How Do I Respond To My Pastor?

Hi friends,

Did you ever do something really stupid?  Sunday was my day for dumb.  I spoke at The Uncommon Woman Conference in Virginia sponsored by Excellent Living on Saturday.  It was a wonderful event with over 400 women in attendance. After the event I ran to Target to pick up some contact lens solution as I had run out.  I didn’t grab my usual brand because they had one significantly cheaper (which I thought was the Target Brand – mistake # 1).

When I opened the box to get the solution out I saw an unusual contact lens case and I commented to my husband “Who would use this kind of case?”   (Mistake # 2, I did not investigate further or read the directions on the box).

Sunday morning as I was getting ready to speak at the morning service at Louden Bible Church, I poured the new solution all over my right contact and popped it into my eye.  Yeowee!!!  My eye caught on fire and I screamed “HELP”.  I washed my eye in the sink the best I could and thank God he helped me pry the contact lens out.

Now with my eye swollen, oozing, and bloodshot, I had to go speak at the Sunday morning service wearing no makeup, constantly dabbing my puffy, watery eye with a tissue while trying to give the morning message with no contacts, no glasses and no notes. I must have looked a sight but my dear friends at Louden Bible Church were very gracious and God empowered my message in a supernatural way.

After the service my eye hurt horribly and when I asked my husband to look at it he said my eyeball was turning a bluish green so we headed straight to the ER.

Five hours later the doctor said that my mistake is not uncommon.  The contact lens solution I bought was a cleaning solution of hydrogen peroxide meant to deep clean hard contacts.  Since I’ve never worn hard contacts I never even heard of such a thing and since the product was right next to my normal solution, I assumed they were the same thing.  I tell you this so you don’t make the same mistake I did.

Three days later my eye is still mad at me and won’t let me get my fingers near it to put my contact back in.  Lesson learned: Read the directions on the box before putting anything you are not familiar with into your eyes or mouth.

Today’s Question:  My husband and I attended a Baptist church for many years.  My husband has a Catholic background I have a Methodist/Presbyterian background.  I followed my husband to this church where he found great contentment.  I figured I would love the Lord no matter where I was.  Many things took place that were emotionally destructive over the years.  We were on our best behavior at church.  But at home and in front of our blended family we were not what a Christian marriage should be.

Repentance or remorse just wasn’t a part of the 10 year marriage and like a cancer it grew into it's destructive state.  I am now legally separated from my husband. I promised the pastor well over a year ago that I would meet with him after the separation was final. Now that it is final I need to follow through with my commitment to meet with him.

When I did the pastor has asked me to read Romans 12:1-2, and he wants me to think about it and talk to him about it. My first thoughts are:

(1)  I feel this church supports oppressive marriages.

(2)  I do not trust my husband. I think he would use this scripture to protect his belief that we should not be separated, although this scripture can refer to the renewing of my mind with help understanding why I had been become so bitter and resentful after hearing and reading some of your counsel.

(3)  I do hope to live a holy and acceptable life pleasing to God, separating from my husband mentally and emotionally to protect me from his manipulation and control.

Thank you in advance for taking time to comment.  Your comments will help me contemplate what I need to discuss with the Pastor.

Answer:  Your pastor chose an interesting passage for you to contemplate and if you’re in the kind of church you describe my guess is your pastor wanted you to latch onto Paul’s words in this passage where he said:  “Don’t be conformed to this world’s way of thinking.”

It’s just a guess based on my experiences with well-meaning pastors but he probably wanted you to reach a conclusion something like this:

The world tells you that you should protect yourself from your abusive/destructive spouse by separating, but that’s not God’s way. You need to have your thinking transformed in order to think God’s way if you want to live a holy, acceptable and pleasing to God kind of life. God’s way is to suffer patiently for Jesus by staying in your marriage because that’s what brings him the most glory.  

This the kind of counsel where well-intended but horribly unequipped pastors and Christian counselors can cause women in abusive/destructive marriages harm and spiritual confusion. You’ve said you want to please God and live a holy before him and you’ve been aware that your own pain has led to some bitterness and resentment.

But if your pastor is saying what I think he might be saying, from his point of view there is only one way to do that when you’re in a destructive marriage and that is to stay, no matter what.

That’s not true. When you stand up and say “no” to abuse and sin, and refuse to allow it to reign in your heart or your home you are doing God’s will.  Placating an abuser, or pretending and lying to cover up sin gives God no glory. It destroys the marital relationship as God intended and it gives the abuser the false idea that his sin is not that bad. When we choose that path, how could he possibly see the truth that he needs to repent?

Scripture amply supports God’s stance against abuse and the tactics of abusers.  He says he hates injustice, oppressors, liars, hypocrites, and those who abuse their power to hurt and take advantage of others.

Here is just a sampling of some verses:


“The Lord examines the righteous but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.”

Psalm 11:5



Then I said,


“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,

you rulers of Israel.


Should you not embrace justice,

you who hate good and love evil;

who tear the skin from my people

and the flesh from their bones;

who eat my people’s flesh,

strip off their skin

and break their bones in pieces;

who chop them up like meat for the pan,

like flesh for the pot?”


Then they will cry out to the Lord,

but he will not answer them.


At that time he will hide his face from them

because of the evil they have done.


This is what the Lord says:

“As for the prophets

who lead my people astray,

they proclaim ‘peace’

if they have something to eat,

but prepare to wage war against anyone

who refuses to feed them.


Therefore night will come over you, without visions,

and darkness, without divination.


The sun will set for the prophets,

and the day will go dark for them.


The seers will be ashamed

and the diviners disgraced.

Micah 3:1-7



Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals

I hate with all my being.


They have become a burden to me;

I am weary of bearing them.


When you spread out your hands in prayer,

I hide my eyes from you;

even when you offer many prayers,

I am not listening.


Your hands are full of blood!


Wash and make yourselves clean.


Take your evil deeds out of my sight;

stop doing wrong.


Learn to do right; seek justice.

Defend the oppressed.

Take up the cause of the fatherless;

plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:14-17


God will hold accountable those who abuse others and misuse their power, so why doesn’t the church?  (See Psalm 10, especially verses 13-18)

Therefore, you are not being “conformed” to this world’s way of thinking when you seek to protect yourself and your children from an abuser.  You are valuing your safety and sanity (which God values), as well as holding the abuser accountable and calling him to repentance in order for true reconciliation of the relationship to be possible, which is also God’s will when relationships are broken.

You may also want to read my blog posts Does God Want me to Suffer Silently According to 1Peter 3 and Lessons from Sarah’s Story.

