A Cry For Justice

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

An Allegory of Survival: A Flower in the Desert

There was a beautiful flower that flourished in the desert.  God loved her as if she was the only one in existence, as the center of His universe. She loved Him as well day and night, for He was her Creator. One day, she met a handsome plant.  He appeared to be a gentleman, and convinced the flower that he too, loved God, the Creator.  They quickly bonded in love and became as one.  She loved him as God had shown her how to truly love another.

As time passed, confusion rose and distorted the flower’s perception of the plant.  Gradually, she began to feel sad and weak, and didn’t understand why.  The handsome plant made many promises, but never followed thru.  He extracted the best of the flower’s love.  He never gave anything in return, but watched the flower fall. The plant’s intention was to grow stronger, so that others could give him glory and more power.  While the flower gave of herself endlessly, she lost her nutrients and the will to live.  Her beauty withered from the inside out, and could no longer find her smile.

She felt sad and alone, and believed no one could help her or understand her.  The plant would laugh and mock at her regardless of the state she was in.  She knew deep in her heart that this couldn’t continue.  She began to see his true colors, that he wasn’t so green after all.  She finally admitted he was a weed.  “Why?” She would ask the weed, “Why do you hurt me like this?, we could have grown and bloomed together”.  But the weed never gave a clear answer.  He was happy being a weed.  Now all the flower had was the weed’s overpowering shade.  She lived in darkness.  She felt cold, numb and all her fragrance was gone.  She didn’t feel like a flower at all.  Life was slipping thru her petals, and time was running short.  Her death was around the corner and feared she could no longer take care of the little flowers of her own.  Something needed to be done.

There was no strength left in her to change the situation, and the weed didn’t care for her fate.  So she cried out with a loud voice, hoping that her Creator would hear.  She cried in the midst of despair and helplessness.  She hoped that her God would come quickly to her aid, and He did.  He inclined His ear as she prayed from the miry clay.  The flower asked Him to help her, protect her and remove her darkness.

Her most wonderful and caring Creator was eagerly waiting for this day.  He wanted to rescue her.  So He gently replied that He would help her and would set her free from bondage.  He reminded her with anticipation, that yanking the weed from her life would surely hurt, for his roots were entangled with hers.

God willingly and lovingly embraced her pain, and caught all her tears.  He explained that her healing would take time.  He promised to mend her brokenness, restore her health and keep her in a safe warm garden, where she could begin to live all over again.  He reminded her that only His unconditional and perfect love, could make her truly complete, and that one day she would see much clearly and know the difference between a weed and an honorable plant.

With her Creator by her side, her strength, beauty and fragrance began to double.  She depended on Him for all her needs and her joy was overflowing.  His shadow protected her from harm, and He caused her to shine in His sun.  She grew in grace and sang like never before.  She matured and lived her life in abundance, holding on to all of His promises.  She loved being loved, and always looked to Him, for she was the center of His Universe.  Many flowers saw her, and wanted what she had.  She became an instrument of His love and told others that they too are unique and loved in His eyes.  This truth pleased Him and gave Him glory.

Now she is happy and her unfeigned smile has returned.  She will never be afraid again, not even of death itself, for her life is in His hands and she trusts Him.  Her Creator, Jesus Christ, has whispered many times to his flower, “I am the God who sees”.  He has told her, and she is persuaded, that one day she will be transferred to a Heavenly Garden at the end of her life span.  And in that Heavenly place, the flower will abide with Him forever, where no weeds can ever enter.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

*  *  *

 By one of our readers. Many thanks to her. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

39 Comments

  1. private, please

    Wow, this is amazing. Paragraph 6 made me cry, because I am desperately broken… after many years of waiting on God to delivery me from my own marital bondage, I am finally free of the weed that choked me, but I still endure the darkness of the judgment from the Christian church. I have lost all kinds of friends from my leaving that I have virtually none left. I can’t put myself back into the Christian community until I am fully divorced, because until then, everyone is a judge. I am taking this season of waiting to write my own story, and the steps that God presented to me to get free, so I can help other women take those steps of courage and dignity. Thank you so much for this analogy… it is a beautiful picture of who we are in Christ.

