Life in FOCUS Blog

So much uncertainty hangs like a dark cloud over all of us. Never in my lifetime have I been so impacted by life events, the pandemic and racial issues. Having to shelter in place brought a lack of safety and security, disconnection from community and family, and deep loneliness. There was a longing for predictability. Many nights were spent praying and crying out to the Lord, “How long, Lord? How Long?” This unknown in the air was killing people. We didn’t have a weapon to fight it.

Then the racial issues came to the forefront once again with a vengeance. Peaceful protesters were met with those whose only agenda was to destroy, loot, and take advantage of the situation. All around me there were riots and angry people. My lack of safety grew. Am I safe anywhere? I often retreated back to my home only venturing out for work.

As the stay at home ordered lifted, doctor visits and important medical tests that had been canceled for months became a necessity. In a recent “outing” for medical tests, I had an experience that I will never forget.

With lab work done, I headed to the elevator. I was very cautious about what I touched. As I was impatiently waiting for the elevator, I noticed down the hall an African American mom trying to keep up with her active toddler. In a blink of an eye, the toddler ran towards me and grabbed my legs in a hug. He looked up at me with his big, brown eyes and his enormous smile. Out of his mouth came the words, “Grandma” as he giggled. It was a moment of love that we shared, a white old lady and a little brown boy. His mom apologized as she whisked him away. ‘No need to apologize. I have grandchildren,” I answered. In the midst of racial unrest, this innocent child only saw “Grandma” not color.

En Espanol Te dejo por mi

Has there ever been a time in your life where you’ve felt that you’ve lost who you are? Lost everything you’ve built. I mean, the dreams you once had are gone. The person who would stand up for herself exists no more. The mani-pedi self-care days have disappeared. The long bubble baths where Calgon or Goddess Nectar Milk Bath no longer take you away to peace and calm. Books you used to curl up with in your favorite chair and read, no longer bought you joy or hope or peace. Where has it all gone? What have you traded it for?

Absidy Is That You?

I had a conversation with an old friend, Abcde; pronounced Absidy. We met at Panera to catch up as we hadn’t seen each other in five years. I happened to look up from my phone and saw someone approaching the table, but looked down because the woman I saw couldn’t have been Abcde. This woman looked worn out, exhausted. There were dark circles under her eyes. The left one twitched as she sat down at the table. Her once lovely styled hair was pulled back into a severe bun. She was wearing a pink running suit with black gym shoes. “Hey girl,” she said, revealing a chipped front tooth. I looked up again hearing her voice. “Absidy, is that you,” I said rising to hug her. “Mm hmm.” Not wanting to seem mean or wanting to show how taken aback I was at her appearance, I smiled. “It’s good to see you.” As we hugged, she held on a little longer than I’d expected, as if she needed life.

Abcde went on to tell me that she met—I’ll call him Douglas—a man who had sucked the very soul from her life. Then she began to cry. You see, Abcde used to be glamorous. In fact, she’d owned Serenity Spa. She was the one who had given me the hook up on self-care. I handed her a Kleenex which was no help, because the tears rolled down her face like a running faucet. We must have set at the table thirty minutes before she could talk. I waited.

I Trusted Him…

As she talked, she began rocking; back and forth…back and forth. “I know,” she said. “I look a mess. You’re not used to seeing me like this. Frankly, I’m embarrassed and I was not going to come, but…” Her thoughts trailed off and her eye twitched again. I felt so bad for her as she revealed what she’d been through. After obtaining her Doctorate in Business Management she opened her own business. In her third year, she met Douglas who was an up and coming. He was always up and coming into something. He had these grand ideas that when he mentioned them, made perfect sense. He even succeeded at some of them. He used to sing her love ballads and write her poems. At times he’d have an abundance of money other times he’d ask her to “loan” him a ‘few’ dollars. He’d always talk about how good God was to him and that he knew things were going to work out for him. He just had to be patient.

They used to go on vacations to exotic places. They had begun to build a life together, but never managed to get married. “I trusted him,” she said. “That was my mistake.” He had a key to her house and car and would often come over late evenings wanting to prepare dinner and have a few drinks. It would get late and he’d parlay himself into spending many nights. At first, he was comforted just lying beside her and going to sleep. His belongings began to show up in her closet and drawers. He’d even begun to get a few pieces of mail at her house.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

One night she said that she’d refused him coming over because she’d began to miss her alone time and the things she used to do for and by herself. He showed up anyway. Said he was concerned that something was wrong. Before she knew it, her head slammed against the corner of her marble center island in the kitchen and she ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a cracked tooth. She had no idea how that came to be. The police noticed that there was blood inside of her eyes and that there were bruises around her neck. She stayed in the hospital for three weeks, unconscious. When she came to, the police told her that they’d gone to her house to investigate and found a young man living there. He said that she had given him permission to house sit while she was in the hospital because she had been in an auto accident. Now being able to talk, Abcde revealed the entire story to the detectives. They gave her a police escort back to her house and told her to change her locks, file for an order of protection, and maybe get a dog. She took their advice.

Douglas wasn’t there when she got there, but had called her two days later complaining that he had been served with a restraining order. She told him to never call her again and hung up on him, then blocked his number. Later that day, she found that he’d wiped out her bank accounts, taken over her business by forging her name on documents, and wrecked her car. She had nothing left. She had to rebuild her life and that was what she was in the midst of beginning when she received my call.

It took years for my friend to heal, but she began to invest time in herself again and eventually she did heal. She even authored a book entitled, I’m Leaving You For Me.

Question

Was there anything differently Abcde could have done ?

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In Espanol   ¿Dios nos advierte? 

