments really affirmed MY needs. I have consented and participated even in a dismissive attitude towards my needs. And your question about what I need, is a difficult one to answer. That points to my own reluctance to do that work. Tonight Inwill sit with my journal. And yes, we have two daughters and asserting my needs ( first knowing what they are!) is essential.

    Your comment that it’s hard to leave what you haven’t cleaved to makes a lot of sense! We are in a spiritual battle with his mother at the moment and it is going so well!! Setting boundaries, communicating etc…

    In terms of passing the banquet table and not eating because one doesn’t feel hungry. This is one of the signs that tells me his change is genuine. He used to ‘veg out’ in front of mindless battle movies, but no more. He is filling his time reading the Bible, listening to the Bible, ordering books from the Christian book depot, organizing a ‘man in the mirror’ study. He is drinking deeply.

    But you know I have to say that focusing so much on wether his change is genuine or not scares me a bit, because I do gravitate towards analyzing him. I need to find the balance between checking in on his growth but then coming back to ME and my needs ( which I’m not nearly as good at, and it’s frankly easier to point the finger).

    Oh, yes and I also realized through a conversation with T.L. that my reluctance to require anything of my h had to do with me over identifying with one of his faulty thought patterns “everything should be fair”.

    Yes. If all we needed was God then why Eve? Well said.

    So, yes to requirements! Delivered gently and consistently 🙂

    Aly, you mentioned in another post that you wished you had made more decisions of strength and goodwill. Would you elaborate? If your finger isn’t about to fall off!

    Thanking The Lord for you, sister 🙂

    • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      I’ll go right into it…
      You wrote:
      “you mentioned in another post that you wished you had made more decisions of strength and goodwill. Would you elaborate? If your finger isn’t about to fall off!”

      Ok, so by strength I mean standing loving & firm with what I needed to repair where trust was broken….h wasn’t going to derail on bad defensive thinking patterns that he had ingrained at a hair trigger. ‘everything is good’ stop paying attention to the smell of smoke in the house.

      By strength I mean expressing to him this is how I am receiving you…
      This is how your response to me is impacting me.
      (Back then he had such little insight for that)

      I’ve mentioned before my h was highly defended and loyal to his thought patterns! Scary~
      Because they ultimately harmed him the most when he could have learned how to respond or find another solution.

      So his coping patterns of not feeling, meant I shouldn’t feel either. Not healthy, nor not true.
      And very controlling. Yikes!

      My strength in knowing what I knew to be true and valuable in just basic respect and partnership were valid.
      I wasn’t going to let his disease of thinking (not feeling) continue to undermine my existing in the relationship nor be given to our children..

      I decided to be firm with what I knew to be true.. gather evidence and stand in loving goodwill ..
      Even against my own ‘doubting feelings’ so to speak.
      Feelings are important but they shouldn’t be sole decision makers.
      That’s why clarity comes in handy to give strength.

      So to summarize:
      I started acting in strength and truth… not in feeling or wishing etc.

      I had way too much compassion for him at times and left little to myself.. hmm wonder where I learned that?
      Ok working through my part.

      Many years ago it was hard for me to see that I would have rated the relationship very low, while he would have rated it very high.
      Of course he would.. little work and all the benefits of a responsible trustworthy partner!

      I wish I had ‘had’ a better understanding on goodwill for my own heart and ultimately his.
      I believed in his goodwill over his behavior! Boy is this a lie given the control dynamic we were in.

      His behavior and responses to me were signs that he is bonded to something??

      I found myself compromising on things i or h could not emotionally afford! Meaning I tolerated his minimal effort in dealing with the problem.
      Lying to myself & yes..
      wishful thinking. Kept the dance going.

      For my sanity, I did have to start analyzing, pondering and getting curious about what was a cycle and dynamic that was oozing into our home.
      He couldn’t ‘then’ stand my perseverance on this, i mean at his level of maturity he wanted to act and choose what he wanted when he wanted and not care how that can impact is wife or children!
      Hmm sounds like a belief pattern..
      Fast fwd ..
      the main culprit amongst others was (convenience)

      Many people sign up to a convenient ‘marriage’
      They are the best people in the world as long as the moon and stars line up and they are available to be present! Ask them when it’s inconvenient and it doesn’t fit their boxes… again it’s all about priorities!
      This isn’t realistic in any relationship to have such expectations.
      Most definitely parenting..
      So we visit the family of origin train yet again…
      Convenience was ingrained as a way of life… independent people all doing independent things on their own timeline. Labeled family.
      Completely disconnected home and such self sufficient modeling that to have a need would mean you failed.
      Bigger issue.. no need for God!
      But would never miss a Sunday service.

      I truly wish I had better coping skills then to understand tantrums and manipulation…
      and that the person manipulating sees nothing wrong with taking advantage of someone who is trying to reason with them!
      Why do I believe they do this: Fear & control.

      Hopefully this clarifies.., I wish I had a ghost writer, or proofer I’m sure it could be condensed;)

      • Nancy on January 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm

        Hi Aly,

        Your practical ideas are priceless – seriously….just this one:

        Acting in strength and truth vs. feelings and wishing.
        This one alone probably already saved me hundreds in therapy! Lol.

        I’m going to ‘take a page out of Lori’s book’ and copy and paste these gems (so many) into a document for when I’m feeling confused and unsure 🙂

      • Leslie Vernick on January 26, 2017 at 8:27 pm

        I think you did a great job.

  97. Aly on January 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you all so much for your kindness to me.
    I’ve have past wounds by hearing many dismissive people disregard my heart and my journey. Similar to a house of cardboard cutouts but with weapons!
    ~ I so appreciate your words and an opportunity to grow along such amazing God loving and revearing women!

    • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      I should have wrote
      ‘Life size Cardboard cutout people’ 😜

    • Leslie Vernick on January 26, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      This is a great community.

  98. Scared Rabbit on January 27, 2017 at 7:25 am

    I’ve never blogged before. Hope this works.
    I’m encouraged by all the courageous people posting their very personal lives in such a God honoring way and using their stories to encourage others like me. I’m very scared about what I’m about to do. Here is my story – it sounds a lot like other people’s:

    I am a wife without boundaries and I’ve been married 38 years to a functional alcoholic. I grew up in a dysfunctional family complete with alcoholic parents, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Dysfunctional was my normal and I grew up not knowing God. I learned to keep the peace at any cost. I think I married young just to escape my parents. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband. Part of me still does.

    It turned out H’s idea of marriage and mine collided. We’d planned on having children one day. I’d brought it up one day for us to plan when. I was told it wasn’t happening and H denied our premarital discussion had ever happened and he offered me a divorce. I was devastated. All I heard running through my head was my mother saying “I told you you’d be divorced by your 2nd anniversary.” H gave me an ultimatum if we stayed married I’d have to become sterile. I did the unthinkable. I was too weak to do the right thing. I take responsibility for my choice. It was also the beginning of my spiral into severe depression and suicide attempt which I was able to keep it a secret from him for 20 years. (Good news, God released me from my personal spiral hell) Amen and thank you Jesus!

    I didn’t realize until just this moment my entire marriage has been enmeshed on a foundation of manipulation. I know that’s been the m.o. but the entire time? I just hit my self in the head with a brick of an aha moment!

    I was systematically isolated in every conceivable way and easily manipulated. There are a couple of other horrific events that happened during our marriage that I find difficult to share right now, but here goes . . . H wanted me to prove my love to him by having sex with him on the pool table(we were supposed to be cleaning up, the bar was closed). I kept saying no until he wore me down by saying you don’t love me. After I fulfilled his fantasy he said “I always knew you were a whore”. I shut down emotionally and refused to go out with him for a long time. The next time he talked me into going out with him I limited myself to ONE drink then it was a soda. To this day I don’t remember the ride home and that night are scattered images that make me feel sick. And the next day there was evidence I’d had sex and I had the biggest hangover. I think I was raped. I say that now because I was incapable of giving consent. I feel sick making this public statement for the first time! I’d like to think that if I’d been in a healthier place spiritually and mentally, I don’t think these events would have ever happened. Our relationship has been that of H is parent and I the child.

    However, anyone who meets my husband finds a very friendly, kind, likable and generous man.

    So with everything said so far, technically speaking, there has not been physical abuse.

    I do feel that what I’ve lived thus far has been emotional and financial abuse.

    I was expected to work and care for my home and husband.

    I went to one particular Church for a while and tried to speak with one of the associate pastors about my marriage and how I was feeling and that I was seeking advice about separation. I’d also explained that I’d been attending their marriage matters courses (18 months worth) but was finding it difficult to work on my marriage when my husband refused to attend. Though I did learn a lot about what a healthier marriage looked like and how I needed to work on me to be a better person and wife. In the end and to paraphrase the pastor he said God hates divorce and I needed to try harder. Believing the pastor I continued with the courses. I realize now he was an imperfect person (a human just like me) giving bad advice. (I no longer attend this Church.)

    Along my life journey I found a loving relationship with Jesus and in the process He’s set me free from a lot of my hurts. And I learned to pray for my husband.

    I’d always thought that if H would quit drinking life would be a lot simpler and we’d grow closer together. God works in mysterious ways!

    Eventually he did quit. It took a brush with the law for it to happen. Now H is a dry drunk in my opinion. And through all that he walked away with little accountability.

    I’ve spoken to H about how the things he says and does hurt me and I’ve asked him to get help. He’s refused to get help, but promises to treat me better and goes on to admit he’s not treated me well and how lucky he feels that I’ve stuck with him. Then slowly we go back to the way things were before . . .

    I’ve come a long way from the person I was before thanks to a great Christian counselor and my Savior.

    Two years ago I thought I was ready for a therapeutic separation. I even had a consultation with a lawyer. I took all the steps, got a post office box, made financial arrangements, stashed clothes at a safe location and arranged short term housing until I could get a place of my own. I don’t know if H sensed something, if he found and read my journal or what happened? The morning of my planned escape a strange vehicle pulled in the driveway and someone got out carrying an arrangement of flowers! I told H they must have the wrong address! The woman at the door said my name and I replied that’s me. I was stunned and had no clue who they were from. H said, who are they from? Read the card. Well, duh, they were from H! First time ever that he’s bought me flowers. He said he wanted to do something special for me to show how much he loves me. Well it worked and my plans evaporated. It probably goes without saying, they were the last he’s bought me.

    Over the past two years H began going to Church on and off and I continue to pray for him. It’s not been all roses and I still haven’t set boundaries, but it feels like an unstable honeymoon of sorts. I try to not rock the boat and half the time walk on eggshells and not because he’s done anything, more from habit. He’s been doing a lot better at avoiding emotional abuse.

    H hasn’t been to Church now since Christmas and I’ve had this recent feelings that I’m in God’s way. That He cannot work on H. I don’t know if that’s the evil one trying to upset the apple cart or a God nudge.. I’ve been praying like crazy for clarification but I’m not hearing an answer.

    I’m torn because I don’t know what to do. I feel this premonition that things will get worse. But as things are in this exact moment I can live with H. BUT I do want to implement healthy boundaries!

    I know my heavenly Father loves me and that I’m a work in progress.

    I try not to worry about H. And just from the little he’s shared with me about his childhood, I can only think that he too is a broken child. I raise him up in prayer. And that Jesus keep him safe. I think H is in a vulnerable mental state. He hasn’t specifically said anything, but I have this gut feeling. Pray for him please. The other day he wanted me to make a call on his behalf and was getting mad at me when I was having trouble conveying the information to the person on the other end of the line and I found myself miss speaking and getting tongue tied and nervous where I snapped at him and held the phone to him and said here you want to do it causing him to go crying to his room. That is totally out of character for H. I went to him after I finished his call and apologized for snapping that I was having an issue getting my brain to cooperate with my mouth and he was making me nervous. He said ok, but it was another half hour before he came out and we never spoke of it again. That’s only the second time I can ever remember snapping at him. The last time (years ago) he just walked away and shut me out for a week or so.

    June of last year H was acting different and I came right out and asked him if something was bothering him. It took him a while (weeks, he wouldn’t speak and I’d even asked if he felt like physically harming himself – he said no) to tell me but he confessed that he was horribly unhappy and he was afraid to tell me because he didn’t want to upset me. He was unhappy with where we were living and wanted to move back to where we just moved from just seven months before. I guess he knew I really loved our new home. It kind of hurt me to think he felt he couldn’t talk to me about it. I told him he was more important to me than our geographic location. I told him I support him to move back. And we did move back. I’m now beginning to wonder if this is a new ploy to get his way? Or if he’s truly ill and needs professional help? I wonder if he’s seeing a stronger woman emerging and growing and feeling like he’s losing control of her (me)? As I’m writing, this idea just popped into my head.

