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What's New:

  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Many Christian counselors, pastors, and lay leaders are still woefully ill equipped to handle this very important issue despite 1 in 4 Christian women reporting being in a destructive marriage. I invite you to visit my new website that I’ve designed to educate and equip pastors, counselors and church leaders on this very important topic. Please check out www.leslievernick.com/counselors and sign up to receive information about additional training opportunities.
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Five Things You Can Do to Help Someone that Has been Abused and Why it’s Good for You to Do so

By Leslie Vernick

I watched a television show a while back called, What Would You Do? In it, an actor fell down on a crowded city sidewalk, seemingly unconscious. The show wanted to see if anyone would stop to help. Sadly few did. More people stopped when the person who fell was an attractive young woman. Not so many stopped to help a man. When it was a man dressed as a homeless person with a bottle of alcohol in his hand, only one person stopped to help – another homeless person.

We’ve all been in situations where something has happened or someone has disclosed something to us and we act as if we don’t see it, or don’t hear it. Jesus tells a story like that, where the religious leaders who should have helped, instead ignored and walked past someone who was beaten and laying on the side of the road (Luke 10:25-37).

In this story could Jesus have been talking about you? Or me?

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. Men, women, and children who attend our church and live in our neighborhood are suffering in homes where abuse is present. Yet we don’t want to see it and it’s easy to ignore. But that would be wrong. It hurts them and it hurt us. When we ignore someone desperate for help they continue to suffer and we lose our humanity.

Jesus tells his followers, “Whenever you helped someone who was overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40 The Message). When we take our time to help someone, Jesus says, we are ministering to Him.

Here are five things that you can do if you know someone is in an abusive relationship.

1. Listen hard, speak little. People who disclose problems at home usually feel a great deal of shame. It’s already difficult for them to talk about it but when we jump in with our response or offer a solution, we often shut them down or give unwise or trite answers to a very painful and complex problem. Proverbs says, “He who answers before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

2. Validate their experience. It’s normal to feel afraid to tell a family secret. It’s common to blame oneself for one’s partner’s abusive behaviors. Don’t minimize, trivialize or rationalize things away. Saying things like, “I can’t believe what you’re saying, he or she seems so nice or godly or normal” is hurtful. Instead say things like, “It was good that you told someone.” Or “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but telling is the first step to getting help.” Or “No matter how you disappoint your husband (or wife), you don’t deserve to be treated this way.”

3. Pray. We often forget how potent prayer is and even when we don’t know the whole story, God does. Sometimes we feel helpless to really know what to do in these kinds of situations. Prayer is an important reminder that God is in charge and loves both the abused and the abuser. We must bring the situation before God daily, asking Him to intervene in a way that we cannot imagine.

4. Offer tangible help. James says, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing and you say, ‘Well, goodbye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well’ - but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all - it is dead and useless.” (James 2:16,17). Does the person need medical attention? Counseling help? Legal aid? A safe place to live? Sometimes people need concrete support to break free from abusive patterns and it takes the loving and tangible resources of a community of people to help someone. The Good Samaritan didn’t just pray, he also carted the broken and battered person to the inn and paid for his care.

5. Advocate and/or report where needed and appropriate. If you are a mandated reporter and a child discloses that he/she has been a victim of abuse, you must report this disclosure to the proper authorities. However an adult victim of spousal abuse needs an advocate too. Someone who will come along side of him/her and speak with community agencies, attend legal proceedings and help communicate with church leaders in order to have the best possible hope for repentance, healing, and reconciliation of the family.

I have a framed card in my office that says, “On the street I saw a small girl cold and shivering in a thin dress, with little hope of a decent meal. I became angry and said to God: why did you permit this? Why don’t you do something about it? For a while God said nothing. That night He replied quite suddenly: I certainly did something about it. – I made you.”

Edmund Burke once said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men (and women) to do nothing.”

We may not be able to do everything needed to stem the tide of violence at home, but we certainly can do something. What can you do today?

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Give Her Wings: Help and Healing After Abuse

by Megan D. Cox

“Give Her Wings: Help & Healing After Abuse” is a unique, personalized, and practical guide for women who have left or are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship. Through personal stories and clinical counseling experiences, Megan is able to give support, understanding, and relevant approaches to moving forward in healthy ways toward complete healing. Her Christian view of life is in no way preachy, but instead full of hope and inspiration. She has a voice that is transparent and genuine and shares amazing, unprecedented insight. (Katherine Watkins, ministry team member, Give Her Wings)

*We raised over 23K for Give Her Wings during the Conquer Conference!*

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter.

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of the Full One Year Conquer Scholarships are Marie D and Rachel P.


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Upcoming Events


October 26th and 27th

1st Baptist Church
Houna, LA

November 2nd and 3rd
AACC New Life Summit
Charlotte, North Carolina http://charlotte.cmhcsummit.com/

December 1st
Calvary Church of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
9am to 12pm

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.


My Friends are Critical of My Decision to Divorce

Question: Thank you for writing your book. I have found it very helpful as I have been working through an emotionally destructive marriage and strengthening my CORE. Sadly my spouse has not liked this and refuses to do his part in healing our marriage and expects me to come back without him doing anything.

To that end, I have moved forward in filing for divorce. With that though I have had a few good Christian friends who are just finding out about our situation telling me some pretty horrific things.

They say that I am a sinner/adulterer in filing for divorce. God hates divorce. If I do this I can never remarry (not even thinking about that right now).

Also that I am not trusting God enough to fix my marriage. Would you be able to address this specifically in your blog? If you already have and I have not found it could you direct me to that? I would appreciate it.

Answer: Your situation is not uncommon. Well-meaning Christian friends who have no idea what your life is like or what your marriage has been through feel like it is their responsibility to warn you that standing up for yourself or leaving an abusive marriage goes against God’s plan for wives, or for marriage.

I’m going to speak generally here to this issue because I have no idea what specific situation led you to believe that your marriage is destructive and what you have tried to do to resolve those issues.

Obviously, unless there are clear safety issues that are dangerous to you and/or your children’s safety, usually separation or divorce is not your first choice.

Here is What People Saying About Our Conquer Support Group

I completed one year in the Conquer program and found both peace and community here. In the summer of 2016 Leslie’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, providentially appeared in my online feed. The book changed my life. Not only did it validate my experience, but it provided scriptural support of what I knew God was speaking to my heart. Joining the Conquer group was a way for me to immerse myself in a supportive community of women who understand the patterns of a destructive marriage. Within our safe and private Facebook group, we shared inspiring scriptures, educational resources, and our lives. I loved the fact that I was safe to expose my heart and request prayer from women who were walking in my footsteps.

During my membership year, I also focused on my own recovery and I prayed for guidance from God. I highly recommend Conquer. I am better educated and I have gained a sense of validation. I needed to know I was not crazy, and not alone. ABOVE ALL- I'm so thankful for each one of my Conquer Sisters. For their transparency, kindness, willingness to read, to listen and to share. I will continue to pray for Leslie, my Conquer sisters, and this ministry.

~ Stacey

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.

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Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States