    • Hi private-please, welcome to the blog! 🙂

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  2. private, please

    I neglected to mention that my husband is a very gifted narcissist, masterful at covert manipulation. That’s why I lost all my friends… he had them all on his side. I didn’t understand this about him until after all the damage was done. 😥

    • Valerie

      I hear you Private, I also waited many years for deliverance and for years I thought that deliverance would come in the form of my husband being shook awake, drop to his knees before the Father and strive for living for Him (naturally leading to him being loving toward me). In my case my husband seemed to truly change for a brief season, even to the point of being more humble toward God and showing repentance. Yet it didn’t last. I knew he would never desire to change when he said that he would “never go back to that place of weakness”…the way he described the best period in my long marriage. It might have been God’s way of showing me how reprobate his mind truly is…he tasted goodness, truth and light and yet violently rejected it.

      I have also been extremely hesitant to involve myself in a community labeled as Christian, for I now realize there is no criteria for being labeled this other than self imposed. I used to think that those who labeled themselves such were followers of God yet I now see with new eyes how this label is often used in a political fashion to cover a multitude of sins. I have also seen it used to balance out a multitude of guilt by using the label as a sort of penance…as though assuming the label itself is some sort of sacrifice. My experience has been feeling at the shunned end of the grade school “keep-away” game and the thing being kept away from me is justice and mercy. To extend mercy to an unrepentant abuser is to act with violence toward the abused. In my case I have seen that my husband’s skilled ability in covert narcissism also has led to my lack of support…make that refusal of support…from the church. Too many people are simply ignorant of evil and arrogantly assume they would always recognize the wolf among the sheep. The ignorant ones follow the rest of the sheep, the arrogant ones refuse to call a sheep who eats other sheep a wolf.

      But God…..but God has shown me the radiance of His light in far more brilliance than the dark of the darkness. I try to approach this new-found truth as a sobering reality rather than overwhelming gloom. God is still and has always been the victor!

    • Gary W

      If there is any comfort in knowing that there are those who are outraged at the way supposed churches side with abusers, and even join them in their assaults, rather than coming to the aid of their targets, then be comforted. It may be that your “church” has the poor excuse of having been fooled by your predator; and yet it would not surprise me but what you would have been cast under the church bus in any event. For whatever reasons, way too many so-called churches would insist that it was and is your duty to leave your roots in a state of enslaving entanglement with those of the weed who would devour you.

      As to being excluded from the Christian community until after your divorce, I am not surprised that this is the reality in the Christian community with which you presently identify. However, I hope I am not being naïve to suppose that there are communities of believers who would not judge you, even within the context of organized church. Personally, though I have been a practicing None for several years, I am being tempted to at least explore the possibilities within the more liberal church traditions. Perhaps I would ultimately be disappointed, but I have some optimism that people such as yourself would not be judged in, for example, my local Methodist Church. Who knows?

      • Gary, in my little bit of experience in dipping my toe into more liberal churches, I have found that yes I was not judged at all regarding being divorced. However, I also found that my zeal for the issue of abuse received a response of — well, clammy flat-line lack of interest, or alternatively the same kind of patronizing, distancing ‘politeness’ I’ve found from the Pharisaic conservative Christians. Only victims seem to have an zeal about the issue of abuse. The rest smile nicely and move on to the next topic.

        But more off-putting than that, was what I found about the preaching and general tone of theology in liberal churches. It was watered down milk, no meat, and there were far too many false notions coming from the pulpit, mixed in with the shreds of biblical truth. And it seemed (to my spirit) that most people in those places were not born again. So the end result was that going to such places only intensified my feeling of loneliness.

      • Valerie

        Barbara, thank you for putting into words what my experience has been as well within the more liberal churches. Wow, as I read it again, every word is something I have experienced. The liberals might not be as quick to take the Pharisaical approach but they are also (from my exp) too focused on making the gospel self-centered that they just don’t want to hear about anything they don’t consider uplifting. All joy, joy, joy in this free, free, free existence.

