What is the shift? When you feel safe you can begin to hope, trusting your intuition as your guide. Focus on Christ for ultimate satisfaction. Tell someone you trust what you are experiencing.
You matter! You! Yes, I’m talking to you. The one reading this post. When God made you, He didn’t make a mistake. He didn’t say, oops, can I get a do over? No! He said you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He said that you are more than a conqueror. He said that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?! Yes, I’m shouting this absolutely phenomenal news to you! It means that you can now SHIFT from the SOS (Same old stuff) and…
1) In hindsight, what would you have done different, prior to entering the relationship you are currently in?
2) What would you tell your bestest friend if they were entering into a relationship and you clearly saw the evil nature of the person, they’re with?
Recap—Step 1 from the last post
“I always wondered how to emotionally detach from someone I loved. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, because it’s not; however, it is vital. You might get stuck at this stage of survival, but do not berate yourself. You are going through and living in a traumatic situation. The operative words “going through” denotes that you are not “stuck in” this situation. Trauma can paralyze you without you even being aware you are experiencing trauma. That’s what happened to me.”
My soul had become so overwhelmed and discouraged by what I was experiencing that I became numb. There literally was no color to life; everything was gray. I feel like it slowly slithered up to me; kind of like the serpent did to Eve in the Garden. Sad to say, but I became accustomed to the emotional roller-coaster I was on in my abusive marriage. Each day morphed into the next, and before long, my existence became status quo. One day, at counseling, my therapist mentioned a word that I would have never equated with my life. This word, I naively thought, was only meant to describe those who lived in concentration camps or animals that were left in cages with no food or water, or perhaps soldiers who’d killed another human being at wartime. When my therapist stated that I had been experiencing trauma I looked at him strangely. Referring to part 1 of this series, wounds are trauma on steroids. Like them, I was deeply wounded.
Being able to emotionally detach from someone you’ve shared your deepest self with, almost seems like an abomination…a betrayal. Read my lips 😉 you—are—in—survival—mode. Your relationship is toxic, like the stench of a skunk or horse manure. Just like a Momma bear protects her cubs, you must protect you. Ask the Lord to help you.
How to emotionally detach while in your abusive relationship:
→Make changes that are going to make you smile inside-out for real. Courtesy of Kate of www.luvze.com. What are some of the things you used to love to do? Write? Color? Walk? Dream? Listen to music?
→Whenever you can, get quiet and listen while your spirit intertwines with God’s spirit. He talks to us daily. Read the Bible. Read inspirational stories. Recite in your mind or on paper those things you are grateful for.
→Get brutally honest with yourself. Not to be confused with berating or belittling yourself. Take off your rose-colored glasses and look at your situation the way it truly is, not how you wish it could be or how it was in the beginning. Can you recall any of the red flags that manifested themselves before you became a duo? Hindsight is 20/20. Promise yourself that you will learn from it.
→Grieve Even though you are still physically in the relationship, you can remove yourself emotionally. The end of a relationship is hard. No matter what happened in the relationship, it’s hard. Your hopes and dreams of being loved and experiencing genuine love are dashed. When we attach ourselves or join to another, that person becomes a part of us. Show grace to yourself and begin the grieving process. Allow yourself to take this journey and realize that it’s not a rush job that can be done overnight. Christians grieve differently than those who have no hope. The stages of grief—Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—will come and go. Sometimes several times a day.
Grief from Shattered Dreams
“Grief is more than facing the reality of what is. It is the process of letting go “what should and could have been”, then releasing the hurt and pain and turning our focus to the Lord who brings comfort and hope.”
What does a holocaust survivor and a person experiencing domestic violence have in common? Trauma Bonding. “Trauma bonding is evidenced in any relationship in which the connection defies logic and is very hard to break. The components necessary for a trauma bond to form are a power differential, intermittent good/bad treatment, and high arousal and bonding periods (Dutton and Painter 1993).” This type of bonding takes place in concentration camps and in intimate partner violent relationships where the intense fear and will to survive can cause a bond with the enemy. This bonding is perpetuated by the imbalance of power and the manipulative nature of intermittent cycling of abuse with acts of kindness.
Huh? What? I know :-] –that’s confusing to me too. I’m going to try and break it down.
Strong’s Concordance # 5134 says that the word trauma is transliterated ‘to wound’. Wounds are trauma on steroids.Through trauma we suffer and become exhaustively overwhelmed, weakening our natural ability to cope. Wounds can bury themselves in the abyss of our sub-consciousness—visualize the numerous layers of an onion. When you have wounds that are buried so deep in your subconscious that you don’t even know are there, how are you supposed to know they are there, let alone heal from them? Marry that to still relationing (Yvonne’s dictionary) with the abuser you love. Your abuser is essentially significant in your life and you desire to be loved. He/she may be your spouse or significant other, you’ve experienced extremely blissful times with…giving you hope. Oh, but the low times when the script flips in the twinkling of an eye. That can be like offering a lion a sumptuous meal that he thoroughly enjoys, but when he’s done eating, he does what comes naturally; he snarls, bears his teeth and pounces.
“Stockholm Syndrome” was the term given to this “bonding” that occurred (Bejerot 1974). In hostage negotiation it is defined as the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with his or her captor. Law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering partner out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them. It is a rare phenomenon.
There are many reasons people remain in abusive relationships. In a group counseling session, one lady said, “I love him.” Another said, “I want the kids to grow up in an intact family.” Another said, “He only acts like this when he’s drunk, otherwise, he’s the sweet man I fell in love with.” While yet another said, “I’ve been an at-home mom for 20 years. What skills do I have?” Another said, “He told me that if I left, he’d kill my kids.” Regardless of the reason a person stays, the fact remains that they’re still there.
