I can’t think of one time in my life that I was changed (for the better) with harsh words, anger, or with any form of ugliness from another. The only deep permanent changes have been through thoughts, words, and actions from the kindness, gentleness, mercy, grace…and mostly…love of others who first felt this from another themselves, and passed it on to me!! Praise His Name for these people in my life!! :-) I have been set free by LOVE! :-)
Open your eyes…
Toxic Tuesday: I Am Known As a Liar
Today I am reminiscing of the road I lingered on for several years to see my former husband go to prison for sexual crimes against children.
For more on this read: Reversal of Destiny, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin, Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 1, Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 2, and Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 3
Sixteen years of anticipating justice was a long wait and the only reason I kept my sanity was that the Lord’s great love endures forever. And I understood His voice in my heart, soul, mind and strength telling me to trust Him because He was working. I was to keep silent, except for prayer, and wait on His sovereign timing.
God did use other people to stand up for the little children but when a defendant suffers from a narcissistic personality you can bet your bottom dollar most people will believe and defend the accused. Why? Narcissists are the best of the best actors and liars.
A few weeks ago I shared in, My Destructive Marriage, about a friend who knew the extreme depravity of my husband and yet was not able to come to terms with it. I posted the letter of rebuttal I received from this friend.
Well, George (from My Destructive Marriage) wasn’t the only person who didn’t believe me. Truth be told; I lost most of my closest friends and dozens of ministry friends. While my soon to be ex-husband made his rounds to secure believability and support; the Lord gave me His peace, provision, a supportive family, and some of the most amazing female friends for which I ever asked.
I had to live with the reputation of being a liar; of lying about my husband because that is what he told anyone and everyone who would listen. You may know the saying “People believe the first thing they hear.” This is especially true when it is the only thing they hear.
Here is another letter.
Please note as you read the below letter that the association did not bother to tell their supporters the charges for which my ex-husband was arrested. I think the supporters deserved the whole truth so they could make an informed decision about continued financial and prayer support.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In past years you have read of Evangelist S in our newsletters. S joined as an Overseas Evangelist several years back and served honorably and successfully winning many souls to Christ. S was not full time, he was part time. His full time service was as the Minister of a Church in Independence, Kansas, where he preached and was loved by that congregation for over 6 years. One year and a half ago S was suddenly arrested and jailed in Independence and he has remained in jail ever since. Many of us are grieved because we believe S is 100% innocent of the charge that has been made against him. We are asking all Christians to pray for Evangelist S. He is your brother in Christ. He was baptized as a boy at the County Christian Church in Kansas, where his father and mother were among the founding members of that church. S was also ordained to the ministry by the Elders of the County Christian Church after graduating from Bible College. S’s trial will take place at the courthouse in Independence, Kansas, the first week of August. Several of us who live in Joplin and surrounding towns plan to be present for the trial and will be in constant prayer that God will lead the Defense Attorney to accurately present S’s side of the story. Please pray for S, pray for his wife, pray for the Judge and for each member of the jury. Pray that S may be acquitted so he can continue his effective work as an overseas evangelist. Thinking about the Apostle Paul. During S’s incarceration I have often written to him and he has written many letters to me. Receiving a letter from S in jail is very similar to reading Paul’s Prison Epistles in the New Testament. I want to share with you one of S’s letters:
“Dear R and E, Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging letter I received from you. I so much appreciate the news of our evangelists’ work around the world. I am keeping these in my thoughts and prayers—and hope to join you in the work again soon. How could I possibly express how thankful I am to both of you for watching out for, comforting, and encouraging my wife through these terribly difficult times? May an abundance of grace be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:16-18). Jail has exposed me to men who have engaged in the worst of all behaviors. Many brag about their addictions to drugs and sex—the most lewd descriptions I have been forced to hear. It is sickening to hear it day after day. The word to best describe it is TORTURE! The good news is that one-by-one, they have come to me and asked questions about the Bible. There are moments of shame and despair. I pray throughout the day for all of them—for the Lord to reach their hearts.
