There is nothing more searing and damaging to one’s psyche than emotional abuse.
Where physical scars and pain are visible and treatable with pills or topical medicines, emotional abuse leaves one searching for a solution. In emotional abuse someone is always looking for something to apply to the soul to cure the pain.
I Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” People who suffer emotional trauma can look very well on the outside,from what is visible; yet inside they can be slowly deteriorating. Drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, ceaseless partying can be signs of a person suffering from emotional pain. As destructive as these behaviors can be, to someone in emotional pain, the behavior is reasonable.

My father died when I was  three years old. My mother was left with eight children to raise alone and while she parented me in the best way she knew, she was overwhelmed with the responsibility of daily survival and overcoming her own grief and emotional issues.I was never hugged or kissed affectionately as a child. I was barely talked to either. I remember having this yearning to want someone to pay attention to me, but everyone seemed too busy. While my physical needs of clothing, shelter, food and safety were met most of the time; the emotional void in my life was never filled.

Coupled with my family situation, I grew up in the segregated South of the 1960’s where the forces of racism and legal segregation of the races was the law. As a child of five, I was placed in the center of trying to remove these laws when my mother placed me in a school where only five other Black children attended. Some people might say that putting a five-year old child in the middle of something like this was child abuse in itself: well not really, segregation was damaging enough to a child and children suffered the most from unjust laws. My parents and other parents reasoning was, the children were not going to have a fair chance in life with segregation in place, so they (the children) were the best ones suited to defy the unjust laws. Besides, if adults attempted to do so in many instances they were maimed or killed. Not that many adults didn’t fight in their own way by peaceful protest, attempting to register to vote, and joining organizations in which if found out, they could be fired, beaten or killed. Children had to grow up early in the segregated South, no one stayed young for long, All this is another story in itself in which I will tell later.

I entered a marriage that even though it began with love, ended with severe emotional, verbal, and physical abuse. The more I reached out to love my then husband, the more he rejected and ignored me. Just as in childhood, as the marriage wore on, my husband never hugged me, never kissed me affectionately, and never really talked to me either. I think in 24 years he may have kissed me with any real meaning, maybe once: And that was at the beginning of the marriage. Even in marriage, having sex with someone who you have no emotional ties with feels like being raped: and toward the end,that is what intercourse with him felt like.

Time and space will not permit me to list all the things I suffered in various churches; which is another form of emotional abuse. Yet it is a story that will someday be told. It will be told for the countless number of people who can not name what they are going through and may not even know they are in the middle of it. For years I didn’t know that I was being abused. I took it as business as usual: I didn’t know anything else. But God is gracious, and Jesus himself has given me more love and acceptance than any human being ever could. This is why I love Him; my story continues.


Why Love Matters

I recall listening to a sermon preached by a pastor at my former church; most every word she spoke was true and she delivered it eloquently. I thought after she finished speaking , my spirit isn’t receiving this, I can’t accept this.
I couldn’t define it at the time, but I now realize I couldn’t receive her message because it wasn’t delivered in love. I Corinthians 13:1
states, If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love , I am only a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” To preach the Gospel without love is meaningless.
Only God can give us the heart to love, because God is love.
People have many reasons for doing things; including preaching the Gospel. Some people want to minister the Gospel because they love the “glamour” of having people listen to them speak. Perhaps they are in love with the sound of their own words and lifting themselves up above others. Others may be unable to minister in love because they were never shown love themselves.
But the main reason preachers can’t minister in love is because they lack compassion. Being compassionate enables us to put ourselves in the place of others and identify with their suffering. Hebrews 4: 15 says that “we do not have a high priest that is unable sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way-yet was without sin.”
Jesus felt everything as a human being because he was all human as well as all God. He identified with the human condition, and he wasn’t afraid to let his humanity show; even though he was divine. He grew hungry and tired, he became angry and yes, he suffered grief.
In Matthew 9:36 it states , “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus cared as only a loving God could care; which is why he died. He loved us unto death. I can really say that I have been loved to death ,by Jesus Christ.
Not too long ago I was lying in bed listening to the Bible app on my phone. I had suffered great emotional distress this day and I felt the need to hear God’s voice. As I listened to the scripture, I could feel the love leaping from the pages as the reader spoke.
The love wasn’t coming from the reader, but it was from the power of God’s spoken word.
As ministers of the New Covenant who preach the Gospel we must realize our ministering should be done in love. Human love is limited, so when ministering to others we need the love of God. In all that we do in the Kingdom of God: whether in church or out of church , unless done in love it doesn’t matter.