I believe God warns us of things to come. A sign through a friend; a harbinger in prophecy; seemingly random occurrences; a check in your spirit, etc. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that He does. There have been many decisions made, when in hindsight, we develop 20/20 vision. What if we were to submit ourselves before God and then seek Him when it comes to making decisions? How differently would our lives be?

Should I date Tom? Should I apply for this job? Should I train for the triathlon? Should I purchase a new home? Should I have children? These questions are quantifiable. They seem simple enough. But when we don’t bathe our decisions in prayer, are we ready to receive the consequences of our actions; the action we took without going to God first. The answers really are in God’s word. Yes, there are gray areas in the Bible, that’s why God gave us wisdom in His word, a discerning spirit, and wise counsel.

This truth makes me feel great every time I think about it; the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of me because I’m a child of God! I’m no longer governed by my pre-Christ self. (Romans 8: 10-12) Woo wee! Doesn’t that make you feel great, awesome, alive?! This means that when God warns us and we listen, we won’t have to keep making the same disastrous decisions. Some may think, surely God doesn’t want us to go to Him with everything. Wrong! In fact, He tells us to in Philippians 4:6-7, Proverbs 16:3, Jeremiah 33:3, 1 Chronicles 16:11.

Before you began your romantic relationship, did you ask God?  And if you did, did you wait for His answer? We sometimes jump blindly into relationships without considering the consequences. We might think, “He’s so cute. I can see him on my arm.” “He said he’s a Christian and we all know how Christians are.” “He comes from a great family, so I know he’ll treat me good.” “She sure is smart.” “She knows how to dress.” “She laughs at my jokes.” We give reasons like, his smile, nice car, has a good job, status, etc. We surmise that, of course God wants us to date. Isn’t He a relational God? Why wouldn’t God want me happy and in a relationship? Does God even care if I date so and so?

Of course God cares. That’s why He warns us. Remember, He knows the beginning from the end. This is important. Think back, were there warning signs before your emotions became involved and you gave your heart away to the wrong person? Was there something about him/her that didn’t sit right with you? Did you blow off the fact that he abused his last girlfriend or wife but thought it wouldn’t happen to you? Was there chatter that she cheated on her last boyfriend and you just knew she wouldn’t do that to you? Did he give you expensive gifts every time you met with him, making you feel like he really cared about you, but truth be told you felt overwhelmed? Did she come on so strong and fast that you never had a chance to catch your breath before you found yourself in a relationship with her? Did she tell you who you could and couldn’t hang out with early on in your relationship under the guise of wanting to spend more time with you to get to know you better? Were you pushed into making a decision you didn’t want to because you didn’t want to rock the boat? Did he/she assume that you’d do everything with him/her and not want you to have any other friends? Those are all warning signs. Beware of who you allow to take up space in your mind.

How do the following statements make you feel?

You look like a big Pepto Bismol wearing that sweater.

Your earrings clatter like the sound of a dog’s chain when he’s walking.

Are you wearing that dress. No, go change.

Your grandma’s 95th birthday party is no big deal. I made dinner reservations. Let’s go.

Hey, I found a dress that would look great on you, give me your credit card and we’ll go buy it.

Nobody likes you or cares about you but me.

I really like how you styled your hair.

Are you having a bad day, I’m here for you.

I have faith in you.

How do you feel about Sushi, tonight

I feel safe with you, here’s what I’m struggling with.

I notice that you’re great with numbers, could you help me with my Trig. class?

I’m on my way over, can I bring you anything?

I understand how you feel and I’m here to listen.

Pay Close Attention When Dating:

Disclaimer, of course pobody’s nerfect (a play on words…nobody is perfect), we all have flaws, that’s why we have to pray earnestly before entering or moving forward in a relationship.

 

Does this person have a consistent bad temper in all situations and explains it away that they’re just passionate about things and this is how they express themselves? If so, don’t wait around for him/her to blow up on you.

Would you want to bring this person around your discerning best friend or aunt? If not, run.

When with this person do you feel like you are compromising your morals and values? Red flag.

When out to dinner, does this person drink alcohol excessively, insisting to drive you home? Something’s wrong there.

Is he/she spiritual and genuinely saved, or straddling the fence? You are unequally yoked.

Does he/she have a way of focusing on every weakness you have and pointing them out to you, belittling you? Not a good match.

Do you smoke now to calm your nerves since you’ve been in this relationship?

Did he break up with you? Walk away permanently.

Have you caught this person in lies?

Is your relationship too good to be true?

Do you feel forced to sexually tie your soul to this person.

 

God Only Wants What’s Best for You

When we settle in our dating relationships, we miss out on God’s best for us. When we don’t listen to God’s warnings, we set ourselves up for heartbreak and soul ties that should never have been. “God’s idea of partnership is a person who leads you closer to Him, a person who is not deceived by another steering clear of His name.” Will you pay attention to God’s warnings?

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Click here to read in Spanish –                                                                                                ¿El rechazo de la vida o la protección de Dios?

Life’s Rejection or God’s Protection? What a phrase…right? What does it mean and how can I avoid the rejection part of it, could be what you’re thinking right now. The King James Version Dictionary defines rejection as: To throw away as anything useless or vile; to cast off; to forsake; to refuse to receive; to slight; to despise. As I read the definition, I thought, wow, as I shook my head from side to side. Have you ever been rejected? Have you ever rejected someone? From experience I can tell you that rejection is not always a bad thing.

In the field of mental health care, rejection most frequently refers to the feelings of shame, sadness, or grief people feel when they are not accepted by others. Let’s break that sentence down—shall we. Shame is a painful sensation of having done something which injures reputation. Sadness is being habitually melancholy; gloomy; not gay or cheerful. Grief is the cause of sorrow.

 

Rejection and scripture

Now, let’s view rejection according to scripture.

Shame: 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Are you ashamed of something you did or said? Confess it to God, repent, and move forward.