One man, convinced that “all men are equal,” (not believing that anyone was better than him) reacted violently toward me when I said, “Yes, I believe there are some who are better than others.” I used examples like Noah and Job and Enoch and Elijah. He nearly hit me he was so angry; he said that I was Satanic. Then after telling him that I loved him, I left the room. Later that day, I handed him a Bible reference…”Consider others more important than yourselves…” (Philippians 3:2). It amazes me how so many do not esteem others beyond themselves. Needless to say, there is little to no respect for authority. I have always had “heroes in the faith”. These men refuse to consider anyone as being better than themselves. While I understand that “all have sinned” and “all need the Savior”, there are many who are “walking in a manner worthy of their calling.” We are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” These are foreign concepts; they demand respect, but often forget to give it. The hardships are discouraging, and sometimes I lose hope—but my faith is strong. I cannot deny the Lord’s word, nor can I deny His faithfulness. Thank you again for all you are doing to help us in this difficult situation. I believe the Lord will deliver me home and restore my joy. I love you both beyond words, S, Psalm 103”
OUR APPEAL IS THAT A LARGE ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS WILL SURROUND S WITH YOUR PRAYERS TO GOD FOR HIS ACQUITTAL.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A friend messaged me as an alert that this letter was circulating to all the world-wide prayer and financial supporters of this evangelistic association.
Weeks later, a different friend, called to tell me they had spoken with the man who wrote the letter. They pleaded with the man to step back, pray about it, research narcissistic personality disorder, and allow the law to do its job because this arrest was overdue, necessary justice and future protection for innocent children.
The evangelist found my friend’s remarks impossible to believe. He said he knew the defendant intimately from traveling the world with him on mission trips and had spent much time in prayer with him. He would consider it but doubted what he was being told by my friend.
I would like to ask this man, “How did you think I felt? I was his wife. I loved him, supported him, was intimate with him, believed him, and listened to him preach, pray and lead people to Christ week after week. It took years to rectify my heart and mind with facts—years!”
This letter literally made me sick to my stomach for multiple reasons.
This evangelist later attended the trial and the sentencing as a supporter of the defendant.
Twenty three plus years ago I knew this evangelist, and his wife, from North American Christian Conventions that I attended with my then husband; the defendant. We would visit with them at their exhibit table and eat meals together with our mutual friends; Dewey, Barbara and their daughter and son-in-law who were close friends of mine.
Did the evangelist and his wife ever wonder what happened to me? Why didn’t they inquire about why the defendant was divorced? Did they not find it odd that he had no contact with, or rights to, his biological child? Did they not remember that far back? Why did they not have questions or concerns since this man would be traveling with them to foreign countries for the purpose of working in orphanages?
I saw the evangelist’s wife stare at me multiple times in court. I wondered if she remembered me, if perhaps she thought I was an absolutely wicked woman, or if she was trying to make sense of the difference between the defendant’s first wife and second wife. I held out little hope that everything was adding up to her and she now realized the defendant’s guilt.
There is NO understanding this without understanding the influence and believability of a narcissist.
“Though I am glad this predator was finally caught and removed from having more opportunities to abuse little ones, I am sickened by the fact that the faith community has embraced him and advocates for his innocence. I have no doubt these individuals will one day be called into account for their failure to protect the vulnerable as they were too busy protecting evil. So glad that justice finally arrived…” ~Boz @ G.R.A.C.E.
The moral of my story is this: Narcissists are nearly impossible to identify. This is maddening to any woman who finds herself married to one because when she finally finds the courage to tell the nightmare she has lived through; very few people believe her since the narcissistic husband has hidden his real self to the world while letting it all hang out at home. The extended family knows, the wife knows, the kids know. The sad aspect is the wife is considered the crazy unstable person by many friends for exposing her reality when in fact, the opposite is true; the husband is unstable. Narcissists mirror all accusations toward the accuser, framing the victim as the perpetrator. Read more about this aspect of NPD here..
To this day I have people who believe I am a liar and who still believe I lied about the reasons for which I divorced my husband. This—after his conviction which led to being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. I can live with it because I know who I am, I know Who loves me, and He who loves me knows the truth. Nothing else matters.
This article is for the women out there in cyber space living a similar nightmare. Many of you arrive at GiveMe Chocolate from countries all over the globe looking for answers and help for your toxic marriage. You are not crazy, you are not alone, and you are not wrong. You are a woman of God!
