A Cry For Justice

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

Rescue from the Miry Bog of Abuse

Psalms 40:2-4 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

When you are attacked by an enemy, it is not a good thing to be standing in sticky muck that prevents you from moving. A miry bog, as the Psalmist describes, puts a person at the mercy of his oppressor. You can’t run. You can’t dodge blows. You can’t attack.

Abuse is a pit. A sticky, mucky, imprisoning pit. This is what we have so often called the fog of abuse. Abusers sow confusion and doubt so that their victims remain stuck. Then to make the pit even muckier, you have the allies of the abuser coming along adding to the uncertainty. Every step in the right direction, every movement toward truth, is impeded by the muck. Does this help us understand more clearly why she doesn’t “just leave the jerk”?

It is the Lord’s business to grab hold of the oppressed and, as the Psalmist says, “draw them up” from the pit of destruction. As Rescuer and Redeemer, as Light and Truth, Christ plants His people firmly on “the rock” where firm, secure footing replaces that sucking suction of the pit. All of a sudden the victim can move. She can run, go on the offensive, and dodge attacks with confidence. She can stand. And also, sensing this new freedom, she can sing praise to our God. This deliverance is to serve as a powerful evangelistic witness to the world. “Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

“But,” you say, “it seems like this doesn’t happen very often today.” Well, let me suggest to you a couple of things in response. First, this rescue by the Lord does happen. Many of you can testify that He has effected this very thing in your live. He latched on to you, pulled you up out of the miry pit, and set your feet securely on the rock. But secondly, I agree that this kind of rescue and witness of the Lord’s glory does not happen nearly as often as it should. I can tell you why. It is not because the Lord cannot rescue, it is because that which professes to be His church will not rescue victims.

Think this through. There is all kinds of talk about “outreach” and “evangelism” and “winning the lost to Christ.” Churches spend piles of money hiring “ministers of outreach” and devising strategies and programs to “grow the church.” Let me propose that on the authority of God’s Word stated right here in this Psalm, if pastors and churches and church members would render true justice to abuse victims sitting in their pews, rescue them and deal also in true justice with their abusers hiding behind a “saintly” facade, might we not find out that “many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord”?

Because I can tell you this as I stand on the rock of certainty that the Lord’s truth has provided for me, blowing away the deceptions and fog of abuse, a “church” that enables and protects the wicked, refusing to rescue the oppressed, only causes the name of Christ to be mocked in the world.

48 Comments

  1. Overcomer

    Good Lord’s day to you Pastor Jeff. And thank you for this post. Yes, the LORD HIMSELF rescued me from the miry pit of abuse and if not for HIM ALONE, I would probably still be there and possibly dead or in a mental hospital. But you are right, God’s people need to resuce God’s people. The church. The true church. Should be doing this. It is like the shoemaker who has holes in his own shoes. Reaching out to the “lost of the world” when all the while the hurting, oppressed, and dying are right in their midst. Thank you for being the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. I have nothing to do with organized religion or church at this point. My story is like many others here. No help from the pastors of the church, and the abuser sits in their pew, week after week, a phony, evil person. My brothers, this ought not be.

  2. healinginhim

    “It is not because the Lord cannot rescue, it is because that which professes to be His church will not rescue victims.”
    “…a “church” that enables and protects the wicked, refusing to rescue the oppressed, only causes the name of Christ to be mocked in the world.”
    Pastor Crippen, Thank you …
    As I have been more truthful about my circumstances I feel great embarrassment to have to admit to unbelievers that I do not have a church home. This is not a good witness and has almost caused me to cringe and draw back, however I know I can not. I can’t keep hiding even though I am being slandered for suggesting that ‘he’ has been abusive. The abuse extends to family and fair-weather friends whom have also become emotionally abusive towards me and ‘he’ knows this; that my support system is not nearly as large as ‘his’.
    Each night and as I awaken I cry out to the Lord to help me see clearly and yes, help me out of the miry clay …