Friends, what Scripture verses have helped you “see” that God cares about you and hates what’s happening to you?  Let’s try to gather together as many Bible verses as we can that support God’s view so that confusion is cleared up around some of these false teachings.

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  1. Cristie on July 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Just a thought…society today is fraught with violence and unkind behaviors at every turn. I would think that to “conform to the world” would mean to go along with abuse. So, please do not conform to the world and tolerate mistreatment. If your husband is mistreating you then it is HE who has conformed to the world. That is what society says is acceptable now. Go seek a peaceful life instead. 🙂

    • Brenda on July 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      What a good answer. I am going to write that down for future use.

      Did I ever do something stupid? lol I could make a list but it would take up more space than what I could write here.

      I hope your eye gets better soon. I am so glad that God inspired a positive response to your message.

      I have not been getting your blog posts on my email again. It’s been 3 weeks. Does Houston have a problem? lol

      • Leslie Vernick on July 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        I’ll check with Kim on that.

      • Sandra on July 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm


        I’m so sorry about the eye solution mistake, and hope and pray your eye will heal with no further problems.

        I also haven’t been receiving your blog posts, and thought it was only me.

        Thank you for your love & support of us here.


        • Leslie Vernick on July 4, 2014 at 9:17 am

          I think the problem is fixed. Somehow a password in the interior of my site got changed and it affected sending the blogs. If you do not receive a blog and you have signed up to receive it each week, please let me know.

          • Florence on July 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

            Leslie, Oh my goodness. I crave these posts like food and was wondering what happened! I’m glad everything is fixed!
            Christie, that was on point!
            Brenda, the more you get connected with how valuable you are, the clearer you become on what you’ll need to humbly express to your pastor. God loves you, cares for you and has a plan for your life and there’s no where in the scripture that says “abuse is tolerable”. You are in fact being transformed into understanding that Jesus came to give you life to the full, and your marriage does not reflect what Jesus wants for you.I wish the best for you.

  2. Belle on July 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    1. Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with an angry man and with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.

    God cares about me and the safety of my heart and soul since he tells me to not be close to an angry person.

    2. Psalm 10:14 But you have seen, for you observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to you; You are the helper of the fatherless.

    Balm for the soul, this
    The Psalms are largely dealing with oppression and deliverance! This verse has been a balm to me.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Love these verses too. I hope we can accumulate several pages of validation for women who need to know God hears, God cares and God will lead them to safety and sanity.

    • Vikki S. on July 4, 2014 at 12:16 am

      Belle, yes, thank you for the Proverbs verses.
      OMG when I ran a words study on the word “fool”, I realized what I was dealing with. In fact, I took so many cues from Proverbs in distancing, treading lightly, don’t confront, that after a year, it has been a fairly smooth process. It’s not EASY, but it’s profound when these verses are taken at their word. Thanks again!

  3. Belle on July 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    1. Psalm 10:14a But you have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand.

    God sees and hears and cares for our every wound, large or small. This verse is balm for the troubled and grieved soul. He sees it and doesn’t ignore it, or minimize it. It personally offends Him and he promises to repay it.

    2.Psalm 12:5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

    Oh, and the safety spoken of in this verse is not physical safety, but rather safety from words. The previous verses speak of idle, flattering, proud words and people who think they own their tongues and can ” prevail” with them. Wow. God cares for the safety of our hearts and promises that safety to the needy and oppressed.

    Psalm 12: 3-4 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?”

    3. Psalm 72:12 For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper.

    Sadly, within Christ’s church there are poor and needy women who have no helper. Pastors, friends, and counselors tell her to suffer.

    In contrast, God says he will deliver the poor and needy. I don’t see an exception clause in any of these verses. None of them say that God will deliver all the poor and needy, unless you are poor and needy as a result of your marriage – then you get no deliverance.

    4. Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go. Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.

    This is a boundary God gives us for our protection. We don’t have to cower under a raging husband, but we may, no must not, be friends with him?!

    There is a warning here as well. If we continue to gloss over a friend’s anger problem we might become like him. 🙁

  4. lynn on July 2, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Ive been divorced since March and this week I had a dream that my ex husband was begging me back (which is something his pride normally wouldnt allow). I woke up to this scripture at 4am the next day. It spoke volumes!

    So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

    • Brenda on July 3, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Lynn, Amen.

      That is one I need to commit to memory. I have been divorced since November of last year. X tries to get me to go to dinner as if that will cure it all. He still speaks with forked tongue and the crazy making, WOW. I was finally able to get rid of the last email address that he had to contact me. The next step, if he texts or calls me, will be to change my phone number. I have already repeated that I don’t wish to have further discussions. He doesn’t seem to understand divorce and thinks that he is entitled to have contact.

      • Elizabeth on July 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

        Brenda, You can have him blocked from your cell phone without changing your number. I have done this with my son when he would spew anger in messages left me or try to call me and yell at me.

      • Carol on July 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm

        I can relate, Brenda. I separated from my husband 4 years ago, explaining that he needs to get personal counseling before we can consider reconciliation. He quit after 6 months and repeatedly tries to get me to agree to go out to dinner, or sends me “sweet” texts, trying to win me over as he did the 1st time we started dating. I re-explain the only path to reconciliation; he agrees to back off, and then starts up again 6 months later doing the same thing as before! I don’t have a verse to share this time around, but am soaking
        up everyone else’s!!!!

        • Heidi on July 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

          Wow! Thanks ladies. Just incredible thoughts! I’ve been legally separated from. Y abusive husband for 4 months. Despite a restraining order and letter from my attorney that I wish “no contact” he still has emailed and has even followed me to a business. Thanks for suggestion to block him from cell phone without changing number. Brenda – you nailed it. My husband also seems to think he is entitled to contact.

  5. Jane on July 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

    My favorite……Psalms 9:9-10 (MSG)…..”God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.”

  6. Ann on July 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Dearest Ladies,
    Thank you, I have read all your posts. Thank you Leslie for responding to my email to you. I was listening to iDisciple and a male Christian pastor said he forgot his contact solution and tried mineral water from the hotel room. Big mistake! He was humbly led to his flight at the airport that morning because he couldn’t see. I smile and chuckle with you, ‘be not ashamed.’
    I did meet with my Pastor and his wife. They were both humble and kind, and unshamming. I bought your book for them and asked them to read it. I told them that I hope this can help you as you try to help others during marriage counseling. I respectfully told them that I know they have a tremendous amount of Biblical knowledge but that I hoped they would consider what Leslie shares about an emotionally destructive marriage, and that I absolutely think separate counseling is crucial until there is sincere, remorseful, heartfelt repentance.
    If anyone would like me to post Stormie Omartian’s repentance prayer let me know. Beth Moore has a Bible study which teaches about leaving Egypt and getting to Gilgal vs. wondering around in the wilderness that is very good. But for now, I’m going to tune into Family Life radio to hear what Leslie has to say today.
    Thank you Leslie. : )

    • Leslie Vernick on July 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks Ann. Sorry it took so long to respond and so glad your pastor and wife were humble and willing to hear you out.