“I am a woman of God
Redeemed by Jesus Christ
Loved, pursued and chosen
Equipped with words of life
Clothed in strength and dignity
Commissioned here and now
Gifted by the Spirit
Forgiven and unbound
Blessed is she who believed”
~Living Proof Live with Beth Moore
Click below to listen to the song version and commit it to memory. Next time you feel crazy or like you might lose your sanity at any moment; sing the song and remind yourself who you are according to your creator and the lover of your soul.
Dear Heavenly Father, today I lift up the people in my life and the people in their lives who are in need of a miracle that only You can provide. Some are in pain physically, some are hurting beyond what they believe they can endure emotionally, financially, and even spiritually. Even people who are not in a season of pain, frustrations, and testing know those who are…Please Lord, would You extent Your Loving kindness and Grace over them all today. Will You bless them with Your Presence and Your Love in this moment. I ask Lord that Your Peace would overwhelm them. I bring them to You…to Your Healing arms, so that You may touch them in these places of hurt, pain, frustration, doubt, etc. I also pray that You would bless me in this very same way…and extent to me the strength, love, courage, insight, understanding, and endurance to “be there” for anyone I can be…showing Your Love and Light like others have so graciously done for me in my life.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “I will comfort you with My everlasting encouragement.”
Nahum 1:7 “I will be your safe place in difficult times.”
Psalm 27:1 “I am your light and salvation, the strength in your life.”
Are the crazymakers in your life getting the best of you today; or this year for that matter? You know who I’m talking about. The one who makes your business everyone’s business (gossip and/or betraying a trust). The one who lies about you; perhaps to your face (This one shocks me every time. As if I don’t know they are lying about me…and they think I’m going to believe the non-truth about myself.) The one who verbally shreds you, lies to you, goes behind your back, or says unkind words; then says, “I never said that.” The one whose negative outlook on life and people is hurting you emotionally, spiritually and possibly physically through your health. Stress is a HUGE health factor.
Here is your medicine! Wash your mind with it. It will change the way you think, the way you respond, and the way you feel. Do you want the prescription? I thought so!
I suggest writing this medicine on note cards and keeping it handy throughout the day.
Yes! Power, love and a sound mind—I’ll take it. If someone is messing with your mind they are not sound. God does not require you to tolerate it.
Don’t allow any person to place a pattern on you and tell you that’s who you are or all you can be. Invite the Holy Spirit to renew, reeducate, and redirect your mind. Healthy stuff!
We don’t have to succumb to personal attacks or to our weaknesses. We fight (demolish) through faith, hope, love and the power of prayer; specifically praying God’s word out loud over the argument or pretension.
Remember that God the Father, Jesus the son, and the comforter, Holy Spirit are tender and loving when teaching us. Anything else is from the enemy. God will not use their nastiness, meanness or lies to bring you back to Him; to teach you the lesson He has for you. You may need to learn how to set boundaries with people and that will be a good lesson, but a crazymakers treatment of you is not God’s chastisement of you.
Yep, God builds up. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly.
Do NOT give your thought life over to the negative thinkers. Do you tend to be like a hampster running on its little wheel—the thoughts keep turning over and over in your mind? Stop it! Jump off! Give it to God and focus on His truth.
Insecurities are founded in fear. Fearful people may place their insecurities on you. This is not from God. Keep a sound mind. Don’t jump on the hampster wheel with the negative thoughts. Allow God to wash your mind with His words and remember His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
Tell it, the ungodly belief, “You will have to take that up with my Father. Depart from me in Jesus’ name.” You have the scriptural authority to do it; use it! I hope this gives you a new application for Psalm 118:14.
No thought, opinion or word spoken over you matters. Don’t EVEN consider the negative, crazymaking words. Ask God for His truth, His opinion, His thoughts—then thank Him for them and act on them.
Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)
I didn’t know her but I adored her heart.
Through her books, radio programs and daily devotions delivered to my email inbox she taught me about purposeful living and being a strong woman of integrity and godliness.
A quote by Elisabeth Elliot has encouraged me in this season of life while raising and homeschooling my children.
The routines of housework
and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death,
and it is appropriate
that they should be,
for they offer the chance,
day after day,
to lay down one’s life for others.
Elisabeth Elliot (née Howard; born December 21, 1926) died this morning (June 15, 2015) at the age of 88.
She was a beautiful woman of whom the world was not worthy.