    • M&M

      Healinginhim, I think that if you are seeking justice/freedom without vengeance that is a far more important witness than church attendance. God convicts in a way that leads to life, but Satan accuses. Today I was considering the best way to help a friend who has multiple abusers in the family and I had this fear of failing and becoming one of those fake Christians. Then I realized that fear isn’t from God because accusations aren’t from God. 2 Corinthians 7:10; Revelation 12:10. So I hope you too can be free from your fear of being a “bad witness” and also be free from your abuser. ❤ ❤

      • healinginhim

        M&M — Thank you for the encouragement. Yes, the enemy of our souls loves to accuse … The enemy uses many within the church as they feel I am forsaking the “assembling together” clause. I have sincerely attempted to be part of the church family; I’ve been trying for several years. Even when I explain why I will not or can not come back because of their lack of protection for victims, etc … they choose to not receive the truth of Scripture.
        My witness for Christ is most important and all I have to lean on is the fact that He has always known ‘my heart’ from the very beginning of time; pre and post Salvation. What a beautiful Savior.

    • Still Reforming

      Praying for you, healinginhim. Be gentle on yourself re: church attendance; It’s not a requirement in Scripture. “…there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). It’s easy to listen to the voice of the accuser, but your Shepherd also has a voice you recognize – as only his people can.

      A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; and in His Name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matthew 12:20-21, citing Isaiah 42:3)

      Your witness is greater than you think – because having lived what you have is greater witness to His truth and care of you than any number years of church attendance. Anyone who judges you re: the latter is no saint. Certainly not one who truly cares for you. He cares for you, and His real sheep should too.

    • Still Reforming

      Healinginhim,
      Just read your comment re: the Scripture verse about not forsaking the assembly of the brethren. I cited that verse recently to a pastor on the phone whom I’ve never met, but whose teachings I listen to on-line. When I said how hard it is to find a really God-fearing, truth-preaching church, he replied that he hears that from many people. When I cited the verse, he took me back to its original context, when Christians were suffering great persecution (dipped in wax and burned, thrown to wild beasts in coliseums, tortured, children killed in front of them, etc.) – and so the admonition was from the author of Hebrews (in 10:25) to not forsake meeting together even in spite of the danger. It was not a command that every week a Christian must go to a building for Sunday service. Contemporary Christianity has lost much by pulling verses out of context and neglecting the history of the church. It’s as if churches think the New Testament was written just for 20th-21st century Gentiles.
      That reminder from this pastor was an encouragement to me, and perhaps it will be to you too – that the “assembly of the brethren” was an encouragement to the life-threatened Christians of the early church to continue to meet in spite of the threat. They were meeting in homes then. We’re meeting on-line. We’re assembling here (and elsewhere on-line). You are not forsaking the assembly; You’re just not assembling in a man-prescribed manner. (“You must be at this building at 11 a.m. Sunday or you’re ‘forsaking the assembly.” Says who? God didn’t say that!).

      • healingInHim

        SR — Thank you for the confirmation re: the assembling together.

        Heb 10:22-25 … let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

        Hebrews also encourages us to draw near with ‘sincere hearts’; ‘to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” and of course ‘not forsaking the assembling” and then continues with the theme to ‘encourage one another as you see the day drawing near.” One of the reasons I have been snubbed is after countless times of spiritual abuse I finally admitted that I WAS NOT BEING ENCOURAGED OR STIMULATED in love and good deeds. As I faithfully attempted to be a part of the church family it suddenly dawned on me that I obviously was not considered ‘a one another’ … I felt I was an outcast.

        Some ‘sincerely’ meant well but once I questioned any of the authors they used for Bible Study’s, the wall was put in place.
        The man I married was willing to just go along and get along even if the church was becoming heretical. This apathy on his part was another red flag in our marital relationship as I now began to wonder whether he was truly saved? His treatment of me as his wife already had me wondering? The apostate church is very welcoming of abusers who dress, nicely, tend to their jobs faithfully, etc, etc. What they insist on not believing is that these types of abusers go to their jobs because they want the financial benefits and if their spouse is willing to ‘make them look good’ regardless of the covert lies and deceitfulness – well that’s my problem – not the church’s.
        I have told many that I seek to assemble with sincere Christ-fearing believers – this remark is not very well received and I am usually given, “Well, we are all sinners and There is no perfect church” …. Yes, I know that but can’t we at least have a healthy fear of the Lord and stop ‘playing church’?
        I apologize for the lengthy response.