    • GodgavemeDiscernment

      Hello! You are not alone. I am 6 months separated from a “narcissistic” pastor husband, who drew ignorant, gullible church members to himself, and they had absolutely no respect for me, and treated me very poorly.God gave me discernment to understand everything going on. I pray for all of them, but from a distance now. I was somewhat ignorant myself, because I wanted to love him into wellness. God reassured me that my decision to leave has scriptural support…

      But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be LOVERS OF THEMSELVES, lovers of money, boastful, PROUD, ABUSIVE, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH PEOPLE. II Timothy 3:1-5

      God bless you!

      [Eds note: Screen name changed for safety’s sake.]

      • Dear GodgavemeDiscernment,
        I hope you don’t mind but I changed your screen name as a precaution for your safety. Welcome to the blog! 🙂

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  3. Joyce

    What a beautiful post!!!! Thank you for this!!

  4. KayJay

    So glad I read this post this morning! God is so good!

  5. joyisnowfree

    I’m glad that God is on our side and that we are not alone.

  6. Came alongside

    Excellent!

  7. Brenda R

    What a beautiful analogy or abuse and rescue from our God. It is so true.

  8. nessa3

    nice

  9. Sunflower

    When I started reading this post, it reminded me of a German song I often heard as a child, Das Heidenroeslein. It always made me want to cry for the girl. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidenr%C3%B6slein

    As I read the above link, it seems as though the idea of the song was that the poor guy who wrote it was the one to be pitied, according to the write-up. And every English translation there used the word ‘pick’ for what the boy did, whereas the actual word is ‘break’. It just seems that there, too, the female gets the raw end, yet it is deemed normal. ???

    • Estelle

      I feel for the girl in the song, too. The ‘poor guy’ seems more like a scoundrel who won’t take no for an answer and thinks any pretty young lass is his for the taking. It reminds me of the poem I learned in French by Ronsard where he tells her that when she is old, people will take note of her because he immortalised her in his verse and then she will regret refusing him now in her youth. http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue177/Ronsard_Helene.html

  10. Seeing Clearly

    Beautiful, gentle allegory. If we could all step away from our own lives, leave our emotions on the ground, and float freely with this precious flower, we could receive a God~given perspective. Like stepping back to get a closer look.

    Thank you for taking us to a wonderful place where we can all rest for a few minutes in the beauty of our lives. What a beautiful bouquet we make, altogether

  11. thepersistentwidow

    Great allegory…thank you for sharing this. Well done!

  12. freeatlast8

    He reminded her with anticipation, that yanking the weed from her life would surely hurt, for his roots were entangled with hers. God willingly and lovingly embraced her pain, and caught all her tears.

    The first few days after I left my home with my many children and sheltered at a dear friend’s house, this is exactly how I felt. I KNEW this was the end of life as I had known it. It was for real. I knew I could not go back. The pain was awful. I so wanted to see things “fixed”, and had waited and waited and waited (during the many married years, the 8-month separation, and even post-divorce). But it was not to be. I now feel it was for the best, though, as my ex still has not changed one bit, and I surely have been spared more pain.

    For some reason, when I go back in my mind to those first days away from my home and my “then” husband, one of my most vivid memories is being in my dear friend’s kitchen watching her do her bills on her computer. I am not much of a public crier. My ex was indifferent to my tears and pain, so any crying I did was usually in my bathroom with the door shut or under my covers at night. But this night I sat near her crying, or rather sobbing, wracked with agony of body and soul at the fact that the separation of my and my husband’s tangled roots was finally, really happening. My friend would lovingly stop what she was doing, stroke my hair, hug me, speak Scripture over me, and tell me it would be okay. What a treasure of a friend she is.

    I had dreamed of getting out of my awful marriage, but never expected it to happen the way it did. But here it was, happening, and there was no joy–only pain. Gut-wrenching pain.

    I think my ex thinks it was a party time for me as I gloried in my rebellious departure into a feminist’s dream of insubordination and self-seeking independence. He could not have been further from the truth. I had never cried so hard in all my life. I think it was all the pent up anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, worry, disappointment, rejection, and pain from many, many years of his ill-treatment. Fathoms of tears that had been dammed up and stored away burst through the walled off areas of my heart in uncontrollable, involuntary waves of anguish.