HAPPY HOUR THURSDAYS AT 5:00 P.M.—Kick back after a hard day of work and enjoy the intoxicating goodness of true Love and Wisdom. The GiveMe Chocolate ‘Bar’ won’t put a dent in your wallet!
Ahhhh…that place where you don’t have ANY answers…that place in your heart, circumstances, or other person(s) in your life…you can’t “fix”. You’ve prayed until the skin on your knees is “callused”. Then, you hear that still small Voice say…”keep praying”…”keep coming to Me”…and even though you know somewhere deep inside it/they (whatever) may never change (especially the way you would like)…You keep running to The Only One…because you KNOW…He is THE only True Changer…even if in the end…it’s your own heart, and IF (and when) He chooses to change anything else…that answer will just be the cherries on top. ;-) #changemyheartohGod #Yourwillalwaysbedone #letgoandletGod :-)
My last Toxic Tuesday post, How to Love a Woman In a Destructive Marriage, detailed how to respond to a friend who confides in you about abuse taking place in her home.
Unfortunately for some women—friends, family and church members don’t believe her story. After all, many abusers are wonderful at playing the devoted victim! I believe this is true because many abusers suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and consider themselves special. They are not held to the same standards, morals or laws as the general population. Even when caught, if they admit to doing it, they insist it is not who they are. It’s a twisted mind for sure!
After nine years in my own destructive marriage I finally told my parents, and my husband’s and my ministry mentor, what had been going on in my home since shortly after I said, “I do.” No one was surprised. The mentor told me that he had believed for some time now that my husband was mentally ill but he hadn’t said anything to me since he didn’t know if I was aware or if I would believe him.
Why did I take so long to tell, you may be asking.
Good Christian women don’t tell.
Good wives don’t talk poorly about their husbands. You never tell your family because that will incite them to not like him—and they might encourage you to leave him. We are taught at Bible college, in the church and by godly older women that we never speak poorly of our husbands; especially when you are in the ministry—which we were.
We are to encourage our husbands, respect our husbands, forgive them, pray for them, hope in them, help them, and make love a daily action even when we don’t feel like it. Be intentional about how we respond in love; not frustration or anger. Don’t dwell on the negative; concentrate on the good parts. Be the one to set the tone for the atmosphere in your home to keep it positive and productive. Let go of pride.
Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s marriage. Don’t compare your attitude or actions to his. Pray that God will change your heart and through that, improve the difficulties in your marriage.
Care, adore, smile, kiss passionately, forgive, forgive again, be gracious, listen, compliment him, comfort him, and be content. Stay…always stay the course—it WILL pay off. It will! It does not matter how you feel; what matters is how you respond. With God, all things are possible!
Here is the catch—God gives us free choice and your spouse has a choice in the outcome. The above does not apply in an abusive marriage or a marriage plagued with unfaithfulness.
Through the advice of my mentor I confided in one local friend, a long distance friend who would help my mentor confront my husband in hope of reconciliation and healing; as well as, tell a friend/spiritual leader of ours and our mentors from a former ministry who was very concerned about my marriage, concerned about my husband, concerned about me and wanted the very best for my daughter. It wasn’t easy telling a single detail. I didn’t know if they would believe me, tell on me to my husband, or walk away from the relationship.
Two of these close friends who knew all the ugly details of the abuse and walked the road with me for a time after telling them of my destructive, abusive and unsafe marriage, still attempted to silence me from speaking truth and achieving safety. I can’t speak for what their heart motive was; perhaps my truth made them uncomfortable. Did it hit too close to home? Was the evil, messed up truth about my spouse unbelievable? Had the narcissist won them over? Was legalism involved?
One of my friends told me, “I’ve prayed about this and God will remove his hand of protection from you if you go through with this divorce. You are taking yourself and your daughter out from underneath God’s covering, blessing, provision and protection. You are not supposed to do this and you will be sinning against God if you go through with it.”
I thanked her for her concern and told her I would pray about it more before finalizing the paperwork; however, I had only taken these measures after prolonged prayer, in depth Bible study, extensive counseling, and out of obedience to the Lord. I felt like God had held my hand while I skimmed the surface of hell begging my husband to return to me. He refused. In fact, during our time of a therapeutic separation when he was supposed to be seeking professional help and healing so our family could be reconciled; he instead took a preaching ministry and moved away. Because after all, God had called him to preach first and foremost and he was following God’s calling on His life. Good-bye to his wife and daughter—we were in the way of his career. I had spent the last two years refusing to seek another ministry because he needed spiritual guidance and serious professional emotional, psychological and psychiatric help. He decided to no longer wait for my permission; he left and moved on without me.
