The Lord redeems a life spent in domestic violence

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God redeems domestic violence

I have spent much of my life around domestic violence. I was born into it as was my father. I grew up in it, married into it, and I’m still dealing with the consequences of it today. But God…

The Lord intervened. He didn’t save me from domestic violence nor from the consequences of it but instead chose to use it in my life.

Read what A.W. Pink has to say,

“A true recognition of God’s sovereignty will avow God’s perfect right to do with us as He wills. The one who bows to the pleasure of the Almighty will acknowledge His absolute right to do with us as seemeth Him good. If He chooses to send poverty, sickness, domestic bereavements, even while the heart is bleeding at every pore, it will say, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right! Often there will be a struggle, for the carnal mind remains in the believer to the end of his earthly pilgrimage. But though there may be a conflict within his breast, nevertheless, to the one who has really yielded himself to this blessed truth there will presently be heard that Voice saying, as of old it said to the turbulent Gennesaret, “Peace be still”; and the tempestuous flood within will be quieted and the subdued soul will lift a tearful but confident eye to Heaven and say, “Thy will be done.”― A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God

Born into domestic violence

One of my two earliest memories–both around the same time so I’m not sure which happened first–is of my father, mother, and I eating breakfast at our small kitchen table. The morning was bright, the kitchen sunny. Without warning, at least to my three year old self, my father jumped up, slammed his fist down on the table, making me and our dishes jump. Cursing loudly and shaking his fist at Mama, he screamed, “I’ll knock your #%&* teeth down your throat!” Mama rose and came around the table and I jumped between them. I remember looking up at Daddy, yelling, “Don’t you hurt my Mama!” He starred at me and then silently retreated to their bedroom.

It wasn’t the first nor the last time something like that happened. He burned Mama with lit cigarettes and broke bones. He refused to let Mama take me to the doctor when, at four months old, I developed a raging fever, resulting in lifelong health problems. He threw me across a room, slamming me into a wall. Even now, I remain afraid of men who scream, loud or unexpected noises easily frighten me, and I get overwhelmed easily when there is a heated argument going on.

Raised in pain

Mama long suffered from depression and fear. She later became an emotional and verbal abuser herself. She lied to me regularly, shamed and intentionally humiliated me privately and in front of others, made fun of my young developing body, told me at the doctor’s office that my doctor was only examining me because he wanted to touch me, and spread lies about me around our church (from the time I was little until she died). By the time I was 11 years old, I was considering suicide.

Mama didn’t defend me when I was molested by a friend of hers (on more than one occasion and more than one person); rather, she blamed me for the incidents.

Her strange behavior started when I was around 10 years old and lasted until she passed when I was 33. Mama left me with feelings of inadequacies because that’s what I learned about myself from her: In her eyes, no matter what I said or did, no matter how hard I tried, I was an inadequate daughter. She told me often how I failed her, that I didn’t love her, was evil, cruel, and didn’t know or care how to do anything right. I spent years struggling with perfectionism trying to please her.

Married to an abuser

My husband was a faithful church attender, a man I believed to be a Christian, who treated me well–at least when we were dating. He proved to be an unfaithful porn addicted and an abuser, who only claimed to be a Christian. His abuse of me crossed the spectrum from physical to just about everything else. He used domestic violence to control me.

My husband called me by vulgar names, told me I was his slave, believed that women needed to be punished for being women, and consistently made to do my work and his. I was yelled at, accused of being an ungodly woman, and blamed for things I’d not done. I was denied health care, left with bruises and welts, and learned once again that I simply didn’t matter. If you’d told him he was engaging in domestic violence, he would have denied it. Yet the violence was real.

Besides engaging in domestic violence, he repeatedly lost jobs, ran up extensive debt, filed bankruptcy three times, lost our van to repossession, and he lost our house to foreclosure. He sold my wedding ring set, my boy’s bunkbed (right out from under them), and many other of our possessions. My children and I did without so much. So many times I can remember begging the Lord to keep us from eviction (far too often), save us from being sued (a frequent occurrence), to keep our utilities on, and to provide food for our table. The Lord’s provision was perfect and amazing.

The domestic violence also extended to our children. He was a cruel father who made fun of them, laughed at them, called them names, and at times was physically abusive. He regularly lied to them and eventually he began lying to them about me. The only thing consistent about him was his inconsistencies and cruelties.

The lies he told and still stands by destroyed what family harmony we had. I’m unwillingly estranged from children who chose to believe his lies. One of my son’s physically attacked me, resulting in a damaged shoulder cuff (that I wasn’t allowed to see the doctor for). A daughter got married without ever telling me she was engaged. And more. So much more. Parroting their father, I was told that I was cruel, abusive, and selfish. I’ve heard the words “I hate you” out of lips of children that I would have given my life for. I rarely see or hear from two of my children; two I never hear from and haven’t in many years.

My husband’s unfaithfulness and abuse led me to shut down. I hurt so much that I got to where I couldn’t hurt. I couldn’t process it.

What domestic violence isn’t

So many times domestic violence has been misunderstood and thus relegated to the realm of “a bad marriage,” “a nagging wife,” or “a discontented wife.” It’s not even close.

Domestic violence or domestic abuse happens when one person willingly chooses to elevate themselves above another and seeks to do so through crushing them, controlling them, destroying their lives, their hope, their ability to do anything to help themselves. It always starts with emotional abuse and frequently includes physical abuse.

Too many have blamed women who claimed they were victims of domestic violence, refusing to believe it, choosing to believe that she was simply an unhappy wife. Others have called the least little thing domestic violence and blamed men for things that harpy lying women made up. Both are wrong. Both must be repented of.

God’s redemption

Regardless of whether domestic violence is correctly defined or not, what matters is what God can do. I’ve had a Reformed Baptist pastor tell me that, because of all I’d dealt with, my life was “a mixed up mess.” He was right. I didn’t bring on the mess but I’ve had a mess to deal with most of my life, nonetheless. It wasn’t the most helpful thing he could have said but in the end, redeeming the mess of domestic violence or anything else that has broken our hearts or destroyed our lives doesn’t depend on anything except trusting and obeying the Lord.

Sisters, the Lord can redeem anything and that includes domestic violence. Since the Lord is sovereign, no matter what His people go through it’s by His will, for His glory, and, in some way, for our good. This is true of domestic violence and it’s true of anything else. The Lord is good, always and in all ways, no matter what our circumstances. We simply have to trust Him and live our lives in a way that honors Him.

May we always seek to do that.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

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