    I pray some day he gets the courage to do counseling. I’d thought about couples counseling but I don’t think that would work yet. I don’t trust him. I’ve put myself out there shared things about myself only to find him using it as a weapon against me later and I’m not making that mistake again.

    Thank you to all who read my post and I pray that my story helps someone.

    Trying to find my inner Brave Rabbit 😀

    P.S. I just read what I wrote and I’m thinking if this woman was a friend of mine, I’d have one question for her, “Why are you still with him?” I’m shaking!

    • Nancy on January 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Welcome Brave Rabbit.

      I think you are awfully brave for sharing your story. Especially after so many years of abuse- my heart aches for all that you have been through 🙁

      To live what you have and then be told by a pastor that the solution was to ‘try harder’…is heaping harm on top of harm!

      Rabbit, you’ve come to the right place. I have found such comfort and support here that has enabled me to take little steps in building my CORE.

      Do you know Leslie’s books?mHer book the emotionally destructive marriage is fantastic. You could YouTube CORE Leslie Vernick and you’ll get an idea.

      Have you watched any Patrick Doyle videos? He also brings a ton of clarity on issues such as forgiveness, reconciliation etc…

      My heart goes out to you Rabbit. I thank God that He saved you from the pit and pray that you feel His deep, deep love for you. I don’t know your name but that doesn’t matter. He does. It was etched on His palms since the beginning of time.

      • Brave Rabbit on January 27, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        Nancy
        Thank you for your love and encouragement. My eyes are welling seeing this outpouring of comfort and support from all! I’ve only been on this site less than a week. Learning a lot. I’ve planned to purchase Leslie’s book on February 1st. I will be checking out Doyle’s videos.
        Brave Rabbit (working on positive self image) 😊

      • ruth on February 4, 2017 at 1:50 pm

        Dear Brave Rabbit,

        I don’t have a computer. And my smartphone has crashed, so I had to come to the library today. I mainly came to write a painful online journal entry about yet another jerky episode with my H. Then I logged on her to catch up on reading.
        I hadn’t read your story Dear Brave Rabbit. This is going to sound flakey but in my spirit it’s God’s timing. A young librarian had to bring her baby to work with her today. The sweet baby is about 5 months old and she’s goo and gooing. The innocent, precious sounds of that baby are soothing to my hurting heart after my hurtful morning. Then I read your painful post. And OH, how sad I was when I read that your H said you could never have children. Then I read all the other terrible things you’ve gone through – and you’re still concerned for HIM. You are a precious soul.
        I am so sorry for your painful childhood.
        I am so sorry that your husband has been cruel to you sexually and I’m going to guess he never really owned up to the depth of the trepass of that sin. You probably just kinda had to brush that under the rug. And that’s WRONG!! You should be outraged. Well, I;’m outraged for you. I am heartbroken for you.
        I am so sorry your pastoral leadership never validated your pain.
        Maybe you just don’t have the energy to be outraged and I get that. I have a chronic illness that I take a lot of medicine for and 3 kids to care for so I know what it’s like just compartmentalize things and move on..

        • ruth on February 4, 2017 at 2:06 pm

          Brave Rabbit,
          I meant to type – “I logged on HERE not Her”

          And my library computer time shut off before I could finish that post so here’s the rest of what I wanted to say:

          … the main reason I mentioned hearing the baby’s coos was that I believe there will be babies in heaven. Ladies like you be cuddling them.

          I am sorry your h stole away the babies you wanted to mother.

    • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Scared/Brave Rabbit,

      I think Nancy is awesome to call you by your true name; just like god called Abram: Abraham, Father of Many Nations, before he’d had a child.

      Soak in what Nancy and Aly spoke into your life in their messages. When you are in the swirling crazy, you cannot see clearly. You are desensitized; you have accommodated yourself to what you are not meant for! When we are in the dysfunction, one of our greatest needs is to have others look in from the outside and validate: yes. It’s bad. It’s actually much worse than you think! Because you have steeped in it for too long and you don’t see how bad it really is.

      So good to write about our experiences, because to do so, we have to take a step back to get a bit of perspective. That is such a helpful thing to do: back up…remove yourself from the situation, so you can clear your head and listen to the Holy Spirit. Is there somewhere you can go for awhile? Can you go away on a retreat? Or go stay with a friend or relative? That is one of the things that the Lord used to begin to help me out of the dysfunction and move toward health. You don’t need to say you are separating. Just that you need some time away, by yourself, to get alone with the Lord. Can you do that?

      You need to first take care of you, and get you healthier and on the right track. A little voice will tell you that you are being selfish; don’t listen. It’s a lie. Think of when you are on an airplane flight, and you are instructed to first put on your own oxygen mask, before you help someone else. You are your first responsibility before God. And your husband is responsible for himself.

      It’s fine to pray he gets some counseling, but that is not under your control nor is it your responsibility. Once you have prayed about it, leave it with God and attend to your own relationship with Him and your own need for health, for healing. You, Brave Rabbit, have been used, abused, and treated very badly. Your Father’s heart is grieved. He wants you to detach from he abuser and draw near to the Healer.

      Release your husband to God, and let Him begin His work in His life. Only He can affect change in your husband’s heart. We all pray your husband will allow Him to do a work of grace there. But none of us know if your husband will cooperate with God’s kind intentions.

      I’m suddenly reminded of Jesus’s words to Peter in the final chapter of the book of John. Jesus, after the resurrection, is speaking with peter, restoring Him to service after his betrayal.
      He tells Peter some unpleasant things that lie ahead of him. Peter turns around and looks at John and says, “What about him?” And Jesus responds, (paraphrasing here!) “He is not your concern. You follow Me!”

      Many of us have allowed our husbands to enmesh us in idolatry of them as husbands/leaders. Christ is our leader. If we are married to husbands who are not following Christ (in their lifestyles, not their words) then we must follow Christ. To walk with Him will mean, at some point, parting with a husband who habitually chooses to go in a different direction.

      This does not mean a single one of us wants a divorce. No! We want a Christian marriage! We are willing to fight for one, to conform our lives to Christ and follow His ways. (Not perfectly! We will stumble and sin! When we do, we will repent and ask for forgiveness. Does this characterize your husband?)

      Please, Brave Rabbit, gather wise women of God around you. Tell them your story. Find counselor that understands abusive relationships. Google Leslie’s videos and listen. Especially listen to the one on destructive marriages by Leslie and Chris Moles. Listen to Patrick Doyle videos. Read Leslie’s blog and keep reading through the comments from all of your sisters. We embrace you with the love of Christ. Always remember that He is FOR you. He is for the oppressed and against the oppressor.

      Courage, dear sister. Walk strong.

      • Brave Rabbit on January 28, 2017 at 12:08 am

        T.L.
        Yes, I’ve never thought of myself as being desensitized wow!

        In my immediate circle I’ve only one person I can count on and she is an amazing woman. Thinking . . . We’ll come up with something.

        I truly have no friends, I sound pitiful. I do believe God is working right now to line me up with some strong women warriors! He is providing.

        I do feel a need to return to my Christian counseling. Will work on that.

        “What about him?” I can see that. Keeping to the path I’ve been following, I’m hindering. I need to follow the path Jesus is blazing for me.

        Sadly we’re both full of pride. I’ve been so bent on not asking for help. It’s an amazing feeling that when I set aside my pride and was given the gift of this community of awesome women. With all this support, it looks like a lot of fine folks to lift me up.

  99. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Hi Nancy,

    I don’t feel that way at all!
    I hope you hear my compassion for walking into the same traps of confusion and mental games these are.
    I’m assuming you have had or are getting your own counseling as you are seeing the patterns.

    My fear is being a fire hose to you.. so maybe you can take pieces and parts when your ready and read my journey based on your timing and digestion.
    For me…
    I was in need of anything and anyone who could see what I was swirling with~ even though I was consistently studying Gods word.., He continued to give me what I needed and my h needed but it was only a matter of time when the weed root would shift the ground?? Pop .. still there!

    I have more to respond to your previous post and I’m so sorry for what you have discovered 😢(especially you h’s imprint) as you press into connecting and desiring a healthy mutual marriage relationship with him. His imprint is being projected on to you and he is creating the unsafety of little trust in the marriage reflecting the same he probably experienced growing up. This does not make his behavior acceptable because maybe we can have compassion for it. Let’s have compassion for him taking the journey out of it! That is compassionate love. Get ready for the possibility of Mount Everest, I hope not but you won’t be alone.. and God will equip you!!
    Part of depersonalizing my painful parts was sharing my journey and having such similar stories of the same. This helped me detach healthier and gave me the strength I needed to trust God with the ultimate outcome. But I wanted to climb out eventually I was carrried out …because regardless
    the trek still had to be taken.. I wasn’t sure if we both would make it and I depended on God’s will to be the one to ultimately decide. But I had a role and I also had a poorly modeling role to do away with.

    I can SO relate to your experiences can I say to a TEE.
    Well equipped counselors are invaluable given your situation and dynamic.
    I’ll explain later why many years us having the same counselor working individual and couples was necessary given my h’s wired in beliefs.

    We tried it separately for a year + many many sessions, with a blessing his counselor ~ lovinging and wise, redirected to couples counsel and gave a harsh but compassionate warning of foolishly prideful thinking to him. Then gave the boot! I was there …it was a gracious gift. God was still at work and carrying me.

    I hope your encouraged and your not alone in this!
    Praying for you Nancy 💕

    • Nancy on January 27, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Aly,

      God is so good, Aly. My prayer for this year is that I would be washed anew, abundantly filled with His Spirit and most of all come to a deep awareness of His Love for me.

      I see evidence of an awareness of His care and love in you as well as a number of sisters here. Thank you all.

      Yes, I am getting counselling but sporadically, and now He’s calling me to invest in more. I’m realizing this journey is going to cost us: Time, money, energy. As a plan is developed resources will need to be discussed. One.Step.At.A.Time.

      As far as the fire hose analogy, I’m digesting as I can and shelving the rest for later – please don’t worry about that.

      I phoned a sister this morning whose been through this and she gave me

      2 Cor10:3-5 For although we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish every argument and pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

      I will be reaching out to sisters to ask for prayer and ‘real time’ Spiritual fellowship during this time. And in the wee hours of the morning when the enemy is prowling around looking for someone to devour, I have this site and the Spiritual fellowship and wisdom each woman had imparted here 🙂

      oh Aly, “let’s have compassion for him taking the journey out of it!” that is PRECIOUS.

      As far as the counsellors go, I’m stepping intentionally, slowly and waiting on God. It will be critical to hear from Him on this. I’m cautious, but Hopeful that He Will provide. After Monday, I’ll process and then see where His next step leads. I’d like to know about how you proceeded – maybe once Monday is behind us.

      Someone wrote that Leslie had said that we take 5 years to heal for every 10 of abuse? Is that right? It hit me like a ton of bricks why I am so tired all the time (doctor says all is well physical). It’s because I’m healing! And that takes energy! And before that I was being emotionally beat up and I didn’t even know it. This will help me to be less hard on myself – having to be productive.

      Yes Aly, I have been very encouraged! I am so much clearer about my limits and needs through all this dialogue, as well as some of my own tendencies:

      I frankly don’t want to lead, I don’t want to be the stronger one, I don’t want to do my OWN work ( it’s more comfortable analyzing him!), I want to REST and not be at war ( at least now I know who I’m battling).

      BUT healthy people live in REALITY not in what they WISH ( or don’t wish) things were like!

      • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

        Hi Nancy,

        It was I that said that Leslie said that. It was either Leslie in one of her videos about Destructive Marriages (Sanity, Safety, etc.) or it could have been Chris Moles in one of the videos he and Leslie did together on destructive marriages. It was said that for every 10 years that a woman lives with abuse, it takes 4 1/2-5 years to heal. (It’s in my notes I took on the videos.)

        I think one thing that is so important for us to remember: the Lord wants us to be strong in HIS might. This is His battle, and He is the Victor. He came to set captives free. (Us and our spouses–but He forces no one.) And He wants to give us rest in Him. He wants to bind up our wounds. He wants to carry our sorrows. He wants us to be as kind and compassionate to ourselves as we would be to another woman we would be counseling in in our situation. What would you say to her? “Oh, my dear, you need to heal from these gaping wounds. Let me wrap you in this blanket and hold you and give you rest. Don’t you worry about what is to come. You are in the ICU. Let us gather round and help you heal. That’s your job right now.”