The other friend, George (name changed to protect his identity), whose own wife was delivered from an abusive marriage through the death of the abuser (first husband), wrote me an email after I gave him the latest report I received from my husband’s psychiatrist. I received discouraging news at every psychologist’s, neuro-psychologist’s and psychiatrist’s appointment I attended with him. But on this given day I heard the final blow that sealed the fate of reconciliation.
Unfaithfulness I had forgiven and mental-illness I could live with if he would acknowledge it and seek help and stay on his medications but hearing, “He has started down the slippery slope of pedophilia from which there is not return” was the death blow and I knew our daughter would never be safe. Before this day I kept thinking he was just mentally ill with an addiction to pornography and with help he could get better.
My hope for my husband’s healing was over. I asked the doctor a few questions and sought clarity but the doctor was clear, serious, and gave me his professional opinion about my daughter’s safety.
George had asked to be kept updated on doctor appointments, progress and prayer needs but the pedophilia information proved to be, unbeknownst to me, the last straw. Here is the reply I received via email:
I understand that life has been difficult for you. But please don’t make it more so by continually pleading your case in the court of public opinion. Whenever I hear from you it is a constant stream of bashing your husband. I’ve not said anything before, but now I must. Your husband is my friend. I know he is not perfect, but then again neither are you or I. It’s almost as if you’ve been building a case against him ever since the first of hint of problems last year. Your husband has always been different. Always. He was when we were in college. He was when you fell in love with him and married him. He is now. He could make us laugh like no one else. His nice guy looks and golden vocal cords along with his love for God and the church made him a joy to be around. All he ever wanted was to succeed for God. That dream appears to be a long shot now. But give him some dignity. Stop confessing his sins for him. You said in the email that you have been able to help some women whose husbands have left them, as if that is your situation. Carolyn…he didn’t leave you.
If you made a mistake marrying him, say, “I made a mistake. I left him because I couldn’t take him.” Don’t write husband bashing emails. What good is that doing??? Are people lining ups saying, “Poor Carolyn,” and that’s helping you? If so, then something’s wrong there.
In love (for all three of you),
To this day I cannot imagine how I could have made it through this time in life without my godly ministry mentor and his wife.
Sobbing, I called them and asked if I had been inappropriate with the details I had given about my marriage and my husband’s issues. They said I had not been and then asked me to read the email from George.
After hearing George’s reply they recommended I stop all contact with him; immediately. They were dumbfounded at how he could feel this way after seeing and hearing first hand, my husband’s delusional and irrational behavior and his denial of needing help for his problems and mental illness. All they could guess was that the classic textbook narcissist had struck again; a professional liar and actor who had won over another pawn in his game.
As for, “His love for God and the church made him a joy to be around,” investigators from three different law enforcement agencies have contacted me through the years investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by my ex-husband. All these investigators have said they believe his pedophilia goes back to his teen years and that he purposefully chose the ministry as a way to access child victims from a place of trusted leadership; pastor. The investigators also believe the list of child victims is well into the hundreds but because he targets very young children, who are mostly too young to tell, he stayed under the radar. Until last summer…his reign of terror is over.
No, my husband did not file the separation papers, I did; but make no mistake…he was the one who left in every way except for the paperwork. For him to file the papers would potentially ruin any hope of his future in ministry and preaching. He HAD to be portrayed as the victim.
Had I listened to George and my other local friend, my daughter and I would most likely be dead; at the very least we would have been further abused with my daughter suffering the greatest through it.
God allowed, encouraged and provided a way out of this marriage along with Biblical grounds for divorce.
I hope this testimony brings awareness to women who desperately need help, friendship and love while they seek safety and support during an unsafe and/or difficult marriage.
Be a blessing. Pray scripture over them; in person. Offer to watch their children so they can see a Christian counselor, run an errand, or just need an hour to be alone. Invite them over for lunch. Take their children to the park for an hour. Give her a gift certificate for a massage. Drop a bag of groceries at the door. Or head over to Give Her Wings ministry website to find out how you can help. There is a , “Books we like” tab for suggestions on books that would make a great gift for a hurting wife, and it would be one way you could show her you understand and care.