      • Dear HealinginHim — no need to apologise! 🙂

        My experience in many (not all) churches has been similar to what you describe.

        And I’ll take what you said a step further. The country-club play-at-church folk seem to think that Hebrews 10:22-25 says:
        … let us draw near with insincere hearts presuming our faith is sound and true, having our masks shiny clean and our veneers washed with ear-tickling teaching. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for we all support each other and agree that we’ve got it right! But it doesn’t matter if we don’t stimulate one another to love and good deeds, because we are not forsaking our own assembling together (as is the habit of some, those suspicious types who question our ways) because we are all about encouraging one another — so long as that kid who says the emporor has no clothes can be shut up!

    • Hi HealinginHim, I gave this link on another thread just now, but I’m adding it here too in case there is anything helpful in it for you.

      It is an article I wrote years ago which may give you a few other ideas of how to respond to the friends, family and neighbours who have been sucked in by that pastor’s lies.

      Unhelpful Comments by Well-Meaning People — A Coaching Clinic

      Re the embarrassment you feel when telling unbelievers that you do not have a church home: what about you tell them that you DO have a church home, that it’s online, in a blog which understands domestic abuse and supports victim-survivors and educates the church at large. 🙂 When I tell unbelievers what I do on this blog, they are usually very impressed. Most unbelievers think that the church sucks because they’ve heard about clergy pedophiles abusing kids and sweeping reports of abuse under the rug.

  3. Brenda R

    Amen, Ps Jeff. This is a great post. I have been speaking up about the authors that we allow to be used in the local body. It has gone on deaf ears as impossible to research each one. I gave a list of Blind Guides and known hiders of abusers and pedophiles. That was rebuked using 1 Thes 4:11 “mind your own business”. I believe it is my business when I know the truth, pass it on and these “teachers” of the Word are still allowed in. The flock then thinks all of their works are Biblical and keeps on reading and supporting them by buying their books.

    I just could not stomach books recently brought in by Matt Chandler and Nancy De Moss. I just cannot read them, no matter if they are good or not.

  4. Anonymous

    A young woman was walking along the seashore and she noticed not hundreds but thousands of tiny little fish that were washed ashore during a violent storm. They were gasping and trying to stay alive there in the sands of the seashore. She proceeded walking along and kept picking them up one by one tossing them back in the ocean. A man walking towards her stopped and said, “Young lady, why are you wasting your time? There are thousands and thousands of fish that are going to die, you can’t possibly make a difference”. The young lady knelt down and picked up another fish and tossed it in the ocean. She looked at the man and smiled and said, “It makes a difference to that one”.

    When we see the wolves roaming about and sitting in the pews we must rest assured, they are NOT getting away with anything. To the contrary, they are heaping up judgment upon themselves. God sees and knows all things. May we never give up and continue exposing light on the darkness of evildoers. One person at a time, we can make a difference.

    • Brenda R

      Anon,
      That is a great way of explaining the situation.

  5. Leonora

    Yes AMEN!!!

    • Hi Leonora, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Have you read our New Users Info page? If not, I suggest you do so. It gives tips for screen names and other safety ideas for those who comment here.

  6. Joe Godal

    Great article, Jeff. Forwarded it to someone who is being rescued from her abuser & is finally divorcing him. Thanks for your labors on behalf of the oppressed. Joe

  7. Jo

    Truth! God bless, Jeff Crippen! 🙂

    • Jo,
      Welcome to the blog!

  8. Seeing Clearly

    “Miry bog” partial definition suggests muddy ground that is too soft to support a body. So a person stuck in this muddy mess is thinking if they try another tactic, they should be able to get out and clean their shoes off and keep going. Oops, there is no foundation under this muddy, sticky mess to get a foothold and push off. An abuser will say that all one has to do is ……and walk out, wash your shoes off and get over it. However, the precious one who sincerely wants to stand on firm ground is, in reality sinking. But no one is explaining that the foundation just is not there. And no one in the church is taking the time to believe her, walk to where she is standing, put their feet in and find out that indeed she is stating the truth.