Part II, The Power In Trusting God

     God has given us his word that we can put our trust in him. While the world trusts in “the system of things”, we as Christians are told to put our trust in the Lord.

     I would rather trust in the creator of heaven and earth than put my trust in that which was created. The system of things is in direct opposition to what God’s word says. The system says to put yourself first in all situations, the word of God says to think more highly of others than yourself.  The system creates walls and divisions among human beings; such as segregation, aparthide, caste systems, and the like. When rulers trust in God, they know that out of one blood God created all men. In God’s system all men are truly formed equal in the eyes of their creator. 

     If God puts his word to something, you can trust his word more than you can trust what you see; that is how powerful his word is. After all, by his word alone he created the heavens and the earth. If God has spoken that something will come to pass, you can be sure that it will happen. The universe stands or falls on God’s word alone; for his word to fail, the universe would be at risk.

     When you are consumed with doubt or fear about your circumstance read from Romans 8:31 where it states, ” If God be for us, who can be against us.” There isn’t any enemy, physical or spiritual that can stand in the face of God. When you are faced with discouragement and need someone to take your burdens to, remember that Jesus says to “cast your care on him, for he careth for you.” I Peter 5:7.  When you have been abandoned and betrayed by someone who was supposed to love and protect you, read from II Corinthians 1: 3-5 where it states,3) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,4) who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5) For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”  There is no trusting in God without trusting in his word. It is God’s purpose to use our experiences and suffering to comfort others who are in similar circumstance.

Jesus give us all strength as Christians to be true to our purpose in this life and let our trust in you increase. Even though the longer we walk with you the trials become greater, let our trust and faith in you increase also.

The Power In Trusting God

     Trust isn’t easily earned especially with the issues we are confronted with today. There are some people we trust most of the way or part of the way; but Jesus Christ is the only one I know who we can trust all the way.
The first scripture that comes to mind on trusting God is Proverbs 3: 5,6… “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” The idea of trusting God is rooted in faith in God. We drive over a bridge that spans miles with tons of water beneath it because we have faith that the bridge won’t collapse. We turn the ignition to a car expecting it to send power to the engine so the car will move; all done in faith in a mechanical process. If one can have faith in man-made machines and technology,why shouldn’t we have faith in God who created the heavens and the earth.
There are three reasons why trusting God makes perfectly good sense:
1. Trusting God brings about peace. Psalm 56: 3,4 states, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust, I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”
At a time in history where nothing is certain; whether it is our jobs, our health, relationships that go awry: God gives us a sense of stability that whatever else fails, God will always be there and the promises of his word to us also.
2. Trusting God extends your life. Psalm 25:1,2 says, ” Unto thee O’ Lord do I lift up my soul,O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.” When faced with the perils of this present life, we don’t always know who our enemies are. When our trust is in God, he not only can show you plainly who is a “backstabber”, but he can deliver you from the snare of those who pretend to be your friends. This is important not only physically, but more importantly spiritually.
3. Trusting God keeps us from making serious mistakes in judgement. ” As for God his way is perfect, the word of the Lord is tried, he is a buckler to all them that trust him.” Listening to God’s spirit and studying his word carefully is more than enough to direct us to where we should go and away from where we shouldn’t. Many times people have made life choices that were detrimental, which could have been avoided had they sought God and his word. You can not separate God from love, nor from his word. God would never lead us into anything that would cause us irreversible harm.

This post will be continued.