You could not plan for this
No, there was no silhouette
Up against the pink horizon
To warn you of the hit
But you absorbed it all with grace
Like a child you spoke of faith unmoved
That holds onto you
This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you/You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you
You could take your loss
You could hide away from us
With your grief lassoed around you
But you’re laying it in the sun
And you stare straight into the light
You say you’d rather go blind than look away
What can I say?
This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you
You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you
One time, when one of our girls was younger, she was headed out the door, and I felt strongly she was leaving unprepared for where she was headed. For a few minutes I worried,…”What about this? Shouldn’t she take this?”
There’s no way she had enough…whatever I could worry about…I worried about.
Then, I felt The Lord whisper in my heart…”I have everything she will need or ever need.”
He spoke so sweetly and SO very confidently that it penetrated my entire heart and mind. After that, I felt like I “saw” Him actually get in the car with her…and hold a “bag” up with a BIG smile…making sure I knew He had it all taken care of…and He did.
I went to sleep that night with a peace that surpassed my understanding, and slept like a baby. :-) Sometimes I have to remind myself…Yes, He is my Savior, my Protector, my Provider, my Everything, but He is that for ALL who trust in Him. I am no one’s savior! That is for sure!!! I am terrible at it! ;-) No one cares more for those I love than Him. I am beyond grateful I can rest in that today, and everyday! :-)
Several years ago… I was dealing with a particular issue, where I felt like, I was in a type of “bondage.” As I prayed to Jesus about these things and asked for help…He showed me a picture of my ankles. I could see the chains so clearly (ugh)…They were extremely thick, ridiculously heavy, and covered in rust. As I looked up at the Lord, He asked, “What do you see?”
I said, “Those chains I have been telling you over and over about! That’s what I see!”
He said, “No, right now, as you look at Me…what do you see?”
“Oh…well…I see You. I see Your eyes…I see Your abounding love, total acceptance, approval, and delight in me.”
He then said, “Keep your focus on Me, and those chains will fade, eventually falling right off. There will be a time, you will even forget about them…like Father God and I already have. By you focusing on those chains… you are, essentially, giving them a power over you and your life. By changing your focus on Me, the One who took those chains to The Cross, and completely dealt with them forever…you actually receive healing, and the “power” they held is broken.”
It took some “practice” in getting this Truth from my head into my heart, but over time…my heart “got it!” The chains began to come undone, and as He said, I even forgot about this struggle in my life. It was a process. However, I was determined that any and every time this issue raised its head…I would turn to God and His Word…I would change my focus…therefore changing my life! I have been “healed” of stuff immediately, and in an instant! (which was REALLY amazing and cool! :-) BUT most of the things that have changed for the better, and the places where I have grown and been healed, have been a process of taking my eyes off of “self” and placing them on Him!
Gratefully and honestly, I cannot think of a time, in my personal life, this hasn’t happened. God did the “work”…our “work” is focusing and resting in that fact :-)
After nine years in my own destructive marriage I finally told my parents and a mentor what had been going on in my home since shortly after I said, “I do.” Next time, on Toxic Tuesday, I will tell you a detailed outcome of my revelation. For a sneak peak I will tell you it achieved, not immediate, but long term safety for my daughter and me; including a divorce from the abuser in our eleventh year of marriage, and eventually having his parental rights terminated. It was also a dead end to some of my dearest friendships.
Here is an article I bookmarked back in February.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. Love notes are passed around. A lot of chocolate, too. Roses. Hearts. For women in destructive marriages, days like this are a reminder that they are not loved the way they dreamed when they were little girls. And it is a double edged sword; for if she shares her secret burden with another Christian woman, she will often be shut down and shamed. Good wives don’t say negative things about their husbands, so she suffers in isolation and silence.
These women need love just like anyone else. How do we love them the way Christ loves them? Would He look down on them? Would He gossip about them? Would He rejoice in their distress?
“Too often, a former victim leaves her home church because either the church has chosen sides (an abuser is wonderful at playing the devoted victim!) or because she does not have the heart to face a congregation when her family is falling apart. And she is tired.” Megan Cox, Give Her Wings
Believe her. Let her be angry. Love her. These are the three things Megan Cox recommends in her new book, Give Her Wings: Help and Healing After Abuse. She writes three letters (pleas) explaining to anyone who is serious about helping exactly how they can do it. Here is an excerpt from each “plea.”
