Nobody Knew, Yet Everybody Knew: An Abuse Survivor’s Story (Part 1)

When you hear the word “abuse,” many ideas come to mind. People have their own feelings and ideas about that word. I have not shared my full story because it is scary to acknowledge you have been abused. People see you differently.

There are many emotions that run through people when we realize we are being abused and even more so when we choose to do something to end the abuse.

In my life, I have survived different kinds of abuse: sexual assault, mental, verbal, emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse to name a few. Most of the abuse came from my spouse, but not all of it. I first learned about how a grown man can attempt awful things with a young girl when I was an 8-year-old on a subway. When I tried to tell my mom what happened, I was ignored and told to, “Forget about it.” So, when similar things occurred when I was 15 and again at 16, I did what I was told.

I firmly believe in the Bible, every word of it. It is to Romans 8:28 that I cling, looking for good in everything that has happened to me and continues to happen to me: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

I share my story to find the good. My goal in telling my story is to help just one person and to give God all the glory. God has used every event in my life to make me stronger and firmer in my relationship with Him. Healing does not happen overnight. It takes God first, then work and love and help and support. It has taken me years to get to the point of being able to talk about some of the events in my life.

Credit: JC

I recently left my abuser. The wounds are still fresh for me, and now that I am no longer in this person’s presence, I can see with clarity just how deep those wounds are. But, with the help of many people, the raw wounds are becoming scars. I bear them proudly, as each one has a story that may help someone. I am not ashamed of my scars or my story. I am not ashamed that I need help or to ask for it (this is new for me). I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and Savior. He was my Lord during the abuse and He remains my Lord after the abuse has ended and as my healing begins.

My body has scars and tattoos that are a daily reminder of my story. As survivors, we are not to be ashamed, but instead share with who we are led to share. I am led to write here – for the first time – my story.

While there are still many wounds that are being healed with the help of loved ones and an amazing Christian therapist, I choose to remain silent no longer. This is not a series of posts to say, “I figured it all out, and here it is!” But instead to share what I have learned so far along my journey.

As someone who is a survivor and not a victim, I offer the below thoughts to those who love a survivor and to those who will become survivors.

  • Please get help. Please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline on their site or by phone at 1−800−799−7233. Do not be one of the ones who does not survive to leave.
  • There is a huge difference between calling someone a “victim” versus a “survivor.” Survivors fight, and we literally have survived abuse. We have lived to tell our stories, and we do. Not to make spectacles of ourselves, but to help others become survivors, too.
  • Unless you have been in an abusive situation, please stop saying, “I don’t know why you just don’t leave.” It is not that easy.
  • Leaving is a massive undertaking. You must have a plan, and it sometimes takes months to execute that plan in a safe way.
  • Please do just LEAVE if you or your kids are in danger.

I understand some statistics show it takes on average seven tries for someone to leave, and not all survive that long. I am grateful to God I survived to leave. I was scared, but God sent me a video featuring Joyce Meyer a few weeks ago, deeply impacting me. I will continue my story here next week, as I have much more to share.

[Read Part 2]

Heavenly Father, we lift up the survivors and the victims of abuse. May they always feel You with them. Please show them their paths. May there be no further victims, only survivors. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

For Addicts and Those Who Love Us

Credit: JC

In my younger days, I recall knowing addicts of various kinds and thinking to myself, “Why don’t they just stop?”

There are all kinds of addictions – drugs, food, sexual, and so on. Regardless of the addiction, there are things to learn. This post is written from the perspective of an addict.

The intent of this post is to provide insight, encouragement, and Biblical perspectives to addicts and those who love us.

There are many opinions about how someone becomes addicted to something. People debate if it is genetic, learned, or an illness.

I do not believe that people specifically say, “Today, I am going to work toward becoming an addict.” It happens slowly. We do not always see as the addiction takes over parts of our lives, controls us, and removes people from our lives.