        Nancy, I’m “rejoicing with the truth” as you walk the path being marked out before you. Love the 2 Cor 10:3-5 Scripture. Amen.

        • Nancy on January 28, 2017 at 7:27 am

          Thank you, T.L., for the distinction of Whose battle this is.

          That I would be strong in His might. And equally important is that He wants me to be kind and compassionate to myself. That my job is healing. Those are VERY important realities that set straight the seeming contradiction of battling at the same time as healing.

          The strength and wisdom of The Lord is evident in your writings T.L. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts 🙂

  100. T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Thanks, Aleea. Nice to hear from you.:)

  101. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Scared Rabbit,
    Nancy;)

    Nancy, you are spot on!
    Scared Rabbit,
    Everything Nancy wrote is so true.
    Your scared now and that’s so understandable, I would be too.
    But you can make choices each day to gain your strength back.
    You will get through this, read the ladies journeys and their hope!

    You wrote about you h sensing you getting stronger and pulling way from the dysfunction and he could tell and did what most do… go where they know you are starving and what has worked in the past. It feels so good but lasts for such a short time~ I can relate.

    Do you have healthy loving women relationships in your life who know what’s taking place here?

    You have a community of women here that can help with comforting your heart as you bravely look at your reality.

    Christian Counseling is essential here because he is ‘seducing you back’ into the ‘cycle of mistreatment’ and or abusive patterns/ behaviors.

    This isn’t your fault in terms of why you feel so confused and scared you are in a very broken relationship and you both need outside interventions to be safe and hopefully to heal and if God’s will to rebuild.

    Your h doesn’t know the first thing about cherishing his bride given just small parts of your story.

    My heart aches for you and I hope you feel some comfort by sharing your experiences.
    God Sees you!! Your not alone💖

    • Brave Rabbit on January 28, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Aly
      Just one woman friend right now. I’ve allowed myself to be extremely isolated.

      Thank you and I accept the comfort being so selflessly offered. This is something my heart has been craving. I have felt so cut off like a starving person. I’ve been devouring the words of wisdom and compassion.

      You are very right about my need for healing. I have so much infection to purge.

      I can feel this huge warm hug pouring into me. I want to bask in this feeling!

      Thank you everyone. I have hope. God bless you all!
      🌞

  102. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    T.L.

    This is so well articulated!
    This is such another big part of the epidemic!

    “Many of us have allowed our husbands to enmesh us in idolatry of them as husbands/leaders. Christ is our leader. If we are married to husbands who are not following Christ”

    This is my family of origin but it was masked for many decades.. I confronted what was going on when my mom was so proud of her ‘enduring faith’, which all it did was atrophy and ended up conforming to the one unwilling to repent ~ Christ did not have any authority in his heart.
    I am separated from them because they believe in exactly what you wrote and claim it is the essence of Christianity! Such a twisted lie formed from deep denial. It has caused such distortion of biblical truths ~
    They are addicted to comforts and idols. They are addicted to non growth. It’s sad because it gets to the generations after and after and after.

  103. Brave Rabbit on January 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I wrote replies and I see a heading that says, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” How long does it take to show up for all to see it? Am I doing something wrong? It’s been over 12 hours ago. Curious to know.

    Here’s the best part of my day today . . .

    I was doing my usual devotions and bible reading this morning and it was so amazing my studies had the Holy Spirit speaking through the text directly into my heart and reaffirming the things you wonderful women shared!

    It never ceases to blow my mind when I feel this personal private time when I can feel the presence of God. The teachings were about when Joseph was in prison. A zillion things went through my head and what stood out most was for me to keep my focus on God and while I do that, to trust Him work things out behind the scenes. That all of my mess will work out for the greater good. It’s hard to articulate the great joy in my heart right now.

    XO blessing to all 😀

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Brave Rabbit, You should be approved. Yes sometimes it takes a bit because I am the only one moderating these blog posts.

      • Brave Rabbit on January 29, 2017 at 12:25 am

        Thank you Leslie. And thank you for hosting this site. I hope to meet you one day. Your ministry inspires, encourages and rescues folks like me.

        XO Blessings to you 🌞

        • Leslie Vernick on January 29, 2017 at 12:30 am

          Thanks you Brave Rabbit. I hope we can meet one day.

  104. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Brave Rabbit,
    Many of us know and can relate to what you have been experiencing.
    We are here to love and hug you;)
    Take ALL the time you need to be encouraged, uplifted and genuinely seen!
    We see you;)
    It will take time to heal and gain strength but know without a doubt your not alone.
    I have such compassion for what you are going through.

  105. Aly on January 30, 2017 at 9:01 am

    T.L & Aleea

    Aleea, your SiGNIFiCAnT to me!! 💖
    Regardless if I agree on all your positions. There are several I happen not to. I believe it’s possible to have empathy and compassion for someone and not have it be dependent on weather I agree. Of course I did a horrible job of executing that with James.. I’m working on that. I don’t enjoy double standard abusive thinking patterns that threaten sound clarity when one is getting stronger emotionally and mentally & of course spiritually.

    I agree T.L with your response to Aleea in many ways especially to James.. let’s face it .. these issues of how we see God and how we interpret God are very very spiritual indeed.

    Aleea,
    I would like to know what being on the wrong side of God means to you?

    I know of only one unforgivable sin.

    • Aleea on January 30, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Hello Aly,

      Wow, there are so many posts now that I have lost control especially on a handheld device. I don’t know what has been posted where and I am sure I am reading some of the posts out of sequence.

      “Aleea, your SiGNIFiCAnT to me!!” . . . . .Thank you Aly. I appreciate that very much and I very much appreciate you. I love how you go for healing and connection and don’t try to threaten or “win” but instead just love. I wish I could learn to do that because it is really beautiful. Especially when so many of these “issues” probably aren’t even the issues. They could easily be numbing devices and defense mechanisms.

      “Regardless if I agree on all your positions. There are several I happen not to.” . . . .Excellent that you don’t agree with me. That is very good!!! I love it when people think independently. In a world where critical thinking skills are almost wholly absent, repetition effectively leapfrogs the cognitive portion of the brain. It helps something get processed as truth when it may not be. We used to call it unsubstantiated buy-in. Belief without evidence. It only works in churches where thinking for one’s self is really discouraged. . . . .Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use our own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with the very hard work of primary source evidence. How can we ever stop the cycle of abuse if people will not deeply think for themselves?

      “I would like to know what being on the wrong side of God means to you? I know of only one unforgivable sin.” . . . . .I don’t total know what that totally means to me Aly because in Matthew, Jesus declares, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” But, in Mark, Jesus says,“Whoever is not against us is for us.” Did Jesus really say both things? Could He really mean both things? How can both be true at once? For me, the search for truth takes me where the evidence leads me, even if, at first, I didn’t want to go there.

      Growing up in the Catholic Church I was taught: If the Holy Communion touched my teeth, it was a mortal sin (mortal sin meaning you went to hell). . . .Now, I know so much more but I am still naive and gullible against all there is to know. Most often, what we don’t know will have a vastly greater bearing on our lives that what we do know. I know for me that what I do not yet know may be way more important than what I already know.

      Aly, I love how so many of the things you say focus the topic back on the psychology of healing from abuse because I think that is always the real issue. I was thinking today about how we need to not seek love externally ―because it is so fleeting. We need to go beyond the ego and awaken the love of God that already exists within. I was praying today: Heavenly Father, teach me how to communicate with love and without being combative. My past is like a rail car full of radioactive ore contaminating the present, I want to just take that to the desert and dump it there. The desert shatters the soul’s arrogance and leaves body and soul crying out in thirst and hunger. In the desert, ―we trust God or just die. I want to be filled with love at my center where I still hold shame from childhood. Truth is the basis of all healing (re: The Desert of the Real). Hate for hate brings only hate. Love for hate brings healing. If I can get in touch with the feelings and stay there long enough without numbing or escaping ―maybe― I can consciously change the awful associations, re-map my heart. . .I was writing all that to my counselor today. ―And I see you and so many others here doing that and it is beautiful and it is more than just ignoring ugliness. It is accepting it with gentleness (―just like my counselor does, if I could only trust her) and that means an opportunity to heal.

  106. Aly on January 30, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Hi T.L.

    I agree with where you are coming from here:
    “If you read my exchange with James you will see that I am not a literalist fundamentalist, and I believe it is a confining, legalistic mindset.”

    Ok so I did look back and evaluate some of the past exchanges, I could be very wrong but I think it was the second to last post of James or last where he made note… to believe in a women getting out of harms way due to sanity or safety.
    Wow! I guess we are seeing something in common agreement here …or are we?

    Sanity would be where my question would lie and how one defines it?
    Does their definition trump my definition so to speak? Are they drawing their conclusions based on a one-demisional scale when it can have a more than one dimension.
    Brings me to the Trinity concept!
    It also brings me to a one-dimensional thought seems to reveal a one-dimensional wound.. just saying.

    Given many of the women making their trek through emotional abusive power situations.

    T.L. I enjoy your critical thinking and your writings;) thank you 🌷

  107. T.L. on January 31, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    We all have presuppositions that we bring into our “search for truth.” Yours are very different than mine. I prefer mine. We all say we are looking for truth, but we mean different things by our words.

    I do find much of what you say very contradictory. I don’t find anything that you say about the Bible troubling. I’m not a literalist fundamentalist. I don’t have everything boxed up neatly. But I do know what I think and believe, and it grows and deepens daily, centered in the heart and life of Christ.

    As I already stated, I agree that it is dangerous to blindly follow authority figures.We are each responsible for our choices before God, and will not be able to hide behind anyone else’s.

    Blessings to you!

    • Aleea on February 6, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Thank you T.L. —and for the blessing. I very much appreciate that!

      “I don’t find anything that you say about the Bible troubling. I’m not a literalist fundamentalist.” . . . .I understand. . . I just think that makes it very hard to keep the meaning in the claims. . . . .I think the arguments people offer for their faith are not the reasons they have faith. Something else seems to be going on, but I don’t know what. The beliefs are important to them for other reasons beyond logic, reason and evidence. That almost never seems the reason they hold their beliefs. . . . More than this, I really have a hard time with why God (who totally knows how weak minded all of us are) leaving totally fallible, sinful, self-motivated humans to deliver an endless plethora of confused and contradictory messages about what God did and did not say. I don’t know, maybe God delivers the message Himself, directly, to each and every one of us, and with such clarity as the most brilliant being in the universe could accomplish. But if that is true would we have all this constant disagreement about every single topic: divorce, remarriage, et.al. I don’t know what we are even talking about at times if we can’t all agree on what that message was. So, maybe it cannot properly be described as knowledge, but rather as possibly a desire that something be true or false, or else it is a naive trust in guesswork. . . . .I just don’t know T.L. Some days it seems like a mess only humans would create. . . . but I don’t know that. I believe and love Jesus but it is all feelings. If that makes me a walking contradiction, so be it. At least I am being as honest as I know how. Chemists all agree on the fundamental facts of chemistry, Christianity not so, at all. —I want God, not someone’s understanding of God. We start with the evidence, and then figure out what the best explanation of it all really is, regardless of where this quest for truth takes us. Christianity may be a battle for control every bit as complex as we see in other dominance hierarchies. At other times, we are in a hall of mirrors, no evidence, no logic, no reason will prevail with cafeteria-style Christianity. . . .Anyways, one thing for sure, when it is functioning in love, it is like the most beautiful thing ever and it provides a way to keep our heart’s clean and our relationships open. And let me tell you, I’m looking at how my own hypocrisy, and/or insecurity may have contributed to my problems. Inability to accept my part is not something I want to be part of. That means I need your prayers, if you have time. —Again, I want God, not someone’s understanding of God.

  108. Aly on January 31, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Aleea
    It’s Aly I’m trying to catch up here;)

    You wrote:
    “Yes, and here is what I most remember: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness (Aleea, it’s always Aleea’s fault ―my mother’s voice of abuse) comprehends it not.”

    Aleea, 😢 I’m sorry I don’t believe it’s ‘always your fault’ and I don’t believe your mother’s message. I’m sorry that you received that wiring, it’s not ok.😢 She was wrong!
    I’m sorry~
    It’s not always Aleea’s fault.