In C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, no one believes Lucy when she tells them she has found an entire new country through the back of the wardrobe. Perplexed, the other three children go to the professor about Lucy. After all, Lucy has always been honest. She has never displayed acts of manipulation or craziness. The children cannot understand why Lucy will not recant. They are stunned when the Professor asks them, “How do you know that your sister’s story is not true?” He then explains that there are only three logical possibilities: either Lucy is lying, she has gone mad, or she is telling the truth. Lucy was never a liar nor had she gone mad. Not only that, but the Professor asks them which one of the two children (Edmund or Lucy) was most likely to tell the truth. Lucy was more likely to tell the truth. A new perspective had developed.
This perspective is what is sadly missing in the lives of so many people surrounding abused women. I am at a loss as to why a perfectly sane, honest woman is all of a sudden a liar when it comes to the abuse she is suffering at the hands of her husband – behind closed doors – LISTEN – where no one else lives. I see this all the time now. A woman is respected, honored, looked up to by so many people in the church…until she admits to someone that her personal home life is a living hell. NOW she is doubted, questioned and treated like a squeaky, high-pitched crazy woman who is crying wolf. Where did this come from?
Friends, most of the women I know who have bravely left a man who was killing them on the inside emotionally and mentally are intelligent and loving human beings. Look at their track record. Look at their character. These women have had vibrant, living and active relationships with Christ for as long as you’ve known them. Why would you doubt them now, when they need you the most? Yes, their lives have not been easy, and their pasts may be marked by strange behavior, covering and hidden pain…but that RIGHT THERE should be the indication that something was very wrong in their private lives and, not only that, but that they have been dealing with it alone. She has been trying to honor her husband all those years; trying to respect him.
If a woman seems to suddenly leave a spouse, has the courage to admit what was going on, or runs for safety, don’t take it upon yourself to decide to judge her. You did not walk in her shoes. You were not there.
Let Her Be Angry
You cannot imagine what she has been through. Even she has yet to sort it all out. Listen, it is not going to last forever. Just let her be furious for a while. It is part of the grieving process and it is not sin to be angry. Whatever you do, do not tell her she is bitter and unforgiving. She absolutely needs to let loose of some of the rage. What was done to her was sinful. Unconscionable.She cannot quietly barely brush over that and move on like nothing happened! Your friend has been told to go back to her abuser over and over and then has been refused the privilege of being frustrated and exasperated. How can this be? She has been in a pressure cooker for years, and she is finally able to let some of the emotion out. Let her do it. The anger will eventually pass, if she belongs to Christ. The wrath in her soul and the sobs of her heart will be replaced with quiet determination, forgiveness, and a strength you have never seen in her before….If she is a believer and has shown a consistent walk with Christ, she will not take vengeance on her abuser. Give her a safe place to vent.
God will help to release her. Uphold her; love her; remind her over and over that she is a beloved child of God. And do not encourage her to go back to the abuser. Affirm her constantly. And if she is wavering and blaming herself, tell her the truth, that it was not her fault – that she did not deserve what he did to her. That you would also be angry if you had suffered what she has suffered. That anyone would.
You have heard that a woman in your church left her husband. You have also heard that she is claiming he abused her. While you have never seen signs of this (he was such a great guy at church), it is her claim. You are baffled because she never told you while she was with him. You observe her in person…or on her blog or on Facebook. What makes things worse is that she seems to vacillate between this “hyper freedom cheer” and fear. She seems free…yet afraid…yet free…yet afraid. There are two paths you can take.
On one hand you could put her on trial. You could even contact her abuser and ask him whether or not he “really did it.” You could shake your head about the pain divorce causes. You could kind of stay away for a while because it is hard to know what is going on with her – she seems erratic! You could send her an email; maybe asking for an explanation from her (surely she has time for that, trauma or no trauma). Maybe she needs correction. It sounds like she is bitter…maybe she needs a “brother” or “sister” to come alongside of her and point this out.
