I knew full well when I began blogging that I would more than likely run into an occasional reader here that would not care for what I had to say about my life or the things that are deep upon my heart. I knew that occasionally there might be someone that disliked my ponderings enough to get snarky with me. I was fully prepared for that and accepted that because I was, and I still am, convinced that God is the one that is calling me to lend my voice to some things about life that are a bit touchy.
It was quite a shock to have someone come here and claim to think that my blog is a cry for help, that I am being abused, my children are being abused and my husband has not changed and will not change. Oh, and authorities should be involved and they wanted to make that happen. It really knocked me off-kilter. I had been prepared for dissent and disagreement on some things. I did not think that anyone who read here would come away with such a false impression of me and my life as to cause them to think they ought to go ahead and involve the law. So this post is to make the situation crystal clear if I failed to make it so before.
My husband has abused me. There were mild incidences that built to an ugly crescendo, ending in him being formally charged and convicted of four different criminal offenses related to his abuse of me. He was paroled eighteen months, much of which time there was a restraining order that barred him from contact with me. The restraining order against our daughter was lifted not too long into the parole; the one against me remained for at least half of the sentence.
He walked a much improved path after his parole ended and we tried to build a life and marriage out of the ruins lying round about us. Just two very broken, very sinful people. We didn’t get anywhere because we had not surrendered ourselves to God and our hearts were still the same. When the storms came they beat the house we had hastily assembled upon the sand into the ground and great was the fall. I became overwhelmed with depression and I felt literally bound up by my own sins and by the sins of my husband. I stayed and I did nothing for some time (I can’t even give an estimate to how long it might have been with any degree of certainty because time just kind of blurred together). Until the day which I spoke of when there was a frightening attack that woke me from my dark slumbers and I had to choose a path to walk the rest of my life. I seriously considered going to the police for these reasons:
- There was an established history of violence.
- I was afraid. Anyone would have been.
- It was a quick solution to an immediate problem.
Here are the reasons that I did NOT go to the police:
- There was also an established history of repentance. It never stuck. I know the arguments about this so no one needs to bother telling me that once an offender, always an offender. Without God it is true as I know from experience. With God, this is not true, as I know from experience.
- Through my fear I prayed and there was an incredible sense of calm that came to rest within my spirit over the hours. It did not take away my fear but it did give me courage and a more clear thinking head. I experienced an overwhelming call to forgiveness at about the precise time that a police officer walked past me (there had been other officers throughout that day that had walked past me but I wanted to be sure of my choice before I did anything). In that moment of time where I was allowed to make the call that would determine the path my life and the life of my family would take I was clear-headed and at peace and through my residual fear I CHOSE to forgive.
- The problem was not only immediate, it was long term. Quick solutions do not work for long-term problems. Quick solutions are band-aids and do not alleviate or eliminate long-term problems. God, who formed the earth and all that is in it and fashioned little souls that are born sinners is in the business of long-term solutions. I believe that it was God who sat with me that day that I wrestled the hours away toward a solution to the crisis I faced. I put my faith in Him.
After I forgave my husband, I still had a crisis on hand for a few more days because I had forgiven and emptied myself of my anger against my husband but I had not gone the full step and gone to God to be filled up again with goodness. I fell back into my depression. At this point is where I had to bare it all to someone and I did so and that is when the cover of darkness that was over our wreck of a marriage was lifted and freedom came. Not at once but incrementally as my husband and I both lay down our sins before God and allowed Him to cleanse us and bind up our wounds.
I should have been honest and completely open with someone years before but I could not bring myself to it because I thought (like most abused women do) that he would change this time. And I was so embarrassed about telling such things to people that I thought had it all together and were living truly godly lives – I thought they would not want to be bothered with things that are dark and ugly like this. I was afraid of the judgement of people.
It is not my fault that my husband abused me. It is his fault alone. It is not my husband’s fault that I attacked him with my caustic words and accusations, the fault is mine alone. He is absolutely and unconditionally responsible for every single thing that he did that caused harm to come to me. I am absolutely and unconditionally responsible for every single thing that I did that caused harm to come to him. Is that about clear enough?
As far as the children are concerned, I am in complete understanding of commenters that have voiced concern over abuse of the children. If I were reading a testimony on-line of a mother that outlined a marriage that was as troubled and riddled by angry and violent outbursts as mine was, I would naturally question the status of the children. Perhaps I did not take enough care in my previous posts to make sure that this truth was clear and obvious: The children have NEVER been abused. Our daughter for sure has felt the effects of the awful marriage relationship of her parents because children always pick up on the tensions and strife of the home environment whether they are aware of the root cause or not. At various times throughout the years our daughter has been in hearing range when there were screaming matches going on. Save for the time that led to the arrest of my husband and when that fateful day came about whereof I spoke already when I had to make a decision, neither child has been exposed to the violence that happened between their parents. No, my husband never hurt the children. He has always taken great pains to be a good daddy and in that one area I have always been able to trust him. That alone should tell you a great deal because trust has not been natural for me even before the nightmare marriage began. By the time the day came around where I made the choice to forgive and let go instead of involving the law I had already lost every bit of trust in this man EXCEPT for his ability to be a good daddy. But I was not a fool. I knew that if he continued further down this path it would not only become worse between the two of us but at some point he would lose himself over to darkness completely and he would bring that darkness to the only area of his life where it was still light – the place where he was a daddy.