Sadness: The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18. Did you read that? The Lord is near when you are sad/crushed in spirit. I know this to be a fact.

Grief: Jesus Wept – John 11:35. Jesus wept because he was grieving.

We have all experienced shame, sadness, and grief, and for some they’ve culminated in perpetual and endless mental and emotional rejection.

 

Say whaaattt?

According to Psychology Today, Rejection…

Piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain.

Temporarily lowers our IQ. Being asked to recall a recent rejection experience and relive the experience was enough to cause people to score significantly lower on subsequent IQ tests, tests of short-term memory, and tests of decision making.

 

A knife in your heart; a punch in the gut

What does rejection feel like? A festering wound; a punch in the gut; a knife in your heart; isolation. Have you ever been quit, as in “I quit you.”  I know I’m dating myself, but back when I was a teen, we used to say that to people we broke up with. What about getting your first pink slip? That’s when the company you’ve given your heart and soul to, fires you. Have you ever been shunned by your ‘church friends’? The people you’ve prayed with and for are now passing you by in the halls on their way to the sanctuary as if you’re not even there. And being ignored or given the silent treatment to from one of your parents can be devastating. I have good news.

 

God’s protection? How could that be?

Rejection can be God’s protection. Are you scratching your head right now, trying to figure out what I mean by that? Okay, let’s say that your boyfriend ‘quit’ you. Your first reaction could be, what did I do? It could be, everybody will laugh at me. Or it could be, if he walks away, let him. There is a reason and if he doesn’t want to be with me, it’s his loss. Now I’m open to the ‘one’ who will not walk away from me. I can’t move forward while looking backward. God is telling me that was not for me. Let’s say you got a pink slip. You could immediately go into panic mode. Oh no, what am I going to do! How will I find another job? Perhaps, just maybe, God allowed that to happen to shake you up a little and move you forward from complacency to the abundant path He has for you. Was your job draining the life out of you? Were you overworked and underpaid? Maybe now you can begin to actualize your dream instead of helping someone else make theirs come true. Did your best friend unfriend you or block your calls? That happened to me. I still don’t know why, to this day, but after seeking God, I had to let it go. Being rejected by someone you’ve shared your deepest and darkest secrets with is wounding…boy does it hurt. You might even vow to never trust anyone again. Could that ‘bestie’ have been secretly jealous of you, only wishing you harm behind your back? Could they have not been as good a friend to you as you were to them? You might have been ‘all in’ and willing to, as they say, ride or die; think Thelma and Louise. But they really weren’t. Would you have preferred to continue on with someone who didn’t hold you in high esteem and have your best interest at heart or would you have rather of been rejected or discarded by them? Think about it.

Although rejection may not always be protection, protection will be the final outcome if we trust God. Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Moving forward, when I feel rejected, I vow to seek God, soul search, and then move forward. I choose to take life’s rejection as God’s protection. Will you?

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I Was Once a Pastor’s Wife Part 3 of 4 

 Una vez fui la esposa de un pastor Parte 4 de 4

What do you think of this story so far? How would you address the issues this young lady has shared?

Here’s where we left off:

 “I” married him. I emphasized the “I” because sixteen months later the drama began. I began to see that “I” was in this marriage alone. “I” was willing to do anything necessary to keep our marriage afloat and happy. After all, I was a First Lady, a Pastor’s wife. He was depending on me. I became the live-in super-maid who gave away a lot of fringe benefits, participated in ministry work, and was a caretaker for my Mom and my grand kids depended on me. I worked two part-time sometimes three, jobs and we volunteered every weekend. One day, running around the grocery store between jobs, I almost passed out. I was exhausted. I called to tell him what happened and…nothing. No, stay there I’m on my way. No, what can I do to help…nothing. His non-reaction weighed me down. Didn’t he care? When I came home from work, I had an attitude.

Emotionally and Physically Exhausted

He had worked from home that day and was trouble-shooting someone else’s computer issue. I loudly dropped the groceries on the marble kitchen counter and left them there…perishable items and all and stomped into the living room to sit at my desk. I waited for him to get off the call he was on. When his call was finished, he asked me what was for dinner and if I had picked up his dry-cleaning. I had to ask him to look at me. Rubbing his eyes, he leaned back in his chair. He knew from the tone of my voice that I was upset but he couldn’t look me in the eye.

Still, I waited. Finally, he looked at me and said, “what?” I told him that I was exhausted and needed his help. That I couldn’t run this marriage and house all by myself. Sensing his anger, I retreated. (Why I stuffed my feelings and retreated—I don’t know) Something inside me warned me that I was treading on thin ice. But I was exhausted, and it seemed, the only one in this marriage. Silence. Then he exploded. What do you want!? I’ve worked hard all day and I’m tired, too. What do you want from me!?

Crazy-making

The words exploded from my mouth. I worked both jobs today! I spent last night washing, starching, and ironing your shirts. I organized them by color and separated the work from play shirts so you could just grab and go. When I walked by your closet this morning everything was jammed in together. It looked like a tornado ripped through your closet. He got up and walked to his closet. What are you talking about? Why is something so small such a big deal? So what, you ironed a few shirts. I bit my tongue, thinking maybe I am making a big deal out of it. Then I said to him. I did it because you can never find anything and you’re always in a hurry. He walked back to his desk telling me that I should just take his shirts to the cleaners and stop complaining.

I continued. I’m exhausted! I almost passed out in the grocery store. I do everything around here and I mean everything. I need help. His reply…

Devaluation

You only work part-time! You don’t have a full-time job! I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not any of those things! My ex-wife did everything around the house and she worked. I never had to wash a dish, iron anything, or clean anything. She always had 5-star dinners prepared, breakfast ready every morning, and fixed the kids their lunches. On the weekends she would have all of our activities planned, I just went along. I didn’t have to do anything. She saved for months for our family vacations, booked our flights, hotel, and activities for our family and our extended family. She took care of everything and my needs.