  7. Melisssa on July 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    II Corinthians 6:14-18
    Delivered me from my marriage

  8. Sarah on July 3, 2014 at 7:26 pm


    That solution is also for soft contact lens because I use it, and yes, I have done exactly as you. I have wore contacts for 16 years, but thankfully I have only made that mistake a few times 🙂 Hope your eye feels better soon give it lots of rest.

    My scripture to add: Jeremiah 29: 11-13

    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

    Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

    And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      My eye still feels irritated and no contacts in it yet. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be brave enough to try to wear them again.

      • DJ on July 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm

        Leslie, try rinsing your eye with milk.

        • Leslie Vernick on July 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

          Thanks, I hope I never have to rinse my eye with anything again but will remember your remedy if I need it. My eye is mostly back to normal this week.

  9. Brenda on July 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you Leslie and Kim. I have the email now.

  10. Ann on July 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I love these verses! Before I attempted the first seperation from my husband this verse 11 permeated me. I had the responsibility of putting up a bulletin board in the main hallway of our church class rooms. On the left of the board was the manger scene. Moving into the future was this verse, ” My plans for you…” taking us into the future ‘New Year.’ And oh how I love the two additional verses! Very sweet! Thank you : )

    • Sarah on July 4, 2014 at 10:41 am


      When I left the only verse I could hold to was I Cor 7:15

      But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace

      I had decided that “departing” meant more than merely leaving the physical residence, and I clung to that verse.

      Dealing with the aftermath of an abusive relationship (depression, PTSD, etc.) drove me deep into the Word. I needed to understand. I needed answers. I needed to know God still loved me. I can’t say that I understand everything. I don’t think it is meant for use to understand it all, but I have found that God does indeed still love me. He has guided my footsteps and orchestrated a glorious healing process in my life! He truly has good thoughts, good plans for me, and I praise Him everyday. He didn’t take away all the bad; He didn’t make my husband a bad man nor did he force him to change; but He did take a very bad situation and turn it into something good.

      God love you Ann and has good thoughts for you!

  11. Debbie on July 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you so much for continuing to offer help and encouragement Leslie.
    I love the passage in Isaiah 54:6-8 that reads: The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young,only to be rejected,” says your God.
    7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
    8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment,
    but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”
    I have read this many times while contemplating separating from my abusive husband. I moved into an apartment on May 2nd this year and God has blessed me with such a peace and has been providing for my needs. From the day after I moved in I have felt safe, peaceful and even happy. Finances are tight and the responsibility is tremendous, but I’m doing well.
    You and many ladies on this blog have been very encouraging and supportive and I’m so grateful for it.
    Much love~Debbie

    • Vikki S. on July 4, 2014 at 12:21 am

      Debbie! So EXCITED for you that you get to watch God’s hand work on your behalf and wake up to PEACE every morning. Thank you for your beautiful verses, they just ministered to me again (separated a year, divorce final in 2 more months). Saying a quick prayer for you tonight. 🙂

      • Debbie on July 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

        Thank you Vikki, for your prayers and words of encouragement. There are so many verses that have ministered to me throughout this ordeal and my devotionals “Jesus Calling” and “Streams in the Desert.” Blessings to you.

    • Kari on July 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Debbie, This passage in Isaiah was given to me by my pastor’s wife about 10 years ago, and has resurfaced many times over the years. I love the assurance that Christ is my husband: my lover, my protector & provider, my security… when my earthly husband has rejected and abandoned me & abused me for most of our marriage. And now that we are separated again, perhaps for good, I trust that God is taking care of me and all my needs. He is so good to me. Debbie, I know exactly how you are feeling living on your own in an apartment and taking on the financial weight; however, the freedom from constant fear and defensiveness really lighten the load, doesn’t it? 🙂

      • Debbie on July 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

        Oh yes it does Kari. I feel joy and peace being here and fixing it up the way I like. I don’t have much but it’s enough, and I’m having fun scouring thrift stores for things I need-I get to be creative and nobody is criticizing me! I wasn’t able to move all my stuff when I left so I’m trying to get it little by little. I haven’t been able to afford cable tv since I’ve been here (2 1/2 months) but I don’t really miss it.
        Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is one of my favorites too 🙂
        Blessings Kari.

  12. Sandra on July 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I believe my husband was a malcontent, and he found fault with whatever I did that didn’t include him.

    Discontentment makes rich men poor while contentment makes poor men rich.

    ….be content with what you have because God has said,
    “Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”
    Hebrews 13:5

  13. Ann on July 3, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Many years ago I wrote Isaiah 41:13 on a yellow lined sticky note and stuck it up on our bathroom mirror next to I love you stickers from my husband: “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
    Since then, still years ago, I attended BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, studying Isaiah (which is an awesome book) I had a couple of WOWS!!
    Read Isaiah 41:9. Who chose you? Read vs 10. What will He do? Is this a promise? Which hand?
    Now read vs 13. Which of your hands? When you meet someone or greet someone aren’t you face to face, in the presence of….
    Today I carry this yellow lined sticky note in my purse.
    I have so much to thank Jesus for!

  14. Vikki S. on July 4, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I offer these without drama or victim intent. In fact, God gave me these verses about 6 weeks before I left my marriage. Every night I just opened the Bible, I fell on these verses. I won’t copy them all out, just the verses that most moved me…

    All of Psalms 55,56,57.
    Particularly the following:

    Psalm 55:12, “Now, it is not an enemy who insults me- otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me – otherwise I could hide from him. But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd to the house of God. …

    Ps. 55: 20-22 He acts violently against those at peace with him; he violates his covenant. His buttery words are smooth but war is in his heart. His words are softer than oil, but they are drawn swords. Cast your burden on the Lord and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (we always hear that last sentence, but never in this context…)

    Ps 56:1 – Be gracious to me God, for man tramples me;
    Ps 56:3 -When I am afraid I will trust in you…
    Ps. 56: 5- They twist my words all day long. (Can I get an AMEN????) All their thoughts are against me for evil.
    Ps. 56: 8 God, You Yourself have recorded my wanderings, Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?… This I know. God is for me.

