He hit me

domestic violence3

I don’t want to write this.

Like AT ALL.

But, for the past few weeks, the Lord has been waking me up at night churning in me to write about this.

Because He’s in love with us.

He’s in love with me.

He’s in love with you.

And this is something I can’t be quiet about.

So (deep breath) here it goes…

Many years ago (I won’t get into how long ago – you might think I’m old) 😉 I was in a relationship with a guy I was crazy about. He was everything I wanted. Except….he had a temper. And at times would become violent.

The outbursts weren’t horrible at first (well, maybe they were but I was too young to understand what was happening at the time). Each time they became more and more violent. More scary. More threatening. More damaging – emotionally and physically.

But, I loved him.

And I believed he loved me.

Round and round we went until I eventually left him.

It’s been a LONG time.

I’ve healed. I’ve forgiven. I’ve chosen to love. I’ve moved on.

But, two years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest, I struggled with low blood sugar and one morning I passed out.

I was in the bathroom when it happened. Apparently, I hit the corner of the sink and wall on the way down. My face was pretty beat up.

When I came to, I was disoriented.

I didn’t know where I was. All I felt was the cold tile on my face and the swelling pain in my body.

I hadn’t felt that way since….

I started to shake and scream and cry hysterically.

Zac rushed in, picked me up and frantically called the doctor.

While he was getting ice packs and talking to the nurse on the phone, I sat motionless on the couch. He kept trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t talk…

I was quiet for a long time.

Eventually, he took me to the hospital to have the baby checked out and make sure everything was okay.

I remained pretty quiet.

But, random tears continued to fall throughout the day…

I wish I could explain to you what I was feeling. I wish I could’ve explained it to Zac. The feelings that returned in that moment on the floor were hell – one that nearly shattered me so many years ago.

(And, please don’t email me and ask me who it was, how old I was, etc. I’ve forgiven them and I love them. I decided long ago that I would not damage their reputation or air their dirty laundry. So please don’t ask) 🙂

BUT, I share this part of my life to lay the groundwork for this blog…

Over the years, God has brought many women into my life who have dealt with abuse. Many specifically who are married to men who are violent.

I hate this.

I hate that this happens.

I hate telling you that this happens in church.

In Christian families.

But it does.

One particular woman called me in hysterics after her husband violently attacked her children. But, I was her second phone call.

Her first call was to her pastor.

His recommendation was for them to come together for marriage counseling (with him) to focus on “restoration”. (All while her husband is going crazy beating her child in the background) No mention of safety. No mention to call the police.

Nothing.

She ran and ended up on the other end of the phone with me.

I walked her through calling the police and following the appropriate steps to gaining safety for herself and her children.

But, sadly that pastor’s reaction isn’t unusual.

Again, I don’t like writing this, because I love pastors. I love churches. But, this….this is something that is killing us.

And it’s breaking our Father’s heart.

The thing is, these pastors and churches, sincerely believe they are doing the right thing. They believe God hates divorce. And he does. But, they value the marriage as a greater priority than the people inside of the marriage.

And when domestic violence is involved, it is so dangerous.

I love you church.

I love you men and women.

But we can do better.

I once read a book called, Refuge A Pathway Out of Domestic Violence by Donald Stewart. He’s a veteran police officer and a Jesus lover. (FANTASTIC book btw) He shares countless accounts of domestic violence in the church and exposes a great need for understanding and protection for these women.

He challenges the idea that many pastors hold to which is: divorce is only biblical when there has been marital unfaithfulness or abandonment.

He takes a strong biblical stance that domestic violence is biblical abandonment.

I agree with him.

But, this isn’t an invitation for a theological debate. That is not the purpose of this blog. The purpose is to open your eyes to the women around you who may be living in a cycle of domestic violence.

They may be afraid to ask for help. They may have been told God wants them to stay. They may believe this is all God has for them and their children.

One of the women I walked through domestic violence wrote this after feeling abandoned by her church for not returning to her husband. She writes to her husband,

To the Abuser:

Why did we leave?  Most of the time you are a “normal” guy.  There are even times we have a lot of fun and laugh.  So it isn’t because you are awful all the time.  You are not always that monster. Maybe 10% of the time you are an abuser.  And at first look that doesn’t seem like a lot.  And for awhile I was even wondering if I could live with the 10%.  Should I throw away the 90% for the 10?  Did the 10% justify leaving??? But then I realized that after the 10% was over for you, the tears and the blood were not dry yet.  The painful words are still lingering. We were still in fear. In fear of the next time, wondering when and what would set off the next barrage. And I realized that your 10% became our 100%. And that is enough to leave over.

I cry when I read this.

I cry because it’s so real.

It’s terrifying.

It’s demonic.

And it’s not at all what God desires for his daughters.

He never intended us to live in a prison cell of fear.

Because He’s GOOD.

Sweet sisters, God is GOOD. SO SO GOOD. He’s such a good Father. Would any good father regulate his children into living like this? Afraid of being hit. Afraid of watching your kids be hit, be locked outside at night or threatened with knives and other weapons if they ever tried to leave?

NO.

He wouldn’t.

He doesn’t.

He protects. He guards. He heals. He loves. He provides rest. He provides safety.

Because He’s GOOD.

This is an outcry to challenge the church to walk like Jesus. Just read the gospels. Watch Jesus’ character. What do you believe he would tell an abused, beat up woman seeking safety from her abusive husband?

I will say it again.

He’s a GOOD FATHER.

AN AWESOME FATHER.

I’ve walked with these women. I’ve sat in attorney’s offices with them while they shake trying to tell their story. I’ve been on the phone with them while they cry. I’ve looked in the eyes of children whose parents left them with black eyes and shattered trust.