Ambivalence

When he finished, I sat there like a bump on a log biting the inside of my lips to keep my mouth closed. If I had replied it would have been two words and they weren’t nicey-nice words. I went to bed super early that night, perishable items melting down the counter-top, and slept as close to the edge that I could without falling out of the bed.

What happened to my prince charming? The pastor that I had married who had promised to treat his wife as himself, in front of God, our family, and friends? That meant something to me, that he promised that to God. I thought I’d finally found a man who I’d live the rest of my married life with, in harmony. We were going to give the devil a black eye. Who was this man who complimented me fiercely to his ministry and friends, used to tell me how beautiful I was on my worst days, who used to have such a calm loving voice and jovial laugh? Who was this man who counseled couples with scripture, but lived like a heathen? I was sleeping with the enemy. Everything went downhill from there despite our attempts at reconciliation.

We argued, silenced, and grew further apart the next couple of days. In my naïve mind all couples argued. There was always going to be some type of conflict because I wasn’t him and he wasn’t me. I had such a skewed idea of what marriage was all about…especially marriage to a pastor.

The Change

One day he broke the silence by telling me that he didn’t understand what was wrong with him. (Stop the train Errrttt). Say whaaaaatttt?

He’d realized that he blew things out of proportion a lot in his mind and had decided that he’d practiced hyperbole. What? I’d never even heard of the word. Hyperbole? Then he said it again, “There’s something wrong with me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.” When he said it, he looked like a sick puppy dog. I thought he was for real. After that, we began to do things different.

He suggested we make it a point to pray together every morning, study together, and take care of our house and marriage together, as one. I was confused. I was confused because the person I’d spent the last 16 months with, the one whose last name I’d changed mine to, the one who turned his back to me instead of embracing me while we slept, had done a 180̊ turn. He began to help around the house, plan our vacations, take on more clients to add to our income, and was more affectionate. We continued on in ministry and I quit one of my 3 jobs.  

Whew, I was ecstatic that we were past that hurdle. One morning after cooking breakfast, he left for work and called me from his car. “You have 30 days to pack your belongings and get out.” My brow furrowed, my heart dropped into my stomach, and I actually said, “what, can’t we talk this through?” Click. He’d hung up. It was on a Sunday.

Blind-sided / Discarded / Thrown away

I reacted by moving out, that day. I was in a tailspin, a dark place. I blocked his phone number and email. I never wanted to hear from him again. That Monday he went straight to the courthouse and filed for divorce. A week later he hand-delivered the pro-se divorce papers to a family member that I was living with under the pretense of wanting me to have some of the things I’d left behind. I didn’t talk to anyone or eat anything substantially for three weeks. I was devastated, blindsided.

Two months later, having made minuscule progress toward healing, I answered my phone without looking at the caller i.d. I had unblocked him because I’d had to forgive him for my own sake and out of obedience to the Lord. He was crying and trying to talk at the same time while driving. “I don’t want to be turned over to reprobate. I’m sorry. I was wrong. I don’t want God to turn me over for what I did.” I was confused! Had he talked to someone or had God gotten to him?

Not only had I forgiven him, but I restored him. I remember him saying how easy I made it for him. We counseled with the same pastor I referred to earlier. Although I had forgiven him and restored him, I was still incensed that he’d filed for divorce and put me out. I listened as he lied to the pastor right in front of me and as the pastor said, well he did apologize in front of the church and you should have been there and apologized, too.

The Heart-break…again

Many more eye-opening and heart-breaking things happened to open my eyes, like him attending his ex-wife’s birthday party in a tuxedo and texting me a picture of him from the event (he didn’t even wear one for our nuptials), attending his daughter’s wedding vow renewal without me (there was no room for me, he said), him moving to another state expecting me to follow; his ex-wife helped him find his new place and gave him items to decorate. Piled on top of all of the other things that happened that I haven’t mentioned was when my car wouldn’t start one day after work. I turned the key in the ignition, and nothing happened. I sat there thinking. My first call was to the towing company, not my husband. Odd. Knowing it would take about 45 minutes for the tow truck to come, I used the first 30 minutes to evaluate why I hadn’t called my husband first. Why did I have to evaluate this? Believe it or not, I ended up convincing myself that I was a big girl and that this was such a small matter to bother him with. On the other hand, I would have been there for him. I knew he wasn’t coming, and he didn’t. He later said that I should have told him to come. Even after all of that, I thought, for better or for worse. I let him back into my life. Just like that. We went to court together to quash the divorce proceedings.

Three months later he filed for divorce again and one month after that the divorce became final.

Read more about narcissism here https://narcsite.com/about/

Now, for those of you who read all four posts, you may want to re-read them to gather all of the details. Are you in a narcissistic relationship? We have an upcoming event on narcissism in November. Stay tuned. www.focusministries1.org

 

 

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Read Part 2 of 4

Una vez fui la esposa de un pastor Parte 3 de 4

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Is there any hope for this young lady? https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/is-there-any-hope-for-me

At the end of part 2, I asked a few questions…

What do you think of this real-life story so far? How would you address the issues this young lady has shared?

Here’s where we left off:

The first test came when his daughter called him from the emergency room. We were at his house. I heard him say, “I’ll be right there.” Then he looked at me with questioning eyes. He was beside himself, but I had no idea know why. Explaining that his daughter was in the emergency room, I thought that was why he went into panic mode.  I mean, I could understand him worrying about his daughter, but I saw panic in his eyes. “Do you want to come with me?” Huh, I thought…why would he ask such a silly question?