    Yes, the dam broke. The tears came. My friend introduced me to the “cry towel.” I was a snotty mess. She told me when she needed a good cry, she bypassed tissues and just went for a good absorbent towel. I kept the cry towel handy to wipe my face with those first awful days and to stifle the sobs that would come in the night when I was alone with my thoughts and fears.

    The Bible talks about the two becoming one. It’s supposed to be a good thing. But when the weed’s roots entangle and choke out the flower’s roots, there is going to be some loss and damage during the uprooting and transplanting process. But praise God, a year later I am thriving in a new garden. My leaves are strengthening, my stem straightening, new petals are sprouting slowly. I am basking in the sweet SONshine of God’s redemptive transforming love, grace, and mercy. All praise to Jesus.

    Tears still don’t come too often or easily for me. It’s not because I have to hide them or choke them back as before, though. Life is just better, and the pain has subsided greatly. The dam was broken, many walls came down, and I am learning to feel and experience my emotions in a new way. I am not living a bed of roses yet, but I am putting down new healthy roots in the garden.

    Thank you, Guest Writer, for this story. I can relate to it completely. It brought tears to my eyes in remembrance of where I was and how far I have come with Jesus, the love of my life, by my side.

  13. Ann

    I love this story so much❤

  14. Distraught

    Wow!! that’s my story.

    I am at stage in 4th paragraph of your post.

    Please keep me in prayers, I love my husband. I am asking God to change his mind but I dont know why I am in this situation as I had gone on my knees and asked for a godly husband before I could get married. Now he is asking divorce that I “abused” him, because he has my written proofs, but he was smart that all through the marriage I suffered all kinds of abuses (of course he did not hit me physically) and in his written communication to me were always scriptures and loving words, so in legal eyes there is documentary proof I am the abuser, not him.

    Please pray for me.

    [Eds: names and some details have been removed from this comment for the safety of the commenter. Screen name also changed.]

    • Dear sister, I strongly encourage you to read our New Users Information page as it will give you tips about how to guard your safety while commenting on this blog.

    • joyisnowfree

      Hi Distraught. I’m praying for you. I think God may be showing you already that your husband is not Godly. What may help you a ton is reading Jeff Crippen’s book ” A Cry ForJustice” Stay with us on this bblog. It will help you understand why abusers tend to turn tables of blame shifting on their victims. God bless you. Xoxo

    • Sarah

      Distraught – I am not sure where you live and if you live in an area that has “no-fault” divorce, that is exactly what it means. After 15 years of marriage and 6 years of agonizing over the decision to divorce, my divorce only took 6 months. My children’s father was not in court on the day the divorce was granted and the only papers submitted were financial.

      Our divorce was granted on his birthday – I consider it the best birthday gift I ever gave him. It has now been almost 3 years and, finally, those closest to us now see his true behavior. Our youngest child now lives with me full-time, voluntarily.

      This may sound harsh and please put your effort into praying for yourself. Be strong!

  15. Anonymous

    Wow. I appreciate the parallels in this greatly. I struggle with labeling my relationship and the struggles, but I know for sure I have many broken promises at my feet and made always just when I need the promise. I am still struggling with how to untangle us. I feel drawn back in, but to what end? I don’t understand the division and separation of actions and words . This time the words are different and more frustrated, but the actions are pulling me in. I can’t explain it very well. In any case, I liked this story. It makes sense to me. I feel God pulling at me too. I’m trying hard to not divert my eye from Him. It’s like a person on a tight rope shouldn’t look down, just ahead. That’s how I feel. We haven’t resolved things, but I’m getting the courage up to talk to him. To leave him.

    • wow, Anonymous, your words paint a vivid picture of where you are at.
      bless you!

    • Hi anonymous , I understand that you are having a difficult time defining, explaining and labeling your relationship. I will not assume that I know your situation, they all have their own twists and turns. But, when I finally spoke to a Pastor worthy of that title, he told me as I was struggling with the same, “You will never have a relationship with him, only interactions. They are incapable of a true, deep marriage relationship.” It hit me hard, but it was true. I wanted to believe it could be a real relationship, I’m sure for too many years, but it was not – not ever. Only interactions, as he had said. Trust in God and He will give you the wisdom and courage that you seek.