This got me to thinking. Is there a way to survive while enmeshed, ensnared, entangled in a violent relationship? What exactly would that look like?
Initially, my term for it was “standing up on the inside” which after research became, quiet courage. According to Frank Haney of the Rockford Registrar, “Quiet courage is taking that next step toward a goal even when the conditions are not ideal. It is having intestinal fortitude to do what you know needs to be done. Quiet courage is executing when there is a perfectly good excuse for putting something off, when there is no immediate reward, when the second most important thing is pulling you away from what matters most.”
You might feel paralyzed with fear and shame. But God!
Step 1. I always wondered how to emotionally detach from someone I loved. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, because it’s not; however, it is vital. You might get stuck at this stage, but do not berate yourself. You are going through and living in a traumatic situation. The operative words “going through” denotes that you are not “stuck in” this situation. Trauma can paralyze you without you even being aware you are experiencing trauma.
You have an advocate in Abba. He hears you.
In hindsight, what would you have done different, prior to entering the relationship you are currently in?
What would you tell your bestest friend if they were entering into a relationship and you clearly saw the evil nature of the person, they’re with?
According to the CDC, Pregnancy can be an especially dangerous time for people in abusive relationships, and abuse can often begin or escalate during the pregnancy. It’s common that an abusive partner will become resentful and jealous that the attention is shifting from them to the pregnancy. They may be stressed at the thought of financially supporting a child, frustrated at the increased responsibilities or angry that their partner’s body is changing. None of this is the survivor’s fault, and none of these are excuses. There is no excuse for abuse.
Did you know that…
before your baby can smell, taste, see or hear, he’s already developed another sense: touch? Research shows that parts of the somatosensory system start to develop only a few weeks after conception. By week 8 of pregnancy, your baby has developed touch receptors in his face — mostly on his lips and nose — which are connected to his growing brain. By 18 weeks they can feel pain. Domestic violence affects approximately 325,000 pregnant women each year. The average reported prevalence during pregnancy is approximately 30% emotional abuse, 15% physical abuse, and 8% sexual abuse.
The following account is an allegory that shows how abuse has long term detrimental effects. Abuse effects everyone involved, perhaps differently, but it’s always negative and has repercussions.
“I am 20 weeks old and nestled inside my mommy’s tummy. Gasp. I hear loud and angry voices. Ow! That hurt. Someone punched me. I know if I can feel that, my mommy did too. I don’t think my mommy wanted that to happen. Will something happen to me because of that punch I felt?
Today I turn three. I have tried to be a good girl, but I just know my mommy and daddy are fighting because of me. I just know it! Mommy cries all the time. She has these red marks on her face and arms, and one day, I even saw my daddy hugging her … but she wasn’t happy about it. I thought hugs were supposed to be good. I heard him yelling at her, telling her that she is such a bad mother and that if she wouldn’t always make him so angry, he wouldn’t have to put her in her place.
Now I’m a big girl, I’m five years old. I don’t understand everything that’s going on with my parents. One day, my daddy made my mommy clean the inside of the toilet with her face, and then he left. But when he came back with flowers, Mommy just looked at him.
Being six years old now, I understand a lot better what’s happening with my parents. I have a little brother now, and when Daddy starts throwing things and yelling, we know what to do. We hide in the closet. We can barely hear the yelling and screaming in there. My little brother puts his hands over his ears and starts to hum to drown out the yelling while he rocks back and forth.
Sometimes I dream that we can move away and have nice things like my best friend, Ruth, but Mom said that Daddy only gives her enough money to buy groceries. Daddy doesn’t want us going out without him, so when he leaves the house, he locks us in and takes the keys.
Mom knows to come and get us once daddy slams and locks the door because she knows our hiding place. But this time, she didn’t come to get us after the door slammed. We waited a little while longer. When she still didn’t come, we went to find her. My little brother saw her first. There was blood by her head and more was coming from her mouth and nose. She wasn’t moving.
“Wake up, Mommy!” my little brother cried while we shook her. At first, I was so scared that I couldn’t move, then I went to call 911. But when I got to the phone, the cord was hanging from the wall. Now I was really scared, so I told my little brother to come with me. We got the extra key from the hiding place mommy showed me, unlocked the door, and ran next door to the neighbor’s house, Ms. Ann. She called 911 for us. The next thing I knew, mommy was in the hospital, and Ms. Ann said the police took daddy away.
Today I am eighteen. My brother is twelve. We were blessed. Ms. Ann took us in after we found out that Mom would no longer be able to take care of us and that Dad was going to be in jail for a while. We were able to stay in our same school and keep the few friends we did have. My brother and I had to grow up fast.
Ms. Ann was wonderful, but she just wasn’t our mom. Now I have a wonderful boyfriend. He’s nothing at all like my dad. We met just one month ago, and he says he wants to marry me! He calls me every day and asks me where I am, what I’m doing, and whom I’m with. Sometimes he comes to check up on me right after he calls me. I asked him why he does that, and he said that he can’t stand being away from me.
One night I was leaving work and ran into a male friend. Out of nowhere, my boyfriend appeared, punched my friend in his stomach, grabbed my arm, and dragged me to his car. After his chest stopped heaving and the scowl had left his face, I asked him what made him do what he did. He grabbed me by my hair and spit in my face. He said that if he ever caught me with another man again, he’d fix it so that I couldn’t see. Then he started crying and told me that he loves me so much and wanted to know why I kept making him so angry that he had to act this way. I was so mad at him that I told him I never wanted to see him again. I jumped out of his car and ran away as fast as I could. I guess this is the way my life is supposed to be. I must have really made God mad.
When my brother got home and saw the bruises on my face, the first thing he did was punch a hole in the wall and swear to kill my boyfriend. I told him not to worry and that nobody would know because I’ll just do what I used to see Mom do, wear makeup. It sure was hot wearing those long sleeved shirts in the summer.