His Reaction Gave Me Pause

His reaction gave me pause. His reaction. Not the gazillion thoughts hurling through my mind in the 30 seconds it took to answer him. My concern was him. I quickly dismissed my thoughts which were…Aren’t we a couple now? Aren’t we to share in each other’s lives? Isn’t it supposed to be about what concerns him concerns me and vice-versa? Don’t I have a key to his apartment and aren’t we now on the same phone plan? Then, I began to rationalize. Well, we are new in the relationship, maybe he’s not comfortable with my being around his kids. Maybe he’s afraid his daughter, whom I was sure he’d told about me, would reject me. His question didn’t make sense. I snapped out of it, not wanting to appear combative, and said yes, I’d like to go. I said it calmly. On the inside I was sad. I couldn’t pinpoint why, though.

On the way to the hospital I was quiet…and so was he. As we walked into the room his daughter occupied, I greeted her—a person I barely knew—with concern on my face and voice. My personality, I guess. Then I proceeded to sit down. As the entire room came into view, I saw something I wasn’t expecting to see. He spoke to the other person in the room, whom I didn’t even know was in there. At that moment I was the other woman…something I’d never experienced before. It was his estranged wife. I felt that warm wash feeling come over me. I immediately felt like I was intruding. She and I spoke. It was awkward, to say the least. He sat by me. He didn’t have the nerve to tell me that his wife was already there. That was the reason he’d asked me earlier if I wanted to go. Later he told me that he didn’t know how to tell me. Can you say huge red flags? The fact that I had misgivings from the beginning. The fact that I gave him the benefit of the doubt. The fact that I didn’t listen to my first mind when he was moving too fast in the beginning.

I Digress

I digress. After I texted him to begin our relationship anew, we had dinner. He nervously fidgeted with the napkin and silverware. He must have picked up his water glass a million times. I was nervous too, but for a different reason. “I have to tell you something,” he said. I waited. Then he proceeded to tell me that he and his wife had been separated for a year and that they were getting divorced. He was still married! Argh! Separated, estranged, still means married. I did not let emotion show on my face—stoic woman that I was—fortunately the server came to the table to take our orders. When she left to get our food, I said, “so, you guys are separated.” His fidgeting began again. My inner dialogue was afire, but it remained there, locked inside. I said, okay. Now what? He began to tell me how awful his entire marriage had been and why he stayed so long…for the kids. He flooded me with reasons he’d finally decided to move out, all for which I pitied him. Poor him, in a horribly emotionless and sexless marriage, to a monster of a woman who was the mother of his now grown children. I could have—I mean should have—said at that point, thanks for dinner, please take me home…and never call me again, but I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t. Breathe. Instead I thought of all his good qualities, how much he seemed to ‘get’ me, how once this season in his life was over, we could build our lives and ministry together. He was so surprised at how calm I was that he finally began to eat his cold food.

Six months later he was divorced and six months after that he asked me to marry him on my birthday. He’d already called my family thanking them for me and asked my Dad for my hand in marriage! I assumed that he was completely detached emotionally and financially or why else would he have even asked me to marry him. Again! Before saying yes, I… gave…pause. I couldn’t believe he was asking me to marry him. For some reason, I was blindsided. Something inside wouldn’t let me feel worthy of someone loving me and wanting to spend the rest of his life with me. I was quiet for so long that he finally said, “I’m serious.”

My mouth would not open. But then, I said yes. Finally, my prince charming and I could ride off into the sunset together and live happily ev…

As the months progressed, we got along very well. There was favor in our marriage planning. He had joined and was preaching at my church. I was accepted by his ministry family and his grown children. Even his now ex-wife and I respected each other. All was well. No bumps in the road.

Don’t Marry Him

Then one day at church I was walking down the hall on my way to the sanctuary when a young lady, while walking past me, said, “Don’t marry him.” I stopped, she stopped, we faced each other. She stared directly into my eyes and repeated herself. She didn’t laugh. She didn’t explain herself.

“I” married him. I emphasized the “I” because sixteen months later the drama began. I began to see that “I” was in this marriage alone.  I was willing to do anything necessary to keep our marriage afloat and happy. I became the live-in super-maid with a lot of fringe benefits, participated in ministry work, was a caretaker for my Mom. I worked two part-time sometimes three, jobs and we volunteered every weekend. One day, running around the grocery store on break I almost passed out. I was exhausted. I called to tell him what happened and…nothing. No, what can I do to help…nothing. His non-reaction weighed heavily on me. Didn’t he care? When I came home from work, I had an attitude. He was trouble-shooting someone else’s computer issue. I dropped the groceries on the kitchen counter and left them there. Sitting at my desk, I waited for him to get off the call he was on. When his call was finished, he asked me what was for dinner and had I picked up his dry-cleaning. I had to ask him to look at me. Rubbing his eyes, he leaned back in his chair.

I think we’re going to have to go to part 4.

What are you thinking of this woman at this point?

Do you know someone like her?

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  Please read here:  For Part 1

In Espanol: Una vez fui la esposa de un pastor Parte 2 de 3 – I Used to Be a Pastor’s Wife – Part 2 of 3

 

We began to spend more time together, exchanged phone numbers, he met my dad, and he took me to meet his sisters. Everything took off from there, as they say, in a whirlwind. When he offered to put me on his phone plan, I declined…at first. When, five months later, he offered me the key to his apartment, I was shocked. I put the brakes on because, why…because frankly that scared me. I told him that I needed to step back from ‘us’ for a while because I didn’t know what to do with all of this. He was not happy about it, but he accepted my decision.