I am now a Christian, and I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I also believe there is an enemy. As 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (NLT).

I believe that the enemy has everything to do with addiction. To me, the enemy is the source of all evil, and addiction is evil.

As addicts, however, we cannot say, “Well, I am addicted because of the enemy, and there is nothing I can do.” That, in fact, is another lie from the enemy. John 10:10 says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT).

We must fight the enemy – see your addiction as the enemy. God has given us incredible weapons to fight the enemy, please see Ephesians 6:10-17.

We are living in the middle of an incredible battle called spiritual warfare. The great news is that if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that battle is already won. That does not mean we stop fighting against the addiction, though. Trust me, I understand how hard it is . . . when you are just trying to survive minute by minute.

There will be times when our loved ones see us clean for a time period and think the battle is won. What they do not understand is that the battle rages daily, hourly, and sometimes we are even back to fighting minute by minute.

Loved ones of addicts, please never stop praying for the addict to overcome, no matter how long they have been clean. Every setback, every hurt, even common, everyday items remind us of the lure of our addiction.

This does not mean that we do not love you more than our addiction. Because we have good days and bad days, it means we need your help. We need your prayers, we need professional help sometimes, and we desperately need you to love us and listen.

When we say we miss the addiction or that we are really struggling, it does not necessarily mean we are going to jump right back into the addiction – but it might mean that.

Please listen to what we are saying, ask us what is going on, what happened, what made us think about the addiction, what is causing the struggle. There are times that we will encounter things that trigger us.

Please do not yell at us or belittle us when we confide in you that we are struggling. That does not help. Instead, it drives us deeper towards the addiction.

And please, for the love of God, do not offer to assist us to obtain the addictive thing again to ease our pain.

As an addict, every day is a battle. There are days when I cannot pray against the addition, so I need my loved ones to do so for me. So I ask, on behalf of all addicts, never stop praying for us. Never.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

If you or someone you know is battling an addiction – please seek help. Here are two resources:

Heavenly Father,

We lift up addicts of all kinds and those who love them. Please bring them to salvation or closer to You, and fill them with Your strength, Your peace, Your wisdom, and Your discernment. May You settle their souls and keep their thoughts safe from the enemy through the power of Your Word.

In the blessed name of Jesus we pray.


Why Things Seem to Go Well for “Bad” People

Our God is a patient God, He is slow to anger (“The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty.” –from Numbers 14:18 NLT).

I think there are at least two reasons why some people who are unbelievers and behave in hurtful ways appear to be succeeding in life. One is that God wants no one to perish:

“It is not my Heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”
from Matthew 18:14 NLT

You and I are blessed enough to know Jesus, so our eyes are now open, and we understand much more about how the world works. However, at some point we were not saved, we did not know Jesus. God waited for us, He was patient with us.

God loves all people, no matter how mean, evil or bad they may be. He created them, and we know from the verse above that He wants all to come to know His Son and to be saved from an eternity without Him. No matter how people behave, they are made in His image and with that comes commands of how you and I are to treat them. We are not to abuse or defile them or ourselves, regardless of the circumstances or how they may treat us.

Sometimes, it appears that the “bad” people are doing well. They have great jobs, marriages, wonderful kids, material possessions, and so on and so on. God already knows whether they cry out to Him before their death. What if they do not come to know Him before they die? Earth is all they have, this is the most joy they will ever achieve, and then they will spend all eternity in flames with maggots (“Where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.”Mark 9:48 NLT).

This perspective makes me pity them, as this broken, sin-filled world is all there is for them. As believers, we know Earth is the closest to hell we will ever get because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We know we are just passing through here. The most amazing inheritance awaits us in heaven in the very presence of Jesus.

“We have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”
1 Peter 1:4 NLT

It is also possible that “bad” people appear to be thriving on Earth because when they do come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, they will then have a platform. Whether that platform is a wide circle of friends, influence or assets to propel God’s Kingdom forward, what was once used to advance other agendas is now invested in the Kingdom.