    Here is one sentence from a big church that was recently used to put me in the bog, but I walked away. 3 leaders in the church stated it to me in different ways. “We are not responsible for the spiritual lives of people, we simply facilitate their process.” I knew this to be a godless statement, but couldn’t exactly verbalized why. This week, I saw the statement in print as it was sent to homes with grade school children. Of course, it is not stated that bluntly, but strongly inferred. It is a “half truth”, symantics, when used in conversation with me, a belittling statement to shut up an inquisive, caring person, (me)

    Standing on a firm foundation with dry shoes, I can state the truth, but I won’t step feet on their ground again. While they are not totally responsible for the spiritual life of a child attending their church, they are 100% responsible to teach that child the truth of the gospel in as many ways as possible while that child is in their care. That is my statement, not theirs. Having been married to a minister, who used lies and symantics in the home, I nearly drowned in the bog. It is only because God gently and gradually lifted me out of that miry bog and set my feet on hard, dry ground that I am alive and flourishing today. I cannot name one church in those 30+ years of marriage that walked beside me, helping to lift me out of the miry bog.

    Thank you for today’s teaching.

  9. a prodigal daughter returns

    This is my church this morning, and its good, thank you for your faithfulness to publish the Word Pastor Crippen.
    Part of the fog that kept me trapped was my own desire to pursue a dream. The Evangelical Dream of loving husband, Christian marriage, obedient healthy kids and a certain level of prosperity substituted for a living, vital connection to Christ himself. Some people get those trappings of the “good Christian life” a good many don’t. It all went terribly wrong for me, based on that false hope of mine. I’d put my well being in the hands of human beings and a dream that turned out to be a chain around my neck. I married my abusive husband in the first place because I was looking for rescue from a life that had little meaning.

    After much false teaching that God’s only purpose for me had to do with being married and submitted was the burka over my brain. The fog of confusion and delusion about the hell I was actually living in was not just created by my abuser but my own desire to believe in a fairy tale. The churches support of the Evangelical Christian Dream in which marriage is the measure of woman’s existence does much harm.
    That dream was my snare and trap. Giving up that dream and asking for Christ alone was the gateway out of hell for me. God has rescued me and turned my mourning into dancing but this involved a process of learning that He alone was my only true rescue. I didn’t turn to Him at first and reaped the consequences of putting my faith in the untrustworthy. Abusive husbands, churches, counselors all failed terribly to bring the freedom, joy and deliverance I needed.

    If I have anything to say as a survivor that is on a path to thriving it is this, run to Jesus with your entire being, He will make a way out when there appears to be no way. He is a powerful healer of broken hearts

    • Anonymous

      Prodigal daughter, your truthfulness, transparency and wisdom is very refreshing…you’re not afraid to look at yourself. I greatly admire this in you. And I believe God will honor and bless your candid straightforwardness with regard to having your own dreams realized. I could say the same of myself….wanted my dreams to come true. This in and of itself is not a bad thing but it does keep us from looking to Him for the direction He chooses to take us. Most abusers will always be abusers. But most victims/over comers will have amazing and fresh new opportunities to live in an abuse-free and loving environment with those who truly love, care for, honor and respect us. Exciting, I believe!

      • renmar

        Amen, Anonymous! I lived in an emotionally abusive marriage for over two decades. I didn’t realize it was abusive and would have said it was ‘overly dramatic’ to explain my situation as abusive. But by the time I left my physical and emotional health was almost gone. I would have never left, and was prepared to stay there even if it killed me, in order to honor God, but as Pastor Crippen said, God stepped in and rescued me out of the miry clay.

        The part of my story that corresponds to this post is that I fed on Psalm 37 for many, many years believing that if I dwelt in the land God had put me in (my marriage) and strove to be faithful to God and fed on His faithfulness to me then one day He would give me the desires of my heart. Eventually, as I grew more and more hopeless that anything would change I came to believe that my desires would be realize in heaven and not on this earth.

