A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

You Are Lovable

To the child of God who feels unlovable,

Have you been told in word or deed that you are not lovable? It’s easy to believe when the one who has seen you more intimately than anyone other than God, warts and all, tells you that you are not. This is one of the primary reasons divorce (without cause) is so grotesque: it is seeing and knowing and rejecting another person at the core. I believe abuse from a spouse strikes deep for the same reason. Abuse says that the victim is not lovable.

But it is a lie, and a treacherous lie at that.

YOU ARE LOVABLE.

Believe me, beloved, you ARE. I promise; there is no doubt. God knit you together in the womb and he cares for you deeply. You are his child and he loves you as a father should, only better and more true.

And what’s more, he desires that other people know and love you too. The love for one another is the highest command of scripture next to the love of God, and Paul says it is the summation of the entire law. Sometimes the brokenness of this world holds that love back from us, but that is not a statement on our appeal or a true view of how others should love us. I’m not talking about entitlement or something you demand – I’m saying that you are attractive the way God created you and he desires to show this through both his presence and through other people.

If you have suffered abuse, your abuser was a liar and a tool of the Enemy. He deceived you; and if you are like me, you believed it. There is no shame in that. We are supposed to be able to trust our marriage partners not to deceive us in this way. We are not weak for being deceived – we are betrayed.

But there is life in Christ – Christ who knows us all intimately and has chosen to redeem us, warts and all. He has done what no husband or wife will ever do. Perfect knowledge and perfect acceptance.

You are lovable, even when you do not know it, feel it, or believe it. But you WILL know it, because your abuser will not have the last word on this.

I promise.

35 Comments

  1. Wendell G

    ***Warning. Potential Triggers Follow***

    “I wish you’d never been born!”

    “I hate you!”

    “You are so stupid”

    “You can’t do anything right”

    Those are the sentences I heard constantly growing up and still haunt me to this day. They have hung over everything I have ever done and tried to do. Anytime I fail, part of me goes back to these words. Some days I fight feelings of unworthiness, wishing I could just die rather than have to endure the emotional pain again. I have even gone through periods of doubting my salvation or God’s love for me because of these feelings. No, I don’t feel that way all the time, but some days, it just all comes flooding in.

    I know this is a blog about spousal abuse, but what you said also applies to child abuse victims like me. And I don’t doubt that some of your abusers have been this way to your kids. It is a good reminder. Thanks Jeff S.

    • MeganC

      Wendell — I was just thinking about that this afternoon. I go through phases where I second-guess everything because of the things I was told over and over as a child and then, as a wife (first abusive marriage). I am 39 years old but I still have to shake off all the old lies that still pop up in my mind, even though I KNOW they are lies. We just need to hear the positive sometimes . . . it needs to be louder than those negatives.

    • Jeff S

      Wendell, thanks for sharing. This was the first place my therapist started with me and it’s been a difficult thing to unravel, especially when Christians seem to have a mission to outdo each other in proclaiming how awful we are.

      I absolutely think it applies to anyone who has been subject to the lies, whether from a spouse, a parent, a pastor, or someone else. We need to remember that we were created and redeemed in love.

    • Diane

      Wendell, I am so sorry.

      I know what you mean about the emotions that come and overpower you like a flood. All you can do sometimes is let it come and drown you for a while. It goes away…’til the next wave.

      I can also relate because there is no spousal abuse in my relationship with my hub, but our mom left us when we were 9,12 and 14 years old. I never experienced the dagger-like words you did, but her abandoning us needed no words to devastate forever.

      By God’s intervention, and with His help, I am trying to be the best mom I can be for our son. I had no good example, either with my mother or my mother-in-law, so I am reading a lot and doing the opposite of what my mother did. It’s funny — the things you remember from your childhood. The things you see other kids having that you did not. I remember things my mom did – like not spending time with me, ignoring me, doing her hobbies instead, never remembering her hugging me, etc. The only thing I know to do is the opposite of those things, when it comes to our son.

      When I feel those feelings rushing in, I know Jesus is there to lend a shoulder and let me cry as long as I need to. :-)

    • Memphis Rayne

      Ya even if you dont think of those words everyday, they are still with you, they resignate deep inside of you, and ultimately destroy how you precieve others view you? When you are abused daily it makes you a broken person…..but even if a person appears afraid or timid or weak, if they are being abused I see them as ultimate warriors, surviving beyond the circumstances of daily life.

      Isnt meekness a quiet strength? A more powerful god given strength?

      My quiet strength has turned into something more, lets say “not quiet?” but nonetheless whatever place we are all in at any given time, we have more strength internally than our abusers could ever dream to posses.

      • You’re totally right about meekness, Memphis. The Greek word (praotes) has different connotations from our English word ‘meek’. And unfortunately, we don’t have a word in English that conveys the same meaning as (praotes) conveys in Greek.

  2. Now Free (after 43 years)

    Jeff S, thanks so much for your simple and beautiful message. I needed to read this today.

