Yes it’s Tuesday. Late Tuesday. I’ve been working on this blog today because of the snow. Yesterday I was scurrying to finish up some writing deadlines and thank you so much for your prayers. I finished three out of four articles. I have one more to write this weekend. I so appreciate your encouraging words and prayers. They mean so much to me. In today’s answer I’ve taken a different approach to answering a question. It just seemed to fit with what I’ve been thinking about lately and wanted to share it more with you.
Be sure to sign up for my February newsletter if you haven’t already at www.leslievernick.com. I’m going to tell you five words that can change your life.
Today’s Question: My physical injuries have healed from people who’ve abused me, but the negative feelings are still there. What can I do to find deeper healing?
Answer: Emotional wounds are much more damaging than physical wounds are and heal slowly. I’d highly recommend that you read the last section (Surviving it) of my book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship as well as How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong for specific steps that you can take for your emotional growth and healing. But let share with you a meditation I’ve been pondering that may give you a good start.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the story of the women who had an issue of blood for 12 years. You know her; she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, hoping to be healed. But let’s look more closely at her story to understand how deeper healing takes place. (Read Mark 5 and Luke 8 for the story.)
Here is a woman who was an outcast. She was labeled an unclean woman, socially unacceptable, undesirable, and dirty. Jewish law mandated that if someone touched an unclean person, they would need to go through the Jewish purification ritual in order to regain their rights to enter the temple. She was an untouchable woman and people kept their distance. She had spent all her resources to find help, but she only got worse. This woman heard Jesus coming and thought to herself, “if only I can touch his cloak, I will be healed.” ─ and to her surprise ─ she was.
Immediately she tried to escape the crowd unnoticed. Remember, she touched Jesus and according to Jewish law, that made him unclean. How embarrassed and scared she must have felt when Jesus turned and said, “Who touched me?” If she identified herself then everyone would know what she had done.
Let’s step back for a moment and look at the larger story here. Jesus was heading to Jairus’ house. Jairus was a Jewish leader, a ruler of the synagogue. Yet he approached Jesus for help because his young daughter lay dying. Jairus was a daddy before he was a religious leader and so he fell at Jesus’ feet begging him to heal his daughter.
It was on the way to Jairus’ home with the crowd pressing in that Jesus stopped and asked who touched him? I wonder in that moment what Jairus thought and felt? Did he feel impatient, anxious for Jesus to hurry up and get to his house? His daddy’s heart wanted his daughter healed. I wonder if he also felt a bit angry at this woman for distracting Jesus and taking valuable time away from a more pressing need. I suspect he might have even felt angry at Jesus for not prioritizing his daughter’s life threatening illness over this woman’s chronic bleeding problem.
Plus, Jarius was a person of influence and importance. He was a leader: he spoke and people listened. He risked everything to beg for Jesus’ help and now Jesus was wasting time asking who touched him while his daughter lay dying.
Do you ever feel like Jairus? God isn’t moving fast enough for your emergency? Angry and impatient that other people’s prayers are getting answered while you are still waiting?
Jairus was a daddy and wanted to see his daughter healed. But dear readers, one of the lessons of this story is that this woman had a daddy too, and her daddy cared about her needs and he knew she had no one who begged for her healing. Jesus stopped and called her forth because he wanted her to know something very important. Listen to what he told her. He said, “Daughter, Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” He wanted her to know that her daddy (the Heavenly Father) saw her suffering and told Jesus to help her too.
Jesus wanted her to know that she mattered to God. Although her culture rejected her, God did not. Although she was judged to be unclean, Jesus declared her whole. He wanted her to know that she was a person of value and worth. Even in a pressured moment, Jesus took the time to have a conversation with a nameless women who felt unclean, unloved and unimportant. He wanted her to know who she was. She was a daughter of a daddy who cared.
How about you? Perhaps your father abused you. Your husband rejects you. People don’t understand you. You feel like an unclean women, damaged goods. If only you could touch his cloak, you’d be well. I have good news for you. Daughter, go in peace and be freed from your suffering. God wants to help you. He wants you to know that you matter. You are important to him. He sees you and knows you and is never too busy with more important people to meet your very personal need. You are not nameless, or worthless, or hopeless. You have a daddy, he’s called Abba (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
Knowing and believing that, is the beginning of your healing.