        But that was not God’s plan. I was recently remarried to a man whom I know truly loves Jesus and His people and truly loves me and has my best interest at heart. He loves my kids and God has blessed us with favor from my children who are still at home. It’s been a journey to get here as I had to work through a lot of fear and I tried often to run away from this but God has been faithful to assure me this relationship is of Him. Through this blog primarily I was able to learn the difference between abusive behavior and non-abusive behavior so I could enter this marriage confidently.

        I hope my story brings encouragement. No matter what happens in our lives God has a plan. We may go through the deepest depths but He is always there and is always working everything together for our good. He is faithful!

  10. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  11. Sarah

    I agree with you and told the Pastor of the Mega church I attended that he should do more to bring this to the attention of so many in the congregation. His response was that he would not. He is so influential world wide yet remains silent except for the occasional “If you are being abused… leave” Putting all the responsibility on the woman herself. I was so saddened by this that I have lost faith in any change or growth in the church any time soon

  12. KayE

    Not only do “churches ” and “christians” that enable and protect the wicked, and treat the oppressed with injustice cause the name of Christ to be mocked- but they bring down terrible judgement on themselves.

  13. Rebecca

    This article is so helpful, I am in process of separating and still feel confused way too often. What i have to keep coming back to (when I doubt my decision to separate) is that my husband still insists his behavior is ok. So I KNOW I have no reason to hope that he will change if we stay together. I have to keep reminding myself of what the reality is…that his behavior is Not ok, regardless of his professing innocence. I feel afraid in my own house. That should be enough, especially since he believes there is something wrong with me if I feel that way.

    • Still Reforming

      Rebecca,
      You are in the right. I am still told by my now ex-, “(My name), there’s something wrong with you. You need to seek help. There is no reason for (whatever boundary I have put up). You need therapy…” and on and on. Meanwhile, his lies are transparent, and if/when I call him out on any, they either go away, are never admitted to, or twisted.
      An abuser’s behavior is not okay. Lies and manipulation are not okay. Twisting truth is not okay. When truth is spoken in love, it’s known and felt. If it feels/seems wrong to you, it is wrong. I’ll pray for clarity and strength for you. If you decided to separate, it was with real reason. He won’t make it easier for you, so know that you are supported here and understood. You should never feel afraid in your own house. Feeling confused is a goal of the abuser, but “God is not a God of confusion….” (1 Cor. 14:33)

    • There is nothing wrong with you that you are living in fear in your own house! You fear shows that your warning signal mechanisms are not broken! Your husband is the one who is wrong: for his evil pattern of conduct that has made you afraid of him!

    • standsfortruth

      I ditto what Still Reforming and Barbara said here. I had to employ many” in home safety strategies” while I was still in the same house with my abuser, because I chose not to move out (for reasons that I will not go into here. )
      I discovered that these strategies worked to keep me quite safe, secure and un affected by my abuser, even though he enlisted the older children within the same house to show contempt towards me, and mirror his disapproval of my choices.
      But God was with me and that will soon be all over and I am thankful that I preservered, and hope to share my story with others soon.

  14. Rebecca

    Still Reforming, thank you. I appreciate your kind words and support. I think part of where the confusion comes in is he does not physically abuse me. However he has in my view been abusive to our children,being too harsh in his ‘discipline’, frequent and very loud yelling, no one even wants to go with him anywhere now that they are grown. And now he’s trying this same treatment toward the youngest who is pretty much non verbal and has autism. That was the thing that finally gave me the courage to separate. I said “It was bad enough you would not listen to me about our other children years ago, but I’ll be damned if I’ll stand by while you mistreat someone who cannot even speak for themselves.” I assumed for years I could not divorce since I’m a Christian, which h. also claims to be. But over the past year and half God has opened my eyes. I have not had a job, all of that, I am primary caregiver for my son but I know God will make a way for us. I am so grateful for this website that helps clear the fog.