I never want to be in a relationship again; people who love you hurt you. Finally, my brother and I moved into our own apartment. We moved three thousand miles away, away from our past and away from my boyfriend.”
We’d like to hear from you…
Is there someone you know of who is pregnant and living in an abusive relationship? Here are a few tips.
Start a conversation using open-ended questions.
Let her know that she can talk to you at any time without judgment.
Research resources for people in abusive relationships that you can pass on to your friend.
Eva and Jessica were sitting in Jessica’s living room when her phone rang…again. It was Jason, who was phone stalking her. She finally answered.
“Eva!” He sounded angry. “I’ve been calling you. Did you get my message?” His voice changed again. Can you come back over, and talk?” The sugary sound of his voice gave Eva pause. He often flipped the script mid conversation. He could be sweet and sour in one sentence, which confused her. She loved him and he loved her, didn’t he?
Jessica was completely against Eva going to see Jason because she had a bad feeling about him. “Eva, you are not going over there, right!”
“I love him Jess. We just need to get to know each other better. That takes time. I’m not going to run away after the first argument. I just need a thicker skin. I’m too sensitive. We have plans Jess…plans to be together for a lifetime.”
Jessica pleaded. “Eva, don’t go over there!”
Eva’s phone rang again. It was Jason, again, wanting to know if she’d left yet and if she’d bring a bottle of wine to celebrate because he had good news. Ignoring Jessica’s pleading, and battling back the sinking feeling that was blossoming in her stomach, Eva put her shoes on and left.
Eva’s body began doing strange things as she walked down the stairs and along the asphalt driveway toward her car. She replayed the conversation she and Jessica had just had. Jessica was pleading with her not to go to Jason’s house. But why? Her heart began to race, it felt as if she was gasping for air, and she felt her muscles tense as she reached for the door handle. Her hands were shaking so badly that she dropped the Smart Key. Bending down to pick up the key, her purse slipped from her shoulder spilling all the contents out. Breathe, Eva. She thought.
Finally, getting the last of the purse contents back into her purse she managed to open the car door and climb into her car. Before putting on her seat-belt, she sat for a few minutes, trying to catch her breath. Her heart was still racing. She chalked that up to excitement. Just before depressing the brake pedal and pressing the ENGINE START/STOP button, her phone chimed again. It was Jason.
She depressed the call button on her Bluetooth headset and trying to sound cheery, said, “Hey there!”
“Where are you!” He sounded angry. “I expected you’d be here by now! You okay?”
Eva stuttered. “Uh um, yah. I’m fine. On my way now, ten minutes, tops.”
“Really? You said that ten minutes ago! You got the wine?” His voice was flat, monotone.
“No, I don’t have the wine.” She felt like she was letting him down. “I don’t feel good Jason. I’ma go home, maybe come by your house later.”
Screaming into her ear, he said. “Why not! Didn’t I tell you to bring wine! Can’t you do anything right?”
Eva’s stomach felt queasy and began cramping. She began sweating profusely, then her head began to pound. “I’m n-not feeling w-well, Jason.” Saliva began filling her mouth. She managed to pull to the side of the road, park her car, and open her car door…just before she emptied her stomach contents out onto the ground.
Jason heard something happening but wasn’t sure what he was hearing. “Eva! What’s happening! Why do you have to ruin everything! See, I had a surprise for you.” He heard the sound again. It sounded like she was throwing up. “Eva! Eva!”
Eva managed to take a deep breath, just before the second round erupted from her mouth. She could hear Jason shouting. She threw her Bluetooth off just as the third violent eruption hit. After a few minutes, she felt a little better but still unsteady. What is going on? She couldn’t decide if she should go home to take care of herself or continue to Jason’s house. I feel a little better, she thought. Then she heard go home. She’d heard that still small voice before and it was a warning. Was it this time?
Her phone beeped. It was Jessica pleading with her again, not to go to Jason’s and begging her to go home. She had been praying for Eva from the time she’d backed out of her driveway. Praying that God stop Eva from going into danger.
At this juncture I am going to present two different scenarios as to how this true story ends. Sadly, both situations occur in abusive relationships.
When Eva got home, Jessica was in her driveway. Eva’s phone began ringing. “Ignore it, Eva I have to tell you what I found out about Jason. Jason, a.k.a. Oliver Brown has two recent and open cases for domestic violence. His wife pressed charges after he punched her so hard that she is permanently blind in her left eye. And there’s more. He recently lost his job because the law caught up with him…and, he stole your engagement ring.”
Jessica was dumbfounded. How is this even possible? It sounds like something from a movie. She was going to be sick again and ran to the bathroom.
Before closing the door, she heard three loud, single popping sounds. Thatsounded like gunfire, and close. But it couldn’t be. She rinsed her mouth out. “Jess, I’m gonna take a quick shower.” She yelled through the door.
Jessica was dead and Jason was walking toward Eva’s bathroom.
Eva had just made it to Jason’s house when Jessica called to warn her not to go. Eva told her not to worry and that she’d call her on her way home. Jason gathered Eva in his arms and held her as she cleared the entryway. He was happy to see her. “I noticed that you don’t have the wine. That’s okay. We don’t need it anyway. Sit closer, I want to hold you in my arms.”
Eva smiled. She knew everything was going to be fine; that warm hug told her so. They would grow old and gray together with their kids surrounding them. Jason told her that he’d gotten a new job. The opportunity of a lifetime. Filled her in on all the perks of the new job, the salary, etc. then hit her with a bombshell. The job was in Canada and they’d have to relocate. When she didn’t catch his enthusiasm, his entire mood changed…the script flipped. He began to slowly pinch her arm, digging in his fingernails…seemingly unaware of what he was doing. Eva told him to stop and he asked her what she was talking about.