    Questions are very good!
    I love that you ask questions;) questions don’t bother me like they did my mother… she was maybe too busy to stop, ponder and take in reality.. (maybe). I asked a lot of questions as a young child. I investigated Jesus.. He was safe for me;)
    Jesus asked questions not because He didn’t know the answer but because He was offering us the blessing of critical thinking and dimensional thinking of what humans are capable of. He….being that much more infinite💕

    My children ask me ‘lots of questions’ some easy some I can’t answer but I’ll search with them;) and try my best.
    Some questions they want a simple answer when sometimes it’s more dimensional.
    I love when they ask ?’s because they are thinking, reasoning and listening/seeking for God’s truth that they can place in their heart.., it will come in handy during their journey.

    I have a few of your questions you’ve asked in prior posts I’m trying to find them..
    will return;)

  109. Aly on January 31, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    I see you addressed to Nancy, hope it’s ok I ask a question…

    You wrote:
    “I try not go to Bible studies anymore at my church, just prayer services where we pray for people and ourselves. The people around me can’t tolerate the questions and don’t appreciate my journey.”

    This is sad, would you consider going to a different church where you could find a church or study where people would accept your questions?

    Can we talk the book of John for a moment;
    You wrote: but I’m condensing a bit ~ sorry
    (“John’s Gospel is the work of trained minds who wrote serious rhetorical Greek…..but acts 4 says that John and Peter are both illiterate fisherman…”)

    Would you consider that the ‘trained mind’ of rhetorical Greek is that our God ~ God breathed scripture using John for His purpose?

    Would you consider the same of the book of Matthew?

    Matthew, Mark & Luke are the synoptic Gospels for a reason.
    Different authors for different audiences.. for one purpose.
    Matthew was writing to the Jewish audience
    Difference audiences are going to benefit because Jesus meets us where we are;)

    Jew & Gentile believers 🤗

    Praying for you Aleea;)

    • Aleea on February 1, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Hello Aly,

      . . .Sorry I did not see this until now!

      —And Aly, it is always more than okay to ask anything. . . .I’ll try to answer it.

      “I try not go to Bible studies anymore at my church, just prayer services where we pray for people and ourselves. The people around me can’t tolerate the questions and don’t appreciate my journey. This is sad, would you consider going to a different church where you could find a church or study where people would accept your questions?” . . . . —Yes I would but I think that even the Lord is getting sick of hearing my constant questions. —I fall asleep asking Him questions. . . .Lord, how is it that Luke (who wrote Luke & Acts) has the ascension occur on Easter evening in Luke twenty-four but forty days later in Acts chapter one? —Lord, that shows about as clearly as one could ask that Luke was not even trying keep the facts straight and didn’t expect us (the readers) to think so. —Lord, anyone who can change the story this much is just not interested in getting the facts straight! . . . —And Lord Jesus, what day did you die on and what time of day? Did you die on the day before the Passover meal was eaten, as John explicitly says, or did You die after it was eaten, as Mark explicitly says? —Did You die at noon, as in John, or at 9 a.m., as in Mark? —Lord did you carry your cross the entire way yourself or did Simon of Cyrene carry it?. . . .Lord what did they see in the tomb? Did they see a man, —did they see two men, or did they see an angel? —It depends which Gospel you read. What were they told to tell the disciples? Were the disciples supposed to stay in Jerusalem and see Jesus there or were they to go to Galilee and see Jesus there? —Did the women tell anyone or not? —It depends which Gospel you read. —Did the disciples never leave Jerusalem or did they immediately leave Jerusalem and go to Galilee? —All of these depend on which gospel you read. . . . .If wives got stories this divergent from their husbands, they would think they were not telling them the straight story.

      “Would you consider that the ‘trained mind’ of rhetorical Greek is that our God ~ God breathed scripture using John for His purpose?” . . . .Aly are you suggesting that “John” wrote it with God translating the language he spoke (Aramaic) to Koine Greek forming the letters on his pen because “John” was illiterate? . . . .Yes, that could have happened for all the gospels. . . . .But, Aly, there is an even higher probability, bordering on certainty, that John the son of Zebedee could not write it. He was a fisherman from rural Galilee. Fishermen were not educated. They were very low class peasants. John would never have gone to school. Where he lived, there were no schools. He never would have learned to read. Let alone learned to write. Let alone learned to write in Greek. Let alone learned to write sophisticated, philosophically informed narratives in Koine Greek. I think there is virtually no chance that the historical John of Zebedee wrote the Gospel.

      . . . . Anyways, I love you and that you care*****, that is so, so beautiful.

      “Praying for you Aleea;)” . . . . Thank you so, so much. I so appreciate that your would pray for me!

      *****You see those first and second century Christians reaching out to the most difficult people because Christ’s ministry wasn’t about a bunch of nice people getting together once a week to sing hymns and get a feel good message. It was about caring for and helping the broken hearted, the really difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked and the liars. It was about turning the other cheek when someone hurt them. It was about loving one another and making amends. It was allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless, just e-n-d-l-e-s-s chances. When they did that, they knew, they knew Christ. Until then, they claim we would never know who He really was. He was and is the God that really rescues.

  110. Aly on February 1, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    Thanks for your response and writing out your questions;)
    I will get back to you on above.. I might need some exact scripture references.
    I have some other responses to you from questions you wrote to me on Monday.
    They are only responses, your decision if choose that they are answers.
    By the way,
    I will have some questions for you that relate to significance;) if your willing to consider them and the precious heart that God gave you….
    God is not tired of your questions Aleea~ and yes He does the rescuing! In profound ways;)

  111. Aly on February 1, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Aleea,

    I’m fearful to write at times too, maybe because it’s in writing and there isn’t tone and so much can get misunderstood based on what lense we are looking through and how we write;)

    I’m sorry that you are struggling, I know very little from what you have shared and your questions are relevant especially from where your coming from. I hope you can find a church where your questions can be safe;) I think this is important as we grow in our Christian faith.

    On Monday you wrote:
    “Growing up in the Catholic Church I was taught: If the Holy Communion touched my teeth, it was a mortal sin (mortal sin meaning you went to hell). . . .Now, I know so much more but I am still naive and gullible against all there is to know. Most often, what we don’t know will have a vastly greater bearing on our lives that what we do know. I know for me that what I do not yet know may be way more important than what I already know.”

    You wrote:
    “Now, I know so much more but I am still naive and gullible against all there is to know”

    For me, I think this can be a good thing, I can study the Bible, 24 hours a day for as long as I live and still grasp little of His
    Majesty!
    So i have a lot of rest in that and a lot of adventure in discovering more and more of Him!

    You mentioned above knowing so much more .. how did you go through that process of knowing now?… that your not going to eternal hell because holly communion touching your teeth?

    On Monday you wrote:
    ” I want to be filled with love at my center where I still hold shame from childhood. Truth is the basis of all healing”

    I’m so sorry for the childhood shame your holding~ 😢 I mean this, this is so hard!

    ~Do you think it’s ‘your shame’ or someone else’s that certainly doesn’t belong with you?

    I do believe in the difference between healthy guilt, false guilt.
    Healthy shame and false shame.

    My dear h was so bonded to his false shame and it wasn’t even his to hold~ not something he was aware he was doing for a long long time.

    You mentioned truth being the center of all healing above…
    What truth?
    The truth of Christ’s love;)? Do you mean this?
    I believe God’s love is full of truth and one can’t be existent without the other.
    And that truth and love does heal💗 it sets us free in ways we didn’t know we needed freedom. (At least that’s for me)
    I also believe truth and love lead to signicance and purpose ultimately🌈

    I will post next on your questions about Matthew and Mark and what I have discovered in them.
    Maybe it’s helpful maybe not.

    You’ve mentioned the spiritual abuse you have encountered and I’m so sorry for that experience.
    It’s does anger me personally because… I believe it wounds the ‘soul’ and that soul was designed to worship and trust God for the inner peace that calls you back to Him.
    And yes I agree, it is a re~mapping of the heart and He will do this if you are willing to seek the objective truths you need for your journey.
    You wrote in a different post to T.L.
    “Extraordinary claims require e-x-t-r-aordinary evidence.”
    I agree and I offer ‘you’ what was offered to me.
    Rest and eternal security for your Heart 💜

    • Aleea on February 2, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      “For me, I think this can be a good thing, I can study the Bible, 24 hours a day for as long as I live and still grasp little of His Majesty!” . . . . .Certainly Aly, the very moment God is “figured out” with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. I totally agree.

      “how did you go through that process of knowing now?… that your not going to eternal hell because holy communion touching your teeth?” . . . . .Because I know something of God and I know something of how deeply He loves us. I also found no support for that ridiculous teaching in the Bible.

      “~Do you think it’s ‘your shame’ or someone else’s that certainly doesn’t belong with you? I do believe in the difference between healthy guilt, false guilt. Healthy shame and false shame.” . . . . Hmmm, that’s a good point because my counselor always says that those are my mother’s beliefs and her shame. But, then maybe it wasn’t even hers but my Grandmothers, and so on back in time just passed down?

      “The truth of Christ’s love;)? Do you mean this?”. . . . Yes, that is exactly what I mean.

      “And that truth and love does heal it sets us free in ways we didn’t know we needed” . . . . I know, I often say to myself: Soul, if you want to heal, your heart must forget about shame and/or dignity.

      Aly, imagine if every church became a place where everyone was safe, but no one was too comfortable, where we told one another the utter truth as best we know it, no matter how hard. I don’t know which Bible stories ought to be treated as historically accurate, scientifically provable accounts of facts and which stories are meant to be metaphorical. I don’t know if it really matters so long as those stories transform my life.

  112. Aleea on February 2, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Aly,
    I was just thinking that I so long for church to be safe place to deeply doubt, to ask serious questions, and to deeply tell the truth, even when it’s really uncomfortable: Isn’t it a little suspicious that the only true faith is a version of the one with which I happened to grow up with (re: Christianity)? I want to bring my whole self through the church doors, without leaving my mind, my heart, my questions behind and without wearing a mask. . . .It seems to me that the easy confidence with which I know another person’s religion/ faith (re: Muslim, Hindu) is false ought to teach me to suspect that my own may be also. Beyond special pleading is the self-evident truth that Christian faith is generally not the result of independent thought and convincing proofs but the inheritance of the cradle and the nursery. I’m frustrated and sad to think of all the people who have abandoned Christianity because they felt they had to choose between their faith and their intellectual integrity. I’m heartbroken to think of all the new ideas they could have contributed had someone not told them that new ideas were unwelcome. I mean here on this blog, we want new ideas about marriage and separation and divorce, —good stuff all of it! Of course, we all carry around false fundamentals. We all have unexamined assumptions and lists of rules, both spoken and unspoken, that weigh down our faith. We’ve all got measuring sticks that help us determine who’s “in” and who’s “out,” and we’ve all got truths we don’t want to face because we’re afraid (—me too, no matter how it sounds). I am afraid I can’t withstand too much change too. . . . .Anyways, I’m a Christian because Christianity names and addresses sin. It acknowledges the reality that the evil abuse we observe in the world (—and I experienced in my childhood) is also present within myself at a much greater level than I admit. It tells the truth about the human condition—that we’re not okay. Re:Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed, re:James, the brother of Jesus. At its best, I think the church functions much like a recovery group, a safe place where a bunch of struggling, imperfect people come together to speak really difficult truths, even if some of those truths partially deconstruct God or Jesus or even one another. Sometimes the truth is we have sinned as individuals. Sometimes the truth is we have sinned corporately, as a church. Sometimes the truth is we’re hurting because of another person’s sin and abuse or as a result of forces beyond our control. Sometimes the truth is we’re just hurting, and we’re not even sure why. —For me, it is like attempting to explain the most important, complicated, frustrating, beautiful, doubt-producing, and heart-wrenching relationship of my life without yelling or crying or saying any cuss words. . . .I believe this even applies to the songs sung in worship at church. They need to be honest about where we are as humans —completely incapable, depraved to our core and seekers of ourselves rather than seekers of God. —THAT’S honest! However, in doing so, we would quickly come to the realization that any good in us is because of Christ’s finished work and imputed righteousness alone. That always produces in me a profound sense of gratitude, even when all the doubts flood in. Beautiful and disturbingly honest music that points away from false promises, all this certainty that simply is not there and instead inhabits the place of doubt, disbelief and uncertainty that I find typifies the real lived faith experiences of so, so many. I write because sometimes we are closer to the truth in our vulnerability than in our safe certainties.

  113. Aly on February 2, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Aleea,

    I’m really sad and sorry for you that you were lied to about your eternal security based on what you were taught about holy communion.. as explained above.
    I’m glad to see that you no longer believe that false belief about your salvation.
    Also glad that you did your homework or research to find no supporting evidence of that, although I would like to know how you went about that…. in finding that, to not be true.
    I love that your willing to search out the evidence.
    Ask questions, evaluate and be willing to allow the reasoning and logic to shape a belief.
    I’m not asking you to just ‘accept’ especially trying to understand your heart & what you have been through biblically speaking..and I’m sorry for that…
    I’m offering you what I know to be true and ‘the evidence’ that backs up the Bible as the inherent Word of God.