Decisions…Decisions

Days after that, I sat silently, second-guessing myself. Had I done the right thing? Was I going to lose out on my Prince Charming? [Hindsight…intuition is monumental here. She felt a tug. A tug that gave her pause. Things were moving too fast.] Just like I always do when faced with a dilemma, I sought counsel from my married friend-girl and my Pastor—not his wife. She asked me the tough questions like; Did you do a multi-state criminal background check on him? How does he treat his Mama? (If she is still alive, make sure you observe this for yourself) Have you stalked the Facebook pages of any of his exes to see what they’re saying? How many baby Mama dramas does he have? How long has he been on his J.O.B.? (Not working for a temp agency or between jobs) What does he think about watching porn? Has he ever cheated on anyone he’s been in a relationship with? (Explain what you mean by cheating) What I would do when he didn’t meet my expectations. How many of his children and grandchildren is he currently supporting? We discussed the pros and cons of being married verses remaining single. She thought things were moving way too fast.

Pastor’s Response

In the brief phone call I shared with my pastor, the only question he asked was, “Is he saved?” What does that even mean? I didn’t ask Pastor that at the time, but it could mean, has he confessed Christ with his mouth only and not his actions or does he go to church, or does he believe every word in the Bible is from God.  Does he believe as I do, in the Trinity? He never asked me how I knew for sure that he was saved or what my spirit was revealing to me. He never asked to meet him or what I appreciate most about him; or what commitment meant to me? In hindsight I wondered why my Pastor whom I had known for many years, hadn’t taken the time to counsel me when I first brought this to him. I would find out later.

Notice, I didn’t say I sought God. I sought my friend-girl and my Pastor. Another question occurred to me, too, why hadn’t I spoken with my Pastor’s wife instead of him? They’d been married over 40 years. As I sit here sharing this today, I shake my head and sigh. Had I listened early on to what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me, I would have saved myself 3.5 years of tremendous heartache…but I didn’t.

Decision Made

Instead, I texted him and we began the relationship anew. I was digging myself deeper into a hole and into the nightmare that was to come. We became exclusive one week after my re-opening the door with the text message I’d sent and sealed our ‘now budding’ relationship with our first kiss and my accepting the key to his apartment. I rationalized with myself by focusing on what everyone, and I do mean everyone, said about him. “He’s so humble.” “He’s so nice.” “He’s so giving and caring.” “He has great knowledge of the word and lives by it.” “He’s a great Dad.” “He has his own business.” Blah, blah, blah.

He was eager to pick up where we’d left off. We began to spend a lot of time together. I found myself sharing a lot about my horrid past. I’d been in abusive relationships. I was molested as a child. I was wounded. I wanted him to know what he was getting, being in a relationship with someone like me. [I found out later that he found that weak and detesting. My revelations had set me up for the perfect storm. He’d use those things against me.] I’d call him mornings and wish him a blessed day on my way to work. He’d call in-between clients to see what our dinner plans were. We began attending my brick and mortar church, and, I became an integral part of his established virtual ministry. I’d began to prepare for and to take over the Bible study when he wasn’t able to. That felt good. He trusted me with people he’d known for years. He’d always tell me how great I did and how he loved the fact that I got people to interact during the class. A few months later, my Pastor had accepted him as one of his ministerial staff and he’d began to preach and teach at my church. We bonded over those two things, which later became a problem. I was in 7th heaven. He appeared to be also. We’d developed “our” system, and it worked for us.

The first test came when his daughter called him from the emergency room. We were at his house. I heard him say, “I’ll be right there.” Then he looked at me with questioning eyes. He was beside himself, but I had no idea know why. Explaining that his daughter was in the emergency room, I thought that was why he went into panic mode.  I mean, I could understand him worrying about his daughter, but I saw panic in his eyes. “Do you want to come with me?” Huh, I thought…why would he ask such a silly question?

Stay tuned…

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Is there any hope for this young lady? https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/is-there-any-hope-for-me

What do you think of this story so far? It’s a true story shared with permission.

How would you address the issues this young lady has shared so far?

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 Like to read this blog In Espanol

Shared with permission:              

We met in the business office of the apartment complex where I lived. He was the I.T. professional, and I was the patient person waiting for him to fix whatever was ailing the printer. Get it? I was waiting for him to fix the problem. I didn’t understand the significance of that statement, until many years later. My last relationship ended two years ago, but I was still bitter and reeling from deep hurt. I was in the ‘don’t even look my way’ mode. This was definitely not the time to even think about entering a new romantic relationship. Once he fixed the printer, he smiled at me, as if in admiration. I ignored him. I just wanted him to fix the printer and to get out of my sight. I never wanted to have anything else to do with men, ever. Later, he told me that he kept finding a reason to come back to that site—this was one of many sites he serviced—so he could ‘run into’ me again. At that time, I was a tiny bit flattered, but I wasn’t up on the game.

 

After a few weeks, I did ‘run into’ him again at the business office. I didn’t have an ulterior motive for being there, but he did. He asked me to lunch. I told him no. He was persistent, and I gave in after a few weeks of cajoling. The day of our lunch I was super-excited. Not because I was having lunch with him, but because it was the same day that I had received a shipment of my new books I was going to sell at an upcoming book signing. I was putting them in the trunk of my car when he arrived. He asked what kind of books they were, and I told him that all of my books were Christian books. That was his in. After viewing them, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a wad of bills and purchased ten of them—for his ministry. As he was loading the books into his trunk, he explained that he was a pastor. His ever-present smile grew larger.

 

At lunch, he went on to tell me that because of the nature of his job—him always being on the go to various clients—that he had an established virtual ministry that met Wednesday evenings for Bible study and they also had corporate prayer every Monday evening. He had many pastor friends and acquaintances that he did ministry with regularly. He invited me to his virtual Bible study, and after a few weeks, I finally dialed in.