We will all stand before God and have to give an account.

“Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.”
Romans 14:12 NLT

It is best to refocus any energy you may be investing toward figuring out why “bad” people appear to thrive toward stewarding your own gifts and talents. What are you doing with Jesus, how are you advancing His Kingdom with the blessings He has given you?

This is sometimes hard to do when such people are impacting your life with their hurtful and bad choices, but leave vengeance to God (Romans 12:19), pray for them (Matthew 5:44), and walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).

On this side of heaven, we will never truly know what is going on in these people’s lives, their motives, how God is working, and what the eternal outcomes will be. We should obey what we have been told to do:

  • “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”Romans 12:18 NLT
  • “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”Matthew 5:44 NLT
  • And my personal favorite, “Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.'”Romans 12:20 NLT

One final thought, if someone is making bad choices or being hurtful, it may be a cry deep in their soul that they don’t understand. If it is safe to do so, pray first, and then engage the person to learn more. People who have experienced trauma sometimes do not know how to process the pain and it manifests in hurtful ways to others.

Approaching someone and asking without judgment, “Would you tell me your story?” or “Can I share my story with you?” can lead to the hole in their soul being filled by the Almighty Creator as you share your story and the Truth. Our stories are woven into our souls, hearts and minds to be bridges to reach others with the Gospel.

Never be ashamed of who you are and where you have been. Your story may be the exact one that person needs to hear to have their eyes opened to Jesus and they will never thirst again.

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
John 4:14 NLT

Credit: JC

When You Forgive and God Punishes

There have been times in my life when people have committed awful sins against my kids or me. The human side of me wanted to exact revenge and, believe me, I had plenty of opportunities to do so. I had to learn that is not my role; God makes that clear in His Word more than once.

In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God commands us that revenge belongs to Him. These verses say to leave vengeance to the Lord, and that He will avenge in due time, in His time:

“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.”
Deuteronomy 32:35 NKJV

“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Romans 12:17-19 NKJV

In the Romans excerpt, God calls us His beloved; He is not overlooking the injustices; He is telling us, “I love you so much that if you give Me the space and the time to avenge the injustices, I will take care of it. And by the way, I will take care of it way better than you ever could. Focus on forgiving and leave the rest to me.”

Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning or agreeing with the sin. Forgiveness is about you becoming healthier and releasing the peace and blessings of God into your life.

Credit: JC

My father abandoned me as a child. I carried around that unforgiveness for decades. I finally forgave him by writing a letter to him and, frankly, not caring whether he read it. The forgiveness flowed because I allowed Jesus to work in my heart. I felt a huge burden lift that I did not even know I was carrying.

Sometimes, we will see the actions God takes against sin, and other times we will not. In Numbers 12, Moses is wronged by his siblings, he prays for his sister immediately, yet the Lord decides to exact a punishment despite Moses’ prayer.

“While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. They said, ‘Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?’ But the LORD heard them.

The LORD was very angry with them, and he departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy. When Aaron saw what had happened to her, he cried out to Moses, ‘Oh, my master! Please don’t punish us for this sin we have so foolishly committed.’

So Moses cried out to the LORD, ‘O God, I beg you, please heal her!’ But the LORD said to Moses, ‘If her father had done nothing more than spit in her face, wouldn’t she be defiled for seven days? So keep her outside the camp for seven days, and after that she may be accepted back.'”
Numbers 12:1-2,9-11,13-14 NLT

Allow the Lord to take vengeance as He sees fit – in His time and in His way. In the meantime, focus on forgiving and praying for the person, as Jesus commands in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

Heavenly Father,

We lift up those who carry resentment and bitterness against others in their hearts. Help them to forgive, dear Lord, rather than being shackled to past pains. Remind them that You love them and will carry out perfect justice on their behalf. Fill them with blessings of health and peace.

In the blessed name of Jesus we pray.