He stared into her eyes penetrating her soul. For some reason, she couldn’t make herself look away. The pure evil she saw frightened and repulsed her. Then, she felt a distinct chill and was overwhelmed by a powerful menacing darkness. Her mom always told her that the eyes were the windows to the soul. There was no soul behind his snake eyes. He finally stopped pinching her, which snapped her out of the trance she was in, stood up and began to pace. Things weren’t going the way he’d planned. Eva had had enough and had decided to leave. Jason grabbed her by the hair as she walked past him on her way to the door, snatching her backwards. When she hit the floor everything changed, suddenly.
Jason pulled her gently to her feet and embraced her. Through tears, he told her that he didn’t mean for her to slip and fall. He only wanted to stop her from leaving so they could work things out. He professed his unending love for her, pulling at her heartstrings. He must love me, he’s being vulnerable. If I’m patient with him, everything will be alright. Didn’t everyone get cold feet before getting married?
She felt like she was on a roller-coaster, an emotional one. Wanting to work things out, she thought about how great she felt in the loving times they’d shared, and how much they had in common. Then she thought about how much time she’d already invested in their relationship. Then she thought about the coldness behind his snake eyes, but only for a second.
“It’s getting late, Eva. Why don’t you stay over? I’ll cook dinner. You know how I love to cook.” Without an answer he started toward the kitchen. She stood and reached for his outstretched hand. _______________________________________
A lot of people get engaged at Christmas. Some without considering what they are walking into. Don’t get swept up in your emotions and feel that you must commit just because you have a ring and have set the date. Even if the invitations have gone out and the church is booked, if the Holy Spirit shows you signs (red flags), it is for the best. This is not the person for you.
In the last post, you were introduced to Eva and Jason who had a whirlwind courtship. They met in July, quickly fell in love, and before Eva had the chance to catch her breath, Jason proposed—in October, three months after they met. Eva was beginning to pick up on a few things, in her spirit but she couldn’t wrap her head around them.
Did you pick up on any red flags as you were reading? I hope so. At the end of the last post, Eva’s best friend Jessica, wanted to know what was going on…
“Eva! What happened to your ring!?”
Embarrassed, Eva involuntarily felt for her ring. “Oh, girl, I’m having it cleaned. What do you think about this dress?”
Ohhkkkay. Jessica thought, knowing Eva was lying. “So, has Jason been keeping his word and attending church with you?”
“Was that hesitation I heard in your voice? What’s really going on?”
Jessica and Eva were like sisters. They’d grown up together, literally. They’d spent so much time together that they each knew the other well. They looked out for each other and were often each other’s sounding board. They’d always told the truth to each other, no matter what. And they loved each other as if they shared the same blood.
Eva, still not ready to give in and tell the truth said, “Nothing girl! I’m so excited about our wedding! I’m sure we’ll be able to work out our little differences. I’m confident that we will because we love each other.”
“Eva—there’s something about him that doesn’t sit right with me. I noticed how he watched every move you made, the night we had dinner at my house. And did you hear him question Brian when he made a simple comment about you and his girl taking the plunge? Brian had to explain that you were like a sister to him. Really, Eva? You don’t see something wrong with that?”
“Jess, you’re being overly dramatic. Semantics, that’s all that was. Now, you did say that you would be my matron of honor, right?”
“Eva! Are you serious right now!? I told you that there’s something about him that doesn’t sit right with me. Are you hearing me? He seems possessive to me, and didn’t you pick up on what he said when Brian asked him to help with the dishes…oh, and the beer thing?”
“I hear you Jess. I just think you’re over-reacting. What color do you like best? Sea green or mauve?”
Jessica saw that she wasn’t getting through to Eva. Amazed that her best friend was refusing to hear her concerns, she quietly said, “I like the sea green, but Eva, that’s not what’s important right now. I want you to pay close attention to your conversations with Jason and watch his actions.” Her voice became even softer, “Would you do that for me?”
Eva looked at Jessica, tenderly took her hand and said, “I know you only want what’s best for me.”
The next day
“Jason, are you alright? I’ve left you three voicemails and texts. Call me when you get this, okay?” Eva hadn’t been able to get in touch with Jason for two days. Her next move was to go to his parents’ house.
Jason showed up on her doorstep that night. Happy to see him, she pulled him inside and hugged him then asked, “Where have you been! I’ve been so worried that something happened to you.”
“I’m a grown man. You have no right to know every move I make.
Eva, shocked at his response, pulled back. Sensing his anger and for the first time feeling afraid of him, confused her. The first thing that came to her mind was the conversation she and Jessica had. “Hmm, what do you mean? I’m not tracking you. I was concerned.”
“Gotcha! Jason said, smiling. “You should know where I am and that I’m okay. That was just a test, and you passed it.” With that, he walked past her and headed straight for the kitchen. She followed him. He sat at the head of the table and pulled her into his lap. “What’s my beautiful fiance’ have ready for dinner?”
She smiled, concealing fear. I’m over-reacting, she thought to herself. Smiling she said, “baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans.”
With her still sitting on his lap, he abruptly stood, dumping her to the floor. Looking down at her scathingly, he said in a low menacing voice, “you know I don’t like chicken. How many times do I have to tell you that!? If you really cared about me, you would have listened when I told you that.” He stepped over her. “Get up and take me home!”
She was so shocked that she couldn’t stand up. What just happened? The sweet man she knew had turned into someone she never wanted to know. He said he loved my baked chicken two weeks ago.
“Jessica!” he shouted, “come on!”
She got up, grabbed her keys from the rack on the wall by the door, and drove him home.