Sadly, friend, this is what I have seen in my life and in the lives of many abuse survivors I know. Don’t go this route. It will break her spirit. I promise. And further exacerbate a crisis of faith that is probably brewing. There is a better way…
I know it is challenging but, get your hands dirty. And I’m not talking about the “I will love her regardless of what she’s done” kind of love. What does she need right now? Do her children need clothes? Or Christmas gifts? Do they have food? Are they paying the bills? Does she need someone to watch the kids so she can heal? Or just go to the grocery store? Do you know a good counselor? Can she cry with you? Is she free to do that? Oh friends, please do not assume you know or understand her story. She, most likely, has so much unraveling to do. Her body might even be going through shock. She might be gaining new illnesses due to trauma. Does she need protection? Is she afraid? Is there a way to make her feel safe? These are all questions that will help you to think through the process of loving her. She cannot handle inquisitiveness. She is trying to survive. Uphold her for a time. Find ways to support her. But, by all means, love her. Please.
Want to give a needy mama wings? Head over to the Give Her Wings ministry website to find out how you can help. There is a , “Books we like” tab for suggestions on books that would make a great gift for a hurting wife, and it would be one way you could show her you understand and care.
I think this song by Christa Wells perfectly captures what we can do to come alonside anyone who is hurting and love them the way Christ loves. I hope it touches you the way it touches me.
Note: This may not be for you guys A couple of days ago…I hit the wall of overwhelmedness! I just did not see it…I felt like it was close, but ignored all the signs! Finally, after hitting this wall…I was sitting there just staring at it, and I sensed The Lord say, “SOoooooo…?”
I said, stunned and semi-numbly, trying to hold back the tears, “SOooooo…what?”
He said, “So what’s going on?”
And I began to sob…the dam of emotion broke and I just poured out all this stuff. Stuff I did not even know was there…it just came out like a fire hose!
Then, He said, “Let’s make a list of all of that.”
I said, “Okay, sure…I don’t know how that will help, but okay.” I reached for my journal and made the longest list ever!
When I was done…I felt like He said, “Do you see anything on that list I did not know about?”
“Do you see anything on that list I cannot handle, or am surprised by?”
“Would you be willing to give Me ALL of that?”
Me, “Good grief! Yes! Here! Take it all!”
Him, Big smile.
5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart
As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.
I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.
The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart.
Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart. If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.
1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention.
They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13;16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)
2. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words.
But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4;59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).
3. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference.
They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They useScripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9;Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).
4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card.
They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).
5. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.
They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)
If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.
They want you to believe that:
1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.
When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.
The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).
The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin (see Zacchaeus’ response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19).
Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, ‘Sorry, can’t we just let it go?’ You would say, ‘No, that would be an injustice.’ Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required—some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.”1
As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.
The evil person will also try to get you to believe
2. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.
Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.
The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18; Jeremiah 7:8,10; James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).
If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.
Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).
When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.
Daniel says, “[T]he wicked will continue to be wicked” (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?
 Tim Keller, Jesus the King, page 172
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The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) exists to encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.
Encourage: ABC provides a fellowship of believers committed to life transformation through the Living Word.
Equip: ABC promotes training in biblical counseling and points to resources that deal biblically with all of the issues of life.
Empower: ABC provides excellent materials for growth in Christ and for use in effective biblical counseling.
To find out more, visit the Association of Biblical Counselors website.
Religion News Service
By Boz Tchividjian
“I’m ready to be put this all behind me and to continue reaching for my dreams of filmmaking and in music.”
Those were the recent words of Brandon Milburn, a former youth minister, as he pleaded with a judge for a lenient sentence after being convicted of seven counts of child sexual abuse involving two eleven year old boys. His pleas were echoed by supporters who came to court to proclaim his innocence. One even remarked, “I do not believe he is a predator. I love Brandon; my children love Brandon. If Brandon was released today, he would be welcome to come and live in my home.”
Ultimately, the judge decided that Brandon Milburn should spend the next 25 years reaching for his dreams inside the walls of a prison.
Sexual offenders have perfected a grand deception that sadly seems to work all too well inside faith communities. This deception twists truth, minimizes abuse, and exploits guilt in order to create a fictional narrative that paints the offender as the victim and those who accuse and confront as perpetrators of injustice. Unfortunately, too many fail to realize that this deceptive narrative is fiction.
Finish reading 4 steps offenders use as narrative when caught: A Grand Deception: The Successful Response of Sex Offenders