    • Hi Rebecca, you may have read this post, but I’m putting a link to it here just in case you or other readers find it helpful:

      Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All

      • rebecca

        Thank you Very much for that link. WOW does it hit home. I need to print that one out and read it every day.

      • Thank YOU for that encouragement, Rebecca!

        And please feel free to share that article of mine widely. Since I wrote it so long ago, I feel like it’s one of my babies, nurtured back in the days before I met Jeff Crippen, when I so often felt like my writing was just whistling into the gale, and no-one was hearing. . . So I like to know that at least now, it is being helpful to some others. 🙂

    • Still Reforming

      Oh Rebecca,
      You and I have much in common. I too have a child on the Autism Spectrum (albeit high-functioning) also. My abusive ex- didn’t yell at her (only me), but he uses her as a tool. I think you are wise to protect your child who can’t speak for himself. My child never melts down, but shuts down – withdraws internally. So who knows what the child is going through and thinking when that happens? And like you, I had no job (still don’t) and homeschooled her, which really helped. Now she’s been forced (by the ex- via the courts) into public school. I can’t have her come home to an empty house after school while I work, and where I live, work is scarce. I completely understand your predicament, or at least best I’m able via the little amount we’ve shared here.

      FWIW, my ex- never physically abused me either, although he did spin the car around in anger with our child and me in it – yelling at the top of his lungs. Screamed at me a few times in front of her, etc. It all lends to the confusion when he (like your anti-husband) is a church-goer and accepted at church as a Christian, in spite of the knowledge among the church leaders about what he’s done to us. Even when I told the pastor of lies that my now ex- told about the pastor, the pastor shrugged them off.

      But I am able to now wake up every day thanking God that I’m where I am now rather than back there in the miry bog. It’s confusing to have someone change stories one day to the next or be angry for a week over nothing and then suddenly have the anger dissipate for no reason. It’s confusing attending a church that is okay with that. It’s confusing being the only one struggling to hold up a “marriage” (so-called, because it’s really no marriage when only one party is upholding it) and viewing “divorce” as a dirty word when in fact it’s the abuse that’s to blame for the lack of marriage, not the divorce. The divorce is only acknowledgement on paper that there is no marriage. Staying under the same roof with abuse is not marriage; It’s bondage.

  15. Valerie

    Beautiful, Pastor Jeff! I prayed for deliverance and He gave it to me. I thought that I was going to be rescued from the abuse by my husband repenting and turning to Christ but after years of that prayer and him only getting more cruel God set me free! The hard thing is you never get an itinerary of what what Exodus and subsequent Promised Land will look like. God knew when I walked down the aisle all those year ago where I would be right now. He’s always been faithful even when I was faithless. This world is not my home. To God be the Glory!!

  16. Innoscent

    Jeff -I give praise to God for making you, a minister, to become an advocate for the victims of abuse. Like other survivors here, this blog is where I find solace, encouragement, great insights and peace.

    I can see how God, with the separation from h, lifted me up out of the pit. Sadly I confirm that there was hardly any help from my church in the process but more hurdles 😦 And now that I ventured to talk about divorce, I hear the usual arguments… So I can be out of the pit, but stay there close by, and not stand upon the rock; stuck for the rest of my life because I signed a covenant with h before God…
    I am persuaded about divorce being biblical in case of abuse. God has a plan and He will show me when is the time and how. I cannot stay in limbo too long.

  17. rebecca

    Still Reforming, you mentioned exactly what has been on my mind this morning….you are not working. I have been trying to find a job, applied for several, had an interview last week but still so far, nothing. My worry is how can I separate if I am not working?? How do you manage things financially? Thank you for any help. I don’t know if there is a way to communicate privately /by email. Barbara I think you forwarded a message to me once from someone here. Could we do that again? Thanks so very much.

    I have to say I feel confused today. I know Jesus spoke to my heart about my h., He told me, “Stand up.” And more than once He has told me I am a widow. I believe separation is needed now. Can I do this if I am not employed? Just trying to find my way forward. I know God helps us, I wish He’d show me a clearly open door.