After dropping him off, she went directly to Jessica’s house after taking Jason home, ignoring his repeated attempts to reach her. Through tears and angst, she said, “Jess, you were right. Something is going on with Jason. I saw another side of him that scared me.” She felt sick. All of the wedding plans and money she’d already spent was simply going to be a waste.
“C’mon in Eva. Let’s have a cup of tea and talk like we used to do.”
“Is Jason here?”
“No, he’s working over-time.”
“Okay.” Jessica took off her shoes and curled up with a pillow in the light blue vintage Lazy-Boy recliner. She was soothed by the soft cushions that enveloped her, making her feel safe. Something she desperately needed to feel. Taking a deep breath and after a sip of tea she was ready to talk. She felt as if someone else was relaying what had happened. With tears streaming down her face and in a flat monotone voice, she began telling her best friend what she’d experienced. By the time she’d finished she was emotionally and physically drained. She felt like a wet noodle. Just then her phone vibrated indicating there was a message, which she put it on speaker.
“Eva, I’m so sorry. I’m going through so much right now. I love you. I don’t want to live without you. Please forgive me. Please. I need you!”
Eva and Jessica looked at each other. “Jess, do you think he’s really sorry and that he would be a different person if he wasn’t under so much stress? Did you hear how contrite he sounded? He really is sorry. Maybe I could have handled the entire situation differently and he wouldn’t have gotten mad? I mean…everyone deserves a second chance, right”
Emphatically Jessica replied, “No.”
Eva’s phone began ringing incessantly—back to back to back. She ignored the calls, at first.
Putting the phone on speaker, again, they listened. “Hello.”
“Eva! I finally got you. Oh, honey are you alright? I’m so worried about you! Did you get my message? Can you come back over, and talk?” The sound of his voice gave Eva pause. She was so confused. She loved him and he loved her, didn’t he?
Eva was looking at Jessica mouth the word Nnnnoooo!
Jessica didn’t know what to say or do. As she stood to put her shoes on the told Jason she’d be at his house in 20 minutes.
“Eva, you are not going over there, right!”
“I love him Jess. We just need to get a good understanding. I’m not going to run away after the first argument. I just need a thicker skin. I’m too sensitive.”
“Eva, please, don’t go over there.”
Eva’s phone rang again. It was Jason.
“How close are you, can you bring a bottle of wine, please. I think after we talk, we’ll have cause for celebration.”
What should Eva do?
Stay tuned for the conclusion in Part 3. Yvonne Cole
Eva and Jason were in the throes of a whirlwind courtship. They met in July, quickly fell in love, and before Eva had the chance to catch her breath, Jason proposed—in October, three months after they met. It was Christmas Eve and they were at her parent’s home for dinner.
Out of the corner of her eye, Eva saw Jason slowly push back his chair and bend to one knee. Her eyes grew huge and a warm wash came over her. At the sound of his voice, Eva turned to face him. Her Mom, Dad, and siblings were all smiles, because they knew what was happening. Tears filled Eva’s eyes. In his sonorous voice, that deep one that she loved to hear so much, he said, taking her hand, “Eva, I love you. From the day we met, I knew you were the one. Would you do me the honor of marrying me? I want to protect you and keep you safe. I want to honor you and spend the rest of our lives together.” He slid the ring up to her knuckle awaiting her response. Eva wiped the tears from her eyes and shook her head in the affirmative. She was ecstatic but ignored the sense of unease she felt. Jason was perfect for her, wasn’t he?
“Eva, honey, I know you said you wanted a long engagement, but…”
Eva held her hand out admiring her ring. Thinking about how wonderful this man was and how much she was looking forward sharing her life with him. “Jayce, I still feel the same way.”
“What difference does it make if we get married a year or one month from now. We know we’re going to get married.”
He must really be ready to start our lives together. “True, I just think we need to spend more time getting to know each other better, first.”
“Awh girl, I know all I need to know about you.” He smiled. “Let’s see, you are beautiful. Your eyes are light brown. Your smile makes me feel woozy inside. Your favorite color is jade. You should own your own restaurant; everything you cook so good. You’re my genius—I.Q. 140. You are caring. Want me to go on?”
Eva smiled. She loved that Jason was so perceptive and the way he always commented on just about everything she did. They agreed on almost everything. “Well, since you asked. I have a question.”
“I’m contemplating starting a business?”
“Sounds great! I know you can do anything.”
“It would mean that I’m working my regular job and dedicating a large amount of time after that to the start up. I wouldn’t have a lot of time to spend with you at the beginning of our marriage if we were to get married sooner than if we waited.”
“I make enough for us to live off one check. Go ahead and quit so you can fully commit to the business, I know you can succeed at anything you do. I support your decisions. Oh yeah, when can we go get our phone plans combined? I’ll pay the bill.”
“Let me think on it. How do you feel about my having my own bank account?”
“As long as the bills are paid and we have savings, we should each have money to spend the way we want to.”
“You know that I tithe out of every check, and speaking of that, why haven’t you gone to church with me more?”
“You’re right. I see how into that you are and if we’re going to get married, we do need to be on the same page.”
Eva was pleased.
The following week.
Eva and Jason were at her best friend Jessica’s house watching movies and eating popcorn. Brian, Jessica’s husband was listening carefully to the conversation.
“Well, Jason. I heard you and my girl are taking the plunge!”
Eva showed off her ring.
“Yeah, Eva is like a sister to me.”
“Oh. Yeah, well, I finally met my Mrs. Right. Her ring set me back a pretty penny, but she’s worth it. “Hey man, you got any beer?”
Eva playfully nudged Jason in the side and said, “Brian, he’s just playing. He doesn’t drink beer.”
“Good,” Brian said, ‘cause we don’t either.