      • Seeing Clearly

        In response to Survivorthrivor2 How interesting, “you’ll never have a relationship with him, only interactions”.  That comment is a piece to add to my healing puzzle. Perhaps that is why one of my pat statements was, “we vacation well together, but we don’t live well together”.

      • anotheranon

        I have often thought I have a husband, but not a marriage. After all, how can your have a relationship with someone who lies to you every day? It really was devastating to realize one day, years ago, that he only married me so he could use me. I tried to “divorce” him emotionally just to survive. It took a long time to accomplish that.
        Praise God I have a Savior who I can trust–and I know I will see Him face to face someday.

  16. So beautifully written and true…..thank you so much. It was difficult to read, my eyes could not help but well up with tears in certain parts. Innocence lost…..that’s what hits me the hardest. I was 23 years old when my abuser fooled, manipulated and perpetrated marriage and this life on me, at the same time my mind was full of hope and possibilities for our lives and our future. I hate that the enemy got his way for so long, although looking back, I know that God had me still, it shows now in so many ways, it would be difficult to count them all. So grateful!

    • Valerie

      Survivorthrivor2, your post resonates with me. Innocence lost. How I have felt that so many times! I remember when I was that age and met my husband….how I felt I had the world on a string and anything was possible. I convinced myself that my husband’s raining on my balloons would soon end or that it would “work itself out”. After years and years of abuse I no longer have moments of giddiness or eyes full of hope and possibility. I have hope, to be sure, but that hope is in heaven and my Savior. Hope on earth has been quantified down to a math problem of a probability puzzle that this hopeful thing will not be maligned by someone with evil intent. Even now with the joyful thought of a new life before me…abuse free…I still am not able to tap in to the joy I once had. My wings were clipped it seems so while they are still there they don’t get me far. I walk cautiously, not fly. Someone on another forum once said its not that you lost your innocence but rather you lost your naivety. I choose to take that stance as I see all the instances around me where people are being subjugated at worse, treated shamefully at best and realize that I now SEE IT. I may not run in the open fields any longer but I also now see the land mines. I wouldn’t go back for a second to the naivety…yet I wish I could take along that hopeful abandon with me too.

      This sums up well what I have concluded in the matter and I pray it for everyone here:
      But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor 4:7-11

  17. marriedtohyde

    “Gradually, she began to feel sad and weak, and didn’t understand why.”

    This line got me–I could not understand why I felt so hopeless and depressed. After he left, I realized it was abuse.

    Such a good story to explain the overall picture of marital abuse. Great job! 🙂

  18. Sarah

    I love how the weed is initially described as a “plant*.” And the tangled roots are great imagery. The longer this type of relationship is tolerated, the more enmeshed the sweet, gentle flower becomes.

    Please keep writing!!!

    *plant – a person or thing placed secretly in a country, etc., to gather information or make a plot or scheme work:

    • ooh! that double-entendre of ‘plant’ is bright with meaning.

  19. MicroGal

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

    I, too, was entangled with a weed. A bitter weed. God has begun the process of untangling my roots from his, and the process is painful – oh so painful – but I trust in my Creator.

  20. tamtam

    Beautiful. It made me cry reading it because it reminded me of my own experience. I endured years of emotional abuse from my mother and while my sufferings were nowhere near as bad as many of those chronicled here, it was still a traumatic time from which I continue to recover. It took a long time for me to even acknowledge that I had been abused because I always thought abuse was something that happened to other people and involved beatings. Meeting my husband was a real godsend because he helped me to recognize that I was in a bad situation and helped me escape from it.

    God bless Pastor Jeff, Barbara, and all who moderate and contribute to this blog. Your testimony does more good than you may realize.

  21. Caroline

    What a beautiful story. That is exactly how I feel and it gives me hope.

    • Hi Caroline! Welcome to the blog 🙂 I’m so glad that post gave you hope.
      I’m guessing you may have already read our New Users Info page, but if not, here is a link

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