Wow, I thought, not only was he an I.T. professional with his own business, he was a Pastor!! In my naïve mind, him being a pastor meant that we could reason together, as the Bible tells us to, and because we were equally yoked (both Christians), we’d be able to work out our problems, simply using biblical knowledge. We’d thrive together and help others learn about the Lord. We would submit to each other, forgive each other, and—of course after repentance—restore each other, without giving it a second thought. This man would have my best interest at heart. Blah, blah, blah.  I’d finally met a ‘real’ man. One who knew the Lord. Not one who just said he did, using lip service. Surely this man had an ongoing and fruitful relationship with Abba! He had the hook up…a direct line to the Lord! That thoroughly…and I do mean thoroughly, excited me. I began to relax the perpetual frown on my face and have a glimmer of hope again that I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life as a lowly single woman. I was enthralled by the way he appeared to soak in every word I said while we were lunching and kept staring intently at me as if we were the only two on the planet. We began to spend more time together, exchanged phone numbers, he met my dad, and he took me to meet his family. Everything took off from there, as they say, in a whirlwind. When he offered to put me on his phone plan, I declined…at first. When, five months later, he offered me the key to his apartment, I was shocked. I put the brakes on because, why…because frankly because it scared me. I told him that I needed to step back from ‘us’ for a while because I didn’t know what to do with all of this. He was not happy about it, but he accepted my decision.

 

Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3

What relationship red flags did you notice?

Why do you think the young lady felt things were moving too fast?

Did she do the right thing by halting the relationship?

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Want to read this article in Spanish? La mente de un abusador

What do these men have in common?

Dennis Rodman, Tommy Lee and  Vince Neil (Motley Crew), James Brown, Christian Slater, O.J. Simpson, Ozzy Osbourne, Mel Gibson, Chris Brown, Ray Rice, Ike Turner, Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen, Bill Cosby, Nicolas Cage, Alec Baldwin, Johnny Depp, Steven Seagal, Mickey Rourke, Terrence Howard, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.…  The list goes on and on. They’ve all been convicted of a form of domestic battery. This got me to thinking about what goes on in the mind of an abuser.

 

The following statements are derived from transcripts of interviews with different abusers.

“Once I can objectify a woman and then put a hand to her, it’s like I’m saying to her, “see, I told you.”

  • This statement shows that the abuser knows exactly what he is doing. He has an agenda. He’s got to win.

“I tried to give her a hug. She resisted that. It’s debatable whether or not I threw her to the ground.”

  • This statement shows that the abuser is in complete denial. It doesn’t matter why she resisted his attempt to hug her. He’s saying in other words, how dare you refuse me. In the last sentence of his statement he’s saying he doesn’t know how she made it to the ground.

“I believe some people bring about the worst in you.” “I didn’t do anything violent; I have knee jerk reactions.”

  • These statements show that the abuser is using an excuse for his actions.

“He knocked me out flat. He ran a knife across my throat.” His response to her statement, “I lightly punched her a couple times…a few taps.”

  • The first part of this statement is from the victim. The second part is in the eyes of the abuser. He’s belittling what he did (a few taps when she was actually knocked out flat), although not aware that he was admitting to the abuse.

“My wife picked up the knife and stabbed herself.”

  •  This statement is idiocrasy.

“I’m quite larger/taller than my wife, so I’d intimidate her with my size. I started using that as a controlling measure. It turned physical one afternoon, my wife wasn’t listening to what I was saying. I didn’t believe she was understanding what I was saying and in my mind, she was not being very clever or very alert to what I wanted so I lashed out and punched her in the stomach. This was about eight weeks after my son was born.”

  • Notice the expanse of  I statements. It’s all about him and what he wanted (control).

“Can’t think of a form of violence I didn’t display. Got to the point where I put my hands around her throat trying to get answers out of her. I squeezed…just couldn’t let go, until she passed out. I accused her of hitting herself.”

  • He was choking her while trying to get answers out of her.

“Breeching the restraining order, Dad told her to come out to the shed. He tied some rope to a rack on his truck, took [the other end] rope and put it around her neck and said, “I want to see you run.” He got in the truck, started it up, and said, “come on dog, I want to see you run. Run dog, run.”

  • In this scenario, the child is describing what he saw and heard. This abuser had breeched the restraining order and proceeded to exert his horrible behavior in front of his own child. He further demeaned and degraded his wife.

 

An Abuser in His Own Words by Megan Twohey – Tribune staff reporter  This is an edited transcript:

Q: What was your marriage to Regan Martin like?

A: Prior to May 2006, our life was good. I went to work. I didn’t go to bars or strip clubs. I wanted to do everything that was right for my family. We didn’t have a lot of friends outside of our marriage. We were always together. She claims she was abused for the whole eight years, but that’s totally unfounded.

Q: Why did you attack Regan?

A: All our problems stemmed from her going to school. I said I can take care of you and the bills, but she decided to go back to school. She could have done school during the day, but she got night classes and wouldn’t get home until midnight. It was a change for me. I couldn’t sleep without her next to me . . . I put my hands on my wife and shouldn’t have. . . . There are two sides. I plead guilty. I was wrong. But as far as raping her, that’s untrue. It did pertain to sex or lack thereof. . . . I won’t say too much more. I don’t want someone to look at me and think I’m a rapist.

One month after this interview, John Samolis was arrested and charged with violating the order of protection that Martin had against him by calling and text-messaging her. On Aug. 18, he pleaded guilty to a previous violation of the order. He will remain in jail until a Will County judge will deliver his sentence. He faces up to 6 years in prison.

There’s a lot going on in this article.