They were sitting at the dinner table shooting the breeze when Brian stood and began clearing the dinner dishes. “Hey, man, grab a few of these dishes and meet me in the kitchen. It’s my turn to do the dishes.”
“Uh, no thanks.”
Jessica said, “why not Jason? You don’t like dishpan hands?”
“Well, I was raised that the woman handles the kitchen duties.”
“Hmm.” Eva thought as she mentally tucked that little piece of information away.
“Let’s play cards,” Jessica said. I want my baby as my partner.”
“No problem,” Eva said. We got this.
The next day.
“Jason, now that we’re engaged, when do I get to meet your family?”
“Eva, soon. I told you they are always traveling. I barely see them myself. But I got the house all to myself, wanna come over? I’ll be nice.”
Eva didn’t think she heard that right. “Jason, really? I thought you told me that you had your own place.”
“Well, I used to. I didn’t want to tell you. But two days ago, I temporarily, moved with my parents because…because I got fired. I’m looking for a new job.
Eva was shocked but wanted to show how understanding she could be. In a nondescript voice she asked, “What happened?”
“They were always sweating me to produce more and more.” He stood and began to pace. “Bring in more and more clients, they kept saying. Then they said I took too many days off. No worries, I’ll have a better job in no time. I have responsibilities that I’m getting ready to take on.”
“Sooo, when were you going to tell me you lost your apartment and your job? Do you have any money saved?”
“Um, yeah. Well, I did, but I had to help out my cousin.”
“Oh, no.” She hugged him. “You could take the ring back if you’re short on money. I don’t need a ring as long as I’ve got you.” When she got no response, she figured he was embarrassed. “Jason?”
“I love you Eva. Are you sure about the ring, though? I couldn’t do that to you. I’ll figure something out. No worries.”
“I’m sure, Jayce.”
“That’s my baby. I knew I chose the right one. I’ll be there in an hour.
One week later
“Eva, what happened to your ring?”
Embarrassed, Eva involuntarily felt for her ring. “Oh, Jess, I’m having it cleaned. What do you think about this dress?”
“Okay. So, has Jason been keeping his word and attending church with you?”
“Unconvincing, Eva. What’s really going on?”
Stay-Tuned for Part 2!How do you see this scenario playing out?
The calling out (to cry unto, speaking aloud) of His name brings enormous victory! So, the next time you are caught in the midst of fear, anger, grief, etc. call out and depend on the name that is guaranteed to make demons tremble! The name that is above all names! Which of the names below will you call out to in your time of need or when you want to praise Him?
The Bible says the name of the Lord is like a strong tower; the righteous can run to it and be saved. When you believe in and call on the name of the Lord Jesus, confessing Him with your mouth, you are saved eternally from God’s judgment; you are forgiven, justified in Christ, and born again with the divine life of God!
I don’t know about you, but that makes me shout Hallelujah, especially since salvation is free! Even though Christ paid the penalty for our sins with His life, He offers salvation as a gift. What do we do when someone offers us a gift? We take it. But the gift is not ours unless we accept it.
The Bible uses different names of God to convey specific, personal meaning and identity. Let’s look at the meaning of some of the names God. I invite you to make them your own.
Jehovah Jireh – God will provide. Do you really believe He will provide your needs? The blessing may not come in the shape, form, or fashion, you think it should, but in His providential omniscience, the specific way He provides for you is always right on time and exactly what you needed. If His word says He will provide remember…
Numbers 23:19 (KJV) – God is not a man, that he should lie;neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Jehovah Rapha – God who heals. The Bible reveals many accounts where God healed because he was moved by and empathized with the sick. There was an account where he couldn’t heal, though.
Remember the last miracle Jesus performed before being crucified;when Simon Peter drew his sword, and sliced off Malchus’ ear? (I always wondered how he became so precise with that sword.Wasn’t the soldier’s helmet in the way? smile) God miraculously healed/replaced his ear.
What about the woman with the hemorrhage or issue of blood? It was 12 very long years that she suffered. She was considered impure. She was anemic. She’d gave all her money away to those who failed to heal her. At this point, she was desperate! Guess what happened! All ittook was one touch of Jesus’ garment and she was healed! She didn’t even touch his body! Just the hem of His garment.
Unbelief in the heart of a human can limit God’s healing power.
“Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James,Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t His sisters here with us as well?” And they took offense at Him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is without honor only in his hometown, among his relatives,and in his own household.” So, He could not perform any miracles there, except to lay His hands on a few of the sick and heal them.And He was amazed at their unbelief. Matthew 6.
Soul Healing is conditional and requires effort on your part.
A person enduring an abusive relationship is understandably overwhelmed by hazardous-to-your-soul emotions, i.e., anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, rejection, offense, etc. Your soul must be renewed and healed in order for you to mount up with wings as eagles as the Bible says we can.
According to Betty Miller of Bible Resources; “When a person is“born again,” he becomes a new creature, and the soul then must be renewed, or the person struggles by trying to communicate with and live in the world through an old-nature soul.”
Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is Present
When you’ve experienced the presence of the Lord, you never want that time to end. I wish I had the proper words to convey and capture the true essence of the experience, but there are none.
The following is an inept attempt at best. The experience is purely blissful, extraordinarily peaceful, ethereally serene, enormously powerful, and time suspended. You cry tears of joy! Every one of your senses is heightened. Safety is monumental during this time. All worries, stress, fear is erased.
El Roi – The God Who Sees
Everything that happens in our lives, God sees. No one can hide from Him. He sees the good and the bad, the ugly and the indifferent. He sees injustice and is a JUST God. Recompense is His. He rights wrongs, just ask Moses when Pharaoh and his army chased the Israelites to the Red Sea. God saw what was happening to His people. When Pharaoh heard that the Israelites were fleeing, he decided to gather an army of more than 600 people and go after Moses, Aaron and all the Israelites. The Israelites were afraid and when they complained Moses said…
“Do not be afraid, God has protected you before, He will protect you again.”