As for Jairus, Jesus didn’t forget about his concern although he probably felt that way when he got word that his daughter died. But Jesus turned to him and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” What did it take to walk those next miles home, heavy with sorrow yet clinging to faith? Perhaps that’s where you are right now. You feel hopeless or angry or disappointed. But Jairus trusted what Jesus said to him, and because he did, he saw a miracle. Jesus took his precious daughter’s hand and said, “Honey, wake up.”
What is Jesus saying to you right now, even if the midst of sorrow, heartache, broken dreams and shattered promises? Can you trust what he is saying and continue to walk in faith? That is healing. He says to you, “Honey, wake up. You were lost and now you're found. I have recued you from the domain of darkness and put you into the kingdom of light. You were an orphan but now you are in a family. You are precious and I have not forgotten you.”
Believing God, and letting his words define us, heal us. Psalm 107:20 He sent forth his word and healed them.
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Leslie – God uses you in so many ways and as a blessing at just the right times! I am not a young woman, am in my 50's. It's not like I can start over again as a young woman.
I am just now learning that I am worthy of respect and being treated with respect. The wounds go deep and yes it will take time to heal. I thank God that He was patient with me and slow to learn that I can be restored and renewed. I look forward to seeing what He has in store for me now that I am free from the abuse after so many years.
Thank you Lord for using Leslie to shine Your light in the darkest corners of our lives.
Thank You for pointing me to Jesus! May God Bless You Leslie!
Great post, Leslie. After being in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage for 20 years, my husband left two years ago to basically prove I couldn't live without him. He never worked on changing and even today as our divorce is almost final, he is not showing any fruit of having changed. He continues to try and verbally abuse me and tell lies about me to others.
The last two years have been a healing time for myself and in that time I came to find the Lord, again. I have been a believer for years, but through the course of my marriage put God on the back burner. He called me back to Himself and I learned to wait on Him. In the waiting I learned to trust Him again and see that He was changing me and how I viewed myself after years of being told how stupid, ugly and incompetent I was.
In the Lord, we are beautiful (His creation) and wise (only in Him). There are still days where I have to tell myself I'm His creation and fearfully and wonderfully made, but I have come to believe it and my life has changed so much.
Thanks for your post… For the past 5 months, I am separated from my husband, as our marriage of 3 years has been abusive. I still don't know when it started – the insults, threats, criticisms, even the occasional physical abuses. I remember being shocked each time a new form of abuse started but soon it was minimized and I was blamed for it anyway. The cycle was the same – he would place a demand or remove one of my rights, I would try to reason with him, he would become abusive or threaten to leave, I would give up hoping that someday he would understand… Some days were good, especially if I did what was expected without asking for anything. I learned to keep the peace – to keep quiet when he was in a bad mood, get his permission for everything and not press if he rejected a request. Eventually I was not allowed to talk to or visit my family and friends, invite anyone home, spend money (I have a job) or go out of the house without him.Occasionally I would stand for my beliefs or place boundaries and things would get really bad.
The first time he walked out during an argument I panicked and called him back accepting all his demands. But things became worse as I was told that he returned was because I begged him, so I should obey him completely. When I contacted his family for help they blamed me and he started gathering evidence to implicate me. He even let his mother come and stay at our home for a month without asking me and allowed her to shout at me and blame me even when I placed any boundaries. I was virtually imprisoned at home and work was my refuge, but even there I was monitored through phone calls. I no longer had the energy to argue with him and tried to block out the abuses and let things slide for as long as I could endure. I did not have the strength to live like this anymore nor the courage to leave but I trusted that God would intervene and do something to help me.
This time when he left, I could not even force myself to call him back. My parents have supported me but its hard for them as he blames them for this. Recently we attended a counseling session where he twisted facts, never let me speak and blamed me claiming that he left was because I was abusive. Everything he has done he projected onto me saying I did them. His parents go around claiming that the fact that I never contacted the police proves that he was never abusive. I am not prepared to attend further joint counseling to listen to his lies but the church will not recommend anything else until I agree to reunite. I try not to answer his calls, but yesterday I did and he told me that he did nothing wrong and that we should forget the past and start living together without any questions. Since his family does not want me should be nice to them and let them stay at our place so that they can gradually forgive me. He needs an answer soon or he cannot wait for me forever…
Why are both people to be blamed when conflicts occur? Why is the husband believed when he minimizes or denies physical, verbal and emotional abuse? Does the lack of broken bones mean that the marriage was safe? Is it wrong to try to protect yourself when you are afraid of your physical and emotional well-being? Does loving your husband mean silently submitting to someone who willingly hurts you? Why is it wrong to separate from a husband who verbally abuses you and controls you like a possession? How is it possible to return to a person who has repeatedly broken your trust and shows no remorse or refuses to seek help?