    • Still Reforming

      rebecca,

      I think the Lord has put us together for a reason. Every morning I wake up with concern about my lack of employment. This morning I listened to a teaching on God’s irresistible grace. One example the teacher gave was how God told Abram to get up and leave the land of Ur and Abram did so in faith. Then God told Abram that he would have more descendants than stars in the sky, and the teacher’s point was that Abram believed God’s promise based on who God is, in spite of what his circumstances were – that God’s Word was more true than Abram’s circumstances. Abram was 75 or 80 years old when he left Ur – and I think that Sarah, his wife, was 90-something when she bore Isaac. The teacher said that our faith is believing God more than believing what we see – our circumstances. Because He is more trustworthy than our understanding of what we see.

      Actually, he also digressed into a fascinating point about how in the New Testament Greek the word translated into English as “believe” is actually the Greek word for “faith” – pisteo – and that in the Greek, “faith” can be a verb whereas English has no equivalent verb form for “faith.” Contemporary usage of the word “believe” in English can mean all kinds of things (I believe in the tooth fairy, I believe in you, etc.) and is usually reduced to mere intellectual assent. The origin and real meaning of “believe” in Scripture, however, carries with it a more active living of faith as a way of life, not just intellectual belief. How that looks in your life may not look like how it does in mine, and the details are surely different, even though they intersect at points, but it’s still worthy of consideration.

      I have applied for work since May – here and there in places that I thought were perfect fits for my situation, where I have to be home three days a week by mid-afternoon to pick up my child from school. I even got a job in August that I thought was ideal, then was dismissed (wrongfully) without cause after only two weeks. (I contacted an attorney, but decided against pursuing legal means to resolve the case.)

      All of this is in God’s plan, I am sure. Why? Many reasons, I suspect, but one of them is building my faith and trust in His care, His sovereignty, His provision.

      So after listening to the teaching this morning, I began to think again about how I need to walk through this time of my life with more surety in God’s provision than in my own. That no matter what I do, I am at His mercy and will continue to trust in His provision no matter what I do or don’t receive in way of work. I was encouraged that God will provide.

      It’s a scary place to be – without employment and having dependent children – but we’re not the first to be so and with God’s wisdom and provision, we’ll be okay. For some reason, I think a lot about the woman in Scripture – the widow with her son in 1 Kings 17 – who thought she would be on death’s door with her son very soon and went out to prepare her last meal for them both when Elijah came by, at God’s direction, and had her prepare that meal for him. She did and God provided for her and her son, and they did not die. I’m not sure exactly why I keep thinking of that testimony, but I do.

      I still suffer bouts of concern because we’re not accustomed to living solely by faith, but that’s where I am right now, or at least that’s where He’s bringing me to, and I’m grateful for it, even though it’s not always a comfortable place.

      I’ll be happy to share with you how I’m managing finances via private email if you like. The moderators can contact me and provide me your email addy or vice versa and we can. God’s plan for me may not be what His plans are for you, but we may be able to share ideas and think through things together – and certainly pray for one another.

    • Rebecca, this sounds like an obvious thing to say, but the DV refuge or support service in your area may have tips for welfare payments and other financial assistance that may be available for DV victims in your locality.

      • rebecca

        Well if it is obvious it still had not crossed my mind. I will check into that. Thank you.

      • 🙂

  18. rebecca

    Still Reforming, I have to comment too on what you said about the abuser’s being angry and then that anger seeming to dissipate for no reason. This is exactly what’s happened to me this week. Last night he came home from work in such a ‘sweet’ mood. It threw me, though I did not interact with him much at all. The day before I had told him again that I need for him to move out and it was ugly. I wondered what in the world he was in such an uncharacteristically pleasant mood for. Ugh. I am thinking I should consult with a lawyer soon. I did have a free consult about a year ago, but she went so fast it made my head spin and I ended up feeling like I could not handle any of it.

    • Jeff Crippen

      It is “the setup.” And it makes people very confused. Heaps guilt on you by getting you to think, “how could I have imagined such things about him? Shame on me. Look how nice he is being.” It’s a powerful tool of abusers.

      • rebecca

        Thank you. It is hard to get that concept through my head, thinking he does this on purpose.