  3. MeganC

    Thank you, Jeff. So needed.

  4. Katy

    I am still working on actually believing this. But at least there’s no one around anymore to scream these lies!

    • Jeff S

      Katy, I totally get that- me too. We all have to work on this i think- But there’s only one person who gets the final word, and it isn’t a pastor, a church, your abuser, or even you!

  5. Bethany

    Jeff- This was such a wonderful and timely post! It brought happy tears to my eyes. I wrote this poem a few days ago and thought it would be good to share here. You are lovable too :)

    you are a failure, weak and worthless
    you are a looser you have no purpose

    You are my Princess so pure and fine
    for your life I have a design

    you failed in your marriage and your life
    you’re un-submissive and a horrible wife

    I set you free because of my love
    This is why I was sent form heaven above

    you are damage goods, nothing but trash
    when you fly you just burn and crash

    I made you perfect in every way
    I lift you up and you’ll sail away

    which one is a lie and which the truth
    to figure it out will it take a sleuth?

    • Belle

      Love this too!

    • Thanks for this lovely poem, Bethany.

  6. Belle

    Beautiful Truth. Thank you.

  7. Diane

    Awesome Jeff S. Thanks.

  8. Kathy seldon

    “We are not weak…we are betrayed” this has been a very important lesson for me to learn. I used to be so afraid of weakness, and I felt alot of shame at having married an abuser. But reading stories from so many people has shown me that I don’t need to feel shame. In fact, that’s probably another tool of the enemy to keep me from healing and living a life of true victory

    • Jeff S

      Yes, shame and weakness are lies of the enemy. It takes strength to stand up for yourself and leave. Or for those who haven’t left but have learned to create healthier boundaries, that takes strength too.

      And the thing about shame- well I heard these definitions:

      Embarrassment: a negative feeling about how our deeds have been exposed.

      Guilt: a negative feeling about what we’ve done

      Shame: a negative feeling about who we are.

      That last one is a pretty big deal- whenever I start feeling shame, I remember that my identity is not defined by what I’ve done. I am not defined by my failures. Who I am is defined by Christ in me. He has overcome my shame and made me who I am: a beloved Christian in his family. He has paid the price for my guilt and removed my shame- praise the Lord!

      • Memphis Rayne

        Shame bieng a tool of the enemy for sure. Many victoms feel ashamed leading to fear of exposing that they are being abused. Tricky huh? Since abusers have NO shame? Yet they know how to use it so effectively on the person they are abusing. Weird to think how we as victoms are the ones dealing with so much shame? When the church shunned me and my children I felt the shame? He was however exalted to a status above us, rewarded for having no shame? kinda a mind tripper?

  9. Rachel

    Hi,

    My name is Rachel. I just discovered your blog yesterday and I have already been tremendously blessed by it. I am a survivor of severe abuse and am going through the pain and terror of divorce currently. In my twelve years of marriage I have read a lot of books on how to be a godly wife. Now all that information helps me nothing. And my cry has been, “God, where are the books on how to be a godly divorcee?” Now I have found part of the answer through your ministry. Thank you very much!!!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Hi Rachel – Great! Wonderful that you found us and thank you for the encouraging words. Those books for the most part, don’t exist. We are hoping that we are changing that a bit. Read and learn with us. We hope you are a regular part of the ACFJ “fam” :)

    • MeganC

      Rachel — Welcome, welcome, welcome! You are in good company. Most of us here have suffered abuse, as well, and some of us have made the choice, at one time or another, to take the steps toward divorce. It is agonizing for so many reasons. You are very brave. I, too, had read all the books on how to be a good wife (in fact, I thought it was me — that I wasn’t a good enough wife!).

      We are so happy to have you!

      • Bethany

        Nice to meet you Rachel- I hope you find as much comfort here as I have.

    • Katy

      Welcome Rachel, I only found this blog a couple weeks ago and I practically live here now. :)

    • Hi Rachel! Welcome to our blog. (((hugs))) to you, and looking forward to get to know you more in our little cyberspace community. Like Katy, I virtually live here… sleep it, dream it, get chuckles when people crack jokes, weep with those who weep, and cheer with the cheer squad.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Hi Rachel!

      Welcome aboard! :)

    • Anonymous

      Hi Rachel. Welcome. I too read tons of books on how to be a godly wife, and I think I am realizing now, that my efforts to be “more” perfect as a wife, were actually me trying to fix the abuse. I was thinking that if I became more “godly”, then he would too, or he would at least stop abusing me and the children. Doesn’t work that way, but at least I learned a lot in all my reading and now can say with certainty, it wasn’t my fault that he abused.

      I hope you find encouragement here!

    • Just Me

      Hi Rachel, I read a lot of the books too and none of them helped. It got to the point where I couldn’t even read them because they would send me into a panic. I bought “The 5 Love Languages” and couldn’t read it because I couldn’t manage to complete the quiz to learn my love language. None of the answer choices applied. Example “Do you feel most loved when your spouse a. Brings you flowers, b. Hugs you, c. Compliments your outfit, d. Takes you to a movie. “I just want him to go away and leave me alone” was not an option. This was my first clue that something was seriously wrong.