    Romans 8:35-36 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or angish or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword (or Divorce?) 😉

    I am God’s woman, and He was not pleased with the situation, and He defended me and still does to this day.

    • Kari on July 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      AMEN, sister! These exact Psalms have been a balm to my wounded soul as I poured out my grief to the Lord over my husband’s betrayal, violence & twisted words. Isn’t it amazing that God knows exactly how we are feeling and has specific words for us? I just love His Word!

      • Vikki S. on July 9, 2014 at 11:23 pm

        Kari – YES! Thank you for posting! Will pray for you tonight – just a little extra love from Him to you. I just want “due North” and will pray for you as well.

  15. Brenda on July 4, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I am so glad that you are doing well. It can be rocky at first and getting a budget working is a little scary. The peace that comes with leaving abuse is so much more precious than monetary things. It helped me to remember that God is my strength and He rescued me. What a wonderful savior He is. Blessings to you Debbie. Prayers and (((((Hugs))))) are coming your way.

    • Roge on July 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Here is a verse I came across this morning, Proverbs 3:31,32 Do not envy a violent man or choose his ways, for the Lord detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
      Thank you all for all the scripture you have shared. There is nothing better than going to God’s Word for spiritual food.

  16. Brenda on July 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Vikki S,

    You surely can get an “AMEN”. I love the verses that you were given. Divorce CANNOT separate us from the Love of God. (Vikki S 8:36b):) Another AMEN.

    I am God’s woman, and He was not pleased with the situation, and He defended me and still does to this day.

    That one gets an AMEN and a Hallelujah!! Love your words, Sister.

    • Vikki S. on July 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Bless you back, Sister!:-) We have been on this journey together, haven’t we? Will say a prayer for you tonight. XO!

  17. Brenda on July 4, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Thanks, Ann. This is a great devotional for this morning. He is always with us, He is always strengthening us. I AM. I love that as being a name of God. I AM! Reflecting on that brings joy to my heart.

  18. Brenda on July 4, 2014 at 10:02 am

    This is not actual scripture, but is noteworthy commentary from my KJV.

    Strategy for Effective Living:

    Begins with…God’s wisdom…Respecting and appreciating who God is; reverence and awe in recognizing the Almighty God

    Requires…Moral application…Trusting in God AND His Word; allowing His Word to speak to us personally; being willing to obey

    Requires…Practical application…Acting on God’s direction in daily devotions

    Results in…Effective living…Experiencing what God does with our obedience

    I can’t see the future. Only God can. But, I am like a child waiting to open their gifts under the Christmas tree to see what He will do next.

  19. Brenda on July 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

    This scripture speaks volumes. No matter which scripture he brings us to make us aware that we are free, it is all full of His Goodness. I am so thankful that He lead you to these words. This is a passage that I read frequently when being delivered from the invisible bars.

  20. Sandra on July 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you, Brenda! I’ll copy this for my journal. Even though I’m now experiencing lots of stress regarding the sale of my home and moving to a tiny rental, I trust in our Lord’s love and care through it all. I read this quip on Facebook: Don’t worry! Everything is going to be alright. Maybe not right this second, but God makes everything beautiful in His time.

    God bless you,
    Sandra <3 +

  21. Sandra on July 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Thank you, dear Leslie! I received all the blogs today, and I can’t begin to tell what a blessing you and these dear Sisters in Christ are to my heart!

    Love & prayers for you all,
    Sandra <3 +

  22. Sandra on July 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    My goodness, Vicky! I needed those Bible verses today. I never had the courage to leave my husband (for 57 years!), and thought, as a Christian, his abuse was my cross to bear until one of us died. However, he is the one who finally left last fall, giving me freedom and peace in the Lord. Yesterday my therapist asked me if I hated him or would I fell bad if he died. I replied that I feel pity, rather than hate for him, but can’t honestly say I’d feel bad if he died (then I could remarry, according to the Bible). I felt guilty for saying that, and prayed for the Lord to forgive me (but I still feel the same way!).

    God bless you,

    • Kari on July 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Sandra, I am sure you are not the first (or last) abused wife to think you wouldn’t feel bad if your husband died. Years ago I used to pray that God would strike my husband with lightening or take his life or do SOMETHING that would wake him up or shake him up. At least if he was gone that would free me to remarry and hope for a good marriage someday. Now I pity him, rather than hating him. I have told the Lord (even though He knows my heart anyway) that I don’t have any feelings of love for my husband and that I don’t think I would be sad if he died. The only thing I would feel badly about is if he died in the current state he is in with the Lord: rebellion. Over the years I have questioned his salvation so many times that I really don’t know where he would end up: heaven or hell. I guess God is the only one who truly knows though, and it’s not my responsibility to save him. The only hope of us ever getting back together is if he ever repents and surrenders to God; and that would be a miracle only God could do.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 7, 2014 at 11:03 pm

        Kari, do you think Abigail felt bad when Nabal died? I don’t. I think she felt relieved.

        • Sarah on July 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm

          I felt relief when my ex was recently incarcerated. Probably a bit of the same relief that Abigail felt, but I was chastised by my family because I was not showing the love of God. According to them the love of God doesn’t desire to see harm or displeasure come to anyone even and I wouldn’t require relief if only I trusted God like I should. I must admit it all left me a little confused.

          • Leslie Vernick on July 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm

            I think we love justice though and perhaps that’s what you felt in addition to relief.

        • Elizabeth on July 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm

          thank you Kari and Leslie. These are thoughts I have wrestled with for years. I am coming to have peace in God’s sovereignty in my life as He shows me how to navigate hard places, not rescuing but walking away. Proverbs 19:19 has served me well over the years. “A man of great anger shall bear the penalty, for if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.” I have stopped rescuing and he is bearing the consequences of his anger. That is God’s way.

  23. Sandra on July 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you again, Vicki (sorry for the y!) for these verses also from Isaiah. They relate perfectly to my situation: married at 17, mistreated almost from the first, and finally abandoned last fall (after 57 years of misery and abuse).

    In His love,
    Sandra <3 +

  24. Ann on July 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Dear Leslie,
    Thank you again for all of the effort you put into us. And let’s remember to thank Jesus, this reminds me of Luke 17: 11-19, the story of ten lepers. When I’m feelin’ down I try to remember how good He’s been to me, and when I’m down to nothing, I believe He’s up to something : )
    always something good : )

    Please be sure to get some R & R so you can continue this mission.