  • He states that their life was good, initially. She states that she was abused the entire eight years of their marriage. He states that all their problems stemmed from her going back to school. He was upset that she took night classes because he needed her their beside him in bed in order to sleep. He did own up to hitting her but wouldn’t say that he raped her because, “I don’t want someone to look at me and think I’m a rapist.” While we don’t have the entire story, we see that in this instance the abuser didn’t get his way, became upset, then raped his wife.  If the victim says that she was abused the entire eight years of their marriage I would think that she has a reason to feel that way. Wouldn’t you? He alluded to the fact that sex was lacking in their marriage, so he felt he had the right to her body, even if she said no.

 

Domestic violence: How I turned into an abuser by Lauren Wilson news.com.au

For eighteen awful months, Matt verbally and physically attacked his young wife. He controlled her every move, even disabling the spark plug leads in her car so she couldn’t escape him. Like almost all perpetrators of domestic violence, Matt told himself his wife was the problem, even while he physically attacked her. His denial ran so deep he began to hate her, telling himself that she brought out the worst in him, and that it was her fault for pushing his buttons.

“I remember the first time, just crossing the line into a really low-level physical alteration, and I thought wow, what has just happened?” Rather than getting help, the abuse escalated. “We continued to do laps around the cycle of violence, and there would be promises made each time,” he said.

Eighteen months into their marriage, when Matt’s wife finally fled to Brisbane, he decided it was time to get help. At the initial interview to join the support group he said, “I don’t really think I’m a perpetrator of domestic violence.” He said this after he decided it was time to get help.

       Verbally abusive pastor

Last night I watched a movie where the dad—who was a pastor of his own church—verbally abused his entire family. There was one scene where the son asked his mom if dad was going to come to his football game. She replied, I don’t know, let me call him. As she dialed his phone number, she was visually shaking because she knew she’d be verbally assaulted…again. “Why you calling me ‘bout something like that? You should be worried about cooking dinner, oh my bad, you burn everything you cook. You need to be going to the gym instead of worrying about what I’m doing. You’ve gained so much weight since we got married. She couldn’t get a word in edgewise. As he continued his rant, she inched the phone away from her ear, as he was getting louder and she was feeling smaller. The next day, as he was verbally berating their son and daughter the wife came out of the bedroom with a gun. “I can’t take this anymore,” she said crying. She fatally shot herself in the head and died in her son’s arms.

  • In his mind, the dad ruled the entire family. According to the book Violence Among Us; Ministry to Families in Crisis by Brenda Branson and Paula Silva, the abuser sees his rights, opinions, and desires as more important than those of his wife and children. They were going to do what he said whether they liked it or not. At the funeral their daughter stated to her friend, that their mom always listened to them and dialogued with them in love, but dad never did.

 

Proverbs 12:15a –  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. Malachi 2:16b—“…and [I hate] him who covers his garment with wrong,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’”

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If you missed part 1, here’s the link… https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/he-chooses-to-abuse-part-1-of-2

 

In EAW—entitlement-abuser-world, the entitled-ee (Yvonne’s dictionary) is self-privileged and a cousin to narcissism. The entitled-ee’s desires are more important than anyone else almost 100% of the time. They believe they deserve admiration, respect, and have a right to dominance. In the EAW, they perceive themselves very differently from the normal person. They think, “I am in charge because I am the man”, or “I make the money, so I get to decide how it’s spent”.  The entitled-ee has no idea how to compromise with others, places impractical demands on their partners, and have never heard of the words mutually beneficial. They don’t always and necessarily have a general entitlement mentality towards the world, but they do have one towards their intimate partners. 

Unequally Yoked

In your current relationship, do you feel as if you exist only to fulfill the needs and agendas of the other person? Does he/she demand absolute compliance without complaint? Does he/she state opinions as irrefutable truisms or as law? Does your entire life revolve around them? That’s what I would call unequally yoked. What does it mean to be unequally yoked? I like this simple explanation from https://www.gotquestions.org/unequally-yoked.html A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. The Bible states it this way… 2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  2 Corinthians 6:14 NAS: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Sadly, in the EAW—entitlement-abuser-world—they will most likely never feel mortified, deeply repentant, or become transformed. But…but, this would mean that they know exactly what they are doing…right. Bingo! Now you get it. Entitlement in relationships is replaced with mutual value.

  Real-life examples of EAW behavior

  • April Sams was thrown over a six-story parking structure by a male co-worker whose unwanted advances she had refused.

 

  • Maren Sanchez was stabbed in her high school hallway for saying “no” to a classmate’s prom invitation.

 

  • In the Solomon Islands, 35% of males believe that ‘it is acceptable for a man to hit and hurt his wife if she doesn’t do the housework to his liking’.

 

  • In Colombia, a young woman stated, “I believe that everything arises from the fact that men see us as sexual objects and as the persons they need to fulfill their sexual needs.”

 

Does the abuser even know what he/she is doing?

Yes. Is this entitled-ee choosing to abuse you?  Yes. Russell B. Lemle Ph.D. a contributor to Psychology Today in his article From Me-First to We-First gives us examples of entitlement in intimate partner relationships.

  • “Because I do more.” This entitlement is illustrated in the following dual-career marriage when they run out of milk. The husband states, “Since I work longer hours than you do, you should go to the market to get it.”

 

  • “Because of my gender.” Society encourages men and women to do things in certain ways, and our masculinity/ femininity can get rattled if not enacted. As such, we cite long-established sex-roles as entitlements for what we want. “I’m the man of the house so I should have the last word,” or “As a woman, I make better decisions about decor and social interactions.”

 

  • “My parents had elaborate holiday dinners, so we have to continue the tradition.”

 

Sadly, in the EAW, no matter how much you give him or do for him, it will never be enough for him.   https://thepowermoves.com/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship/

 

My plea to you…

Please, do not rush into one more intimate relationship. If you do, at the 1st sign that ‘something’ is not right…listen, take heed, then stop. Take time away to regenerate your soul.

 

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