Lone Journey

  Some things are more difficult to write about than others; it is extremely difficult to write about emotional pain and trauma when I am going through it. It is traumatic to face the end of a relationship that was supposed to last a lifetime, and especially because of my strong conviction that marriage is ordained by God, and never to be taken lightly. I am a very private person and writing about something so intensely personal as the breakup of my marriage is something I have avoided. Yet, it has been part of my journey. One thing that I have learned as a result of the break up is that nothing last forever. This is not to say that some marriages don’t last a lifetime; but in the sense that when something that is expected to last a lifetime doesn’t, it isn’t the institution itself that is to blame; it has more to do with the parties involved .
When extricating myself from my marriage of twenty-four years, I learned I would have to drive 600 miles round trip to appear in divorce court. For some this may not be a significant feat; but for me, someone who hates driving and following road signs and GPSs, this was a herculean task. When my relatives heard that I might have to make this trip alone, everyone told me, mother included, “please don’t go alone,” she said. “Take someone with you.” So I embarked upon my search to find the perfect person to accompany me to sever my marital ties.Deborah, my friend of over twenty-five years said, I will let you know as soon as I settle some financial matters and other business. I thought to myself, this isn’t looking good. I felt that if her going with me was a sure thing, she would have known from the moment I asked her. My next approach was a new friend, Sarah, who even though I hadn’t known her long said, “Oh, it’s no big deal for me to drive with you, I just have to make sure I can take off work that day.” I thought, I can’t ask someone I’ve known such a short period of time to do something for me of this magnitude.
My final thought was to ask a sister from a church I’d attended in the past if she could go with me, but with
her it was no deal because she had a prior commitment that day. The day was quickly approaching and I decided to attend a home Bible study and see if one of the ladies in the study would be willing to go with me. No luck there; I realized I don’t know any of these people that well either; and especially to ask them to go with me at the last minute to drive somewhere three states away. The best they did for me was to pray, and I needed plenty of that for sure!
As the day for the trip grew closer I began to accept the thought that just maybe God wanted me to go alone; why, I had no idea. My line of thinking was this; well Lord you know I have never driven this far, and you know something might happen with the car, and what if I get too sleepy, and the list just went on and on. I was consciously listing the multitude of “reasons” why I shouldn’t attempt such a thing. Oh yes, my family even threw in the fact that “well you know you an your soon to be ex aren’t exactly on speaking terms with each other.” “If you go on this trip alone, he might try to harm you in some way.”The fear factor was becoming ever present.
On the night before the trip, a certain calm came over me. It was as though Jesus had said, “peace, be still.”
He reassured me, “Joan, I’ve got your back on this one too.” He let me know in that way, that he always does quietly and so steadfastly, “there is nothing you can not do with my help.”Once again the scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” began resonating in my spirit.
My state of mind in my marriage for too long was I need someone else to do so many things for me. I had come to rely on my spouse far too much, which in many ways crippled my growth and maturity. Even though married people should be able to rely on each other in some instances, but in my case the reliance had become crippling.
There were so many things I learned from making this trip alone. I think the most important lesson was that God enables us to do things that we may think are not possible in our own strength. All my life I lived my life on others’ terms: in my teens it was my mother’s or peers. As a young adult it was my husband’s and the church’s. I had strode through life on the caprices of what others expected of me; not on what I expected or even wanted for myself. My journey alone to divorce my ex-husband was the beginning of me initiating living life on mine and God’s terms. I put great importance on God’s role in this because it has never been God’s will for anyone to be crippled or hindered by anyone.
I am still on my journey, since my marriage ended I have said to many along the way, “I will find my own way.”
Because I still am confronted with people who want tho minimize my demand to become what God intended me to be. I am still faced with having to remove people from my life who refuse to see that I am unique and special and not someone to kick around with when you have the time. Sometimes we form cocoons around ourselves not only in order to protect ourselves; but that become prisons to us. Instead of the cocoon becoming a place where we receive nourishment and growth it becomes an incubator that stifles.
May God continue to be with me and all those who need to find their way along their own journey.