  25. Teri on July 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    So lovely to see the Scriptures used CORRECTLY in conjunction with abuse! It has long been believed by us PK’s & church girls that since the husband is the head of the family, that we just had to submit to WHatEVeR he decides.
    Thank you, dear sisters.
    Much love to you Leslie!

  26. Robin on July 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Sandra, you will survive!! Promise!!
    question– were you abandoned last fall, OR many yrs ago, perhaps you just didn’t call it that.
    When my husband began his daily unfaithfulness with verbal and emotional abuse along with disrespect – disvaluing- not allowing me to have a voice on anything,
    I came to realize he had abandoned me – day one.
    Build a great support team, and they will help get you thru this. I made it, and I have been told, I was one lucky girl to have escaped. !!!! Praying that you will walk in the path God has for you, as you proceed towards your freedom!!

  27. RayLene on July 5, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Dear Leslie,
    I have done that very thing with my contact solution. I hadn’t been wearing them for very long, and I couldn’t figure out what in the world was wrong! That was over 20 years ago, and I still check and double check when I buy my solution!

    Bible Dictionary defines a “railer” as “pne who speaks abusively.

    I Cor 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. defines a “revile” as “To abuse; attack with evil words”
    I Cor 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God

    God’s Word seems to make it pretty clear.

  28. Lorie on July 6, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Deut. 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (change to him?), for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

    Read this today after another day of questioning whether I stay for the sake of the kids or leave. I think my decision is made. I will be calling my attorney on Monday.

  29. Patricia on July 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Ladies, I read these posts and I feel so stupid that I stayed in an abusive marriage for 10 years, hiding it from everyone I knew because of shame. It just seemed that a Christian, a Bible College grad who married another Bible College grad who hoped one day to go on the mission field just shouldn’t have problems like that…so I hid his drinking and abuse. It wasn’t until 10 years later when I got so angry that I kicked him out, that I was free. And I did finally get on the mission field. But the wasted years…all because I felt the church couldn’t/wouldn’t accept me if I didn’t wear a mask. And I, thankfully, was wrong!!! Praise God He shows such grace to us!!! and through His people!

    • Leslie Vernick on July 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Praise God you were wrong. God’s grace is amazing.

      • Patricia on July 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

        Leslie, thank you for your comment. He is amazing. I was so glad to find my pastor in support of my decision to separate, and to have the love and support of my church through divorce. You never go into marriage thinking you’ll divorce — but how terrible if your own pastor and church would make your marriage a prison of pain, abuse, and hurt! It was so wonderful to me when even the mission board did not feel my gifts as a Christian nurse, and my felt call, to be discarded on the trash heap because of the divorce.

  30. Brenda on July 8, 2014 at 5:26 am

    I am so happy for your Patricia. There are many who would prefer the mask. They don’t want to deal with it. God is so good.

    • Patricia on July 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Brenda, thank you! I won’t say there haven’t been rough roads, but I will say that God is faithful! The more I learn of His character, the more I love Him! I have given up the mask thing in all ways, as much as I can, though I sometimes fail. People respond to transparency, I find, and it encourages them to have the courage to be transparent as well!! If we are not real, we can’t admit our failings, we can’t “comfort each other with the comfort that we have received” (I’m probably mis-quoting a bit), etc. I’m not saying drag out every bit of garbage, but — a mask does not allow others to show us grace, or to allow us to receive it!

  31. Amy on July 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    My abusive ex walked on me over 5 years ago after what would have been 20 years of marriage.

    When he walked out that door a flood of emotions overtook my body, but the main thing I remember is feeling this HUGE weight lifted off of me. I crumpled on the ground and felt as if I’d been finally rescued after years of imprisonment.
    That night I opened my bible up after months of putting God on the back burner of my life and He gave me this verse:
    “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” ~Psalm 4:8
    There was finally peace in my life and I was safe — and I slept like a baby that first night.

    The next night I opened my bible to this verse:
    “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” ~Psalm 118: 5-6

    I bought a Prayer journal after my ex left and ended up using it to write down scriptures and other quotes which spoke to my heart. I prayed the scriptures and God talked to me.
    I can honestly say that I heard Him very clearly in those next couple years of struggle in my life — struggling to find work after 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, struggling to put food on the table for me and my two sons and to pay the mortgage on time, and struggling to listen only to God and not all those around me who condemned me for not wanting to reconcile because I was told over and over how much God hates divorce.

    The Psalms is where I turned to to find myself again if you will. I saw how beautiful I truly was to God even if my ex had never told me that; I found my stronghold there and came to believe that with God on my side no man could hurt me; and I came to see that God never left me nor ever would.
    I found love, strength and peace through the Psalms. They became my life line that God threw to me which kept me afloat through many hard, hard times.

    As I read through my journal this morning I found this prayer I scribbled in it’s pages:
    “God, Help me to forgive, yet let me continue to remember — not so that I can continue living as a victim, but so that I may learn from the past and move on to victory.”

    Forgiving was hard for me — okay, it IS hard for me to this day — but at the time I felt like forgiving my ex meant forgetting the past and all he had done and basically letting him off the hook, which would then mean I had to reconcile with him. Crazy, huh, how warped our thinking can get after being with an abuser for so long.

    Everyone always said I had to forgive as God forgave me (Eph 4:32) and in my head that meant that if God forgave me and never stopped loving me, then I had to forgive, forget and go back to my abuser.
    But I found this I had rewrote from the Daily Bread:
    “…forgiveness is not forgetting, excusing or smoothing things over. Instead, forgiving breaks the cycle of revenge and creates a new possibility of fairness by releasing us from the unfair past. Forgiving is love’s toughest work and love’s biggest risk. To forgive is to dance to the beat of God’s forgiving heart. It is to ride the crest of love’s strongest wave. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was YOU.”

    Today, I’ve been free for over 5 years from living with abuse (although it did continue even after he left) and I can say to all you ladies out there still wondering if leaving is the right thing — life does go on, but it takes that first step to make it happen. Whether you choose a trial of separation or divorce, you will survive. And staying for the kids sake — if only I hadn’t waited so long until my boys were teens. But fear has a way of holding us hostage, doesn’t it?
    I have been married for almost 3 years and know what a healthy, loving marriage is — what I only dreamed of, but never thought possible.

    God is good. God will never leave you, God will never hate you, He loves you so much.

    “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” ~Ps 18:19

    It’s a long, hard road to walk when leaving an abusive relationship, but with God by your side all things are possible.


    • Belle on July 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      God says He will deliver, and He did deliver you. Why does God not deliver others who are oppressed? If I were to leave or separate, would I be delivering myself?