I don’t want a divorce, but I have realized that there is nothing I can do if he is not willing to face the truth and change his behavior. So I am trying to just believe God and let His words define me and heal me. It is a relief to know that although everyone has rejected me and don’t understand me, my Abba is there for me and wants to meet my need.
WoW…the comment above by Anonymous could be me …or me 1 year ago …..I separated from my abusive husband after 32 years and I have been through everything you described. I wanted to advise you to call a domestic violence shelter in your area to seek counseling…they have been my source of strength, they are trained to understand the mind of a abuser and can keep you strong in moments of weakness. I to am a Christian and sought the counseling of pastors, christian friends, and even regular therapists, nobody understands the severity of the situation, they can't understand why we would not just work it out…or walk away!! If you have not read Leslie's books I encourage you to do so, then seek counseling from someone who deals with abusers..If you need a friend…I will leave my email if you ask….I will pray for you strength and I encourage you to keep going…YOU ARE WORTH IT!
I would encourage your readers to go to teddkorenseminars.com and read about retracing. The testimonials are very true as I would validate them from my own experience. Often in Christian circles we are not aware of the interrelatedness of our emotions with our bodies. I went to a KST practitioner in my area and found I felt much lighter as the feelings that were somehow lodged in my body were released. It can be a wonderfully powerful treatment in addition to the questioners hard work. Blessings.
To those of you who posted here with the agony and terror of being blamed, rejected and unable to break away from the abuse – let me give you a story of encouragement.
I, too, lived through similar circumstances, and found strength and support from Leslie's books…they are such a source of clarity!
I finally got all my supporting evidence and papers in a row (it took about 2 years), and decided I had nothing to lose by going for a separation from my husband. He fought it because a) he didn't want his easy way of life to disappear (having a "servant" was convenient, I guess), and b) didn't believe I could do life on my own.
I cried a river of tears (as I'm sure you all have done), and argued with God frequently as to why I was stuck in this mess. But God is forever faithful and patient, and lovingly guided me through all the dark valleys and out the other side to the sunlight of a life centered on serving Him instead!
I now have my own place, a sanctuary of peace, with wonderful friends and a job I love. I did divorce, and with that came a new found respect on the part of my ex. We have resumed a very good friendship as his power and control over me no longer exists. I have re-learned how to say No and stand up for my self, and it is a very good feeling!
Yes, it can be done, and yes, it takes a long time with lots of help and support from friends, and wise counsel. Read, educate yourself on how to be whole and emotionally healthy – and above all seek a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who has never stopped loving you!
Thank you so much for sharing such personal and heartfelt stories of your journey of healing from emotional and relational pain.
I know God is using this post and blog to help women know that they are not alone. He is with you and we can be with one another.
I am saddened by the stories left here, but oddly feel comfort by knowing I am not alone, nor am I crazy. My heart breaks for all of us because it must break God's heart.
I have had the privilege to cousel with Leslie on a few occassions, and have read her books. I am currently separated from my husband, going on 1 year now. In that time, we have never divorced – however, he has at different times decided that the marriage is over and then other times, that he wants it again.
He still blames me for everything, still verbally attacks me and rages whenever the opportunity arises yet still has the ability to "lure" me back to him (intimately) under the guise of "we're working on our marriage".
I know we really aren't working on it because he still refuses to get the "other woman" out of his life, get accountability for his pornography use and refuses to attend church and counseling.
My pastor and friends tell me to just cut him out and stop seeing him and listening to him. It's just not that easy. I can't explain why I can not break free from him – it must be from the years of abuse. I desperately wait for God to heal me. I want to be able to be strong and not be controled or lured back into his abusive behavior.
This is in response to the last anonymous writer. I too found it difficult to cut off communication. I held on to the hopes that if I worked hard enough I could "fix" our marriage. Each time I heard from him – whether it was via phone, email, or mail, it would send me into a tarpit. I call it a tarpit because that's what it felt like – sticky and hard to get out of… yet toxic.