But, I’ve also watched these women run to Jesus.

I’ve watched him transform a frail, broken shell of a woman into a strong mighty warrior for the Kingdom of God. I’ve watched it happen. And it’s AWESOME.

I know Jesus.

I’ve seen Him heal, restore and free these women and children.

All that being said, do I believe God can restore a damaged marriage? Yes. Do I believe he can restore one that included violence? Yes. But, not with the victims remaining in the home.

Restoration can happen if and only if the abuser seeks professional help (long term) and there is a strong network of professionals involved that walk them through that process. And even then, it’s something that should be handled very cautiously.

(If you or someone you know is in living in fear, please contact the police. File a report and ask them to refer to you a shelter for battered women and children. It isn’t something to be ashamed of. It happens to the poor, to the wealthy, to the Christian, to the non-Christian alike. It is part of the broken world we live in)

I love you. I champion you. I champion your story. And I pray that we ALL can open our eyes to those around us who may need us to help them find their voice.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

Hugs (and kinda teary eyes),

Anna

PS: I mentioned earlier, please don’t use this as a forum for theological debate. Any comment you write could be read by a woman living in a dangerous situation. These situations are real. Please use sensitivity and understand that your words could be the difference between her life and death.

PSS: A quick edit here: verbal and emotional/mental abuse can be equally as damaging if not worse. The internal scars can last much longer than a physical mark. If you are reading this and that is your situation, please know that everything I stated above applies to this kind of abuse also.

74 thoughts on “He hit me

  1. I grew up in an abusive family. My dad was not a pleasant man, but when he drank it was so much worse. I got hit and lived in fear everyday. I urge all women to get help for themselves, and their children. Because in my case my two older brothers learned that behavior.They learned that hitting was how to get their way or to deal with their problems. (I know this was learned behavior.) I became their victim of choice for years. I am still trying to forgive them all.

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  2. Sometimes the abuser is the woman. I think it is even harder for a man to get help because there’s even more shame. And counseling only helps if the abuser admits they have a problem. Sometimes they just blame the victim for making them mad.

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  3. This comment is not for this particular entry. I just found your blog/page/website or however you classify it. I’m so inspired by your love for people. Simply loving people. I don’t think one can get much closer to Jesus any other way. If you love people, without judgement, everything sort of falls into place after that. I’m sorry you’ve had to disable comments on some of the posts. I can see how it would be necessary though. I’ve shared this page because you’ve touched my heart and I know that people need this, “soup for the soul” type of message that you so eloquently deliver over and over again. So glad I stumbled upon this page! Blessings to you and yours!

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  4. This article brought tears to my eyes…I was married to a man for 25 years that I met in Bible college. We were in full time ministry for 15 years. He was brought up in an abusive home. We had discussed abused before we even married and had a contingency plan in place if anything were to ever happen. Eventually it did happen but our plan didn’t work. Because for years I believe that I made him mad, I was convinced that if I kept everything on an even keel that there would be no reason for him to get angry. Talk about an exhausting 25 years. It all came to a head when our grown children figured out he was having an affair. He choked our daughter and I called 911… we lost half of our family that day because they were angry that we got help. They felt we could have handled it some other way. The sad thing is is that they were all in the church and they all talked about how much God hates divorce. Two years later we are doing much better, but I still can’t hug my 22 year old daughter around the neck without her having a panic attack. Black eyes and bruises go away but the internal scars remain. I went to a local church and did a divorce program not once did they mention verbal or physical abuse. They just talked about how much God hates divorce and trying to preserve a marriage. I left feeling condemned but knowing in my heart that I did the right thing.

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    • Yes, and I’ve added a PS and PSS at the end of the article expressing my thoughts on that.

      Thanks for reaching out.
      Anna

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    • Hi,
      I believe anyone who tries to control another, in physical or emotional ways is abuse. Each person has the right to be themselves and grow into the person they were meant to be. God Bless you.

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  5. I left my abusive husband 2 yrs ago. Still not divorced. Still no therapy for me or my children. No TPO given. Can’t afford it. God is a good good Father. I’m thankful that I KNOW Him, have an amazing church who supports my decision, and a Godly family. I met him at church. It’s an epidemic and I’m determined to raise my son to be a Godly man who wouldn’t think of this behavior and my daughters to recognize the signs. Their dad came from abuse and addiction. I pray daily that he overcomes once and for all. To those in an abusive relationship…seek help. For those not in one…be sensitive…be proactive…be a safe place. I thank God for mine…bc it got me out.

    PS…I can relate to the 10% story, but mine was 60%.

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  6. I’ll be honest: I’m not Christian. But, my ex husband is. He used it against me to justify his abuse. The worse he got, the harder he tried to compensate through Christian beliefs. He agreed to us going to CHRISTIAN counseling. It was a TERRIBLE experience. Interns at a Christian counseling center are NOT trauma informed. I was blamed for EVERYTHING and he never got better. I took my vows seriously and I did everything within my power to make things work, but it wasn’t my problem. There was nothing I could do but walk away. He’s separated to his fourth wife now. She contacted me, looking for validation, support, and to know she wasn’t alone. I gave her that but I didn’t feel it was enough. I started a blog (blackeyedbride.com) about my story through domestic violence and PTSD. I just posted The Wire, this week. It’s about the crossroad we came to when I told him I wasn’t a Christian.
    I do wish there were more people in the churches that had your views on domestic violence. Please, don’t be ashamed to write the truth. I feel you’ve reached a lot of people that needed to see this. Thank you for your bravery.

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