The presence of God, in the form of a pillar of cloud, blocked the Egyptians of Pharaoh’s army giving the Israelites time to put distance between them. And guess what happened next!
(Exodus 14:21) tells us: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, (Gulf of Suez – Width: 19.88 miles – Max depth: 230′) and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”
Whoa! God Seas (Sees).
The parting of the Red Sea was a supernatural phenom.
Man has tried but continue to fail to explain of it. You can not understand supernatural with a logical mind.
God sees the situation you are in right now. He can manifest supernatural favor in your life. If you are content, praise Him. If you are in a trial call out to Him, trust and believe what He says in His word. Act on His word.
Fear turned Sharon Bryson’s heart to ice as her attackers pushed their way into her apartment. She had no doubt that she was about to die as they pointed a gun at her face and told her they had to kill her.
“I said, ‘Lord, please, I don’t want to go to hell for all of the things I did wrong. Please, forgive me in my heart. I just said, ‘Jesus, take my spirit, Lord.’ She just put that knife so deep in my neck that it severed an artery. She had thought she got my jugular vein, which she missed the doctor told me by only half an inch. I was stabbed so deep in my stomach that it hit my spine at the back. I had two ruptured bowels. I was stabbed so deep in my eyes and my eyelid was literally hanging off.”
Sharon sustained 30 stab wounds but miraculously she had survived. Doctors were amazed.
This story is paraphrased and Adapted from: cbn.com
Heading into the Christmas (Christ More) season can be extremely hard on someone experiencing domestic violence. I mean, commercials express perfect happy families blissfully smiling as they sit around the beautifully color-coordinated Christmas tree. Office parties gear up and on your desk in a greeting card envelope, you’re dreading opening, sits the invitation for your annual Christmas party, calling loudly “hey, over here, open me.” Glancing through the Christmas cards at the store you come across one where a happy couple holding hands is walking through the snow all bundled together in their winter parkas…looking so in love.
Then you look in the mirror and what you see saddens you because you’re going into the New Year exactly the way you’re ending the current one. Ugh! But I implore you to remember the reason for the season! Jesus Christ. He can make your New Year a New Year.
Some wonder why He allowed them to go through such tragedy. Some wonder why He didn’t stop the violence. Could it be that you are stronger than you think, or that your enemy the devil wants to take you out, or that Christ has a plan for your life?
I know, I know, it’s hard! You had hopes and dreams of a life-long marriage. Growing old and grey haired together. Creating lasting memories. Having the grandkids over…because you love them so much and then you can send them back home. Ha Ha! Okay, look at me. You, reading this blog. I need your total attention. Read my lips. God has a plan for you. Despite ev-ver-ry-thing you’ve endured. God has a plan for you. It’s true. Take it from someone who has been where you might be right now. Your life is not over. You are still here. You can’t see it because you’re immersed in your current situation, mind, body, and soul. You’re too close to your situation to see your life objectively.
Let’s think about this. If you’re reading this blog, you are a survivor of domestic violence. You may currently be in the abusive relationship. You may be reading it from a jail cell, a library, in the park on your lap-top, maybe even from a hospital bed. Okay, some of you are barely alive, but none-the-less, you are. You may have a black eye, been burned with acid, have beaten down souls due to extreme and consistent emotional abuse, living in a shelter with your kids, are on depression medication, whatever your current situation, you’re still here. You know what that means? There is HOPE! God will give you beauty for ashes.
What we experience is not necessarily for our own benefit. Whaaat? I had a hard time digesting that truth. But, it’s true. What Jesus experienced during his long walk up Golgotha hill, while the Roman soldiers were taunting Him, slicing his skin open with a cat o’ nine tails (a type of multi-tailed whip that originated as an implement for severe physical punishment), and nailing his body to the cross, was all for our benefit. He was blameless, yet, He went through that horrible experience when He could have called legions of angels to His rescue. He chose not to.
In the same vein, we make choices too. Some of us fall prey to the conniving wiles of our abuser with eyes wide shut. We get confused by the Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde syndrome and the honeymoon phase. Some of us are drawn into abusive relationships because that’s all we know. Placing no blame here, in some cases, the abuser showed us who he was when he hit us the first time.
In His sovereignty God either works through His perfect or permissive will in our lives. His perfect will is found in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.” God is omniscient; all knowing. He knows when we are walking in the flesh and making unwise choices. We have free will. This is when His permissive will comes into play. Even through our unwise choices, Romans says 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
Okay, hocus pocus, focus. Focus On Christ for Ultimate Satisfaction. Every day let’s make it a point to get renewed, revived, and rejuvenated by reading God’s word and storing it in our minds and hearts! No one can take something from you that is hidden in your heart. When you read God’s word daily, something extraordinarily wonderful and ginormous happens. God’s word is as vital as the blood that pumps through your veins. It is one of your connections to Abba. It helps us to view ourselves and our situation in a new light. “As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30
For some of you, reading God’s word may require a lifestyle change. Change is good. Perhaps you read God’s word already. Let me encourage you to meditate on it by taking short scripture verses and studying them until they penetrate your soul. Write them down. Ask the Lord to reveal what He wants you to learn. The word of God helps us combat the negative self-talk or the negative tape recording that sometimes, we’re not even aware is going on in our minds.
You might say, “I don’t have time.” Make time. You are in survival mode! Your life is at stake and God’s word is your lifesaver. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
You can help others by sharing your story in a safe environment. You’d be surprised what other people are experiencing and are extremely ashamed and afraid of sharing. Don’t worry about what someone is going to think of you or say about you, that’s a trick of the enemy of our soul. The more you keep contained inside; it becomes a nasty virus that eats away at your vital organs.