It wasn't until I quit reading the mail stuff and listening to the messages that I felt like I could finally get a grip on where I was at in regard to us. I no longer had his voice to hear, I no longer had access to what he felt and thought about things, and I no longer felt like there was one last sticky thread of tar to draw me back in. Yes, it's hard to make the break, but for me – it was the only way I could get my head and heart cleared enough to truly listen to what God wanted of me.
My prayers go out to you as you prayerfully decide what you must do. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and a very keen awareness of what HE wants you to do.
I, too, am in my 50s. But the weight of my emotional wounds makes me feel much older… I don’t feel like I can start over once again at this age; but I know unless I am healed, and can finally leave all of this behind me, it will only get worse.
Since I was 18, I’ve spent years in counseling, tens of thousands of dollars on therapists, been on anti-depressants, and had 18 months of intensive cognitive therapy (three times a week) into my mid-30s. Some of the therapy only added to the negative emotional stew I’ve been brewing in since childhood—I am the product of two really ignorant and abusive parents: verbally, emotionally, and physically. All of the children in the family suffer with chronic, clinical, debilitating depression. I am the youngest.
I made mistake after mistake; bad choice after bad choice all of my life and still continue to do so. One stupid decision followed by another. I realize now I actually seek abusive, negative, nasty people (who model my folks) for acceptance and approval. I’ve come to understand, sadly, that I have a very weak mind, which surprises me, because outwardly I strike people as very loud, forceful, and controlling. And I’ve been the nasty abuser, too, at times.
I am in my 2nd marriage, going on 12 years, and feel it teetering on the brink of destruction because I feel so emotionally unstable. I am still carrying tremendous guilt mixed with anger and rage (plus 150 extra pounds gained the year after my divorce) of being “the other woman” even though I sought forgiveness from both my ex-husband and my husband’s ex-wife for my part in the whole break-up over 15 years ago. My ex claims he’s forgiven me, but I can see it in his eyes that he can’t stand to be around me for even five minutes.
My husband’s ex refused my sincere apology 15 years ago, and continually refuses to acknowledge I even exist on this earth, while still spewing forth her demands, albeit less now than when the kids were little, to my husband. Because there’s still contact due to his regular visitation with handicapped adult daughter, I am forced to deal with her presence, in a very local way, in my life (on some level) every other weekend and that will never end. We’ve tried moving thousands of miles away, and that’s the only way I have any peace, but each time the employment ended and we were back in Southern CA where he grew up and all of his family, friends, and contacts are. He’s an attorney.
I still carry all the responsibility and burden for ending my marriage; then I get really angry when I remember my first marriage was actually a sham, he claimed to be a Christian for over 20 years, only for me to find out just last year he’s really been an atheist all this time. When I confronted him about our years at Bible College in the mid-70’s he said he couldn’t recall EVER being there with me and my sister!
My husband’s ex still believes I ruined her “perfect” marriage, (if only I had all that power…) And neither she, nor her other two adult children will take an honest look at who she truly is (which is quite a brute, actually, or he’d never have left her he says) and how she contributed to the end of her own marriage and I beat myself with that burden, too.
I so much want to touch the cloak Jesus and to be free and healed from all of this once and for all times.
Thank you Leslie.
There are so many heart wrenching and heart warming stories here.Thank you for your willingness to share and be honest and vulnerable with your journey.
I pray for you as I hear your responses, that God will show you Jesus' love in such a personal special way that you know he is blowing kisses your way. We are his workmanship. Don't let anyone rob you of your true identity.
Thank you for your post. It touched my heart deeply. I've been married for over 25 years and have put up with emotional and verbal abuse. Now after 3 years in therapy I am putting up boundaries and refusing to be pushed around. I am learning to "speak the truth in love" and he says he will change. But his temper still flares and he will not acknowledge that he has lots of baggage and work to do to truly change. I feel desperatly alone and it is painful. Thank you, Leslie, for your encouragement from the heart of God!
I'm so glad you've written and shared your journey. I'd encourage you to go to this weeks' blog where I posted a video on the topic "How can you tell whether someone is truly sorry." He says he will change but this video will help you discern whether he is taking the appropriate steps that shows he IS sorry or is just giving you lip service so that you will let down your boundaries. Hope you find it helpful too. God Bless, Leslie