The accusations that have been made against me and against my husband are baseless. The marriage I described has passed away and behold, all things have been made new. The little blurb about how the past behaviour of a person indicates how they will behave in the future is almost always true IF God is taken out of the equation. If you do not know God and His unmitigated power (He was the one that created everything out of nothing, including you and me, for crying out loud!) then I guess I’m basically talking to a brick wall here because you cannot even fathom the idea of a heart of stone turned to flesh. Apart from witnessing it myself, even I would have a tough time believing the reality of it.
Here I am, having seen the worst of this one human being whose life I tied mine to at the altar these many years ago and I’m seeing, day in and day out, the cleansing out of the evil he was ruled by and flourishing of the light and goodness of God Himself. I scarce can take it in. I only wish that you were able to see what I mean. I hope with all of my heart that some day you will see and experience God’s work – you will never be the same again and you will be forced to re-evaluate your definition of God in a major way.
Furthermore, there is this idea amongst many comments that my church leaders, people who are watching over me and my family quite closely and carefully monitoring our lives, that these same leaders are implicit in a great injustice – that they are helping to cover up abuse. NOT TRUE. When I went to the church about this matter, the issue of police involvement was reviewed and in the wake of all of these comments coming in I have once more had a detailed discussion about this very thing with the key people involved in our lives and marriage. IF a person is not responsive to the intervention of the church THEN they will call upon the law to take over. Once more: IF a person is not responsive to the intervention of the church THEN they will call upon the law to take over.
There is this ridiculous idea that the only authority is the authority of the government. This is sick and twisted. Don’t misconstrue my words here: I think that police are absolutely necessary and they provide a needed service and I would not hesitate to call upon those services where it is the right thing to do. But there is another dimension here that someone that ridicules God and the power He has will not likely understand. The church is commanded to intervene in the lives of its members who are abusing each other and living in sin. This is what has happened. I’m aware that there are many instances of where churches have epically failed to accomplish this and it is sad that those are the instances that come to mind for so many readers here when considering my situation. Just know that I am no doormat and that I am a deep thinker and I did not make my choice lightly and that I will not ever tolerate abuse again. Believe me or not, you have free will in whatever you think of me and my husband.
As for the part where some visitors (sadly, there was more than just the one but I promptly deleted other commentary along that line and will continue to do so as it serves no useful purpose whatsoever) were taking it upon themselves to try and involve the law again I have only this to say: The law was there once and I’ve already told you what happened. God came after that and I’ve already told you what happened. What is this preposterous idea you have got stuck in your head where you believe to be doing me and my children a favour by now trying to bring the law back into play? Examine your heart, please.
Also to those who commented in such a negative and provocative way earlier I have this to say to you in particular: I want this blog to be a place where we can have some productive dialogue on all manner of topics. I welcome opinions that are not the same as my own if they are shared in a respectful way. I will, however, not give voice to anyone that attacks me, my children, my husband or any other person commenting here. I will not tolerate profanity and vileness of speech and neither will I publish comments that serve no purpose but to inflame. I hope very much also that in the future everyone will take care to be clear on what it is that I have said before they decide I’m blogging as a cry for help and need rescuing.
I’m rather a fiery little warrior and I did not become a doormat when my husband was abusive toward me; I fought him with all of my strength. He is far bigger than me but what I lack in physical strength I more than make up for in sheer will-power. By the definitions of abuse that have been thrown at me this past while, I am as guilty of abusing my husband as he is of abusing me. What I find particularly amusing is that by those same definitions I am currently being abused by a number of commenters. How’s that for irony? With the notable exception of the time I already mentioned wherein I became so depressed that I couldn’t even be bothered to fight against him anymore, he got as good as he gave. Maybe I will have to get him to do a guest post here one of these days and tell you all about it. You might have to alter your highly erroneous idea of me being this poor damsel in distress that you seem to have come away with by, say, 180 degrees or so.
Edited to add: I just want to make sure I’m extra clear on this point so we don’t get confused about it: I absolutely welcome comments on any post by persons whose opinions are different than mine. Your opinions can even be the exact opposite of mine and I still welcome your thoughts because I really and truly want this to be a place where whatever is posted can be discussed. Discussion, questions, debates, various viewpoints: these are the tools of growth. I just won’t tolerate -ahem- abuse and attacks and vileness. Like I said, just want to be sure and be clear.