    I can relate to you in emotional places ‘I hope’
    as it’s hard ‘to believe in something’ that we have incurred injury of and my prayer is that you feel connection and freedom to question what I believe God is putting on your heart as His truth.

    So here are some questions that come to mind as I write you back?
    Do you believe that Jesus is our only savior to secure our eternal salvation?
    Sometimes it’s difficult to trust in Jesus when we have experienced ‘not being saved’ in some pretty grievous moments.

    As important to the question above, do you believe Jesus is God? The prophecied Messiah of the OT of the Bible?

    In John, the beginning chapter explains that the Word ‘the bible’ was God and ..,
    Move to verse 14 of chpt 1… “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

    Aleea, above that verse says grace and truth💜
    You and I have been talking about truth and truth ‘healing’ right?

    You posted some thoughts on John the apostle, writing John,
    Are you thinking or is your speculations that he wrote it during the exact time he was with Jesus and right after he died?
    Just a thought I’m curious…

  114. Aly on February 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Aleea!
    Wow, do I get you;) I mean I don’t think we agree on Theology (maybe) but the emotional aspect… I get where you are coming from! If I could I’d invite you to our church, you might be uncomfortable and challenged.
    It probably doesn’t surprise you that I complain a lot to those ‘over seeing’ the environment of the hospital (the church) that many masks keep coming in.. more masks, more climate of control right…but yet I’m reminded to be compassionate as they are safe with it and certainly are worthy of trust and need connection;)

    I’ve chosen to speak my realities my painful journey and what God has done and guess what some people embrace and some don’t like it.

    And that’s ok;)

    Let’s talk sin..
    regardless if your the sinner or the recipient of someone else’s sin….
    Sin is never solo~

    To be a Christian .. in name it does mean (little Christ) my phone won’t do the lower (c)
    But that in itself means Christ is my savior, my defender, saving me from my sin.
    Justifying me for something I could never earn ever.
    If I say I believe in ‘Christianity’.. I’m saying also I believe in the Trinity (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit)
    3 descriptions/natures … in Holy unity and relationship as One. 💗

    • Aleea on February 3, 2017 at 6:06 am

      Thank you Aly, even if I were just shouting into a void, self-expression is such a healing thing! Thank You.

      “Also glad that you did your homework or research to find no supporting evidence of that, although I would like to know how you went about that…. in finding that, to not be true. I love that your willing to search out the evidence.” . . . . .Just reading books and more books. It is hard to remember them all but ones like: “What Happens in Holy Communion?” “The Holy Communion: Its Philosophy, Theology and Practice” “The Doctrine of the Catholic Church on the Holy Communion” “True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Volume 1”, etc.

      “Do you believe that Jesus is our only savior to secure our eternal salvation? Sometimes it’s difficult to trust in Jesus when we have experienced ‘not being saved’ in some pretty grievous moments.” . . . . . . Yes, certainly I do. But sometimes my point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now maybe dumb enough to take them literally?

      “As important to the question above, do you believe Jesus is God? The prophecied Messiah of the OT of the Bible?” . . . . .Yes, certainly. God wills our liberation, our exodus from Egypt. God wills our reconciliation, our return from exile. God wills our enlightenment, our seeing. God wills our forgiveness, our release from sin and guilt. God wills that we see ourselves as God’s beloved. God wills our resurrection, our passage from death to life. God wills for us food and drink that satisfy our hunger and thirst. God wills, comprehensively, our well-being—not just my well-being as an individual but the well-being of all of us and of the whole of creation. In short, God wills our salvation, our healing. To me, the Christian life is about participating in the salvation of God.

      “You posted some thoughts on John the apostle, writing John, Are you thinking or is your speculations that he wrote it during the exact time he was with Jesus and right after he died?” . . . . .To the best of my current understanding, and you probably know all this, the Gospels cannot really be dated, nor are the real authors known. They circulate anonymously for a very long time and their names were assigned much later by church fathers. You see general consenus that Mark was the first, written between 60 and 70 A.D., Matthew second, between 70 and 80 A.D., Luke (and Acts) third, between 80 and 90 A.D., and John last, between 90 and 100 A.D. But all dates are conjectural and it is supposed that the Gospels did not exist before 58 because neither Paul nor any other epistle writer mentions or quotes them, and this is a reasonable argument as far as things go. On the other hand, Mark is presumed earlier, and the others later, because Mark is simpler (—less embellished), and at least Matthew and Luke appear to borrow material from him. All the Gospels except John contain possible allusions to the destruction of Jerusalem, which was totally destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., and thus it is likely they were all written after that date. My sense, for whatever it is worth, is that most of the eyewitnesses had died before the Gospels were written; those that survived were carrying on their lives in rural Galilee or Jerusalem. —And the Gospel writers, who never say they consulted any of them, probably never did consult with any of them. The Gospels are based on oral traditions that had been in circulation —and changed as a result— for decades before the Gospel writers had even heard them. —And as anyone knows who has been subject to oral traditions —this would include all of us— the stories told about a person can change absolutely overnight! It happens all the time. What happens, then, to stories in circulation for 40 or 50 years, in different countries, told in different languages, among people who never laid an eye on an eyewitness or on anyone else who had? My sense is that the stories got changed, —often a lot. It’s just the way it happens and it can be shown to have happened with the Gospels, since the same story is often told in very different ways. —Every historian I have read will tell you: evidence matters! You do find Jesus calling himself God in the Gospel of John, or the last Gospel. Jesus says things like, “Before Abraham was, I am.” And, “I and the Father are one,” and, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” These are all statements you find only in the Gospel of John, and that’s totally striking because we have earlier gospels and we have the writings of Paul, and in none of them is there any indication that Jesus said such things. It could be that it is completely implausible that Matthew, Mark and Luke would not have mentioned Jesus called himself God if that’s what He was declaring about himself. That would be a rather important point to make! This is not an unusual view amongst Bible scholars; it’s simply the view that the Gospel of John is providing a theological understanding of Jesus that is not what was historically accurate —and I hate that probably as much as you do.

      . . . But Aly, all this does not heal the wounds of the past, it merely reenacts them, for ultimately God becomes very weary of being tested and questioned and ends the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. —And this drama confirms for many who experience it why they cannot put their trust in love (—And yet to heal they must). They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant but that doesn’t work either. That’s not worth anything. —And eventually all of the scars will have scars, and that’s all I’ll be —one big scar of childhood “love” gone wrong. . . . .Instead of all the other totally crazy stuff in the Old Testament, why isn’t there a commandment to “honor thy children” or at least one to “not abuse thy children”? Women are also property in our bible; adultery is a property crime in the Old Testament, not a sex crime. The Old Testament may actually be responsible for more agnosticism, disbelief—call it what you will—than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions in the world and yet, God is the only Being who wants to free us from the penalty of His own laws. . . .I don’t know, I guess forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. —Why is it so hard to do? . . . .I know the only answers come from within and seeking them without drains us and everyone else down to nothing. There are no simple answers, —that’s for sure. The danger is that in reaction to abuses and distortions, we’ll reject everything completely. —And in the process miss out on the good of it, the worth of it, the truth of it. —And I have maybe a naive view of language. I am operating on the level of explicitly stated beliefs, but real beliefs are not usually operating at that level. The real beliefs are in the split between the opaque, meta-language and explicit language that simply isn’t felt. i.e. “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Your Real Beliefs” by Dr. Jordan Peterson

  115. Nancy on February 3, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Hi Aleea,

    I felt led this morning to pray for you, and to share it specifically here :

    Dear Lord, I lift up Aleea to you. Relieve her of the generational sin she carries. Take it from her. Remove it. You are mighty to save, Lord and I ask in the name of your son Jesus Christ to intervene here. Make clear that You do not call your children to repent for the sins of generations gone by. Clarify what does not belong to her, Lord and enable her to come to You with what does. Father, I pray against the oppressive generational sin in Aleeas history. In the precious name of Christ, I ask this.

    • Aleea on February 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

      That is so beautiful Nancy. Thank you so, so much. I prayed that prayer this morning when I saw it and will pray it during my prayer times. Thank you so much. I so love prayer: nothing to research, translate, argue about, misconstrue, etc. . . .I really believe that God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them. . . . I don’t want Christ to just be some kind of inner therapy. I want to experience the outward reality of God, really, deeply, consistently —truly. Lord God please, may my darkness be broken into by inescapable light from You. . . .I also think prayer is like the most tangible expression of trust in God, otherwise why would we be praying? —And it so focuses us. If I only looked at what I’ve lost, I’d never be able to see all I have.

  116. Aly on February 3, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Aleea,

    Thank you for your comments and answers to some (‘I believe’) crucial questions about eternal security in Christ.
    I posted a link of the song
    ‘ Oceans’ by Hillsong United. ~ for me that song particularly along with the scriptures of the Bible that helped me anchor my heart and helped me express to myself (a ‘true’ belief) about Who I knew I belonged to;)
    I hope it blesses you💕

    I’ll break up my thoughts and questions in different posts to you to simplify.

    You answered, ‘yes’ that you believe Jesus Christ to be your savior and that He is God, that He IS the prophecied Messiah of the OT.
    We agree;) I’m thankful for that essential likemindedness. There are probably a few non essentials that we don’t see the same on and that’s ok too;)

    So where did you get your evidence of your ‘yes’ and what you believe to be His will for humankind?

    I’m struggling a bit with this comment:
    You wrote,
    “But Aly, all this does not heal the wounds of the past, it merely reenacts them, for ultimately God becomes very weary of being tested and questioned and ends the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. —And this drama confirms for many who experience it why they cannot put their trust in love (—And yet to heal they must)”

    Where is your evidence that God becomes weary of being tested and questioned and ultimately end the relationship?
    My heart is sad by this.

    If your referring to the OT scriptures of His covenant with His people, from my understanding (sin) was between them and sin of ‘theirs’ is what separated their relationship and trust of God.
    He stands still ‘in terms’ of His truth and Love…
    their (my own here too) sin creates their own abandonment. God is not abandoning one here. We do see times where he will turn us over to our sin in hopes to restore us and bring us back to our relationship with Him.
    Grace is more than we can grasp when we turn away from our direction that we ourselves are creating the abandonment and turn toward Him!

    I think it might be difficult for you to embrace the biblical scriptures as truth and as God’s inherent Word… since you could be associating them with ‘religion’ and the abuse of certain idols of power.

    But that’s not the God of the Bible, nor is it His Character to abandon..
    He redeems, He rescues,
    He is Faithful;)
    One of my favorite verses from the Bible in Rev.
    19:11-16
    … not because of the justice here but because of His name;
    Faithful and True!
    King of Kings, Lord of Lords 💟

    • Aleea on February 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Hello Aly,

      The Hillsong United recordings, so many of them, have blessed me so much too! They are beautiful, no doubt. Thank you so much.

      “You answered, ‘yes’ that you believe Jesus Christ to be your savior and that He is God, that He IS the prophesied Messiah of the OT. . . . . .So where did you get your evidence of your ‘yes’ and what you believe to be His will for humankind?” . . .Well, it is all feelings, just beautiful, wonderful feelings and an in-love experience I believe is Jesus Christ but I could be totally wrong because when I seriously research things d-e-e-p-l-y, my mind takes me the other way. Within 80 years of Jesus’ birth, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero references! No independent primary source evidence for Christianity. The only evidence of Jesus is in the one and only book of writings about Jesus, the Bible. See “On the Historicity of Jesus” 2014 by Dr. Richard Carrier. Let me just tell you to me that book is unanswerable, especially chapter six. That is like the best researched book I’ve ever read on the historicity of Jesus. It is brilliantly presented and backed up with solid, internationally peer reviewed research and evidence. . . . But I know what I have experienced and I feel it was/is Jesus.

      “Where is your evidence that God becomes weary of being tested and questioned and ultimately end the relationship?” . . . .I don’t have any evidence for that and maybe that is projecting human behavior onto God because now that I read that again that is what humans do, not God. So I don’t have any evidence for that.

      “I think it might be difficult for you to embrace the biblical scriptures as truth and as God’s inherent Word… since you could be associating them with ‘religion’ and the abuse of certain idols of power.” . . . . That could be true but I started to really wonder just what was going on because the Bible does contain historical, factual, archaeological, etc. errors: . . . .re: “Inerrant the Wind: The Evangelical Crisis in Biblical Authority” That is an entire Ph.D. dissertation on the factual errors. Easy to read and everyone of those issues can’t just be fluff, just too many of them.