      I hope you stick around. This is a great group of people who are full of wisdom!

      • Katy

        I know right? I still can’t finish a quiz like that. My ex used to buy me presents at Christmas, flowers on Mother’s Day, and once he took me to a movie (but he abused me so badly in the car afterwards when I said how much I liked the movie – I was actually happy for once – he had me sobbing hysterically by the time we got home.)

        I can’t imagine flowers or jewelry ever making me feel loved. I think this “love language” stuff is for normal people.

      • Bethany

        “I just want him to go away and leave me alone” Just Me you make me laugh :) It is so true. I would see the question like this: a. Brings you flowers (followed by expecting excessive thanks and then getting verbally abused for not being thankful enough) b. Hugs you (after braking you down to the point of tears and making you apologies for not being good enough for him and promising you will change) c. Complements your outfit (after telling you the first 3 outfits make you look fat, out of style, and slutty then throws the clothes at you and yells at you to put them on. Then tells you that it will do, not exactly a complement, but the best you’ll ever get) d. Takes you to a movie (that he wants to see, not you, and has so much sex and violence in it that you are sick for days afterward.)
        I think I would fail the test…

      • Katy

        Bethany! lol!! :D
        Maybe i shouldn’t find that funny, but hey it’s been a few years so I can afford to laugh now

      • Bethany

        Katy- I am glad it made you laugh. I laughed when I typed it. I have found if I don’t let myself have a since of humor about it all then I will die crying.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Just a note, the MIW was also the gift giver. I was always hesitant to recieve….I had a hard time faking that I wanted anything from him, but I had to fake it or else. aucHe usually buy really expensive stuff, then he always use it to show everybody what a giving loving person he was, and the gift made HIM feel better, also gave him something tangible to use against me. He made sure that he could account for all his nicetys to other people. The same lunatic that left his family homeless, habitually cleaned out the bank account after each abusive episode, never provided clothes, food or shelter.

        sometime towards the end part of us getting free, he spent money on jewelry *which i do not wear, and he bought me a new ring, which I immediately put in a safe deposit box along with the reciepts for the other jewelry…….he soulfully reminisce to anybody that would listen about how much his poor wife deserved such goodness, in regards to his purchases. But ya everytime he did anything nice I paid a heavy price, and if he bought me anything it was the first on the list he destroyed. He also did that to toys he ever bought for the children, or if they had a special stuffy he would go for that…..cruel, evil person. When I bought the kids something we had special places for them, and we had a whole set of “mauck toys”” so then when he would try to terrorize the kids we would secretly look at each other with a grin that said “”Pffffft go ahead, make our day!”” hee hee

  10. Anonymous

    In addition to not feeling lovable at times, I just recently was telling someone how I wondered if by being in my abusive relationship for so long (29+years) if I had somehow messed up God’s original plan for me? Had I thrown a wrench into what God had planned for me? Is God shaking his head trying to figure out what to do with me now? Does He have to come up with Plan B?

    Fortunately these thoughts don’t last very long as I am reminded of numerous scriptures that speak of God’s love and plans for me ~ One scripture being Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

    Even though I don’t completely understand what it means, I know God is sovereign. I know that there isn’t any wrench big enough or powerful enough to override God’s will. I know that, unlike my abuser, God does and will always love, honor, and cherish me. I am His treasure and He finds His pleasure in me. And unlike when I would look into my abuser’s eyes and see, at best, emptiness, at worse, detain ~ someday when I am allowed to look full into God’s wonderful face, His wonderful eyes will radiate the eternal love He has for me.

    Recently God reminded me of a song. The lyrics are below along with a link to the song performed by Steve Green. May we, abuse victims, realize that God, who began a good work in us, will be faithful to complete it, that we can be sure that the Lord has His hand on us, that He will never abandon us, and that we are His treasure and He finds His pleasure in us…

    He Who Began a Good Work in You (words and music by Jon Mohr)

    He who began a good work in you
    He who began a good work in you
    Will be faithful to complete it
    He’ll be faithful to complete it
    He who started a work
    Will be faithful to complete it in you

    If the struggle you’re facing
    Is slowly replacing your hope
    With despair
    Or the process is long
    And you’re losing your song
    In the night
    You can be sure that the Lord
    Has His hand on you
    Safe and secure
    He will never abandon you
    You are His treasure
    And He finds His pleasure in you

    He who began a good work in you
    He who began a good work in you
    Will be faithful to complete it
    He’ll be faithful to complete it
    He who started the work
    Will be faithful to complete it in you

    • Barnabasintraining

      Oh yeah! I forgot all about this song. Thanks for the reminder. It’s a good one!

    • Bethany

      Thank you for the song! I must confess I have thought those thoughts at times too.

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