      • Amy on July 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        Dear Belle,
        Not knowing where you are in your journey I can feel the hurt and struggle in your few words.

        Yes, God did deliver me from an abusive marriage and in such a way I would never have imagined. Honestly, I figured I would never find a way out and to this day wonder if I would have still been in that marriage if not for my ex leaving. But thankfully, I do not have to worry about that, it is over!

        So, why does God not deliver others who are oppressed as you asked? Not sure I have a good answer but I do have some thoughts. I would love to hear what Leslie has to say.

        My own belief is that God does deliver each of us, but it will look different for each person. In other words, God may not take the abusive person out of the picture as he did for me, (although my ex did NOT leave me alone for over 2 years after he left!), but I believe He sends us help when we cry out to Him. What we choose to do with that help is up to us.

        In other words, God does give us free will and a mind to make our own choices, so if for instance you choose to leave or separate and feel you have sought the Lord’s direction then it could be His prompting you are experiencing to take yourself out of a destructive marriage, even if just for a season. Does that make sense?

        I can look back over the 20 years I was in an abusive marriage and when I truly started crying out the Lord for help I can clearly see now that He was working in my life at that time. He brought certain people into my life and showed me resources to open my eyes to what was happening in my life. What I chose to do with all that was my choice and I chose to stay.
        But if I had chosen to leave I believe God would have been the deliverer of that choice.

        I don’t know if any of that made sense — sounded better in my head! LOL And I’m writing quickly as I need to finish dinner before hubby gets home.

        My prayers are with you — feel free to contact me if you wish.

        Psalm 72:12-14

    • Sandra on July 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Wow Amy – What story -Our lives are actually mirrors of one another – and when I read your story it felt sadly, as though I could have written it – minus the remarriage. My husband didn’t leave – but we are in the midst of the battle of our lives. I wanted to share Psalm 70 and 71 – all up – as they show the protection God provides for the falsely accused and often times oppressed believer. Women in cruel, loveless, abusive marriages are often times voiceless and powerless even in their churches – at the hand of a husband who claims to belong to Christ – and the advice of, as Leslie says, “well-meaning” pastors that do not truly understand the nature of living a life of chronic abuse, and how dishonoring that truly is. I am so grateful for God’s word – He is the one true thing in this life – the ONLY ONE who gives life, courage and hope to the broken-hearted and downcast. Thanks for sharing.

      Many blessings to you in your renewed life –


      • Amy on July 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

        Thank you for the kind words, Sandra. I feel it is important for all of us to share our stories no matter where we are in our journey — some have gotten free from the abuse, some in the middle of the battle of leaving and some are still captive.

        My bible is highlighted and dog-eared from the past few years, and I have many verses highlighted and underlined from Psalms 70 and 71 — thank you for sharing.

        I’ve always said that God is the ONLY constant in my life. He does not change no matter what I do or how my circumstances change — He remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And that is what I clung to in past few years after my ex left.

        I pray for God’s protection over you as you are in this battle.


  32. Sandra on July 8, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I’m responding to Kari: Thank you for reiterating that Jesus is our husband, lover, protector and provider, our all in all, both now and forever!
    God bless you and all our dear sisters, and you dear Leslie for your vital ministry to us.

    Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
    Galatians 6:2

  33. Sandra on July 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    P.S: I’ve prayed for you, dear Leslie, and so glad to know that your eye is better! God is good!

  34. Sandra on July 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, Amy! I could have written what you wrote myself. However, I stayed in my abusive marriage for 57 years until he finally left. I’m so glad for your happy ending, but I think I’m too old at nearly 75 for the same. However, I know Jesus is now my husband, lover and provider, even if I never have true love and romance in this life. HE is all I need!

    In His love,

    • Amy on July 8, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Dear sister, I cannot imagine living for 57 years in an abusive marriage! I’m so glad you were brought out of it!

      Yes, Jesus is our everything — He is all we need! When He delivered me from the abuse I relied on Him more than any other time in my life. I clung to Him and He filled all those empty spaces I had with His love and grace.

      Maybe I’m just a diehard romantic, but I don’t think we are ever too old for true love in our lives. 🙂 When I met my husband I was not looking nor even wanting to think of marrying again, at least not for a long, long time. I did not trust people, especially men, and I held my husband at arms length for many months until finally I developed trust in him, and in myself enough to trust my own feelings and intuition.

      God is good!


  35. Sandra on July 8, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you Robin! Yes, although I stayed married for 57 years because I was taught “Until death do you part,” plus being fearful to make it on my own, my husband actually “abandoned” me right from the start. I’ve been reading our other sisters’ statements as to how foolish they were to have wasted even 10 or 20 years before leaving. I wish I’d had the courage and teaching to have left, but at least I now have a few years to enjoy peace, and freedom to serve the Lord, as never before. It’s never too late!


  36. Brenda on July 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Amy, I do so love a happy ending. I am glad that you found someone who gives you a healthy, loving relationship. That is awesome

    • Amy on July 9, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Thank you, Brenda. I’m amazed every day at what God gave me.

  37. Robin on July 9, 2014 at 12:36 am

    I don’t think it mattered how long we stayed. God reveals light, for some its soon, for some there is a reason why it takes longer. The important thing is that we respond when God puts a light on our path to see. And then we get to walk freely. I stayed 32 yrs, and was very fearful to leave for many of the reasons I heard on this blog. I never dreamt my life could be this good, again. Full of peace, confidence, and love for myself and others…… Thank you Jesus for your gift!!!

  38. Patricia on July 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Amy and Sandra, your posts bring tears to my eyes!! The blessings of God!! Oh, Sandra, I would never condone a divorce lightly, but how I understand that “abandonment” from the get-go, so to speak. I’m sorry for your suffering, but even though I am one of the women that wrote of “wasted” years, I must balance that with — they were not totally “wasted”! All these troubled years, the pain, loneliness, can be used by God to make us strong! I’m not saying, of course, that we should stay and be beat up, like I so foolishly did — I’ll spare details — just so we can “grow in Jesus”! But nothing is completely wasted, I guess. But I’d rather grow by reading a book than being hit by one!! 🙂

    • Amy on July 9, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      How many times I’ve thought how foolish I was for staying so long, but honestly, I don’t believe anything in our lives is ever a ‘waste’. I believe God can and does use everything we go through in this life to mold us and shape us into who He wants us to be.

      I’m not sure where you are on this journey, but I pray for continued strength and growth for you.


  39. Elizabeth on July 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you, ladies for all these verses. I will work through them one day at a time and allow God to comfort and guide my heart through them.