      “… not because of the justice here but because of His name; Faithful and True! King of Kings, Lord of Lords” . . . . .I agree, I just don’t think we have evidence in any normative sense. People believe because they believe they have had an experience of Jesus. When you translate the Bible with excessive literalism, you demythologize it. The possibility of a convincing reference to the individual’s own spiritual experience may be lost. God is truly whispering in our hearts, in the whole existence, we just tune our ears but as to hard evidence, well maybe see: “Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery” Paperback –by Dr. Thomas L. Brodie and/or “Everybody Is Wrong About God Including Us” by Dr. James A. Lindsay and Dr. Peter Boghossian

      Thank you so much Aly! I appreciate your thoughts very much.

      Lord God please never allow what I have researched to diminish my ability to deeply listen to others and especially You. I only want the truth even if it means an even sadder me. Aly. . . .can really anybody put her hand on her heart and profess to know beyond doubt what happens on the other side of this life?. . . .Still, what you write is beautiful and helpful. I appreciate that you care. . . . But beyond all that, I know, for me, Jesus is the best in love experience ever. I do know that and have totally felt that before. I have felt it so strongly. I have no evidence of what is going on but I’ll never get over that. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does, the pull on my heart and joy is unbelievable, —usually happens when I am praying. That’s why I like praying the best.

  117. Aly on February 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Aleea,

    I will continue to pray for you;) I love that you are open for that!
    I’m thankful that you believe and trust that Jesus is your savior as a fellow sister in Christ!
    He is your salvation and your hope;)
    And since you can do that by trust, I believe it’s quite possible that you can trust in His Word.

    Many of your questions about certain scriptures are so very valid and there is nothing wrong with wanting an explanation or be it deeper understanding.
    My responses will be based in His word, so I’m not sure you will receive those as evidentially weighing.
    But since you are willing to Trust in Jesus’s Words about salvation, are you willing to trust in Jesus’s words in
    Matt12:30, Mark 9:40 and Mark 3:13 ?

    Because these are important passages Regarding the Kingdom of God. And specially that a kingdom cannot be divided against itself. He states this in satans economy with his minions too, to give evidence to the Pharisees that a kingdom divided cannot remain.
    Jesus is visually and verbally giving evidence to the Kingdom of God and that there isn’t to be doubleminded thinking in that.
    Again just my response of why I don’t see a contradiction in His words given the context, what He’s saying and what He’s building;)

    Praying for your heart today and thankful that you are seeking out answers to what I believe to be vitally important to our faith💖

    • Aleea on February 4, 2017 at 5:14 am

      “. . .Many of your questions about certain scriptures are so very valid and there is nothing wrong with wanting an explanation or be it deeper understanding. . . . . .Praying for your heart today and thankful that you are seeking out answers to what I believe to be vitally important to our faith.” . . . . .Thank you so much Aly! . . . .Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. I need to sing like the birds sing in the morning, not worrying about who hears or what they think because in a real sense suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy. . . .I was praying this morning and it was like God saying: I know you’re exhausted and tired of “the answers” but come, this is the Way. . .People want you to be happy. Don’t keep serving them your pain! Jesus is an in love experience and wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love because reason is powerless in the expression of Love and the cure for all the childhood pain is in the pain, —through the pain. God has to keep breaking my heart until it finally, fully opens. When we feel a peaceful joy in prayer, that’s when we are near truth.

  118. Nancy on February 3, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    You’re welcome 🙂

    • Aleea on February 4, 2017 at 5:07 am

      . . . .Thank you Nancy. Prayed it last night, this morning too! What is it about prayer? It is totally, completely —other. . . It is all in His hands, as it has always been. We know God by cultivating a relationship, not by understanding (—really hard for me because it looks like a trap for someone whose highest need is safety and security) and that road is risky, lonely, and costly because it involves losing our life and finding new life in Him. But it is like. . . . .hmmm, well, it is as easy as finding those sunglasses we’ve been looking for all over the place, suddenly realizing they’ve been propped on our head during our entire search. . . . .which is always really humiliating. . . . They’re already there, quietly waiting for us to reach up and realize they were never lost at all. When we try to “live holy” we will glorify our self but when we glorify God we will live holy. So, it is like the first century Christians: our task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it. —Generally, no one external can harm us like we can harm ourselves.

  119. ruth on February 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Off Topic Question- what happened to most recent blog article? When I go to the blog it shows the most recent article as “How Do I Stop Second Guessing Myself?” from Jan 18. I’m not sure what the exact date what. The title was something like “How Do I Keep Hope Alive?”
    Funny thing is some of don’t have much hope in our marriages, but this blog and the support of these loving, Godly women does give us hope. Here we also find validation and wisdom. That’s such a blessing!

    Is there a technical problem?

    I hope someone didn’t leave an ugly comment and the thread didn’t have to get closed.
    My smartphone crashed and I haven’t had internet access for a couple of days, but I’ve been thinking of you ladies.

    • Aleea on February 6, 2017 at 6:53 am

      . . .I assumed it was what I was seeing because of all the different networks I often use as I travel but the comment counts are not synchronized; more recent blog content (articles) appear and disappear, seemingly at random times. . . . To me, I’m grateful I get to post at all. I view it as whatever God wants posted gets posted. . . .Here is some speculation: Maybe it is the site software database interactions. It’s a lot of software interactions for sure! If some of the content gets tagged incorrectly it does not appear. I bet all the content and the posts are there, they have just gotten tagged incorrectly so, maybe the software is not displaying them correctly??? Software is not so much of a mystery, it is God that is the number-one mystery and the human heart (brain) comes in a distant second. . .The mind of God is a mystery none can understand. . . . On the earth, human psychology is amazingly mysterious too. . . . Anyways. . .

  120. Robin on February 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Ruth there has been a technical problem for 2-3 weeks. I’m not sure why??? I had the same experience.

  121. Robin on February 4, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Lori, I should explain what I meant by 20 counselors. I mean Pastors, Laymen in church, elders, church family counselors, etc. I finally was successful in finding a counselor when I looked outside the church; as sad as that is.

    • Lori on February 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Robin,

      Thank you for this clarification! That is still a LOT of helpers inside the church and having found your help OUTSIDE the church is indeed the saddest thing I have heard in quite some time.

      How it must break the Fathers heart that His body isn’t wholly functioning in helps and healing in the most fundamental and powerful expression of His love for His people: the marriage.

      We have a LONG way to go to be the place where people know they can come to get their wounds healed. But right now, it seems by in large that church is where we learn to drink the kool-aid and quiet others into drinking it as well.

      🙁

  122. ruth on February 4, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    or should I send a question to a mod?

  123. Brave Rabbit on February 4, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Ruth

    What you say is not flaky at all. A few years ago it hit me hard about children. I was sitting in church listening to some ladies talking about all their new grandchildren and I completely fell apart. I sobbed my heart out realizing I’d never be a grandmother. I was so overcome by these intense feelings of loss. One lady held me tenderly until I could calm. I will never forget that tender moment of compassion. I feel that same compassion here with you and all the other fine women.

    What a beautiful picture of what heaven could be like. 😊💜 Mmm babies.

    It’s amazing how we survive. I’m sure God is using me for a greater good.

    Sorry about your illness, I’m praying for you! I’m glad the baby brought you momentary joy. Tuck into your heart that Jesus brings you eternal joy.

    I’ve been praying that God set people and tools before me to help guide my journey to help me follow where He’s leading me and to help me see the truth. Nancy referred me to Patrick Doyle’s videos and what an eye opener those are! I kept having doubts about leaving. But no more! I kind of laugh at myself in regard to the old adage about crazy making, “Keep doing the same thing and expecting different results . . .” What I really found surprising was knowing what I needed to do for me all along and yet being blind to see it. I kept telling myself things were not that bad. You’re absolutely correct about my ability to compartmentalize and just sweep things away. A protective measure I guess.

    Thanks for feeling outraged for me.

    Give your sweet children a hug and a peck.

    I hope your journaling provided clarity for you. Sorry that you have a jerky H.

  124. Brave Rabbit on February 6, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Hello Lovely Ladies

    I need help. I have an exit letter draft explaining my feelings and hurts. Most of the writing is set in “I feel”. Other parts are my observation regarding our unequal union. The last two paragraphs are:

    I feel like I’m being smothered and my soul is hurting I need healing time with my Abba Father. I need a spiritual retreat for an undetermined period of time. while I have God help restore my spirit.

    I’d like you to ask God to search and restore you and ask for His peace.

    I definitely want to state my needs but I’m confused about if I should say anything to him about my expectations of what he should do. Do I leave that paragraph off and let him draw his own conclusions for himself? Any suggestions?

    I’m setting my draft aside for a bit for further revisions, so no rush. Eager for you wisdom. Brave Rabbit Standing Tall 🌞

    • Lori on February 6, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Brave!

      I think the “letter” is a great idea given your current state of fear in personal communication with him.

      You wondered: “I definitely want to state my needs but I’m confused about if I should say anything to him about my expectations of what he should do. Do I leave that paragraph off and let him draw his own conclusions for himself?”

      So glad you can identify the places where you feel confused. Whenever my kids ask me something like this, I tell them if you are not sure and are confused, perhaps leave it out.

      If he asks or wants to know more about what he can be doing during this time that you are affording yourself, perhaps then would be a good time to share that?

      LOVE how you are self proclaimed: “standing tall” Hallelujia!!! I rejoice in your newfound posture my dear sister! May the Lord continue to strengthen, guide, give courage and protect you in your journey.

  125. T.L. on February 6, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Way to go, Brave Rabbit! Separating from a destructive man will bring you clarity, peace, and freedom. You will be out of the fog of confusion and the spiritual walls that are blocking the Lord’s peace.

    A couple of questions before I answer yours: do you have any fear of him, physically? Is he prone to violent, angry outbursts?Is there any danger to you? If so, you need a whole big exit plan. Can you tell us about that?

    Regarding your question; I think you should limit it to your own needs, feelings, etc. And you should speak in as strong a voice as you can muster. Respectful, not unkind, but strong and confident:

    “I feel this, therefore I have decided to do this….I need this…” I wouldn’t allow any room for discussion at all. Maybe later. Not now. “Just, “I need this, and I am doing it!”

    Let him think what he will (you’re being unsubmissive, you are out of order, whatever.) His thoughts and opinions are his, and you do not have to listen to them right now. Just get away and get peace and clarity. That’s all you are doing for now. You’ll let him know more when you know more.

    If he wants to discuss it, you can refuse. You are free to say, “Maybe later. Not now.” Or, “I won’t talk about this without a counselor of my choosing present.” You have choices, Brave Rabbit. God is with you. He sides with the oppressed, and He will help you as you stand strong and walk forward.

    Love and hugs to you. And cheering, too.

    • Brave Rabbit on February 7, 2017 at 12:22 am

      Hi Lori
      Hi L.T.
      Hi Ruth
      Hello Sisters

      I’ve only ever seen one outburst where he smashed a windshield with his fist. We were dating. A healthy person would have run right there but that was part of my normal. He’s never hit me, however, there is a firearm in the house. I’d like to think that he’d never use it on me. I’ll error on the side of caution. My first career involved law enforcement. I know, hard to believe, right!? I’ve seen it happen too often that the wife left in a body bag.

      A big part of my recovery will be forgiving myself for allowing someone so much power over me. It will probably take a long while to be able to trust myself and men.

      I’ve talked to my one friend and she’s ready for me at a moment’s notice.

      I agree with all, the best words I need to use are, “I feel”. And to state just my needs with clarity, love and respect. And leave it just like that. Thank you for helping me see that more clearly.

      IF we get back together, I realize that may be a long way away, IF ever. I’m really looking forward to getting healthier and getting to know and have a deeper relationship with my Abba Father. My feelings are tempered by a bit of anxiety but I know I’m not alone!

      I feel all your love and support. I’m so glad Leslie has this forum for us to use and help support one another. Thank you for the prayers.

      XOX 😊

      • T.L. on February 7, 2017 at 9:07 am

        Brave Rabbit,

        It sounds like you are walking in great wisdom; “erring on the side of caution,” as you say. We are praying for you, walking alongside, and cheering for you. xx

      • Remedy on February 8, 2017 at 8:42 am

        Dear Brave Rabbit…..oh. my. Mine also smashed my car windshield while we were dating,in a fit of rage over a work Christmas party in which only enloyees’ spouses were allowed to attend.