Vow to make this Christmas better than last Christmas. The reason for the season is CHRIST and Him personified!
Please pray this prayer with me…
Lord, I exalt You! I honor You! I give You praise! Please forgive me for my sins of omission and commission. Thank You for being a lamp onto my feet and a light unto my path. As you already know I need you! O God do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. HELP me, Lord! Your word says, no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against me in judgment I shall condemn. Lead me, guide me, along the way. For if You lead me, I cannot stray. Your word says, but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. I pray this prayer believing, receiving, and with expectation, in Jesus’ name. Amen
This true story is shared with permission. It chronicles the life of a young lady who had no idea she was experiencing domestic violence, let alone how insidiously the effects would affect every future decision she would make. Having witnessed domestic violence from her family of origin, she thought that all families had visits from the police daily. She thought shouting and chaos and not feeling safe was normal. She thought that all parents used broken bottles to defend themselves. When she’d frequently see one parent standing at the front door to their home, spread-eagled in front of the door preventing the other from leaving the house, she thought that there had to be a logical reason. As her body grew physically and she emotionally matured abnormally, she found that this behavior was not normal. Was it too late for her?
Rena was 11 when her parents divorced. After one terrifying episode where she and her sister sat on either side of their parents, frightened, as one parent straddled the other, what occurred next was where her lapse in memory occurred. She says that there were black holes in her memory during this chaotic and murky time in her life. She now realizes that the black holes were defense mechanisms. “I had to survive,” she said. Sadly, the next thing she remembered is the new apartment she, her mom, and brother moved to. She doesn’t remember packing her clothes or the moving van. She doesn’t remember how long it was in-between the straddle-fight and her Mom looking for an apartment. She doesn’t even remember enrolling in a new school. “It’s all gone. That timeframe is gone, and I don’t remember any of it,” she said.
Still a “child” emotionally, Rena had trouble adjusting to the facets of her new life. She loved her Dad but lived with her Mom. Who were these new kids she was supposed to get to know at her new school? Who was the boy who pushed her to the ground and punched her in the nose as the crowd shouted their approval? She kept wondering if she caused her parents to fight, scream, and push each other around because of something she did.
Subsequently, she began to go “inside of herself” more often. She’d sit for hours on her bed feeling like she was losing her mind. There were no hugs or bed-time stories or “it’s going to be alright” forthcoming. In her adolescent mind, it was her against the world—but wait— “How do I do this? How do I take care of myself?”
Both of her parents were in their own worlds, and Rena was in hers…alone. “It was like being in a crowd of people and feeling completely alone,” she said. Life got so ugly for Rena, her mom yelling at her, the new kids bullying her, not seeing her Dad…it was all too much. Everything began to go in slow motion. She found herself in the bathroom, opening the medicine cabinet, picking up and opening the bottle of Excedrin, dumping a handful of the pills into her hand, filling a glass with water, putting the pills and water in her mouth—tossing her head back—swallowing. She laid on the floor and waited to die.
Later that evening…
Rena awakened to, “Fool, she tried to kill herself again.” And, “Hey are you alright?” Rena’s Mom called her a fool and her brother wanted to know if she was alright. Fortunately, Rena lived though she was in such pain that she wished she had not. Fortunately, her brother came home just in time.
When one has no idea of how to cope with the unfamiliar, they often want to give up. They just want the pain to stop. Rena…well, she kept going. Thank God. She didn’t have any counseling. It may have helped. She was still left to her own devices.
All too often we let the rejections and pain of our past dictate our future choices.
When Rena turned 16, she started dating. Oh boy. She had no idea what she was doing. He was the first “real” boyfriend she had. Daily after school, he’d wait for her in his shiny white car to take her home. “He must like me,” she thought. Just happy that someone felt she was “worth” paying attention to. Months and months passed before she met his parents. That’s when she found out that he too was enmeshed in domestic violence through his family of origin. Could it be that they, unknowingly, gravitated to what was familiar in their lives?
By 18, they were married and by 21 she was pregnant. Three times during her pregnancy he told her to get out of “his” house. He yelled and cursed at her and she repaid him in kind. Disaster. Was their son destined to their same fate?
Years later, Rena remarried. This marriage was her last marriage on steroids, but not her last marriage. He wanted to get married quickly, she was honored. Her son would have a stable family environment. Wrong. She found that out when his mother had to pull him off her, you get it, as he straddled her on the floor demanding that she do what he said. Isn’t that what she experienced as a child with her parents? With her new husband, she experienced physical, mental, emotional, sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse. Unfortunately, her son experienced all those unstable changes with Rena.
After two failed relationships, subconsciously, Rena felt undeserving of a loving relationship. Wow!
Of course, her son experienced the same horrible abusive relationships, except he was the victim.
Consistent exposure to or witnessing of domestic violence has major psychological effects on the undeveloped mind of a child. The effects can include excessive sadness, guilt, inability to experience empathy or guilt, fear of abandonment, cognitive dissonance, habitual lying, emotional distancing, poor judgment. The memories imprinted onto a child’s mind become inextricably linked together and forever taint—or else filter—feelings, beliefs, and choices in relationships and so many other facets of life. These children are not merely innocent bystanders. They are victims.
The parents may have no idea what they are doing when they consistently place their child in a climate of chronic emotional volatility. This behavior lends itself to painful and isolating emotions and frequently unmet needs for affection and attachment.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified exposure to DV as one of several adverse childhood experiences contributing to poor quality of life, premature death, and risk factors for many of the most common causes of death in the United States. There are countless children who witness domestic violence between their parents. There are also many detrimental consequences to innocent lives.