  40. Ami on July 9, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Yesterday my 13 old son was reading Luke 14:26 He came to me and said “Why does God call me to hate my family? But then commands us to love our Enemies?” God knows what we need and at the exact time we need it. I have struggled on and off with divorcing my abusive husband of 22 yrs. Even though all 5 of my children fully supported me and some of my friends did. I still struggle with the choice I made. It is sad. But when my son brought this scripture to me, I told him. “The Bible does not contridict itself. What Jesus meant is that we can not follow this world, and when family gets in the way of God, in a sinful way, we must decide to follow God no matter what. If the family members persecute and abuse us, we must remove ourselves from them because we wouldn’t be honoring God by allowing the abuse to continue. Yes we must seek God in all things and separating from my abusive husband 2 years ago, I saught help and prayed diligently daily. Sometimes for hours. Crying and seeking God’s will for my situation. My husband refused to take accoutability for his actions and quit counceling for the umteenth time. My councelor advised me to not let him back in because it would be like giving into the abuser and the abuse would be far worse. Our counselor was a man. He found my husband to be an extreme narsissist and unwilling to change. My husband even admitted to the way his was but told our counselor. “This is who I am and my family HAS to obey me.” He went out and bought himself an 18,000 Harely, went on vacations. Never called his kids and found himself a new women in a bar, to abuse. I did not find out about the woman until 3/4 way through our divorce. He was even living with her. God knew I was struggling even though I had heard from the Holy Spirit many times to leave him. I was double minded because of Christian friends telling me I was sinning and my pastor who told me the only way I could leave him was if there was infedelity. Him nor the elders held him accountable. In fact my pastor refused to counsel us. No elders stepped forward and we were friends with one. I was alone outside of my children and 3 friends all who were going through the same thing. 2 of us have divorced and found out our husbands found someone else before the divorce was over. One is going through her divorce right now and struggles daily with her decision and one has stayed and suffers greatly. I believe the scipture presented to me yesterday was Gods truth. If you allow anyone to continue to “rule over you, control you, abuse you with even words” to get their way, you are allowing sin to reign and Jesus calls us to follow Him no matter what. My two oldest children have allot of his abusive ways in them. My oldest has chosen to have a relationship with him and he manipulates her and she abuses me feeling sorry for him, even though she sided with me during the divorce. She has fallen back and believes he deserves to be loved the way he “needs” and has found someone who has allot more things in common with him. Heartbreaking!!! My Son can be a bully and manipulative and last week I had to let him know and he did not take it well. It scared me to see that narsissistic behavior take over. I have wept many tears with what my husbands abuse has done to my grown children. But I was faithful in training them up in the way they should go and believe they will eventually come to their senses. Prayer is essential! I also can not allow either one of them to abuse me with words and actions. Nor can I let them do this to my 3 younger children. Boundaries are also essential and I am growing daily in setting them. I stuggle with the fear of losing the friendship with my two oldest because we have always been a very close family. In the end I must chose Jesus and if they don’t like my boundaries then they can chose to be angry and not have my companionship. They will always have my love and prayers. I have to bring all my fears, anxities, concerns

  41. Ami on July 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    sorrows, and failures to the foot of the Throne to our precious Savior and give this to Him. It is to big for me and will consume me if I let it. I take a day at a time and pray weekly with the 3 still at home. We have found stability and joy in The Lord. And praise Him for His daily blessing.

    I am so thankful for finding Leslie and this site with all of you amazing, beautiful children of God!

  42. Tina on July 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I struggled for 27 years with emotional, sexual and occasional physical abuse…when I finally had the courage to speak up about the reality of my situation behind closed doors, God began to do miraculous things. Someone in the church took a step and reached out, asking me about some things my husband had told her husband. Then it all came out into the open, people gathered around, trying to bring restoration as the truth was known. Eventually after meetings with others, interviews with my oldest children, and a confrontation by our pastor, my X moved out. Scripture wrapped my heart in truths I had never seen before, and God came to me in incredible ways to bring hope and comfort. One of my most memorable experiences was one night when I was struggling with what to do. I opened my Bible to Nahum 1, and verses 12-13 leaped off the page. “I will afflict you no more; For now I will break off his yoke from you, and burst your bonds apart.” I had never seen this passage before, and I knew God was speaking to me about my situation. The events that followed were an amazing set of circumstances in which God acted on my behalf to deliver me, and provide for my every need. I would not trade these times for anything, as I have seen God do things I never would have been able to imagine. HE IS GOOD! And He IS FOR US! I will be forever grateful for all He has done.

  43. Brenda on July 9, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    That is an interesting option. I will look into that.

  44. Brenda on July 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I don’t believe that you would be delivering yourself anymore than I did. God delivered me, gave me the strength to leave and gave me everything I needed to do it. I prayed about it long and hard and prayer was answered. The X abandoned me yet stayed in the home. He was abusive in many ways. That is not how God wants His daughters to be treated. If X did not make a profession of faith yet was loving, kind and was not abusive, there would have been no reason for my leaving. Perhaps the Light of Christ would have brought X to repentance. That is not what happened. He was abusive then, he is abusive now. The only one who can change him is Christ. It is not up to me to make that happen. It is between him and God. Give God the glory through all the steps you take.

  45. Kelly on July 10, 2014 at 2:23 am

    For my first separation from the physical abuse, God gave me verses in Jeremiah. I know God was answering me specifically to my situation and sometimes I go back to see if these verses are still there, or if God put them on the pages for me that day. After much deep crying out to God, I turned to Jer. 11, that talks about the houses of Israel and Judah “have broken My covenant” and how “doom” would come against the evil they “have done against themselves”. God showed Jeremiah his life was in danger, (v.20), “But, O Lord of hosts, You who judge righteously…” I love the “But God” verses in the Bible!!!
    I felt God urging me to leave, that things would only get worse and I and my babies were in danger. I called a friend, (pastor’s wife) and told her what I thought God was telling me & she questioned me and told me I was making a huge decision on a hunch that God was leading, so I cried out again to God and told Him I needed strong confirmation on what to do. I read further…Jer. 13 said…well, so many things pertaining to my situation; but 1st, mentioned not letting pride stop me. That was hard, because I wanted so badly to keep my marriage from failing. Then, Jer 13:20-21, talked about the “flock entrusted to you” …my children,
    … the next hardest thing; then v. 22-23 talked about “skirts torn off & body mistreated”, exactly a scenario of the abuse in our home which was more like rape; the abuse was always centered around sex. I felt very confirmed that God was speaking to me through this. As I started planning and packing to leave, I felt so lost again; I had no idea what to pack or where I was going. I remember crying out to God again and just going to the beginning of Jer. and started reading; then I got to Jer. 10:17 (NIV) and read, “Gather up your belongings to leave the land, you who live under siege.” God spoke so clearly; I knew I must leave. One verse God gave me in my doubts, was “Be still & know that I am God”. I did find a group home to stay at (a God thing, too) and when I got there and felt that flood of doubt, and my babies were crying, “I wanna go home”, I went to set my purse down in the room we’d be staying, and on the dresser where I set my purse, was a little plaque that said, “Be still & know that I am God”. I wish I could say this story has a happy ending…long, long story. The physical abuse did end after 7 years; Praise God! But restoration & healing never came. I read in a book, “You can’t get healing at the scene of an accident”…so true! We carried on for 17 more years and I knew things weren’t great, but I didn’t know how bad they were until I found intimate texts on my husbands phone to another woman last year. We separated for 7 months, but as
    one last try, and many other very complicated factors, I let him move back in (down the hall) last month. It’s not looking good; but Leslie, your books have been a healing balm as well as many, many wonderful Scriptures! I am so much stronger than I have ever been & I can see things so much more clearly! Thank you all, so much for sharing your stories and verses!