        THAT was my biggest RED FLAG, but there were many others. Punches in walls, terrifying verbal rages, etc. Just a life of sheer terror. And trying to ‘run away’ just brought more of the same.

        The violent tendencies are rooted deep in the personality……so be careful, my dear!!

  126. T.L. on February 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Hello Aleea,

    I’m so glad you want God and won’t be satisfied with anyone’s idea of God. Because He is real and knowable, and your heart and soul know that and crave it. (Pascal’s “God shaped Hole”, Augustine’s “restless heart”)

    Again semantics: perhaps what we each mean when we use the word “know” means a different thing? I don’t limit knowing to my senses. Sometimes you sound like you do, other times not.

    I know God, in the person of Christ, who is made manifest to me by the Holy Spirit. I am not talking about someone else’s idea, and I am not talking about simply feelings. I am talking about a revelation to my soul, a knowing that goes way beyond, and much deeper that mere senses or feelings. Our souls were made for God, for knowing God. And I do pray for such knowing for you, and the peace and joy that accompanies such knowledge, come what may. May He heal your soul, reveal himself unmistakably to you, and bless you, and give you His rest, dear Aleea.

    • Aleea on February 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      “I am talking about a revelation to my soul, a knowing that goes way beyond, and much deeper that mere senses or feelings. Our souls were made for God, for knowing God. And I do pray for such knowing for you, and the peace and joy that accompanies such knowledge, come what may. May He heal your soul, reveal himself unmistakably to you, and bless you, and give you His rest, dear Aleea.”

      . . . . T.L. that is so, so beautiful that you would say that and pray for me. I so appreciate that —so much. . . .My heart just cries out for God and He so seems the only way to anything real and worthwhile. . . . The things I value: A really clean heart, real love, real forgiveness, real compassion, and real tenderness. —I simply do not see these happening without Christ. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us. I so don’t want to lose the center of Christianity, it is so, so beautiful . . .praying, caring, loving, sharing. That is the power of the cross. That is why Christ came, period. The rest is often legalism, misogynistic, —on and on— trying to control women instead of an all-loving, all-moral God and Jesus.

      I too have had those “revelations”, even though I call them feelings. Since the site has been acting crazy and I don’t know what is posted where and I am lost on the site half the time, I started reading older posts. I read the post by Leslie on “How We Can Know The Will of God” from 2009, —and the pull on my heart was like a magnet. I thought, we can really know the will of God? —Really??? I also have those feelings when I pray, just overwhelming love and peace at times (—not consistent however). I call it an in love experience with Jesus but over the years I have become fearful of just what is going on, especially after learning more about psychology. . . .Now, I know so much more how niave and gullible I am against all there is to know. Most often, what we don’t know will have a vastly greater bearing on our lives that what we do know. I know for me that what I do not yet know may be way more important than what I already know. I also am very easily deceived because I am very quick to hope. But the lack, I have found, is not in intelligence, the scarce commodity is systematic training in critical thinking. —It is hard work to think about how you think. I never understood that before. But now, I realize no society in human history ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs. . . . Anyways, I’m never going to get over Jesus, —ever and I love praying. But, in order to seek truth, it is necessary to doubt, as far as possible, certain things. —That may also, sometimes help people exit abuse. —Hope is easy and fun; knowledge is really hard stuff. No amount of belief makes something a fact. . . .That said, in a post-Christian, skeptical world, love on display is the most convincing apologetic ever. These are love problems from deep childhood wounds not necessarily knowledge problems but some of them are knowledge problems. —It is hard to tell the difference.

  127. Ruth on February 6, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Brave Rabbit,
    I’m praying for you today!

  128. Nancy on February 7, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Brave Rabbit,

    I think you are very courageous. I also think it’s wise that you are accessing your ‘law enforcement’ brain with regards to what to do about that gun.

    Will be praying for physical safety as well as clarity of thought and protection over your mind and heart as you take this next step.

  129. Aly on February 7, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Robin,

    I just saw this post and I agree it is sad and there needs to be aggressive change within the church body.
    I’m thankful that many people like Leslie Vernick and others are educating the church communities.
    However, my sadness that I have still witnessed us the continued ‘mindsets’ (women and men) where they just are functioning and coping…not even experiencing what a healthy marriage or family would look like.

    My h and I had similar experiences as you might have had with elders and pastoral counsel… I think because there has been such a false belief established in the church that counseling isn’t the way to go. For some reason there is some sort of a ‘false attitude’ that for counseling to get involved then the situation ‘is really that bad’ … if it stays within the church, then maybe there is less of a road but then again many things go underground… only to find that bandages don’t hold appendages. 😢

    Personally I think the professional Christian counseling is essential when a marriage or family dynamic is set up to be top down structure..
    unequal partnerships..
    or family of origin roles of power and control .. which are the destructive ‘mindsets’ that can be so out of the church communities level.

    I’m so glad Robin that you are finding yourself and your worth, you are pivotal here in this healing community!🤗

  130. Lori on February 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    I really appreciated what you wrote:
    “Jesus is an in love experience and wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love because reason is powerless in the expression of Love and the cure for all the childhood pain is in the pain, —through the pain. God has to keep breaking my heart until it finally, fully opens. When we feel a peaceful joy in prayer, that’s when we are near truth.”

    Really beautiful expression of your experience with Jesus.

    I have not found a place of connectedness with you to date as my brain doesn’t seem to work in the same kind of analytical way yours and some others do here. So, I feel a bit disconnected from your shared process.

    However, something you said here did register to me:
    “People want you to be happy. Don’t keep serving them your pain!”

    I have some questions about what that means to you?

    If I keep, as you say, serving this community the pain I am in or have been in, how will I be seen by you? Will you say to me “just be happy”?

    I wish you could hear my tone in the questioning, as I want you to know your comment has caused me to wonder if I should dial back on sharing my pain here in this community.

    I don’t think you meant for me to interpret it this way, however, if that is how YOU are interpreting it: “Stop serving up your pain here Aleea, people just want you to be happy.” I would tell you that I want to hear you AUTHENTICALLY, and I believe there will be a mix of (a lot?) of pain and some moments of peace that we all will share as we journey this road together.

    I don’t know if this is making any sense to you (not sure we track or think on a similar track together), but I thought I would try?

    Blessings and prayers for you in His great love for us.

    • Aleea on February 8, 2017 at 6:09 am

      Hello Lori, thank you for the comment! I very much appreciate that! ―I love comments, especially those that I can see and respond to. ―Not always possible the way the Blog software often operates. ―But I am so thankful I get to post at all, it’s wonderful!

      “People want you to be happy. Don’t keep serving them your pain!” . . . .Lori, I meant me (Aleea) dumping ALL MY PAIN (Aleea’s pain) on others. ―Aleea’s pain being dumped on others. . . . . But, Lori, . . . .now that I consider it more, and have pray about it. . . .that’s what this whole Blog is about: speaking our abuse pain rather from childhood (―where mine comes from) or marriage (―where lots of people’s here comes from), etc.

      “Aleea, when you tell me you don’t know who you are, you are not kidding, ―you don’t.”―Dr. Meier (my counselor) “If you don’t know who you truly are, you’ll never know what you really want. When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self acceptance open.”

      So, that is why I have been sharing my serious doubts and questions right along with my love for Jesus in an effort to really be authentic, open, really, really real ―no matter how contradictory it sounds. I assume the more I know myself, the less judgemental I can become. i.e. “You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be.” Lori, I believe that self-discovery changes everything, including your relationships with people. When you find your authentic self, those who loved your masks are disappointed. . . . .you may even end up alone, but you don’t need to stay alone. While it’s painful to sever old connections, it’s not a total tragedy. . . . it’s an opportunity? ―Maybe??? ―Now, I can find people who understand the importance of looking for truth and being authentic. Now I can find people who want to connect deeply, like I have always wanted to, instead of the constant small talk and head games (―you know: “Christianity has so much sound scientific and historical evidence going for it.”; “Jesus gives me the peace that passes ALL understanding.”; “I walk in Victory.”, etc.)

      “. . . I want to hear you AUTHENTICALLY, . . . .” ―Okay, I thought I was doing that but I’ll try to go even deeper:

      . . . .Lori, I really think that is what FUTURE church looks like. The church thirty years from now. A place where people come and instead of all this triumphalism (―excessive exultation over spiritual success!, ―Victory!!! and “Conquering” things) we really relate in total brokenness and acceptance. “I know you can’t change but I love you anyway and I’ll be your friend (with boundaries) even if not one other person will.” ―No more masks to hide behind. To me, Christianity’s radical insight is that we do not see Christ as simply another identity to place alongside our others: wife, lawyer, et.al. ―Instead, Jesus cuts across all these concretely existing identities [Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female, etc.] those who identify with Christ are no longer held captive by categories. . . . In that way, Jesus’ passion teaches us that the scapegoat mechanism is not to be utilized by those in the Church to build the church. Rather than finding unity in the sacrificing or exclusion of a chosen victim (―lesbians, ―agnostics, ―narcissists, ―atheists, ― “evil birds”, et.al.) the Church, as a community of those who identify with Christ’s loss of identity on the cross, gathers around a table where we break bread and remember our crucified Messiah. We are called not to play the game of identity. . . . .Now, I understand we have to bracket off neuropsychological measures outside of the norm: —interpersonally exploitative, totally psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. but I really wonder what the real percentage is (―really) for those issues. . . . .But, the point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness (―I have the peace that passes ALL understanding, etc.) and those who are able to fully embrace it: I don’t have the peace that passes ALL understanding and some days I think along with Dr. Lataster: “There Was No Jesus (―not like the Christ-of-Faith), There is No God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism Paperback –2013 by Dr. Raphael Lataster. . . . . Think of the Lord Jesus, our example, on the cross: instead of eyes that burned with hate a look of love was there. But then I think: ―We have already won, it is FINISHED. It can’t end wrong at this point (―unless it is not true in any real sense and that probability is not zero). . . .Even if at the time no one knew the meaning of the final words Christ said (―it is FINISHED). i.e. Where are my accusers, nowhere to be found.

      To me, post-modern Chrsitianity indicates a failure of the very fabric of the structure of churches. Could it be, the solution comes from requiring we really acknowledge and actually, ―really― embrace utter brokenness. . . . brokenness not competence, brokenness not triumphalism, brokenness not certainty ―and certainly not knowing. Most marriage relationships exist like that for decades, never bringing up the unpleasant truth for fear of a total crisis. Not realizing that the crisis is already there, lurking in the midst.

      Anyways, I love that people would read and even comment on what I write. It never ceases to amaze me. ―How cool is that?. . . So Lori, I meant me dumping all my doubts, despair, love for Jesus, disbelief in Jesus, love for God, anger with God, disbelief in God, etc. all over everyone.

      “Blessings and prayers for you in His great love for us.” ―Thank you so much Lori, especially the prayers! . . .I really believe (I don’t know, I hope) God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them.

  131. Robin on February 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Thank u Ally. I was very wounded by church leadership. But God restored my faith in church leaders again sending me to a qualified and experienced counselor. And healing me to understand most churches lack training. I really have forgiven them but the pain is still there at times as it felt like I wasted so many years believing the church would believe me and help me. It’s behind me now, and I can look forward and help others make better decisions where to go for help for destructive relationships.
    Thank u for your input!!
    Robin

  132. Robin on February 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Lori, the first Senior Pastor I went too, listened to my story about our homelife, picked u the phone and called my husband and asked him if my story was true. He said no, nothing but minor things. The Pastor asked me to leave his office, as he could not help me without my husbands permission.
    One of my daughters went to the hospital for emotional abuse and healing . I called the youth pastor. He came to my house and said, I’d like to pick up a 2×4 and beat him. But the Bible says you must submit.
    I called my parents and they came to my rescue. Another Pastor leaped over his desk sat me verbally abusing me while we were in couples counseling. Can you believe my abudive husband had to tel him to back off ???????
    Yes I’ve had some terrible experiences. I’m not very trusting when it comes to leadership. Except for Leslie and my Counselor.
    It ought not be so!!!!

  133. Lori on February 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Robin,

    Oh my goodness!!!! That goes WAY beyond just lack of training!

    That is so very troubling and so overtly damaging.

    “Can you believe my abusive husband had to tell him to back off ???????”

    I can’t believe your h WOULD tell him to back off. Just WOW on so many levels.

  134. Aly on February 7, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Robin,

    Oh my I’m so sorry to hear what you went through! I can see based on your past posts that you have moved forward and forgiven, Praise God for your freedoms;)

    And I know and assuming you do to that forgiveness doesn’t mean safety and or relationship.

