All around the neighborhood houses are decorated for the season of trick or treating. Some much more scary than others.
Soon all the little ghouls and goblins, ballerinas and cowboys will be ringing doorbells asking for sweet treats.
But do you know what’s really scary? What’s never sweet?
Abuse in all it’s forms…
Since 2001, more than 8,000 women have been murdered in the U.S. by intimate partners and nearly 40 million women have been assaulted or beaten.
Sadly, I was one of those statistics.
In the early 2000s, I was in a short lived second marriage where control and abuse were rampant. Cops, courts and orders of protection were the order of those days.
I stayed longer than I should have believing, as most victims do, that if I was only a better wife and did everything I was told, it would stop.
Abusers don’t stop. We MUST go!
But before I did I pressed into Jesus and tried everything I could think of — including separation — to help heal my marriage before I finally realized that until the abuser decides to change, nothing will change.
To anyone currently in an unsafe relationship, leave NOW.
Seek help and get out before it is too late! There are safe places for you and your babies. God will make a way and raise up people to help you on your journey to freedom and life.
There is NO reason that anyone should ever hurt you in a relationship.
And I remember the hurt.
And all the tears, and trying to fix the situation.
I remember trembling with fear, and feeling overwhelmed with shame.
I remember a professional counselor telling me to “leave before he kills you,” yet in my naive and fearful stupor I found that hard to believe.
Until a group of very loving Christian friends, including my pastor and two special ladies, Susan and Elisa, reminded me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves me like crazy.
They consistently encouraged me to be brave and strong, and provided all sorts of practical helps like sending money and going to court with me.
And I am one of the lucky ones.
While I suffered physical, emotional and financial harm, my life was spared.
It took a long time, though, to repair the damage to my heart and psyche. It left me a broken shell of a woman.
Without God’s loving intervention leading to a path of ever increasing wholeness I am not sure where I would be today.
Thank you, Lord, and thank you dearest friends, for your loving support all along that very dark and scary way.
In my corner of the world, here in the Hudson Valley of New York, in just two counties on parallel sides of the Hudson River, some 5,500 women, children and even men, needed and received help after an incident of domestic or sexual abuse last year.
That’s 15 people EVERY day in my own backyard.
In a proclamation recently, President Obama writes:
“Despite considerable progress in reducing domestic violence, an average of three women in the United States lose their lives every day as a result of these unconscionable acts.
And while women between the ages of 16 and 24 are among the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence, domestic violence affects people regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, or religion.
Tragically, without intervention, children exposed to such violence can suffer serious long-term consequences that may include difficulty in school, post-traumatic disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and criminal behavior.”
Woman LOSING their lives at the hands of someone’s rage!
And pitiably, cycles of violence perpetuate from one generation to the next, children learning what they live.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 3:15
So get out if you are trapped. And speak up.
For as we tell our stories, others are saved and helped. Get the healing you need and then give back by helping others.
And may we learn to love the Jesus way.
For God is love, and love is the most powerful and positive transforming tool in all the universe.
This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.
In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13
A very lovely piece of classical music is playing as I write this, tugging at my heart and tears are slipping silent. I pray these words might go far and wide and help even ONE woman to get out and live. Please Jesus…
National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
P.S We are praying for all of us in the Northeast as Sandy bears down hard. Join me? Pray for safety and protection and a sure sense that GOD is ALWAYS in CONTROL!!
The severity of Sandy, and whether or not the lights stay on, will determine if there are more posts this week at Longings End. Thanks for your prayers…