    • Still Reforming

      Rebecca,

      That was one of the things that always made me wonder. It’s mind-boggling how something could seem to be a real problem one day and just evaporate the next. (Like your telling him you need to move out and the very next day he seems like you never had the conversation.) No one other than those who have lived it and who God has given the wisdom re: this type of abuse, such as those here on this website, can understand. It boggles the mind and yet it fits the characteristics of the abusive narcissistic spouse – one who focuses solely on self and how everything must revolve around him. It’s NOT someone who is trustworthy, no matter how “sweet” he can be at his own whim. It’s in fact the sign of someone untrustworthy, because he’s NOT dealing with the information and facts. He’s solely focused on presentation and appearance, not reality and truth.

      Re: attorneys, in hindsight I would have handled things differently with mine. I am now divorced but I could have saved myself a lot of time and money had I interviewed them better. I have a horrible taste in my mouth for how they handle their billing and cases, but the law is the law – and unless it has been overtly broken, attorneys and judges just aren’t interested in the details of the abuse unless it has crossed a legal line. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t contact one, however, there are places (like local women’s shelters or legal aid groups) that may be able to advise you about attorneys who are more cost-effective or can set a fixed price in handling cases such as yours. We can communicate more about this via private email if you like.

  19. Still Reforming

    Rebecca,
    Re: “It is hard to get that concept through my head, thinking he does this on purpose.”

    Intentionality. It’s a hard one to get through one’s head and into one’s heart. When it finally dawned on me that it was intentional, this is what happened. I type this in case it might help you.

    When it sunk in for me was when I overheard my then husband telling our child something bad (and false) about me. I don’t even remember what it was now – but I do remember approaching him later when she wasn’t present because I always tried to work out our differences away from her, so as not to trouble her. So I told him that when he says things such as he did, it’s not good – but I didn’t even get to finish what I was saying; He immediately interrupted me and said, “Yeah, yeah. I know. We have to present a united front.” I replied, “But you don’t know or you wouldn’t be doing that.”

    When I left the room after our brief “talk,” that’s when it hit me – like a ton of bricks. I realized – with shining clarity – (1) This wasn’t a new concept to him and it certainly wasn’t a difficult one. Being a “team” or “united front” wasn’t something new. We had discussed it before, and it certainly wasn’t too hard for him to grasp. (2) If he knew it already and was doing it anyway, then…. there was only one logical conclusion. He was doing it in spite of his knowledge. He willed to do it and therefore, it was intentional.

    Now, I don’t think that intentionality means that each abuser has this big constructed plan and that he’s willing one’s downfall actively or whatever. I DO think that they are intentionally making everyone in their world (especially those behind closed doors where they’re not seen or affected publicly by a tarnished image) to revolve around them. They are intentionally actively working to make sure everyone’s thoughts, actions, and behaviors continually revolve around them (the abusers), much like a moon to a planet. It’s the worship they crave and make sure they get – one way or another.

    Seen that way, it becomes all the more obvious that they’re actively working against God, seeking your worship and attention, all the mind and heart attention trying to “figure it out” or spend time trying to “make things work,” etc. When in fact, they never do. They never try to “make it work.” They are intentionally doing manipulating situations and people for their own purposes related to self-self-self, which is evil and totally against God.

    • Seeing Clearly

      SR, You have worded this exactly as it occurs. When an abuser appears to be aloof and disinterested, it is hard to think of it as “intentional”. Appearance vs. reality is a part of the crazy making. Also, coming to the realization that someone we invited into our world would intentionally lie and seek to destroy us is at times, too painful to admit to ourselves. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  20. rebecca

    I appreciate your responses so much. I don’t have much time at the moment,hope to write more later…. but I know what you shared is so from God!! Especially the story of the widow and Elijah. Jesus has pointed out that story to me before and I needed to be reminded!! Thank you for being his voice right now! And the thing about Believe…..yes. Thanks, He has also said that very thing to me just a couple of weeks ago. He said BELIEVE in Me. I thought I did, and I told Him I didn’t understand why He was saying that to me, but I knew He was.

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