  46. Brenda on July 10, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Amen, Debbie. You will find that after going through thrift stores that you have more than what you need. I have yet to put a picture on my wall. At first I wasn’t sure how long I would be in my apartment. Now it is because there isn’t a lot of wall space and I can’t decide what I want up there. I am not much of a decorator, but have a lot of books so the top of my bookcase has a couple of cups and plates with pictures from Thomas Kinkade. I can’t afford a framed work, but I can have many portraits on dishes. I know the peace you feel. I have been gone 13 months and 7 days. The abuse has not stopped, but is slowing down. I look forwards to the day in Heaven where there will be no abuse, no sorrow, no pain.

  47. debby on July 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    You seem to be a lone voice, Leslie. SO many pastors just don’t understand and it makes women in an abusive situation much more likely to have difficulty finding an answer. It’s almost as if every relationship has protection except marriage and it should be opposite. That is the most intimate, it should be the most protected. Very frustrating. Especially because most women who are in abuse also are the ones who are pleasers and find confrontation difficult (not anymore, btw!). It seems like the church is almost culpable in abuse continuing. On another note, one of the most helpful things I’ve read (and I think it came from one of your blogs) is a bible study titled God’s Protection of Women, by Radio Bible organization. VERY eye-opening and reaffirmed that God loves ME and does not expect ongoing abuse to be my norm to show Him I love him and am obedient to him. He gave me a brain as well and I need to use my common sense. God Bless you as you minister to those of us who have nowhere else to turn for sound Godly advice!

  48. Brenda on July 13, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Oh how I wish X would cut his tactics down to 6 months. It doesn’t take more than a week to start all over again. I get the “Hope you are feeling ok. Have a blessed day.” texts. Up until recently when some one told him to have a blessed day, he had rude immature comments to say about it. I am sure he still does except if he is talking to me. I don’t respond to texts or phone calls, so then he calls me at work. I can’t hardly not answer the phone there. I’m not sure which part of divorce, that he asked for after separating that he doesn’t understand, but I will not longer re-explain the situation or what I was expecting of him in order to think of reconciling. There will be no reconciling. I try to go by the JADE rule now.

    Don’t Justify, Don’t Argue, Don’t Defend, Don’t Explain

    I pray that he will seek the door that leads to Christ, but I don’t pray for us to work as a couple any longer. If I repeated anything from before, I do apologize.

  49. Carol on July 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Oh my! I thought I had it bad at 6 months! I do get the same kind of texts though…”Miss you…Have a nice day, Sweetie.” I appreciated the JADE rule. I do find myself explaining less and less because I’ve realized he just doesn’t get it, with or without an explanation. I know he’ll be surprised and shocked if and when I actually decide to file for divorce. He will not see that coming. Like you, I have stopped praying for reconciliation and am at peace with that, but I do pray that he finds God’s truth in all this. Ironically, we were missionaries for ten years. He established a church in Mexico! He can “do ministry,” but cannot do relationships, sadly, but he does not realize that about himself. Thanks for your honesty. On days when I doubt myself for keeping this boundary, it helps to know others are out there struggling in the same way. I do NOT rejoice in your sufferings, by the way—that’s not what I’m saying. Blessings!

    • Brenda on July 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      I didn’t think for one minute that you rejoiced in my sufferings or anyone elses for that matter.

      Another call last night. Honey wouldn’t melt in the mans mouth, but that is because he couldn’t figure out his vehicle and house insurance. I always did that. He doesn’t want a wife, he wants his mommy.

  50. Sandra on July 13, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I can relate to your frustration, dear Brenda. My husband also phones and writes letters,berating me for refusing to respond or reconcile. He says he feels sorry for me, as if I’m the lost and guilty one, when it’s actually himself. I like your JADE rule. I also pray for his salvation, as he’ll never have peace without it.
    God bless!

  51. Elizabeth on July 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you, Carol. I have been doing JADE but did not have a name for it. When I do any of those things it leads to accusations and blame shifting. Even when I apologize for my part it some how turns further accusations. I am learning to quietly and respectfully walk away.
    I am so thankful to God for this forum and others through Leslie to support and encourage one another. There are so few who truly understand emotional and mental abuse. God does and He will have the last word. He is my refuge and hope….

  52. Sandra on July 13, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Dear Debby: I’ve also found that most pastors believe an abused Christian woman should stay and/or reconcile with her husband. (Just be submissive and treat him with love and prayer to the end! — sic) Since my husband left,I’ve mentioned to my pastor that I’d like to join the church, but he hasn’t responded, and I wonder if it’s because I refuse to reconcile with my husband? I feel like a “branded” woman!

  53. Brenda on July 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Amen, Sandra.

    We will find rest, but they won’t until they find Christ.

  54. Brenda on July 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I know what it feels like to feel like a “branded” woman. I joined my church the years before the X and I split up. If he left isn’t it up to him to attempt reconciliation or are you suppose to go crawling and begging?

    Just be submissive and treat him with love and prayer to the end! — sic) It doesn’t work with those who don’t want to live with us in love and secure relationship. It will only work with those who truly love us.

  55. Sandra on July 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you, Brenda. My husband told our two daughters that He’s lonely and miserable since leaving me, but has yet to say he mistreated me or is sorry. He said I’m the one who needs help and that he’s sorry for me! I still pray for his salvation, however, and feel nothing but pity for him.
    God bless!

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