    I encountered somewhat similar reactions/attacks from others… mainly our family system and some past friendships.
    I’m still working through my grief of that but it’s so not uncommon that the ones able to assist or possibly help turn on the truth teller!

    Did you find to be curious behavior from others?

  135. Lori on February 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Most valuable Aleea,

    Thank you for your in depth and thoughtful comments and dialogue with me.

    You wrote: “People want you to be happy. Don’t keep serving them your pain!” . . . .Lori, I meant me (Aleea) dumping ALL MY PAIN (Aleea’s pain) on others. ―Aleea’s pain being dumped on others. . . . . But, Lori, . . . .now that I consider it more, and have pray about it. . . .that’s what this whole Blog is about: speaking our abuse pain rather from childhood (―where mine comes from) or marriage (―where lots of people’s here comes from), etc.”

    I did know that originally you were sharing this message of : “Don’t keep serving your pain to others” from the perspective of you talking to you. And, I am grateful you now see that this is the whole point of this blog. Sharing our pain with each other thus helping to carry one anothers burdens. It is my pleasure and joy to be involved in this way here.

    I think the message is a good one to “get out in the open”, as I think the message caused me to begin to question whether I should stop sharing my pain here and just be happy.

    I guess I want you to know, that I believe when you (and others) share your pain here it is helping me. It is helping me to know Aleea better. How can that not be great?

    Also, your sharing your pain helps me to feel more free to share mine. I NEED to share my pain Aleea. NEED to.

    For me, this safe place to share my pain has been the necessary harbor that has been missing nearly my entire life. I feel I may need to be here a while as I stored so very much pain up. Tears are only beginning to feel free to shed. There’s no crying in battle. My life has been one big battle against what I now know is the mindset of narcissism.

    Please be assured, I know you were sharing that message to you, (but it did cause me to consider dialing way back on the sharing of my own pain).

    I want you to know I have a different message for you to consider. I don’t want you to stop sharing your pain Aleea. Share and then share some more, and then share some more. Please.

    I want to hear your pain, your joy, your questions, doubts, hopes, dreams, analyzings (I am sorry Aleea, but I often don’t comprehend these very well, but I know Jesus knows what you mean as you speak them out loud here), despairs, musings, sorrow and anything else that makes up Aleea.

    A thought came to me after you shared this:
    “Aleea, when you tell me you don’t know who you are, you are not kidding, ―you don’t.”―Dr. Meier (my counselor)”

    It would be such a gift to discover Aleea with you. Just from your writings, I esteem you to be such a precious and unusual person. (Really, we all are)

    On the other hand, to me, it would be the greatest tragedy if it stays this way, for I feel certain that precious and valuable treasures unseen await your discovery. The discovery of Aleea, made in Gods image! How cool is that?

    It occurs to me that given your apparent love of examining, exploring and analyzing, what would it be like if you were able to explore YOU in the same way? I can imagine God being very pleased with His creation of you. I can imagine you and Jesus enjoying that discovery together.

    What do you think is keeping you from this discovery of self?

    Might it be in part that walking through the door of the tellings of your personal pain your true self awaits? I don’t know, but it is a thought I had and wanted to share.

    If this is a key, then no wonder the message to stop the tellings of pain came. We have an enemy who doesn’t want us to be free or more importantly, to know our identity in Christ.

    It is no burden to hear your personal pain, it is a blessing. I hope you can believe that. It is most certainly true for me.

    Much love to you dear and treasured sister.

  136. Aleea on February 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Hello Lori,

    “I guess I want you to know, that I believe when you (and others) share your pain here it is helping me. It is helping me to know Aleea better. How can that not be great?” . . . . Lori, I never thought about it like that. ―Honestly, I always think: who wants to know me better, except maybe to attack me.

    “It would be such a gift to discover Aleea with you. Just from your writings, I esteem you to be such a precious and unusual person. (Really, we all are)” . . . . .Everyone here is, ―no doubt and I am so impressed by what people have written me. ―Wow, they really make me think, ―deeply think.

    “My life has been one big battle against what I now know is the mindset of narcissism.” . . . .I’m so, so sorry Lori and I truly wish I knew how to help people avoid that. I don’t have many answers except to insist on some type of psychotherapy before getting married to anyone. A skilled counselor (―I know they are really expensive but not as expensive as living with the wrong person) may be able to help precious souls avoid a train wreck. ―Also, serious critical thinking skills and pressure situations that bring all the narcissism to the surface ―before― marriage could possibly help. ―But I know from so many women’s stories how tricky analysis can be.

    “What would it be like if you were able to explore YOU in the same way? I can imagine God being very pleased with His creation of you. I can imagine you and Jesus enjoying that discovery together. . . . . What do you think is keeping you from this discovery of self?” . . . . . Lori, I’m afraid I will lose my marriage (―I don’t have any children but I don’t want my marriage to end). I am also afraid, even more so, that I could run wild, just writing my own gospel and living my own myth. My counselor says not to fear that but I fear it. Who in the world am I? ―that’s the great puzzle. I’m used to others telling me what that is. I realize when I discover who I am, I’ll be free, but maybe I am so used to jail I don’t know how to function outside it? . . . .But, maybe the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others? I don’t really know what that would look like for me. I guess sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a brand-new person. ―And I don’t want to go alone. I want Christ with me on that long journey into myself. It takes courage I don’t really have. . . to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last ―like the rest of our lives.

    “Might it be in part that walking through the door of the tellings of your personal pain your true self awaits? I don’t know, but it is a thought I had and wanted to share.” . . . . Do you mean like talking about how my mother used to beat me and my sisters? How she used to run us into the ground verbally over just nothing? . . .Oh my, do I ever hear my mother in everything I do: “Idiot!” “You fool!” “You really are the daughter NOT worth having.” “Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!” “God may love you but I don’t!” . . . well, my mother was/is a monster and as my counselor says “We view God like we view our parents.” In fact, how people view God was the topic of her Ph.D. dissertation in psychology. . . . .Lori, do you ever get a feeling when you look back on life that all God really wants from us is to live inside a body He made, and enjoy the story, and to bond with Him through the experience? I mean that is it, life’s purpose is to know, praise, and thank God, it’s so simple. ―Right?

    “It is no burden to hear your personal pain, it is a blessing. I hope you can believe that. It is most certainly true for me.”. . . . .I so appreciate that Lori. I think the most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, ―None of those things is really us, at all. Spending time looking for what is missing in our lives is futile if we fail to look within ourselves. I really feel that is true. When I challenge everything I believe, everything I am, I reveal that which I never knew about myself. ―And that could be part of the answer. I’m not tracking down Jesus to only learn more about Him (re: The Historical Jesus: What a Long, Strange Quest It’s Been). I’m tracking Him down to learn more about myself. Maybe the need to prove who you are vanishes once you know who you are. I think I can stand to know what I am made of so I kneel before God but I still don’t know. ―Oh, it is so, so hard and everyone is overcoming something, that’s why I so appreciate when people are gentle. The more I see, the more lost I feel but maybe that is natural. The more I discover of myself, the more confused I become, maybe that is natural too. Lori, that’s why I am allowing myself to be lost: facing fears, accepting my faults, giving myself, sometimes, unconditional love.

    Thank you for the thoughts Lori, ―so, so kind of you!

  137. Aly on February 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Aleea,
    Hi hope it’s ok I write here to you;)
    Lori~ I just love what you wrote to a Aleea… I agree with a process of being seen and discovered certainly not by perfect people because that isn’t possible but by people who are compassionate and understanding toward healing.

    Aleea,
    I totally get where you are in places and I’m so sorry for your history of upbringing.

    I do think you are discovering yourself and your value~

    This is what I believe about you because I believe this about each of us here….including myself.

    God wants us to get a glimps of our value as He sees us.
    Aleea, if you were the only daughter in this world He still would have died just for you alone!
    So that you could get a glimpse and grasp your treasure for how He sees you!

    Love to each of you precious jewels;)💖

    • Lori on February 9, 2017 at 1:08 am

      Aly,

      I just saw that you wrote to me here as well as Aleea.

      “I agree with a process of being seen and discovered certainly not by perfect people because that isn’t possible but by people who are compassionate and understanding toward healing.”

      I found this compassion and understanding in you as I will always remember what you said to me: “It is good for your heart to be held, to be of focus.”

      Your words impacted me to the core when you said them that day. I think my tears started to flow then.

      Thank you Aly, for your care. What a wonderful place the Lord has led me to here with you women. Such a variance of giftings and all of you are wise and supportive. Patient and encouraging.

      God has given such a gift to us here.
      Blessings

  138. Lori on February 8, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Aleea,

    “Honestly, I always think: who wants to know me better, except maybe to attack me.”

    I do. And I believe there are those here who do.
    I am sorry for the loss others may have if they don’t want to know you. I think you are valuable, intelligent, intuitive and awesome.

    I am sorry for the effect on you that you have been shaped and trained by others who have only wanted to attack you. I hope you see it is a reflection of their wrong values not that you are not valuable.

    I asked: “Might it be in part that walking through the door of the tellings of your personal pain your true self awaits? I don’t know, but it is a thought I had and wanted to share.” . . . .

    You answered: “Do you mean like talking about how my mother used to beat me and my sisters? How she used to run us into the ground verbally over just nothing? . . .Oh my, do I ever hear my mother in everything I do: “Idiot!” “You fool!” “You really are the daughter NOT worth having.” “Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!” “God may love you but I don’t!” .

    Those are such powerfully shaping messages and I cannot imagine believing anything else about myself if my mother spoke them to me on a daily basis.

    I hear you tell the telling of them, but I don’t hear you tell me how they affected Aleea. The child, the person. I can imagine how they affected you, but can you tell me how they did?

    If that is something you feel best left to your work with your counselor, I totally understand, but this is the Aleea I would love to know better. I don’t know if I am making sense or not.

    Let me try this:

    I read your entries here and I try to comprehend in your telling what you THINK about God and major other topics in life, but, and it may very well be just me, I am missing something from you. I am missing a connection to how you feel about what you think.

    Could just be me because my processing of life seems to take more from the place of the heart and less from the intellect.

    I am trying to connect with Aleea. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why I don’t know how. What I do know is that I desire to.

  139. Aly on February 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Lori,

    Thanks for your response and I’m so thankful that God could give me ‘any’ words for your heart and that moment💗

    I believe that sometimes we need to hear these truths about our heart and how ‘ok’ and good it is to be heard and yes in ways held;)
    Lots of this was most likely not given in our histories, so it’s foreign at times to be cared for and nurtured by another or many, but it’s part of God’s economy;)

    I can so relate to so much of the fuzzy places and I think that is part of the residue of these unhealthy relationships whether that be in a family of origin or in a marriage.

    What so many of the other ladies have given your heart about who you are and what we see in your care is true! It might be uncomfortable to take in, but you have something precious that God has secured. God does have a future ahead for you, one of freedom and His will💕
    Having mutual respect in a relationship will probably feel strange but good and trust me it’s healthy!

    I’ve shared with you my family of origin some and it probably isn’t surprising that I’m the scapegoat ~ truth teller role..
    And it’s helped me try to understand the complete fuzzy questions I’ve encountered myself through the years.

    Those who ‘scapegoat’ someone in a family or dismiss & neglect in a marriage, are in a place of choosing ‘self’ over ‘other’. This is misusing (abusing) a role that is a precious sacred role.
    Yes, you are not alone… it can be SO hard to spot… plus the person who is ‘other centered’ doesn’t remotely ‘think’ like the one who is self thinking, self protecting etc. Again .. trying not to label everything but it’s the mindset of the other person that is so very little equipped or sometimes ‘incapable’ to adjust how they respond in relationships. Many times to even be in any form of relationship with them, they need the dynamic to be top down. This is usually not something conscious (at least it wasn’t for my h)
    Superior/ inferior.., that is their normal comfort place of self protection. Certainly, they don’t always begin like this, but their ‘mindset&self protecting ‘ eventually crowd the idea of mutually respect and care for both existing people.
    So the foggy places is something I can SO relate well to because that residue of doubt especially when it’s people we have invested in and loved.
    The doubt I think originally comes from a healthy place in your character, willing to look within, but for these dynamics the doubt isn’t the best applied here for your own well being.
    Healthier relationships will have 2 mutual people
    Respecting and able to look within at their own heart and make corrections and or changes necessary for the relationship to continue to build upon ‘healthy’.

    Praying for your comfort and healing today precious Lori🌷

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